Question for our Christian visitors

Randalllord
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Question for our Christian visitors

Most Christians claim that Jesus fulfilled the law of the Old Testiment and therefore they are no longer under it. They claim to now be under grace. If that true then why do you get so upset when someone tries to remove dispalys of the Ten Commandments form public places like courthouses or schools?

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. - Seneca


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I'm sure the replies are

I'm sure the replies are coming soon!


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I guess this question was

I guess this question was too difficult.

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. - Seneca


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I would like to see some

I would like to see some Christian responses to this question. It doesn't make sense for them to get upset when depictions of an outdated law is removed.

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Don't forget also that Jesus

Don't forget also that Jesus said he came to change "not one jot or tittle (whatever the fuck a jot or tittle are!) of the old law."

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This deserves to be kept

This deserves to be kept near the top of the list, too!

What a great question.

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You guys should just start a

You guys should just start a list. Like the theist list, but for christians. Who wants to take on the Quran?


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This relationship between

This relationship between christianity and "the law" is a mess. it's always been a question of pick and chose

Disrespectful of Religion


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Randalllord wrote:Most

Randalllord wrote:
Most Christians claim that Jesus fulfilled the law of the Old Testiment and therefore they are no longer under it. They claim to now be under grace. If that true then why do you get so upset when someone tries to remove dispalys of the Ten Commandments form public places like courthouses or schools?

Yes, there's a theist in your midst. My only response to your post is that your basic assumption is not correct, so your conclusion is irrelevant.

You will find that your basic assumption is true for some individuals, but not a pre-requisite to be a Christian....

Sorry, I didn't hear back from a couple questions. I'll lurk elsewhere. Smiling


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not-bob wrote: Yes, there's

not-bob wrote:

Yes, there's a theist in your midst. My only response to your post is that your basic assumption is not correct, so your conclusion is irrelevant.

You will find that your basic assumption is true for some individuals, but not a pre-requisite to be a Christian....

Let me ask you this, Not-bob: if we polled the christians who worked to get the Ten Commandments displayed in that state legislature (or was it the courthouse...i forget), how many of them would claim that they follow every word in the bible, or at least feel that it is their duty to do so? I expect the number would be over 90%. If we then asked them why they don't follow some of the stuff in Leviticus (like stoning your sons to death if they disobey you), the argument would then be that the old law doesn't apply (despite jesus' admonishment to the contrary). Yet here they are screaming about installing a monument to the old law in a public building!

These are the inconsistencies that drive atheists nuts, especially when these people are claiming some moral authority to guide public public policy.

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not-bob wrote:My only

not-bob wrote:
My only response to your post is that your basic assumption is not correct, so your conclusion is irrelevant.

You will find that your basic assumption is true for some individuals, but not a pre-requisite to be a Christian....


Lets see, my premisis is: "Most Christians claim that Jesus fulfilled the law of the Old Testiment and therefore they are no longer under it. They claim to now be under grace."

You are saying that this is not true? I never said it was a pre-requisite, but most Xian's I talk to assert this. One of two possibilites exist (in the mythical world of the Xian): 1. We are under the law of the O.T.
2. We are not under the law of the O.T.

Which is Xian's? If it is answer number 1, then I can see why they would think we should have these 10C displays at courthouses. If it is number 2, then it is no longer relevant i.e.-our laws are not based on the O.T. Care to give it a shot not-bob?

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. - Seneca


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Christians tend to take what

Christians tend to take what they feel is convenient from the Old Testament. Such as homosexuality in Leviticus. But when you tell them they are commiting a sin for wearing an Adidas track suit, or shaving, they laugh at you.


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the OT

Since there aren't many responses to this and probably for the reason that they don't want to be mocked, I'll go ahead and answer the question.

First, a small sidenote to mattshizzle's point, Jesus's statement about not doing away with the Law can be, and has been, interpreted in many ways. There is nothing there that necessitates that the Law is done away with, only that it has been fulfilled. Typically, the answer to this point is that Jesus's sacrifice is the fulfillment of the Law, being that the Law served as a testament to man's sinful nature and the requirement for a sacrifice.

Second, as to the 10 Commandments being put up, they are repeated in the so-called New Testament, along with many other statutes that God supposedly has decreed we abide by. Simply because we are under grace in no way does away, necessarily, every aspect of the Law. For those who actually have studied theology, the answer to this is that we are no longer under the Law for the sole reason that the Law does not provide salvation, whereas now, it is grace that does so. This in no way means that the Law is obsolete or meaningless or not to be considered.

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reason_passion wrote:Since

reason_passion wrote:
Since there aren't many responses to this and probably for the reason that they don't want to be mocked, I'll go ahead and answer the question.

First, a small sidenote to mattshizzle's point, Jesus's statement about not doing away with the Law can be, and has been, interpreted in many ways.


All of them ad hoc.

Anyway, there wasn't even a clear idea of what was the OT in the first century, so what laws is 'he' even referring to?

The problem exists for the theist: he accepts a certain set of books as representing the OT, the 'law' referenced by 'jesus'. Yet he has to ignore the vast majority of them, because his own bible-independent-ability to gauge morality tells him that many of the 'god inspired' OT 'laws' are immoral... so theists are driven by this ad hoc need to both accept the OT as the word of god, and yet, be able to ignore much of it.

So they come up with the standard 'jesus did away with' response....

Quote:

There is nothing there that necessitates that the Law is done away with, only that it has been fulfilled. Typically, the answer to this point is that Jesus's sacrifice is the fulfillment of the Law

The only problem is that Paul goes on to also affirm that the OT is to be obeyed, which means that the theist must 1) reinterpret 'jesus' to fit his ad hoc need and 2) ignore other places in the NT that continue to affirm the laws of the NT.... again, whatever they were at that time...

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resaon_pason,

resaon_passion,
Your position is that we are under the 10 commandments but not the other laws of the OT?

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nuance

Calling the interpretations of the so-called OT ad hoc isn't an argument, it's simply a statement of fact. Of course any interpretations are going to be after the writing, since they weren't put down succinctly till the first millenium and not even then in some cases.

In addition, continuing to quote the cliche of "jesus did away with the law" argument that some christians use isn't helping. While this is the phrase that is used, it doesn't actually mean what it seems to at face value. Those believers who have actually studied are a bit more nuanced in their understanding of this statement. While of course from the perspective of the humanist, it is clear that believers are affected by the blatant immoral practices in the OT, but they clearly don't see it that way. Rather, the "spirit of the law" is often used as justification to pick and choose and interpret the laws in various ways. This was actually a standard practice in the OT times and continues today with rabbi's, etc.

Also, using the justification that Jesus "fulfilled the law" allows the believer to accept both the statements that certain laws are no longer in use and also that certain others are to be obeyed, in some cases in principle. Paul knew this and so did many church fathers.

I'm not saying any of this actually holds up, but it is internally consistent within a particular theological framework.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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My real position is that

My real position is that christian morality is an oxy-moron, but what I am playing devil's advocate for is that the 10 Commandments are a singular aspect of the entire Law. Whether we are under the specific 10 or others is a difficult question to answer and largely depends on one's theological paradigm. Most apologists for christianity see the Law as still valid in the sense that it points out humanity's complete inability to live up to God's standard. Thus it was that Jesus' death fulfilled the Law's requirement as the ultimate and eternal sacrifice.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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reason_passion wrote:Thus it

reason_passion wrote:
Thus it was that Jesus' death fulfilled the Law's requirement as the ultimate and eternal sacrifice.

Where in the 10 commandments is a blood sacrifice called for?

Most of your above comment sounds like a lot of verbage to not answer a simple question.

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answer

First, you didn't ask me originally where a blood sacrifice is called for. Second, your question isn't exactly something that can or should be answered in a simple sentence or two. The complexity of theological debate is not something easily disseminated without going into a lot of background and ways of wording things that are not typical to those not having been in it.

Clearly the so-called 10 Commandments don't call for a blood sacrifice, but the Law does (read Leviticus and Deuteronomy). The "10" are simply one aspect of the entire Law, which is often broken down into two sections: the moral and the social. The "10" belong to the moral section.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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Quote:"While this is the

Quote:
"While this is the phrase that is used, it doesn't actually mean what it seems to at face value."

This is rich. My defense for the indefensible is that the indefensible is not actually indefensible because indefensible is not exactly indefensible if it's defensible.

It's hard for me not to ask, "So, why not just say what the phrase really means in the first place?"

Quote:
Those believers who have actually studied are a bit more nuanced in their understanding of this statement.

Translation: those believers who are sophisticated enough to understand the paradox have found exciting ways to bend logic into pretzel shapes in order to defend the indefensible.

Quote:
Rather, the "spirit of the law" is often used as justification to pick and choose and interpret the laws in various ways.

"The Spirit of the Law" = "The Subjective picking and choosing of the Law"

While we're on the subject of the spirit of the law, what's the "spirit" I'm supposed to be following when I read about selling my daughter into slavery, and having her given back to me if she doesn't suck dick well enough?

Quote:
This was actually a standard practice in the OT times and continues today with rabbi's, etc.

So, back in the olden days, they used to cherry pick the bible, so today cherry picking it is right. Hmm... I seem to remember something in my logic textbook about that kind of argument...

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unfortunate

It's unfortunate that you don't seem capable of engaging in serious debate that is maturely handled, but I'll refrain from engaging in the same spouting of ignorance.

Are you really saying that you never say something that means more than what it looks like at face value? I highly doubt that. That's the reason why they're called cliches. And also why asking questions, instead of simply assuming you know what is going on, is a good idea.

As to your paradox point, it's yet another sign of sophomoric philosophical training. You, like so many, throw around the term "paradox" as if simply using the term makes it actually true. Paradox and contradiction are notoriously difficult to prove, especially when considered in the light of the ideological underpinnings of what you are discussing. There is no contradiction in the believers' ability to pick and choose verses because that is precisely the means by which scripture has always been handled and there are various tools and methods that have been created to orchestrate just how it is done.

Your example isn't a serious one and isn't even accurate, since I highly doubt that you'll find a verse discussing blow-jobs.

And referring to rabbinical technique as "cherry picking" simply shows your ignorance concerning the practice and also a mindset that doesn't seem to treat seriously any opinion except your own. Such arrogance speaks more to your own ideology.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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Reason_Passion's Mature

Reason_Passion's Mature Debate Style -- Ad Hominem:

Quote:
It's unfortunate that you don't seem capable of engaging in serious debate that is maturely handled,

(I'm immature)

Quote:
As to your paradox point, it's yet another sign of sophomoric philosophical training.

(I'm intellectually conceited and immature)

Quote:
You, like so many, throw around the term "paradox" as if simply using the term makes it actually true.

(I throw around terms I don't comprehend)

Quote:
Your example isn't a serious one and isn't even accurate, since I highly doubt that you'll find a verse discussing blow-jobs.

(I'm not taking this debate seriously)

Actually, it is serious. Here's the passage:

7 "If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do. 8 If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, [b] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. 9 If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

Ok, you are correct that I extrapolated a bit in assuming that blow jobs are involved. Are you saying that I can't use my judgment and intuition to figure out what this passage is really saying? How am I supposed to get the "spirit" of it if I'm only allowed to read it literally? Are you suggesting that no female slaves were ever used as concubines? That seems to contradict what we know of Hebrew history.

So again, what is the "Spirit" I'm supposed to get from reading about buying someone's daughter?

Quote:
And referring to rabbinical technique as "cherry picking" simply shows your ignorance concerning the practice

(I'm ignorant)

Quote:
and also a mindset that doesn't seem to treat seriously any opinion except your own.

(I'm closed minded)

Quote:
Such arrogance speaks more to your own ideology.

(I'm arrogant and my ideology is flawed.)

Wow, dude. By my count, that's 8 ad hominem attacks in 5 paragraphs. And you weren't going to stoop to the level of spouting ignorance.

Care to try again? This time in a mature, reasoned way?

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reason_passion wrote:Calling

reason_passion wrote:
Calling the interpretations of the so-called OT ad hoc isn't an argument, it's simply a statement of fact.

No, it's an argument to biased motivations, read on...

Quote:

Of course any interpretations are going to be after the writing,

By calling their interpreations 'ad hoc', I am implying that the interpretations are driven solely by pre-set motivations to make them fit into one's beliefs and not a more rational exegesis. So yes, all interpretations are after the writing is done (in other news, the sky is blue) but the point of calling a set of interpretations 'ad hoc' is to stress their biased, self serving nature, revealed by their inconsistent logic.

Quote:

In addition, continuing to quote the cliche of "jesus did away with the law" argument that some christians use isn't helping. While this is the phrase that is used, it doesn't actually mean what it seems to at face value. Those believers who have actually studied are a bit more nuanced in their understanding of this statement.

That's a nice way of saying it....but the reality is that they are driven by their own secular sense of morality to reject immoral aspects of the bible. Of course they'd they'd 'find a means' of justifying this biblically - they'd find this justification whether it existed or not... they are driven by dogma, and all a dogmatist needs to thrive is his dogma and a work with some level of vagueness. The bible provides both in abundance.

Quote:

While of course from the perspective of the humanist, it is clear that believers are affected by the blatant immoral practices in the OT, but they clearly don't see it that way. Rather, the "spirit of the law" is often used as justification to pick and choose and interpret the laws in various ways. This was actually a standard practice in the OT times and continues today with rabbi's, etc.

The problem with the 'spirit of the law defense' is that it relies on people being capable of being moral agents, independent of the bible.... This defense therefore treats dandruff by decapitation... it helps solve some of the problems of the OT, but only by rejecting the concept that the bible is required for making moral judgements! In fact, one is holding that people are superior moral judges than the bible!

Quote:

Also, using the justification that Jesus "fulfilled the law" allows the believer to accept both the statements that certain laws are no longer in use and also that certain others are to be obeyed, in some cases in principle. Paul knew this and so did many church fathers.

Yet the very same OT is held to be prophetic of jesus... so on the one hand, it's a miraculous work able to predict the future, and yet, on the other, it's utterly incapable of making even the most basic of moral judgements concerning the most vital of human needs.

So the theist who uses this argument again treats dandruff by decapitation....

And this is precisely the sort of outcome that follows from ad hoc arguments... since ad hoc arguments are driven solely by a need to 'solve the current problem' they often rely on practices that are inconsistent with the overall system... i.e. they lead to contradictions.

Quote:

I'm not saying any of this actually holds up, but it is internally consistent within a particular theological framework.

Actually, it is not internally consistent...and that's the real problem, ironically enough....

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good debating

Perhaps a class in debate tactics would be good. Your mischaracterization of what was being said was blatantly done without provocation. Me pointing out your ignorance isn't an ad hominem arguement if its true, which in this case it was. Be careful how you start to accuse me here.

In point of fact, you did refer to the rabbinical technique as "cherry picking", a blatantly sophomoric attempt to mischaracterize the issue and thus calling you ignorant is simply a statement of fact because clearly you don't know what is involved here.

My accusations were based on your specific statements and thus were not ad hominem attacks, since ad hominem attacks, properly understood, take place without justification, whereas I had plenty. If I had said that you were a child molester, THAT would have been an ad hominem argument. Simply pointing out that your phrasing was childish is not.

But anyway...to the verse you're quoting.

No place in the text does it say that the woman is to be treated like a whore. You read your own bias into that. In fact, it is a verse detailing how one is to deal with a situation if one accidentally sells a daughter as a servant, a common problem considering children were often communally taken care of. If read closely, the verse is actually, for the time it was written, rather pointedly showing how to properly take care of a daughter so that she is not abused or taken advantage of. It refers repeatedly to the "rights of daughters" and that she must not be "deprived" of food, shelter, etc.

So please try again.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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biases

todangst wrote:
By calling their interpreations 'ad hoc', I am implying that the interpretations are driven solely by pre-set motivations to make them fit into one's beliefs and not a more rational exegesis. So yes, all interpretations are after the writing is done (in other news, the sky is blue) but the point of calling a set of interpretations 'ad hoc' is to stress their biased, self serving nature, revealed by their inconsistent logic.

While I agree with this to a point, it yet again misses the issue. Pointing out "pre-set motivations" is not an argument against christians, at least not in this context. There isn't an apologist out there who wouldn't admit that biases and so on creep into interpretation. In fact, that's why the entire subfield of theology, called biblical theology, was created, so as to address how the original text was meant within the cultural context of the time.

In addition, pointing out interpretive problems isn't going to effect the knowledgeable believer. This is due to interpretations being man-made and thus capable of being revised. The core point for the believer is that they are trying to understand the Word of God and thus in the sin-state in which they find themselves in and in the fallen world in which interpretation takes place, of course there are going to be problems, but this does not take away from what is true, i.e. the transcendent message of God's attempt at redemption of humanity.

todangst wrote:
The problem with the 'spirit of the law defense' is that it relies on people being capable of being moral agents, independent of the bible.... This defense therefore treats dandruff by decapitation... it helps solve some of the problems of the OT, but only by rejecting the concept that the bible is required for making moral judgements! In fact, one is holding that people are superior moral judges than the bible!

Unfortunately, this doesn't work either. The believer is under no obligation to adhere to the position that man is incapable of moral reasoning. Even the fervent Calvinist doesn't believe this. This brings up the theological position regarding conscience, that being God's internal gift to man, to show his inability to live consistently and thus his need for a source outside of himself for salvation.

In addition, while I personally see the point you're making, the way out for the believer is to simply postulate the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, a doctrinal point that has long been used to justify man's ability to make correct moral choices.

I'm not saying any of this is right, I'm only pointing out that once you implicitly agree that a thing called "the bible" truly exists, you're at a disadvantage in the argumentation.

todangst wrote:
Yet the very same OT is held to be prophetic of jesus... so on the one hand, it's a miraculous work able to predict the future, and yet, on the other, it's utterly incapable of making even the most basic of moral judgements concerning the most vital of human needs.

Not sure where you got the point of the OT being incapable of making "the most basic of moral judgments" other than from your own position. Course, even then, the OT isn't completely filled with morally objectionable parts. Also, this ignores the distinction that I've pointed out previously between the so-called "social law" and the "moral law." And in fact, on logic alone, there is no necessity for the Bible to be perfect in every aspect. It is quite possible to see that prophecy is accurate and leave the moral issues either up for further study or chalk it up to not understanding everything God has done. Within the christian ideology, this is perfectly acceptable.

And not to belabor the point, but the qualification I made as to "particular theological framework" DOES make the thinking internally consistent, but again, only if certain things are accepted on the basis of faith. Quite frankly, all ideologies are like that. The point is to begin question the foundational principles, not go after the branches.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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Not necessary. He handed you

Not necessary. He handed you your head quite nicely.

The passage again (relevant part in bold):

7 "If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do. 8 If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, [b] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. 9 If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

The bold part can be interpreted as "does not do as he wishes".

Your God can be pretty vague with his rules.

"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."
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reason_passion

reason_passion wrote:
todangst wrote:
By calling their interpreations 'ad hoc', I am implying that the interpretations are driven solely by pre-set motivations to make them fit into one's beliefs and not a more rational exegesis. So yes, all interpretations are after the writing is done (in other news, the sky is blue) but the point of calling a set of interpretations 'ad hoc' is to stress their biased, self serving nature, revealed by their inconsistent logic.

While I agree with this to a point, it yet again misses the issue. Pointing out "pre-set motivations" is not an argument against christians, at least not in this context. There isn't an apologist out there who wouldn't admit that biases and so on creep into interpretation. In fact, that's why the entire subfield of theology, called biblical theology, was created, so as to address how the original text was meant within the cultural context of the time.

In addition, pointing out interpretive problems isn't going to effect the knowledgeable believer. This is due to interpretations being man-made and thus capable of being revised. The core point for the believer is that they are trying to understand the Word of God and thus in the sin-state in which they find themselves in and in the fallen world in which interpretation takes place, of course there are going to be problems, but this does not take away from what is true, i.e. the transcendent message of God's attempt at redemption of humanity.

todangst wrote:
The problem with the 'spirit of the law defense' is that it relies on people being capable of being moral agents, independent of the bible.... This defense therefore treats dandruff by decapitation... it helps solve some of the problems of the OT, but only by rejecting the concept that the bible is required for making moral judgements! In fact, one is holding that people are superior moral judges than the bible!

Unfortunately, this doesn't work either. The believer is under no obligation to adhere to the position that man is incapable of moral reasoning. Even the fervent Calvinist doesn't believe this. This brings up the theological position regarding conscience, that being God's internal gift to man, to show his inability to live consistently and thus his need for a source outside of himself for salvation.

In addition, while I personally see the point you're making, the way out for the believer is to simply postulate the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, a doctrinal point that has long been used to justify man's ability to make correct moral choices.

I'm not saying any of this is right, I'm only pointing out that once you implicitly agree that a thing called "the bible" truly exists, you're at a disadvantage in the argumentation.

todangst wrote:
Yet the very same OT is held to be prophetic of jesus... so on the one hand, it's a miraculous work able to predict the future, and yet, on the other, it's utterly incapable of making even the most basic of moral judgements concerning the most vital of human needs.

Not sure where you got the point of the OT being incapable of making "the most basic of moral judgments" other than from your own position. Course, even then, the OT isn't completely filled with morally objectionable parts. Also, this ignores the distinction that I've pointed out previously between the so-called "social law" and the "moral law." And in fact, on logic alone, there is no necessity for the Bible to be perfect in every aspect. It is quite possible to see that prophecy is accurate and leave the moral issues either up for further study or chalk it up to not understanding everything God has done. Within the christian ideology, this is perfectly acceptable.

And not to belabor the point, but the qualification I made as to "particular theological framework" DOES make the thinking internally consistent, but again, only if certain things are accepted on the basis of faith. Quite frankly, all ideologies are like that. The point is to begin question the foundational principles, not go after the branches.

Did you just say the thinking is internally consistent if you don't think about it and use faith instead?

I thought you did.

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Well, good try,

Well, good try, but...

Quote:
Your mischaracterization of what was being said was blatantly done without provocation.

I guess you'd have to show that I mischaracterized your statement, eh? I paraphrased it in an absurd manner to illustrate the absurdity of your statement. This is a common debate tactic, is it not?

Provocation? Why did you post it in a debate forum if you didn't want people to disagree with it or try to prove you wrong?

Blatant.. yes. I admit it. I blatantly disagree with you.

Quote:
Me pointing out your ignorance isn't an ad hominem arguement if its true, which in this case it was.

Saying I'm ignorant again doesn't make it any less of an ad hominem attack.

Quote:
In point of fact, you did refer to the rabbinical technique as "cherry picking", a blatantly sophomoric attempt to mischaracterize the issue and thus calling you ignorant is simply a statement of fact because clearly you don't know what is involved here.

I did call it cherry picking. Calling it sophomoric again is still ad hominem, and you still haven't shown how my reduction of your argument is incorrect.

Oh, and just to be thorough, calling me ignorant again is still an ad hominem.

Quote:
My accusations were based on your specific statements and thus were not ad hominem attacks, since ad hominem attacks, properly understood, take place without justification, whereas I had plenty.

Actually, they weren't based on anything specific that I could find. You just didn't like my method, so you attacked me.

Oh, and saying you have plenty of reason for your ad hominem attacks doesn't mean you do. I've yet to see you prove me wrong on anything.

Quote:
Simply pointing out that your phrasing was childish is not.

Childish. Not even sophomoric anymore. I'm regressing, I guess. Still ad hominem.

Quote:
No place in the text does it say that the woman is to be treated like a whore. You read your own bias into that.

Yes, I am interpreting it based on my knowledge of Hebrew history and the history of slavery in general.

But if I had read a neutral to good bias into it, you might well have praised me for having the wisdom to interpret the bible in a loving way.

Consider this. What if, knowing that you'd be offended if I interpreted a "spirit of the law" in a very negative way, I intentionally baited you into crying foul as a way to illustrate your inherent bias? That would have been very clever, wouldn't it? Not ignorant at all.
Maybe I've just succeeded in showing you how your rationale for biblical interpretation only works if you try to make the text fit your established conclusions about god.

But, maybe I'm just ignorant.

Quote:
In fact, it is a verse detailing how one is to deal with a situation if one accidentally sells a daughter as a servant

It is?

Hmm. Lots of interpretation necessary for that conclusion. I didn't see the word "accident" or "mistake" or anything like it in that whole passage. Seems like a very important word to leave out.
I guess you're just a lot smarter than me...

Quote:
If read closely, the verse is actually, for the time it was written, rather pointedly showing how to properly take care of a daughter so that she is not abused or taken advantage of.

Really?

So why'd they use the words "If a man sells his daughter as a servant"? As I read the passage, I see that there are situations where a servant can be taken as a wife, at which point she receives a slightly more elevated status. If you're familiar with "the time it was written" you know that wives had very few rights, but were slightly better off than the servants.

But you know all of this, right?

Quote:
It refers repeatedly to the "rights of daughters" and that she must not be "deprived" of food, shelter, etc.

Once again, I'm going to have to ask you to refer to your extensive knowledge of Hebrew history. At the time these laws were written, the "rights of daughters" were little more than the rights to not be killed or starved, unless you could think of a good legal loophole. Women were traded in marriage, and poor or non-Jewish women could hope for little more than having a master who was relatively kind.

So, once again, I ask the same question: What is the "spirit" that I'm supposed to get from reading this passage instructing me in the legal ramifications of selling my daughter into slavery?

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epistemology

jcgadfly wrote:
The bold part can be interpreted as "does not do as he wishes".

Granted, it CAN be interpreted that way, but it doesn't have to be. And even if it is, nothing says that the "wishes" in question must therefore be sexual in nature.

Look, I'm not saying that it isn't possible to see that interpretation, I'm just pointing out that it isn't a necessity, which is why quoting scripture is notoriously difficult to use as an argumentative tool.

And as to your point about internal consistency if faith is used as the justification principle, then yes, that is what I said. And it goes to the heart of the issue here. Many are treating this debate from the perspective of reason, logic, science, and their own biases. The point is that, for the believer, none of those are the basis for their belief. The epistemological foundation is based upon faith, a completely different epistemological standard that was provided by apologists as a means of supporting the religious position of being in touch with God. If you have not dealt with that first, then all other arguments are going to be problematic at best.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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Quote:Did you just say the

Quote:
Did you just say the thinking is internally consistent if you don't think about it and use faith instead?

I thought you did.

(snicker)

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Oh, we're back to this... I

Oh, we're back to this...

I just need to save some text files so I don't have to type this out every time someone comes up with the same lame arguments...

Quote:
Many are treating this debate from the perspective of reason, logic, science, and their own biases.

True. The atheists are using reason, logic, science, and their own biases which have been formed using reason, logic, and science.

The theists are using their own biases which have been formed using "faith," a term meaning "a belief in something despite evidence to the contrary," or "belief in something despite a complete lack of empirical evidence." Theists cannot use logic, science and reason because god-belief is unscientific, illogical, and unreasonable.

Quote:
The epistemological foundation is based upon faith, a completely different epistemological standard that was provided by apologists as a means of supporting the religious position of being in touch with God. If you have not dealt with that first, then all other arguments are going to be problematic at best.

I couldn't agree more. If you haven't figured out that knowledge does not come from a belief in the irrational, then all arguments for rational thought are going to be problematic at best, as you have illustrated very clearly.

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interesting

I'll ignore the first part of your response due to it being absurd. Clearly you're going to throw words around without proper usage and from that, I could just as easily say that you calling what I say "ad hominem" attacks is itself an ad hominem attack. Seriously. But since you actually made a point of stating something specific, I'll deal with that.

hambydammit wrote:
Hmm. Lots of interpretation necessary for that conclusion. I didn't see the word "accident" or "mistake" or anything like it in that whole passage. Seems like a very important word to leave out.

I agree, there is an interpretation occurring here. That doesn't prove anything. For you to make your point, you have to prove how YOUR interpretation is THE ONLY way to interpret the passage. Good luck.

hambydammit wrote:
As I read the passage, I see that there are situations where a servant can be taken as a wife, at which point she receives a slightly more elevated status. If you're familiar with "the time it was written" you know that wives had very few rights, but were slightly better off than the servants.

At the time these laws were written, the "rights of daughters" were little more than the rights to not be killed or starved, unless you could think of a good legal loophole. Women were traded in marriage, and poor or non-Jewish women could hope for little more than having a master who was relatively kind.

Excellent points and, if I were a christian, I would sincerly lament the unfortunate treatment that women were exposed to in the OT before God's law was fully understood and the people were capable of implementing it. You see? In pointing out the poor treatment of women and using that as an argument, you're missing the fact that within the christian paradigm, the innate sinful nature of man is still alive and well. Hence, how man sometimes puts into action God's will can be problematic. But that says nothing about God's moral nature, only that man is fallen and in need of redemption.

From the context of the OT jew, the passage takes into consideration practices that were already in place and God, in his wisdom, knew that such practices wouldn't be stopped completely. So, in his wisdom, he set forth parameters that would ensure some kind of good behavior when certain situations arose.

Personally, I think it doesn't work, but then again, I don't believe "the Bible" exists and I don't implicitly assume its validity as a possible moral authority.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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reason_passion

reason_passion wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:
The bold part can be interpreted as "does not do as he wishes".

Granted, it CAN be interpreted that way, but it doesn't have to be. And even if it is, nothing says that the "wishes" in question must therefore be sexual in nature.

Look, I'm not saying that it isn't possible to see that interpretation, I'm just pointing out that it isn't a necessity, which is why quoting scripture is notoriously difficult to use as an argumentative tool.

And as to your point about internal consistency if faith is used as the justification principle, then yes, that is what I said. And it goes to the heart of the issue here. Many are treating this debate from the perspective of reason, logic, science, and their own biases. The point is that, for the believer, none of those are the basis for their belief. The epistemological foundation is based upon faith, a completely different epistemological standard that was provided by apologists as a means of supporting the religious position of being in touch with God. If you have not dealt with that first, then all other arguments are going to be problematic at best.

So, everyone from Paul "That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day." (2 Tim 1:12)to every Christian that claims knowledge of God is destined for your hell because they're lying.

Knowledge isn't a basis for belief, right? That is what you said?

"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."
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misunderstanding

hambydammit wrote:
The theists are using their own biases which have been formed using "faith," a term meaning "a belief in something despite evidence to the contrary," or "belief in something despite a complete lack of empirical evidence." Theists cannot use logic, science and reason because god-belief is unscientific, illogical, and unreasonable.

Actually, that isn't the definition of faith. I'm pretty sure you get upset when believers wrongly define "atheism" so please don't do the same here. And your statement here isn't an argument, unless of you course you ASSUME that science and reason are the only valid epistemological foundations. Why must I assume that? Why must anyone? The believer certainly doesn't and there's nothing wrong with him believing so. You are merely stating the obvious. Empirical evidence as a means of establishing the validity of a belief is only ONE means of doing so. The believer, until you address the "faith epistemology" is under no obligation to accept empiricism as the only epistemic principle. Hell, even many philosophers who are secularists don't accept empiricism as the only epistemic principle.

hambydammit wrote:
If you haven't figured out that knowledge does not come from a belief in the irrational, then all arguments for rational thought are going to be problematic at best, as you have illustrated very clearly.

Who says it's irrational to believe in God? Ah yes, you do. How easy for you to say. Of course you'd say that because you've already assumed that He doesn't exist and thus you assume that your reason proves that. How terribly circular.

Could it not be that the believer is simply using a different form of reason that you are privy to? This goes back to the "faith epistemology" that I keep harping on. Your argument so far is completely based on your own bias which has not been substantiated. You wouldn't appreciate it if I required you to assume my position, so why are you right in requiring that of the believer?

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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belief

jcgadfly wrote:
So, everyone from Paul "That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day." (2 Tim 1:12)to every Christian that claims knowledge of God is destined for your hell because they're lying.

Knowledge isn't a basis for belief, right? That is what you said?

Read carefully the passage you just quoted. Notice that knowledge is here contingent upon a previous belief. Hence your statement doesn't work. Knowledge does not have to come first, because belief can sometimes lend itself to the acquisition of knowledge. Sometimes it works the other way around of course, but Paul is specifically not referring here to one of those situations.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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reason_passion wrote: And

reason_passion wrote:
And your statement here isn't an argument, unless of you course you ASSUME that science and reason are the only valid epistemological foundations. Why must I assume that? Why must anyone? The believer certainly doesn't and there's nothing wrong with him believing so.

Everyone must assume that science and reason are the only valid epistemological foundations or else the boundary between fantasy and reality breaks down and no recourse for resolving disagreements remains except physical violence. Humanity MUST accept a common framework for establishing truth, or else all is chaos.

Besides which, the supremacy of science and reason as epistemological tools is beyond question. The fact is, EVERYONE, beleiver and atheist alike, relies almost exclusively on them in their day-to-day activities. It is only when the ultimate questions come up that theists, quite arbitrarily, leave reason and decide that whatever they imagine might as well be real.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
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An ad hominem argument, also

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin, literally argument against the person), personal attack or you-too argument, involves replying to an argument or assertion by attacking the person presenting the argument or assertion rather than the argument itself. It is a logical fallacy.

In Logic

An ad hominem fallacy consists of asserting that someone's argument is wrong and/or he is wrong to argue at all purely because of something discreditable/not-authoritative about the person or those persons cited by him rather than addressing the soundness of the argument itself. The implication is that the person's argument and/or ability to argue correctly lacks authority. Merely insulting another person in the middle of otherwise rational discourse does not necessarily constitute an ad hominem fallacy. It must be clear that the purpose of the characterization is to discredit the person offering the argument, and, specifically, to invite others to discount his arguments. In the past,the term ad hominem was sometimes used more literally, to describe an argument that was based on an individual, or to describe any personal attack. However, this is not how the meaning of the term is typically introduced in modern logic and rhetoric textbooks, and logicians and rhetoricians are in agreement that this use is incorrect.

Examples:

"You claim that this man is innocent, but you cannot be trusted since you are a criminal as well."

"You feel that abortion should be illegal, but I disagree, because you are uneducated and poor."

Not all ad hominem fallacies are insulting:

Example:

"Paula says the umpire made the correct call, but this can't be true, because Paula was doing more important things than watching the game."

This is an ad hominem fallacy, even though it is saying something positive about the person, because it is addressing the person and not the topic in dispute.

[edit] Linguistically

In common language, any personal attack, regardless of whether it is part of an argument, is often referred to as ad hominem.

Quote:
And referring to rabbinical technique as "cherry picking" simply shows your ignorance concerning the practice and also a mindset that doesn't seem to treat seriously any opinion except your own. Such arrogance speaks more to your own ideology.

The implication of this statement is clearly that my authority as a debater is questionable and therefore my assertion should be discounted. That's ad hominem.

So, kiddo, I'm correct in saying that there is at least one ad hominem attack in a logical sense, and in a linguistic sense, every one of your insults was ad hominem.

Quote:
I agree, there is an interpretation occurring here. That doesn't prove anything. For you to make your point, you have to prove how YOUR interpretation is THE ONLY way to interpret the passage. Good luck.

Actually, I'm under no such burden. Since I'm asserting that the bible is selectively interpreted to support an established conclusion, all I have to do is demonstrate that there are good and bad interpretations possible. I've done that.

Quote:
You see? In pointing out the poor treatment of women and using that as an argument, you're missing the fact that within the christian paradigm, the innate sinful nature of man is still alive and well. Hence, how man sometimes puts into action God's will can be problematic. But that says nothing about God's moral nature, only that man is fallen and in need of redemption.

You're missing the point that I wasn't trying to prove any points by pointing out the poor treatment of women.

My original question dealt with your assertion that it's perfectly reasonable to interpret the OT in a way that makes god look good. I asked for a reasonable way to get a good "spirit of the law" from this passage, and still haven't gotten one. At best, god seems to be saying that you should be kind of nice to your women slaves, and at worst, well.. we've already been there, so I won't re-hash it.

Quote:
if I were a christian, I would sincerly lament the unfortunate treatment that women were exposed to in the OT before God's law was fully understood and the people were capable of implementing it.

This is a bizarre statement. This seems to imply that god couldn't figure out how to get people to understand his law for thousands of years.

What a tard he must be.

Quote:
From the context of the OT jew, the passage takes into consideration practices that were already in place and God, in his wisdom, knew that such practices wouldn't be stopped completely. So, in his wisdom, he set forth parameters that would ensure some kind of good behavior when certain situations arose.

Um... he'd have to be a tard. So god could kill entire cities for worshiping a false god, but he didn't feel like he had enough pull to stop people from having slaves?

Kind of hard for me to swallow, but then the whole concept of picking and choosing from the bible is hard for me to swallow.

Quote:
Personally, I think it doesn't work, but then again, I don't believe "the Bible" exists and I don't implicitly assume its validity as a possible moral authority.

I realize you've said you're playing devil's advocate. I'm glad you don't believe the bible is necessarily valid as a moral authority.

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very close

Finally, a rather decent argument, though still problematic. Let's take a look.

tilberian wrote:
Everyone must assume that science and reason are the only valid epistemological foundations or else the boundary between fantasy and reality breaks down and no recourse for resolving disagreements remains except physical violence. Humanity MUST accept a common framework for establishing truth, or else all is chaos.

You make two statement here that do not necessarily go together. It would have been best had you put the second statement about a "common framework" first but whatever. The issue is that there is no necessity for assuming the validity of science and reason whole-cloth. That is your choice. You have yet to show why I or anyone MUST choose this. Get that down and you'll be getting close to a good argument against what I've been playing devil's advocate for here.

tilberian wrote:
Besides which, the supremacy of science and reason as epistemological tools is beyond question. The fact is, EVERYONE, beleiver and atheist alike, relies almost exclusively on them in their day-to-day activities. It is only when the ultimate questions come up that theists, quite arbitrarily, leave reason and decide that whatever they imagine might as well be real.

Actually, no, the supremacy is not beyond question. Philosophers, even secular ones, still question the validity of science as a means to ascertain truth. There are in fact limitations to scientific reasoning. Whether those limitations are enough to dismiss the discipline, well, that's an entirely different discussion. It would good for you to read the book "The Philosophy of Science" in the Rutledge philosophy series.

Anyway, whether the believer could be shown to rely on basic scientific reasoning on a day-to-day basis, you have still not shown why then it must be the only means of ascertaining truth. (At least not yet, you're almost there.) The believer is not, from their perspective, arbitrary in their usage of faith because the usage of it is based on the doctrinal position of the fallen nature of man and thus where reason "fails" it is clearly then a result of man's inability to understand properly.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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I'm actually getting kind of

I'm actually getting kind of tired of this debate, so I'm not going to start a war on the definition of faith. Someone else can step up on that one. I'll just say that my wording is unpleasant for theists, but after the ten thousand words that tend to go flying about in discussions about the definition of faith, it always comes down to theists asserting that there are ways beyond the scope of science and reason by which knowledge can be derived. That's a convoluted way of saying that faith is belief in something either 1) despite scientific evidence to the contrary or 2) despite a complete lack of scientific evidence.

I don't have the energy to debate that today. Maybe another time.

Quote:
And your statement here isn't an argument, unless of you course you ASSUME that science and reason are the only valid epistemological foundations.

Actually, I don't assume it. I arrive at that conclusion by using the only tools available... science and reason.

Quote:
The believer, until you address the "faith epistemology" is under no obligation to accept empiricism as the only epistemic principle.

You're not under an obligation to disbelieve in Santa Claus, but it's still irrational for you to believe in him.

Quote:
Could it not be that the believer is simply using a different form of reason that you are privy to?

no

Quote:
Who says it's irrational to believe in God? Ah yes, you do. How easy for you to say. Of course you'd say that because you've already assumed that He doesn't exist and thus you assume that your reason proves that. How terribly circular.

Shame on you for accusing me of using your tactic.

Actually, my saying it is irrational is kind of irrelevant. I'm not quoting myself as an authority. Logic textbooks are readily available at your local bookstore. Use one of them as an authority, and leave me out of it.

Quote:
Your argument so far is completely based on your own bias which has not been substantiated. You wouldn't appreciate it if I required you to assume my position, so why are you right in requiring that of the believer?

No, my argument is based on logic, which people have been using for quite a few millenia before I was ever born. I can demonstrate my logic, and it holds up nicely against the empirical evidence.

I don't require anyone to assume my position is true. I suggest that people who understand logic and do some research with an open mind are very likely to agree with my position, since it is validated by science and logic.

You're projecting your own flawed arguments onto me again.

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almost

Again, a rather good argument finally, but it still misses the point. And yes, yes, yes, I did engage in ad hominem arguments, but so did you and neither solves anything. I hardly needed the lecture, especially since you still haven't shown whether you understand rabbinical technique yet. But whatever.

hambydammit wrote:
Since I'm asserting that the bible is selectively interpreted to support an established conclusion, all I have to do is demonstrate that there are good and bad interpretations possible. I've done that.

Ah, but simply showing how there are various interpretations possible doesn't prove the Bible incapable of being a source for morality, it merely shows that there are possible interpretations. Again, there isn't an apologist out there that would disagree. However, to show that the bible is immoral, you have to show that YOUR interpretation is THE ONLY correct one, because otherwise the christian can merely say that your interpretation is wrong and they'd be justified in doing so. The reason for this is because since you've already implicitly allowed for "the bible" to exist as a complete document, the christian then can rest on other theological positions, namely the sin-nature of man, to show how your understanding is wrong and also on the illuminating power of the holy spirit to show the believer the real knowledge. All very neat and tidy, even if ultimately wrong, but your point doesn't show this yet.

hambydammit wrote:
This is a bizarre statement. This seems to imply that god couldn't figure out how to get people to understand his law for thousands of years.

Not necessarily. Remember that according to most theological paradigms, the christian believes in God having deliberately cut short his power by giving free will to humanity. Thus, based on this, it could be reasonably stipulated that God set up the situation in the only way possible, i.e. by addressing humanity where they were at, not where he wished them to be. To do otherwise may have undermined man's ability to freely choose.

hambydammit wrote:
Um... he'd have to be a tard. So god could kill entire cities for worshiping a false god, but he didn't feel like he had enough pull to stop people from having slaves?

Kind of hard for me to swallow, but then the whole concept of picking and choosing from the bible is hard for me to swallow.

Of course he could. The christian belief is that God is morally righteous due to being who he is and therefore whatever he does is therefore morally right. This does not mean necessarily that what everything man does in his name is correct or that even that god is a role model, for god isn't even close to being like man and therefore is incapable of being a role model. This, incidentally, is why some theologians believe a separate reason for sending Jesus is to give man a better role model, but that's incidental to the point here. At issue is the fact that God's decrees are moral because of who he is and he can do many things that he says man is not allowed to because man is sinful and god isn't. Rather quaint logic, but it is consistent. This is why logic is only a tool, not the final arbiter of truth.

Again, be careful using the phrase "picking and choosing." While I know that's what it looks like, it really isn't, at least not when you get past the common layman. There are large tomes dedicated to various systematic theologies that purport to show how scripture is to be systematically used and, if one assumes the legitimacy of scripture, they are possibly correct.

And yes, I am playing devil's advocate. But I'm doing so for a purpose. Many of the arguments presented would convince only an ignoramus. If we are to be dedicated to reason and humanity itself, rather than to any singular ideological structure, then our arguments must be better. What has been presented so far would never have convinced me I was wrong when I was a believer.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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I'm genuinely interested in

I'm genuinely interested in this thread, so I don't want you to think I'm bailing on you. I've got lots to do this evening and tomorrow, so it might be a couple of days before I get back to it.

The only comment I'll make for right now is this: The burden of proof is on the claimant, so if I prove that there are different interpretations possible, the person making the claim that there is a reasonable way for deciding which one is correct has the burden of describing and demonstrating that claim.

Until such a demonstration is produced, I have done all I can do for that debate.

Ok.. one more...

Again, the burden of proof is on the claimant. I don't have to prove to you that I'm not ignorant of rabbinical practices. You claim that I am, so the burden's on you.

(Even so, I'll throw you a bone. Before I even read your original post, it just so happened that Potok's "History of the Jews" was front and center on my desk, and yes, I've read the whole thing, as well as the bible, so I do know something about Jewish laws and customs!)

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faith

hambydammit wrote:
That's a convoluted way of saying that faith is belief in something either 1) despite scientific evidence to the contrary or 2) despite a complete lack of scientific evidence.

Seriously, this has to stop. Did you even notice that your definition of faith requires one to first assume the universal validity of science as the only epistemological system? Therefore, it doesn't work. I already stated that to claim faith isn't scientifically tenable isn't an argument because the theist agrees with you! That is because faith is not a scientific position, but a completely different epistemological system.

hambydammit wrote:
Actually, I don't assume it. I arrive at that conclusion by using the only tools available... science and reason.

I hope you're not serious. Did you actually just say "I arrive at the truth of science because science leads me to it"?

hambydammit wrote:
You're not under an obligation to disbelieve in Santa Claus, but it's still irrational for you to believe in him.

Nope, try again. Belief in santa claus is completely different than belief in God. Even a cursory reading of christian philosophical texts will show this.

hambydammit wrote:
No, my argument is based on logic, which people have been using for quite a few millenia before I was ever born. I can demonstrate my logic, and it holds up nicely against the empirical evidence.

I don't require anyone to assume my position is true. I suggest that people who understand logic and do some research with an open mind are very likely to agree with my position, since it is validated by science and logic.

Unfortunately, you are requiring people to assume your assumption about the legitimacy of science. The fact that you think an open mind guarantees that someone will agree with you is simply arrogant. You have yet to show why your assumption concerning science is valid, other than saying that you use science to show it to be true. And that is circular.

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not quite

I'm almost done with being able to write as well, due to having to do other things. The arguments presented have all been good, but it's clear you're all operating from a fixed box of arguments. Step outside a bit and see what's going on. I've stipulated how to defeat the believer in some of my side points, but nobody has caught on yet.

hamblydammit wrote:
The burden of proof is on the claimant, so if I prove that there are different interpretations possible, the person making the claim that there is a reasonable way for deciding which one is correct has the burden of describing and demonstrating that claim.

Unfortunately, the christian isn't saying this. They have merely to show that it is possible that you could be wrong. No apologist is going to sit there and tell you that their interpretation is necessarily right, only that it probably is. Your point is to show that the bible is immoral and thus the burden of showing that is on you. Therefore, it is you who must show that a particular interpretation is necessarily correct, not just possible, to show that the bible is immoral. The believer, until you prove this, has only to say "yes, but your interpretation could be wrong."

hamblydammit wrote:
I don't have to prove to you that I'm not ignorant of rabbinical practices.

You can't be serious. Showing your ignorance was done by pointing out your mischaracterization of the practice by calling it "cherry picking." That isn't what is done, because it isn't arbitrary. If you wish to redefine your position on rabbinical technique and show a proper definition of it, then you would then prove to not be ignorant.

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reason_passion wrote:
todangst wrote:
By calling their interpreations 'ad hoc', I am implying that the interpretations are driven solely by pre-set motivations to make them fit into one's beliefs and not a more rational exegesis. So yes, all interpretations are after the writing is done (in other news, the sky is blue) but the point of calling a set of interpretations 'ad hoc' is to stress their biased, self serving nature, revealed by their inconsistent logic.

While I agree with this to a point, it yet again misses the issue.

No, it doesn't miss the issue. I just demonstrated that you missed the point I am making, once you recognize what 'ad hocism' actually refers to, you'll see the actual point before you.

I'll demonstrate this again.

Quote:

Pointing out "pre-set motivations" is not an argument against christians, at least not in this context.

Yes it is. The point is that ad hoc interpretations are driven by bias and not reasoned exegesis.

Quote:

There isn't an apologist out there who wouldn't admit that biases and so on creep into interpretation.

We already know that bias influences every interpretation, so I don't see why we must belabor the obvious again.

But here we go again: The point is that ad hoc interpretations are driven by and fueled by the biased need to cling to a belief system, i.e. they are driven by dogma, even against reasoned exegesis. Ad hocisms are created solely because they allow the believer to cling to his belief.

That is the point before you. I do hope you see it now. If you do, you can now recognize the value of the point.

Quote:

In fact, that's why the entire subfield of theology,

Yes. And I've made the point of demonstrating the difference between ad hoc fueled interpretations and rational exegesis about 3 times now.

Quote:

called biblical theology, was created, so as to address how the original text was meant within the cultural context of the time.

No kidding, and the point before you is that ad hoc interpretations even go against rational exegesis... I've used the term several times now, it refers to this very process you've just spoke about here.

I do hope that you now see the point before you.

Quote:

In addition, pointing out interpretive problems isn't going to effect the knowledgeable believer.

Yes it is, because a knowledgable person seeks to reduce bias. They seek a rational grounds for their claims, and hope to reduce ad hocisms.

todangst wrote:
The problem with the 'spirit of the law defense' is that it relies on people being capable of being moral agents, independent of the bible.... This defense therefore treats dandruff by decapitation... it helps solve some of the problems of the OT, but only by rejecting the concept that the bible is required for making moral judgements! In fact, one is holding that people are superior moral judges than the bible!

Quote:

Unfortunately, this doesn't work either. The believer is under no obligation to adhere to the position that man is incapable of moral reasoning.

But he'd have a devil of a time trying to explain why this is so.... pun intended...

Quote:

This brings up the theological position regarding conscience, that being God's internal gift to man, to show his inability to live consistently and thus his need for a source outside of himself for salvation.

Hence my argument. If man needs a source outside of himself, then how is he able to rely upon himself to judge the bible's morality?

Do you see the inconsistency? And now, let's look at how this ad hocism leads to an even greater problem!

Quote:

In addition, while I personally see the point you're making,

Good.

Quote:

the way out for the believer is to simply postulate the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, a doctrinal point that has long been used to justify man's ability to make correct moral choices.

And this is precisely where I want to lead the theist! To this very argument.

If he can rely on this spirit, then why have a bible in the first place?

See the problem? If the holy spirit can guide him to correcting the bible, then why have the fallible bible in the first place, when you already have the spirit? And we have to ask, what's going on here? God is allowing the bible to be wrong, but then relying on the spirit to correct the erroneous bible? So he's causing the problem, on purpose, and then correcting it, much later, after much misery has been caused, for no reason?

See? We've just demonstrated how ad hocism leads to problems, and precisely why it does so: because it leads to inconsistencies.

Quote:

I'm not saying any of this is right, I'm only pointing out that once you implicitly agree that a thing called "the bible" truly exists, you're at a disadvantage in the argumentation.

On the contrary, the very existence of the bible is problematic in light of the point you just made.

todangst wrote:
Yet the very same OT is held to be prophetic of jesus... so on the one hand, it's a miraculous work able to predict the future, and yet, on the other, it's utterly incapable of making even the most basic of moral judgements concerning the most vital of human needs.

Quote:

Not sure where you got the point of the OT being incapable of making "the most basic of moral judgments" other than from your own position.

Then you advocate slavery, stoning women for not shouting out loud enough while being raped and killing your own children for disobeying?

Is this really only my position on morality?

No.

The OT advocates all sorts of vile immorality that even theists seek to distance themselves from. Do I really need to list it all for you? I doubt it.

Quote:

Course, even then, the OT isn't completely filled with morally objectionable parts.

And Hitler was nice to his dogs.

Quote:

Also, this ignores the distinction that I've pointed out previously between the so-called "social law" and the "moral law." And in fact, on logic alone, there is no necessity for the Bible to be perfect in every aspect.

It claims to be god inspired... how can it be flawed and also the work of omniscience?

Quote:

It is quite possible to see that prophecy is accurate and leave the moral issues either up for further study or chalk it up to not understanding everything God has done. Within the christian ideology, this is perfectly acceptable.

How is it perfectly acceptable to believe that a book isn't able to give good advice on the simplest of moral questions, but at the same time, believe it is able to predict the future perfectly? What sort of insanity is required to make this appear rational?

Quote:

And not to belabor the point, but the qualification I made as to "particular theological framework" DOES make the thinking internally consistent,

No, it does not, unless you want to equate purposeful delusion with internal consistency.

I have again demonstrated that these beliefs are not consistent. Theists themselves confess to various 'paradoxes' that they must deal with through faith. Others, who insist that the beliefs are consistent cannot actually support the claim. Just because someone insists that their beliefs are inconsistent does not mean that this is so. There is nothing consistent about believing a book can predict the future yet be unable to say something as basic as 'slavery isn't nice' or
"it's not a good idea to murder someone because they decide to start a fire on saturday'.

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jcgadfly wrote:
reason_passion wrote:

And not to belabor the point, but the qualification I made as to "particular theological framework" DOES make the thinking internally consistent, but again, only if certain things are accepted on the basis of faith. Quite frankly, all ideologies are like that. The point is to begin question the foundational principles, not go after the branches.

Did you just say the thinking is internally consistent if you don't think about it and use faith instead?

I thought you did.

Yep, that's pretty much what he said. Which means that they are internally consistent coz they say so, damn the facts....

Ignoring a contradiction based on faith that there isn't one isn't a rational means to internal consistency... it's just denying away the fact that you aren't consistent....

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reason_passion wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:
So, everyone from Paul "That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day." (2 Tim 1:12)to every Christian that claims knowledge of God is destined for your hell because they're lying.

Knowledge isn't a basis for belief, right? That is what you said?

Read carefully the passage you just quoted. Notice that knowledge is here contingent upon a previous belief. Hence your statement doesn't work. Knowledge does not have to come first, because belief can sometimes lend itself to the acquisition of knowledge. Sometimes it works the other way around of course, but Paul is specifically not referring here to one of those situations.

Paul claims both belief and knowledge in the same thing. If you have knowledge of something, you no longer need a belief in that thing. Nowhere does he claim that he stopped believing (at least that I saw in the Bible).

This still doesn't get you out of saying that you need to pitch out thought in order to accept that your thinking is internally consistent. It also doesn't let you off the hook for saying that it's OK to lie if you're doing it for Jesus.

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reason_passion

reason_passion wrote:
Finally, a rather decent argument, though still problematic. Let's take a look.

tilberian wrote:
Everyone must assume that science and reason are the only valid epistemological foundations or else the boundary between fantasy and reality breaks down and no recourse for resolving disagreements remains except physical violence. Humanity MUST accept a common framework for establishing truth, or else all is chaos.

You make two statement here that do not necessarily go together. It would have been best had you put the second statement about a "common framework" first but whatever. The issue is that there is no necessity for assuming the validity of science and reason whole-cloth. That is your choice. You have yet to show why I or anyone MUST choose this. Get that down and you'll be getting close to a good argument against what I've been playing devil's advocate for here.

OK, I'll make it a little clearer: if you don't use reason to guide your affairs, you die. The entire edifice of science and rationality is an outgrowth from this basic truth. The universe forces us to accept reason as the supreme standard of validity, because if we don't, we aren't around to propagate our viewpoint.

The same imperative carries over into society as a whole. If we view the persistence of society as a good, we must view as bad that which tends to tear society apart. Belief without reason, being impervious to discourse, leads to violence. Simple pragmatism and social conscience demands we prefer reason as an epistemological framework.

reason_passion wrote:

tilberian wrote:
Besides which, the supremacy of science and reason as epistemological tools is beyond question. The fact is, EVERYONE, beleiver and atheist alike, relies almost exclusively on them in their day-to-day activities. It is only when the ultimate questions come up that theists, quite arbitrarily, leave reason and decide that whatever they imagine might as well be real.

Actually, no, the supremacy is not beyond question. Philosophers, even secular ones, still question the validity of science as a means to ascertain truth. There are in fact limitations to scientific reasoning. Whether those limitations are enough to dismiss the discipline, well, that's an entirely different discussion. It would good for you to read the book "The Philosophy of Science" in the Rutledge philosophy series.

There is no proof, or even good arguments, to show that there is any limitation to scientific thinking. It is quite simply the most powerful mental tool we have for making useful conclusions about the universe. Science only appears limited when we prejudge what conclusions we want to arrive at, then complain because science doesn't take us there.

Let me ask you this: without applying a scientific test, how do you discover if a particluar mode of thinking is more or less useful?

reason_passion wrote:

Anyway, whether the believer could be shown to rely on basic scientific reasoning on a day-to-day basis, you have still not shown why then it must be the only means of ascertaining truth. (At least not yet, you're almost there.) The believer is not, from their perspective, arbitrary in their usage of faith because the usage of it is based on the doctrinal position of the fallen nature of man and thus where reason "fails" it is clearly then a result of man's inability to understand properly.

The fact that believer and unbeliever alike rely on rational thought is not a reason to prefer reason over faith, but points strongly to the fact that reason is superior and necessary from a pragmatic point of view. Since there are no other reasons than the pragmatic for embracing a particular paradigm (unless one presupposes some kind of metaphysical universe), we should prefer the most useful framework - reason.

The doctrinal fall cannot be an underpinning for any kind of epistemological framework because it presupposes so much. First you assume God, sin, the nature of man etc etc then you go on to use these things as justifications for your mode of reasoning. It's circular.

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tilberian wrote:
OK, I'll make it a little clearer: if you don't use reason to guide your affairs, you die. The entire edifice of science and rationality is an outgrowth from this basic truth. The universe forces us to accept reason as the supreme standard of validity, because if we don't, we aren't around to propagate our viewpoint.

The same imperative carries over into society as a whole. If we view the persistence of society as a good, we must view as bad that which tends to tear society apart. Belief without reason, being impervious to discourse, leads to violence. Simple pragmatism and social conscience demands we prefer reason as an epistemological framework.

There is no proof, or even good arguments, to show that there is any limitation to scientific thinking. It is quite simply the most powerful mental tool we have for making useful conclusions about the universe. Science only appears limited when we prejudge what conclusions we want to arrive at, then complain because science doesn't take us there.

Since there are no other reasons than the pragmatic for embracing a particular paradigm (unless one presupposes some kind of metaphysical universe), we should prefer the most useful framework - reason.

Are you seriously using pure pragmatism to support scientific reason? I do hope you aren't, if for no other reason than it presupposes the moral validity of striving for the continuation of the human species, which you have yet to prove is valid.

And as to causing strife, the religious thinker has only to delve back into their ideology to point out that human problems are caused by sin and that with the full and complete authority of God being manifested in His return, all discord will be done away with.

You are actually pretty damn close, but you overstepped your point.

Which leads me to the core of what I’m about to say. Quite frankly, this will be my last entry. In it, I will attempt to outline the overall issue that I have been trying, perhaps in vain, to bring to awareness. If everyone hear still doesn’t get it, then that’s your problem. The continued refusal to recognize that all ideological structures are based on assumptions and that these assumptions must be clearly delineated and understood, to accept that Christians and other theists aren’t stupid and to see that rigid adherence to a particular claim is not solely the prevue of religion, is an indication of the vast ignorance found here about real Christian apologetics, philosophy in general and theological history. I urge anyone interested in actually knowing what believers think to start reading Carl F.H. Henry, Gordon Clark, and Alvin Plantinga among others. These are men with degrees and a history of thought far greater than I or anyone else here. Regardless of whether they are wrong, which of course I think they are, they should be taken seriously and understood properly. I am reminded of a theology prof of mine who once told a student who was flippantly dismissing Richard Dawkins that despite disagreeing, Dawkins should be treated with respect as he is an academic and a good thinker. If believers are willing to be that level-headed, it would behoove us to be so as well.

But anyway, let’s break this down.

The believer, like any person, is faced with the dilemma of choosing an epistemological and ontological foundation. There are many epistemic possibilities to choose from, including rationality (in various forms), intuitionism, empiricism, and faith. They all are separate means of ascertaining truth. That does not mean all are as capable or that each is exclusive to the others, only that they are separate possibilities of the epistemic question. What is imperative here is to notice that none, except for faith, which will be touched on shortly, are without problems.

Take reason for example. It simply doesn’t work in all situations or in fact isn’t even used very often. This is clear from neurological and psychological studies. Our brains in most everyday action are not propositionalizing various data and then running through streams of inductive and deductive arguments in order to come to a conclusion. Quite often, decisions are made without any overt rational thought and are simply constrained by ontological paradigms, social mores, and instinctive drives. This does not mean that one cannot look back at a decision and create a rational for it, but this is after the fact and in all likelihood is simply a creative enterprise, since clearly the average person wants to put themselves in the most favorable light when looking at their reasoning capabilities. Following this, reason is, as alluded to previously, largely constrained by the social mores in which the person using it is found. There is no particular way that reason must be used. Even logic, which is unfortunately what reason is usually equated with, has gone through various changes and can be found in different forms. Indeed, logic isn’t even a truth-determiner, but rather a tool to delineate propositional relationships. In addition, not everything can be broken down into propositional form. This is simple fact. We all believe a great many things about the world, like the subject-object dichotomy, the movement of time, and the one-for-one cause-effect relationship of reality, without any reason for it. We accept these facts prima facie and only when they are brought to our awareness do we then fabricate a rationalization for showing why it is so. But even if no reason were given, these aspects of our existence would still be true and we would go about our merry lives without any sense of loss. None of this is to say that reason, generally, is bankrupt, only that it is limited and blind acceptance of it and the willy-nilly way in which it is used only furthers the distance between human beings.

Empiricism (science) also fails in being all-encompassing. Not only has quantum mechanics shown that the very attempt of scientific study changes the way information is going to be understood and thus we are, in some small way, changing reality to suit our preconceived notions, but there are also things that empiricism simply isn’t capable of describing. For instance, the phenomenological feel of events. There is no reason to delve into a type of dualism, natural or supernatural, to see that even if one were to be capable of empirically demonstrating on a computer or in a laboratory all the mechanisms that go into thought and experience, it would still not actually tell us what a person experiences when they “feel” something. Kant was quite clear in his stipulation of the noumenon and phenomenon paradigm that there will be always exist a separation between the real and what is known. Now, I don’t think his criticism was completely valid, but his thinking does show that there is a gap between mathematical models and the thing itself. This isn’t damning, it’s simply a limitation and one we ignore at peril of becoming as absolutist in our claims to knowledge as the theist is in his.

So on to faith. Defining it as belief without reason is not an argument because that is precisely what it is. All you’re doing is stating a fact. What has yet to be shown is whether therefore faith is a valid epistemic tool. And to do so, it is not enough to simply say “well, reason says so.” One must demonstrate that when a person uses the term in its religious context, they are failing in engaging with reality. By gallivanting around and picking fights with statements of faith, instead of the core epistemic theory itself, the atheist is implicitly at a loss in argumentation.

Now, I can already hear some saying “but, but, the theist is under an obligation to show their claims are accurate, since they’re making a positive claim about reality.” First, this isn’t true, because faith claims, being that they are not based on reason and empiricism, are not claims about physical reality per se, though there may be inferences derived from those claims. Second, quoting the argument out of the George Smith handbook is naive. The atheist, too, is making positive statements, though not about God exactly. The atheist assumes the validity of rational and empirical evidence as a means of making positive claims about reality. This is an assumption that must be demonstrated, not because it’s fun to do, but because reason and empiricism are competing epistemic systems and thus are in need of being shown why one has chosen them over others.

All of this of course, is secondary. The believer does hold faith to be an epistemic system, but this is largely based on a previous belief as to the legitimacy of “the bible” as a real object. It astounds me that nobody has picked up on this yet in what I’ve been saying and only shows that everyone is so stuck on their standard modes of attack, that they don’t stop to really read what is being said. So let me say it more clearly: there is no such thing as “the bible.” It is not a singular book, it does not have an internal transcendent message and it was cobbled together by monarchical decree and choices of various committees.

In every quotation of scripture, in every claim to “know” what “the Bible” is truly saying, the atheist has embarked on the same ideological vessel to nowhere as the believer has. But it’s worse actually, because at least the believer has recourse to thousands of years of church apologetics and several academic disciplines that have grown around the belief that there exists a singular book called “the Bible.” And before someone starts screaming ad hoc fallacy like a broken record, it would be wise to stop and think first. Of course disciplines are going to come about after beliefs are stipulated. Do you really think that the discipline of astronomy was created before people had opinions about the stars? Of course not. Beliefs happen and then disciplines are created to deal with them. The exact same thing has occurred with “the Bible” belief. Since it was already assumed that such a book exists, to deal with the disparate opinions about it, academic disciplines were created to deal with the problems. This is perfectly acceptable and has occurred in every other field of human inquiry.

Christian believers are notorious for being able to lead a skeptic down rabbit trails. From years of apologetic study, I have seen that this is actually what some teachers explicitly teach believers to do. By implicitly agreeing with the believer about the efficacy of faith and the existence of “the bible” the atheist thus can be taken down trails to nowhere because foundational elements have yet to be discussed. The atheist, in the same absolutist zeal as the believer, postulates that his epistemic claim is the only one valid and the only one capable of “proving” anything, thus misses what the believer is actually postulating. Perhaps it would be wise for atheists and humanists to begin to focus more on humanity and understanding the person in front of them, instead of blindly following an ideological paradigm that may in fact, due to the inherent fallibility of humanity, be obsolete in the future.

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reason_passion wrote:Are

reason_passion wrote:

Are you seriously using pure pragmatism to support scientific reason? I do hope you aren't, if for no other reason than it presupposes the moral validity of striving for the continuation of the human species, which you have yet to prove is valid.

Are you seriously proposing that this is a response? I do hope you aren't, if for no other reason that pragmatism does not need to provide the ridiculous justification you've just asked for...

Pragmatism involves answering the question: does X work in helping to solve human problems? The fact that scientific reasoning has a pragmatic value is prima facie obvious, and your desparate attempt to avoid acknowledging the obvious is ridiculous.

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reason_passion wrote: Are

reason_passion wrote:

Are you seriously using pure pragmatism to support scientific reason? I do hope you aren't, if for no other reason than it presupposes the moral validity of striving for the continuation of the human species, which you have yet to prove is valid.

Pragmatism does not presuppose the moral validity of survival, it simply acknowledges the fact that without survival and propagation of an idea through time, that idea will soon cease to exist. All the epistemic foundations you mentioned have met the pragmatic test of survival. I've simply applied the pragmatic test still farther, to choose the epistemic foundation which best serves me and humanity. IMO, that's science and reason.

reason_passion wrote:

And as to causing strife, the religious thinker has only to delve back into their ideology to point out that human problems are caused by sin and that with the full and complete authority of God being manifested in His return, all discord will be done away with.

This sidesteps the question, placing the emphasis on who is to blame for strife rather than on the modes of thinking that tend to increase or decrease strife. Secular reason reduces strife NOW, with real humans, sins and all, with no deus ex machina required. Faith offers us only guilt and wishful thinking. It fails this pragmatic test woefully, and therefore is inferior, IMO.

reason_passion wrote:

You are actually pretty damn close, but you overstepped your point.

Feel free to quit the condescending remarks any time. I haven't spoken to you in this tone, not sure why you feel it's necessary to give it to me. If you want to convince me that you're smart, why not just tell me why you think so?

reason_passion wrote:

Take reason for example. It simply doesn’t work in all situations or in fact isn’t even used very often.

Agree. So what? This is no reason to abandon reason as an ideal, or to use it as a benchmark for determining truth. The triumphs of reason are manifest everywhere - apparently, even if it only works part of the time, it's already racked up a heck of a track record compared to faith.

reason_passion wrote:

Empiricism (science) also fails in being all-encompassing.

The quantum effects you describe occur only on subatomic scales - observers do not affect results for macroscopic observations. Even subatomically, the only effect that is hidden there is pure randomness - hardly an important key to understanding that science can never grasp.

It isn't clear that computers can't model human perception or consciousness - just that they haven't yet. You are in danger of falling into the old theist trap of condemning science on the grounds that it hasn't answered all the questions yet that faith purports to answer. Let's remember that the faithful are playing with a rigged deck. They get to determine the answer before they even ask the question.

reason_passion wrote:

It astounds me that nobody has picked up on this yet in what I’ve been saying and only shows that everyone is so stuck on their standard modes of attack, that they don’t stop to really read what is being said. So let me say it more clearly: there is no such thing as “the bible.” It is not a singular book, it does not have an internal transcendent message and it was cobbled together by monarchical decree and choices of various committees.

This has been picked up on, over and over again, in many different places and by many different atheists. I know for a fact tha we have attacked the biblical foundations of christian faith from exactly this angle over and over on the infidelguy site. Maybe it is your newness to this particular community that is the problem here.

I still think you're giving faith too much credit. I fail to see the point in an epistemic model that doesn't engage with reality.

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- Dr. Joy Brown


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Ok. The thing about the

Ok.
The thing about the law of the OT was it was meant as a foreshadow of Christ. Lets take a thing or two for example. When the high priest entered the holiest of holies to make the yearly sacrifice on the day of atonement he had to remove his priestly garments and put on plain white garments. He had to humble himself. This is a foreshadow that God removed his glory and humbled Himself as a mere man. There were the priestly laws, which only applied to the levitical priesthood, there were the abomination to man laws "don't do this or that for it is an abomination unto you" and there were the abomination to God laws "don't do this or that because it is an abomination unto God" When Christ took the cross the "abomination to man" laws were made none effect as well as the priestly laws.

When the Holy Ghost was poured out at Pentecost the Lord was made available to all. Prior to that He only made Himself available to Israel. The gentiles did not have the law of moses. That is why paul consistanly says neither circumcision nor uncircumcision matters (Paul was sanhedrin, he knew Jewish law). The difference is that now there is the availability to receive the Holy Ghost inside of us.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.