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Old 06-02-2007, 11:47 PM   #286
calpurnpiso
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Lily wrote
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Mog wrote
So Lily is different from a fundie how?
If you can define fundie for me, I will tell you where I am like your idea of a fundie and where I am not.
Just tell us if you believe this is true:


From matthew 27: 52-54
"And the graves were opened' and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
And came out of the graves after his resurrection and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the son of god"

..and then we WILL tell you if you are a retarded fundie or not. Remember, we can see right through your crippled brain. Please TELL us once and for all, retard.

Christians and other folks infected with delusional beliefs think and reason like schizophrenics or temporal lobe epileptics. Their morality is dictated by an invisible friend called Jesus.
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Old 06-03-2007, 03:40 AM   #287
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Evil_Mage_Ra wrote
Lily,

I think scientific skeptics take less an issue with what isn't written in the Bible (i.e., transistors and Newton's laws) than what actually is. While it may be true that many Christians don't take the Genesis account as literal truth, I'd venture that the vast majority of Christians believe in the reality of Jesus's miracles, or at the very least his resurrection, which if true would violate several time-tested principles of biology, physics, chemistry......basically alter our entire perception of reality. The scientific skeptic does not view the Gospel accounts as sufficient evidence to reject these principles (which is what I think Irreligious was getting at earlier).
That is a good point and I don't deny it at all. I just see it as the other side of the same coin. For me (for us, really) the difference is that we see that we are weighing claims made not in the dim and misty past but in well attested and documented historical times. Indeed, one does have to weigh the evidence and make a decision and, as I said elsewhere, it is not a slam dunk for the home team. But the idea that Christ's miracles, resurrection, etc would violate the priciples of science is a bias that does not grow out of the study of science but is brought to it, to paraphrase the always quotable C S Lewis.
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Old 06-03-2007, 03:42 AM   #288
Lily
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calpurnpiso wrote
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Lily wrote
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Mog wrote
So Lily is different from a fundie how?
If you can define fundie for me, I will tell you where I am like your idea of a fundie and where I am not.
Just tell us if you believe this is true:


From matthew 27: 52-54
"And the graves were opened' and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
And came out of the graves after his resurrection and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the son of god"

..and then we WILL tell you if you are a retarded fundie or not. Remember, we can see right through your crippled brain. Please TELL us once and for all, retard.
Cal, you aren't the one who should be diagnosing crippled brains. I have given you a direct answer to this question at least twice that I remember. Why don't you, since it interests you so much?
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Old 06-03-2007, 04:16 AM   #289
Sternwallow
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Lily wrote
Does not the fact that I put "see" in quotes, suggest to you that I am talking about the brain creating images?
No. Seeing something entails there being something in the environment to see. You admitted that it was a 'vision' (read: hallucination), and therefore not 'seeing'. Go read a few papers and learn the difference.
Du lieber Gott! Go read a dictionary and learn how "see" can be used in a sentence.

Moreover, I didn't "admit" that Revelation was a vision. Everybody, everywhere, at all times, who has ever read it knows that. How? The author of the book states it clearly in the opening lines of Chapter 1. I know, I know. I admit it. That was a truly nefarious scheme to fool everybody ...
The caveat that Revelation is a bunch of dreams and visions with no discernable relation to reality should, instead apply to the whole book and it should appear immediately preceding Genesis.

"Those who most loudly proclaim their honesty are least likely to possess it."
"Atheism: rejecting all absurdity." S.H.
"Reality, the God alternative"
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Old 06-03-2007, 04:50 AM   #290
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Lily wrote
...But the idea that Christ's miracles, resurrection, etc would violate the priciples of science is a bias that does not grow out of the study of science but is brought to it, to paraphrase the always quotable C S Lewis.
And here, right on cue, is where the dialog breaks down and your circular reasoning riles up the heathens. It's like that Bill Murray movie, "Groundhog Day," only this is a conversation on endless loop.

This may be egregious, but I am compelled to point out to you that once you exempt your beliefs from the laws of nature, and without any further evidence to back up your position, there is no place for the conversation to go. Any honest dialog is henceforth shut down in its tracks and this is precisely why the discussion devolves into personal attacks.*

I don't want to pique your ire, even if others around here think it's fine sport. However, I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what you think you have of value to say to any of us that it is worth the perpetual enmity you engender here. And it is honestly earned, Lily. I hate saying that, but it's true, my dear. But I ain't mad at 'cha.

*Edited

"So many gods, so many creeds! So many paths that wind and wind, when just the art of being kind is all this sad world needs."
--Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Old 06-03-2007, 04:51 AM   #291
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;)
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Better living through chemistry!...
[cockney accent]

When writing my song for Lindy while I was in Sanata Cruz I was going out of my head so I took a break until Friday, then I thought ‘the weekend starts here’ and I travelled to see my mate in his new club he just bought in Basingstoke.
Road was chocka with the world and his wife (cos everybody needs the A303 on a bloody weekend!).

When I got to the club it was invite only. The bouncer on the door said
“Name’s not down – not comin’ in!”

I said “My mate told me it’s in the mail.”

Bouncer said “Yeah the post is shit innit?!”

I replied “Aaaaw c’mon – guv. Give the Po’ Man a break he has to deliver down 10th & Crenshaw and you KNOW how dodgy it is down there!”

Bouncer took another look at me and realise the quality of the cut of me jib. He thought ‘nice guy! This fell’s gone from Punk to Funk in my opinion’…

“You’re alright you are” he says.
“…Come on in and get down to the sound of Milwaukee.”

But by the time I got to the bar they were playing Michael Jackson.
Long story short my mate turned up had a word with the bar keep; told him “Free bar for my mate ‘ere.”

“Cheers” I said and had a blinder of a weekend for next to nothing!

[/cockney accent]
:lol::lol::lol::lol:

I don't get half the references to place names, but funny nonetheless.
I gotta ask a language question- don't get too annoyed! Cockneys don't pronounce their aitches, and neither do the French, for the most part. Is that coincidence, or did one infect the other?
The references were to every track title on Fat Boy Slim's masterpiece of big beat mixing "Better Living Through Chemistry." With your phrase above, I wasn't sure if many yanks would get it so it was a bit of a hidden message ;).

I am half French and none cockney so I'm not offended at all :).
[snobery]The cockneys tried to emulate the sophisticated complexity and dulcet tonality of the beautiful French language but the philistines butchered it like a Halal goat killer cos they're common as muck.[/snobbery]

Invisibility and nothingness look an awful lot alike.
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Old 06-03-2007, 05:03 AM   #292
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RenaissanceMan wrote
...there's enough material to translate horribly, but no way to track it down historically.

I would have added more rhyming slang, though...
[cockney]

So me mate christ says "Now listen up me ol' chinas - I'm gonna wash your plates."

Then Peter chimes aying "nah mate yer don't wanna do that - I've been on 'em all day walkin froo the desert!"

Jesus tells 'im "Nah listen up you slag if don't do this, you an' me are gonna fall out!"

So Peter says, "Alright then you ol' nutter an' while you're at it you can clean me brasses and me loaf an' all!"

"Right O!"Jesus replies. 'E gives 'em all a songe bath, they all get Brahms an' 'ave a right bubble...

[/cockney]

Invisibility and nothingness look an awful lot alike.
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Old 06-03-2007, 05:42 AM   #293
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Lily,

I think scientific skeptics take less an issue with what isn't written in the Bible (i.e., transistors and Newton's laws) than what actually is. While it may be true that many Christians don't take the Genesis account as literal truth, I'd venture that the vast majority of Christians believe in the reality of Jesus's miracles, or at the very least his resurrection, which if true would violate several time-tested principles of biology, physics, chemistry......basically alter our entire perception of reality. The scientific skeptic does not view the Gospel accounts as sufficient evidence to reject these principles (which is what I think Irreligious was getting at earlier).
That is a good point and I don't deny it at all. I just see it as the other side of the same coin. For me (for us, really) the difference is that we see that we are weighing claims made not in the dim and misty past but in well attested and documented historical times. Indeed, one does have to weigh the evidence and make a decision and, as I said elsewhere, it is not a slam dunk for the home team. But the idea that Christ's miracles, resurrection, etc would violate the priciples of science is a bias that does not grow out of the study of science but is brought to it, to paraphrase the always quotable C S Lewis.
Two horrific flaws in your argument:

1) The "Well attested and historical times" don't include Jesus. Only in some fictional works written well after the fact was this 'savior figure', who is modeled after so many others, grafted into the timestream.

2) You don't have to make a decision. I see this a lot, it's a pathology deeply ingrained in humans, the need to decide, to hold a position. This is certainly an evolutionary throwback, a collateral effect of the need to act instead of ponder the possibility of danger.

Well, you're not in any danger, the is no valid reason to believe you even HAVE an 'immortal soul' that can be put at risk by 'sin'. Far more likely, you're being used by a cleverly structured scam, one that convinces it's dupes that it's true through the very evolutionary mechanisms that kept our ancient ancestors alive. Is it an intentional scam? No... look at how many iteerations of 'religion' have failed to gain global spread... each new version, thoughtfully constructed by humans desperate to believe, built on the ideas of the past and the insight of what will work on humans.

The result? Balkanized tribes that each insist that THEIR version of what they feel they MUST believe is superior to the other tribes.
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Old 06-03-2007, 05:50 AM   #294
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2) You don't have to make a decision. I see this a lot, it's a pathology deeply ingrained in humans, the need to decide, to hold a position. This is certainly an evolutionary throwback, a collateral effect of the need to act instead of ponder the possibility of danger.
Yeah, but a Christian argument is never complete without some form of Pascal's Wager, right?

"It's puzzling that Eden is synonymous with paradise when, if you think about it at all, it's more like a maximum-security prison with twenty-four hour surveillance." -Ann Druyan
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Old 06-03-2007, 06:34 AM   #295
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My quote simply states that, to the extent that He looks like a person, He looks like an old guy with white hair and wearing robes. It is completely reasonable, therefore to comprehend the various descriptions of God as an old guy sitting on an actual throne situated in the sky above the solid dome of the firmament.
It is your uncomprehending, literal mindedness that I am exclaiming over and that I am quite genuinely regretting on your behalf. It shuts out the world of poetry, fantasy, etc. I am not kidding when I express horror that such a thing could be true. Since I have never come up against anyone as literal as you, I simply have not been able to believe it and have taken great offense at the questions you have repeatedly put. They cannot possibly seem genuine to someone who does enjoy imaginative literature, ambiguity, fantasy, poetic language, et al. I am deeply, deeply sorry, if you have been perfectly straight forward and honest in your questions all this time. Such literalness is outside of anything I have ever experienced and is something I am having a really hard time accepting, much less dealing with.
You misunderstand my point of view. I do indeed enjoy most poetry and most art and most music. I also enjoy textbooks, user's manuals and recipe books. When I read a maintenance manual that mentions a flat retaining spring, I have good reason to expect that such a spring will appear in an inspection of the relevant area of the device.

The Bible tells people what to believe. It is written in a language that is, at least indirectly, accessible to them and comprehensible. Notably, the Bible does not tell people how to believe what it says they should believe. The OT is supposed to be accurate down to the famous "jot and tittle" and that contributes to the necessity of taking it quite literally.

So, when Revelation speaks of a dragon with seven heads and ten crowns (at a time when empires and states and rulers were well known) he was obviously not talking about some empire with ten kings or any other such interpretation or he would have been perfectly able to do so. When the end of it all comes, if I have a vantage point (which I doubt), I expect to see a fire-breathing seven headed dragon rise up from the sea rather than a renewed Roman empire composed of ten nations. That is what the writers of the Bible, for my culture, clearly believed.

I have no problem with people reading poetry as guideline of their behavior nor reading ancient fantasy as a self-help guide. Only when people (like your "left behind" bunch) attempt to make them guides for my life that I must counter it. I do not, you will note, ridicule you to nearly the degree that others do. I do ridicule the beliefs that would damage my country and my liberty if they were allowed to spread into the public, specifically the justice arena.

Entirely too many Christians (some 30-50%), in my view, take the Bible literally (or they think they do without actually knowing it) and would literally die for what they think is there. It is the foundational source of information for the three largest and most dangerous religions around. They take it literally enough to use numbers found there to calculate the age of the Earth with no tiny thought for the immensely greater age attested to by the sediments, the lake beds, the meandering river basins. It is as though they measured the width of America and came up with a figure of a few yards.

Who cares if they get the age wrong, you may ask. Because they are not content to believe it themselves, they must agitate to have it taught in school. That represents a definite harm to society.
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If that is not what God looks like, why did the author of Revelation bother to write it down? Further, if it is not accurate that would be another lack of truth mark against the rest of the Revelation and, by extension the whole Book.
You say that my imagination is impoverished. This is evidently your attempt to compliment me since vitriol is foreign to you. When evaluating a document for correctness, it is not appropriate to exercise imaginative speculations about how God might have meant passages like "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."
How can anyone examine a dream or vision for correctness?
One examines what he claims to be true and mark against him those things that are not true or indecipherable.
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In what other form would the author "see" or imagine (to pleae[sic] Victor[sic]) God, heaven, or angels other than in the forms of the poetry and cosmology of his time? And if his vision was of real things, i.e. if something was really being revealed to him in a vision, it would still have to be in forms that he could recognize and convey to others. How could it possibly be otherwise?
You are right that your primitive author/dreamer must use the only vocabulary he has to express what he "sees". Once he has done this, we are not entitled to overlay our biased guesses on those dreams. If we love truth, we must not decide that, as I have heard from Christians, the Vatican is the "whore of Bablyon".

He, in his deep ignorance, might think that dreams are a kind of reality. Here's the rub; modern people who should have long since learned better and who surely don't take their own dreams as gospel (unless they are total losers), really and truly believe someone else's dream that God is an old guy with white hair sitting on a cold, hard golden throne, despite his arthritis, for all eternity. Again, this is fine for them as a private faith or quirk. It is unacceptable to make anyone pay to have that tenet and all the others taught to non-believers at taxpayer expense and enforced as matters of law and applied to public policy (resource renewal and re-use, for example).
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Perhaps it will help, if I describe to you what I used to tell my German I students, in order to help broaden their cultural horizons (the reason, supposedly, we make students suffer by learning of

... [informative material on cultural differences]

discuss how different cultures and ages have understood concepts like loyalty, honor, etc. It isn't understood the same way in every age by every culture.

Does this make sense to you?
It makes a great deal of sense. In some parts of the world it is a grave insult to wink at a person. In some places sticking out your tongue is a friendly greeting. In some cultures you do not shake hands in greeting because that is the hand you wipe your bottom with.

You make a good case that the Bible, imperfectly copied and translated from the most ancient sources available is completely alien to our culture and, further, due to the loss of information about the original culture, it is not possible to render accurately for our culture. It should be left in a museum to be studied and admired, but never to be used by believers to define and constrain the behavior of others.
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So again, I insist, like every other literature teacher that it makes all the difference in the world when something was written, what the author's cultural environment was like; what the idioms mean(t), and whether you are reading history, poetry, vision literature or short stories, when you try to interpret ancient literature.
Yes, I do understand that cultural differences make different interpretations important. That is exactly why we must fight against taking the Bible as anything but an archaic anthology of fanciful writing with no place in modern practice.

Many people think the Bible is some sort of great literature. Fine, terrific! But you would not advocate running a court or a government by the rules in a book, "Peyton Place" perhaps, just because it was good fiction. Yet many very loud people want the most laughable of the three sets of "ten" commandments to guide our justice system.

It is unfortunate that literalism concerning the Bible usually manifests itself in isolated and individual references like "six days of creation". Many people firmly believe these pieces without taking the entirety of the Book literally. It is unfortunate because these same people are perfectly happy to ignore parts that are inconvenient (like making any sort of picture being prohibited).
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It is certainly true that there are readers who have taken Revelation literally and there are those who, ignoring Christ's plain words that no one, not even he, knew when the end would come, have confidently predicted the date and hour of the end. So far, we are still here and they have slunk away. So what? Sad for them but if they won't listen to Christ, there isn't much else one can do but let them find out the hard way.
While you are letting them find out the hard way, they do not and never have slunk away. They just go back to their garrets and concoct a new Earth sell-by date. Even that wouldn't matter but some of these people are in power and happily scrap all attempts at being good stewards of the planet since Jesus is all set to swoop down and do a complete retread-job that will make this poor worn and beat-up world all shiny and new. Presumably, He will also use His cosmic filling station to pump plenty of oil back into the ground.

It would be so nice to have a Bible whose truth was manifest and which could be trusted to be our guide for morals and how to live in general. We could then abide by it without needing to inflict it on the justice system or enforcing penalties for those who disobey.

Such a pity that God was unable to accomplish it.

"Those who most loudly proclaim their honesty are least likely to possess it."
"Atheism: rejecting all absurdity." S.H.
"Reality, the God alternative"
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Old 06-03-2007, 06:44 AM   #296
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To you, Sterny:

:bow::bow::bow::bow::bow::bow::bow:

"So many gods, so many creeds! So many paths that wind and wind, when just the art of being kind is all this sad world needs."
--Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Old 06-03-2007, 06:48 AM   #297
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He slices, he dices, he even juliennes! And all the while, the foodstuff says "I didn't just get my top greens lopped off!".
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Old 06-03-2007, 08:08 AM   #298
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As for Stern, he has asked me and, at least, 4 other theists (well educated ones) to my certain knowledge, the exact same questions and gotten virtually the exact same answers. He is either having fun with us or he can't understand our answers.
Or he is as much interested in how people can believe irrational things as how irrational those things are.

Lily, you take much of the brunt of my conflict with the whole group of people who believe as you do. The others are more likely than you to actually put me in jail for not believing in Jesus and, for that, I am grateful. Is it of no interest to you, for instance, why people grouped by a different faith than yours might want to impose Sharia law on you? If only so you could find a way to stop them from actually doing it. Wouldn't you ask similar questions of as many Muslims as you met in conversation in a discussion forum? Surely your evident love of the esoteric realms of life has not so isolated you that you would complacently let fanatical hordes inundate you through the incremental erosion of your government and your culture.
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I am not talking about believing the Bible's claims about reality. I am talking about comprehending that the Bible is not one book, but many. I am talking about comprehending that those books were written in several different languages over the course of 1400 years (or 1200, depending on how far back you push Abraham) in a variety of genres and that those facts matter. The Bible isn't a science text and it isn't used properly when put to that use. (Please-- just don't. I know that there are people out there who think that it can be. They are mistaken.)
It is not only the failure as a science text, it is a failure concerning human psychology and behavior. Even more people misuse the Bible for this than for science.
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A favorite blogger of mine was ruminating on the constant demand by the scientifically educated for proof. The whole thing was interesting but this part really seemed pertinent to me in our current context:
Your blogger perpetuates the misconception that science demands proof. What science, and knowledge, generally speaking, is evidence, which is nothing more than a verifiable reason to believe or to form expectations. You may have heard "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence'. This means nothing more than that, when there is a body of evidence for a proposition, a rival proposition must provide a preponderance of evidence to tip the balance. An extraordinary claim, then is simply a proposition that is contrary to a very great mass of previously collected evidence.
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Now what got me thinking ... is the common demand of the scientific skeptic for "proof" from God that would consist of, say, a description of a transistor in the book of Genesis or a discussion of Martian soil composition in Job. If only God would reveal something to primitive barbarians of the Bronze Age which they could not possibly know, and which correlates to modern discoveries, then, says the skeptic, I would believe.

Actually, a reasonable skeptic would say "my expectations ride on the best available evidence." because he/she knows that nothing is “proved” outside of mathematics and science is always tentative.

A reasonable skeptic, looking at the Bible's extensive list of scientific claims, can be forgiven when those claims are shown to be unsupportable by current knowledge and so not appropriate for current searchers for truth. By the evidence to date, I am confident that bats are not birds, that there are no four-legged birds, that birds did not originate (as birds) under the sea, and that Pi is not likely ever to be discovered to have the value 3.
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Let us us[sic] suppose that some earlier scientific skeptic had made similiar[sic] demands of God. If he *is* God, says the medieval skeptic, then why has he never discussed the four humours of the body and unlocked the key to healing? The 17th Century skeptic might well demand why nowhere, in the length and breadth of Scripture, does God reveal the wonders of Newtonian physics, which is the ultimate truth about the workings of the heavenly bodies? In the early 19th Century, a scientific skeptic might well demand to know why God has never deigned to reveal what all know to be common scientific knowledge: namely that space is pervaded by aether. And, up until a few years ago, the skeptic could also have demanded that God have revealed in Genesis 1, that the universe is 12 billion years old or that the speed of light is constant.
It is not necessary that God say the universe is 12 billion years old as long as he doesn’t say that its creation took exactly 6, 24-hour days. If the terms “day” and “evening” and “morning” in Genesis aren’t meant to be literal, why would such obviously misleading terms be used metaphorically? If you know that your audience cannot understand microscopic germs, why, when you know very well that it isn’t true, would you talk about them at all or worse, call them something they certainly are not, “evil spirits”? That is, why, when you know that a person is sick and has no idea about biology, would you say “you are possessed by demons” instead of just “you are sick”?

Any statement in the Bible that makes a testable truth claim is a scientific statement and it is fully appropriate to evaluate it as such.

The notion that the Bible, if it is the word of God, must be trustworthy for use by modern culture (of whatever age) is such a testable claim. If it turns out not to be trustworthy, it must not be the word of God and must not be sacred.
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The problem is that it is the glory of science to progress and a great deal of what we "know for certain" turns out to be only partial knowledge, till other facts come in. The purpose of revelation is not to tell us everything about everything. It is to tell us about the important things. ...
That is nicely put. How, I wonder, can we discern what those important things are and what the Bible tells us about them? We seem to use our inherited and innate recognition of such important notions as morals to locate and identify the morals in the Bible. This suggests that, lacking any new insights from such a study, our existing morals are already sufficient and the Bible is confirmation at best, horrible misleader at worst. We readily declare that the God-instigated slaughter of innocents for being in the wrong tribe, is not a moral item just because we recognize it as being a fundamentally immoral act.
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The hubris of the scientific skeptic is that he imagines his particular field of interest is the source and summit of wisdom when, in comparison to the matters discussed by Scripture, it is a small hobby--legitimate in its way and certainly important in its proper sphere--but ultimately not the Final Question. God is pleased with science well done as he is pleased with all human things well done.
Can God really be pleased with science when He, according to the Bible, works so tirelessly against it and the very questioning attitude that is the heart of science? Can we truly trust a God who is afraid of iron or ineffective in its presence?
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God enlightens the scientific intellect as he enlightens many other forms of intellectual pursuit. But the notion that if God does not answer our trivia questions about the composition of the earth's mantle or the age of the universe to our satisfaction, then he is failing some test--that's just silly. It's not that he's behind the times, it's that he's way ahead of us. Medievals who saw the four humours as the Latest in Human Knowledge eventually discovered that there was a greater knowledge than this. Dittos for devotees of Newtonian physics when Einstein came along.
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...
Why, I then ask, does not God only include things that are true and let us slowly catch up to them?
Concerning Pi as an example, there will not be new facts that show it is 3 after all, but worse, God actually did extra, unnecessary work to get it wrong! There are three characteristics quoted for the sea which, taken together define Pi as =3. The description would have been perfect, without having to teach goat herders trigonometry, simply be dropping any one of the three conflicting items. The sea could have been round with a certain diameter, it could have had a circumference three times its diameter if it weren't round, it could have been round with a certain circumference. Any of these three would have been perfectly accurate but God had to overspecify the case incorrectly.

You perpetuate the canard that Einstein proved that all of Newtonian physics were wrong. Einstein's gravity did not replace Newton's; rather it showed that Newton's was a special case of a more general understanding covering scales that were quite impractical for Newton. Newtonian physics is still getting our spacecraft to their destinations with astounding accuracy even while the speed of light has to enter the calculations for GPS systems to work properly.

Incidentally, the "G" that sometimes appears in the equations of both Newton and Einstein does not refer to god.

"Those who most loudly proclaim their honesty are least likely to possess it."
"Atheism: rejecting all absurdity." S.H.
"Reality, the God alternative"
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Old 06-03-2007, 08:23 AM   #299
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Sternwallow wrote
You perpetuate the canard that Einstein proved that all of Newtonian physics were wrong. Einstein's gravity did not replace Newton's; rather it showed that Newton's was a special case of a more general understanding covering scales that were quite impractical for Newton. Newtonian physics is still getting our spacecraft to their destinations with astounding accuracy even while the speed of light has to enter the calculations for GPS systems to work properly.

Incidentally, the "G" that sometimes appears in the equations of both Newton and Einstein does not refer to god.
That's slightly misleading Sterny. It's not so much that Newton's gravity is a special case, it's more like a first approximation. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure that spacecraft always use the correct relativistic calculations.

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Old 06-03-2007, 08:29 AM   #300
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Sternwallow wrote
The Bible tells people what to believe. It is written in a language that is, at least indirectly, accessible to them and comprehensible. Notably, the Bible does not tell people how to believe what it says they should believe. The OT is supposed to be accurate down to the famous "jot and tittle" and that contributes to the necessity of taking it quite literally.
The Bible does not tell people what to believe. At least not in the way you mean. The Old Testament records the history of the Jews. It starts, using the prevailing cosmology of the Babylonians, by explaining how anyone/thing got here and then the author(s) move on quickly to explain why the affairs of men are not in a better order. Finally the narrative moves on to speak of the Jews' progenitor, Abraham. So the authors sum up in approximately 22 chapters (I am too lazy to get up and check the exact number) the entire prehistory of the world, to get to the matter at hand-- explaining the origins of their nation.

It (the OT) then records their tribal history and its laws. You will not find many of them on the tablets Moses brought down from the mountain. God stated his precepts and the ancient tribes worked out how to implement them. The jot and tittle remark has nothing to do with men's laws but God's.

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So, when Revelation speaks of a dragon with seven heads and ten crowns (at a time when empires and states and rulers were well known) he was obviously not talking about some empire with ten kings or any other such interpretation or he would have been perfectly able to do so. When the end of it all comes, if I have a vantage point (which I doubt), I expect to see a fire-breathing seven headed dragon rise up from the sea rather than a renewed Roman empire composed of ten nations. That is what the writers of the Bible, for my culture, clearly believed.
We have had this conversation too many times for me to have any expectation that it will help for me to explain it to you again. Nor will your echo chamber here get it. But maybe one solitary soul whose name we don't know will read it and think about it ...

Scratch an atheist, uncover a fundamentalist. How is it possible for you to expect that what is described in Revelation is an exact account of how God looks and that there will be a dragon with 7 heads, etc. except on the belief that the Bible was written directly by God? I can't say more than I have said on this score in the past. Again, we are talking about reasonably educated belief vs literal reading. This is, as Steve pointed out eloquently a real problem for Protestants who believe that each person can read and understand the Bible himself. The Catholic and Orthodox have never been bibliolators so they don't have this problem.

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Entirely too many Christians (some 30-50%), in my view, take the Bible literally (or they think they do without actually knowing it) and would literally die for what they think is there. ...
Who cares if they get the age wrong, you may ask. Because they are not content to believe it themselves, they must agitate to have it taught in school. That represents a definite harm to society.
This is certainly true of some but it, again, is more caricature than truth. Christians are not a monolith, which ought to be clear just from the number of denominations in this country. They simply do not agree when it comes down to brass tacks, on just how the various bits of the Bible should be interpreted. Christians were heavily represented among the people who successfully fought the implementation of evolution in Dover, PA.


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He, in his deep ignorance, might think that dreams are a kind of reality. Here's the rub; modern people who should have long since learned better and who surely don't take their own dreams as gospel (unless they are total losers), really and truly believe someone else's dream that God is an old guy with white hair sitting on a cold, hard golden throne, despite his arthritis, for all eternity. Again, this is fine for them as a private faith or quirk. It is unacceptable to make anyone pay to have that tenet and all the others taught to non-believers at taxpayer expense and enforced as matters of law and applied to public policy (resource renewal and re-use, for example).
Funny thing. These people existed in abundance when this nation was founded and yet, they were not excluded from the citizenry. Nor were their "quirky beliefs" ruled out of bounds by the constitution. To add insult to injury, they were allowed to vote!! I wonder why?

Even funnier. This nation still has managed to get where it is today despite them. Their voices are (for the time being) still loud and clear; they are allowed to insist that their views be heard and taken into account. They are allowed to vote. And yet, somehow, we manage to prosper and, from all signs, we are still a free nation. If you want to see theocracy in action you might look eastward..
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Yes, I do understand that cultural differences make different interpretations important. That is exactly why we must fight against taking the Bible as anything but an archaic anthology of fanciful writing with no place in modern practice.

Many people think the Bible is some sort of great literature. Fine, terrific! But you would not advocate running a court or a government by the rules in a book, "Peyton Place" perhaps, just because it was good fiction. Yet many very loud people want the most laughable of the three sets of "ten" commandments to guide our justice system.
We would be far better off, if our laws were guided by the ten commandments (it never fails to make me giggle when you trot out the "three sets" as though that were some original insight of your own).

WAIT! What am I saying?? Our laws are guided by the 10 commandments. They are even carved into the walls of the Supreme Court!! O Theocracy, thou art a cunning harlot.

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It would be so nice to have a Bible whose truth was manifest and which could be trusted to be our guide for morals and how to live in general. We could then abide by it without needing to inflict it on the justice system or enforcing penalties for those who disobey.

Such a pity that God was unable to accomplish it.
We do have such a Bible, used properly. But humans are still humans. The idea that we would obey completely and perfectly any set of precepts, if they were just written clearly enough, misunderstands man's nature completely.
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