The God App

| 237 Comments

Today’s Times has a (possibly unwittingly) amusing article on apps designed for iPhones by Christian publishers attempting to fight “what they view as a new strain of strident atheism.” Nonbelievers are, naturally, responding.

Here is an example of the level of debate:

“Say someone calls you narrow-minded because you think Jesus is the only way to God,” says one top-selling application introduced in March by a Christian publishing company. “Your first answer should be: ‘What do you mean by narrow-minded?’”

Not to mention:

“The Bible’s 66 books were written over a span of 1,500 years by 40 different authors on three different continents who wrote in three different languages. Yet this diverse collection has a unified story line and no contradictions.”

If you believe that the Bible has a unified story line and no contradictions, you will believe anything.

One Christian app, Fast Facts, advises,

“When someone says, ‘There is no truth,’ ask them: ‘Is that true? Is it true there is no truth?’ Because if it’s true that there is no truth, then it’s false that ‘there is no truth.’”

I will surely remember that the next time someone says, “There is no truth.”

Atheists, on the other hand, get “to keep the most funny and irrational Bible verses right in their pocket.” One app explains,

“If you take any miracle from the Bible and tell your co-workers at your job that this recently happened to someone, you will undoubtedly be laughed at.”

The president of Union Theological Seminary stated,

“It turns it into a game. Both sides come to the discussion with fixed ideas, and you have what amounts to a contest between different types of fundamentalism.”

Maybe. But it sounds to me like she has a case of terminal objectivity; the truth is not necessarily somewhere between two competing arguments. Many atheists may be fundamentalists, in a way, but simply debunking Biblical literalism or not believing in God is very far from fundamentalism. The developer of one app, Jason Hagen, expressed considerable sympathy for religious believers, and I will let him have the last word:

What inspired him [Mr. Hagen], he said, was a lifetime of frustration as the son of a fundamentalist Christian preacher in rural Virginia.

“I know what people go through, growing up in the culture I grew up in,” said Mr. Hagen, 39, adding that his father had only recently learned of his true beliefs. “So I tried to give people the tools they need to defend themselves, but at the same time not ridicule anybody. Basically, the people on the other side of the debate are my parents.”

237 Comments

That “two types of fundamentalism” is a standard smear tactic from the fundamentalist religious side. It’s the same reason that our resident religiotrolls try to claim that evolution amounts to a religion.

Alex H said:

That “two types of fundamentalism” is a standard smear tactic from the fundamentalist religious side. It’s the same reason that our resident religiotrolls try to claim that evolution amounts to a religion.

Life creates life billions of times per year, and this is observable and testable, never has non life ever been observed becoming life.

Well, we could argue about the line between life vs. non-life, but basically you’re right, Biggy.

And no-one has ever, ever recorded divine intervention in any of it, anywhere.

IBelieveInGod said:

Alex H said:

That “two types of fundamentalism” is a standard smear tactic from the fundamentalist religious side. It’s the same reason that our resident religiotrolls try to claim that evolution amounts to a religion.

Life creates life billions of times per year, and this is observable and testable, never has non life ever been observed becoming life.

What does this have to do with what Alex said? While your non-sequiter may be true, no cdesign propronentsists have even suggested that ‘the designer’ created life the way it is created now. By this, are you now trying to claim the designer literally gave birth to the ancestors of every extant and extinct organism on earth. That is where your line of reasoning leads.

IBelieveInGod said:

Life creates life billions of times per year, and this is observable and testable, never has non life ever been observed becoming life.

This from a person who believes that mankind came from dirt?

I’ms till trying to figure out the three continents bit. It’s reasonable to assume that most of the Bible was written in Asia. One could make a case that some of the Epistles might have been written in Europe. But what about the third continent? Are they confusing the fact that the recipient of the Epistle to Philemon (the one where Paul defends enslaving fellow Christians) was in Alexandria, which is strong evidence that the letter was written elsewhere, otherwise Paul would just have gone to talk to him.

The third is Africa. Quite probably the Gospel of Matthew originated in Alexandria, in Egypt.

Some of the letters of Paul, probably the letters of “Peter” (though almost certainly pseudonymous) and probably the Gospel of Mark originated in Rome, hence Europe. The Revelation of St John, whoever he was, is traditionally ascribed to the island of Patmos.

I should have added, however, that all these attributions are dubious, and hence the claim for “three continents” is very dubious at best.

The entire claim is in fact grossly inflated. All the writers of the Bible so far as we are aware were male Jews of their time, with the possible exceptions of Luke and Mark, who may have been Pauline converts from paganism. They shared a culture, generally, though one can seen evolution of its religious ideas over time, and other influences coming out. It’s not particularly surprising that there is a general consistency in the main themes of the Bible, (although not in detail) especially since the whole was extensively redacted in ancient times.

But it is very far from being a “unified story line” with “no contradictions”. Anyone who reads the Bible with an open mind must surely be struck by the difference between the petty, vindictive, savage, jealous, punitive and downright nasty God of (most of) the Old Testament and the Heavenly Father spoken of in the New. And that’s only the most striking of the inconsistencies. There are others, even in the ‘main themes’, and thousands of others in detail.

Ibelieveinlying:

never has non life ever been observed becoming life.

That is false. IBELIEVEINBEINGCRAZY has been shown copies of the latest experiments before.

He just ignores them and repeats the same old tired lies.

HIV/AIDS denialists are selectively blind. They are unable to read anything that contradicts their delusions. Religious crackpots are exactly the same way.

Anyone who reads the Bible with an open mind must surely be struck by the difference between the petty, vindictive, savage, jealous, punitive and downright nasty God of (most of) the Old Testament and the Heavenly Father spoken of in the New.

True. The two gods of the bible are very different.

Enough that a prominent early xianity, Gnostics, theorized that there were really two gods. The overall god is a distant, ineffable one. The lesser god is the OT creator god, widely regarded as incompetent and a bit malevolent. Jesus was supposed to reunite souls with the real god or some such.

They could see it easily 2,000 years ago that the OT and NT didn’t fit together very well. The Gnostics lost a power struggle with the Orthodox. Too bad, it looked more interesting and worthwhile.

Helena Constantine said:

IBelieveInGod said:

Life creates life billions of times per year, and this is observable and testable, never has non life ever been observed becoming life.

This from a person who believes that mankind came from dirt?

In the Bible, God uses magic to create Adam from a handful of dust and breath.

Yet, IBelieve gets upset when I refer to this as “poofing,” or when I ask why that this should be taught in a science classroom in place of actual science.

Stanton said:

Helena Constantine said:

IBelieveInGod said:

Life creates life billions of times per year, and this is observable and testable, never has non life ever been observed becoming life.

This from a person who believes that mankind came from dirt?

In the Bible, God uses magic to create Adam from a handful of dust and breath.

Yet, IBelieve gets upset when I refer to this as “poofing,” or when I ask why that this should be taught in a science classroom in place of actual science.

And he also doesn’t seem to understand that creating life from dust is still abiogenesis, so his argument about “what has been observed” is just as applicable to his special creation. However, instead of creating simple self replicating protiens on which evolution could operate, IBIG believes in millions of such events occurring with much more complex multi-cellular organisms. In the case of humans he created the more genetically simple male first. (I say this because the y chromosome contains less genetic code than the x chromosome.) And then took a rib - y +x and voila, Eve. God obviously wants us to take this stuff literally, despite evidence to the contrary.

Starting with Genesis, we get two different creation stories. How is that not a contradiction?

Is it not generally agreed among all involved that living things originated at some time in the (more or less) distant past? Isn’t it generally understood that Pasteur put to rest any idea of spontaneous generation under present conditions?

IBelieveInGod said:

Alex H said:

That “two types of fundamentalism” is a standard smear tactic from the fundamentalist religious side. It’s the same reason that our resident religiotrolls try to claim that evolution amounts to a religion.

Life creates life billions of times per year, and this is observable and testable, never has non life ever been observed becoming life.

Define “life”, please. Are you aware that viruses are considered by biologists to be excellent transitional forms between life and non-life? Plus, studies of actual life forms, including humans, show that the same basic laws of chemistry apply to them as well as to non-life. That’s what makes modern medicine possible.

Jim Thomerson said:

Isn’t it generally understood that Pasteur put to rest any idea of spontaneous generation under present conditions?

Yep. Once life, however it got started, established itself comprehensively over the planet – in the air, in the seas, on the land, even deep into the Earth – then any environment that could possibly support a “second start” would be contaminated by organisms that would gobble up the necessary resources.

Of course, before the time life did become comprehensive, it is perfectly possible that there were multiple “starts”, with some of them either “pushed out of the way”, or (an idea Freeman Dyson has promoted) forming a “collaboration” to produce life as we know it.

Of course, Pasteur was not focused on abiogenesis, he was just playing with the idea of “spontaneous generation”, demonstrating that the biocontaminants we might see arise in a broth were due to airborne spores and the like; the biocontaminants didn’t arise spontaneously from the broth.

Honestly coming up with experiments to validate or disprove abiogenesis is a vastly harder job, like the difference between flying in a balloon and taking a trip to the Moon (and, hopefully, coming back). Pasteur wasn’t working on the big task, and in fact I kind of wonder if it even really crossed his mind.

scienceagogo.com:

Now, however, two Scripps Research Institute scientists have taken a significant step toward confirming the viability of the RNA World model. For the first time, they have synthesized RNA enzymes that can replicate themselves indefinitely without the help of any proteins or other cellular components.

Reporting their work in Science, Scripps’ Tracey Lincoln and Gerald Joyce explained how their breakthrough began with a method of forced adaptation known as in vitro evolution. The ultimate goal was to take one of the RNA enzymes already developed in the lab that could perform the basic chemistry of replication, and improve it to the point that it could drive efficient, perpetual self-replication.

This involved synthesizing a large population of variants of the RNA enzyme that then underwent a test-tube evolution procedure to obtain those variants that were most adept at joining together pieces of RNA. Ultimately, this process enabled the team to isolate an evolved version of the original enzyme that was a very efficient replicator. The improved enzyme fulfilled the primary goal of being able to undergo perpetual replication. “It kind of blew me away,” says Lincoln.

Once again for anyone interested. An evolving, self replicating molecule has already been discovered.

A common definition of life used by NASA among others is, “a replicating, evolving, independent lineage.” This includes viruses, excludes mitochondria and chloroplasts. By this definition, the self replicating RNA molecules are life.

Among other interesting facets of this work is that they evolved their molecule using evolutionary principles. It partially created itself.

J. Biggs said: And then took a rib - y +x and voila, Eve. God obviously wants us to take this stuff literally, despite evidence to the contrary.

Heh. Wouldn’t it have had to have been ((x + y) - y) + x? Unless Eve was a girl with something extra…

”…a prominent early xianity, Gnostics, theorized that there were really two gods. The overall god is a distant, ineffable one. The lesser god is the OT creator god, widely regarded as incompetent and a bit malevolent.”

Atheists believe in no god. The truth therefore must be exactly halfway between the two extremes, i.e. one god, QED. Good thing no Hindus or other polytheists hadn’t commented above, or the answer wouldn’t have come out right. And maybe a demi-god in the mix if the number of gods postulated was odd.

It is interesting to see how different religions are taking advantage of modern technology. Orthodox Jews don’t generally proselytize but they’ve made effective use of iPhones and similar devices by putting copies of their shorter prayers on apps. So for example, it isn’t uncommon on a college campus with lots of Orthodox Jews now to see someone at afternoon services using their iPhone or Blackberry rather than a prayerbook.

This difference in use seems to be connected to the heavy emphasis so many forms of Christianity place on proselytizing. The main requirement of evangelical Christianity is to spread the Good News so the most obvious way of using technology is to aid in that.

It is interesting to see how different religions are taking advantage of modern technology. Orthodox Jews don’t generally proselytize but they’ve made effective use of iPhones and similar devices by putting copies of their shorter prayers on apps. So for example, it isn’t uncommon on a college campus with lots of Orthodox Jews now to see someone at afternoon services using their iPhone or Blackberry rather than a prayerbook.

This difference in use seems to be connected to the heavy emphasis so many forms of Christianity place on proselytizing. The main requirement of evangelical Christianity is to spread the Good News so the most obvious way of using technology is to aid in that.

IBelieveInGod said -

Life creates life billions of times per year, and this is observable and testable, never has non life ever been observed becoming life.

This is good argument against creationism. Thank you.

The theory of evolution is not about the origin of cellular life. It explains the subsequent evolution of cellular life, and post-cellular self-replicators like viruses.

Creationism claims that new species are magically created. This has never been observed. Evolution of new species, on the other hand, has frequently been observed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation

But how did cellular life itself originate? That field of study is known as “abiogenesis”. Raven mentioned some progress which has been made in that field.

Again, IBIG, thank you for your helpful critique of creationism. On another thread, you made another good pro-evolution argument. You pointed out that all of life shares common carbon-based biochemistry. Naturally, although magic could do anything, we would expect life that shares common ancestry to share common biochemistry. Keep up the good work. It’s good to see that we can agree on something after all.

fnxtr said:

J. Biggs said: And then took a rib - y +x and voila, Eve. God obviously wants us to take this stuff literally, despite evidence to the contrary.

Heh. Wouldn’t it have had to have been ((x + y) - y) + x? Unless Eve was a girl with something extra…

Ahh, but where’s the rib in your equation? ;-)

I especially like the rib Harold just gave IBIG.

The only religious app I carry on my iPhone 4 is “MacTracker.”

Until I got MacTracker I’d get into ENDLESS discussions as to whether a Mac IIsi came with a 68030 or a 68040 CPU. Thank you, MacTracker.

“Say someone calls you narrow-minded because you think Jesus is the only way to God,”

I don’t think that would be a very common atheist argument. More likely to come from a theist who has an “all religions are a path to God” type of beleif.

fnxtr said:

Well, we could argue about the line between life vs. non-life, but basically you’re right, Biggy.

And no-one has ever, ever recorded divine intervention in any of it, anywhere.

Actually the Bible does record divine intervention.

My point was that observable testable science can only observe and test life creating life. Therefore my point is that we should assume that all life was created by other life, any belief that life came about from non-live should not be considered real science considering it has never been observed or tested.

I don’t think this is what one calls an “App,” but even a komputer klutz like me was able to “create” more than one million anti-evolution sayings (no two alike) using Excel. Here are 3:

1. Darwinism, or “goo to you by way of the zoo” is a theory that denies God. Students must be taught that Man was created in his present form in the last 10000 years because we must take a stand for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

2. Darwinism is a secular faith. Students must be taught about the Genesis Flood because it’s only fair.

3. Macroevolution, which is unproven like microevolution, is a theory for fascists. Students must be taught that Darwinists are lying atheists because they need to keep an open mind.

Say IBIG … if you only believe in what you can see and measure and observe … then how to you know you have a brain?

Have you ever seen it? Has anyone else ever seen it? Have you ever seen anyone else’s brain? What evidence can you present to us to show you have a brain?

harold said:

IBelieveInGod said -

Life creates life billions of times per year, and this is observable and testable, never has non life ever been observed becoming life.

This is good argument against creationism. Thank you.

The theory of evolution is not about the origin of cellular life. It explains the subsequent evolution of cellular life, and post-cellular self-replicators like viruses.

Creationism claims that new species are magically created. This has never been observed. Evolution of new species, on the other hand, has frequently been observed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation

But how did cellular life itself originate? That field of study is known as “abiogenesis”. Raven mentioned some progress which has been made in that field.

Again, IBIG, thank you for your helpful critique of creationism. On another thread, you made another good pro-evolution argument. You pointed out that all of life shares common carbon-based biochemistry. Naturally, although magic could do anything, we would expect life that shares common ancestry to share common biochemistry. Keep up the good work. It’s good to see that we can agree on something after all.

Really? The theory of evolution by common ancestor assumes that life arose from non-living matter. There may be those here who don’t accept this, but most do accept that life arose from non-living matter, and then all life evolved from this first life. Which brings me back to my point of is it real science to accept that life came about from non-living matter without life creating life?

If God created all life, why wouldn’t all life share the same carbon based biochemistry?

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

IBelieveInGod said:

No, not denying real science, or condemning scientific method, but attempting to use scientific method to determine the origin of life is not real science.

Heeeeeheeheehee! My new sig on AtBC. Better than Byers! Thanks, IBIG! Ha ha ha ha!!

Oh, and: you’re an idiot.

Please respond to the IBIG and chunkdz trolls on the Bathroom Wall.

OK, let’s get back to the medieval peasant, who sayS: “Men will never go to the Moon.” Was there any prospect of doing so in 1010 CE? Could anyone have even suggested or imagined a sensible means of doing so at the time? But he was wrong.

And suppose for purposes of argument that we say we have no idea of how life might have began and no clue as to figure it out, any more than a medieval peasant could think of going to the Moon. You have no more basis for claiming that we will not understand the origin of life by 3010 CE than the peasant had for believeing we would never go to the Moon.

The peasant was arguing solely on the basis of his ignorance on a matter on which he had no facts. I do not see you as different from him.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

IBelieveInGod said:

I admit that I believe that God created life by Faith! The problem is that those who believe that life arose from non-living matter by natural causes, claim that it is based on science when in truth is is faith also. That is the point of my argument, if something is truly unknowable then you would have to believe it by faith.

pure strawman, no scientist thinks abiogenesis is a solved problem. The sequence of chemical events that led to the first (proto)living processes is not known. The only people who claim to know the origin of life with certainity are the creationist.

There are several hypothesis proposed and several have been tested. We progress in knowledge when we know enough to start eleminating the less plausible ones. But most importantly they indicate where we should look and what we should test to find the answer

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

FL said:

Nobody can be sure that the fragments we DON’T have, “contains no reference” to sun/moon/seas or stars.

“The missing parts would have said just what I wanted them to say! My desires are synonymous with truth! My arguments are infallible.” Observe the twisted justifications of the cultist’s mind.

So, in fact, Gleason Archer’s specific point remains valid after all. Eridu Genesis does not overturn it.

Archer’s claim, made with such great confidence and authority, about what all ANE creation narratives say is categorically false. False. Characteristic of fundamentalists’ shoddy scholarship, Archer ignores one of the most famous texts. And, oops, the equally famous Atrahasis narrative also has no creation of sun/moon/stars/etc.

the Sumerians DO already have a creation story about the moon

A different text recounts…

According to another text…

LOL. Yes, different texts.

Archer’s entire argument is basically that it is impossible, unthinkable, inconceivable that any single ANE narrative which includes the creation of humans and animals would not also include, as an integral part, the creation of sun/moon/stars/etc. Of course the sumerians had creation narratives for everything. Just like the YHWHist source of Gen. 2 would have had an additional narrative for the creation of the moon, etc. A narrative that was rejected in favor of the sophisticated Elohimist Gen 1, with its complex semantic and syntactic patterns. FL completely loses track of Archer’s entire point.

No scholar outside fundie inerrantist circles think Gen 1 & 2 are from the same source; the language, the construction, the differences are too immense.

MrG said:

OK, let’s get back to the medieval peasant, who sayS: “Men will never go to the Moon.” Was there any prospect of doing so in 1010 CE? Could anyone have even suggested or imagined a sensible means of doing so at the time? But he was wrong.

And suppose for purposes of argument that we say we have no idea of how life might have began and no clue as to figure it out, any more than a medieval peasant could think of going to the Moon. You have no more basis for claiming that we will not understand the origin of life by 3010 CE than the peasant had for believeing we would never go to the Moon.

The peasant was arguing solely on the basis of his ignorance on a matter on which he had no facts. I do not see you as different from him.

I see a difference. Medieval peasants had practically no opportunities for education or advancement. They had an excuse for being ignorant even of what was known in their time, because they lacked the resources to learn.

Modern creationists live in a world with public schools, public libraries, and the Internet. A wealth of information is there for the taking, often with minimal or no cost. And yet they flee in terror from it. They have the chance to learn, but they refuse. They make a conscious decision to use all our amazing systems of obtaining information not to cure their ignorance, but to reinforce it. They are willfully ignorant, lying to themselves to prop up a faith built on lies.

phantomreader42 said: Modern creationists…are willfully ignorant, lying to themselves to prop up a faith built on lies.

…and what’s more, they count their monumental scientific illiteracy as a virtue, not a deficit. And lying to themselves and others about the veracity of their Bible colleges and authority figures such as Ken Ham, Kent Hovind and Ray Comfort certainly frustrates the rest of us.

Several threads ago, somebody was soliciting names of books. In another venue I’ve run into a Christian Reconstructionist pseudohistorian who seems to do to American History what Ham / Hovind et al do to evolutionary science - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Barton_(author). This led me to Barton’s Amazon page and a fascinating list of books referencing him:

Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History Vol. 1, by Chris Rodda

Why the Religious Right Is Wrong About Separation of Church and State, by Rob Boston

Contempt: How the Right Is Wronging American Justice, by Catherine Crier

The culture war is upon us, and if you’re not worried, you’re not paying attention.

FL, you and Gleason Archer are both idiots. You say that because the Eridu Genesis is fragmentary, there might be references to seas and objects above the Earth. That is laughable. And just as the Sumerians had more than one creation narrative, as you just admitted, it is equally plausible that the ancient Hebrews had more than one and the two different accounts were stitched together for form the first chapters of the Book of Genesis. And that’s exactly what we see.

FL said:

JohnK, to his credit, took time to do some homework and try to refute what Dr. Gleason Archer said. JohnK wrote,

The earliest Sumerian creation account, the Eridu Genesis, contains no reference to the creation of the sun/moon/stars/seas.

But there’s a clear reason for that. Eridu Genesis is fragmentary, and the fragments we have primarily talk about the Flood instead of the creation of the sun, moon, or seas. Nobody can be sure that the fragments we DON’T have, “contains no reference” to sun/moon/seas or stars.

That’s all the more true, btw, because the Sumerians DO already have a creation story about the moon (which is also on Archer’s list there, you’ll notice.)

A different text recounts the strange way in which the moon was created.

When this story begins, the gods have apparently already established cities, for Enlil, the goddess Ninlil (“lady wind” or “lady air”) and her mother Ninshebargunu are dwelling in their temples in the city of Nippur. Ninlil’s mother warns her that if she bathes in the canal called Nunbirdu, Enlil will see her and want to make love to her. Naturally, Ninlil goes down to the canal the next day to take a dip. Enlil sees her and asks for a kiss. Ninlil refuses, saying she is too young to make love, so Enlil devises a plan. He obtains a boat, floats over to where Ninlil is bathing, and rapes her, impregnating her with the future moon god Nanna (or Sin). The other gods, dismayed by Enlil’s outrageous conduct, demand that the “sex offender … leave the town!” (Jacobsen, Harps 174). Enlil walks out of town in the direction of the underworld, and the pregnant Ninlil follows him. Since Enlil does not want his son the moon to reside in the underworld, he concocts a rather bizarre plan. Enlil impersonates a gatekeeper, a man in charge of the underworld river, and the ferryman to the underworld, and as each of these personages, he has sex with Ninlil, impregnating her with three deities who will reside in the underworld as substitutes for Nanna the moon, who will thus be free to rise to heavens where he belongs. Apparently, Ninlil consents to go to bed with what she thinks are three minor underworld officials because she, too, sees this as a way for Enlil’s child Nanna to “go heavenward.”

Source: “Sumerian Myths”, http://faculty.gvsu.edu/websterm/Su[…]m#Sumerlinks

By the way, this same source also points out:

But where did heaven (An) and earth (Ki) come from, you may ask?

According to another text, it was Nammu, the sea, “the mother, who gave birth to heaven and earth” (Samuel N. Kramer, Sumerian Mythology 39).

So right there, on top of the Sumerian creation story of the moon, you have an IMPLIED reference to the creation of sun and stars, courtesy of the Sumerians.

******

So, in fact, Gleason Archer’s specific point remains valid after all. Eridu Genesis does not overturn it.

FL

The theology being practiced by Christian fundamentalists today is a “theology of The Book.” Everything originates from the text and the meaning of anything is to be found in the text. When one reads the text, however, one encounters people interacting with their god and interacting with one another with seemingly little, if any, attention being paid to a written text. After all, very few people could read 2000 years agp. Christian fundamentalists who today repeatedly look to, and cite from, chapter and verse are therefore behaving in a manner markedly different from the way the people we read about in the Bible behaved. I think I could hang out and be friends with most of the folks I read about in the Bible, but I can’t stand being in the presence of Christian fundamentalists. There is something very, very unholy about them.

Sojourner said:

The theology being practiced by Christian fundamentalists today is a “theology of The Book.” Everything originates from the text and the meaning of anything is to be found in the text. When one reads the text, however, one encounters people interacting with their god and interacting with one another with seemingly little, if any, attention being paid to a written text. After all, very few people could read 2000 years agp. Christian fundamentalists who today repeatedly look to, and cite from, chapter and verse are therefore behaving in a manner markedly different from the way the people we read about in the Bible behaved. I think I could hang out and be friends with most of the folks I read about in the Bible, but I can’t stand being in the presence of Christian fundamentalists. There is something very, very unholy about them.

Really? Because that book has a lot of bigoted, xenophobic, genocidal bastards in it.

It has a mixture of just about everything in it, as does history itself.

Which doesn’t actually address the issue- most of the so called heroes were pretty unpleasant folks- Sampson posed a riddle, and, when someone correctly guessed it, he murdered several people in order to pay the prize; Moses ordered the slaying of all prisoners except for girls too young to have known a man when Jericho fell; speaking of virgins, Lot offered up his two daughters to be raped by the men of Sodom when they came to his house looking for the angels.

I’ll admit that my knowledge of other cultures is limited. In what culture (going back 2000 - 6000 years) do you find rich stories of generosity, kindness and empathy which you don’t find when reading the Bible?

Right–it’s just not fair to judge people of long ago by our moral sensibilities today. And it’s especially irrational to judge them by the stories someone else wrote about them centuries later. It’s like calling Darwin a racist even though, by the standards of his society, he was much less racist than most of his contemporaries.

Did Moses really do all the things attributed to him in the Bible? We have no way of knowing. He has no presence in history outside the Bible. And if he did those things, were they pretty much standard practice for the time? Were there others in similar situations behaving any better (by our standards)?

Today, many of his actions would be crimes–even crimes against humanity. I wouldn’t want to be his buddy. And I warrant you, neither would our resident Christian fundamentalists. Nor would they want anything to do with Jesus, if he were here today, acting as he did then.

The irony (and danger) is that the fundies want to go back to the good old Old Testament days.

Just Bob said:

Right–it’s just not fair to judge people of long ago by our moral sensibilities today. And it’s especially irrational to judge them by the stories someone else wrote about them centuries later.

It’s sort of why legal systems have statutes of limitations. If we were to make inviduals or group entities indefinitely legally responsible, it would mean indefinite litigation as laws evolve.

Many of Darwin’s attitudes were unacceptable by modern standards. So were those of Dickens. And of course, Washington, Jefferson, and even Franklin all owned slaves.

Alex H said: Moses ordered the slaying of all prisoners except for girls too young to have known a man when Jericho fell;

I recall hearing from a christian rape apologist that Moses did not order that mass slaughter and rape of little girls on his own initiative, but at the direct command of almighty god who is prefect and holy and right in all things. And that somehow taking young girls prisoner, murdering their entire families, and forcing them to marry their captors is somehow not rape.

PS: And, were someone to make a case against Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin for keeping slaves, I would reply: “They deserve the death penalty!”

“But they’re already dead.”

“Serves them right.”

Don’t overlook Qoheleth, the writer of Ecclesiastes; he’s like most of us in that he just can’t get no satisfaction. And remember that young carpenter who attended a wedding party; when the kegs ran dry, he made the beer run. And as far as eccentric uncles go, uncle Noah has gotta be up there near the top. It kinda reminds me of the old sitcom, “Cheers.”

OgreMkV said:

You do realize that two of these ‘arguements’ against the contradiction in the Bible are mutually exclusive and they ALL require an INTERPRETATION of the scripture that YOU claim is literal.

So which is it Floyd? Is the Bible literal or is it open to interpretation? We’ve had this discussion before and you refused to answer this question.

Do you see the problem Floyd? If the Bible is literal, then any interpretation is incorrect. If the Bible is open to interpretation, then any part is open to interpretation. Sorry Floyd, but you don’t get to pick and choose.

Sorry to dig such an old quote, I only read this at work and it seems the pages are adding up faster then I can read them.

What I find most amusing about this issue of Pi being = to 3 is that it doesn’t require an explanation to any normal sane person. The bible doesn’t say “Let Pi = 3”. It is instead a description of a human made pot basically. This pot is not going to be perfectly round, nor do the measurements have to be perfectly accurate. (How often do you talk about your 10 foot 2.3 inch deep pool?) This SHOULD be a non issue even if you believe the bible is litterally true.

But when you get a bible fundamentalist literalist KJV supremist whack job…

Then suddenly they need to make all sorts of crazy schemes and rationalizations. Generally I ask this question to guage how crazy the creationist actually is rather then use it as an actual point against the Bible.

Back to the topic, I wonder if someone is going to make an app that spews the answeres to THIS apps points rather then just a skeptics app in general.

Leszek said: What I find most amusing about this issue of Pi being = to 3 is that it doesn’t require an explanation to any normal sane person. The bible doesn’t say “Let Pi = 3”. It is instead a description of a human made pot basically. This pot is not going to be perfectly round, nor do the measurements have to be perfectly accurate. (How often do you talk about your 10 foot 2.3 inch deep pool?) This SHOULD be a non issue even if you believe the bible is litterally true.

I agree with you on this point, and I can give an example of inappropriate measurement conversion in the modern world.

I was at a company meeting in a hotel about 20 years ago. At the hotel swimming pool, they were being Very International by having the depth markings at the edge of the pool in both English units and metric. The metric was in centimeters…to two decimal places! I’m sorry, but it just isn’t *possible* to measure the depth of a swimming pool that accurately, at least not for making permanent markings.

–W. H. Heydt

Old Used Programmer

I agree with you on this point, and I can give an example of inappropriate measurement conversion in the modern world.

Possibly more relevant example: Why is our body temperature always quoted as 98.6 °F? Surely we do not all maintain the same temperature within 0.1 °F.

Hint: Convert 37 °C to degrees Fahrenheit. Do not round to 2 significant figures.

Matt Young said: Possibly more relevant example: Why is our body temperature always quoted as 98.6 °F? Surely we do not all maintain the same temperature within 0.1 °F.

Hint: Convert 37 °C to degrees Fahrenheit. Do not round to 2 significant figures.

I can guarantee it’s not true of everyone…mine runs very close to 97.0°F.

–W. H. Heydt

Old Used Programmer

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on July 3, 2010 12:02 PM.

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