OT Stories - Myths,Legends, Parables, or Real

pauljohntheskeptic
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OT Stories - Myths,Legends, Parables, or Real

In discussions with Caposkia on his thread regarding his recommended book (New Atheist Crusaders) we have mutually agreed to open a discussion on the OT discussing reality versus myth for stories in the OT. My position is that the OT is largely myths and legends with little basis in reality. There may be stories that may be considered literature as Rook has suggested though it still incorporates myths and legends as well in my opinion. The intent is to examine major stories and discuss the mythical components versus the interpretations by Christians and Jews that these events were real. Caposkia has indicated in many of his posts that he agrees that some of the stories are reality based and in those areas I'm interested in understanding his reasoning or any other believer for acceptance versus others where he does not consider them to be. It may be there are a few where we may find agreement as to a story being a myth or it being real though my inclination is little more is reality based other than kingdoms existed in Palestine that were called Israel and Judah and they interacted with other nations in some fashion.

Since the basis of Christian beliefs started with creation and the fall of man we'll begin there and attempt to progress through Genesis in some sort of logical order sort of like Sunday School for those of you that went. I’m not particularly concerned about each little bit of belief in these stories but I’m more interested in the mythology aspects. We could for pages argue over original sin or free will but that isn’t even necessary in my opinion as the text discredits itself with blatant assertions and impossibilities. Instead consider for example Eve is created in one version from Adam’s rib which can be directly compared to the Sumerian goddess of the rib called Nin-ti which Ninhursag gave birth to heal the god Enki. Other comparisons can be made to the Sumerian paradise called Dilmun to the Garden of Eden as well. These stories predate the OT by thousands of years and tell the tale of the ancient Annuna gods that supposedly created the world. Visit www-etcsl.orient.ox.ac.uk/# for more information and some of the translated stories, click on corpus content by number or category.

In order for salvation through Christ from our supposed sins against the God the events of Genesis must have occurred in some fashion. If the Genesis stories are largely mythical or they are simply a parable then this basis is poorly founded and weakens the entire structure of Christian belief. Caposkia claims I error at square one because I don't acknowledge a spiritual world. I suggest that he and other followers error by accepting that which there is no detectable basis. This is done by interpreting parables and myths by the ancients to be more than inadequate understanding by unknowing people that looked for an answer to why things were in the world they observed.

In Genesis 1 is the supposed creation of the world by God. In this account illogical explanations start immediately with the description of the Earth being without form and darkness was upon it. Light is then created and explained as day and night. Next God molded his creation into better detail by creating Heaven above meaning the sky and waters on the earth. He then caused dry land to appear calling it the Earth and the waters the Seas. On this same day he created vegetation with the requirement that it bring forth after its kind by duplication through seeds. The following day he created the heavenly bodies to divide day from night and to be signs for seasons and for years. He made the great light to rule the day and the lesser light the night as well as all the stars. On the 5th day he created all the life in the seas and air with the requirement they reproduce after their own kind. The 6th day he created all the land animals including man both male and female. The gods in this case made man after their image as male and female in their own likeness. He commanded them to multiply and replenish the earth.

Problems start with this account immediately. The Earth according to science is leftover material from the forming of our star, the Sun. This material would have been a glowing mass of molten material. The land in any event would emerge first before water could exist as a liquid upon it due to the extreme heat.  Light would already exist in the form of the Sun which according to current science is not as old as other stars in our galaxy not to mention in the Universe. The account mentions that day and night were made but this is not so except for a local event on the planet. An object not on the Earth would have no such condition or a different form of night and day. The account further errors in claiming the Sun, Moon, and stars were all formed following the creation of the Earth. In theories of planet formulation the star is formed first and planets afterwords. In the case of the moon multiple theories occur though not one where it zapped into the Universe suddenly. The statement that the heavenly bodies were created for signs and seasons is more evidence of a legend. The other planets and stars are purposeful in ways that aid in life existing or continuing to do so on Earth. Jupiter for example is a great big vacuum cleaner sucking into its gravitational field all sorts of debris that could eradicate life on Earth. Is this then a design by the god or just part of the situation that helped to allow life to progress as it did on the Earth? The observation of specific planets or stars in specific areas of the sky is just that, an observation no more and not placed there by a god to indicate the change of seasons.

One can also see some similarity between Genesis 1 and the Egyptian creation myth Ra and the serpent, see http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~humm/Resources/StudTxts/raSerpnt.html . In this myth Ra is the first on the scene and he creates all the creatures himself doing so before he made the wind or the rain. Ra does not create man but the gods he created gave birth to the people of Egypt who multiplied and flourished.

Some Jewish sects as well as Catholic belief allow for evolution to have been the method for creation of life on Earth. This however is in contradiction to Genesis in that all vegetation and animals were to reproduce only after their own kind. If this is so, then evolution is not compatible with the creation story. Simply put the life could not alter and produce different versions not after its kind. Since obvious examples exist for variation in species such as evolution even as simple as fish in caves without eyes or color versus those that are in streams outside there is obvious adaption thus discrediting this part of Genesis as myth.

The creation of man in Genesis 1 also suggests multiple gods as man was created in their likeness male and female thus following Canaanite gods such as Yahweh and his Asherah or Ba'al and Athirat that may be a reflection of an older tradition from either Egypt or Sumer. Genesis 2 on the other hand has a slightly different version from a variant I'll discuss in a later post.

I consider Genesis 1 to be a myth, legend or a parable based on all the problems discussed with basis in ancient stories from Sumer and Egypt. I leave it to Caposkia and other believers to indicate where they accept parts of Genesis 1 as reality and to indicate their reasoning if they do so.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


caposkia
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jcgadfly wrote:Cap, did

jcgadfly wrote:

Cap, did "divine inspiration" work then the way it works now?

You know, "It sounds good to me/It benefits me in some fashion so it must be divine inspiration"?

heh... that's not "divine inspiration", that's "Dispensationalism".  Dispensationalism is and has been the same always.  It looks good for me, it makes me right and everyone else wrong, therefore, it's divine. 

Divine inspiration isn't always easily explained or understood.  Divine intervention isn't even always what benefits the person... or what they might think is a benifit.  In fact, many cases it can be the complete opposite.  Many people have walked away from their faith because they were never taught that God says "no" sometimes when you pray for something.  Anyone who claims that you're praying wrong or that God doesn't say no if you pray for it is selling you something and is not talking about the Christian God.


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caposkia wrote:jcgadfly

caposkia wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Cap, did "divine inspiration" work then the way it works now?

You know, "It sounds good to me/It benefits me in some fashion so it must be divine inspiration"?

heh... that's not "divine inspiration", that's "Dispensationalism".  Dispensationalism is and has been the same always.  It looks good for me, it makes me right and everyone else wrong, therefore, it's divine. 

Divine inspiration isn't always easily explained or understood.  Divine intervention isn't even always what benefits the person... or what they might think is a benifit.  In fact, many cases it can be the complete opposite.  Many people have walked away from their faith because they were never taught that God says "no" sometimes when you pray for something.  Anyone who claims that you're praying wrong or that God doesn't say no if you pray for it is selling you something and is not talking about the Christian God.

So the gospel writers were dispensationalists before the term was coined? Or are you a dispensationalist? What you're badmouthing can be applied to you as well as them.

At least the "I'm right and evertone else is wrong" part. That's not a slam against you particularly - all flavors of religion do it.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph are three of the main characters in the ultimate development of Jewish belief as well as Christianity. Yet, there is no historical evidence any of the them were any more than mythical heroes.

As much as your grandfather from that era is.   Most historians from what I understand accept Biblical characters to be at least actual people in history.  It doesn't mean they accept the story they're a part of.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Isaac leaves home and goes to Abraham's relatives to ultimately seek a wife. Issues of technology occur in Genesis 24:10-11, 32-35, 44-46, and 61, where camels are used for transport, an unlikely event prior to 1000 BCE. Then we have references to Assyria, which will be an immense power later, but not likely at the time of this story supposedly occurring which is generally proposed by theists to be around 1800 BCE. The Kedarites are mentioned being descendants of Kendar a son of Ishmael though nothing is found of them until Assyrian records of the 8th century BCE. They are mentioned extensively by Assyrian king Ashurbanipal in the 7th century BCE. Their habitat was the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia far out of the area of ancient Palestine. Other sons of Ishmael are named which are unknown in history in the 2nd millennium BCE and don't have any relevancy until the 6th and 7th centuries BCE.

As far as the issues of technology, it is generally understood that all the books of the pentateuch were written somewhere between 1450 and 1400 B.C.  With that said, it wouldn't make sense for the author to write it with such "technology" in place unless it was understood to be a legitimate form of transportation at the time.  Even so, why would anyone consider it a legitimate work if it was so blatently out of touch with the times?

Also be it that the book was generally considered to be written so far back, it's odd to me that this book makes reference to names more than 500 years before they are undertood to be on record.  It's a bit ironic to see such claims of names if they didn't exist for quite a period afterwards.  Where would the author get this information from?  It'd be like me writing a book on the design of a time machine that's not going to be invented until 2109.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The point being, this part of Genesis is an attempt to write a legacy based on mythical tales far later in time, such as at the time the Kingdom of Judah has arisen in the 6th and 7th century BCE.

quite a conclusion from the idea that the book mentioned an 'unlikely means of transportation' and a list of names that... well existed generations after it was written.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Isaac has 2 sons, Jacob and Esau where deception and trickery are involved in inheritance of the blessing of Isaac. Seems unneeded, but Yahweh always has done tricky things, oh, wait it Satan that's supposedly does that, my confusion here. Jacob then spends many years working for Laban to gain his 2 wives. Yahweh appears to Jacob at Beth-el making the promise to make a great nation of his seed in Genesis 28:10-22. Jacob sees a ladder  that went from the earth to heaven with angels coming and going. He erects a place of worship using the stone upon which he had slept and seen God. He called this place the house of God and the gate of heaven. Later on, this is where altars are built supposedly by the Northern Kingdom of Israel. A possible explanation rooted in legend. Jacob has 12 sons, which are the forebears of the 12 tribes of Israel according to the stories. Later in Judges, we will go into further discussion about what tribes were and were not.

Trickery:  guess you haven't read Job yet.  Though that's way beyond our conversation at this point.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Joseph is the favorite son of Jacob and ultimately ends up in Egypt after his brothers sell him off as a slave. In the end, Joseph becomes an important Egyptian governmental official and all of the sons of Jacob relocate. This then is the reason given for the Hebrews being in Egypt and their eventual redirection by Egypt into slave labor.

Except, there is nothing to substantiate Hebrews were ever slave labor in Egypt or were there at all.  The only Asiatics in great number in Egypt were the Hyskos who ruled lower Egypt for nigh near 100 plus years until they were driven out by Pharaoh Ahmrose in 1570 BCE. The Hyskos ruled from Avaris also called Tell ed-Daba. There are artifacts that are similar to construction of those attributed to Hebrew origins found here, even amid ash dust from the explosion of Thera, which aides in the dating. Many religious historians try to fit the supposed enslavement of the Hebrews ending at the time of Rameses II, though there are problems with that. We'll discuss that in detail with Moses.

In summary, there is nothing to support Isaac, Jacob or Joseph ever existed by physical evidence. There is nothing to support Hebrews were made slaves in Egypt. There is nothing to suggest that other Asiatics other than the Hyskos ever resided in vast quantities in Egypt during any part of the second millennium BCE.

From what I've seen presented so far, there's nothing to suggest otherwise either.  Just possible assumptions about the technology of the time and dating issues... which in Hebrew I've been finding is quite difficult to descipher at times anyway suggesting that many 'translated' dates may not be as we see in the English Bible. 

It is understood that the book was written somewhere in the 1400's B.C. bringing to question how certain names were known and how such a means of transportation around 1000 B.C. or earler was either not used or unknown and yet written as being used by these characters. 

 

 

 


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:Be

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Be careful with the"true follower" statement, it sounds like "no true Scotsmen".

I use that term now as the most neutral way of expressing what I follow.  It has become abundantly clear to me after being on this site as long as I have that the perception of a 'Christian' and what a 'Christian' is Biblically differ widely.  I'm trying to express that I am not a part of Chistiandom as it is understood on this site.   I have tried a few other terms including "True Christian", "Christ follower", "non-denominational Christian", etc.  true follower seems to get the least amount of flack. 

Obviously people are going to make assumptions about me and what I believe no matter what I tell them and that's fine.  You can assume "no true Scotsman" and I will tell you why that's not the case with me.  I've done it before.  I also have learned that redundancy is the favored approach to discussion on this site generally speaking.  Most don't like progression... obviously with the exception of a few.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I'm aware that many consider the Bible to be divinely inspired though they have but conjecture as support and evidence.

I still wonder what they're looking for?  As far as divine inspiration, the only evidence presented to me so far against it is possible inaccurate dates, (all so far claiming that from what I understand have not cross-referenced them with the Hebrew) or excuse any historical congruency or happening as either ironic or just what any good fiction writer would do to make people think it was real.   

If you're going to dismiss dates without cross reference and legitimate study into the languages and dismiss all historical congruency, I really don't know what to present.  I've even gone into the science of some of the happenings and how they've found geological events around the same time that could explain how it happened. 

though because people have skimmed the words of the Bible and painted a fantasy picture in their head, no matter what evidence is presented to the lot, most will still resort back to their "happy fantasy" that they think is right. 

For example, Genesis 1:12 says; "the Earth brought forth vegetation, plants...." and yet I still get people telling me that my belief says that things *popped* into existance.  Illogical conclusion on their part, but because they dont' want to see it for what it is, they won't.  There's nothing I can say to make them see it.  This would be the biggest roadblock for me on this site.  I could tell you everything in existance in reference to information on the Bible, but unless you're willing to take into consideration everything presented to you and renew your understanding with the incongruencies you're still going to believe what you want.  (I use "You" in the general term and not in reference to anyone in particular)  The most ironic part is those same people try to make the same claim about me regardless of how many times I tell them I'm willing to take any and all information they give me into consideration.  I've even admitted when I've been wrong and have admitted to learning a lot from people on this site. 

You cannot change a person, a person has to change themselves. 

My question to you specifically in this case is if you're going to dismiss dates (ignoring the fact that not only are some English dates wrong in the Bible, but many are also generalized in the language,  also that it was written by people who could possibly.. "mess up&quotEye-wink and because there is such strict care in keeping the originality of the scripts have not been updated if you will in modern translation.  As well as dismiss any historical congruencies because there's still "gaps" in outside historical records as far as Biblical claims is, what will you accept as evidence for divine inspiration or historocity? 

As you can tell, unlike the assumption taken by most on this site, I'm actually willing to try to find something that you will accept.  Most people when I ask them dont' have answer for me.  I'm hoping you do.   This could help us in the progression of our Genesis study as we start getting into the Moses story.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

One can peruse the Bible and find inconsistency in every book not to mention outright gross errors and ignorant statements. So, one is to ignore the problems and only use the parts that fit within the framework of belief in Jesus the savior?

not in the least

Those problems depend on what you're referencing to.

Most "inconsistencies" that have been presented to me on this site have been overlooked information by the person claiming the inconsistency.  There are other possibilities as to inconsistencies depending on what you're referencing to as I have presented like;  discrepencies in dates between the languages or misunderstanding by the writer.   People think that because the Bible is divinely inspired, it can't contain errors.  That would be true if it was "divinely written" and not "divinely inspired".

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Seems to be what is done by Christians when they ignore what Jews consider to be evidence found within scripture. Just saying,  misconstruing  things to benefit  perceptions or desires in support of outlandish claims in the NT beyond that which was accepted by Judaism seems likely to be suspect to say the least.

I would agree with that statement.  There's a reason why I so adimately try to express my following as NOT a part of Christiandom in general.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Not that Judaism isn't suspect as well.  Obviously, I understand the scripture as something not divinely inspired but derived from legends and mythology instead. As we continue down the OT road there appear many more places where claims meet head on into historical documentation that contradict assertions made in the Bible. Of course, these problem areas can be not inspired as a way out right?

 

We shall takle these problem areas as they come.  I am interested in what you'll bring up as far as inconsistencies go.  I will do my best to explain them or I will refer to my sources.

What do you mean by "not inspired as a way out"?   As I've explained the texts are divinely inspired, not divinely written, which excuses anything in the Bible from being flawless.  Just so no one is seeing that as a copout, any major discrepencies I can guarantee you have been stringently studied and explained logically.  Again, we'll take them as they come.  Maybe I'll learn something... maybe you will.

 


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jcgadfly wrote:So the gospel

jcgadfly wrote:

So the gospel writers were dispensationalists before the term was coined? Or are you a dispensationalist? What you're badmouthing can be applied to you as well as them.

At least the "I'm right and evertone else is wrong" part. That's not a slam against you particularly - all flavors of religion do it.

Including the agnostics, atheists and other non-believers apparently. 

You are ignoring what dispensationalism as the coined term is referencing to.  There's nowhere in the Bible that says, "I'm right and everyone else is wrong".  In fact the Bible encourages you to always challenge your own understanding to make sure what you think is right really is.  That doesn't sound like dispensationalism to me... in fact it sounds like the complete opposite. 

I think you're smarter than that.  What are you trying to get at?  You know my claims and not once have I told you or anyone on here I know it all, I'm right and you're wrong.  I have in fact challenged people to show me how I'm wrong opening the floor to any legitimate information they think they might have.  Again, very anti-dispensationalist of me. Explain to me where I've taken a dispensational approach with you or anyone on here.

Explain how what I'm badmouthing can be applied to me as well as the Gospel writers.

The thing with dispensationalists is "as a coined term" they take the idea of dispensation to apply to their ideal and adhere to it no matter what information comes their way.  Many on here have failed miserably trying to claim that about me.

You I've felt have been one of the few logical thinkers on this site.  It surprises me that you'd even consider the statement you made above.


pauljohntheskeptic
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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph are three of the main characters in the ultimate development of Jewish belief as well as Christianity. Yet, there is no historical evidence any of the them were any more than mythical heroes.

As much as your grandfather from that era is.   Most historians from what I understand accept Biblical characters to be at least actual people in history.  It doesn't mean they accept the story they're a part of.

 

Perhaps it is something historians wrongly do being unduly influenced over the years by religious belief. What evidence exists for these historians to take such a position other than Biblical accounts?

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Isaac leaves home and goes to Abraham's relatives to ultimately seek a wife. Issues of technology occur in Genesis 24:10-11, 32-35, 44-46, and 61, where camels are used for transport, an unlikely event prior to 1000 BCE. Then we have references to Assyria, which will be an immense power later, but not likely at the time of this story supposedly occurring which is generally proposed by theists to be around 1800 BCE. The Kedarites are mentioned being descendants of Kendar a son of Ishmael though nothing is found of them until Assyrian records of the 8th century BCE. They are mentioned extensively by Assyrian king Ashurbanipal in the 7th century BCE. Their habitat was the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia far out of the area of ancient Palestine. Other sons of Ishmael are named which are unknown in history in the 2nd millennium BCE and don't have any relevancy until the 6th and 7th centuries BCE.

As far as the issues of technology, it is generally understood that all the books of the pentateuch were written somewhere between 1450 and 1400 B.C.  With that said, it wouldn't make sense for the author to write it with such "technology" in place unless it was understood to be a legitimate form of transportation at the time.  Even so, why would anyone consider it a legitimate work if it was so blatently out of touch with the times?

Also be it that the book was generally considered to be written so far back, it's odd to me that this book makes reference to names more than 500 years before they are undertood to be on record.  It's a bit ironic to see such claims of names if they didn't exist for quite a period afterwards.  Where would the author get this information from?  It'd be like me writing a book on the design of a time machine that's not going to be invented until 2109.

 

Which is my point. Why do people consider this to have been written at the time you suggest when the technology. cities, names of countries did not exist? Perhaps it wasn't written when you think. As you say, how can one write about travel in a time machine before it is actually done, except as Sci-Fi which is not what I suggest here.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The point being, this part of Genesis is an attempt to write a legacy based on mythical tales far later in time, such as at the time the Kingdom of Judah has arisen in the 6th and 7th century BCE.

quite a conclusion from the idea that the book mentioned an 'unlikely means of transportation' and a list of names that... well existed generations after it was written.

 

Actually, I should have waited until later on to say this after you have more of these issues to consider but I consider you to be intelligent enough to go with the trend being exhibited in Genesis and see the issues related to technology, cities, and countries being named and used in the text coming from a time period 500 to 900 years later as being a problem.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Isaac has 2 sons, Jacob and Esau where deception and trickery are involved in inheritance of the blessing of Isaac. Seems unneeded, but Yahweh always has done tricky things, oh, wait it Satan that's supposedly does that, my confusion here. Jacob then spends many years working for Laban to gain his 2 wives. Yahweh appears to Jacob at Beth-el making the promise to make a great nation of his seed in Genesis 28:10-22. Jacob sees a ladder  that went from the earth to heaven with angels coming and going. He erects a place of worship using the stone upon which he had slept and seen God. He called this place the house of God and the gate of heaven. Later on, this is where altars are built supposedly by the Northern Kingdom of Israel. A possible explanation rooted in legend. Jacob has 12 sons, which are the forebears of the 12 tribes of Israel according to the stories. Later in Judges, we will go into further discussion about what tribes were and were not.

Trickery:  guess you haven't read Job yet.  Though that's way beyond our conversation at this point.

 

Yes, I have read Job, another exercise in poor translation into English especially the KJV. The Douay-Rheims and Hebrew JPS in English are better. Your point is??? God is tricky. I didn't know we were discussing Loki.

 

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Joseph is the favorite son of Jacob and ultimately ends up in Egypt after his brothers sell him off as a slave. In the end, Joseph becomes an important Egyptian governmental official and all of the sons of Jacob relocate. This then is the reason given for the Hebrews being in Egypt and their eventual redirection by Egypt into slave labor.

Except, there is nothing to substantiate Hebrews were ever slave labor in Egypt or were there at all.  The only Asiatics in great number in Egypt were the Hyskos who ruled lower Egypt for nigh near 100 plus years until they were driven out by Pharaoh Ahmrose in 1570 BCE. The Hyskos ruled from Avaris also called Tell ed-Daba. There are artifacts that are similar to construction of those attributed to Hebrew origins found here, even amid ash dust from the explosion of Thera, which aides in the dating. Many religious historians try to fit the supposed enslavement of the Hebrews ending at the time of Rameses II, though there are problems with that. We'll discuss that in detail with Moses.

In summary, there is nothing to support Isaac, Jacob or Joseph ever existed by physical evidence. There is nothing to support Hebrews were made slaves in Egypt. There is nothing to suggest that other Asiatics other than the Hyskos ever resided in vast quantities in Egypt during any part of the second millennium BCE.

From what I've seen presented so far, there's nothing to suggest otherwise either.  Just possible assumptions about the technology of the time and dating issues... which in Hebrew I've been finding is quite difficult to descipher at times anyway suggesting that many 'translated' dates may not be as we see in the English Bible. 

It is understood that the book was written somewhere in the 1400's B.C. bringing to question how certain names were known and how such a means of transportation around 1000 B.C. or earler was either not used or unknown and yet written as being used by these characters.

 

I don't understand or agree that Genesis that we have in its form today was written in the 1400s BCE. If you skip using dates from Hebrew and instead use historical documentation from other cultures you can see why I take issue with things such as camels supposedly being used for transport, names of cities of Philistine origin and/or Phoenician being used, and non-existent cities and countries. The Bible is not the source for the dating of these places and names.

Camel domestication and use in trade caravans - http://www.livius.org/caa-can/camel/camel.html

Other issues -

Genesis indicates many areas are inhabited at the time of the patriarchs such as Shecham, Beersheba, and Hebron while archeology indicates they were uninhabited until sometime after the 8th century BCE.

In Genesis 37:25 we get the idea that the spice trade is occurring which is not reasonable until around 1000 BCE.

In Genesis 20:1 Abraham goes to Gerar a city of the Philistines that was not founded until after 1200 BCE by a group called the Sea Peoples.

Isaac goes there as well in Genesis 26:1 and even mentions the Philistines by name. Not possible until after 1200 BCE or so.

Abraham goes into the land of the Philistines again in Genesis 21:32-34

These are a few of the places where there are problems.

I suggest you study the invasion of the Sea Peoples, the Philistines, and ancient Egypt for starters.

A book which is written by Jewish Archaeologist Israel Finkelstein is "The Bible Unearthed" which covers a lot of this in detail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


jcgadfly
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caposkia wrote:jcgadfly

caposkia wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

So the gospel writers were dispensationalists before the term was coined? Or are you a dispensationalist? What you're badmouthing can be applied to you as well as them.

At least the "I'm right and evertone else is wrong" part. That's not a slam against you particularly - all flavors of religion do it.

Including the agnostics, atheists and other non-believers apparently. 

You are ignoring what dispensationalism as the coined term is referencing to.  There's nowhere in the Bible that says, "I'm right and everyone else is wrong".  In fact the Bible encourages you to always challenge your own understanding to make sure what you think is right really is.  That doesn't sound like dispensationalism to me... in fact it sounds like the complete opposite. 

I think you're smarter than that.  What are you trying to get at?  You know my claims and not once have I told you or anyone on here I know it all, I'm right and you're wrong.  I have in fact challenged people to show me how I'm wrong opening the floor to any legitimate information they think they might have.  Again, very anti-dispensationalist of me. Explain to me where I've taken a dispensational approach with you or anyone on here.

Explain how what I'm badmouthing can be applied to me as well as the Gospel writers.

The thing with dispensationalists is "as a coined term" they take the idea of dispensation to apply to their ideal and adhere to it no matter what information comes their way.  Many on here have failed miserably trying to claim that about me.

You I've felt have been one of the few logical thinkers on this site.  It surprises me that you'd even consider the statement you made above.

1. Point taken

1b. What part of dispensationalism am I missing? My understanding is it is the belief that some parts of the Bible apply to different people at different times and that Israel and the Church are two different things. What does that have to do with writers who made up a good story and wanted to sell it to as many people as possible?

2a. Did I miss something when Jesus said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man cometh unto the father but by me"? Sounds like "I'm right and everyone else is wrong" to me.

2b. The Bible doesn't ask you to challenge your own understanding - it asks you to suspend it.  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding"

3. "I have in fact challenged people to show me how I'm wrong opening the floor to any legitimate information they think they might have." You made a liar of yourself in one sentence - I think that's a record. Look at the terms you use "challenge" and "legitimate information they think they might have". You're thinking they're wrong before you even start any discussion (not "I disagree with you" but "you're wrong" - huge difference).

4. I think you're confusing dispensationalism with dogmatism here. It is not outside of the realm of possibilty for concepts that you (or the gospel writers) agree with to be ones you believe God would agree with also hence "I believe this and I think God would approve so it is divinely inspired" instead of the reverse.

5. I wouldn't have written at all except your last few responses to me were not typical of you. It seemed like you were doing a 180 on me.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


pauljohntheskeptic
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 caposkia

 

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Be careful with the"true follower" statement, it sounds like "no true Scotsmen".

I use that term now as the most neutral way of expressing what I follow.  It has become abundantly clear to me after being on this site as long as I have that the perception of a 'Christian' and what a 'Christian' is Biblically differ widely.  I'm trying to express that I am not a part of Chistiandom as it is understood on this site.   I have tried a few other terms including "True Christian", "Christ follower", "non-denominational Christian", etc.  true follower seems to get the least amount of flack. 

Obviously people are going to make assumptions about me and what I believe no matter what I tell them and that's fine.  You can assume "no true Scotsman" and I will tell you why that's not the case with me.  I've done it before.  I also have learned that redundancy is the favored approach to discussion on this site generally speaking.  Most don't like progression... obviously with the exception of a few.

 

I think from how you have described yourself you should just call yourself a Jesus follower.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I'm aware that many consider the Bible to be divinely inspired though they have but conjecture as support and evidence.

I still wonder what they're looking for?  As far as divine inspiration, the only evidence presented to me so far against it is possible inaccurate dates, (all so far claiming that from what I understand have not cross-referenced them with the Hebrew) or excuse any historical congruency or happening as either ironic or just what any good fiction writer would do to make people think it was real.   

If you're going to dismiss dates without cross reference and legitimate study into the languages and dismiss all historical congruency, I really don't know what to present.  I've even gone into the science of some of the happenings and how they've found geological events around the same time that could explain how it happened. 

though because people have skimmed the words of the Bible and painted a fantasy picture in their head, no matter what evidence is presented to the lot, most will still resort back to their "happy fantasy" that they think is right. 

For example, Genesis 1:12 says; "the Earth brought forth vegetation, plants...." and yet I still get people telling me that my belief says that things *popped* into existance.  Illogical conclusion on their part, but because they dont' want to see it for what it is, they won't.  There's nothing I can say to make them see it.  This would be the biggest roadblock for me on this site.  I could tell you everything in existance in reference to information on the Bible, but unless you're willing to take into consideration everything presented to you and renew your understanding with the incongruencies you're still going to believe what you want.  (I use "You" in the general term and not in reference to anyone in particular)  The most ironic part is those same people try to make the same claim about me regardless of how many times I tell them I'm willing to take any and all information they give me into consideration.  I've even admitted when I've been wrong and have admitted to learning a lot from people on this site. 

You cannot change a person, a person has to change themselves. 

My question to you specifically in this case is if you're going to dismiss dates (ignoring the fact that not only are some English dates wrong in the Bible, but many are also generalized in the language,  also that it was written by people who could possibly.. "mess up&quotEye-wink and because there is such strict care in keeping the originality of the scripts have not been updated if you will in modern translation.  As well as dismiss any historical congruencies because there's still "gaps" in outside historical records as far as Biblical claims is, what will you accept as evidence for divine inspiration or historocity? 

As you can tell, unlike the assumption taken by most on this site, I'm actually willing to try to find something that you will accept.  Most people when I ask them dont' have answer for me.  I'm hoping you do.   This could help us in the progression of our Genesis study as we start getting into the Moses story.

Clearly, I take the position that if one claims divinely inspired, one has to prove that it was divinely inspired. It's not up to me to prove it is not divinely inspired, it's up to you as the claimant to bring forth your proof it is something more than mythical accounts and legends. So far, you have presented nothing as validation of a claim of divinely inspired. In many places in our early discussions in regards to the Garden, I pointed out far more ancient accounts of similarity from Sumerian sources. Clearly, I saw these as legends and myths which based on similar content and fantastic occurances I also saw the claims regarding Adam & Eve as no more than myths and legends. All cultures seem to have these accounts, but does that mean that even one has basis? It means only that they have tried to explain origins of the world and/or their culture and society. I'd need far more to accept any story from antiquity with fantastic occurances being something other than mythical based.

I understand your position on "the Earth brought forth vegatation etc" The Catholic Church and some Jewish sects also see evolution as the way that "God did it".

I will accept accounts from other cultures that substantiate an event occurred. I will accept archeology that can be dated to the time period. Especially when we are discussing supposed events of significance, such as the Exodus, the invasion of Canaan, the 2 Kingdoms etc. I will not interpolate artifacts that show a group of people existed in Palestine to suddenly conclude it substantiates that the Jews worshiped only Yahweh at the time for instance. Instead, that would tell me there were people who lived in Palestine, no more. Finding Hebrew script on an artifact for example only indicates there was Hebrew script at the time period it can be dated, not whether they worshiped Ba'al, Yahweh or Asherah.

In my last post I gave you specifics what I saw wrong with references to Gerar and Philistines being used in the text and why I reject the dates you suggest for Genesis. My PTL Bible (KJV) dates these events to the 1800-1900 BCE period, which I did not use in the discussion at all.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

One can peruse the Bible and find inconsistency in every book not to mention outright gross errors and ignorant statements. So, one is to ignore the problems and only use the parts that fit within the framework of belief in Jesus the savior?

not in the least

Those problems depend on what you're referencing to.

Most "inconsistencies" that have been presented to me on this site have been overlooked information by the person claiming the inconsistency.  There are other possibilities as to inconsistencies depending on what you're referencing to as I have presented like;  discrepencies in dates between the languages or misunderstanding by the writer.   People think that because the Bible is divinely inspired, it can't contain errors.  That would be true if it was "divinely written" and not "divinely inspired".

I'm aware of your position on divinely inspired not meaning error free writing and certainly does not mean understandable translated writing.

I'm not aware of doing this in my discussions with you. I have given you more information to consider on the dates I disagree with in this specific part of Genesis and how it relates to the date of origin or minimally the date it may have been edited or rewritten. It is of course possible that an account of Abraham and sons once existed with donkeys used as the means of transport. It is also possible that instead of Philistine names and such the Mitani and Sumerians were used. Unfortunately, I have never heard of any such documents in existence  from the time period, but that doesn't mean it didn't once, it just is highly unlikely to be the case. A clay tablet or two in Sumerian would be nice, but none exist with this story or as secondary evidence to substantiate any patriarchs in Palestine. There are many however discussing trade between ancient Mesopotamia and others. They too, do not generally mention religious beliefs or tell tales of small nomadic tribes living in the Middle East, so no help there.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Seems to be what is done by Christians when they ignore what Jews consider to be evidence found within scripture. Just saying,  misconstruing  things to benefit  perceptions or desires in support of outlandish claims in the NT beyond that which was accepted by Judaism seems likely to be suspect to say the least.

I would agree with that statement.  There's a reason why I so adimately try to express my following as NOT a part of Christiandom in general.

OK.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Not that Judaism isn't suspect as well.  Obviously, I understand the scripture as something not divinely inspired but derived from legends and mythology instead. As we continue down the OT road there appear many more places where claims meet head on into historical documentation that contradict assertions made in the Bible. Of course, these problem areas can be not inspired as a way out right?

 

We shall takle these problem areas as they come.  I am interested in what you'll bring up as far as inconsistencies go.  I will do my best to explain them or I will refer to my sources.

What do you mean by "not inspired as a way out"?   As I've explained the texts are divinely inspired, not divinely written, which excuses anything in the Bible from being flawless.  Just so no one is seeing that as a copout, any major discrepencies I can guarantee you have been stringently studied and explained logically.  Again, we'll take them as they come.  Maybe I'll learn something... maybe you will.

 

My comment of "not inspired as a way out" does not apply to you in light of the position you have taken on the likely errors existing in the text due to writing and translation.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


caposkia
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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Perhaps it is something historians wrongly do being unduly influenced over the years by religious belief. What evidence exists for these historians to take such a position other than Biblical accounts?

Sorry to say, but it's kind of arrogant to think that any historian would base their understanding of factual history off of one source.  I don't believe any logical and rational thinking historian would ever do that.   Any that did I don't believe would hold much credibility. 

I don't have references to any specific sources for any specific Biblical character.  It's my understanding that the references vary per person.  I think many have put the information together like a puzzle. 

Many historians will suggest an understanding of history though a compilation of many historical facts that support their conclusion be it that many times there isn't anything specifically refering to everything that they're looking for. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

Which is my point. Why do people consider this to have been written at the time you suggest when the technology. cities, names of countries did not exist? Perhaps it wasn't written when you think. As you say, how can one write about travel in a time machine before it is actually done, except as Sci-Fi which is not what I suggest here.'

don't get me wrong.  I've already suggested that some of the dates estimated could be wrong.  There's a reason why countless Biblical scholars and historians have agreed on the specific dates that have been concluded however.  Those dates are written as is not because one or two people suggested that's what they thought, but hundreds of people over many years doing in depth research of the books and the comparisons to the times amidst comparisons with the writing style, language, etc. 

I don't have an answer to you specifically on why some dates seem to be more accurate than others.  I just understand that more research than I can comprehed has been put into figuring those dates out. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Actually, I should have waited until later on to say this after you have more of these issues to consider but I consider you to be intelligent enough to go with the trend being exhibited in Genesis and see the issues related to technology, cities, and countries being named and used in the text coming from a time period 500 to 900 years later as being a problem.

I of course see the trend you're presenting.  However, you're not taking into consideration the extensive research that went into concluding the dates they claim and the fact that many extremely inteligent people have seen this and understand the apparent errors you point out.  Is it possible however that another source could be mistaken as well?  (millions of people around the world accept the Bible as fact and yet you can easily assume it mythical, so viewing another source as such should be fairly easy for you to consider until more information is at hand)

As I've said, there's more research that went into all of it than I believe you and I could comprehend.  With all of that research, there must be some logical explanation for the concluded dates on both sides. 

To conlcude what you have, be it, the trends you point out that the Bible must be mythical, you'd have to understand the research that went into each side and comprehend why the dates on both sides are concluded as they are.  Have you done that at this point?

Just to be clear I'm not dismissing your conclusion.  I will look further into this as well to see what I can find.

 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Yes, I have read Job, another exercise in poor translation into English especially the KJV. The Douay-Rheims and Hebrew JPS in English are better. Your point is??? God is tricky. I didn't know we were discussing Loki.

oh, don't get me started on the terrible translational issues of the KJV.  It's fun old English poetry though. 

Anyway, I wouldn't use the word trickery with the Christian God.  Difficult to understand yes, but your comparison to Loki goes way beyond where I was going with it and what I understand about God.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
 

I don't understand or agree that Genesis that we have in its form today was written in the 1400s BCE. If you skip using dates from Hebrew and instead use historical documentation from other cultures you can see why I take issue with things such as camels supposedly being used for transport, names of cities of Philistine origin and/or Phoenician being used, and non-existent cities and countries. The Bible is not the source for the dating of these places and names.

I absolutely understand why you take issue with those dates.  It makes perfect sense to me.  I wouldn't suggest anyone using the Bible as a source for dating anything because of what I explained with the difficulty in translating the dates or intentions thereof. 

Though it's been a fun conversation talking about the dating and I'm intregued to find out where the error lies, I hope you realize that dates are hardly a basis for a Christian following. 

for example, Christians celebrate Jesus Christ's birth on Earth on December 25th, yet it is widely known and accepted that he was probably born somewhere around the end of September or in October.  It's clear from scripture that it would be around that time due to the discussion of the harvest around the same time. 

Simply put, Christian followers are very aware of misunderstood dates, yet the discovery of these errors didn't come as much of a surprise to me nor most other followers.  It was more surprising to me that there were such specific dates mentioned for Biblical happenings when a lot of history that old uses a much more general time period reference unless otherwise specifically dated in writing with the text or object.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

Camel domestication and use in trade caravans - http://www.livius.org/caa-can/camel/camel.html

Breifly looking through that link leads me to believe that the words could have also been mistranslated... not sure though.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Other issues -

Genesis indicates many areas are inhabited at the time of the patriarchs such as Shecham, Beersheba, and Hebron while archeology indicates they were uninhabited until sometime after the 8th century BCE.

In Genesis 37:25 we get the idea that the spice trade is occurring which is not reasonable until around 1000 BCE.

In Genesis 20:1 Abraham goes to Gerar a city of the Philistines that was not founded until after 1200 BCE by a group called the Sea Peoples.

Isaac goes there as well in Genesis 26:1 and even mentions the Philistines by name. Not possible until after 1200 BCE or so.

Abraham goes into the land of the Philistines again in Genesis 21:32-34

These are a few of the places where there are problems.

I suggest you study the invasion of the Sea Peoples, the Philistines, and ancient Egypt for starters.

A book which is written by Jewish Archaeologist Israel Finkelstein is "The Bible Unearthed" which covers a lot of this in detail.

I'll look into it

 

 

 

 

 


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jcgadfly wrote:1. Point

jcgadfly wrote:

1. Point taken

1b. What part of dispensationalism am I missing? My understanding is it is the belief that some parts of the Bible apply to different people at different times and that Israel and the Church are two different things. What does that have to do with writers who made up a good story and wanted to sell it to as many people as possible?

Just to clarify.  The dictionary definition of dispensation from a theological perspective is; "the divine ordering of the affairs in the world".  Dispensationalism as a coined term referrs to those sects that manipulate that dictionary definition and the emperical understanding of scripture to fit their ideals and control their followers by instilling fear into every action a person takes.  For example;  the outrageous claim that hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans because it was such a sinful place is a dispenationalist point of view and has no basis in the Bible and no logical reasonable support what-so-ever. 

To answer your question about what does dispensationalism have to do with the writers of the Bible whom you claim made it all up and wanted to sell it.  If your conclusion was correct, then they would absolutely be dispensationalists, however be it that those writers have expressed a strong dislike against that type of following in Acts, Romans, Revelation just to name a few, it wouldn't fit your theory.   Every sect that I know of that supports a dispensationalist piont of view encourages their followers to do the same in order to expand their numbers, not the other way around. 

jcgadfly wrote:

2a. Did I miss something when Jesus said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man cometh unto the father but by me"? Sounds like "I'm right and everyone else is wrong" to me.

If Jesus is in fact the Son of God, would it be dispensationalist of him to claim that?  Is he manipulating the truth to fit his ideals?  Of course in your mind maybe that's the case, but I'm saying if he is in fact the Son of God...  Is it really manipulation or is he just telling you how it is? 

Think of it this way.  Ignoring the fact for a moment that you get a fair trial in the U.S. you're in jail and the only way out is bail.  That bail is a specific number... say $400,000.  Is it wrong of them to keep you in jail if you only give them $300,000?  To you that's still a rediculous amount of money, but it wasn't the amount asked.  You and I both know your bail isn't going to be set.  

Jesus came down to "pay your bail".  He has that extra $100,000 you don't have.   He's the only one that can give it to you because he's the only one that has it.  Is he forcing you to take that bail or manipulating your mind into thinking that he's the only one that has it and really there's many other ways of getting it?  In this case, no.  This is it.  Either you take it or leave it.  Leave it, you stay in jail.  Take it and you walk home scott free with Jesus.  He's not making the decision for you like a dispensationalist sect will try to do.   He's not even telling you you can't try other methods first like a dispensationalist sect would do.  Nor should his followers.  I tell you, do your homework.  Then talk to me.  I'm not telling you you have to believe as I do, but show me why I'm wrong. 

When it all comes down to it... there is one truth.  All rational thinking people I think can comprehend this atheists and believers alike.  Either God is, or God isn't.  That's not dispensationalism, that's just how it is.  There are people I have come across who can't grasp the idea that there is one Truth.   If you're one, the first step of course would be to get to the point where you can accept the fact that there can only be one Truth no matter what we all think we know. 

Everyone thinks they have it right.  It's why we're here.  To challenge each other's understanding of "truth".

jcgadfly wrote:

2b. The Bible doesn't ask you to challenge your own understanding - it asks you to suspend it.  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding"

Good job taking that out of context. 

Let's put it this way.  Do you think there are millions of different beliefs in the world because people trusted in God or because they leaned on their own understanding?

If you read the whole chapter, I believe you'd get the understanding that sometimes things happen that you don't like.  Don't try to understand it, just trust that God is doing what is best for you.  It's a specific letter to a specific person in this case.

jcgadfly wrote:

3. "I have in fact challenged people to show me how I'm wrong opening the floor to any legitimate information they think they might have." You made a liar of yourself in one sentence - I think that's a record. Look at the terms you use "challenge" and "legitimate information they think they might have". You're thinking they're wrong before you even start any discussion (not "I disagree with you" but "you're wrong" - huge difference).

And you wonder why there's many different sects of religion in the world.  I feel like the other forum is a better place to discuss this, but to clarify my understanding:

If I think someone's wrong and I have information to prove it, I will say so.  Where did I tell someone they were wrong without logical evidence to back it up?  Please reference. 

When I specifically say "legitimate information".  I'm trying to weave out the illogical thinkers that say "I cant' fart out a lambroughini, therefore, God can't be real".  Legitimate information means simply information that is first of all a logical conclusion on their part and also researchable on my part.  How is it that you say I'm thinking they're wrong before I even start? 

Maybe it's the part where I say; "...they think they might have."  There I'll have to say I should have just said "that they have".  I think I said it that way because I'm really starting to lose faith in the idea that anyone on her has any information that might be worth considering.  I've gotten so many on here who are so sure they've got it right that they seem to think that degrading me and telling me there is no God because they don't see a reason to believe is far better than any researchable information. 
 

jcgadfly wrote:

4. I think you're confusing dispensationalism with dogmatism here. It is not outside of the realm of possibilty for concepts that you (or the gospel writers) agree with to be ones you believe God would agree with also hence "I believe this and I think God would approve so it is divinely inspired" instead of the reverse.

I think those two could go hand in hand.  There is a difference as I think I clarified above. 

dogmatism

5. I wouldn't have written at all except your last few responses to me were not typical of you. It seemed like you were doing a 180 on me.

I hope at this point I have confirmed otherwise.  Please don't heasitate to point it out if you think so however.  I have adimantly explained to people that unless information is brought my way that might challenge my point of view, I'm not going to be "changing my mind or my stance on what I do believe"


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote: I

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

I think from how you have described yourself you should just call yourself a Jesus follower.

If that works for you, I'll try to remember that

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Clearly, I take the position that if one claims divinely inspired, one has to prove that it was divinely inspired. It's not up to me to prove it is not divinely inspired, it's up to you as the claimant to bring forth your proof it is something more than mythical accounts and legends. So far, you have presented nothing as validation of a claim of divinely inspired. In many places in our early discussions in regards to the Garden, I pointed out far more ancient accounts of similarity from Sumerian sources. Clearly, I saw these as legends and myths which based on similar content and fantastic occurances I also saw the claims regarding Adam & Eve as no more than myths and legends. All cultures seem to have these accounts, but does that mean that even one has basis? It means only that they have tried to explain origins of the world and/or their culture and society. I'd need far more to accept any story from antiquity with fantastic occurances being something other than mythical based.

of course it's up to me to prove to you something I claim.  However, it is up to you at this point to explain to me what is needed.  There are many angles I have taken on this site and could take here.  Possibly, many of them you might not accept as "divine" or even sufficient to call the Bible acceptable.  Instead of beating around the bush and taking possibly years to try and figure out what you will accept as evidence, I will ask you instead what you might be looking for.  On this forum, our focus has been a walk through, not so much me trying to prove to you why it's real from what I understand, right?  It's fun to point out the differences in our understandings and even try to come to a simple agreement of intention. 

I have taken way too much time on this site trying to figure out what people are looking for from me as evidence.  Regardless of what i present, it seems that people claim that I don't present anything.  I refute that claim easily and they seem to move on, but at the same time, it shows me that I'm not presenting to them what they were looking for. 

So I'll ask simply, what are you looking for?

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I understand your position on "the Earth brought forth vegatation etc" The Catholic Church and some Jewish sects also see evolution as the way that "God did it".

Through the scriptures, evolution is supported generally speaking.  It's Darwinism that is in question.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I will accept accounts from other cultures that substantiate an event occurred. I will accept archeology that can be dated to the time period. Especially when we are discussing supposed events of significance, such as the Exodus, the invasion of Canaan, the 2 Kingdoms etc. I will not interpolate artifacts that show a group of people existed in Palestine to suddenly conclude it substantiates that the Jews worshiped only Yahweh at the time for instance. Instead, that would tell me there were people who lived in Palestine, no more. Finding Hebrew script on an artifact for example only indicates there was Hebrew script at the time period it can be dated, not whether they worshiped Ba'al, Yahweh or Asherah.

I would agree with you here.  You say you would accept accounts from other cultures and archeology.  The question is, would that be sufficient for you?  For a far more efficient coverage of Biblical archeology than I could ever present to you, I will refer you to the "Archaeological Study Bible".  As far as accounts from other cultures, we discussed already other stories from other cultures that coenside with Biblical stories.  You concluded that it's further evidence that it may be mythical.  What accounts from other cultures would you be looking for?  Then a specific person/idea/topic would work for a focus.  Understand that specific people wouldn't be in "historical documents" necessarily be it that those people may have not had a sigificant impact on that culture's history, but that would be more for topics or ideas.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

In my last post I gave you specifics what I saw wrong with references to Gerar and Philistines being used in the text and why I reject the dates you suggest for Genesis. My PTL Bible (KJV) dates these events to the 1800-1900 BCE period, which I did not use in the discussion at all.

That's a little further back than I understand it to be, but brings to light the lack of understanding of when exactly certain things took place.  Also better understanding of how dates aren't a factor in belief.  It's more of whether it really happened or not.  Our conclusions there obviously differ.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I'm aware of your position on divinely inspired not meaning error free writing and certainly does not mean understandable translated writing.

I'm not aware of doing this in my discussions with you. I have given you more information to consider on the dates I disagree with in this specific part of Genesis and how it relates to the date of origin or minimally the date it may have been edited or rewritten. It is of course possible that an account of Abraham and sons once existed with donkeys used as the means of transport. It is also possible that instead of Philistine names and such the Mitani and Sumerians were used. Unfortunately, I have never heard of any such documents in existence  from the time period, but that doesn't mean it didn't once, it just is highly unlikely to be the case. A clay tablet or two in Sumerian would be nice, but none exist with this story or as secondary evidence to substantiate any patriarchs in Palestine. There are many however discussing trade between ancient Mesopotamia and others. They too, do not generally mention religious beliefs or tell tales of small nomadic tribes living in the Middle East, so no help there.

Right.  Please don't misunderstand me.  I do understand your point of view and share in your skepticism because I was there.  I understand exactly where you're coming from.  As I've told others, it was years of study and personal experience.  Divine intervention if you will in certain situations that I cannot logically explain otherwise that have lead me to what I now believe.  I still shy away from conforming myself to any entity naming itself as a separation of the general following of Christ.  Namely denominational churches or even non-denominational churches be it that they accept everything and ignore the ever so important knowlege that there must be one Truth whatever it might be. 

Confusing as that may be, to clarify, I will not rut myself.  I will always be open to new information and always challenge what I think I know so that I can be more assured that what I now follow is in fact Truth unlike denominational and coined non-denominatoinal churches do.  Denominational churches generally hold the idea that their denomination got it right (not all, but it's the general idea behind it)  Non-denominational churches are so against denomination that they will ignore logic and accept every point of view as right as long as it has focus on Jesus. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

My comment of "not inspired as a way out" does not apply to you in light of the position you have taken on the likely errors existing in the text due to writing and translation.

ok, thanks for clarifying


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checked on some things

So after checking with some sources, here's what we've found out.

1.  Gen 37:25 about the spice trade:  Weak at best be it that the only source for knowing whether spice trade was happening is through documentation.  We have and could not have archeological evidence of such.  There's no way we could dig up a sample to date it. 

2.  Genesis indicates many areas inhabited, mentions Philistines  by name etc.:

    This is why I've said it's important to know the cultures and history before you try to use them for a defense or excuse for your belief.

Simply put, Genesis 12-50 is understood to take place somewhere around 1800 B.C.  could be as late as 2000 B.C.  That said, The authors wrote it all down much later. 

Unlike today, the authors and people in general from that time not only did NOT have detailed and accurate historical records like we do today, but they didn't see extremely detailed and accurate historical records something to be concerned with.  They are more concerned with the people of their history and their actions or purpose.  

To further explain, the author most likely heard the story from generations of it being handed down (understood from the gap between when it is understood to have happened to when it is assumed to have been written down originally.  Therefore, exact dates, numbers, locations, etc. will probably not be precise and in many cases could be exaggerated. 

When Genesis was written, it is known that those places were inhabited.  What the authors probably did was understood a general location of where X was referenced to, looked up that location and found that (for example) "hey, Beersheba is there... He must have gone to Beersheba"  They of course failed to take into consideration that so many years before, there was no such place.  This example can be applied to a people group as well that the author might just assume had been there the whole time. 

We have to remember that they didn't have access to the resources and knowlege we have today, so much of their (historical dating) was estimated at best.  Much of their location was based on what they knew in their own lifetime and anything referencing to a number of anything is by word of mouth most likely and therefore cannot necessarily be taken literally as well.

All that said, the importance of writing it down wasn't to be precise in historical content, but to get the process of events known to others and remembered.  What happened is much greater of a concern to that generation than when or where or even how many. 

(note)  I purposely used "cannot necessarily" and "might"  because there are always exceptions to the rule and again, we don't know everything, so much is logically concluded and not concretely known. 

3. Finkelstein's book....

I checked with some reliable and knowlegeable sources and here's what they had to say:

They suggested studying the invasion of the Sea People, the Philistines, and ancient Egypt for starters.  They believe it's always good to have a good ground in historical information.  (This will give us a better idea of when things actually took place and when each location may have been established.  Not too relevent to the focus of our discussion at this point after what has been said above.&nbspEye-wink

They also would not recommend Finkelstein's book to start.  They suggest either something by Richard Hess or William Dever.  Both good guys who give a more "mainstream" opinion than does Finkelstein.  The problem with Finkelstein is that he has suggested a controversial redating of early monarchical sites.  He wants to move the entire chronology down by some 100-150 years.  This gets into a huge number of problems, the most telling at Megiddo and Samaria.  Does not coenside as well with archeological findings. 

In conclusion, it is concluded by some knowlegeable sources that your dates need to be rechecked.  I obviously have to do a little more history homework myself on these particular topics. 

Ultimately, your conclusions are correct generally that the claims of events happening in Abraham's time didn't actually happen that early.  Understanding the intent of the author and the comprehension of the author and the history of the time, this doesn't seem to invalidate any legitimacy of the scriptures.  The purpose of the story at the point we're at, which was to understand who Abraham was and what his life was like is still quite clear. 


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caposkia wrote:So after

caposkia wrote:

So after checking with some sources, here's what we've found out.

1.  Gen 37:25 about the spice trade:  Weak at best be it that the only source for knowing whether spice trade was happening is through documentation.  We have and could not have archeological evidence of such.  There's no way we could dig up a sample to date it. 

2.  Genesis indicates many areas inhabited, mentions Philistines  by name etc.:

    This is why I've said it's important to know the cultures and history before you try to use them for a defense or excuse for your belief.

Simply put, Genesis 12-50 is understood to take place somewhere around 1800 B.C.  could be as late as 2000 B.C.  That said, The authors wrote it all down much later.

I'd agree that these events supposedly took place around 2000 BCE, but that has many problems of its own when one considers these events in light of what has been learned from Sumerian, Assyrian, Hittite, Mitani, and Egyptian artifacts and cuneiform tablets.

The time of the Hebrew patriarchs is in the time of mists and foggy at best for any argument that these people even existed at all. They may have been composites of ancestors or legends that were handed down and modified over the centuries, who knows. That there were cuneiform tablets found in Palestine dating to this period dealing with trade makes one wonder why there were never any found describing anything related to the people who were supposedly Hebrew. That they were basically nomads seems to explain some of it, as lugging clay tablets around with the records of the god might be a bit cumbersome. And it seems that other than trade issues and such, little has been found dating to this period that would indicate exactly what the people of Palestine actually held for beliefs beyond that which has been attributed to Canaanite culture and Ugaritic origins.

caposkia wrote:

Unlike today, the authors and people in general from that time not only did NOT have detailed and accurate historical records like we do today, but they didn't see extremely detailed and accurate historical records something to be concerned with.  They are more concerned with the people of their history and their actions or purpose.  

To further explain, the author most likely heard the story from generations of it being handed down (understood from the gap between when it is understood to have happened to when it is assumed to have been written down originally.  Therefore, exact dates, numbers, locations, etc. will probably not be precise and in many cases could be exaggerated. 

When Genesis was written, it is known that those places were inhabited.  What the authors probably did was understood a general location of where X was referenced to, looked up that location and found that (for example) "hey, Beersheba is there... He must have gone to Beersheba"  They of course failed to take into consideration that so many years before, there was no such place.  This example can be applied to a people group as well that the author might just assume had been there the whole time. 

We have to remember that they didn't have access to the resources and knowlege we have today, so much of their (historical dating) was estimated at best.  Much of their location was based on what they knew in their own lifetime and anything referencing to a number of anything is by word of mouth most likely and therefore cannot necessarily be taken literally as well.

All that said, the importance of writing it down wasn't to be precise in historical content, but to get the process of events known to others and remembered.  What happened is much greater of a concern to that generation than when or where or even how many. 

(note)  I purposely used "cannot necessarily" and "might"  because there are always exceptions to the rule and again, we don't know everything, so much is logically concluded and not concretely known.

If you note, I don't disagree that these accounts came from being handed down over generations, though you don't seem to be of the persuasion that Moses wrote these accounts as many do, the fact that the historical details are incorrect and reference places and people that did not exist until later eradicates any possibility that the versions that have survived unto the present day were written anytime prior to the periods when these cities and peoples existed. That being the case, all of this material should be questioned to having any validity in the real world for they are likely to have been originated from legends and mythical as in all cultures of the time. When claims of unrealistic events are made that defy the observed reality of the real world, such claims must be held under question until there is something that can be shown as a basis for them. Since the Hebrew were not the only culture that created such stories, there is no reason at all to hold them above the others to be realistic or describing a history. That is why I argue the Sumerian history versus Hebrew, as there is far more actual physical artifacts for them then there is for the supposed world of Abraham. That being said, I still don't think Enki has any basis in the real world along with any of the supposed gods of Sumer or Assyria.

caposkia wrote:

3. Finkelstein's book....

I checked with some reliable and knowlegeable sources and here's what they had to say:

They suggested studying the invasion of the Sea People, the Philistines, and ancient Egypt for starters.  They believe it's always good to have a good ground in historical information.  (This will give us a better idea of when things actually took place and when each location may have been established.  Not too relevent to the focus of our discussion at this point after what has been said above.&nbspEye-wink

They also would not recommend Finkelstein's book to start.  They suggest either something by Richard Hess or William Dever.  Both good guys who give a more "mainstream" opinion than does Finkelstein.  The problem with Finkelstein is that he has suggested a controversial redating of early monarchical sites.  He wants to move the entire chronology down by some 100-150 years.  This gets into a huge number of problems, the most telling at Megiddo and Samaria.  Does not coenside as well with archeological findings.

I did not start with Finkelstein's book when I researched the ancient history of the Mid-East or any of the ancient cultures. I'm aware that he takes a different view on the dating of the sites you mentioned as well as the position that the people of Israel and Judah originated in the same area as the rest of the peoples of Palestine.

I have a slew of ancient history texts that I have read and studied from the 1970s until the present day. Studying ancient cultures has been a passion of mine for over 30 years. Finklestein makes a very good case for the events he presents, though it is controversial. He has some very good points that he makes regarding the general history and archeology of Palestine. It is not all one should read by any means.

Other books to consider: Most available at better libraries, especially universities.

Ancient Iraq - Georges Roux; The View from Nebo-Amy Docker Marcus; Mesopotamia-The Invention of the City-Gwendolyn Leick; Excavations at Tell Brak: The Mitanni and Old Babylonian periods - David Oates, Joan Oates and Helen McDonald; Ancient near Eastern History and Culture- William H. Stiebing and William H. Stiebing Jr.; History of Mesopotamia: History of Sumer, Ubaid period, Uruk, Eridu, Sumerian King List, Epic of Gilgamesh, Lagash, Gudea, Larsa, Sargon of Akkad, Akkadian Empire, Third Dynasty of Ur - John McBrewster ( A very expensive book, best borrowed at a library); History of the Hittites-Frederic P. Miller; Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History: Papers in Memory of Hans G. Guterbock - K. Aslihan Yener; Hittite Fortifications c.1650-700 BC (Fortress) - Konstantin Nossov; The kingdom of the Hittites  by Trevor Bryce; The Ancient Mediterranean-Michael Grant; Oxford History of Ancient Egypt-Ian Shaw; Egypt, Greece & Rome-Charles Freeman; The Sea Peoples: Warriors of the Ancient Mediterranean 1250-1150 B C (Ancient Peoples and Places) by Nancy K. Sandars; The Phoenicians: Mysterious Sea People (Ancient Civilizations) by Katherine Reece; and many more.

A professor of Sociology & Anthropology at Utah State University, Richley H Crappo has done some interesting work as well. He has a book called-Anthropology of Religion: The Unity and Diversity of Religions. H also has a very good website where much of his work is presented, when its accessible. I've often mentioned the website ETCSL, which is the Electronic Corpus of Sumerian Literature web site. It has many translation of Sumerian documents that bear relationship to the subject matter under discussion.

Studying ancient history and cultures isn't for everyone, some of it can be very boring, but it is also very exciting to those who consider it a way to rediscover ancient civilizations and gain understanding of some of the foundations of modern civilizations.

In short, no one book can suddenly enlighten you with knowledge and understanding. A skeptic will study and piece together knowledge from diverse places in the quest for knowledge and understanding of the ancient past.

 

caposkia wrote:

In conclusion, it is concluded by some knowlegeable sources that your dates need to be rechecked.  I obviously have to do a little more history homework myself on these particular topics. 

Ultimately, your conclusions are correct generally that the claims of events happening in Abraham's time didn't actually happen that early.  Understanding the intent of the author and the comprehension of the author and the history of the time, this doesn't seem to invalidate any legitimacy of the scriptures.  The purpose of the story at the point we're at, which was to understand who Abraham was and what his life was like is still quite clear. 

My point in all of this was to cast skepticism on all of the scripture as  having origins in a period centuries after the events allegedly occurred. That being the case, one should tread carefully in accepting any of it as reality based anymore so than any other account handed down from other ancient cultures. That is one of the main differences between us, I don't consider any story from ancient cultures to necessarily have basis in the real world, and you seem to consider some of them as credible. All of them have to be examined carefully and in a detached manner.

Sorry for the delay in responding to your post, I have been quite busy lately and it took a while for me to locate some of the books I have read in the past. There are dozens more that I have read on these subjects, but off hand I can't remember all of their titles or locate the boxes where they are currently located as I have been living in 2 states now for about 2 years.

____________________________________________________________
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Minor nit -- the people in

Minor nit -- the people in "Palestine" were the Philistines, and they were not Semitic people.  They were sea raiders from further north.  They wound up in Philistia (modern Gaza) because the Egyptians managed to drive them out of Egypt.  Eventually, between us, Egypt, Babylon, etc. they were all killed.  They just weren't nice people.  All that is supported by history.

There are three major problems with a lot of "Bible Archaeology" --

1). No unified calendar.  There is no "January 1st, 1800BCE" that can be used in all cultures to correlate events in different cultures.  I know people who've timed the Exodus based on Torah history and Egyptian history, and the "conventionally accepted dates" are wrong, and they make a pretty good case for themselves being right.

2). Muslim hostility towards Jews.  The vast majority of the territory covered by "Bible History" is now occupied by Muslims.  Most Islamic governments are openly hostile towards any exploration that would support any Jewish claims because there are places where the Torah and Qur'an disagree, and some of it could be proven or disproven using historical evidence.

3). The names that are assigned to peoples aren't necessarily their own names.  Likewise, the names for places that we have today may not even be the names that existed before.  For example, the "Red Sea" from the Exodus account is actually the "Reed Sea".  Even says so in Hebrew, not that Christian bibles have ever gotten around to fixing the error.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:I'd

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I'd agree that these events supposedly took place around 2000 BCE, but that has many problems of its own when one considers these events in light of what has been learned from Sumerian, Assyrian, Hittite, Mitani, and Egyptian artifacts and cuneiform tablets.

The time of the Hebrew patriarchs is in the time of mists and foggy at best for any argument that these people even existed at all. They may have been composites of ancestors or legends that were handed down and modified over the centuries, who knows. That there were cuneiform tablets found in Palestine dating to this period dealing with trade makes one wonder why there were never any found describing anything related to the people who were supposedly Hebrew. That they were basically nomads seems to explain some of it, as lugging clay tablets around with the records of the god might be a bit cumbersome. And it seems that other than trade issues and such, little has been found dating to this period that would indicate exactly what the people of Palestine actually held for beliefs beyond that which has been attributed to Canaanite culture and Ugaritic origins.

From what I understand, if you take into consideration when it all was written down and from what I said earlier... it seems to be congruent with history as far as what we can be certain of.

If you compare what other cults/followings have done for their god, it may not seem so cumbersome after all to just have to carry around a tabernacle. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

If you note, I don't disagree that these accounts came from being handed down over generations, though you don't seem to be of the persuasion that Moses wrote these accounts as many do, the fact that the historical details are incorrect and reference places and people that did not exist until later eradicates any possibility that the versions that have survived unto the present day were written anytime prior to the periods when these cities and peoples existed. That being the case, all of this material should be questioned to having any validity in the real world for they are likely to have been originated from legends and mythical as in all cultures of the time. When claims of unrealistic events are made that defy the observed reality of the real world, such claims must be held under question until there is something that can be shown as a basis for them. Since the Hebrew were not the only culture that created such stories, there is no reason at all to hold them above the others to be realistic or describing a history. That is why I argue the Sumerian history versus Hebrew, as there is far more actual physical artifacts for them then there is for the supposed world of Abraham. That being said, I still don't think Enki has any basis in the real world along with any of the supposed gods of Sumer or Assyria.

This can go into a whole discussion about congruencies with cultures around the world and comparing stories.  Of course I believe everything should be scrutinized harshly, though when doing so, the ones scrutinizing tend to scrutinize in their favor and not look at the bigger picture.  I mean this in reference to Christians as well as non-believers and of course any other following. 

The difficulty with this comes from perspective again.  Bible believers will go in (generally speaking) scrutinizing with the mindset that everything actually happened until proven otherwise.  Whereas the non Bible believer will go in with the exact opposite.  Everything can't be true until proven otherwise.  The problem with both of those approaches is that neither can be completely satisfied and therefore both will always be right and both will always be wrong. 

The best way to effectively scrutinize the Bible is to go in with a middle mindset... that is, everything is considerable but not necessarily true.   It's in this mindset that you are able to look at something and instead of saying due to lack of evidence it could or couldn't have happened, you concede to the idea that we don't know yet and put it aside for now.

The idea that you present doesn't seem to coenside with the middle mindset.  Despite the explanation that times weren't as important as people and events, you seem to conclude that due to the lack of information one one account vs. another (yet the other doesn't discount the first), it's less likely to have happened. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I did not start with Finkelstein's book when I researched the ancient history of the Mid-East or any of the ancient cultures. I'm aware that he takes a different view on the dating of the sites you mentioned as well as the position that the people of Israel and Judah originated in the same area as the rest of the peoples of Palestine.

I have a slew of ancient history texts that I have read and studied from the 1970s until the present day. Studying ancient cultures has been a passion of mine for over 30 years. Finklestein makes a very good case for the events he presents, though it is controversial. He has some very good points that he makes regarding the general history and archeology of Palestine. It is not all one should read by any means.

That's exciting to me that you have such a passion for history.  I'm sure I could learn a bit from you.  History was never my strong point.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Other books to consider: Most available at better libraries, especially universities.

Ancient Iraq - Georges Roux; The View from Nebo-Amy Docker Marcus; Mesopotamia-The Invention of the City-Gwendolyn Leick; Excavations at Tell Brak: The Mitanni and Old Babylonian periods - David Oates, Joan Oates and Helen McDonald; Ancient near Eastern History and Culture- William H. Stiebing and William H. Stiebing Jr.; History of Mesopotamia: History of Sumer, Ubaid period, Uruk, Eridu, Sumerian King List, Epic of Gilgamesh, Lagash, Gudea, Larsa, Sargon of Akkad, Akkadian Empire, Third Dynasty of Ur - John McBrewster ( A very expensive book, best borrowed at a library); History of the Hittites-Frederic P. Miller; Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History: Papers in Memory of Hans G. Guterbock - K. Aslihan Yener; Hittite Fortifications c.1650-700 BC (Fortress) - Konstantin Nossov; The kingdom of the Hittites  by Trevor Bryce; The Ancient Mediterranean-Michael Grant; Oxford History of Ancient Egypt-Ian Shaw; Egypt, Greece & Rome-Charles Freeman; The Sea Peoples: Warriors of the Ancient Mediterranean 1250-1150 B C (Ancient Peoples and Places) by Nancy K. Sandars; The Phoenicians: Mysterious Sea People (Ancient Civilizations) by Katherine Reece; and many more.

I'm assuming most of these could be found in a library.  It's where I'd look for them to start.  Thank you for that list.

 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

A professor of Sociology & Anthropology at Utah State University, Richley H Crappo has done some interesting work as well. He has a book called-Anthropology of Religion: The Unity and Diversity of Religions. H also has a very good website where much of his work is presented, when its accessible. I've often mentioned the website ETCSL, which is the Electronic Corpus of Sumerian Literature web site. It has many translation of Sumerian documents that bear relationship to the subject matter under discussion.

I might have to check him out first.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Studying ancient history and cultures isn't for everyone, some of it can be very boring, but it is also very exciting to those who consider it a way to rediscover ancient civilizations and gain understanding of some of the foundations of modern civilizations.

In short, no one book can suddenly enlighten you with knowledge and understanding. A skeptic will study and piece together knowledge from diverse places in the quest for knowledge and understanding of the ancient past.

I agree with you there about no one book.  I've said that to many before as well.

 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

My point in all of this was to cast skepticism on all of the scripture as  having origins in a period centuries after the events allegedly occurred. That being the case, one should tread carefully in accepting any of it as reality based anymore so than any other account handed down from other ancient cultures. That is one of the main differences between us, I don't consider any story from ancient cultures to necessarily have basis in the real world, and you seem to consider some of them as credible. All of them have to be examined carefully and in a detached manner.

sure.  From what I have found out from my sources, it seems to make sense to me on why the origins and periods differ.  Does it not for you? 

I walk in with the plausible state of mind.  Though of course through my years of experience and of course my relationship with God, my mind does lean on the credible side.  However, I'm always open to new understanding and differing points of view.  This way I can be sure what I think I know to be true really is or not. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Sorry for the delay in responding to your post, I have been quite busy lately and it took a while for me to locate some of the books I have read in the past. There are dozens more that I have read on these subjects, but off hand I can't remember all of their titles or locate the boxes where they are currently located as I have been living in 2 states now for about 2 years.

 by all means take your time.  I understand you have a life outside this site as do I and I now understand that you have quite a bit of resources to look through.  I completely understand.

I've got that other forum to keep me busy if I get bored waiting  


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caposkia wrote:If you

caposkia wrote:

If you compare what other cults/followings have done for their god, it may not seem so cumbersome after all to just have to carry around a tabernacle.

A "tabernacle" is just a "tent".  In the case of the Ohel Mo'ed, a big tent.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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Don't reply to this, Cap, I just can't help saying

 

I'm interested in the way Cap presents himself as being open to anything other than the things he believes in yet clearly has so much invested in bible teaching he has zero chance of ever letting go of it.

You don't come across as a person seriously searching for the truth but as someone who has embraced a doctrine he insists is true, and can only be swayed from by an argument so vastly persuasive it facilitates

the opening of his mind to other possibilities he will never accept. And you even have the temerity to sound disappointed no one has been able to achieve this despite all your best efforts at being persuaded.

So the NT is 'inspired by god' and we are the ones who have to prove otherwise? I hardly think so.

You say the inconsistencies of the bible are either inconsistencies of reader comprehension, or errors that have a perfect right to exist in any divinely-inspired human text - and that's the spac-filler correcting all the bible's wrongs.

At some point on some other thread I want to have a detailed argument with you Cap, on the actual existence of Jesus as a person, and the premise he was supernatural being. The only snag is likely to be your insistence on using

the divine canon of the lord as proof of his existence, and my insistence that we do not. 

Sorry to interrupt - do carry on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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At some point in your posts Cap you were

 

caposkia wrote:

Jesus came down to "pay your bail".  He has that extra $100,000 you don't have.   He's the only one that can give it to you because he's the only one that has it.  Is he forcing you to take that bail or manipulating your mind into thinking that he's the only one that has it and really there's many other ways of getting it?  In this case, no.  This is it.  Either you take it or leave it.  Leave it, you stay in jail.  Take it and you walk home scott free with Jesus.  He's not making the decision for you like a dispensationalist sect will try to do.   He's not even telling you you can't try other methods first like a dispensationalist sect would do.  Nor should his followers.  I tell you, do your homework.  Then talk to me.  I'm not telling you you have to believe as I do, but show me why I'm wrong. 

 

Wrestling with what sort of a christian/believer you would best describe yourself. I think orthodox fundamentalist does it rather well. I again fail to see why the burden of proof rests on anyone but you to show that jesus, beyond reasonable doubt, lived, died and was raised from the dead on the third day after spending time in hell paying for all the sins of the world. These supernatural claims are utterly unprovable by normal historical method. Show you why you're wrong? Why not show us why you're right? Because it says so in the gospels? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

Wrestling with what sort of a christian/believer you would best describe yourself. I think orthodox fundamentalist does it rather well. I again fail to see why the burden of proof rests on anyone but you to show that jesus, beyond reasonable doubt, lived, died and was raised from the dead on the third day after spending time in hell paying for all the sins of the world. These supernatural claims are utterly unprovable by normal historical method. Show you why you're wrong? Why not show us why you're right? Because it says so in the gospels?

Well ... it doesn't say that anywhere, because the fundamental premise of someone atoning for the sins of another individual isn't in the Hebrew texts.  Nor is it possible to atone -- individually or collectively -- for the sins of anyone other that oneself.  Finally, the Christians texts are very clear -- not only not three days, but also not even two days.

The Jewish concept of "sin" is "failure to do the proper thing", and atonement is based on correcting ones ways.  In addition, there is no atonement for an INTENTIONAL sin.  The process is about self-improvement -- or as David wrote:

Quote:

Psa 51:16   For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give [it]: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
Psa 51:17   The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Having a "broken spirit: a broken an contrite heart" doesn't sound like what Christians conceptualize Jesus' death to be about.

According to the Christian texts, Jesus died shortly before sunset on Friday.  The next day started at sunset, as all Jewish days start.  Jesus's body was taken, wrapped in a shroud, and placed in a crypt between about 3pm and about 6pm Friday.  24 hours later was the start of day number 2 -- sundown Saturday.  According to the text, before sunrise Sunday, the tomb was empty.  Day number 2 doesn't even finish.

Christians, because they use a midnight-to-midnight calendar count this as Friday, Saturday, Sunday.  What they ignore is that the prophecy is based on the story of Jonah -- three days and three nights in the belly of a whale (Matthew 12:39-40).  Being generous, that's Friday during the day (perhaps an hour or so), Friday night, Saturday day, Saturday night.  Except that "Saturday night" wasn't even the entire night, just as "Friday day" wasn't the entire day.  That's one day-time, one night-time, and part of a day-time and a night-time.  The only full day is the Sabbath.

Mat 12:40   For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

It wasn't three days and three nights, it was something else entirely.  And what does the Torah say about that?

Deu 18:22   When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that [is] the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, [but] the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

 

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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FurryCatHerder wrote:The

FurryCatHerder wrote:

The Jewish concept of "sin" is "failure to do the proper thing", and atonement is based on correcting ones ways.  In addition, there is no atonement for an INTENTIONAL sin.  The process is about self-improvement -- or as David wrote:

Quote:

Psa 51:16   For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give [it]: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
Psa 51:17   The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Having a "broken spirit: a broken an contrite heart" doesn't sound like what Christians conceptualize Jesus' death to be about.

My understanding of Jewish belief is that you are born a pure soul and can return it to God the same way.

This of course eliminates the concept of "Original Sin" that many Christians put on Adam and Eve. If there is no "Original Sin" that needs an atonement (in the warped way Christians distort the concept) then what exactly was the misinterpreted messiah really? Also I too use Moshiach to describe the Jewish Messiah and messiah (no caps)  to describe what Christians claim Jesus was.

Comments Furry.

FurryCatHerder wrote:

According to the Christian texts, Jesus died shortly before sunset on Friday.  The next day started at sunset, as all Jewish days start.  Jesus's body was taken, wrapped in a shroud, and placed in a crypt between about 3pm and about 6pm Friday.  24 hours later was the start of day number 2 -- sundown Saturday.  According to the text, before sunrise Sunday, the tomb was empty.  Day number 2 doesn't even finish.

Christians, because they use a midnight-to-midnight calendar count this as Friday, Saturday, Sunday.  What they ignore is that the prophecy is based on the story of Jonah -- three days and three nights in the belly of a whale (Matthew 12:39-40).  Being generous, that's Friday during the day (perhaps an hour or so), Friday night, Saturday day, Saturday night.  Except that "Saturday night" wasn't even the entire night, just as "Friday day" wasn't the entire day.  That's one day-time, one night-time, and part of a day-time and a night-time.  The only full day is the Sabbath.

Mat 12:40   For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

It wasn't three days and three nights, it was something else entirely.  And what does the Torah say about that?

Deu 18:22   When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that [is] the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, [but] the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

 

I agree that Christians have issues with counting days, though when I was one the idea was you count Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as the 3. Really as you say it's only about 36 hours or a day and a half, far short of 3 days. 3 days should be Monday night or early Monday AM. More on this when we get to the prophets and how Christians have misinterpreted your prophecies and come up with distortions that have jack to do with the original writing.

____________________________________________________________
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"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

FurryCatHerder wrote:

The Jewish concept of "sin" is "failure to do the proper thing", and atonement is based on correcting ones ways.  In addition, there is no atonement for an INTENTIONAL sin.  The process is about self-improvement -- or as David wrote:

Quote:

Psa 51:16   For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give [it]: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
Psa 51:17   The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Having a "broken spirit: a broken an contrite heart" doesn't sound like what Christians conceptualize Jesus' death to be about.

My understanding of Jewish belief is that you are born a pure soul and can return it to God the same way.

Yup.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
This of course eliminates the concept of "Original Sin" that many Christians put on Adam and Eve. If there is no "Original Sin" that needs an atonement (in the warped way Christians distort the concept) then what exactly was the misinterpreted messiah really? Also I too use Moshiach to describe the Jewish Messiah and messiah (no caps)  to describe what Christians claim Jesus was.

Comments Furry.

The purpose of "atonement" is fixing oneself.  If you read the "red letter" parts of the Christian texts, Jesus is clearly speaking about people striving to a higher level of being.  "Original Sin", as a theological concept, didn't even exist in the early church, and doesn't even exist in all Christian denominations.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
FurryCatHerder wrote:

According to the Christian texts, Jesus died shortly before sunset on Friday.  The next day started at sunset, as all Jewish days start.  Jesus's body was taken, wrapped in a shroud, and placed in a crypt between about 3pm and about 6pm Friday.  24 hours later was the start of day number 2 -- sundown Saturday.  According to the text, before sunrise Sunday, the tomb was empty.  Day number 2 doesn't even finish.

Christians, because they use a midnight-to-midnight calendar count this as Friday, Saturday, Sunday.  What they ignore is that the prophecy is based on the story of Jonah -- three days and three nights in the belly of a whale (Matthew 12:39-40).  Being generous, that's Friday during the day (perhaps an hour or so), Friday night, Saturday day, Saturday night.  Except that "Saturday night" wasn't even the entire night, just as "Friday day" wasn't the entire day.  That's one day-time, one night-time, and part of a day-time and a night-time.  The only full day is the Sabbath.

Mat 12:40   For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

It wasn't three days and three nights, it was something else entirely.  And what does the Torah say about that?

Deu 18:22   When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that [is] the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, [but] the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

 

I agree that Christians have issues with counting days, though when I was one the idea was you count Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as the 3. Really as you say it's only about 36 hours or a day and a half, far short of 3 days. 3 days should be Monday night or early Monday AM. More on this when we get to the prophets and how Christians have misinterpreted your prophecies and come up with distortions that have jack to do with the original writing.

Usually when Christians get stuck on the "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly ..." they try to say "Well, obviously then Jesus wasn't crucified on a Friday", I go drag out the texts that make it impossible to have been any other day.  But, yeah -- definitely less than 3 days and 3 nights, and probably even less than 36 hours.  A Jewish reading would probably put it between 25 and 30 hours.  Remember -- sun goes down Saturday, it's a new day.

When you consider that crucifixion took days to happen (see Josephus), my vote is that he was taken down alive and that's how we got both the resurrection story and the story of the appearances.  There's a lot in the text that's not supported BY the text and Jesus actually dying is one example.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Wrestling with what sort of a christian/believer you would best describe yourself. I think orthodox fundamentalist does it rather well. I again fail to see why the burden of proof rests on anyone but you to show that jesus, beyond reasonable doubt, lived, died and was raised from the dead on the third day after spending time in hell paying for all the sins of the world. These supernatural claims are utterly unprovable by normal historical method. Show you why you're wrong? Why not show us why you're right? Because it says so in the gospels? 

I assume this one is safe to respond to. 

One comment on the one forbidden post that goes along with this post.  Just that it's quite evident to me that you have no clue about my perspective and have only assumed that I am putting the burden on you for proof and not myself.  The problem is, I always ask the question "what logical evidences would you accept as evidence for God?"  The verdict seems to be out on that one be it that physical evidences of a meta-physical being is not a logical request and it seems to be the only evidence 99% of the people I talk to on here can comprehend or accept.

I'm not saying you can't use archeology, history or science to help in the discovery of God, it's just that you can't rely on those alone because all only cover the physical aspect or effects if you will and are not constants. 

I'll be looking forward to having an extensive discussion with you in a new forum.  I hope you aren't another fan of redundancy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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caposkia wrote:If you

caposkia wrote:

If you compare what other cults/followings have done for their god, it may not seem so cumbersome after all to just have to carry around a tabernacle.

When we get to the Exodus, pretty soon actually, we can beat to death the tabernacle or not. My opinion on it is it may have existed while the people who eventually became Judahites  were a nomadic people. (note -  not Israelites as that is another story)

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

If you note, I don't disagree that these accounts came from being handed down over generations, though you don't seem to be of the persuasion that Moses wrote these accounts as many do, the fact that the historical details are incorrect and reference places and people that did not exist until later eradicates any possibility that the versions that have survived unto the present day were written anytime prior to the periods when these cities and peoples existed. That being the case, all of this material should be questioned to having any validity in the real world for they are likely to have been originated from legends and mythical as in all cultures of the time. When claims of unrealistic events are made that defy the observed reality of the real world, such claims must be held under question until there is something that can be shown as a basis for them. Since the Hebrew were not the only culture that created such stories, there is no reason at all to hold them above the others to be realistic or describing a history. That is why I argue the Sumerian history versus Hebrew, as there is far more actual physical artifacts for them then there is for the supposed world of Abraham. That being said, I still don't think Enki has any basis in the real world along with any of the supposed gods of Sumer or Assyria.

This can go into a whole discussion about congruencies with cultures around the world and comparing stories.  Of course I believe everything should be scrutinized harshly, though when doing so, the ones scrutinizing tend to scrutinize in their favor and not look at the bigger picture.  I mean this in reference to Christians as well as non-believers and of course any other following. 

The difficulty with this comes from perspective again.  Bible believers will go in (generally speaking) scrutinizing with the mindset that everything actually happened until proven otherwise.  Whereas the non Bible believer will go in with the exact opposite.  Everything can't be true until proven otherwise.  The problem with both of those approaches is that neither can be completely satisfied and therefore both will always be right and both will always be wrong. 

The best way to effectively scrutinize the Bible is to go in with a middle mindset... that is, everything is considerable but not necessarily true.   It's in this mindset that you are able to look at something and instead of saying due to lack of evidence it could or couldn't have happened, you concede to the idea that we don't know yet and put it aside for now.

The idea that you present doesn't seem to coenside with the middle mindset.  Despite the explanation that times weren't as important as people and events, you seem to conclude that due to the lack of information one one account vs. another (yet the other doesn't discount the first), it's less likely to have happened.

I admit to being biased in the direction of extreme skepticism when it comes to the Bible stories of the OT. That is because of my extensive study of ancient history where upon many issues open as to why the Bible stories seem to have occurred in another dimension or reality because they certainly have problems meshing into the interrelated history of Egypt, Sumer, Assyria, Mitani, and the Hittites.

I also have extreme skepticism when any type of magical events in the Bible are discussed that it is based in reality. This includes any and all that involve a super being turning water into blood, flinging burning hail stones, leading people for 40 years with a pillar of fire, and feeding them all with sky food. My problems with said miracles and events continue everywhere it is mentioned throughout the OT. I have no reason to accept them any more than the supposed miracles or alleged acts of any of the Greek legends or those of my favorite study the Sumerian gods. Actually, I heard someone is bring out a Sci-Fi movie somewhat based on the Annunaki who are the gods of Sumer next year.

 

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

My point in all of this was to cast skepticism on all of the scripture as  having origins in a period centuries after the events allegedly occurred. That being the case, one should tread carefully in accepting any of it as reality based anymore so than any other account handed down from other ancient cultures. That is one of the main differences between us, I don't consider any story from ancient cultures to necessarily have basis in the real world, and you seem to consider some of them as credible. All of them have to be examined carefully and in a detached manner.

sure.  From what I have found out from my sources, it seems to make sense to me on why the origins and periods differ.  Does it not for you? 

I walk in with the plausible state of mind.  Though of course through my years of experience and of course my relationship with God, my mind does lean on the credible side.  However, I'm always open to new understanding and differing points of view.  This way I can be sure what I think I know to be true really is or not.

In that regard, I'm not trying to validate a position in regards to any god, I'm simply trying to understand what happened in the ancient past. The skepticism I have resulted from this endeavor.  When I began this journey into history I was a believer. Through time and many many books, mostly ancient history and archeology,  I became convinced the OT stories especially have enough issues to place them in a category along with all other ancient legends as mythical and distorted by legends. I know of nothing in Christianity that can change that view, certainly not faith because that is simply deferring the decision or outright avoidance of it. The whole point of the matter is to understand and grasp how the ancient Jewish beliefs and stories fit into the puzzle, if they do. So far, the pieces of the puzzle that are supposedly  part of the puzzle I've been trying to put together appear to be from another puzzle. Jamming these pieces into the rest of the puzzle is not the answer. The pieces from the OT seem to be unrelated at times to what occurred in the rest of the world. This lead me to set these pieces aside and question where they fit or if they fit at all. When the OT is claimed as infallible as another poster suggests, not you, and it's blatantly obvious it's distorted and erroneous, the argument and assertion simply shows that desperation of a believer in wanting his beliefs to be true. Detached observation on the other hand means there is no cash in the pot or no ante in. My journey into atheism started originally because I couldn't accept the half baked claims made by first a Fundie upbringing and then a later Catholic education.

Anyway, trying to relate the OT to the real world only gets worse as better records are examined especially from Assyria and Babylon. Even the time period surrounding the Persian invasion casts doubt on several supposed prophets' writing being written with much knowledge of what actually happened. Now, I like fiction as much as anyone, but using it to hook believers is quite another story. This is not saying that is what Jewish scripture actually did, it's what Christian morphing has accomplished. Many Jews consider nearly all of these stories to be legend and/or metaphorical with no relation to reality.  The problem with trying to fit the OT into the real world was further exacerbated by the records of Mesopotamia not being found until the 19th and 20th centuries. Then of course by this time many historians had wrongly assumed the legends of the Bible were an accurate depiction of the time period. As we continue our journey more and more of this will come to light. You will need to look harder for explanations on why there is such a major discrepancy between the OT and other cultures' histories.

We can continue on this journey with Joseph being in Egypt, which his where we left off before we began this discussion.

The Hebrews supposed servitude in Egypt is not documented by the Egyptians at all. The only Asiatics (people from Palestine and the Middle East were so called Asiatics by the Egyptians) were the Hyskos. The Hyskos ruled lower Egypt from around 1670 BCE to 1570-1527 BCE. It's unclear exactly when Pharaoh Ahmrose conquered them and drove them out of lower Egypt and the time period of his reign is disputed. What isn't disputed is that after 30 years of war against them they were driven out. It's also not clear if all of them were driven out or just the leaders. The Egyptians to guard against such future incursions built many forts along their borders in Sinai, something you should keep in mind when we discuss the supposed 40 year Trek shortly. These forts have been found and studied by archaeologists.

The Hyskos were living primarily in the lower delta, including Tell ed-Daba also called Avaris. Something of note that helps date this is ash from the Thera volcanic explosion (aka Santorini) was found in Avaris dating it to somewhere around 1600 BCE. The people were clearly of Canaanite origin based on the findings of archaeologists in Avaris.

It is possible the pharaoh Joseph became involved with was a Hyskos pharaoh. This might help explain the lack of mention of him and the nomads of Canaan or his relatives the supposed Hebrew nation by the Egyptians. The Egyptians chased the Hyskos all the way to Gaza to Sharuhen. They eventually stormed it after a long siege. Perhaps the Hebrews were involved with them and were included in a mass exodus during a war. Or perhaps they were the Hyskos. Or perhaps it's distorted legend. There's no way to validate the OT claim and plenty to suggest they were not there. The Bible claims there were 600,000 men in Exodus 12:37 involved in this mass relocation. More on this as we discuss Moses.

I'll continue next time discussing Moses.

 

 

 

____________________________________________________________
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"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


Atheistextremist
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Metaphysics

caposkia wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Wrestling with what sort of a christian/believer you would best describe yourself. I think orthodox fundamentalist does it rather well. I again fail to see why the burden of proof rests on anyone but you to show that jesus, beyond reasonable doubt, lived, died and was raised from the dead on the third day after spending time in hell paying for all the sins of the world. These supernatural claims are utterly unprovable by normal historical method. Show you why you're wrong? Why not show us why you're right? Because it says so in the gospels? 

I assume this one is safe to respond to. 

One comment on the one forbidden post that goes along with this post.  Just that it's quite evident to me that you have no clue about my perspective and have only assumed that I am putting the burden on you for proof and not myself.  The problem is, I always ask the question "what logical evidences would you accept as evidence for God?"  The verdict seems to be out on that one be it that physical evidences of a meta-physical being is not a logical request and it seems to be the only evidence 99% of the people I talk to on here can comprehend or accept.

I'm not saying you can't use archeology, history or science to help in the discovery of God, it's just that you can't rely on those alone because all only cover the physical aspect or effects if you will and are not constants. 

I'll be looking forward to having an extensive discussion with you in a new forum.  I hope you aren't another fan of redundancy. 

 

Perhaps we shouldn't waste each others' time, Cap. If you are not going to bring anything to the table in terms of god-proof that goes beyond the physically provable then there's no point in doing so. Apparently you are conceding that a metaphysical being can not have physical evidence? I agree most people on here are of an empirical mind - myself included. I think hell will be populated by skeptics and doubters. All the actual bad people will probably be whooping it up in heaven.

Now, it's possible through a mind-bending process which has no end, to argue that there must be some force that started the universe, but there's no way we can now certainly about any of that - nor can we prove such a creature wants any sort of relationship with us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Scientific, empirical

Scientific, empirical sources are can be considered as not 'constant' only in the sense that they are subject to revision if better evidence turns up, or better theories can be devised.

Science is not restricted to the 'physical', just to the observable and reportable. IOW in can apply to internal experiences, as long as they are reportable or detectable ( by brain scanning equipment, for example).

Non-empirical 'knowledge' may indeed be 'constant' since it is 'true' as long as its assumptions are 'true'. But if it can be shown that any of its assumptions are not valid or do not correspond with reality, then it cannot be considered true.

IOW it depends on the nature of the assumptions: if they are fundamental as with logic and math, the derived knowledge is as certain as anything can be.

If the assumptions are purely intuitive and not based on observable evidence, non-empirical knowledge has little or no warrant to be treated as more than speculation.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:I

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I admit to being biased in the direction of extreme skepticism when it comes to the Bible stories of the OT. That is because of my extensive study of ancient history where upon many issues open as to why the Bible stories seem to have occurred in another dimension or reality because they certainly have problems meshing into the interrelated history of Egypt, Sumer, Assyria, Mitani, and the Hittites.

I also have extreme skepticism when any type of magical events in the Bible are discussed that it is based in reality. This includes any and all that involve a super being turning water into blood, flinging burning hail stones, leading people for 40 years with a pillar of fire, and feeding them all with sky food. My problems with said miracles and events continue everywhere it is mentioned throughout the OT. I have no reason to accept them any more than the supposed miracles or alleged acts of any of the Greek legends or those of my favorite study the Sumerian gods. Actually, I heard someone is bring out a Sci-Fi movie somewhat based on the Annunaki who are the gods of Sumer next year.

huh, that sounds interesting. (the movie that is)

With every right do you have skepticism about any "magic" as you call it in the Bible.  You weren't there and there's no logical scientific explanation of how something like that could happen.  I only accept them due to other information that has lead me to believe in the God of the Bible and the idea that this God would be capable of such happenings.  

The things is, it depends on whether you heard it from a skeptic, a believer, or whether you even got the whole story.  Granted there are a lot of historical evidences that don't point to the history of the Bible.  What many fail to take into consideration is that there were lives and cultures that existed outside Biblical texts.  What is written in the Bible is a very specific and narrow path of a specific geneology and the direct effects of that geneology at that time.  Therefore, if there were any other followings or ways of life during that same time and in that same location, it's pretty clear that you'd find evidence for such. Again also, the writers of the Bible couldn't pop on their laptop or go to the nearest library to make sure their information was sufficient and accurate.  They could only write what they knew at hand. 

Bible writers were also just everyday people.  They were not governments or societies that have made it a job to accurately write down happenings and carefully file it away alphabetically or chronologically.  They knew what they wrote was of great importance and took the proper care to make sure it lasted, but again, didn't double check their information with the local library or newschannel. 

Taking that into consideration, not all 'followings' or 'happenings' were accurately or sufficiently recorded in history... therefore, you might find lack of evidence of a particular history in a particular area, but that doesn't mean that what you don't find didn't happen.  It might be that you either haven't seen the evidence for the happening yet, or just see more evidence for another happening thus allowing you to assume the other happenings to not be true. 

In the territories you listed above as well as the people groups had many polytheistic followings and of course weren't Biblically based. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

In that regard, I'm not trying to validate a position in regards to any god, I'm simply trying to understand what happened in the ancient past. The skepticism I have resulted from this endeavor.  When I began this journey into history I was a believer. Through time and many many books, mostly ancient history and archeology,  I became convinced the OT stories especially have enough issues to place them in a category along with all other ancient legends as mythical and distorted by legends. I know of nothing in Christianity that can change that view, certainly not faith because that is simply deferring the decision or outright avoidance of it. The whole point of the matter is to understand and grasp how the ancient Jewish beliefs and stories fit into the puzzle, if they do. So far, the pieces of the puzzle that are supposedly  part of the puzzle I've been trying to put together appear to be from another puzzle. Jamming these pieces into the rest of the puzzle is not the answer. The pieces from the OT seem to be unrelated at times to what occurred in the rest of the world. This lead me to set these pieces aside and question where they fit or if they fit at all. When the OT is claimed as infallible as another poster suggests, not you, and it's blatantly obvious it's distorted and erroneous, the argument and assertion simply shows that desperation of a believer in wanting his beliefs to be true. Detached observation on the other hand means there is no cash in the pot or no ante in. My journey into atheism started originally because I couldn't accept the half baked claims made by first a Fundie upbringing and then a later Catholic education.

The belief of a Christian would make the OT infallible to them.  Of course a believer telling that to a non-believer is asking for disaster.  Especially seeing as there are books such as the book of Job that is questionable even in the historical believing world to have actually happened. 

Maybe they're looking at the perspective of infallible as it being effective in which case they'd be right.  It gets the point across to anyone who studies it.  Whether you want to believe it or not is outside that perspective. 

Either way, in your study, you would have to keep in mind that what was happening in the rest of the world wasn't exactly what was happening in the Bible with exception of a few different happenings. 

The happenings that did affect the world seem to have been recorded in one way or another in every culture I'm aware of.  The times may be different and the information may be portrayed differently, but it seem the happening is the same. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Anyway, trying to relate the OT to the real world only gets worse as better records are examined especially from Assyria and Babylon. Even the time period surrounding the Persian invasion casts doubt on several supposed prophets' writing being written with much knowledge of what actually happened. Now, I like fiction as much as anyone, but using it to hook believers is quite another story. This is not saying that is what Jewish scripture actually did, it's what Christian morphing has accomplished. Many Jews consider nearly all of these stories to be legend and/or metaphorical with no relation to reality.  The problem with trying to fit the OT into the real world was further exacerbated by the records of Mesopotamia not being found until the 19th and 20th centuries. Then of course by this time many historians had wrongly assumed the legends of the Bible were an accurate depiction of the time period. As we continue our journey more and more of this will come to light. You will need to look harder for explanations on why there is such a major discrepancy between the OT and other cultures' histories.

This will be interesting to see.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

We can continue on this journey with Joseph being in Egypt, which his where we left off before we began this discussion.

The Hebrews supposed servitude in Egypt is not documented by the Egyptians at all. The only Asiatics (people from Palestine and the Middle East were so called Asiatics by the Egyptians) were the Hyskos. The Hyskos ruled lower Egypt from around 1670 BCE to 1570-1527 BCE. It's unclear exactly when Pharaoh Ahmrose conquered them and drove them out of lower Egypt and the time period of his reign is disputed. What isn't disputed is that after 30 years of war against them they were driven out. It's also not clear if all of them were driven out or just the leaders. The Egyptians to guard against such future incursions built many forts along their borders in Sinai, something you should keep in mind when we discuss the supposed 40 year Trek shortly. These forts have been found and studied by archaeologists.

The Hyskos were living primarily in the lower delta, including Tell ed-Daba also called Avaris. Something of note that helps date this is ash from the Thera volcanic explosion (aka Santorini) was found in Avaris dating it to somewhere around 1600 BCE. The people were clearly of Canaanite origin based on the findings of archaeologists in Avaris.

It is possible the pharaoh Joseph became involved with was a Hyskos pharaoh. This might help explain the lack of mention of him and the nomads of Canaan or his relatives the supposed Hebrew nation by the Egyptians. The Egyptians chased the Hyskos all the way to Gaza to Sharuhen. They eventually stormed it after a long siege. Perhaps the Hebrews were involved with them and were included in a mass exodus during a war. Or perhaps they were the Hyskos. Or perhaps it's distorted legend. There's no way to validate the OT claim and plenty to suggest they were not there. The Bible claims there were 600,000 men in Exodus 12:37 involved in this mass relocation. More on this as we discuss Moses.

I'll continue next time discussing Moses.


 

I'll look into this as we go on. 


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

Perhaps we shouldn't waste each others' time, Cap. If you are not going to bring anything to the table in terms of god-proof that goes beyond the physically provable then there's no point in doing so. Apparently you are conceding that a metaphysical being can not have physical evidence? I agree most people on here are of an empirical mind - myself included. I think hell will be populated by skeptics and doubters. All the actual bad people will probably be whooping it up in heaven.

Now, it's possible through a mind-bending process which has no end, to argue that there must be some force that started the universe, but there's no way we can now certainly about any of that - nor can we prove such a creature wants any sort of relationship with us.

Your choice. 

I'll bring what I know to the table.  Ask anyone who's talked to me for a while.  I'll go in any direction you want to go in.  I'll use any means of evidence you want to use.  You need to accept that one specific focus is not going to be sufficient for a conclusion.  We will have to go through a few.  I have presented science, history (if you follow this forum, the history part is the focus), archeology, geology as well as cultural comparisons and story comparisons between cultures. 

I guess the question should ultimately be, what exactly are you looking for? 

I'll understand if you don't want to take the time. 

 

 

 

 

 


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BobSpence1 wrote:Scientific,

BobSpence1 wrote:

Scientific, empirical sources are can be considered as not 'constant' only in the sense that they are subject to revision if better evidence turns up, or better theories can be devised.

Science is not restricted to the 'physical', just to the observable and reportable. IOW in can apply to internal experiences, as long as they are reportable or detectable ( by brain scanning equipment, for example).

Sure, spiritual meditation has been recorded by MRI as elevated brain activity.  Of course the results are open to speculation on why there was hightened brain activity.  Thus leaving any of that science arguable at best. 

BobSpence1 wrote:

Non-empirical 'knowledge' may indeed be 'constant' since it is 'true' as long as its assumptions are 'true'. But if it can be shown that any of its assumptions are not valid or do not correspond with reality, then it cannot be considered true.

agreed.  This of course cannot be concluded without a rounded stance in research on the subject. 

BobSpence1 wrote:

IOW it depends on the nature of the assumptions: if they are fundamental as with logic and math, the derived knowledge is as certain as anything can be.

I have used statistics... yet it was dismissed by saying low odds in statistics don't count if it happened (referencing to the happening of life from nothing vs. an intelligence behind the creation of life)

BobSpence1 wrote:

If the assumptions are purely intuitive and not based on observable evidence, non-empirical knowledge has little or no warrant to be treated as more than speculation.

Generally, I don't like using assumptions.  Intuitive assumptions told many people George W. would be a good president... we see where that got us.


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:I

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I admit to being biased in the direction of extreme skepticism when it comes to the Bible stories of the OT. That is because of my extensive study of ancient history where upon many issues open as to why the Bible stories seem to have occurred in another dimension or reality because they certainly have problems meshing into the interrelated history of Egypt, Sumer, Assyria, Mitani, and the Hittites.

It's a rather common occurance for people with your understanding of history to fall away from the belief in God due to a couple reasons. 

1.  It is understood in Christiandom that the Bible is divinely inspired. (thus written divinely as well)  The understanding of divine inspiration is blurred in Christiandom to thinking that it means...

2.  If the Bible is inspired, it must be 100% accurate and error free.

So, I think the first thing that needs to be established is that the Bible will obviously have things we consider errors. It is an ancient near eastern document, and as such it cannot be expected to conform to our ideas of accurate history any more than we might expect that from the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Ba'al Cycle, the Tale of Sinuhe, or even Herodotus. The fact that all of these contain valid historical information is not disputed. They simply tell that history in a way which suits them. No one who writes history is unbiased. The Bible is no exception.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Anyway, trying to relate the OT to the real world only gets worse as better records are examined especially from Assyria and Babylon. Even the time period surrounding the Persian invasion casts doubt on several supposed prophets' writing being written with much knowledge of what actually happened. Now, I like fiction as much as anyone, but using it to hook believers is quite another story. This is not saying that is what Jewish scripture actually did, it's what Christian morphing has accomplished. Many Jews consider nearly all of these stories to be legend and/or metaphorical with no relation to reality.  The problem with trying to fit the OT into the real world was further exacerbated by the records of Mesopotamia not being found until the 19th and 20th centuries. Then of course by this time many historians had wrongly assumed the legends of the Bible were an accurate depiction of the time period. As we continue our journey more and more of this will come to light. You will need to look harder for explanations on why there is such a major discrepancy between the OT and other cultures' histories...

We can continue on this journey with Joseph being in Egypt, which his where we left off before we began this discussion.

well, Let's start with this... I've checked with a few sources and as far as the Israelites actually being in Egypt; Trying to argue that they weren't is silly. According to Genesis when Joseph and co. came to Egypt, they numbered around 70 people. Hardly worthy of documentation on temple walls (an important point in itself, we have very few administrative texts from Egypt. Our only documentation from there is monumental architecture, that is--temples, tombs, coffins, etc...hardly the place to record a paltry 70 persons relocating to Egypt). So, there is no reasons such a thing would have been recorded, and if it had been recorded, it is almost certain it would have been recorded on papyrus, which may not have survived the thousands of years until now. Archeology in Egpyt is also difficult because of the water table. So there are many things that we do not have access to. However, in this case it is probably safe to say that the Egyptians never would have recorded a mere 70 persons coming to Egypt.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 The only Asiatics (people from Palestine and the Middle East were so called Asiatics by the Egyptians) were the Hyskos. The Hyskos ruled lower Egypt from around 1670 BCE to 1570-1527 BCE. It's unclear exactly when Pharaoh Ahmrose conquered them and drove them out of lower Egypt and the time period of his reign is disputed. What isn't disputed is that after 30 years of war against them they were driven out. It's also not clear if all of them were driven out or just the leaders. The Egyptians to guard against such future incursions built many forts along their borders in Sinai, something you should keep in mind when we discuss the supposed 40 year Trek shortly. These forts have been found and studied by archaeologists.

The Hyksos were certainly not the Hebrews. Most scholars who think the Israelites were in Egypt for a time (as the Biblical record suggests) believe they arrived there sometime around 1600-1550BCE (ie, during the Hyksos rule of Lower Egypt). The "new pharaoh" mentioned in Exodus 1 is commonly considered to be Ahmose, or one of his heirs. Again, none of this is certain, and there is no rock saying "and I am Ahmose, Great King, Pharaoh, son of Amon-Re, who is mentioned in the Hebrew book of Exodus." Expecting such is to border on insanity.

The Egyptians did establish forts, but they were not necessarily manned at full power throughout their existence. Egyptian power waxed and waned, and by the time the Israelites left Egypt (c. 1250BCE), Egyptian power was beginning to wan somewhat, though they still held much power. By the time the sea-peoples invaded (c. 1200,
also around the time the Israelites settled in Canaan), Egyptian power in Palestine was minuscle.

As for the Bible's claim that there were 600,000 Israelite men who left Egypt--that's one of those errors. With that many people they would have outnumbered the men, women, and children in Canaan by AT LEAST two-to-one--and that's only counting the Israelite men, not their own women and children.

 


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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I admit to being biased in the direction of extreme skepticism when it comes to the Bible stories of the OT. That is because of my extensive study of ancient history where upon many issues open as to why the Bible stories seem to have occurred in another dimension or reality because they certainly have problems meshing into the interrelated history of Egypt, Sumer, Assyria, Mitani, and the Hittites.

It's a rather common occurance for people with your understanding of history to fall away from the belief in God due to a couple reasons. 

1.  It is understood in Christiandom that the Bible is divinely inspired. (thus written divinely as well)  The understanding of divine inspiration is blurred in Christiandom to thinking that it means...

2.  If the Bible is inspired, it must be 100% accurate and error free.

So, I think the first thing that needs to be established is that the Bible will obviously have things we consider errors. It is an ancient near eastern document, and as such it cannot be expected to conform to our ideas of accurate history any more than we might expect that from the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Ba'al Cycle, the Tale of Sinuhe, or even Herodotus. The fact that all of these contain valid historical information is not disputed. They simply tell that history in a way which suits them. No one who writes history is unbiased. The Bible is no exception.

 I'm well aware that Christians view 'divinely inspired' in many ways. I was originally a Missouri Lutheran before I became Catholic. Their interpretation was it's all true down to talking snakes. the flood, the Exodus, bears killing children, the Sun being stopped, the walls of Jericho, Job, Lot, Solomon, etc . . . . As a Catholic I learned that much of this was considered metaphorical and should not be literally interpreted.

I don't disagree that The Bible will have errors no different than any other book of legends and myths written by unknowing men trying to explain a world far beyond their understanding. The difference with me is I see nothing in it at all to attribute to 'divinely inspired'. If there are such parts then this may be a subject for another thread whereupon you can present what is 'divinely inspired' versus what is not. I personally don't know how one can determine what is and what is not inspired in these stories and have yet to see a good case made that provides sufficient evidence that any of it is more than ancient myths and legends with some history blended in just as all the other ancient stories as in Gilgamesh Ba'al Cycle etc. But you are most certainly welcome to try and explain.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Anyway, trying to relate the OT to the real world only gets worse as better records are examined especially from Assyria and Babylon. Even the time period surrounding the Persian invasion casts doubt on several supposed prophets' writing being written with much knowledge of what actually happened. Now, I like fiction as much as anyone, but using it to hook believers is quite another story. This is not saying that is what Jewish scripture actually did, it's what Christian morphing has accomplished. Many Jews consider nearly all of these stories to be legend and/or metaphorical with no relation to reality.  The problem with trying to fit the OT into the real world was further exacerbated by the records of Mesopotamia not being found until the 19th and 20th centuries. Then of course by this time many historians had wrongly assumed the legends of the Bible were an accurate depiction of the time period. As we continue our journey more and more of this will come to light. You will need to look harder for explanations on why there is such a major discrepancy between the OT and other cultures' histories...

We can continue on this journey with Joseph being in Egypt, which his where we left off before we began this discussion.

well, Let's start with this... I've checked with a few sources and as far as the Israelites actually being in Egypt; Trying to argue that they weren't is silly. According to Genesis when Joseph and co. came to Egypt, they numbered around 70 people. Hardly worthy of documentation on temple walls (an important point in itself, we have very few administrative texts from Egypt. Our only documentation from there is monumental architecture, that is--temples, tombs, coffins, etc...hardly the place to record a paltry 70 persons relocating to Egypt). So, there is no reasons such a thing would have been recorded, and if it had been recorded, it is almost certain it would have been recorded on papyrus, which may not have survived the thousands of years until now. Archeology in Egpyt is also difficult because of the water table. So there are many things that we do not have access to. However, in this case it is probably safe to say that the Egyptians never would have recorded a mere 70 persons coming to Egypt.

First off, I did present that Avaris where the Hyskos occupied had Canaanite origins in items discovered by archaeologists. Whether they were Israelite or Hyskos can't be determined but were of sufficient compatibility to be said to be related to Canaan and Palestine.

The 70 or so people of the House of Jacob also included slaves, concubines, extended family, workers, etc. Abe had a fairly large group he armed at one point so one should consider it to be larger by this point. Regardless, no matter the number if Joseph made his deal with a Hyskos Pharaoh none of it would likely survive after Ahmose defeated them even if it had been etched into stone on monuments as they tried to erase pretty much all of the Hyskos following their defeat.

There are also cuneiform clay tablets such as used by Assyria (Sumer) which have been found that add some knowledge regarding this period.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 The only Asiatics (people from Palestine and the Middle East were so called Asiatics by the Egyptians) were the Hyskos. The Hyskos ruled lower Egypt from around 1670 BCE to 1570-1527 BCE. It's unclear exactly when Pharaoh Ahmose conquered them and drove them out of lower Egypt and the time period of his reign is disputed. What isn't disputed is that after 30 years of war against them they were driven out. It's also not clear if all of them were driven out or just the leaders. The Egyptians to guard against such future incursions built many forts along their borders in Sinai, something you should keep in mind when we discuss the supposed 40 year Trek shortly. These forts have been found and studied by archaeologists.

The Hyksos were certainly not the Hebrews. Most scholars who think the Israelites were in Egypt for a time (as the Biblical record suggests) believe they arrived there sometime around 1600-1550BCE (ie, during the Hyksos rule of Lower Egypt). The "new pharaoh" mentioned in Exodus 1 is commonly considered to be Ahmose, or one of his heirs. Again, none of this is certain, and there is no rock saying "and I am Ahmose, Great King, Pharaoh, son of Amon-Re, who is mentioned in the Hebrew book of Exodus." Expecting such is to border on insanity.

I never said the Hebrews were the Hyskos, I suggested they could have been the ones Joseph and company made their arraignment with.

Their is nothing to support Ahmose is the new pharaoh other than conjecture.

The claim in Exodus 1:9 is that the Hebrews were greater in number and mightier than they were. This does not make sense in light of the claims of Ahmose that he drove out the Hyskos. If the Hebrews were living in and with the Hyskos, there is no reason to think that they would not have been driven out forcefully along with them. Why would they stay to be captured and held as slaves? Why would the Hyskos leave them behind if they were slaves? Or if they were allies with the Hyskos, why would they stay behind when their friends were driven out of lower Egypt?

Too many questions are generated by suggesting that the Hebrews were still in the Delta after the Hyskos were driven out. Do you have an explanation?

caposkia wrote:

The Egyptians did establish forts, but they were not necessarily manned at full power throughout their existence. Egyptian power waxed and waned, and by the time the Israelites left Egypt (c. 1250BCE), Egyptian power was beginning to wan somewhat, though they still held much power. By the time the sea-peoples invaded (c. 1200,
also around the time the Israelites settled in Canaan), Egyptian power in Palestine was minuscle.

Perhaps you need to look at the battle of Qadesh in 1275 BCE and the history thereafter when Egypt and the Hittites signed a peace treaty in 1263 BCE. Egypt and the Hittites split control of Palestine and the very important trade routes. Circa 1213 BCE Pharaoh Merenptah claims in a stele that he basically wiped out Israel saying their "seed is not". The 'sea peoples eventually over run the Hittites around 1200 BCE and are held at bay by Merenptah. Ramses III defeats them in 1174 BCE ending the problem at least in Egypt. Yes there are periods after Ramses IV that have little foreign policy of Egypt documented and some dark periods for Assyria and Babylon too, but that doesn't automatically allow Hebrew invasions of Canaan to be more than a few nomadic tribes of hundreds. Certainly not 600,000.

caposkia wrote:

As for the Bible's claim that there were 600,000 Israelite men who left Egypt--that's one of those errors. With that many people they would have outnumbered the men, women, and children in Canaan by AT LEAST two-to-one--and that's only counting the Israelite men, not their own women and children.

 

Instead of 600,000 I might consider 60 or 600 men clearly not 600K. 600 would be a large tribal nomadic group and is far more likely. There were such groups and even much smaller who were nomadic in nature. Of course there is nothing to prove if they worshiped Ra, Yahweh, or Enlil.

 

I'll try to go further with this regarding Moses and the Exodus next time, specifically why it's unlikely to be real world based and the case the Israelites, Judahites were really basically other groups who moved in like the Canaanites giving up nomadic life and settling permanently.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:I

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I was originally a Missouri Lutheran before I became Catholic. Their interpretation was it's all true down to talking snakes. the flood, the Exodus, bears killing children, the Sun being stopped, the walls of Jericho, Job, Lot, Solomon, etc . . . . As a Catholic I learned that much of this was considered metaphorical and should not be literally interpreted.

seems that most believers turned atheist or non-beliving have a similar history... Catholicism seems to play a roll in most as well.  I can understand your point of view.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I don't disagree that The Bible will have errors no different than any other book of legends and myths written by unknowing men trying to explain a world far beyond their understanding. The difference with me is I see nothing in it at all to attribute to 'divinely inspired'. If there are such parts then this may be a subject for another thread whereupon you can present what is 'divinely inspired' versus what is not. I personally don't know how one can determine what is and what is not inspired in these stories and have yet to see a good case made that provides sufficient evidence that any of it is more than ancient myths and legends with some history blended in just as all the other ancient stories as in Gilgamesh Ba'al Cycle etc. But you are most certainly welcome to try and explain.

I definitely dont' think I could sit down and pull out the divine vs. ... whatever you want to call it.  I think the understanding is that the stories themselves are divinely inspired... The details within are written down to the best of the author's understanding of what they were told/shown and what they understand of the world around them thus leaving any and ever part of any story open for error.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

First off, I did present that Avaris where the Hyskos occupied had Canaanite origins in items discovered by archaeologists. Whether they were Israelite or Hyskos can't be determined but were of sufficient compatibility to be said to be related to Canaan and Palestine.

The 70 or so people of the House of Jacob also included slaves, concubines, extended family, workers, etc. Abe had a fairly large group he armed at one point so one should consider it to be larger by this point. Regardless, no matter the number if Joseph made his deal with a Hyskos Pharaoh none of it would likely survive after Ahmose defeated them even if it had been etched into stone on monuments as they tried to erase pretty much all of the Hyskos following their defeat.

There are also cuneiform clay tablets such as used by Assyria (Sumer) which have been found that add some knowledge regarding this period.

 The only Asiatics (people from Palestine and the Middle East were so called Asiatics by the Egyptians) were the Hyskos. The Hyskos ruled lower Egypt from around 1670 BCE to 1570-1527 BCE. It's unclear exactly when Pharaoh Ahmose conquered them and drove them out of lower Egypt and the time period of his reign is disputed. What isn't disputed is that after 30 years of war against them they were driven out. It's also not clear if all of them were driven out or just the leaders. The Egyptians to guard against such future incursions built many forts along their borders in Sinai, something you should keep in mind when we discuss the supposed 40 year Trek shortly. These forts have been found and studied by archaeologists.

k

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I never said the Hebrews were the Hyskos, I suggested they could have been the ones Joseph and company made their arraignment with.

Their is nothing to support Ahmose is the new pharaoh other than conjecture.

Sorry, I was not making a statement of what you might have said, just trying to clarify some historical points.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The claim in Exodus 1:9 is that the Hebrews were greater in number and mightier than they were. This does not make sense in light of the claims of Ahmose that he drove out the Hyskos. If the Hebrews were living in and with the Hyskos, there is no reason to think that they would not have been driven out forcefully along with them. Why would they stay to be captured and held as slaves? Why would the Hyskos leave them behind if they were slaves? Or if they were allies with the Hyskos, why would they stay behind when their friends were driven out of lower Egypt?

Too many questions are generated by suggesting that the Hebrews were still in the Delta after the Hyskos were driven out. Do you have an explanation?

lemme see if i can find out more about what was going on.  I'll have to get back to you on it...

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

caposkia wrote:

Perhaps you need to look at the battle of Qadesh in 1275 BCE and the history thereafter when Egypt and the Hittites signed a peace treaty in 1263 BCE. Egypt and the Hittites split control of Palestine and the very important trade routes. Circa 1213 BCE Pharaoh Merenptah claims in a stele that he basically wiped out Israel saying their "seed is not". The 'sea peoples eventually over run the Hittites around 1200 BCE and are held at bay by Merenptah. Ramses III defeats them in 1174 BCE ending the problem at least in Egypt. Yes there are periods after Ramses IV that have little foreign policy of Egypt documented and some dark periods for Assyria and Babylon too, but that doesn't automatically allow Hebrew invasions of Canaan to be more than a few nomadic tribes of hundreds. Certainly not 600,000.

I think we agree that the numbers here were greatly inflated.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Instead of 600,000 I might consider 60 or 600 men clearly not 600K. 600 would be a large tribal nomadic group and is far more likely. There were such groups and even much smaller who were nomadic in nature. Of course there is nothing to prove if they worshiped Ra, Yahweh, or Enlil.

For such a small number, of course there isn't anything to prove such.  Though in context of the conversation, it doesn't seem that this is what was in question.  

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
 

I'll try to go further with this regarding Moses and the Exodus next time, specifically why it's unlikely to be real world based and the case the Israelites, Judahites were really basically other groups who moved in like the Canaanites giving up nomadic life and settling permanently.

...and i'll get back to you on your question.


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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I don't disagree that The Bible will have errors no different than any other book of legends and myths written by unknowing men trying to explain a world far beyond their understanding. The difference with me is I see nothing in it at all to attribute to 'divinely inspired'. If there are such parts then this may be a subject for another thread whereupon you can present what is 'divinely inspired' versus what is not. I personally don't know how one can determine what is and what is not inspired in these stories and have yet to see a good case made that provides sufficient evidence that any of it is more than ancient myths and legends with some history blended in just as all the other ancient stories as in Gilgamesh Ba'al Cycle etc. But you are most certainly welcome to try and explain.

I definitely dont' think I could sit down and pull out the divine vs. ... whatever you want to call it.  I think the understanding is that the stories themselves are divinely inspired... The details within are written down to the best of the author's understanding of what they were told/shown and what they understand of the world around them thus leaving any and ever part of any story open for error.

 

Which causes all the different interpretations by the various faiths and denominations. In some cases the believer claims all is true while in other cases they see it differently and argue as you do that the poor writer only could document to his ability to understand the world. Then there is the claim that nearly all of it is metaphorical and little actually occurred.

This is very important in that most of the faiths in various Christian denominations base concepts and foundations on several thousand year old writings that are extremely misunderstood and used in new ways compared to what the descendants of the originators claim they mean. One thing I always argue with Christians is you need to have an understanding of what Jewish belief was at the time and explain why the Jews were incorrect in their interpretations of their own writing. As Christianity is not Judaism and took a complete new direction it is on you the Christian to show in detail why the Jews were in error and fully document those errors. So far I've not heard anything substantial from any Christian that does so. You can try yourself when we get to the prophets because that's where so much of the difference occurs between Christianity and Judaism.

And again, so far in our journey I still see nothing more than legends and myths that are no different than any other ancient legend or myth from any other culture.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
 

I'll try to go further with this regarding Moses and the Exodus next time, specifically why it's unlikely to be real world based and the case the Israelites, Judahites were really basically other groups who moved in like the Canaanites giving up nomadic life and settling permanently.

...and i'll get back to you on your question.

The Moses adventure begins with his supposed birth by a Hebrew slave. There was supposedly at the time an edict from the pharaoh that if a boy child was born to them the Hebrew mid-wives should kill it. They did not follow this order and nothing is mentioned as to what punishment they received for disobedience. Moses is born and kept 3 months by his mother until he was to noisy to hide. He was then put in a small ark and placed in the reeds in the river while his sister watched from afar. The Pharaoh's daughter came to wash herself at the river and heard the baby and had compassion on him realizing he was of the Hebrews. The sister then asked the Pharaoh's daughter if she should call a nurse of the Hebrew women. The Pharaoh's daughter agreed and said she would pay wages. The child grew and was brought to the Pharaoh's daughter and she called him Moses.

The problems with this little story are many. First off, it's unlikely with the culture of the Egyptians at the time a slave girl would have access to the Pharaoh's daughter. She of course could have been a slave in the service of the Pharaoh's daughter but that is not what one reads into the account. Second off, again why would royalty such as a princess be washing in the river unattended by her servants and guards? Why would she even be in the river in the first place and not in some extravagant pool in the royal palace? She most certainly could be compassionate but why would she in contradiction to her father the god-king of Egypt? Next, one needs to go to a later chapter in Exodus and Numbers to see the names of Moses' parents, perhaps not a big deal but it suggests later addition to give detail where omissions have occurred. The name of the Pharaoh is not mentioned nor is the name of the Pharaoh's daughter in this account. Since the Pharaoh's daughter was so integral to this account it is extremely strange her name is not mentioned.

After Moses has grown he observed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. He looked around and saw no man and so he slew the Egyptian. The next day he went out and 2 men of the Hebrews said to him why did you kill your fellow?  One asked if he was going to kill him as he did the Egyptian. Moses felt his action was known, When the Pharaoh heard of this event he sought to kill Moses but he had already fled to Midian.

More problems already with this short account that make no real sense. Moses was considered to be the son of the Pharaoh's daughter and as such he should have had the same power of life and death the rest of the royal family had in Egyptian culture. Moses killing anyone other than a royal family member was not an issue nor a reason for him to be in fear of his life. The account suggests that he killed an Egyptian that was beating a slave and one gets the idea it was a taskmaster or soldier he killed. If this was the case, so what?

And once again, the name of the Pharaoh is not mentioned.

So far this account smacks of myth and legend with nothing of substance at all. More later. Your turn to comment on the events so far and why you see them as anything in the real world and not just a myth.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


caposkia
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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Which causes all the different interpretations by the various faiths and denominations. In some cases the believer claims all is true while in other cases they see it differently and argue as you do that the poor writer only could document to his ability to understand the world. Then there is the claim that nearly all of it is metaphorical and little actually occurred.

This is true... until you actually sit down and study them.  Sure there are parts that aren't fully understood, but a logical thinker would simply say (We don't know for sure)  Unlike your assumption, denominational disagreements are actually formed from ignorance and lack of understanding. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

This is very important in that most of the faiths in various Christian denominations base concepts and foundations on several thousand year old writings that are extremely misunderstood and used in new ways compared to what the descendants of the originators claim they mean. One thing I always argue with Christians is you need to have an understanding of what Jewish belief was at the time and explain why the Jews were incorrect in their interpretations of their own writing. As Christianity is not Judaism and took a complete new direction it is on you the Christian to show in detail why the Jews were in error and fully document those errors. So far I've not heard anything substantial from any Christian that does so. You can try yourself when we get to the prophets because that's where so much of the difference occurs between Christianity and Judaism.

I'll work on that.  It's funny you mention that because it's my understanding that to be a Christian, you should understand the Jewish misinterpretations... otherwise, why not be a Jew?

I'm actually surprised you haven't gotten anything legitimate back from any Christian.  The gosples themselves (the basis of 99% of all Christian followings) are all over the misinterpretations of the Jews.  It's why Jesus was crucified... They didn't understand who He was and refused to accept what he was saying.  Even ones who followed Him in the Gospels questioned whether he was really the Christ;  "...'Who then is this, that even the wind adn the sea obey Him?'" MK4:41 (showing that though they were following Jesus, they still didn't understand who He was. )

What about John the Baptist questioning whether he was the one... How about the trials of them asking Him if he was the one, then when He answers them positively they automatically accuse him of Blasphemy because they truly believed He was not though he was fulfilling their prophesies to the T.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

And again, so far in our journey I still see nothing more than legends and myths that are no different than any other ancient legend or myth from any other culture.

And you will until you start seeking God.  You will see what you know to be true and nothing more and there are many reasons for that.

Though I thought the point of this was just to run through it for fun?

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
 

I'll try to go further with this regarding Moses and the Exodus next time, specifically why it's unlikely to be real world based and the case the Israelites, Judahites were really basically other groups who moved in like the Canaanites giving up nomadic life and settling permanently.

Ok. Though I have to say you've been saying that a lot and unfortunately instead of showing me why something has been unlikely to have happened, we have discovered that you cannot logically conclude that due to lack of historical information. 

In response to what I said I'd get back to you about and to close that envelope of this part of our study, the Israelites were not the Hyksos (just to clarify), and the Exodus did not happen when the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt (circa 1500BCE). Now, Christian commentators disagree about when exactly the Exodus took place. Some say around 1440 BCE (at least 60 years after the Hyksos). Others say around 1260 BCE (many hundred years after the Hyksos). Those who take the later date suppose that the Hyksos may have been in power when Joseph first arrived in Egypt. Nevertheless, there is no reason to expect that every last asiatic was pushed out of Egypt. Quite the contrary, as some later Pharoah's make use of Asiatics in their army when fighting Libyans. Either way, it's unlikely that the Israelites would have been a large enough contingent to deserve being pushed out.

At any rate, I know of no data (nor do my sources) that would associate the two groups--other than them both being Asiatics.  the Hyksos controlled what was called "lower egypt" but that did not mean that there were no Egyptians left in lower Egypt. It did not mean that only Hyksos lived there, or even that the Hyksos were the only asiatics living there. The Hyksos are merely the ruling dynasty at that time. They are a dynasty of foreigners, and likely included a number of people not in the royal family. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The Moses adventure begins with his supposed birth by a Hebrew slave. There was supposedly at the time an edict from the pharaoh that if a boy child was born to them the Hebrew mid-wives should kill it. They did not follow this order and nothing is mentioned as to what punishment they received for disobedience.

Bible says the birth was kept secret.  If she birthed a baby and then it mysteriously disappeared... I think its pretty clear what would have been assumed and no questions I'm sure would have been asked. 

Either way, if they were caught, what relevence to the story would it have been to elaborate on their punishment?

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Moses is born and kept 3 months by his mother until he was to noisy to hide. He was then put in a small ark and placed in the reeds in the river while his sister watched from afar. The Pharaoh's daughter came to wash herself at the river and heard the baby and had compassion on him realizing he was of the Hebrews. The sister then asked the Pharaoh's daughter if she should call a nurse of the Hebrew women. The Pharaoh's daughter agreed and said she would pay wages. The child grew and was brought to the Pharaoh's daughter and she called him Moses.

The problems with this little story are many. First off, it's unlikely with the culture of the Egyptians at the time a slave girl would have access to the Pharaoh's daughter.

Though if she asked for it, how many would deny it to her?  Who's to say the conversations would not have lead to what was written?

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

She of course could have been a slave in the service of the Pharaoh's daughter but that is not what one reads into the account. Second off, again why would royalty such as a princess be washing in the river unattended by her servants and guards? Why would she even be in the river in the first place and not in some extravagant pool in the royal palace? She most certainly could be compassionate but why would she in contradiction to her father the god-king of Egypt?

who said she was completely unattended?  If you look into history, from what I understand, it was not uncommon for royalty to wash in a river be it that it would be the freshest water they'd have access to. 

As far as compassion against her father's will.  She's a woman who found a Baby she knew was abandoned... need I say more? 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Next, one needs to go to a later chapter in Exodus and Numbers to see the names of Moses' parents, perhaps not a big deal but it suggests later addition to give detail where omissions have occurred. The name of the Pharaoh is not mentioned nor is the name of the Pharaoh's daughter in this account. Since the Pharaoh's daughter was so integral to this account it is extremely strange her name is not mentioned.

After Moses has grown he observed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. He looked around and saw no man and so he slew the Egyptian. The next day he went out and 2 men of the Hebrews said to him why did you kill your fellow?  One asked if he was going to kill him as he did the Egyptian. Moses felt his action was known, When the Pharaoh heard of this event he sought to kill Moses but he had already fled to Midian.

More problems already with this short account that make no real sense. Moses was considered to be the son of the Pharaoh's daughter and as such he should have had the same power of life and death the rest of the royal family had in Egyptian culture.

For the daughters sake, they allowed her to keep Him.  Therefore, he may not have been viewed as the same.  The Bible doesn't say either way.  Next when royalty kills, usually there's a reason... granted not all the time, but the only one who can just kill to kill usually is the king or queen... or pharoah in this case.  The daughter would have needed to ask him to kill someone or at least get permission from him before she did so.  Thus she would have needed again at least permission to do so.  

Beyond that, it's different if they are blood relation.  Of course if the daughter did such, it would have been different.  Also very different if Moses was born to the Pharoah or his daughter specifically.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
 

Moses killing anyone other than a royal family member was not an issue nor a reason for him to be in fear of his life. The account suggests that he killed an Egyptian that was beating a slave and one gets the idea it was a taskmaster or soldier he killed. If this was the case, so what?

And once again, the name of the Pharaoh is not mentioned.

So far this account smacks of myth and legend with nothing of substance at all. More later. Your turn to comment on the events so far and why you see them as anything in the real world and not just a myth.

So far, you've brought nothing substancial to the surface that would make me question the legitimacy of this story.  The Mosaic Laws became the foundation of Law for the land.  It would make no sense to me that such a story would be taken so seriously as to implement the Laws put forth in it and enforce them governmentally if it is as you say myth. 

I can put to question what you did to any historical document.  Does it really make it true or not? 

A lot of my belief in this story stems off of belief in the rest of scripture and my relationship with God.  There is not much in the way of historical evidence that I'm aware of of the story of Moses.  Rightfully so be it that much of Mosaic happenings would be unexplainable tangeably. 

If you have something significant that you think is detremental to the validity of this story, I'll do my best to research it. 


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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Which causes all the different interpretations by the various faiths and denominations. In some cases the believer claims all is true while in other cases they see it differently and argue as you do that the poor writer only could document to his ability to understand the world. Then there is the claim that nearly all of it is metaphorical and little actually occurred.

This is true... until you actually sit down and study them.  Sure there are parts that aren't fully understood, but a logical thinker would simply say (We don't know for sure)  Unlike your assumption, denominational disagreements are actually formed from ignorance and lack of understanding.

IMHO, the best answer to any relevancy of OT writing to reality is simply I don't know or have a clue when there is nothing else to substantiate it as being part of the real world. When conjecture is introduced as many denominations have done it is simply unwarranted assumptions and interpolation to justify their beliefs. I realize that Christianity is a belief system where the concepts cannot be proven in most cases. The problem is theists in general make the claim that such and such really occurred as in the case of Moses and the Exodus wherein there is nothing of substance that validates such was the case.

My position or as you say my assumption is simply with no proof of an event being in the real world especially when the events contain unrealistic occurrences such as miracles and magic (fiery pillars, seas parting, hail that is of fire, burning bushes, etc) than such an event or story is mythical or a legend. In order for my consideration of such an event to be real world based I require corroborating evidence which is not present in the story of Moses and the Exodus. Arguments that suggest that either we haven't yet found the archaeological artifacts or corroborating written evidence are only speculative and conjecture and change not at all the fact that it is still a belief held without evidence except of course from a book that has unbelievable occurrence in similarity to other mythical books of antiquity.

 

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

This is very important in that most of the faiths in various Christian denominations base concepts and foundations on several thousand year old writings that are extremely misunderstood and used in new ways compared to what the descendants of the originators claim they mean. One thing I always argue with Christians is you need to have an understanding of what Jewish belief was at the time and explain why the Jews were incorrect in their interpretations of their own writing. As Christianity is not Judaism and took a complete new direction it is on you the Christian to show in detail why the Jews were in error and fully document those errors. So far I've not heard anything substantial from any Christian that does so. You can try yourself when we get to the prophets because that's where so much of the difference occurs between Christianity and Judaism.

I'll work on that.  It's funny you mention that because it's my understanding that to be a Christian, you should understand the Jewish misinterpretations... otherwise, why not be a Jew?

I'm actually surprised you haven't gotten anything legitimate back from any Christian.  The gosples themselves (the basis of 99% of all Christian followings) are all over the misinterpretations of the Jews.  It's why Jesus was crucified... They didn't understand who He was and refused to accept what he was saying.  Even ones who followed Him in the Gospels questioned whether he was really the Christ;  "...'Who then is this, that even the wind adn the sea obey Him?'" MK4:41 (showing that though they were following Jesus, they still didn't understand who He was. )

What about John the Baptist questioning whether he was the one... How about the trials of them asking Him if he was the one, then when He answers them positively they automatically accuse him of Blasphemy because they truly believed He was not though he was fulfilling their prophesies to the T.

So, why aren't you a Jew? Jesus was a Jew and he is described as a very pious Jew and extremely knowledgeable or a master or teacher, a rabbi even.

In general Christians do not know what Judaism comprises and they seem clueless regarding what Jewish understanding of the Moshiarch (Messiah) was prophesied to accomplish. Their views have been tainted by the supposed Christian (Pauline) interpretations and don't see any other way to study it. In effect, you must disregard all that you know RE Christian interpretation and look at the Jewish prophecies as they would have prior to Pauline influences.

As to Gospel claims they didn't recognize Jesus as the one, its for good reason as he is not what was described as the Moshiarch in the understanding of their prophecies. John the Baptist had possibilities as well but alas he too was executed prior to bringing in the Kingdom of God as described in prophecies.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

And again, so far in our journey I still see nothing more than legends and myths that are no different than any other ancient legend or myth from any other culture.

And you will until you start seeking God.  You will see what you know to be true and nothing more and there are many reasons for that.

Though I thought the point of this was just to run through it for fun?

Clearly this is for fun as I quite understand you will not change your position or beliefs and short of a verifiable miracle or appearance by the god or gods in question neither will I. I enjoy the discussions though I realize nothing will come of it in change of acceptance or not of beliefs.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
 

I'll try to go further with this regarding Moses and the Exodus next time, specifically why it's unlikely to be real world based and the case the Israelites, Judahites were really basically other groups who moved in like the Canaanites giving up nomadic life and settling permanently.

Ok. Though I have to say you've been saying that a lot and unfortunately instead of showing me why something has been unlikely to have happened, we have discovered that you cannot logically conclude that due to lack of historical information.

The problem is we are still in ancient Egypt prior to the events supposedly occurring in Canaan and it is a complete new direction and discussion that will take an entire post to describe with adequate references for your consideration and study. In the present discussion, there is nothing that substantiates Hebrews were in great abundance as suggested in Exodus. There is the same evidence regarding stories of Sumer that you possibly do not accept as reality based as well. These stories as in the case of Moses are written and have been preserved, such as Gilgamesh and Adapa yet beyond that you likely consider than to be mythical. Perhaps they too have basis in the real world and have been poorly interpreted or understood as many suggest of the OT. Similarly, I have no proof Enki the Sumerian god had his adventures in our reality any more than Moses. Do you understand? As a skeptic I do not accept only a story from ancient times as reflecting a historical occurrence. Stories of antiquity are just that stories. If there is any reality within it is indeterminate at this point. As ancient stories from all over the world all generally demonstrate inadequate understanding of science and the actual reasons and causes of natural events they reflect the ignorance of the people involved regarding nature and science. That many attributed things that occurred to gods only reflects this ignorance and in no way substantiates any gods were reality based nor should any of these stories be considered to be describing real world events without corroborating evidence from the time period.

caposkia wrote:

In response to what I said I'd get back to you about and to close that envelope of this part of our study, the Israelites were not the Hyksos (just to clarify), and the Exodus did not happen when the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt (circa 1500BCE). Now, Christian commentators disagree about when exactly the Exodus took place. Some say around 1440 BCE (at least 60 years after the Hyksos). Others say around 1260 BCE (many hundred years after the Hyksos). Those who take the later date suppose that the Hyksos may have been in power when Joseph first arrived in Egypt. Nevertheless, there is no reason to expect that every last asiatic was pushed out of Egypt. Quite the contrary, as some later Pharoah's make use of Asiatics in their army when fighting Libyans. Either way, it's unlikely that the Israelites would have been a large enough contingent to deserve being pushed out.

At any rate, I know of no data (nor do my sources) that would associate the two groups--other than them both being Asiatics.  the Hyksos controlled what was called "lower egypt" but that did not mean that there were no Egyptians left in lower Egypt. It did not mean that only Hyksos lived there, or even that the Hyksos were the only asiatics living there. The Hyksos are merely the ruling dynasty at that time. They are a dynasty of foreigners, and likely included a number of people not in the royal family.

I'm aware that the Hebrews were not likely to be the Hebrews. I'm aware of the conjecture that the ruling class that Joseph may have been associated may have been Hyskos pharoahs and as such evidence does not exist outside of the OT story in Genesis. Genesis dates from a future period far after the supposed events regarding Joseph whether it be Moses or a writer in later Judah or even at the time of Ezra. The story of Joseph and Hebrews in Egypt was written years later and is not based on 1st person accounts. This helps to account for the lack of names other than the major Hebrew characters.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The Moses adventure begins with his supposed birth by a Hebrew slave. There was supposedly at the time an edict from the pharaoh that if a boy child was born to them the Hebrew mid-wives should kill it. They did not follow this order and nothing is mentioned as to what punishment they received for disobedience.

Bible says the birth was kept secret.  If she birthed a baby and then it mysteriously disappeared... I think its pretty clear what would have been assumed and no questions I'm sure would have been asked. 

Either way, if they were caught, what relevence to the story would it have been to elaborate on their punishment?

Incomplete stories written in this fashion are done to advocate or promote certain ideas, in this case a basis or origin for the Hebrews that become the Judahites and possibly the Israelites. The general populace who could not generally read or write would not question it and possibly never even heard of it beyond vague storytelling.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Moses is born and kept 3 months by his mother until he was to noisy to hide. He was then put in a small ark and placed in the reeds in the river while his sister watched from afar. The Pharaoh's daughter came to wash herself at the river and heard the baby and had compassion on him realizing he was of the Hebrews. The sister then asked the Pharaoh's daughter if she should call a nurse of the Hebrew women. The Pharaoh's daughter agreed and said she would pay wages. The child grew and was brought to the Pharaoh's daughter and she called him Moses.

The problems with this little story are many. First off, it's unlikely with the culture of the Egyptians at the time a slave girl would have access to the Pharaoh's daughter.

Though if she asked for it, how many would deny it to her?  Who's to say the conversations would not have lead to what was written?

See previous comments. The story is very fantastic and as I said really is questionable regarding slaves and royalty. As questions cause doubt, that's all that is required. This entire episode is unsubstantiated and as such as a skeptic I do not consider it to have real world connections. No names, no dates, no descriptions as during the reign of such and such, it should be questioned. Even Assyrian and Babylonian stories and glory writing have dates of kings reign included in the BS. Not in the ancient god legends but in later tales of adventures regarding major characters.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

She of course could have been a slave in the service of the Pharaoh's daughter but that is not what one reads into the account. Second off, again why would royalty such as a princess be washing in the river unattended by her servants and guards? Why would she even be in the river in the first place and not in some extravagant pool in the royal palace? She most certainly could be compassionate but why would she in contradiction to her father the god-king of Egypt?

who said she was completely unattended?  If you look into history, from what I understand, it was not uncommon for royalty to wash in a river be it that it would be the freshest water they'd have access to. 

As far as compassion against her father's will.  She's a woman who found a Baby she knew was abandoned... need I say more?

Perhaps. The story is vague so you can construe whatever you want.

As to compassion, possible but ethnic discrimination has existed for as long as man has.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Next, one needs to go to a later chapter in Exodus and Numbers to see the names of Moses' parents, perhaps not a big deal but it suggests later addition to give detail where omissions have occurred. The name of the Pharaoh is not mentioned nor is the name of the Pharaoh's daughter in this account. Since the Pharaoh's daughter was so integral to this account it is extremely strange her name is not mentioned.

After Moses has grown he observed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. He looked around and saw no man and so he slew the Egyptian. The next day he went out and 2 men of the Hebrews said to him why did you kill your fellow?  One asked if he was going to kill him as he did the Egyptian. Moses felt his action was known, When the Pharaoh heard of this event he sought to kill Moses but he had already fled to Midian.

More problems already with this short account that make no real sense. Moses was considered to be the son of the Pharaoh's daughter and as such he should have had the same power of life and death the rest of the royal family had in Egyptian culture.

For the daughters sake, they allowed her to keep Him.  Therefore, he may not have been viewed as the same.  The Bible doesn't say either way.  Next when royalty kills, usually there's a reason... granted not all the time, but the only one who can just kill to kill usually is the king or queen... or pharoah in this case.  The daughter would have needed to ask him to kill someone or at least get permission from him before she did so.  Thus she would have needed again at least permission to do so.  

Beyond that, it's different if they are blood relation.  Of course if the daughter did such, it would have been different.  Also very different if Moses was born to the Pharoah or his daughter specifically.

Again, perhaps. As Egyptian traditions and justice is very hard to read from stone monuments who can say for sure. Generally however royalty has some power over underlings including life/death but it doesn't indicate this on the monuments of Egypt either way.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
 

Moses killing anyone other than a royal family member was not an issue nor a reason for him to be in fear of his life. The account suggests that he killed an Egyptian that was beating a slave and one gets the idea it was a taskmaster or soldier he killed. If this was the case, so what?

And once again, the name of the Pharaoh is not mentioned.

So far this account smacks of myth and legend with nothing of substance at all. More later. Your turn to comment on the events so far and why you see them as anything in the real world and not just a myth.

So far, you've brought nothing substancial to the surface that would make me question the legitimacy of this story.  The Mosaic Laws became the foundation of Law for the land.  It would make no sense to me that such a story would be taken so seriously as to implement the Laws put forth in it and enforce them governmentally if it is as you say myth. 

I can put to question what you did to any historical document.  Does it really make it true or not? 

A lot of my belief in this story stems off of belief in the rest of scripture and my relationship with God.  There is not much in the way of historical evidence that I'm aware of of the story of Moses.  Rightfully so be it that much of Mosaic happenings would be unexplainable tangeably. 

If you have something significant that you think is detremental to the validity of this story, I'll do my best to research it. 

This story cannot stand alone clearly for on its own it has no basis or corroborative evidence of substantial worth. As to using the rest of scripture for validation it is comparative to using Homer to substantiate Atlantis, Jason & the Argonauts or the Greek gods.

 

I'll get back to you in another day or 2 with more as I have a heavy work schedule right now.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


caposkia
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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

IMHO, the best answer to any relevancy of OT writing to reality is simply I don't know or have a clue when there is nothing else to substantiate it as being part of the real world. When conjecture is introduced as many denominations have done it is simply unwarranted assumptions and interpolation to justify their beliefs. I realize that Christianity is a belief system where the concepts cannot be proven in most cases. The problem is theists in general make the claim that such and such really occurred as in the case of Moses and the Exodus wherein there is nothing of substance that validates such was the case.

It's not the best answer, it's just something a logical thinker would say if we really just don't know.  BTW, i would like to point out;  that exact answer of 'we don't know yet' was given to me many times when challenging other non-believers as to certain focsued topics in science.  Therefore, it's a poor excuse to say it didn't happen. 

The basis for people beleiving in the Moses story is congruency with what is known from the Bible.  You can't discredit all of history because one topic lacking evidence.  In science, it becomes theory... which for some reason many people hang onto as if fact.  Yes theories are based on some evidences that point in the direction of the theory, so does the Moses story due to the congruency in what happened in history during that time and the location of certain people groups as well as the implementation of expectations that came from that story into the lives of many groups. 

Granted that has happened with many other groups as well, but if you follow the timeline, there's always a cause and reason for it.  Most timelines derive from Biblical basis strangely enough and have been manipulated by another aleged prophet.  This particular story... well, maybe we could say we don't know yet, but there is a lack of a timeline to the real life following and history of the people from what I understand.  (futher on timelines, see 'The Next Christiandom' by Jenkins')

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

My position or as you say my assumption is simply with no proof of an event being in the real world especially when the events contain unrealistic occurrences such as miracles and magic (fiery pillars, seas parting, hail that is of fire, burning bushes, etc) than such an event or story is mythical or a legend. In order for my consideration of such an event to be real world based I require corroborating evidence which is not present in the story of Moses and the Exodus. Arguments that suggest that either we haven't yet found the archaeological artifacts or corroborating written evidence are only speculative and conjecture and change not at all the fact that it is still a belief held without evidence except of course from a book that has unbelievable occurrence in similarity to other mythical books of antiquity.

It is interesting that you mention the fiery pillars etc.  There are scientific explanations to how people think they could have happened.  Of course the Bible is not a scientific document and would not elaborate on the details of how those events came to be.  Sure they're all miracles of God, though it is understood by the free-thinking Christians that God uses natural means of intervention much of the time. 

Beyond that, you claim to need a corroboration of evidences.  Sure ok.  though exactly what would those evidences be?  Obviously congruency in history won't work for you because other stories do that as well.  Science?  Geology?  Seems geology might not pass for you either.  It seems that you will dismiss any congruent history be it that many fictional stories would do the same thing and errors in the Biblical stories due to a logical lack of knowlege from the writer only further your disbelief. This forum is about history.  So what are you expecting out of this?  i'm expecting a fun runthrough of scripture.

Just to elaborate a bit further, from the evidences you've presented to me for not believing.  I have to say you have just as much evidence for such.  Or a lack thereof I guess.  I have explained I think fairly efficiently so far the parts that were in question for you in Genesis up until specifically Moses.  Keep in mind I said there's no history that i'm aware of that supports Moses.  What was done and what he did?  I'd have to look futher into that.  I don't know that history well enough yet. I'll keep checking into it.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

So, why aren't you a Jew? Jesus was a Jew and he is described as a very pious Jew and extremely knowledgeable or a master or teacher, a rabbi even.

I'm not because I believe he was in fact the messiah prophesied in the OT.  Jews today do not believe that Jesus was the long awaited messiah.  From what I understand, they didn't and don't believe because they misinterpreted their scriptures.  Isaiah seems to clarify it sufficiently for me, though I know there are many many other locations in the OT that further clarify Jesus as the messiah.  I'm sure as long as we continue, we'll touch on all of them.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

In general Christians do not know what Judaism comprises and they seem clueless regarding what Jewish understanding of the Moshiarch (Messiah) was prophesied to accomplish. Their views have been tainted by the supposed Christian (Pauline) interpretations and don't see any other way to study it. In effect, you must disregard all that you know RE Christian interpretation and look at the Jewish prophecies as they would have prior to Pauline influences.

Sure, that makes sense.  It's basically what I had to do to be in the following I am today.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

As to Gospel claims they didn't recognize Jesus as the one, its for good reason as he is not what was described as the Moshiarch in the understanding of their prophecies. John the Baptist had possibilities as well but alas he too was executed prior to bringing in the Kingdom of God as described in prophecies.

So it seems you feel different as well about the prophesies.  This will be an interesting conversation when we get to it.  Might be a long time coming yet.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The problem is we are still in ancient Egypt prior to the events supposedly occurring in Canaan and it is a complete new direction and discussion that will take an entire post to describe with adequate references for your consideration and study. In the present discussion, there is nothing that substantiates Hebrews were in great abundance as suggested in Exodus. There is the same evidence regarding stories of Sumer that you possibly do not accept as reality based as well. These stories as in the case of Moses are written and have been preserved, such as Gilgamesh and Adapa yet beyond that you likely consider than to be mythical. Perhaps they too have basis in the real world and have been poorly interpreted or understood as many suggest of the OT. Similarly, I have no proof Enki the Sumerian god had his adventures in our reality any more than Moses. Do you understand? As a skeptic I do not accept only a story from ancient times as reflecting a historical occurrence. Stories of antiquity are just that stories. If there is any reality within it is indeterminate at this point. As ancient stories from all over the world all generally demonstrate inadequate understanding of science and the actual reasons and causes of natural events they reflect the ignorance of the people involved regarding nature and science. That many attributed things that occurred to gods only reflects this ignorance and in no way substantiates any gods were reality based nor should any of these stories be considered to be describing real world events without corroborating evidence from the time period.

It is logical to assume that science wouldn't play a big part in any historical writing be it that science was not really at all understood in the ancient world. 

I completely understand your perspective, please don't get me wrong.  Do you understand that I take the same approach with you?  I have walked away from all of it.  to make a long story short, I grew up catholic, then my parents devorced and my father married a Jehovah's Witness.  Both my church and my father were telling me 2 different ways of knowing the God I was taught to love.  I pulled away from both and did my own research only to find both were wrong.  From there I started from scratch willing to accept either way whether God was real or not.  Obviously my research at this point has led me to God.  I will always accept a challenge againt my belief, but only will accept something substantial against it just like you. 

The funny thing is, the more people challenge me on this site, the stronger I am in my belief. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

See previous comments. The story is very fantastic and as I said really is questionable regarding slaves and royalty. As questions cause doubt, that's all that is required. This entire episode is unsubstantiated and as such as a skeptic I do not consider it to have real world connections. No names, no dates, no descriptions as during the reign of such and such, it should be questioned. Even Assyrian and Babylonian stories and glory writing have dates of kings reign included in the BS. Not in the ancient god legends but in later tales of adventures regarding major characters.

Of course, everything should be questioned.  Even the lack of evidence for the assumption that it didn't happen.  Granted it's questionable, but think of the source as well.  This was not some government entity or even an entity of power that told or withheld that story.  The concern for the story was not the details of the people so as much as the details of what happened.  Source is everything when it comes to how and why a story was written the way it was. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Perhaps. The story is vague so you can construe whatever you want.

Sure, that part is, it's not relevent to detail that.  I've always said if everyone really got the details they seem to be expecting in the Bible in order to believe in it, you'd need a whole library to hold all of the information.  How much detail would you expect in a story that was about the Hebrews escape from slavery?  Of coures be it that the story is about the people, the birth of Moses wouldn't need such an introduction, just an explanation on how he survived to do what he needed to, which seems to be clear.

When I explain, I try not to contrue whatever i want, but instead use a logical means of deduction as to what probably happened based in real life.  You can dismiss it, but there's nothing more to support your point of view as well.  It's not worth getting stuck on in my opinion. 

If it's all of the small stuff that seem to be triping you up in your following of the Christian God, then I guess life has been a disappointment for you as well Eye-wink.  Just another deductive response.  Please don't read too much into it.  Wasn't meant to be offensive or derogatory.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

As to compassion, possible but ethnic discrimination has existed for as long as man has.

as well with compassion, which again leads us to a stalemate in the topic at hand.  We can both assume either side and in the end, we've made no progress due to lack of support for both points of view focusing on the story.

 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Again, perhaps. As Egyptian traditions and justice is very hard to read from stone monuments who can say for sure. Generally however royalty has some power over underlings including life/death but it doesn't indicate this on the monuments of Egypt either way.

ok

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
 

This story cannot stand alone clearly for on its own it has no basis or corroborative evidence of substantial worth. As to using the rest of scripture for validation it is comparative to using Homer to substantiate Atlantis, Jason & the Argonauts or the Greek gods.

The problem with validity in this story I think is the lack of a source for the following in the first place.  As i said, there is evidence for most cultural followings as far as a source for the way of life.  Who or what was this source?  No culture as far as i can tell has followed something so closely when there was no significant being to point to for reference.  What is the cause of the Exodus being such a widespread impact on the Jewish societies if not for the God of the Bible?  That I think is a question that would need answering for me to consider otherwise at this point. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I'll get back to you in another day or 2 with more as I have a heavy work schedule right now.

Please take your time.  don't worry.  family, friends, and work come first always.  Thanks for letting me know.  I can't wait to hear more. 


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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

IMHO, the best answer to any relevancy of OT writing to reality is simply I don't know or have a clue when there is nothing else to substantiate it as being part of the real world. When conjecture is introduced as many denominations have done it is simply unwarranted assumptions and interpolation to justify their beliefs. I realize that Christianity is a belief system where the concepts cannot be proven in most cases. The problem is theists in general make the claim that such and such really occurred as in the case of Moses and the Exodus wherein there is nothing of substance that validates such was the case.

It's not the best answer, it's just something a logical thinker would say if we really just don't know.  BTW, i would like to point out;  that exact answer of 'we don't know yet' was given to me many times when challenging other non-believers as to certain focsued topics in science.  Therefore, it's a poor excuse to say it didn't happen.

So if you think that it's a poor excuse to say the Moses story didn't happen or to hold it in a state of suspension,  it's also a poor excuse to say you don't know or dismiss the Sumerian creation story of Enki. How do you know for sure that it wasn't badly translated or misunderstood and Enki really existed doing many of the activities described? Enki could be from an advanced civilization who started life or Earth and those who finally wrote about it did so with poor understanding.

caposkia wrote:

The basis for people beleiving in the Moses story is congruency with what is known from the Bible.  You can't discredit all of history because one topic lacking evidence.

What history am I discrediting? Purported history from the Bible? Egyptian history seems to be missing the chapter on Moses. The history of Sumer, Assyria, ancient Babylon, Mitani, and the Hitites also seem to have neglected the stories of the Hebrews and the Israelites as well. They have their own stories but don't seem to generally take notice of a band of nomads in the deserts of Sinai and highlands of Canaan.

caposkia wrote:

  In science, it becomes theory... which for some reason many people hang onto as if fact.  Yes theories are based on some evidences that point in the direction of the theory, so does the Moses story due to the congruency in what happened in history during that time and the location of certain people groups as well as the implementation of expectations that came from that story into the lives of many groups.

You're welcome to consider the OT and its supposed occurrences as a theory. You're also welcome to attempt to prove it as well. Show me your parallels and connections that support the Exodus and the invasion of Canaan if you have any sources.

Science evolves as more understanding occurs. Theories are refined and some are abandoned. We still have much to learn and understand. Moses and much of the OT should be considered in the same way. As far as I see, the beliefs based on Genesis up to this point, they have little support to show they are any more likely to be part of our reality than do the stories from Sumer. Neither one has me convinced that they are little more than ancient myths or story telling so far.

caposkia wrote:

Granted that has happened with many other groups as well, but if you follow the timeline, there's always a cause and reason for it.  Most timelines derive from Biblical basis strangely enough and have been manipulated by another aleged prophet.  This particular story... well, maybe we could say we don't know yet, but there is a lack of a timeline to the real life following and history of the people from what I understand.  (futher on timelines, see 'The Next Christiandom' by Jenkins')

What time period do you suggest for the events of Moses including the Exodus and invasion of Canaan?

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

My position or as you say my assumption is simply with no proof of an event being in the real world especially when the events contain unrealistic occurrences such as miracles and magic (fiery pillars, seas parting, hail that is of fire, burning bushes, etc) than such an event or story is mythical or a legend. In order for my consideration of such an event to be real world based I require corroborating evidence which is not present in the story of Moses and the Exodus. Arguments that suggest that either we haven't yet found the archaeological artifacts or corroborating written evidence are only speculative and conjecture and change not at all the fact that it is still a belief held without evidence except of course from a book that has unbelievable occurrence in similarity to other mythical books of antiquity.

It is interesting that you mention the fiery pillars etc.  There are scientific explanations to how people think they could have happened.  Of course the Bible is not a scientific document and would not elaborate on the details of how those events came to be.  Sure they're all miracles of God, though it is understood by the free-thinking Christians that God uses natural means of intervention much of the time. 

Beyond that, you claim to need a corroboration of evidences.  Sure ok.  though exactly what would those evidences be?  Obviously congruency in history won't work for you because other stories do that as well.  Science?  Geology?  Seems geology might not pass for you either.  It seems that you will dismiss any congruent history be it that many fictional stories would do the same thing and errors in the Biblical stories due to a logical lack of knowlege from the writer only further your disbelief. This forum is about history.  So what are you expecting out of this?  i'm expecting a fun runthrough of scripture.

Just to elaborate a bit further, from the evidences you've presented to me for not believing.  I have to say you have just as much evidence for such.  Or a lack thereof I guess.  I have explained I think fairly efficiently so far the parts that were in question for you in Genesis up until specifically Moses.  Keep in mind I said there's no history that i'm aware of that supports Moses.  What was done and what he did?  I'd have to look futher into that.  I don't know that history well enough yet. I'll keep checking into it.

I've read some of the arguments regarding how such things as the fiery pillar occurred as well as how they crossed the"reed sea" not the Red Sea. Pretty much conjecture.

Geology and archeology would be a good step in proving that any of these events happened. So far I'm unaware of anything that indicates this in  either field.

As far as I'm also aware there's nothing elsewhere that supports Moses and the Exodus.

As to the history suggested by the Bible how can I tell if an event was real. Only by comparative support. So, in the case of Ahab I know he existed because he was discussed by other cultures. In the case of Israel being invaded by the Assyrians I know this occurred because of supporting history of others. What I don't know from this support from Assyrian sources is what exactly were the religions in Israel for example. I know that there were at the time discussed 2 countries, Judah and Israel. But, I can not tell from supporting sources exactly which god or gods were worshiped. Concluding that it was only Yahweh isn't even supported by the OT, so how can one even know?

My disbelief started early in the myths of Genesis and all that happened following does nothing to add much that suggests any of it was in our dimension of reality at all. I can't say that Adam wasn't a real man, but the first man, I think not. Maybe the 1st Hebrew of Yahweh believing ancestors, but I'm not sure even if that has any basis in reality. Canaan also had a god named El as was the name of Abraham's god as well. How can one know it isn't the same El of the Canaanite myths?

I agree this is a fun walk through or I wouldn't do it. It is interesting to compare perspectives in interpreting ancient writing and the OT even though we will not generally see things in the same way. Perspective can give new insight to understanding in directions that were never considered by either party.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

So, why aren't you a Jew? Jesus was a Jew and he is described as a very pious Jew and extremely knowledgeable or a master or teacher, a rabbi even.

I'm not because I believe he was in fact the messiah prophesied in the OT.  Jews today do not believe that Jesus was the long awaited messiah.  From what I understand, they didn't and don't believe because they misinterpreted their scriptures.  Isaiah seems to clarify it sufficiently for me, though I know there are many many other locations in the OT that further clarify Jesus as the messiah.  I'm sure as long as we continue, we'll touch on all of them.

The problem with your acceptance of Christianity over Jewish views is you don't understand what the Jews actually accept and why. Christianity from a Jewish point of view has completely warped and misunderstood what the promised messiah was all about and through Paulinity has developed into something that was never understood to be expected in Jewish understanding. Isaiah clarifies it adequately for the Jews as well and can show you exactly where you misunderstand what the moshiarch was supposed to be. Jews have abandoned using messiah generally because the Christians have adopted it as meaning Jesus which is not at all what the moshiarch was about at all.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

In general Christians do not know what Judaism comprises and they seem clueless regarding what Jewish understanding of the Moshiarch (Messiah) was prophesied to accomplish. Their views have been tainted by the supposed Christian (Pauline) interpretations and don't see any other way to study it. In effect, you must disregard all that you know RE Christian interpretation and look at the Jewish prophecies as they would have prior to Pauline influences.

Sure, that makes sense.  It's basically what I had to do to be in the following I am today.

So are you saying that you studied Judaism and Jewish understanding of the moshiarch in your quest for following your new path and rejected what they believe? If so please detail what it was in Jewish interpretations and prophecies that you saw as errant. If this is not what you mean we can discuss this more when we get to the prophets.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

As to Gospel claims they didn't recognize Jesus as the one, its for good reason as he is not what was described as the Moshiarch in the understanding of their prophecies. John the Baptist had possibilities as well but alas he too was executed prior to bringing in the Kingdom of God as described in prophecies.

So it seems you feel different as well about the prophesies.  This will be an interesting conversation when we get to it.  Might be a long time coming yet.

Time flies when you are having fun.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The problem is we are still in ancient Egypt prior to the events supposedly occurring in Canaan and it is a complete new direction and discussion that will take an entire post to describe with adequate references for your consideration and study. In the present discussion, there is nothing that substantiates Hebrews were in great abundance as suggested in Exodus. There is the same evidence regarding stories of Sumer that you possibly do not accept as reality based as well. These stories as in the case of Moses are written and have been preserved, such as Gilgamesh and Adapa yet beyond that you likely consider than to be mythical. Perhaps they too have basis in the real world and have been poorly interpreted or understood as many suggest of the OT. Similarly, I have no proof Enki the Sumerian god had his adventures in our reality any more than Moses. Do you understand? As a skeptic I do not accept only a story from ancient times as reflecting a historical occurrence. Stories of antiquity are just that stories. If there is any reality within it is indeterminate at this point. As ancient stories from all over the world all generally demonstrate inadequate understanding of science and the actual reasons and causes of natural events they reflect the ignorance of the people involved regarding nature and science. That many attributed things that occurred to gods only reflects this ignorance and in no way substantiates any gods were reality based nor should any of these stories be considered to be describing real world events without corroborating evidence from the time period.

It is logical to assume that science wouldn't play a big part in any historical writing be it that science was not really at all understood in the ancient world. 

I completely understand your perspective, please don't get me wrong.  Do you understand that I take the same approach with you?  I have walked away from all of it.  to make a long story short, I grew up catholic, then my parents devorced and my father married a Jehovah's Witness.  Both my church and my father were telling me 2 different ways of knowing the God I was taught to love.  I pulled away from both and did my own research only to find both were wrong.  From there I started from scratch willing to accept either way whether God was real or not.  Obviously my research at this point has led me to God.  I will always accept a challenge againt my belief, but only will accept something substantial against it just like you. 

The funny thing is, the more people challenge me on this site, the stronger I am in my belief.

Discussion is a good thing it helps people in the world with different views understand one another. This does not mean that the different views will suddenly merge into a combined understanding but it makes peaceful cooperation more likely.

 

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Perhaps. The story is vague so you can construe whatever you want.

Sure, that part is, it's not relevent to detail that.  I've always said if everyone really got the details they seem to be expecting in the Bible in order to believe in it, you'd need a whole library to hold all of the information.  How much detail would you expect in a story that was about the Hebrews escape from slavery?  Of coures be it that the story is about the people, the birth of Moses wouldn't need such an introduction, just an explanation on how he survived to do what he needed to, which seems to be clear.

When I explain, I try not to contrue whatever i want, but instead use a logical means of deduction as to what probably happened based in real life.  You can dismiss it, but there's nothing more to support your point of view as well.  It's not worth getting stuck on in my opinion. 

If it's all of the small stuff that seem to be triping you up in your following of the Christian God, then I guess life has been a disappointment for you as well Eye-wink.  Just another deductive response.  Please don't read too much into it.  Wasn't meant to be offensive or derogatory.

I consider these stories in light of what is known of the time period. I also don't consider the 1st person discussions to be real but conjecture and many case elaboration or even simple story telling. I don't think people walked around with recording devices at the time so narratives are generally creative writing much like story telling from all other ancient cultures.

Actually, I see everyday as an opportunity. I can learn something new. I can do something that makes a difference, sometime to only a single person. I have touched many people's lives in many ways and have left considerable impressions. There is nothing better than to learn more and have a positive effect on another in some way.

It's not just the small things in the OT that I find to be unlikely it's the big claims that are unsubstantiated and conflict with observed reality as well. Mostly we have been discussing 1st person or narrative accounts that have no connection whatsoever to any comparative source or support. In later parts of the OT this will change and there are major issues that conflict with supportive evidence including archeology and written history of other cultures.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
 

This story cannot stand alone clearly for on its own it has no basis or corroborative evidence of substantial worth. As to using the rest of scripture for validation it is comparative to using Homer to substantiate Atlantis, Jason & the Argonauts or the Greek gods.

The problem with validity in this story I think is the lack of a source for the following in the first place.  As i said, there is evidence for most cultural followings as far as a source for the way of life.  Who or what was this source?  No culture as far as i can tell has followed something so closely when there was no significant being to point to for reference.  What is the cause of the Exodus being such a widespread impact on the Jewish societies if not for the God of the Bible?  That I think is a question that would need answering for me to consider otherwise at this point.

The Greek and Roman gods were followed for a considerable time as were Oracles especially the Oracle at Delphi. What then were the sources for the acceptance by even larger groups of people than the Hebrews for such beliefs?

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


Atheistextremist
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Interesting reading chaps,

 

As usual. Just as an aside, is it thought any pivotal documents were destroyed when the library at Alexandria was burned - the diary of a young jesus, perhaps? I mean to be less flippant than I sound, BTW. It always bothers me that on the side of christianity there is so little known of the authors of the most important book ever written. My understanding is that there is no clear idea of who wrote the NT.

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist wrote: As

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

As usual. Just as an aside, is it thought any pivotal documents were destroyed when the library at Alexandria was burned - the diary of a young jesus, perhaps? I mean to be less flippant than I sound, BTW. It always bothers me that on the side of christianity there is so little known of the authors of the most important book ever written. My understanding is that there is no clear idea of who wrote the NT.

 

I'm sure many documents relating to many ancient occurances were destroyed in the multiple destructions of the Alexandria Library. The first burning of the Library may have occurred before the alleged time of Jesus when a fire spread from the docks supposedly set by Julius Caesar's soldiers in 48 BCE when they were cut off by the enemy. It may also have been sometime after Strabo wrote in 25 BCE but before Plutarch wrote in 100 CE when he attributed the fire to Caesar. Marc Anthony gave Cleopatra the 2nd largest collection of books at the time by plundering the library at Pergamon lending credibility to the libray's destruction at the time of Caesar.

There were 2 other libraries in Alexandria as well besides the Royal Library. One at the Serapeum Temple and another at the Cesarion Temple. Both of these were public libraires and are possibly the ones mentioned as destroyed in later accounts. In suppressing a revolt in Egypt by Queen Zenobia, Emperor Aurelian may have also destroyed a library in 273-4 CE. Then there is the decree by Emperor Theodosius in 391 to destroy all pagan temples. There were supposedly libraries in the temple of Serapeum at the time and books may have been burned though it's unlikely by then they were still there. There's the story the Muslims burned the library in 642 following the battle of Heliopolis but that story has been largely discredited.

As to a Jesus diary, why would it be in Egypt? If Jesus was a Jew in Palestine it would be more likely to be there or transported to one of the important Christian cities located in Anatolia or in Greece. If Jesus was truly a scholar and a rabbi, one would think he would have left behind a body of work instead of a missing physical body. (pun intended)

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"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


caposkia
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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:So

.


caposkia
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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:So

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

So if you think that it's a poor excuse to say the Moses story didn't happen or to hold it in a state of suspension,  it's also a poor excuse to say you don't know or dismiss the Sumerian creation story of Enki. How do you know for sure that it wasn't badly translated or misunderstood and Enki really existed doing many of the activities described? Enki could be from an advanced civilization who started life or Earth and those who finally wrote about it did so with poor understanding.

Be it that my knowlege of that is somewhat limited, sure it could be.  I'd have to look into it more.  Though question.  Are there at least 65 other books that would support the happenings and existence along with other outside sources futher confirming its possibility? 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

What history am I discrediting? Purported history from the Bible? Egyptian history seems to be missing the chapter on Moses. The history of Sumer, Assyria, ancient Babylon, Mitani, and the Hitites also seem to have neglected the stories of the Hebrews and the Israelites as well. They have their own stories but don't seem to generally take notice of a band of nomads in the deserts of Sinai and highlands of Canaan.

it was a general statement not intended to reference anything.  As a historian, you should know that statement holds water.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

You're welcome to consider the OT and its supposed occurrences as a theory. You're also welcome to attempt to prove it as well. Show me your parallels and connections that support the Exodus and the invasion of Canaan if you have any sources.

I'm not sure what you'd be looking for as far as 'proof' be it that any 'proof' of anything happening in history is subjective to the observer as far as reliable sources.  I'll look into what is out there and check with my sources.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Science evolves as more understanding occurs. Theories are refined and some are abandoned. We still have much to learn and understand. Moses and much of the OT should be considered in the same way. As far as I see, the beliefs based on Genesis up to this point, they have little support to show they are any more likely to be part of our reality than do the stories from Sumer. Neither one has me convinced that they are little more than ancient myths or story telling so far.

As does our following as Christians.  Any true follower will tell you that they are 'growing in Christ until they die'.  In other words, they are constantly refining their understanding of God and his intention for their lives and is always trying to improve on their understanding generally as well as their actions in life in reflection of that understanding.  As for me, this includes futher confirming what i understand to be true through those who will dispute it. 

you say these stories so far aren't any more likely to be a part of our reality from what you've seen.  We seem to be in similar boats, though on the other side of the river.  I feel the same way with what I understand of the stories through the historical information you have presented me.  The fact that we concluded any discrepencies in congruency was due to lack of understanding from the writer suggests your only support is poor to conclude mythical to me.  Granted my support goes beyond just the speck of what we have covered so far in our forum.  We shall continue and see where it leads and I will continue to have an open mind to what you have to say.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

What time period do you suggest for the events of Moses including the Exodus and invasion of Canaan?

I don't understand how timelines have anything to do with a source for the following.  Regardless of when it happened, there must be something specific in history that it stemmed from.  i fear that through a timeline, you're going to list of a few assumed sources that might have been the cause during that time, though if they were confirmed as such, a timeline would be irrelevent.  Assuming sources is completely different than confirming sources.  Most major religions of the world have a known source in history.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I've read some of the arguments regarding how such things as the fiery pillar occurred as well as how they crossed the"reed sea" not the Red Sea. Pretty much conjecture.

Geology and archeology would be a good step in proving that any of these events happened. So far I'm unaware of anything that indicates this in  either field.

As far as I'm also aware there's nothing elsewhere that supports Moses and the Exodus.

As to the history suggested by the Bible how can I tell if an event was real. Only by comparative support. So, in the case of Ahab I know he existed because he was discussed by other cultures. In the case of Israel being invaded by the Assyrians I know this occurred because of supporting history of others. What I don't know from this support from Assyrian sources is what exactly were the religions in Israel for example. I know that there were at the time discussed 2 countries, Judah and Israel. But, I can not tell from supporting sources exactly which god or gods were worshiped. Concluding that it was only Yahweh isn't even supported by the OT, so how can one even know?

When a person comes to know Christ, the Exodus and Genesis stories tend to come later in their learning and understanding. 

It'd be like me describing to you a cousin of mine who not only is a brain surgen, but also is an olympic snowboarder yet he can't spell the simplest of words (or add in your own extreme cases).  The point is, until you actually get to know him in other ways, it seems a bit far fetched to assume he does both and yet cant' spell.  Right now you could be thinking, how could he possibly be a certified brain surgen and yet not spell.  There's no way he could have earned the degree.  yet when you get to know him, you find out that it was a terrible snowboarding accident that damaged part of his brain so he can't spell but still remembers his degree skills.  Now it's all making sense. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

My disbelief started early in the myths of Genesis and all that happened following does nothing to add much that suggests any of it was in our dimension of reality at all. I can't say that Adam wasn't a real man, but the first man, I think not. Maybe the 1st Hebrew of Yahweh believing ancestors, but I'm not sure even if that has any basis in reality. Canaan also had a god named El as was the name of Abraham's god as well. How can one know it isn't the same El of the Canaanite myths?

Personality and actions play a roll in belief as well.  Think about it.  The Jesus of evangelical Christians is not the same Jesus that the Jehovah's Witnesses believe in, yet they hold onto the same God and the same names with a completely different following.  El could have been the same God in reference, but the following may have been different.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I agree this is a fun walk through or I wouldn't do it. It is interesting to compare perspectives in interpreting ancient writing and the OT even though we will not generally see things in the same way. Perspective can give new insight to understanding in directions that were never considered by either party.

agreed

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The problem with your acceptance of Christianity over Jewish views is you don't understand what the Jews actually accept and why. Christianity from a Jewish point of view has completely warped and misunderstood what the promised messiah was all about and through Paulinity has developed into something that was never understood to be expected in Jewish understanding. Isaiah clarifies it adequately for the Jews as well and can show you exactly where you misunderstand what the moshiarch was supposed to be. Jews have abandoned using messiah generally because the Christians have adopted it as meaning Jesus which is not at all what the moshiarch was about at all.

The NT is all about what the Jews actually accepted and why.  What do you feel Christians are misunderstanding about the Jews?

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

So are you saying that you studied Judaism and Jewish understanding of the moshiarch in your quest for following your new path and rejected what they believe? If so please detail what it was in Jewish interpretations and prophecies that you saw as errant. If this is not what you mean we can discuss this more when we get to the prophets.

There's so much to cover, it might make more sense to cover it as we go through it.  I have looked into it.  I have studied a lot of other followings to get a better understanding.  It's why I was able to confidently reference the notion that most followings have a source in history. 

The group; Jews for Christ would be a great people to start with as far as misunderstandings be it that they're from a Jewish background and hold onto their heritage yet accept Christ as the messiah.  I'd be curious with all the knowlege they basically have to know through their youth how they can still misinterpret the scrolls to think that Jesus is the messiah. 

I'd also be curious as to why Muslims are more likely to convert to Christianity vs. a Jewish following be it that their Quran is more congruent with the Jewish following than the Christian following.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Discussion is a good thing it helps people in the world with different views understand one another. This does not mean that the different views will suddenly merge into a combined understanding but it makes peaceful cooperation more likely.

as seen with the many denominations of Christianity in our world.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The Greek and Roman gods were followed for a considerable time as were Oracles especially the Oracle at Delphi. What then were the sources for the acceptance by even larger groups of people than the Hebrews for such beliefs?

Did they eventually fade away though?  That's where the difference lies.  No credible source leaves open suspicion of legitimacy.  Yet Christianity and Jewdaism have thrived.  keep in mind it was common during Biblical times also to have a belief in may gods or to regularly change beliefs when one following wasn't working to your favor.  Therefore, it's not out of the question to suggest a large following in history. The question comes in to which stood the test of time.


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Atheistextremist wrote: As

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

As usual. Just as an aside, is it thought any pivotal documents were destroyed when the library at Alexandria was burned - the diary of a young jesus, perhaps? I mean to be less flippant than I sound, BTW. It always bothers me that on the side of christianity there is so little known of the authors of the most important book ever written. My understanding is that there is no clear idea of who wrote the NT.

 

The only books in question of authorship in the NT is; Matthew, 2 Thesselonians and Hebrews.  Though many of the other books don't necessarily have a direct reference to whom the author's are, through empiracle reasoning, it is clearly understood who authored each book besides the ones listed above. 


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caposkia wrote:The only

caposkia wrote:
The only books in question of authorship in the NT is; Matthew, 2 Thesselonians and Hebrews.  Though many of the other books don't necessarily have a direct reference to whom the author's are, through empiracle reasoning, it is clearly understood who authored each book besides the ones listed above. 

Bullshit.


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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

As usual. Just as an aside, is it thought any pivotal documents were destroyed when the library at Alexandria was burned - the diary of a young jesus, perhaps? I mean to be less flippant than I sound, BTW. It always bothers me that on the side of christianity there is so little known of the authors of the most important book ever written. My understanding is that there is no clear idea of who wrote the NT.

 

The only books in question of authorship in the NT is; Matthew, 2 Thesselonians and Hebrews.  Though many of the other books don't necessarily have a direct reference to whom the author's are, through empiracle reasoning, it is clearly understood who authored each book besides the ones listed above. 

How do you get farther than "It was either written by <x>, written by <y> but dictated by <x>, written by <z> in the style of <x> or written by <q> who simply put <x>'s name on it to give his work crdibility"?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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I don't think I can buy into

I don't think I can buy into anything where the believer says, "You need to believe before our evidence for belief will make any sense."  Yikes.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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KSMB wrote:caposkia

KSMB wrote:

caposkia wrote:
The only books in question of authorship in the NT is; Matthew, 2 Thesselonians and Hebrews.  Though many of the other books don't necessarily have a direct reference to whom the author's are, through empiracle reasoning, it is clearly understood who authored each book besides the ones listed above. 

Bullshit.

Bless you... need a tissue?


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jcgadfly wrote:How do you

jcgadfly wrote:

How do you get farther than "It was either written by <x>, written by <y> but dictated by <x>, written by <z> in the style of <x> or written by <q> who simply put <x>'s name on it to give his work crdibility"?

By doing some homework.  Certain study Bibles will knock off some time for you and explain why each author is conclusive not disputed at this point.


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mellestad wrote:I don't

mellestad wrote:

I don't think I can buy into anything where the believer says, "You need to believe before our evidence for belief will make any sense."  Yikes.

er.... not what I said.

I intended to suggest that the NT is typically used along with other books in the OT before learning Gen/EX in detail. 

I would have the same discrepency as you to not buy into something with that approach.  Read carefully next time please. 


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caposkia wrote:When a person

caposkia wrote:

When a person comes to know Christ, the Exodus and Genesis stories tend to come later in their learning and understanding. 

It'd be like me describing to you a cousin of mine who not only is a brain surgen, but also is an olympic snowboarder yet he can't spell the simplest of words (or add in your own extreme cases).  The point is, until you actually get to know him in other ways, it seems a bit far fetched to assume he does both and yet cant' spell.  Right now you could be thinking, how could he possibly be a certified brain surgen and yet not spell.  There's no way he could have earned the degree.  yet when you get to know him, you find out that it was a terrible snowboarding accident that damaged part of his brain so he can't spell but still remembers his degree skills.  Now it's all making sense. 

 

And you will until you start seeking God.  You will see what you know to be true and nothing more and there are many reasons for that.

Maybe you should write more carefully next time, because twice in this thread you have said 'you won't understand until you believe'. 

Also, you just used an analogy that compared Christ to a brain damaged snowboarder, which is something I can get behind.

 

One thing I don't get though...you are willing to accept that something like 600,000 might actually mean 600 or even 60, but the miracle claims must be true and Jesus really did die and get necro'd back to life, then sucked up into the clouds?  To me, that seems contradictory, like you are only willing to bend your view for reality when it is not central belief.  Or am I misrepresenting your position?

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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The Exodus

Some sources got back to me early. 

They suggest as supported with other sources that historically the Exodus is plausible.  Yes, there is an abundant lack of evidence for it in history.  We can deduce through what we know about the history of the period that it is not impossible, given the cultural and political situation of the times, that an Exodus-like event could have happened. By that I mean, it is not impossible that a Hebrew could have risen to a politically powerful position in Egypt, brought his family there, whose descendants were later enslaved, and then a small group of which along with others who joined them, escaped with some guy named Moses who led the whole group. There is no way to prove something like this happened or didn't happened, but it is historically plausible.

I say "Exodus-like" because what is not historically plausible is the number of people the Bible claims left Egypt. 600,000 male Israelites (over 2 million people once women and children are included--to say nothing of animals!) who left Egypt and then wandered in the wilderness for 40 years is just too many to be plausible for that time. Not only are there no physical artifacts left behind by this massive movement of people in this region, but it's just too many. Our estimates of the population of Canaan are no where near that many. They just didn't have armies that large back then.

As far as the invasion of Canaan goes, there is also no evidence to support a whole-sale conquest of the land. In fact, in this instance, the evidence can be used against the record in Joshua. If something like this occurred, there might be a plethora of destruction layers throughout Canaan around the same time, evidencing an invading army (assuming they burned the cities). There are a couple here and there, but nothing like would be required for this. On the other hand, if they didn't burn the city, then once again there is no evidence either way. The book of Judges is a better picture of the settlement of Canaan by the Israelites. If you compare Joshua and Judges, you'll find that Joshua presents this massive conquest during which the Israelites wiped out all the Canaanites. Judges, on the other hand, makes it quite clear that the Israelites left many (most?) of the Canaanites alive, because they continued to plague them throughout their history.

That's obviously going into other books far beyond our position in this forum right now, but its' a good point to see that what I believe is relative to what else is there and not solely what we've covered.

Your issue I believe with this is that the Bible "ought" to present a realistic, factual picture of exactly what happened, and there should be evidence to back this up, and if not evidence, certainly there should not be counter-evidence. This is a belief that many Christians hold to and are shocked to find out doesn't match up with what the Bible actually presents when they do some study.

At this, many are unable to reconcile this in their mind and will ultimately walk away.  Others will stick their head in the sand and ignore it, and yet others find creative ways (that I don't think are very convincing) to work around the evidence, which basically amounts to sticking their heads in the sand.

Another option is to re-evaluate how we think about the Bible. What it is, is literature very at home in its Ancient Near Eastern context, where history was purposefully shaped to present truths that go beyond historical "fact." Joshua is very at home within ancient near eastern "conquest" narratives - where the king would exaggerate his claims of conquest in his records of war, in order to make himself or his god look good. Exaggeration of conquest is common, and it wasn't "deceitful" - people were familiar with what was going on and would have understood the truth trying to be portrayed behind the narrative (which, in secular contexts, is that the king is a great king, or his god(s) is awesome and mighty). Joshua has its own spin on things in an Israelite, Yahwistic context. As far as the Exodus goes, either somewhere along the line someone made an error in the number (I doubt it), it was purposefully inflated for some theological purpose, or they really, honestly, didn't know how many people came out of Egypt when the author wrote down the narrative, and so they picked something impressive sounding. Once again, this is only "deceitful" or "untrue" to us moderns, who don't understand that fact does not always equal truth. They would have understood perfectly that this is an outrageous number for their time, but it was part of their tradition, and so there it is. The truth remains that their God is an awesome, delivering God who redeemed them from slavery in Egypt and made them his own.

This does not mean that we can just throw out all the narratives as myth. There must be some historical fact behind them if the truth of God being a delivering God is to be at all substantiated. But the fact is, the "facts" don't have to match exactly what happened. They weren't concerned with presenting factual historical narrative, they were concerned with shaping history in such a way that it got across the theological truths they needed to get across. Remember, these narratives were not written to modern, 21st century, scientific Americans. They were written by and to ancient semites, who had a very different worldview. To do justice to interpreting Scripture, we must as much as possible seek to understand their worldview, rather than imposing our own on Scripture. Only then can we understand the supra-cultural truths that God intends for all believers, including us. We need to allow Scripture to speak on its own terms, rather than impose our own values and worldview on it.

If you can agree that there were in fact not 600,000 Israelite men who left Egypt, for the reasons stated above, I would have to ask what evidence would you expect there to be? It's highly unlikely that the Pharoah would have mentioned in his "journal" this embarrassing incident when this unknown god basically defeated his gods. Besides that fact the Egypt is difficult, because most of what we have is monumental inscriptions. I seriously doubt some king would have inscribed on his tomb, "Oh yeah, and there was this group of Hebrews who left Egypt during my reign." The fact is, in this case, we wouldn't necessarily expect evidence. If we had it, it would be surprising. Exciting, yes, but surprising. Even if such a thing did exist, there's no guarantee it survived the ravages of time. We're talking about thousands and thousands of years of history, much of which is completely lost to us forever. Absence of evidence is only important when we would expect to see evidence (such as if there were 600,000 Israelite men).

Understanding that, I'll try to find more information, but it sounds like what is said above is most of what is for or against the writing and therefore cannot be concluded either way logically through history.

 

 


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mellestad wrote:caposkia

mellestad wrote:

caposkia wrote:

When a person comes to know Christ, the Exodus and Genesis stories tend to come later in their learning and understanding. 

It'd be like me describing to you a cousin of mine who not only is a brain surgen, but also is an olympic snowboarder yet he can't spell the simplest of words (or add in your own extreme cases).  The point is, until you actually get to know him in other ways, it seems a bit far fetched to assume he does both and yet cant' spell.  Right now you could be thinking, how could he possibly be a certified brain surgen and yet not spell.  There's no way he could have earned the degree.  yet when you get to know him, you find out that it was a terrible snowboarding accident that damaged part of his brain so he can't spell but still remembers his degree skills.  Now it's all making sense. 

 

And you will until you start seeking God.  You will see what you know to be true and nothing more and there are many reasons for that.

Maybe you should write more carefully next time, because twice in this thread you have said 'you won't understand until you believe'. 

Also, you just used an analogy that compared Christ to a brain damaged snowboarder, which is something I can get behind.

I appreciate you actually taking the time to quote me.  Most would say that, then I'd have to ask them where not understanding what they were referencing to and it would never get resolved. 

Looking at the statements you quoted above, you're a perfect example of why there are 5000 or more different Christian denominations in our country today.  You will interpret it the way you want it to be and fail to look at the context.  Sorry, but that's exactly what happened here. 

On the second part, you looked only at "and you will until you start seeking God" and ignored "you will see what you know to be true and nothign more and there are many reasons for that" which leaves it open to me actually haveing reasons beyond your claims if questioned, but i didn't get into that detail because it wavers from the focus of this forum and would take some time to discuss.  Also to start seeking God doesn't mean you're believing in God.  You're just sincerely looking for reason to believe and not trying to hold your ground on what you think you might know as truth right in the moment.

For the first part.... did you read the example?  I think the point was quite clear and even more clear was that I wasn't saying you won't understand until you believe.  the point was actually the perfect opposite, in order to believe you have to understand. 

Also, I didn't realize I was comparing Christ to a brain damaged snowboarder.  It was just an analogy of understanding a situation.  I see that's where the misinterpretation came about. 

Conclusion:  I wrote very carefully and clearly.  Stop trying to look between the lines because there's nothing there.  you will find that I will say exactly what I'm intending to get across unlike many assumptions that I'm like the religious sects out there who will try to beat around the bush. 

mellestad wrote:

One thing I don't get though...you are willing to accept that something like 600,000 might actually mean 600 or even 60, but the miracle claims must be true and Jesus really did die and get necro'd back to life, then sucked up into the clouds?  To me, that seems contradictory, like you are only willing to bend your view for reality when it is not central belief.  Or am I misrepresenting your position?

I think again you're missing my position and misunderstanding the focus of this forum.  Evidence suggests that the number is greatly exaggerated for the time.  Support for miracles in the Bible are a completely different topic and focus than what this forum is about and has little to do with historical congruencies where  my support for the 600,000 not being a reasonable number comes from.  There is a Science vs. Religion forum out there that discusses some Biblical miracles through a scientific and geological standpoint.