Contradictions Part 4: Hares Chewing the Cud

The first part in this series can be found here.

Leviticus 11:6 tells us that hares chew the cud. They do not. Animals that chew the cud are called ruminants. When they eat plant matter, it goes to their first stomach to soften, and then it’s regurgitated to their mouth. They spend time re-chewing it, and then it is swallowed and fully digested. Ruminants (cows, sheep, goats, etc.) are recognizable because their chewing of the cud is very obvious. Hares (rabbits) don’t chew the cud; however, their mouths do move frequently, so it’s possible to see why some people may have assumed that they do chew the cud. Of course, God would know they didn’t, and this is why the passage is problematic.

There have been some good attempts at explaining this. First of all, it has been suggested that even though God knew hares didn’t chew the cud, the Israelites probably didn’t. Since they would have seen the chewing motion of hares and assumed that they were cud-chewers, God simply used language that they would understand.

I actually think this explanation has some merit. However, God also knew that the Bible would be used by all people in all times. Therefore, he would have known that this passage could be problematic for modern people. So I don’t see why he couldn’t have said “appear to chew the cud,” or something like that in order to clarify things for both groups. Also, he could have taken it as an opportunity to educate them on the fact that hares don’t actually chew the cud, regardless of what their mouths look like.

Another explanation has been to point out that while rabbits aren’t ruminants, they do re-digest some of their food through the process of coprophagia. This process sounds pretty disgusting. Basically, it’s eating feces to gain additional nutrients. Hares don’t do this with their regular droppings, but with a special type of pellet that essentially consists of partially digested plant matter.

A problem with this theory is that hares don’t actually chew these pellets, they swallow them whole. Also, pigs are known to practice coprophagia as well, yet Leviticus 11:7 says, “And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you” (emphasis mine). So it would appear that “chew the cud” does not include coprophagia.

Bottom line: the Bible claims that hares chew the cud, but we know they do not.

We’ll look at another contradiction in the next post.

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139 thoughts on “Contradictions Part 4: Hares Chewing the Cud”

  1. Copied and pasted from elsewhere:

    The word “cud” (Hebrew gerah) appears only 11 times in all of Scripture: seven times in Leviticus 11 and four times in Deuteronomy 14—every occurrence is in the two passages that give lists of clean and unclean animals. The rabbit is mentioned in each list as one that “chews the cud” (Leviticus 11:6; Deuteronomy 14:7). Therefore, if the only sections in Scripture where specific animals are mentioned that “chew the cud” include rabbits, then it is entirely proper to conclude that Moses simply defined “cud chewers” more broadly than modern scientists. Today, “cud chewers” (called ruminants) may be strictly defined as animals that “swallow their food without chewing it very much, store it temporarily in one of their stomach compartments, then later regurgitate it and rechew it thoroughly, and then swallow and digest it” (Wenham, 1979, pp. 171-172). It would be completely unjust, however, to force present-day definitions on a 3,500-year-old document. “As with Moses’ classification of bats as ‘birds,’ the modern definition of terms does not take away from Moses’ ability, or even his right, to use words as he sees fit to use them” (Kaiser, et al., 1996, p. 158). What’s more, as Jonathan Sarfati concluded: “It is inconceivable that someone familiar with Middle-Eastern animal life would make an easily corrected mistake about rabbits, and also inconceivable that the Israelites would have accepted a book as Scripture if it were contrary to observation” (1998, 20[4]:56), especially when the Book has so many negative things to say about the Israelites.

    Bottom line: taken out of context.

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  2. That sounds nice, but I don’t think it’s so easily dismissed. Could “cud-chewers” just be referring to something else — a different, broader category that rabbits also fit into? I guess that’s possible. It would mean that the Bible’s been slightly mistranslated (which seems contrary to what God would have wanted), but I won’t split hares (pun intended) about that.

    But to say that it’s the only reasonable conclusion is way overboard. At the very best, this would be an issue up for grabs. People certainly aren’t out of line for thinking it’s suspect.

    Also, it wouldn’t shock me if most Israelites did think rabbits chewed the cud. Their mouths move in a way that would give that impression. So I don’t view this as something that would have made huge amounts of people second-guess the legitimacy of the Bible. In fact, it doesn’t do that now, so why should it have been any different then? And if you think about it, this objection is no different than saying:

    This contradiction is so obvious that no one would have accepted it. And since they accepted it, it must not be a contradiction.

    That just doesn’t strike me as a great foundation to base a belief on. And if we have to make such excuses for a book that God wrote, does it really seem likely that he wrote it?

    Thanks for the quote though — it sums up the other position nicely.

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  3. But wouldn’t an actual contradiction mean that the Bible was wrong without any possible reasonable conclusions? I mean, to make such a serious claim about the Bible ought to have pretty good supporting evidence (this is what skeptics say about the God hypothesis, after all). Otherwise, it’s just an opinion based on today’s standards, right?

    I think you’re placing too much emphasis on the Bible being a “perfect book” in order to be inspired by God. Like I said in the other post, to give us perfect knowledge is call us omniscient, and since we’re not omniscient we can’t possibly have perfect knowledge. God gives ENOUGH information, not ALL of it. Otherwise, where’s the necessity for relational investment?

    For example, if you knew absolutely everything there was to know about your wife, where’s the intrigue? You know enough about her to enjoy a meaningful relationship, and that gives the relationship value, because as you grow in your lives together you are constantly learning new things about her. This analogy fits fairly well with how we interact with God.

    So in summation, it seems like acknowledging a reasonable hypothesis for the legitimacy of this text means that you don’t really have a great foundation to base a belief in this contradiction on. What you’ve boiled yourself down to is: “This could be right, but it could also be wrong, so I’ll choose to think it’s wrong instead of right.” And that’s not a contradiction, friend; that’s an opinion.

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  4. No, I don’t view them as quite that ambivalent. What you’re describing would be more appropriate if the passage in question had only referenced actual ruminants as cud-chewers, but I maintained that the Bible actually meant something else and that passage contained a contradiction. I’d have no real evidence for that point, only speculation.

    But the simple fact is this: The passage in question says rabbits are cud-chewers, and they are not. That is a contradiction. It’s factually inaccurate. If someone wants to accept a theory that tries to clear it up, that’s fine with me. But I don’t buy it because it doesn’t change what the passage says.

    I use this example elsewhere, but you probably haven’t gotten to it yet in my posts. I’m a fan of the Stephen King series The Dark Tower. If King suddenly began calling one of his characters in that series by another name, he’d be creating a contradiction. As fans, we might be able to come up with several reasonable explanations for that change just so we can keep up the verisimilitude. But if King himself never addresses the issue, it’s still a contradiction no matter how much we want it to be otherwise.

    The contradictions in the Bible are the same way. They exist. Other people may be able to come up with marvelous theories that try to explain them, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Bible still contains a contradiction. And for an omnipotent God, these would be very easy things to clear up within the text.

    That may be an area that we won’t reach agreement on. But I’ve thought carefully about this for quite a while, and I’m convinced that referring to these things as outright contradictions is very reasonable.

    But thanks for offering your input on it. I really enjoy your points.

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  5. ““This could be right, but it could also be wrong, so I’ll choose to think it’s wrong instead of right.” And that’s not a contradiction, friend; that’s an opinion.”

    that’s a good point, except that the evidence at hand seems to say otherwise. Look at it like this, the bible says that hares chew cud, but we know that they do not. You are correct to say that that our word for “cud” didnt exist back then, so there could be more to it. Makes it a little more difficult for us, but that’s to be expect in translations. So we then go on to see what else it could be talking about, like maybe it eats it’s own feces. And it turns out that is right, but pigs do as well and the bible says that pigs dont chew the cud.
    Some say that there is still a possible explanation. Can you tell us what it is so that we can consider it? This is more like, it looks wrong, but could still possibly be right, so I’ll choose what seems more obvious.

    And I liked your analogy about the wife, but in this situation (wife being god’s word) it’s more like we’re not even sure if we have a wife. So which woman do we investigate if we should at all? But that’s part of the point, many people look so hard at the bible only, never considering any other religion – and if they do, they do it to disprove the other religion while trying to defend or prove the bible. maybe you’ve been intrigued with the wrong woman all along.

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  6. By the way, I think your analogy of the husband-wife relationship is really good. That’s an excellent point.

    I’m really not saying that God needed to give us all knowledge. But when he does give us info (the Bible, for instance), I expect it to be completely accurate in what it reveals.

    The issue of whether or not rabbits chew the cud is not a mystical thing that God withholds knowledge about. We know that rabbits don’t chew the cud, and we know that Leviticus says they do. That’s a pretty simplistic matter, and I expect those kinds of things to make sense.

    I hope that helps clarify my position a little better. If God exists, I fully expect that he has lots of knowledge that we’ll never possess. In other words, I find Deuteronomy 29:29 to be very reasonable.

    Thanks again.

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  7. Nate and William,

    Rabbits don’t chew the cud by today’s standards of what defines “chewing the cud.” But as the part I pasted in earlier says, you’re saying that a 3,500-year old text must conform to today’s definitions and classifications in order to be accurate? Now who’s setting the high bar?

    P.S. Did you know that Linnaeus, who is responsible for the classification system we used today, initially classified rabbits as ruminants based on what he was able to observe of them? I guess it’s not as cut-and-dry as you would have it be.

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  8. Again, based on the research conducted thus far, there doesn’t seem to be a good explanation as to what “chewing the cud” would have meant in the 3500 year old text, if not what was already described above (chewing a cud, eating feces is clearly not what it meant). If there is a possible meaning that has been overlooked, that would include the Hare in the cud category somehow, then please share it with the rest of us.

    Without that explanation or definition, simply saying that “there is another meaning but we just don’t know what it is” could be said about ANY contradiction.

    Again, the text says Hares chew the cud… yet, they do not. How is that setting the bar high for a text that was supposedly written for all people of all time? What else would that passage be talking about?

    And I appreciate your efforts here, but do you even consider that the bible may not be god’s word? If not, are you being objective? Remember, the bible was penned, copied, and distributed by man; if we believe them, is our faith in god, or those men?

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  9. “Chew the cud” as you talk about it is based on the MODERN definition of what it means to chew the cud. I don’t know how many times I need to say it. I’ve shared not only the possible but probable meaning of the text–that Moses categorized those who chew the cud more broadly than you do. Perhaps if there’s a reasonable and probable explanation for what it says in the text, it’s not a contradiction. Perhaps it’s just an assumption, and to assume just makes an…well, I won’t curse, but you get my drift I think.

    If you really think that this passage was written for all people of all time, you need to do some more study on hermeneutics, friend. We can definitely learn from such passages, but that doesn’t mean their commandments are binding. If so, there is no purpose in having the New Testament, because it contradicts the OT instead of replaces the law.

    If the men who wrote the Bible say God inspired them, then how are we supposed to take it? If Paul says, “All Scripture is God-breathed,” what are we supposed to think other than that it is God-breathed? So if that’s what it’s supposed to be, why then would you look at some of its claims at face value (i.e. chewing the cud) but say some of its other claims are erroneous? You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

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  10. I am not sure what you are getting at. All you have said is that Moses must have been using the term “Chewing the Cud” in a broader sense than what we do today. Fair enough… what is that broader sense? How can i, or anyone, be expected to “try the spirits” so to speak, if anything that seems to contradict what we know can be answered by, “the bible said so, so it must be true?” I just don’t see where this is difficult. The bible says that hares chew the cud. they do not. Again, if it means something else, then what is it? because right now, that’s a contradiction, ro a hole, if you will. If you want to cover up that hole, it would be better patched by supplying a definitions to Moses’ broad use of “chewing the Cud.”

    And are you suggesting that we know the bible is from God because Paul, who is from the bible, says it is? And I am not being wishy washy with it. If God wrote the bible for all people of all time, then we all should have an equal ability and availability to understand it. the bible says that God is not a respecter of persons, so if the bible is from god, then ancient people and present day people should be on a level playing field. If we are not on a level playing field, then that’s just one more strike against the notion that god was the author. I am trying to use the rules the bible has set for itself to see it measures up. it says “x”, but “y” seems to be the case – can that be explained, maybe so. But just saying that “it could have a solution, or it could be something else, and since we cant prove that there isnt a way to harmonize the passage, then we just have to accept it at face value” just isnt the way things work. Do you treat other religious texts that way?

    And not to contentious, but it’s you who has said that God wrote the bible, or at least inspired it, but then don’t seem to think that is was written for people today. and do you look at evrything as either all right or completely wrong? the bible has some factual and ethical things in it, but that doesnt mean it’s without its errors as well.

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  11. I think I’m just beating my head against a wall here. Clearly we’re talking apples and oranges. I’m not trying to be contentious either, but you’re most definitely twisting my words around, and that doesn’t help anybody in this discussion.

    So I’m going to let it die, and just agree to disagree.

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  12. I am sorry.. I really dont mean to twist anyone’s words. I guess I have felt pretty frustrated as well, because it just seems so obvious to me. Perhaps you are right, maybe we have said all their is to say on this topic… there are plenty of others…

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  13. Hi, Nate, I am going to post this to my blog as well as your related post. The verse you are talking about where a hare is said to chew its cud, may not be talking about a hare. In my spare time, I decided to look into it as that would be an easy one to do. I went to a blue letter bible app on my phone – which corresponds with blueletterbible.org. It is essentially a website where one can easily find words in the Strong’s concordance or other dictionaries directly from the verse. Here is what I found – 

     H768 – ‘arnebeth (from Leviticus 11:16):

    Outline of Biblical Usage:
    1) hare
    a) probably an extinct animal because no known hare chews its cud, exact meaning is unknown, and best left untranslated as “arnebeth”

    I don’t know if this helps answer your concern at all, but it answers mine. You see, sometimes translating can be a difficult task. 

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  14. Thanks for supplying that information. It’s not an explanation I’d heard before. To me it sounds like they’ve only come to that conclusion because they would otherwise have to say the Bible made a mistake, so I’m still a bit skeptical. But I’m glad it answers the issue for you. Thanks again for taking the time to look at it.

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  15. I’m glad I could shed some light on it. I hope that you continue your search and look at things objectively, instead of holding the opinion you have already made up against what you learn. @Nate

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  16. Haha! Thanks! 😉

    I’m sorry if it looks like I’m not being objective. I truly intend to be. But I feel like there are so many problems with the Bible, it’s hard for me to accept an explanation like the one you found, when it looks so much like a made up excuse. They basically said that they would normally translate this word “hare,” but since that would mean the Bible made a mistake, the word must mean something else. I suppose that’s possible, but I certainly don’t view it as probable. If it were the only issue with the Bible, I might let it go… but it’s not.

    I honestly do appreciate your providing this info though. And I’m glad if it was helpful to you.

    I’d also like you echo your sentiment: I hope we’ll all be objective as we look at these things and not just try to fit them into our preconceptions.

    Thanks!

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  17. @eliezer40
    that is interesting, but I’m not quite sure I follow. Is it saying that the word usually means “hare” but since we now know, without a doubt, that hares don’t chew cud, that word cannot mean “hare” here, although it means “hare” everywhere else? And we know that it couldn’t mean hare, because the bible is always right, and so if that word meant what it always means everywhere else, then the bible would false. but since the bible is never false, that word means something else this time?

    whoa! I’m dizzy.

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  18. William, that is not what it means. It means that arnebeth is used twice in the Bible, Leviticus and Deuteronomy to indicate that they are unclean because this arnebeth chews the cud. The exact meaning of arnebeth is unknown but it is translated as ‘hare’. It could have been an extinct rabbit like creature that chewed the cud. That is what it means.

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  19. @eliezer40

    ah, you may be right. I wonder why they ever interpreted it as “hare” if they had no idea what it was… I guess this word never shows up in other hebrew text?

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  20. @eliezer40
    You know, this just seems weird. I’ve tried looking “arnebeth” up on several different sources, they all either say “hare” or “rabbit” or they say “hare” then follow it up with what you posted above about it likely meaning something else because hares don’t chew cud…

    you have to admit how it looks. But it does make me ask whether this word is ONLY used in the bible. is there no place else in Hebrew literature that would shed light on it?

    And if there is no way to know what that word means, then why did they translate it as hare? and if that’s what they do, just randomly pick an animal, why didn’t they do that with Job’s leviathan?

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  21. Brilliant stuff…”the hare mentioned must be extinct b/c hares don’t chew their cud” and “you can’t put a modern definition on a 3500 year old book”.

    I’m generally not a very argumentative type, but those are simply examples of Wish-thinking at their best (or worst). Wouldn’t it have been a coup to have God reveal something in his Book that scientists wouldn’t discover for MILLENNIA–the fact that Linneaus inaccurately catalogued them only shows that his observations were incomplete and inaccurate…just like Bats are not Birds. Bats not being Birds is not a “modern scientific interpretation”, but a fact of biology. Sure, when People don’t know much about biology it is easy to see a bat as a bird. No problem. But GOD knew they weren’t birds and it would have been a great place to clear it up. Revealed truth that “scientists” wouldn’t discover for how long would be a great Proof of the Bible.

    But this is just like “God put two lights in the sky”. No, there are not two lights in the sky. The people of Texas may be angry b/c Bill Nye the Science Guy contradicted the scriptures, but that’s b/c the people who wrote the scriptures were understandably ignorant of the moon merely reflecting the sun’s light. How could they know? But if the bible was from God, HE would know. Saying “he wouldn’t tell them b/c they wouldn’t be able to believe something so strange” is a poor excuse–they believed in an Invisible God who created One Man and One Woman in a Garden nobody could ever find; they believed Moses when he said God spoke to him from a burning bush; they weren’t very skeptical and so saying “God fudged things b/c he knew the people needed it” just doesn’t cut it.

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  22. […] Hares Chew the Cud Leviticus 11:6 tells us that hares chew the cud. They do not. Animals that chew the cud are called ruminants. When they eat plant matter, it goes to their first stomach to soften, and then it’s regurgitated to their mouth. They spend time re-chewing it, and then it is swallowed and fully digested. Ruminants (cows, sheep, goats, etc.) are recognizable because their chewing of the cud is very obvious. Hares (rabbits) don’t chew the cud; however, their mouths do move frequently, so it’s possible to see why some people may have assumed that they do chew the cud. Of course, God would know they didn’t, and this is why the passage is problematic. You can read more about this here. […]

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  23. I think it is important to understand the purpose for this passage of scripture, and that is to teach people a way of differentiating animals that may be eaten (clean) from those that may not be eaten (unclean). The animals that may be eaten must have a split hoof and chew the cud. To make this determination a person looks at the animal to see if it appears to be chewing the cud and examines it to see if it has a split hoof. Both rabbits and rock badgers give the appearance they chew the cud, but they do not have a split hoof. Many critics might say; why didn’t Moses say “appear” to chew the cud? This was originally written in Paleo Hebrew (a pictographic language) and translated into modern Hebrew and then into English (possibly Greek first, depending on the translation). There are going to be issues like this in the scriptures. We have to read the context of the message and not get side tracked with the details (chasing rabbits, so to speak).

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  24. Oh, this one is my favorite. I use this example frequently in my talks. Imagine what all the Christians think when I tell them that people become atheists because of rabbits chewing cud. It helps our cause.

    I have written a response, here:
    https://humblesmith.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/rabbits-dont-chew-cud-but-can-we-trust-the-bible/

    The biggest flaw is that it imposes a modern definition onto an ancient culture. But again, even if your comment were true, you have not disproven that God exists nor that the Bible teaches us spiritual truth. The liberal denomination Evangelical Lutherans used to use this exact passage to deny inerrancy, but they hold that the Bible is still the source of truth about God. You have not disproven much here, my friend.

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  25. Imagine what all the Christians think when I tell them that people become atheists because of rabbits chewing cud.

    In my case it was not one issue that caused me lose confidence in the divine inspiration of the Bible. Whilst this particular issue may seem trivial, it adds to the list of issues and also makes a lie of those claims by some apologists that the Bible is perfect.

    I have found that apologists can, through ingenuity {and in some case disingenuity}. explain away any individual issue. If there was only one issue then such an approach might be persuasive, but that is far from the case. One of the books I have is the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. That there is the need for such a volume is instructive in itself. What became even more illuminating to me was that many issues I came across were not even covered in this 476 page book.

    My faith in the Bible was eroded by the sheer volume of issues, not one issue.

    Now this does not disprove ‘God’ but it certainly does help the case to prove ‘God’.

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  26. Regarding pashebos first comment way back when.

    He is correct. Hares chew the cud. Ask a farmer who raises them. An Israelite knew the same thing.

    If we put forth OUR interpretation, then we could say turtles are mini hump back whales. Not too smart.

    There is no contradiction and the scriptures are correct. After all, God created the hare, and He knows all about its inner workings.

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  27. Thanks for chiming in, ColoStorm, but I think Peter’s point above sums up how I feel about this issue very well.

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  28. That’s ok, maybe you both will come around in time. God made the stomach for both cow and hare. He knows what He is talking about.

    Btw, I have a friend who raises hares……….He would embarrass your nonsense and lack of knowledge, but he is a good man, and would credit your misunderstanding of animal life to simple ignorance.

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  29. I know all about it chief.

    Perhaps you should do a study on what exactly hares eat……..then decide if their chewing the cud is a problem.

    God, who created the animal, not a cosmic accident by your godless friends, is well aware of His creation.

    And I rather trust His explanation over yours and godless scientists every day of the week.

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  30. “And I rather trust His explanation over yours and godless scientists every day of the week.”
    So I guess you don’t trust medicine, doctors or hospitals either right ?

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  31. CS, the point is that God didn’t write the Old Testament — people did. According to the writer, God gave this information to Moses, but why should we believe this actually happened? At the very, very least, saying that hares chew a cud is confusing, at best. God could have made it plainer, and there’s no obvious reason why he wouldn’t have. Doesn’t look promising for the “God verbally inspired my book” claim.

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  32. For God’s sake chief, I work in the medical field.

    Maybe you should actually talk to a hare raiser. There are some very smart farmers doncha know.

    I trust God to define animal husbandry, not Barnum and Bailey’s circus.

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  33. “For God’s sake chief, I work in the medical field.”

    Emptying bed pans CS does not make you an expert on cud chewing but it might help you to understand coprophagy. 🙂

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  34. I do hear a lot where people say, “…God said this,” or “God did that…” but in reality, the more accurate statement would be, “that guy said that God said this,” or “this man said that God did that…”

    You say that God stated that Hares chew a cud, while when observed, Hares do not chew a cud, but eat their pooh, like some weird german fecal freak video 😉

    So either the all knowing God got confused about his own long eared creation, or the men who claimed to speak for God weren’t being exactly accurate in their claims…

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  35. I’m trying to look up the Hebrew word for Cud.

    We’ve all heard that “cud” is a relatively modern term, and that we shouldn’t put ancient writings in modern boxes, etc…

    While I do think that hocking pre-eaten goop up from the throat, into the mouth to chew on is quite different that selecting a particular poop pellet to chew on. And it also seems like a rabbit eating its poop is more akin to a pig eating its poop, than it is to cow, chewing on what we call a cud (food hocked back into the mouth) – and the scriptures say that pigs, who eat their poop, do not “chew the cud….”

    But with only a quick search, it looks like the hebrew word we have translated into “cud” is “garar” which means to scrape – like to scrape the throat – http://biblehub.com/hebrew/1625.htm

    does a rabbit pellet scrape the throat like pre-eaten food scrapes the throat of a cow when it hocks it back up to chew on?

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  36. There is no contradiction in the Bible; only a lack of understanding. The apparent contradiction concerning the phrase “chewing the cud” is easily reconciled through the realization that the definition of “ruminant” is modern and is being applied to an ancient text. The understand of what “chewing the cud” refers to is obviously different today, than it was then.

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  37. Maybe. The text, as written, is wrong. Maybe you guys are right that this comes down to a problem with trying to define ancient words. As it is, there are many more obvious problems in the Bible, and there are plenty of other contradictions that we could discuss. As Peter said, this just represents yet another example. No need to get bogged down on this particular one.

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  38. @nate
    This is why you chose atheism. You are not content with the Creator and His dealings and explanations of His creation, not yours. You are calling into question that which has long been settled.

    Hares chew the cud. Cows chew the cud. HOWEVER, it is the hoof issue that escapes you. Cows are clean, hares are not. Rats are unclean. Lambs are clean. Get it?

    But maybe God is mistaken and you are cooking rat tonight for dinner? Didn’t think so. It’s embarrassing nate to watch people sit in judgment of God. God does not make mistakes.

    So maybe you should reconsider why you are bogged down with such petty details?

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  39. I have to disagree that the text “as written” is wrong. It is the interpretation of the text (applying a modern definition to an ancient text) that is wrong. When correctly interpreted it is spot on; as is the rest of the Bible. I would be interested in knowing what other ” biblical texts” you consider problematic. I’ve read a lot of claims of apparent contradictions in the biblical text, but when considered in the original language and in context of culture, history and the time period written, I’ve never come upon a claimed contradiction that could not be explained (when properly interpreted). The Bible is an ancient document that has been translated (Hebrew, Greek, Engish) and yet it still remains consistent throughout. It was written over a period of 1500 years by 40 different authors (most of whom never met) and yet its theme remains consistent throughout. It really comes down to the readers bias, and not really a problem with contradictions in the bible.

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  40. The Bible is an ancient document that has been translated (Hebrew, Greek, Engish) and yet it still remains consistent throughout.

    Obviously, you have not read the many bible scholars that refute your statement.

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  41. We obviously disagree about the nature of this text and the Bible in general. If you’re interested in discussing similar issues, just check out my home page. I have a lot of posts linked there. I recommend checking out my multi-part series on Ezekiel’s prophecy of Tyre.

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  42. Tom,

    Again, even if our modern english word “cud” isn’t as precise a translation as it could be, the original hebrew word used Lev 11:6 (which has been translated to cud), doesn’t seem to suit the chewing of poop, while it does seem to align with hocking junk up from the throat. See: http://biblehub.com/hebrew/1625.htm

    Even if you’re still somehow correct, an all knowing perfect God could probably have found a clearer and less confusing way to explain what he meant – and he simply chose not to.

    and along with Nate’s few suggestions, i’d toss in the Virgin birth in Isaiah 7, the genealogies of Matthew and Luke, and Matthew’s Zechariah quote which he credits to Jeremiah as other places to start. There are quite a few issues.

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  43. Nan — just as I’m certain you have not read many of the scholars that support my position. It’s just the nature of studying historical documents. Anything historical cannot be proven through the scientific method. Instead, it must be proven to a reasonable conclusion by “preponderance of the evidence”, which leaves a lot of room for bias. It really boils down to what we choose.

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  44. William — As I said, all of the apparent contradictions can be reconciled. I’ve done it. I’ll give you a hint. Most have to do with translation issues. I’ll give you an example. The genealogies of Matthew and Luke. Here is a short synopsis. You can verify the information. Matthew’s genealogy is of Mary and Luke’s is of Joseph. In Mathew’s account count the last 14 generations listed. There are only 13 right? Now look at the Greek word translated as father (aner) (mat 1:16) , can mean any man. If Mary’s father was also named Joseph it would reconcile both apparent problems with the text. If you take a similar approach to the other apparent problems you listed you can reconcile all of them. The main problem to overcome is personal bias.

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  45. On the contrary, I’ve read bible scholars on both sides as I was a very devoted and dedicated Christian for many years. But you’re right … it boils down to what each individual chooses to believe as “evidence.” It just happens that my personal research put me on the opposite side from you. 😉

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  46. But Tom,

    not all evidence or conclusions derived from the evidence are equal.

    Like a rock in the hand. If let go, will the rock fall or float? Before it happens, does it really take the same degree of faith to think it will fall as it would to believe it would float?

    Is it really on equal footing to believe that Muhammad flew on a winged horse or to believe that the story of him flying on that horse was made up or greatly exaggerated?

    is it just as good to believe that the sun stood still for Joshua or moved backward for Hezekiah as to believe that those are just fictional legends? Does the absence of any other record of these solar events, from any other astrology-observing cultures aid either one of those positions?

    Much of the evidence we have is what we know about science and the nature of people, right? Like, when things die and are dead for three days, they dont come back to life. Virgin humans dont bear children. hare’s dont chew cuds. And people are subject to mistakes and lies….

    Should we take the testimony of ancient superstitious men that we do not know, when their testimony contradicts things we do know and can verify?

    Liked by 1 person

  47. And Tom, yeah, let’s discuss the genealogies over on that thread that nate linked to… But please note that neither luke nor Matthew claim to be giving genealogy of Mary, but both state through Joseph – you’re having to create or imagine a possible fix to the problem that exists in the text as it’s written.

    but maybe you and I understand contradiction differently. To me, it looks like any contradiction can be “reconciled” the way that Christians “reconcile” the issues in the bible.

    Can you give an example of a contradiction that cannot be “reconciled” in such a way? because right now I think I can create or imagine a fix to any problem if I try hard enough…

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  48. William – actually no. Both genealogies are not of Joseph (hence the translation error in mathew) The greek word “aner” was translated as husband and not father. This error accounts for both the 14th generation that is not present and the differing lines present in the Matthew geneology and the one of Josephs line in Luke. If you have never studied other languages then you probably have no clue about translation issues. I will look for posts on the other link to continue.

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  49. only Arabic and french in some detail, and then the use of interlinear bibles in regard to hebrew and greek, but I’m not even a master of english, so I have doubt that I’ll make translation mistakes.

    I do tend to trust the people making the translations, similar to how I trust a doctor or mechanic. But yeah, let’s discuss this more on nate’s link, please.

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  50. Nan – that is too bad that Christianity has spoiled your faith. I had a similar experience. I left traditional Christianity but held onto the truth of God’s word (believe me there is a huge difference). Christianity includes a lot of tradition that just simply is not in line with the Bible. I agree that Christians have a lot of stuff in their belief systems that don’t add up to God’s word, but the word of God is faithful and true.

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  51. Tom,

    I posted this in the approprite thread, here: https://findingtruth.info/2011/03/11/contradictions-part-6-jesuss-genealogy/#comment-33052
    would you respond there?

    you made an interesting point in regard to Matthew’s genealogy (on the other thread).

    I looked up the greek word used in Matt 1:16 for “husband” here: https://findingtruth.info/2011/03/11/contradictions-part-6-jesuss-genealogy/ and this source says that the greek word was “andra” not “aner” and means husband, not father or man….

    what source do you have?

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  52. @Tom

    but the word of God is faithful and true.

    I read this quite often from Christians, but they never seem to be forthcoming with details.
    Could you please explain what the word of God is?
    Where can one find it?
    And how does the laymen verify its veracity?
    Thanks.

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  53. Very good question. You will need to read the Christian Bible or Jewish TANAKH for more information, but I can give you a brief overview. Firstly, we need to establish we are talking about the only true God. He the creator of all things. His name was given to His servant Moses. In Hebrew it is YHWH or Yahovah (Jehovah in English). The word of God is written in the Bible, but is not the Bible itself. It was the Word of God that created all things. The Word of God is both what is written (the words spoke by the almighty that were written) and the Word of God is described as God interacting with His creation. The word of God also became flesh and dwelt among us, as a Hebrew man named Yeshua (John 1). The name Yeshua has been translated through the Greek and is also known as Jesus. It is through the “word of God”, that we have redemption from sin and salvation when we are judged by God at the end of this age. The word of God can be verified through His creation, through His written word contained in the Bible, through fulfilled prophesy, through knowing His only Son Yeshua (who is the “word” become flesh), and through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. I hope this starts to answer your question. My answer probably doesn’t come close to describing the depth of knowing God through Yeshua, but I hope in inspires you to keep looking. May God bless you, and keep you, May He make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, may He lift His coutenance upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:22-27)

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  54. His name was given to His servant Moses.

    Allow me to stop you here and clear this up first, if I may?

    Thanks to modern biblical scholarship as well as science ( the Human Genome Project for one) and archaeology we know the Pentateuch is nothing but geopolitical fiction and characters such as Adam and Eve and Moses are simply narrative constructs.
    Knowing this , how do you square away this Word of God when there is little or no veracity to the Pentateuch?

    Thanks.

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  55. Arkenaten — Gonna have to disagree with you about the whole “modern biblical scholarship/science/human genome project” that is assuming a whole lot that needs to be dissected a bit first. Most of which is hypothetical and not based on true science. Firstly, anything historical cannot be proven through the scientific method, because it cannot be tested, observed, and verified. I know this fact pisses people off but it is true, so there goes your reliance on science. Historically speaking all we have is evidence, not actual proof. So then what we need to do is piece together the evidence and see what emerges. There is a lot of evidence that adds a lot of credibility to the bible. The recent documentary “patterns of evidence” details archaeological evidence that gives a lot of credibility to the biblical narrative.

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  56. I watched the trailer to “patterns of evidence” here: http://patternsofevidence.com/trailer-videos/

    I’d be interested to watch the documentary. But like those shown in the preview, it’s my understanding that much of the evidence either does not support the biblical claims or even contradicts them…

    is there any literature you could cite, or do we have to watch the video?

    To me, things like the sun standing still or moving backwards are big claims. And these are events that would be noticed throughout the world, not just to a small geographical area – and while there were notable astronomer societies, none of them though that incredible events like the sun ,moving backwards or standing still was noteworthy? They recorded comets and meteors and phases of the moon, but weren’t interested in these? I dunno…

    No one thought it was noteworthy to record the dead bodies walking out of their graves in Jerusalem at the time of jesus’ death?

    Would you accept such evidence to validate Muhammad, or anyone else, or any other religion?

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  57. The HGP for one has established unequivocally that humans did not derive from a single couple as per the biblical tale.

    You are surely not going to tell me evolution is not fact are you?
    And you must be aware of the work Collins and the hundreds of people who worked on this project?

    As for Exodus. There IS evidence of the Settlement Pattern and most of it was internal.

    Surely you aware of this also?

    ”Patterns of Evidence” shows nothing but speculation, I’m afraid.
    However if you are sure of your standpoint then please name a single secular Egyptologist that will confirm the Israelites were in Egypt as per the bible and the Exodus occurred as per the story.

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  58. Hey Tom,

    Don’t want to pile on, so please don’t take my comment that way. It’s nice to see you commenting here again, and I appreciate your respectful approach to these kinds of discussions.

    You said:

    Gonna have to disagree with you about the whole “modern biblical scholarship/science/human genome project” that is assuming a whole lot that needs to be dissected a bit first. Most of which is hypothetical and not based on true science.

    Now, to be fair, couldn’t that also be said about your initial statement?

    Firstly, we need to establish we are talking about the only true God. He the creator of all things. His name was given to His servant Moses. In Hebrew it is YHWH or Yahovah (Jehovah in English). The word of God is written in the Bible, but is not the Bible itself. It was the Word of God that created all things. The Word of God is both what is written (the words spoke by the almighty that were written) and the Word of God is described as God interacting with His creation. The word of God also became flesh and dwelt among us, as a Hebrew man named Yeshua (John 1)…

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  59. Arkenaten — You are kidding me right? Evolution? I thought that went away a long time ago. I think cell biology has proven evolution false, and that was proven decades ago. With all the true science showing us the complexity of the cell. The studies upon studies (using the proper scientific method) that prove one species cannot change into another. We have absolutely nothing that shows intermittent species in the fossil record. I could go on and on… Evolution is dead my friend. Give it up…. Many credible scientists readily admit that evolution is dead. As far as Egyptologists go, can you name a credible one? One that does not rely upon myth when speaking of the history of Egypt. Patterns of Evidence shows much more than speculation. Lots of evidence that support the biblical narrative.

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  60. Nate – yep, to be fair, I see your point. Although the context is different. I was still piling on a lot that would take volumes to unpack.

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  61. Oh dear, oh dear.We have a Frakking Creationist among us.
    Young Earth or Old?

    Hilarious! Well, there are enough Dickheads around without me feeling obliged to engage another arsehole like you.

    I am surprised the host has not politely asked you to close the door on your way out.
    I can guarantee even the ”normal” Christians on this blog are already cringing with embarrassment.

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  62. Tom, the stuff you just said about evolution is waaaaaayyyyyy outside the mainstream. I can recommend some resources, if you’re interested.

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  63. Arkenaten – Definitely young earth. It takes a whole lot more faith to believe the garbage science in the mainstream than in a creator. Look around you, it doesn’t take a whole lot to see evidence of the creator. No, I am far from a mainstream Christian. Left that behind a long time ago. Take care brother. Best of luck to ya.

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  64. I find it interesting that Tom would suggest that ‘certain’ scientists have rejected evolution. That may be the case but the reality is that the overwhelming majority of scientists accept evolution as the best explanation of the observed evidence.

    Indeed Francis Collins, a Christian, and one time head of the Human Genome Project wrote a book where he argued that Evolution was a fact.

    If we accept for the moment that creation might be an acceptable alternative explanation, it is puzzling why more than 99% of all the species ever to be on earth are now extinct. And don’t say it is because of the Flood!

    Liked by 1 person

  65. Peter — Here is some evidence of what I am talking about concerning many scientists not agreeing with the theory of evolution (macro evolution – to be clear on what we are discussing here). https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/a-world-famous-chemist-tells-the-truth-theres-no-scientist-alive-today-who-understands-macroevolution/ . There is a lot of evidence that just plainly states that evolution is not the mechanism of how life happens. I choose creationism as the best explanation of how life happened.

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  66. Tom that is an interesting article that you refer to. I am not enough of an expert to arbitrate the claims of experts. So I can refer to a different expert who has a different opinion:
    http://jerrycoyne.uchicago.edu/about.html

    Jerry Coyne is a more relevant expert as he is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, so works directly in the field. His position is fairly clear when you see that he personal blog is entitled, ‘Why Evolution is True’, and he has also written a book of the same title.

    The title of the article you referred to is misleading as it suggests there is no scientist alive today who understands macroevolution. But in fact that it not what the article actually says, rather the ‘expert’ interviewed says no-one he has spoken to can explain it. In any case even if no one understands it, this does not mean it is not true, there are many mysteries still to be explained by science.

    We don’t understand everything yet, but is remarkable how in the 150 years since Darwin published his theories how we know so much more which mostly supports the theory. Certainly in the intervening period the evidence has been far more compelling for evolution than creation. It is also worth noting that religious apologists continue to characterise evolution as ‘random’ changes, but that is not what the theory really says, the changes are not random as they are ‘guided’ by the environment. In modern times the development of antibiotic resistant superbugs is an example of evolution in action.

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  67. Peter, good point. It made me think of gravity in some ways – we know it works, but we really don’t know how it works, even though we know it has some correlation to mass.

    And I dont think anyone here would suggest that gravity is false just because it’s not completely understood.

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  68. William – To answer your question “Why does creationism best describe what we have … “. At the end of the debate we still have many questions unanswered, and ultimately we end up with “faith”. It is either faith trusting in the unanswered questions of science, or “faith” trusting in a loving creator. If we trust in science we end up trusting that somehow at some point in time they will be answered through science. So we end up trusting in science or having “faith” in science, of which the scientific method cannot prove anything historical because we cannot test and observe and repeat things from the past. I personally don’t find meaning in science. I don’t find hope, nor do I find humanity, nor do I find love or anything that answers the question “why”. Science does not give me hope, meaning or purpose. Trusting in a loving creator does give me hope, meaning and purpose and answers my question why. Both perspectives require faith, why not choose the perspective that adds meaning to my life. Without faith in the creator what do we have left for life’s purpose; get rich and die? With faith in a loving creator I live with hope of a resurrection and life eternal. Which is better and adds more meaning to life? To summarize the book of Ecclesiastes; everything is meaningless without God.

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  69. Tom, maybe it’s a form of faith. I don’t think I have a bad taste in my mouth regarding the term faith, but like the term belief, not all faiths are built on the same sort of thing, right?

    I have faith in my friends, my wife and the people I work with, etc – but the level of faith it takes to have in people I know well is much different than the faith it requires to have in someone or something you’ve never actually met or have never seen, right?

    Regarding medical issues, I tend to have more faith in a medical doctor’s opinion than I would in a garbage man’s opinion – just like It would be easier to place my faith in an auto-mechanic regarding car trouble than it would be to place my trust in a baker’s opinion.

    So gravity works. I see its effects, I feel it working on me. And with that, when I see the moon float around the earth, or the earth fall around the sun, I believe that gravity makes that work, and can believe that it has something to do with mass. I suppose it does still take a certain degree of faith.

    I can get that life is complex, and when I see how people are much different than animals, I can get the idea that we had to have been created and designed… But then I can’t help but wonder, if complexity and intelligence demands a creator and design, then why wouldn’t a creator also have a complexity and intelligence that demands another creator, and on and on… And if a creator does not need a creator of its own, then perhaps complexity and intelligence alone do not necessitate intelligent design….

    There does seem to be evidence of evolution in the fossil record. Evidently, across the globe, T-Rexes are all found within the same layers of strata, while no modern mammals are ever found at that same strata, but only in “younger” more recent strata… So with this, and other info, in mind, it seems that the book, in which men claim that God created the universe roughly 7000 years ago, along with all life, all at once, is not compatible with what is actually in place and shown around us.

    Even if there was a creator, wouldnt creation be from him, a revelation of sorts? And wouldn’t creation itself be more of an undeniable revelation than a book in which men claim to speak for god?

    So does it really take the same level of faith to trust what we find naturally around us as it does to trust an old book, written by unknown men, when it contradicts what we see around us naturally?

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  70. William — I don’t see any contradictions between what I see in the creation and what it says in the bible. If anything the biblical account supports what I see in the creation. We have to remember that, when reading the biblical account, we are reading an ancient translated document. The thing I find fascinating about the Bible is that it was written by 40 different authors (most of whom would have never known one another) over a period of more than 1500 years and yet the bible has a consistent message throughout.

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  71. Tom, I am a fan of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs – Solomon had some good books, no doubt.

    I get what you’re saying about science not providing hope or purpose, although I am sure people may receive both from science…. But while I can understand where you’re coming from, is the gift of hope and purpose adequate for determining truth?

    Do you think some people have purpose and hope in Islam, or Hinduism, or any of the other religions in the world? Does that make them right?

    But religion also provides unanswered questions, it just asks its followers not to ask anymore, and then implies that they don’t have enough faith if they do still question, or accuses them of questioning or rebelling against god, when in actuality they’re just questioning the claims men have made about a god.

    And Christianity may send you to heaven, but your children to hell. Would heaven be great there and then? what hope and purpose would you have in heaven, knowing that there is now zero hope for the loved ones who burn forever, without the chance at a pardon?

    Science not only looks for answers, it produces tangible results. Smart phones, incredible medical advances, air planes and space flight…

    Still, if it were down to either atheism or Christianity, I may still be a christian. Why not? it it were 50/50, then I’d probably see Christianity as the safest choice, even if it didnt make great sense in a lot of ways. But, we don’t have a 50/50. So while you have hope in Christ, there are countless other religions that say your hope is misplaced.

    For me, the means I methods I used to eliminate the other religions and identify them as bogus, are what finally made me see that Christianity fell apart when I finally made the same application.

    So I think reason is a better measure than hope and purpose. While I’d like to have hope and feel a sense of purpose, I do think that actual truth is more important. So for me, now I guess, I’ll have to be content to have hope in my children, and purpose in raising them and adding my part to the world around me – and so far, i’m fine with that.

    And maybe one reason that’s fairly easy is because I no longer have the fear that is married to the Christian’s hope, maybe fear of being lost, but also the fear that loved ones will go to hell. But even so, I dont not fear as a reason to cease believing in something either. whether something is fearful or hopeful, really have no bearing on whether that something is accurate or factual. I just wanted to shed light on the anti-matter of your hope and purpose, for a more complete portrait.

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  72. Tom, you said,

    ” The thing I find fascinating about the Bible is that it was written by 40 different authors (most of whom would have never known one another) over a period of more than 1500 years and yet the bible has a consistent message throughout.”

    I don’t find this fascinating. For one, the bible is only “consistent throughout” if you ignore certain passages and imagine your own bandaids or solutions for others – any contradiction can be covered in such ways.

    and two, 40 different people, writing about the same thing, with the same source material, in the same region of the world is not remarkable. If anything, I’m fascinated that they weren’t able to provide a clearer and more cohesive composition since they did have 1500 years.

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  73. William — I think I really understand where you are coming from with your description about the worlds religions and trying to find some sort of truth within such apparent diversity. I personally am not a traditional Christian for many of the reasons you describe. I see that most religions are primarily based on human tradition, including traditional Christianity. However, this does not preclude the truth as written in the Bible. It is possible to study each of the world religions and determine if they are true philosophically, by comparing them to what we see in creation and the state of humanity. I’m not going to get into what I’ve found and why but just to state that it can be done. Lets just say that when it was all said and done I ended convinced in the validity of the Bible, and practice my faith in God based on His written word, which is much different than traditional Christianity.

    In reply to your comment above in part two you state that “40 people writing about the same thing….” I don’t think I said that. I said 40 authors writing a consistent message over a period of 1500 years. It is the consistency in the message that I find fascinating. In my view, nothing but the hand of God could have orchestrated such a thing.

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  74. Tom, I feel like I’ve woken up out of the matrix, and I’m not sure that I can plug back in – however, I do realize that I could be wrong.

    It may be that I’ve only ever seen corrupt forms of Christianity and that I’ve been looking at the bible with those corrupted lenses. I dont think that’s the case, but I can admit that it’s a possibility.

    Is there a source you could point me to, to help me see what you see? I get there’s the bible, but again, if I’m seeing it wrong, I evidently need some help removing the bias or slant that i currently have…

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  75. William — I will share what I have done, knowing that we are each on our own journey and come to our own conclusions. I also know that you might come to a completely different conclusion than I have and I totally respect that.

    My journey led me to a point where I rejected traditional Christianity because of the inconsistency taught in the Christian Church. Long story short, I studied early history of the 1st century Church and came to the conclusion that the early Christians practiced their faith much differently than modern day Christians. There is a movement going on within Christianity right now, and a documentary has been made describing this movement. Here is a link to more information about the documentary. https://www.thewaydoc.com/ I’m not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I hope it is helpful.

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  76. Thanks. Being honest, I’m extremely skeptical, dont see the bible a flawless, but see it as quite the opposite, but I like your comments here and am genuinely interested in understanding where you’re coming from.

    So thanks for the link. I’ll look through it and do my best to maintain an open mind.

    and just for sake of clarity, I dont call myself an atheist, although it may be accurate enough. I consider myself agnostic, and think that there could be some form of creator(s), I just dont feel agnostic regarding the bible. I feel as confident that it is no more of god than the koran or my wife’s cookbook – but I also realize that I make mistakes and am capable of being wrong.

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  77. So Tom, In the FAQ of the link you provided, it says that some of the questions they ask in their documentary are things like why the apostles observe the Passover, but Christians do not today, etc

    It seems like the implication is that Christians should be doing things like the Passover, although it doesn’t really say that. Acts 15 immediately comes to mind, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself…

    So to you, what are the biggest (or at the ones that stand out the most to you) differences you’ve made since abandoning “traditional” Christianity and moving toward “the way?”

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  78. @Tom

    Although I have absolutely no respect whatsoever for what you beleive in at all, I am fascinated by your take on how Human and and Dinosaurs co existed.
    Care to offer some insight?

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  79. Ark, I think your question is valid, but let me say out the gate that I think Tom has been very gracious in his tone, and it speaks highly of him that he’s willing to talk with people who disagree with him. Let’s make sure we treat him with respect, cool?

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  80. Actually, I disagree entirely, Nate, sorry.

    He may have kids or access to kids and as a YEC he will be helping to indoctrinate another generation of little ”Ken Hammers” – well sorry, FTS.
    I applaud your tolerance, really I do, but with Creationists and especially YECs you surely must know they revel in the fight because they are fighting for their god? You ( and the rest of us ) are little more than ill-informed tools of Satan.
    Tom is merely an extreme version of Unklee and he will sit there gloating. No evidence you put forward will make a blind bit of difference. And you know this. And when it comes to YECs there are unlikely fence sitting lurkers.

    I pretty much already know his answer regarding the dinosaur question, I am just interested in his spin, that’s all. He will not likely offer a direct response. YEC’s are not interested in science where it comes into conflict with their worldview.
    You are dancing to his tune and he loves it.

    Sorry , Nate. I will bow out if you prefer?

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  81. I like having your contributions, so please don’t bow out on my account!

    Believe me, I know that most people don’t change their minds on things like this — at least not through a direct discussion. But I do know that seeds can be planted, which, over time, sometimes result in a change. If we insult someone, or make ad hominem attacks against them, it usually obscures any good points we might make in our argument. Plus, to bystanders, we just look like jerks.

    I used to be an inerrantist YEC, but look at me now. Reasonable arguments and evidence can make in impact. 🙂

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  82. Point taken ….
    I never realised you were a YEC.
    Then do me a favour, if your uop to it, of course) as I know you will be a lot more honest; explain how in your YEC heyday you dealt with the dinosaur / human coexisting issue.
    It will be fascinating – and not just for me, I’m sure – to read how your mind worked back in the day.
    It might also help me to get a handle on how to better deal with the Toms and Unklees out there.

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  83. Ok Arkenaten I’ll bite. You have a bit of a hostile tone, but hey I wouldn’t be commenting on a blog with such contrary view points if I weren’t a bit thick skinned. So yes, Dinosaurs and humans did coexist. Lots of evidence. It doesn’t take millions of years for fossilization to occur and there have been several cases where dinosaur remains had spongy tissues in bone… hmmm how could that happen if millions of years had elapsed. How about Taylor trail ( a series of human footprints with dinosaur tracks). How about the human and dino footprints in glen rose texas. There is a lot of evidence that dino’s and humans did coexist. They didn’t die out millions of years ago.

    There is literary evidence as well. Tales told from many cultures of large lizards and dragons. The term dinosaur was first used in the mid 1800’s. Prior to that they were known by other terms.

    But you already know this……

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  84. oooh, I’d be interested to see that too.

    For me, when I was YEC, I didn’t know much about what evolution really was, or have any real knowledge on fossils or the fossil record, etc. And this was before the internet and easily accessible information. I had school science teachers that had to teach evolution, but more or less teach it like this, “Evolution is dumb, but I have to over it – people came from monkeys, monkeys came from dinosaurs… stupid, right? lesson over…” And that’s really not much of an exaggeration.

    I had been told by some that god placed dino bones in the earth just to make the earth look old or to give us fossil fuel. They didnt ever really walk around, god simply created bones so we could drive big trucks. i’m not kidding, though I wish I was. I didnt really believe that, but my thoughts at the time weren’t much better – I assumed they either died during the great flood, or were hunted to extinction – which is where we got our stories of knights slaying dragons, and what have you.

    lol, good times…. but now of course, I cant see how anyone can buy any of that if they’ve had access to, what is now, routine and basic information.

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  85. Then do me a favour, if your uop to it, of course) as I know you will be a lot more honest; explain how in your YEC heyday you dealt with the dinosaur / human coexisting issue.

    Sure! My approach wasn’t especially mind-blowing, though. Basically, I bought into Last Thursdayism. Here’s how my thought process went:

    Christians fought hard against Galileo and other scientists whenever some new theory was proposed, and they consistently lost the battle. So I thought it was unlikely that modern science could be so wrong about the evidence for evolution and an old earth. Also, in the Genesis creation account, it seems as though everything God creates is made immediately, fully-formed: sun, moon, stars, earth, trees, animals, humans, etc. So I figured that the reason we could see starlight from millions of light-years away didn’t mean there was a problem with the science — it meant God had made it as though it had been there for a very long time. I even carried this belief to fossils. Again, I thought it unlikely that all the consistent science on radiometric dating could be wrong, so I believed that God had made the earth complete with a fossil record.

    Of course, there are problems with this approach. But this was back when I really hadn’t been confronted with non-belief. Everyone I encountered believed in the Christian god, and I still believed that the Bible was unassailable, so I didn’t have cause to really question this any deeper.

    I don’t know if that will be very helpful information, because I think most YEC-ers still try to argue against the science. I think that’s a losing proposition, as has been borne out by history, but there you go.

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  86. @Nate
    Thank you. Seems more or less consistent with what I have researched already. However, what I am really interested in is how did you deal with the fact that dinosaurs co-exsted with humans, seeing as we are talking about species such as Allosaurus,T-Rex, Pterodactyl etc which were all carnivorous and just a tad larger than your average 75kg human.

    Thoughts?

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  87. William — I started studying Hebrew culture. I began reading the new testament from the Hebrew perspective of the writers. As we know, all the New Testament writers were Jewish (from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin); with the exception of possibly Luke who may have been Greek, but more likely was a Hellenize Jew. Anyway, I started studying from a Hebraic perspective. I had several a ha moments but the biggest was when I learned about the oral Torah of the Jews (2 Talmuds and the Mishna). I realized that the writers of the New Testament were not telling us not to keep Torah (the 1st 5 books of the bible). They were cautioning believers concerning the oral tradition of the Jews. There is a huge difference between the oral Torah and the written Torah. The oral Torah of the Jews is the tradition of man (eventually written down), while the written Torah is the words of God written down. To me, this realization was faith changing.

    When I studied the Bible with this understanding, it changed everything. Passages such as Acts 15 I realized that Peter was speaking of the traditions of the Jews that are hard to bear, not the Torah of God. Then in Acts 15:21 it makes sense when James says new converts will learn Moses in the synagogue on the Sabbath each week.

    I studied a lot of church history. I learned that one of the first Church controversies was the Quartodecimin controversy. In which Polycarp Bishop of smyrna wrote a letter to Pope Victor in regard to the celebration of Easter vs. Passover and unleavened bread. In the letter Polycarp testifies that it is his tradition and that of all his relatives to keep the passover and days of unleavened bread. Polycarp was a Greek. He was thought to be an Appostle of John. This led to the understanding that it was the tradition of the early church to keep the commandments of God with the faith in Yeshua (Jesus). I found a lot of historical evidence that supports this conclusion.

    These traditions were slowly persecuted out of early believers. By the time Constantine ruled the Roman empire there were still groups that held to these traditions (Sabbath, Passover, Shavuot, Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles). Constantine made Christianity the religion of Rome and outlawed the practices taught by the Apostles. Although there is evidence of small groups since Christ practicing these traditions known historically as the sect of the Nazarines. There has been a resurgence of these practices and as is shown in the documentary “the way” the movement is growing.

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  88. I actually never thought they co-existed. Sorry, I wasn’t clear enough in my last comment. I believed that God created the world with ancient fossils “pre-loaded.” This brings up dishonesty issues with God that I didn’t like to focus on, though they sort of jived with 2 Thess2:11-12:

    Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

    That was also before I knew how far back our fossils of human (or pre-human) civilization go — tools, dwellings, cave art, etc. Once I realized how old those things were, I had a hard time thinking God would have planted those kinds of remains. Don’t know why I was more bothered by that than by animal remains, but I was.

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  89. Tom, how do you view letters like Galatians and Hebrews that teach the Old Law had served its purpose and was no longer something that had to be followed? And 1 Corinthians, Romans, and Ephesians have similar language that at very least makes it a matter of personal conviction whether someone observes those things or not. How do you interpret those?

    Thanks

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  90. @ Nate.
    And yet there are branches of YEC (ACE – Accelerated Christian Education) that do teach co-existence)
    In one of their books they show what looks like a small anklosaur ( best I could come up with) towing a cart!

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  91. Arkenaten — People are smart and resilient. Cities were fortified and walled. The larger varieties of Dyno’s probably didn’t like being around man any more than man likes being around them. Look at the larger mammals, and predators today. We don’t typically live in walled cities any more so the wild animals could attack humans more than they do, but they prefer to stay away with the occasional instance where a bear will maul a person.

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  92. Tom, since this is considered laughable in most academic circles, I’d encourage you to really question and dig into it. Not suggesting you haven’t, necessarily — but I think the overwhelming consensus of experts should carry a lot of weight. And if you were to change your mind on evolution, that wouldn’t automatically invalidate Christianity or the Bible.

    One of Thomas Paine’s arguments that really stood out to me is something that William mentioned the other day: if there’s a creator, then creation itself is definitely a revelation from him/her/it, whether they ever gave any other revelation or not. Therefore, math and science are necessarily the “languages of the creator.” I’d put much more stock in them than in any written text that can be interpreted and translated imperfectly.

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  93. People are smart and resilient. Cities were fortified and walled.

    Which cities? Can you link to a single archaeological site that would be suggestive of one of these cities?

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  94. Tom, I think nate beat me to replying to your comment.

    your comments makes me want to revisit the bible with that perspective, but like nate, i think of Paul’s letters that seem to indicate the old law is complete, now that there is the perfect law of liberty in christ.

    In addition to what nate asked, how you take Acts 20:7? I always took it as an example of early Christians taking communion on Sunday.

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  95. Nate – Those epistles are written by Rabbi Sha’ul (the Apostle Paul). 2 Peter 3:16 -17 says Paul is hard to understand and not understanding him correctly results in the error of Lawlessness.

    Paul was a Hebrew from the tribe of Benjamin. He was a very learned Pharasee who studied at the feet of Gamaliel. Paul is hard to understand, just as Peter stated. I think we need to realize Paul’s education and to understand his perspective in order to properly understand His writings. In Paul’s training under Gamaliel he learned Jewish Biblical Hermaneutics (PARDES). PARDES is an acronym for Peshat, Remez, Derash, and Sod. Paul wrote based on his understanding of scripture TANAKH. Much of his writing is at the Derash or midrash level of understanding. In many of his epistles he midrashes about the Law but uses words interchangeably and sometimes the same terms to state different this. For example in regard to the Law he writes about 7 different Laws in his letters. The reader can only tell which Law he is writing about by context.

    In a lot of Paul’s writings he is pro law, for example in Romans 3:31 he states: so then do we nullify the Law by this faith? Heavens no, we uphold the Law. He offers many other pro law statements in his epistles. In the book of acts he takes a vow which includes a sacrifice at the temple. He also testifies before king agripa (I think… it may have been festus), about believing everything written in the Law and the prophets.

    In order to understand the book of Galatians from the Hebrew perspective one needs to understand the controversy Paul was dealing with and the culture (oral tradition of the Jews). In the book of Galatians Paul is dealing with a group of converts that were trying to gain salvation through keeping the Law; which is what the Jews teach. The Jews teach that adult male circumcision (brit malah) is required and is what justifies you before God. Paul is countering this teaching and telling them that justification comes from faith. Keeping the Law is the fruit of faith. In other words, he was teaching that a person is saved by grace through faith, apart from the Law. The Law is to be done as the result of faith, not the other way around. We are not saved by keeping the Law. We keep the Law as a matter of faith, and devotion to God. James discusses this in more detail.

    Actually, what most Christians don’t recognize is that what Paul was teaching in Galatians is completely in line with the Old Testament (TANAKH). If you study the requirements for circumcision and what it means (…Abraham), it is the same in the old testament as in the New Testament. Gentiles entering into the covenant of Israel in the Old Testament where expected to keep the Law the same as Israel. The requirement for circumcision had to be met only if they were to sacrifice the Passover. The Passover had two elements to it 1. the sacrifice and 2. keeping of it . We can not do the sacrifice because today because there is no temple and Levitical priesthood, but we can observe it as a memorial. Gentiles coming into the faith in the New Testament are entering in based on faith. As they learn and grow they are expected to learn Moses, and keep the commandments (Torah). Even today in Christianity a new convert isn’t expected to learn everything overnight. Instead, they first believe (have faith), then get their life cleaned up as they go. The problem with today’s Christians is they say they believe and very few if any take the next step to live out their faith by doing what God says. The result is they don’t change their lives and become transformed into the image and likeness of Christ, by knowing Him and doing His commandments.

    I don’t think I have covered all of your questions. You mentioned other Pauline Epistles. I think I would have to take each one separately and answer the questions posed in each to do it justice. However, the same basic elements exist in each epistle. There are similar elements in each one. Paul is hard to understand and the reader needs to understand the controversy, history and culture to understand what Paul is getting at.

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  96. William – Look at the context of Acts 20:7, and look at the Greek. The Geek phrase is “mia ton sabbaton” translated into the english as “first day of the week”. Literal translation into english is more correctly as “one of the Sabbaths”. The word day isn’t even in the verse, (in the greek at least). If the writers meant “first day of the week”, why didn’t they use “protos” for first instead of “mia”? Anyway, “one of the sabbaths” refers to the count down of the sabbaths (7 sabbaths) to the feast of Shavuot. They were keeping passover and unleavened bread, counting the weeks to shavuot. In verse six it says they sailed away from Phillipi after the days of unleavened bread. This was a Sabbath observance during the countdown to Shavuot. Most Christians breeze right past this because they don’t study God’s feast days, and realize that the new testament church kept them. Instead, most Christians read this very poor translation and read into it that they were keeping a Sunday church service.

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  97. LOL, thanks. I mean no disrespect by the “LOL”either – this is just very interesting for me, as there are several things I’ve never considered. I’ll look into them, thanks for taking the time to respond

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  98. Arkenaten: Really, what about Jericho. It was found. Take a look at patterns of evidence. Read about the Roman conquest of Jerusalem. Read about the history of the Romans and the Greeks building siege works during battle to break down fortified walls. There is a lot of historical evidence of huge walled cities.

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  99. at an initial glance at an interlinear bible, I do agree that it does appear that Acts 20:7 would literally translate to “one of the Sabbaths,” which is just fascinating to me.

    And since sabbath was hebrew, and the NT was written in Greek, it now makes me wonder why either the greek word for “sunday” or “saturday” wasnt used. The use of sabbath seems to directly relate back to the jewish law, no?

    I’ll look on…

    fascinating

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  100. Jericho? Yes. So, what? You are aware of the findings of archaeologists in this regard?
    And you are aware how large it really was I hope?
    I mean, you don’t honestly believe the biblical tale, surely?
    Also, you are aware of Kenyan’s dating, yes? And it still stands today.

    Yes, there were a few cities of fairly grand stature that go back around three thousand years.

    Can you recall any mention of Giant Lizards from any of the scholars of the time?
    Roman, Greek? How about further back. Akkadian, Sumerian?
    How about any mention in Ancient Egypt?

    I am sure you would agree it would be reasonable to suggest that with the numbers of dinosaurs running into the millions , there would have been quite extensive mention of them.
    Many species were herd animals, much like certain mammals of today such as zebra or wildebeest, and many lived in what is now modern Europe – after all, we are talking no more than 10k years yes?
    Therefore, it would be fair to suggest there were any number of witnesses to vast herds of these animals as there were witnesses to the vast herds on the African plains of the Serengeti for example. And we have depictions of such.

    Thus one can also reasonably expect mention (description) of such species as as Triceratops, Brontosaurus, Diploducus. And of course such famed giants as T-Rex. They were, after all, difficult to miss, wouldn’t you agree?
    So you would agree that seeing such creatures would most certainly have left a giant(sic) impression on humans. Even if they were illiterate.
    Yet … nothing.

    How would you, as a rational adult, explain this objectively?

    Oh, and you did not mention if you had researched about the Paluxy hoax or the answer to your soft tissue in Dinosaur bones?

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  101. Arkenaten — Lots of imagination about dinos. I’m sure there weren’t quite as many as you imagine. Besides the majority of them were killed off by the world wide flood at one point. Only the young ones that Noah took aboard the Ark and the water dinos survived. Lots of evidence for the flood.

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  102. No, there really isn’t evidence for the flood. And if God had Noah save dinosaurs in the ark, what happened to them? Why aren’t they around today?

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  103. Lots of imagination about dinos.

    Not really. This is simply based on paleontology estimates of the species diversification. And the y reckon there are still more to be discovered. A lot more.

    So, based on you interpretation then the fortified cities would have made no difference?
    Oh, wait a moment…. you said the majority. Silly me…missed that.
    But then, Noah still had to take on board two of every species … or was that seven, and there were quite a number.
    Paleontologists reckon about 700 species have been discovered so far including that whopper over in South America.
    Of course Noah would only have taken babies, as you pointed out. Couldn’t have had a bloody great Brachiosaurus on board now could he! Lol Even so, how he got baby T-Rexes and Allosauruses boggles the mind, especially as the dinosaurs were already carnivorous because of Adam and Eve and the whole sin thing .
    How do you think he managed this, Tom?
    I am correct in saying they were all essentially ”veggisaurs” before the fall yes?

    So Noah had to have gathered at least 700 species. That’s 1400 male -female dinosaurs.
    That’s a shit load of baby dinoasaurs!

    But you did not answer the question regarding total lack of any witness descriptions and how you would answer this glaring omission objectively?
    Says nothing in the short passage in the bible regarding the stocking of the ark. Odd this. Well to my mind mind it is odd.
    And odd the dinosaurse were not mentioned among the clean/unclean and as Noah took them on board what do you think they were, Tom? Clean or Unclean?
    And let’s remember the dinosaurs from the Ark would have soon grown into adults and we can presume reproduced, yes?
    So in a relative short space of time there would have been some pretty big dinosaurs running around again. What happened to them?
    Could you please address this and the lack of witness evidence in your next response and also respond to the Paluxy hoax and the evidence of iron in the soft tissue.

    Otherwise I might begin to think you are avoiding directly answering my questions.

    And still no response to the Paluxy hoax or the soft tissue in the T’Rex bone.
    You did read the scientific evidence for this yes?

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  104. Hi Tom,

    I used to believe Noah’s flood was a real event, too. But there really are a number of major problems with the idea. Here are some of the ones that stand out to me:

    • How did polar bears, penguins, kangaroos, koalas, and sloths all make it across oceans to Noah’s ark and back?
    • How did fresh water fish survive?
    • How did coral reefs survive?
    • Where did all this water come from, and where did it go? There simply isn’t enough (see here and here).
    • The story is pre-dated by the Epic of Gilgamesh, which implies that the Bible’s account is just a version of that story.
    • With only one window, how did they remove waste?
    • How could they have stored enough food for all these animals?
    • How did vegetation survive after being submerged for a year?
    • How can we explain the various cultures that archaeology has shown were thriving during this supposed flood?
    • How can we explain the existence of certain artifacts, cave paintings, etc, that should have been destroyed in a global flood?

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  105. Nate — We can hypothesis all day long about how these seemingly impossible things occurred, but they did occur. The truth is we don’t know all the details. However, there is a lot of geological evidence of a world wide flood. I believe these things did occur just as written in the bible. As far as the details about how these happened, I guess they are things we can ask God about someday. I’m not going to allow things like how a sloth got on the ark 6000 years ago, when the world was completely different than how we see it now, to impact how I see the validity of God’s word.

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  106. Arkenten — I don’t know where to begin to even try to have a civil conversation with you about these things. From the questions you pose, it sounds like it isn’t your intent to discuss these differing thoughts. Most of the time when people cannot come up with a valid argument in a debate they resort to overwhelming with many nonsense arguments and resorting to mockery. I have no problem debating you on these issues. The idea that we would ever come to a common understanding on any of them is a long shot.

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  107. Nate — Actually, yes there is a lot of geographical evidence of a flood. All you have to do is look. As far as any dino’s surviving to this day goes; thousands of species of animals have died off. We find evidence of many species of animals that once existed no longer exist. The dinos are no different. They simply died off just as thousands of other species have died off.

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  108. William – I’ve read articles on the translation of “Sabbaton” to week in the past. The problem is the Sabbath has always been about a day; more specifically the seventh day. I can’t remember the article; its been a long time. But one linguist found in an early manuscript in Luke 18: 11 -12 where the Pharisee indicated he fasted twice a week, and that “Sabbaton” was used. The article I read on this indicated that the phrase was better rendered ” I fast twice between the sabbaths”. The point is that “Sabbaton” is always Sabbath and refers to the day, and shouldn’t be rendered week.

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  109. William, Nate — Thanks for the time spent hashing over these things. I appreciate the civil conversation. I have been spending way too much time on this and need to focus back on my work. If anyone is interested on further study on the Hebraic perspective in scripture I would recommend 119 ministries website. There is a lot of good information out there. http://www.119ministries.com/ Take care and God bless.

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  110. @tom
    I did a post recently on just exactly how LITTLE we know regarding the oceans of the world. Less than 5% and that is being generous. I’m thinking more like 001. Anyway, it has been found that there are fountains and springs at the BOTTOM of the oceans @ 10k meters, and like the rising of the tides, brings an entire reality check to what has always been known:

    When the fountains of the great deep were opened…………in tandem with the windows of heaven, 40 days and 40 nights of torrential water, it’s rather easy to understand that yes, there was a flood, a great flood. People who say ‘it never happened,’ are proud elitists who toss God out from his own creation.

    Massive rocks at waters edge, the Grand Canyon, the rivers and streams of the world, all contribute to the understanding that the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.

    So yes, it is obvious, if men lived over 900 years, it was certainly a different world, a world which we cannot know entirely, but then again, Noah could not have conceived jet travel, but boy could he build a ship, which dimensions by the way, have been borrowed by modern shipbuilders for years.

    And as an aside, gilgamesh is testament that the scriptural account is accurate. It was common knowledge that a ‘great flood ‘ occurred. Heck, it was in the daily papers………………..

    But then again, if people do not believe that Joshua, Solomon, David, and Christ Himself lived…………it’s no surprise that folks would have a hard time digesting that the baptist ate locusts and wild honey too, or that Daniel interpreted dreams correctly.

    (All this from a hare?)

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  111. @Tom
    I have asked three times for you to address the issues of iron in the soft tissue found in the T Rex bone. You have avoided each request.
    Neither have you had the decency to address the Paluxy hoax.

    That you refuse to engage these topics is one thing, that many of your YEC chums, and you apparently, still preach these things as fact when it is plainly obvious they are nothing but spurious garbage speaks volumes to your complete lack of integrity.
    It is one of the reasons that the garbage of YEC is not taught in public schools and why people like you shouold not have access to children and are an embarrassment even to people such as Unklee.

    As comedian Lewis Black once noted, you people watch the Flintstones as if it were a documentary.

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  112. sorry, but still thinking about “first day of the week,” or “first of the sabbaths.”

    http://torahtimes.org/First_of_Sabbaths_vs_First_of_Week.html

    definition: the sabbath, a week. But Tom’s point makes me wonder whether the ancint (or koine) greek word was really “sabbath” and not something else. So far I’m having trouble locating a greek word for week or for the days of the week during the first century. Why would the greeks use “sabbath” a hebrew word for hebrew holy days, to mean a typical, insignificant week?
    http://biblehub.com/greek/4521.htm

    but this was pretty interesting.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_the_days_of_the_week#Days_named_after_planets

    I’d like to hear anyone else’s thoughts on the subject.

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  113. Hi Tom,

    I understand if you decide to stop commenting for a while — I get how time-consuming this kind of thing can be. But just in case you’re still following along, I wanted to reply to a few of your points:

    We can hypothesis all day long about how these seemingly impossible things occurred, but they did occur. The truth is we don’t know all the details.

    How do you know they occurred? The fact is, the questions I raised are more than just “details.” That’s like saying Santa Claus is definitely real, and the questions how does he get to each house in a single night, how do his reindeer fly, how does he magically know if children are behaving, why doesn’t he want to be seen, why don’t parents notice gifts under the tree that they didn’t purchase, why doesn’t he visit the houses of children who follow a different culture are all irrelevant details. In reality, such questions show how illogical such a belief is, and it’s no different with Noah’s ark.

    However, there is a lot of geological evidence of a world wide flood.

    Like what? I’m aware that there’s tons of evidence for localized floods all over the world, which is exactly what we’d expect. And there’s evidence of a major flood in the Middle East that may have been the basis for the Babylonian and Hebrew flood myths. But there are all kinds of problems with the idea that a literal world-wide flood that covered the highest mountain peaks actually happened. And it’s not hard to find all the reasons why such an event is so improbable.

    As far as any dino’s surviving to this day goes; thousands of species of animals have died off. We find evidence of many species of animals that once existed no longer exist. The dinos are no different. They simply died off just as thousands of other species have died off.

    Then why would God have wanted Noah to save them in the ark? Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense…

    Liked by 1 person

  114. I’d like to hear anyone else’s thoughts on the subject.

    The Sunday/Saturday thing is interesting, but I don’t have a strong opinion about it. That TorahTimes article (I didn’t read the whole thing) is pretty aggressive about tearing down the majority of modern scholarship. Such approaches always make me a bit nervous — perhaps they’re right, but such left-of-mainstream positions rarely are.

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  115. agreed. I don’t know if the wikipedia article was correct or not, but despite the tone of the other article, I can’t help but wonder why the greeks would use a hebrew term to describe weeks and days when they evidently had their own words for the days of the week.

    It was also interesting to hear that the romans used an 8 day cycle instead of a week until sometime between the 1st and 2nd centuries.

    It’s just odd, all of it.

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  116. CS, ““For God’s sake chief, I work in the medical field.”

    I have a former neighbor who works in the medical field too ! He sells hospital beds to hospitals. That doesn’t mean he knows anything about medicine. Get real CS. You’re making yourself look very silly here.

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  117. That’s nice chief. It was you however who asserted carelessness as if I had no need, or appreciation for the benevolence of hospitals, etc.

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  118. CS:, “That’s nice chief. It was you however who asserted carelessness as if I had no need, or appreciation for the benevolence of hospitals, etc.”

    I haven’t a clue what you just said. You were the one trying to strengthen your credentials as a “hare expert” by saying you worked in the medical field. My comment was a response to that. It had nothing to do with appreciation or benevolence of hospitals.

    Do you ever think things through before you respond ?

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  119. @KC

    Do you ever think things through before you respond ?

    Obviously, we all realise you were being rhetorical here, Ken.
    Genuine critical thought results in theists becoming atheists or at least agnostic.
    Furthermore, religion and critical thought are not only a contradiction of terms they may well be considered as an oxymoron … or in Colorstorm’s case, very little oxy but an awful lot of moron,

    Liked by 1 person

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