The Ultimate Blasphemy

There’s a blog I read from time to time called Thomistic Bent. The latest post is a short video that tries to give a good reason for why the Bible says God commanded the Israelites to commit genocide against the Canaanites. The reasoning of this explanation is almost as perverse as the stories themselves. As Thomas Paine once said, attributing these kinds of actions to God is the worst form of blasphemy. I’d appreciate anyone who wants to join me in the conversation at his blog.

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74 thoughts on “The Ultimate Blasphemy”

  1. I don’t think I’ll join the conversation over there, at least for the moment. I do agree with your assessment. That video makes God to be a racist bigot.

    Remembering back to my youth, it was case such as this that led me to realize that man had created God in man’s own image, and they created a God who had all of their own prejudices.

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  2. @tmso — can’t argue with that. 🙂

    @Neil — Sadly, it took time for me to see it that way. There was a time when I probably could have taken part in a conversation just like the one in that video and felt completely satisfied with it. I’m very glad I don’t have that outlook now, and I wish I had opened my eyes sooner.

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  3. It’s quite repulsive that anyone would try to justify genocide, doubly-so by using religion. I will never understand the madness that infects fundamentalists.

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  4. Nate,
    This sort of thing is where the rubber meets the road for me. I’ll join the conversation, but I sort of think the Bible gave people fair warning about God: it says God created man in His own image. It even repeats that. Almost like the writer was trying to make a point… And, the scriptures frequently indicate that God chooses to work through people. Taken together, that’s a very terrible God, who would occasionally be prone to acts of extraordinary love. No wonder He asks people to trust Him: He must know how completely impossible such a command would be to follow for anyone with a couple brain cells they could rub together.

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  5. John, I’ll check out Noel’s take — thanks!

    Rodalena, you bring up a good point. We usually tend to argue these points with the assumption that God is perfectly good, which should make some of these actions impossible for him. But there’s always the possibility that God’s just as flawed and prone to bad behavior as everyone else, in which case, all bets are off.

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  6. The arsehole has just posted a response…..it is a pearler. You are all accused of being idiots..in a round about sort of way.
    Best of luck. But be warned…he will cut the debate and close comments as soon as he smells a threat to the argument, and he did that to you before, Nate, remember?

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  7. Ark, Its probably not helpful or productive to heap insults on Thomistic Bent from Nates blog, I just think that kind of attitude just makes it harder for people to understand each other.

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  8. I won’t be commenting over there, but I will offer a few thoughts here (for what they’re worth).

    1. I agree that anyone who isn’t at the least deeply troubled by all this seems to me not to have really faced the issues.

    2. We need to be careful what accusations we make. I haven’t checked all the references, but I have checked the most common accusation against God, about the command for Saul to kill the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:1-3). The text actually says:

    Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint(A) you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord. This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

    Note that it doesn’t record that God said this, it records that Samuel said that God said this. Further, it isn’t clear to me (except by where the text puts the inverted commas, which I doubt were there in the original) where the message purporting to come from God ends, and where (if at all) Samuel’s own words start.

    So the traditional interpretation makes God out to be the nasty one, but it may equally well have been Samuel (as far as I can tell). There are many Psalms that record similar curses that few people regard as being from God.

    3. For these and other sorts of reasons, many christians don’t accept that these things were from God. We reason that we are followers of Jesus, and we believe he is the true revelation of God, so anything which gives a different view of God must be wrong or misunderstood. For example, check out this post by a Professor of Old Testament suggesting we critique the OT rather than just accept it. See also my own conclusions.

    I think it is important for the future of christianity that these difficult questions are raised and pressed. I know this isn’t your purpose or belief Nate, but I believe God often uses non-believers to correct his people, and this is another case.

    Thanks.

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  9. Thanks for weighing in, unkleE. I wish more Christians viewed Christianity the way you do.

    Per the King Saul reference, the rest of chapter 15 says that God was displeased with Saul for not following his commands. And we know from later in the book that God rejected Saul as king, which is why David took over afterward. Do you feel like these later references are also somewhat revisionist? That Ezra, or whomever “edited” the books, misrepresented what happened there?

    And do you feel similarly about passages like Numbers 31? There, it records God telling Moses how to divide the “spoils” of their destruction of the Midianites, which of course refers to the virgin girls and women that they took captive after killing every other living soul.

    Not trying to start up an argument with you on these, I’m just curious as to how you view them.

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  10. Hey Ark, thanks for the comment. Yeah, I know he has a tendency to side-step points and close off debate when he’s had enough. I hope that deep down somewhere there’s a part of him that’s still open-minded about all this. I feel sorry for him in some ways and aggravated with him in others.

    Very impressed with how many people are engaging with him though. This conversation is being discussed on at least 3 of his posts right now.

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  11. “Not trying to start up an argument with you on these, I’m just curious as to how you view them.”

    You have every right to ask me tough questions – I hope my answer is equally tough! : )

    1. As a christian, the NT is what I base my faith on. I respect the OT as scripture, but it is old covenant not written to me. So I don’t think about it so much. And I don’t find it difficult to say I just don’t know.

    2. Further, Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God’s character, so if I draw any lesser conclusion about God from the OT, then my conclusion is probably wrong. The question then is, why is my conclusion wrong?

    3. As I said, it is hard to cope with some of these events, but if they give me a wrong impression of God, something must be wrong. It could be that these passages are legendary (that’s what many scholars think – the genocide never happened they say); perhaps the people misunderstood God at the time; perhaps we misunderstand God now, or we don’t understand the times; perhaps God chose to intervene softly in human affairs, just gradually getting his message across as people could take the next step; maybe something I’ve never thought of.

    4. I’m inclined to think all of those may be the right explanation in different circumstances. So I have no real idea how to explain the couple of incidents you mention, but choose one or more of the above!

    5. It may sound like a cop-out to say that, but if I don’t have an answer, there’s no point pretending I do. But I’m not worried overmuch, because i don’t expect to have all the answers – to anything. But I believe I have more answers than if I was an atheist.

    6. As far as I have seen atheism has no answers to how the universe appeared out of nothing for no reason, nor how it was so amazingly fine-tuned, against impossible odds. Atheism has no explanation I have seen for human consciousness, for freewill, for objective ethics or for the value/sanctity of human life – in fact most highly educated atheists I have read don’t believe in these things that the rest of us mostly do. Atheism has no explanation for the millions of people who have healing and visionary and life-changing experiences of God – it can just deny they really happen. And finally, atheism has only a poor explanation for who Jesus was and how an unlearned builder from the edge of the Roman Empire could become the most influential human being in history.

    7. So compared to that list, not being able to explain the problem of evil in the Old Testament is relatively small. And it is secondary, whereas the things atheism can’t explain are primary. By that I mean that before you can have a problem of genocide in the OT, you need to have a world which atheism can’t explain, and the sanctity of human life, and an objective ethic why we should care about these killings, which atheism can’t explain.

    8. This was why, when I first came across this problem something like 40 years ago, I didn’t give up my faith – because I could see that unless I had God and ethics, I had no case for God to answer for.

    So these killings remain a problem, but it would be a much bigger problem to allow them to stop me believing! Thanks for the opportunity to say all that! : )

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  12. @ portia
    “Ark, Its probably not helpful or productive to heap insults on Thomistic Bent from Nates blog, I just think that kind of attitude just makes it harder for people to understand each other.”
    People like Thomistic bent are the reason we have wars in the name of religion. They need to taken down more than a peg or two.
    There are individuals in Islam who have similar attitudes.
    They cannot be reasoned with, and if you care to read his posts you will quickly discover he is a poison pen. If religion was open to reason there would be NO religion.
    I stand by what I wrote. He is an arsehole. And a nasty one at that.

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  13. @ Unklee
    “1. As a christian, the NT is what I base my faith on. I respect the OT as scripture, but it is old covenant not written to me. So I don’t think about it so much. And I don’t find it difficult to say I just don’t know.”

    Here we go again. The OT doesn’t apply to me story.

    In the beginning was the Word. John right?
    God is Jesus is God.
    Your god in human form is the same god that alighted on the mountain and chatted with Moses. he same god that told ensured Joshua went into Canaan with explicit instructions to liquidate the entire population. Every living, breathing thing, every blade of grass.

    You can do the theological two-step ’til your legs drop off. There is only ONE god in the bible that Christian and Jew alike follow, irrespective of what guise he is in.
    He is the one you consider the Creator.

    Time to stop playing the bleeding heart hypocritical victim once and for all, Unklee.and step up to the plate and take it on the chin.

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  14. I agree Ark. There is no reasoning to be had with a deluded nutcase like this. The only thing that can be done is to let him know sane, rational people are watching his lunacy.

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  15. UnkleE, thanks for the reply. I disagree with your points 6 and 7, because I think nonreligious people do have good explanations for fine-tuning, morality, ethics, etc. But I also understand that you’re aware of those arguments, and we just don’t agree on them.

    Thanks again for weighing in.

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  16. Here we go again. The OT doesn’t apply to me story.

    You often argue against this ebulliently, but never cogently. May I ask what is so devious in not credulously believing everything in the OT? Why is it wrong to believe that Jonah for instance is fictional if there are good reasons for doing so? For the record and as a different example, I believe several things in the NT are fictional as well, but would that too be bleeding heart hypocritical victim behaviour? After all believing some part of the Bible literally does not necessitate anybody to believe the whole literally. So where exactly is the rat in such discriminate thinking?

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  17. @ignorantianescia

    “You often argue against this ebulliently, but never cogently.”
    How much more cogently does it have to be, fr your god’s sake?
    Your own understanding of this issue merely requires an ability to read and write, yet you seem to letting yourself down even with this. Catch a wake up for goodness sake!
    The ONLY issue here is the rationale that the OT covenant does not apply to Christians, thus enabling Christians like Unklee to turn their back on the deeds of the Old Testament God. ‘Oh, the liquidation of the Canaanites? Hah! Doesn’t apply to me and MY God” Yeah, right!
    There is no mention of the fictitious nature of certain characters, so why on earth raise this issue? And for what it’s worth,most of the characters in the Bible Old AND New are fictitious.
    And if you bothered to study history and archaeology you would quickly discover this to be fact.

    This is about trying to justify your god’s genocidal tendencies. Nothing else.

    Please, I have a question, if may. Why is it whenever I pose a question to Unklee or take him to task for yet another piece of irreconcilable and irrational Christian polemic – on whichever blog he happens to comment and I may happen upon and read – you rush over and surreptitiously answer for him?
    Just because he got his nose out of joint over the Bernards excellent rebuttal of his ridiculous little tantrum over Nazareth,he is now going to run and sulk?

    Are you his alter ego, Unklee in disguise or merely his damn minder? Or is he so full of pride that he refuses to face his accuser because he knows full well that his argument holds no water and is morally bankrupt?

    Other people read your comments too, you know, and they are not as dumb as you might believe. They see through Unklee’s softly softly pretense, and you ,sir, are fooling no one either.

    Silly Person.

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  18. The ONLY issue here is the rationale that the OT covenant does not apply to Christians, thus enabling Christians like Unklee to turn their back on the deeds of the Old Testament God. ‘Oh, the liquidation of the Canaanites? Hah! Doesn’t apply to me and MY God” Yeah, right!

    That the OT covenant doesn’t apply wholesale to Gentile Christians is pretty much standard Pauline thought. Besides, if one is not a literal inerrantist, it is possible to believe that the command to kill the Canaanites is ahistorical or hagiographical. As a matter of fact, there is good reason to suppose the scenario of external conquest is not historical (poor archaeological evidence, the findings at Jericho correlate very poorly with the event described in Joshua, those stories date from centuries after the time they supposedly occurred). Therefore:

    There is no mention of the fictitious nature of certain characters, so why on earth raise this issue?

    the answer to this is clear: I was not referring to persons (I referred to “things” and to “Jonah”, the book of Jonah, a work of fiction), but to events, texts and passages. This is clearly related to the topic at hand, since if early, cruel texts are non-historical, the only problem left is why God is depicted as callous (and progressive revelation does the trick there).

    And for what it’s worth,most of the characters in the Bible Old AND New are fictitious.
    And if you bothered to study history and archaeology you would quickly discover this to be fact.

    You are lucky, since you are discussing with somebody who is studying that, and I suppose that depends more on how broad or how narrow you’d define “character”. For what it is worth, Jesus, Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John the sons of Zebedee, Paul of Tarsus, Pilate, Herod Archelaos, Herod Antipas and Caiaphas are all historical. Their historical reality is not questioned by scholarly peer-reviewed experts, only by some mavericks (Price), experts in other subjects (Thompson) and amateurs (Doherty, Carrier).

    Please, I have a question, if may. Why is it whenever I pose a question to Unklee or take him to task for yet another piece of irreconcilable and irrational Christian polemic – on whichever blog he happens to comment and I may happen upon and read – you rush over and surreptitiously answer for him?
    Just because he got his nose out of joint over the Bernards excellent rebuttal of his ridiculous little tantrum over Nazareth,he is now going to run and sulk?

    Are you his alter ego, Unklee in disguise or merely his damn minder? Or is he so full of pride that he refuses to face his accuser because he knows full well that his argument holds no water and is morally bankrupt?

    I wouldn’t know about me “rushing over” to defend UnkleE whenever you “take him to task” as I haven’t posted here for a while and I do not stalk your every comment. If this was the first time you confronted what he posted, that would be very coincidental. The reason I reply to you is simply that I want to take you to task about your own polemic.

    If UnkleE does not reply to you, I think you know very well that’s not because he is too haughty and also that you know the real reason.

    Other people read your comments too, you know, and they are not as dumb as you might believe. They see through Unklee’s softly softly pretense, and you ,sir, are fooling no one either.

    Silly Person.

    What reason do you have to call UnkleE’s or my motives into question? Furthermore, if you check my post you responded to, you will see I didn’t insult you or call you names. So why not deal as you get?

    Here’s a summary of key points:
    1. It is possible for Christians to believe that several of the notorious events in the OT were fictional. In some cases, there are actually good reasons.
    2. I didn’t refer to fictional persons, but texts, passages and events.
    3. I affirmed the historicity of several NT characters, most importantly Jesus, Peter, Paul, Pilate and Caiaphas.
    4. If I appear to rush to UnkleE’s aid every time you question him, that is an impression based on coincidence.
    5. Why doubt UnkleE’s or my motives?

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  19. You wrote….
    ‘Here’s a summary of key points:
    1. It is possible for Christians to believe that several of the notorious events in the OT were fictional. In some cases, there are actually good reasons.’

    Of course the Biblical tale of the conquest of Canaan is all nonsense. Finklestein and Herzog and others have all but proved this.
    Unless you are now denying Yahweh, of what relevance is this to the post at Thomistic bent?

    ‘2. I didn’t refer to fictional persons, but texts, passages and events.’
    Good for you. Events and passages that contain fictional people. Again what relevance is this to the post, and why include it in your reply/defense?

    ”3. I affirmed the historicity of several NT characters, most importantly Jesus, Peter, Paul, Pilate and Caiaphas.”
    Again this is irrelevant to the post, and I suspect you are now trying to be disingenuous. I wont play along merely to make you seem like a clever boy.
    But you may pat yourself on the back. Happy now? Good….

    ”4. If I appear to rush to UnkleE’s aid every time you question him, that is an impression based on coincidence.”
    Although, coincidentally, nobody else feels the need to help him out,…or ever has done. Odd, that? He must considered himself honored, then.

    ‘5. Why doubt UnkleE’s or my motives?’
    Because you and Unklee, always do exactly what you are doing with this reply. His posts are rife with this type of smarmy, surreptitious modus operendi …and if you believe people are unaware of it then you are naive; and I’ll bet you half a dollar.

    So, I shall reiterate. The god of the OT, Yahweh, is the same as the god of the NT, Jesus, only metamporphised into human form.
    He is the Creator god you worship and the Creator god responsible for the genocide which is the topic of discussion.
    That Unklee – and also you it seems – believe you can separate the two and thus ease, if not clear, your conscience is fallacious.

    The more the OT is rubbished by Christians as analogous or even fictitious merely weakens their characterization of the man-god Jesus.

    Whatever horrors the OT god ,Yahweh committed can be laid at the feet of the NT man-god, as they are one and the same.
    Period.

    In the beginning was the Word and the word was made flesh..or something like that. Gsp. John, right?

    Now go away and play with a rosary or something, you are being silly.

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  20. I will add to clarify this point further. Marcion abhorred the OT god and wanted shot of him, which was why he created his own gospel based mostly on Luke. He like you and Unklee couldn;t stomach ol Yahweh and thought he was a monster.
    But the Church Fathers realized that without a foundation in the Old Testament, their man-god would never cut it, thus they were obliged to incorporate Yahweh and the OT, warts and all, ditch Marcion and declare him a heretic.
    Its not my fault, blame Constantine and his church buddies. They made JC a god., and invented the Trinity, and that was when the midden hit the windmill and you lot have been trying to plug the holes in the leaking dam ever since.
    At least the Muslims saw through that ruse easily enough. The Christians are still try in to wipe the egg off their faces and you know it all too well.

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  21. Nate, I saw you at AU already and thanks John for sending you over to my blog. I usually don’t comment on most theist apologists sites because they either don’t respond to your comment or don’t approve which is a real waste of time.

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  22. Unless you are now denying Yahweh, of what relevance is this to the post at Thomistic bent?

    No and none, but it is relevant to your comment.

    Good for you. Events and passages that contain fictional people. Again what relevance is this to the post, and why include it in your reply/defense?

    For some reason you maintain some sort of false dichotomy where the OT must be wholly discredited is some part is disbelieved. Whenever a Christian considers some part fictional, you shrug it off with a “so what” but return to your dichotomy argument. The fragments below demonstrates this well:

    Whatever horrors the OT god ,Yahweh committed can be laid at the feet of the NT man-god, as they are one and the same.
    Period.

    I will add to clarify this point further. Marcion abhorred the OT god and wanted shot of him, which was why he created his own gospel based mostly on Luke. He like you and Unklee couldn;t stomach ol Yahweh and thought he was a monster.

    You overlook in the first fragment that I consider those horrors fictional. You may consider that arbitrary, but in the case of the conquest of Canaan you have admitted yourself that the conquest is fictional, so the horrors must also be. What is the issue? In the second fragment it’s an obvious exaggeration that I “couldn;t stomach ol Yahweh”, I happily admit that if God would command to kill non-combatants, like women and children, that is clearly an immoral action. That doesn’t mean I abhor God as presented in the OT stated that generally, as I do see .

    Here’s a question, if I said I don’t believe the story of the Gerasene demoniac is true, would you also draw up a parallel argument for the NT? If not, what is so special about affirming the ahistoricity of passages in the OT, passages with particularly immoral actions or whatever you think is important?

    Its not my fault, blame Constantine and his church buddies. They made JC a god., and invented the Trinity, and that was when the midden hit the windmill and you lot have been trying to plug the holes in the leaking dam ever since.

    Interestingly, some of these church buddies had also less issues with non-literal approaches than you seem to have. But I don’t have any issues with the Trinity, so it would be pointless to blame them for that. I also disagree with Marcion, so there’s another one.

    On the point of church doctrine, I also note you did not respond to my point regarding Paul’s views on the first covenant.

    Because you and Unklee, always do exactly what you are doing with this reply. His posts are rife with this type of smarmy, surreptitious modus operendi …and if you believe people are unaware of it then you are naive; and I’ll bet you half a dollar.

    Can you back up with evidence that our posts contain smug tricks?

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  23. @makagutu — thanks for the AU friend invite! I haven’t had much time to really familiarize myself with the site yet, but it seems like a pretty cool place. I’m really glad John pointed me to your blog too.

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  24. @ignorantianescia,

    in reading your post I can’t help but wonder, if there are things in the OT that are unquestionably inaccurate, how does that fact not throw doubt on the supernatural claims of the rest of the book?

    How do you reconcile tossing this portion out, but holding on to that portion?

    While ark can be pretty pointed and fairly rude, I think he’s making sound points. The NT even says to read and study the OT, so if there is doubt in the OT, it stands to reason to then doubt the NT.

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  25. @William.
    Thank you William. I shall take that as a compliment. There are enough people pussy-footing around the re reborn Christians and evangelicals. They relish in the knowledge that most folk will not ‘tell them their fortune’ for fear of being the next one banned on their blogs when they visit.
    Meanwhile, all they try to do – and this applies to all of them – is use atheist blogs ( in the main) to try to ridicule any form of dissent, no matter how well reasoned the argument ( Nate & Marcus’s blog are perfect examples) then make sure they leave at least one asinine comment to ensure you know that, while entitled to your opinion,, you are wrong, wrong, wrong and maybe just a bit silly for even considering that Jesus is not ‘God’ and as he may be turning up any moment now, and you may well be going to Hell….you better watch out, buster!

    And look out for the theological two step …or the bait and switch.

    They are all, to the man/woman, hypocrites.

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  26. To see this tactic in action, I would strongly recommend that anyone reading this post go and read the post below and take note of the strongest argument yet against the biblical village of Nazareth.
    Commenter, Bernhard Schornak completely takes to pieces every part of the blog host’s post in a balanced, and well-reasoned argument that is not able to be refuted.
    When the blog host’s counter argument has been reduced to tatters, but before the blog host loses too much face, Bernard is cut short and the argument ended, in more or less exactly the same way Thomistic Bent does on his blog.
    It is a fascinating read from a person who knows his stuff.

    http://www.is-there-a-god.info/blog/belief/nazareth-re-visited/

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  27. Ark, I personally enjoy reading your comments and can completely identify with your frustrations.

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  28. @ William.
    No religious person I am aware of has every reconsidered their position on the say-so of an atheist, or non-Christian. For to even concede one iota is opening the door to the complete collapse of their faith. This is why they will use ANYTHING to rubbish criticism.

    Ask Nate. He had to sort it out for himself. Marcus the same and no doubt every deconvertee. As believers, they would tolerate no argument against their former faith. None.

    Always remember no matter how reasonable,affable and apparently polite they come across as, they are really not interested in considering any POV that will expose any shortcomings of their faith. ALL of them believe in the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection. If you take note of this immutable reality then you know exactly what you are getting into when the likes of Unklee and Ignorantianescia, start their nonsense.

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  29. In my case, it was the comments of some non-believers that finally got me to really examine my beliefs. I was already having some doubts about a few doctrines, but I didn’t doubt the truth of the Bible or my belief in God. I just wondered if I had misunderstood some of the teachings. But once I saw a direct challenge to my belief of inerrancy, I quickly realized the quality of the guy’s arguments and that kicked off my search.

    So while it is definitely extremely rare, I do think some individuals are willing to question their positions when they see good evidence. I don’t believe all religious people are hypocrites. I think most of them are true believers who honestly don’t think there are any good challenges to their position.

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  30. Fair point,re the Ist paragraph.
    @nd Paragraph. Having come to get to know your character just a little these past few months even you,in your Fundamentalist heyday, must have felt hypocritical arguing for a loving God when you had to contend with the likes of the Joshua genocide. I cannot believe for a second you would have been unmoved.

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  31. True. It was difficult, and one of my earliest blog articles here attempted to do that. In a way, I sympathize with old humblesmith.

    And it’s in those instances that I was most unreachable. I couldn’t allow myself to question God, even though I should have realized it wasn’t God I would have been questioning — just the authors of the Bible. That’s a huge distinction. But for me, it took black & white issues like failed prophecies and textual contradictions before I could allow myself to question the more philosophical portions of my belief.

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  32. I tried leaving a reply on the March 13th post of Thomistic Bent 2 days ago, and he may not allow it to go through. This was my comment:

    “It seems a little strange that you are calling out atheists on this particular topic. I believe you are at odds with much of the world in your justification of the biblical commands of genocide. In fact I believe you are at odds with much of Christendom (which I would guess you would say are not Christians of course). You are even at odds with some Evangelicals (although the percentage may be small).

    If you are interested, I believe a Christian believer (at least that’s what he calls himself) has made a good case for believing that these commands of genocide are immoral. You can see his work on pages 209 to 339 in this pdf: http://thomstark.net/copan/stark_copan-review.pdf

    I didn’t feel my comment was very mean, but I can see how it was a little aggressive, so I guess I can’t fault him for not wanting to let it through. Oh well.

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  33. in reading your post I can’t help but wonder, if there are things in the OT that are unquestionably inaccurate, how does that fact not throw doubt on the supernatural claims of the rest of the book?

    First, I would contest a notion like “the rest of the book”. Our (as in “the western Christian”) current canon is a quite accidental collection of several books in codex form, not one single book. For example, the historical reliability of OT history books (limiting myself to this genre) like the books of Samuel and Kings and especially the books of Chronicles is a lot worse than the Gospels and Acts, though all of them have their problems, like inconsistencies and anachronisms, but also moral problems. But problematic passages in them doesn’t allow us to discount the whole, as there is also material judged reliable by scholars.

    The reason for me, then, to actually believe some supernatural claims is itself a belief in a supernatural event. I believe in Jesus’ resurrection (for reasons you’ve probably heard, so I won’t repeat them unless asked), regarding it as divine justification for his status as Messiah and also justifying belief in the deity he believed in. I hope we can agree that if one is a creator deity, it is a good deal more probable that he/she is capable of miracles for example, even though we disagree on the existence of a creator deity.

    Thus, I think my belief in several supernatural claims are quite independent of every odd claim in either the NT or the OT, but obviously depending on my belief in God and in Jesus as the Son of God.

    How do you reconcile tossing this portion out, but holding on to that portion?

    Simple, it’s not based on pick-and-choose, but based on evidence. With the assumptions outlined above (including the assumption that Jesus is God’s Son), I ask myself whether it is probable a certain portion is factual based on my knowledge.

    While ark can be pretty pointed and fairly rude, I think he’s making sound points. The NT even says to read and study the OT, so if there is doubt in the OT, it stands to reason to then doubt the NT.

    In summary, I do not doubt the OT or the NT, I question passages. And every passage is open to questioning for me.

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  34. I didn’t feel my comment was very mean, but I can see how it was a little aggressive, so I guess I can’t fault him for not wanting to let it through. Oh well.

    You’re right in not feeling your comment was mean. Because it was neither mean nor aggressive.

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  35. No religious person I am aware of has every reconsidered their position on the say-so of an atheist, or non-Christian. For to even concede one iota is opening the door to the complete collapse of their faith. This is why they will use ANYTHING to rubbish criticism.

    Ask Nate. He had to sort it out for himself. Marcus the same and no doubt every deconvertee. As believers, they would tolerate no argument against their former faith. None.

    Always remember no matter how reasonable,affable and apparently polite they come across as, they are really not interested in considering any POV that will expose any shortcomings of their faith. ALL of them believe in the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection. If you take note of this immutable reality then you know exactly what you are getting into when the likes of Unklee and Ignorantianescia, start their nonsense.

    We live in a post-Enlightenment era, why should a person of faith reconsider his/her position on anybody else’s say-so? No-one should, neither irreligious or religious. I do reconsider my opinions and I am interested discussing, debating and considering various opinions, but I am not obliged at all to accept anybody’s view on insufficient argument. Why do you accuse UnkleE and me of disinterest in that? What is your evidence for claiming this, considering you cannot read minds? And if there is no evidence, isn’t that simply assuming bad faith?

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  36. To see this tactic in action, I would strongly recommend that anyone reading this post go and read the post below and take note of the strongest argument yet against the biblical village of Nazareth.
    Commenter, Bernhard Schornak completely takes to pieces every part of the blog host’s post in a balanced, and well-reasoned argument that is not able to be refuted.
    When the blog host’s counter argument has been reduced to tatters, but before the blog host loses too much face, Bernard is cut short and the argument ended, in more or less exactly the same way Thomistic Bent does on his blog.
    It is a fascinating read from a person who knows his stuff.

    I don’t think Schornak does something of the sort. UnkleE simply calls on the expertise of several archaeologists (8 in total over the course of the discussion: Pfann, Rapuano, Haiman, Dark, Alexandre, Bagatti, Feig and Sussman), while Schornak tries to discredit the competence of the experts and resorts to ad hoc explanations like this jewel: “As the distribution of 0.003 objects per square meter suggests, this was a pastoral area, so the single Herodian shard could have been lost by shepherds, a picnic party, Roman soldiers on patrol – there thousands of probable scenarios how pottery shards might have been distributed in pastoral areas like this.”

    Also, I don’t see any implication that Schornak is “cut short” either. How do you know this? What UnkleE says is: “I said I didn’t think this was worth discussing any further, and I still think so”, which isn’t quite the same as saying: “I ban you from commenting here.”

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  37. @ Ignorantianescia

    Although the bible does not specifically say it is inerrant there are enough passages that suggest this is what it is intended to be viewed as such.
    Thus this cherry-picking so often seen of today’s ‘modern reborn Christian’ is because they have not been able to come to terms with the heinous acts of the OT god and have turned their backs on it, as did Marcion.
    There isn’t really an analogy imaginative enough that could possibly be drawn from the Canaanite genocide. It is something Christians and Jews have to come to terms with.
    Archaeology shows it didn’t happen, of course, and most savvy people accept this.
    But then, if this part of the bible is the hogwash it has been shown to be, how reliable is the rest of the bible, so often lauded as god-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16, )?
    This verse alone suggests that the bible cannot be a ‘pick and mix’ as you see fit, and not least because the New Testament is (according to Christian doctrine) fulfillment of prophecy.
    This too, of course, is hogwash and even a casual biblical scholar will not take too long to discover the passages most oft referred to pertaining to the coming Messiah, via a Virgin Birth, notably Isaiah, which, actually have nothing whatsoever to do with anyone called Yashua. I will take for granted that every Christian these days will know to what and whom these spurious claims actually do refer.

    So, in a way, this cherry-picking brand of Christianity is worse than its Fundamental bedfellow. In the case of the latter, one can admire their fortitude for sticking to their guns, knowing that their methodology will ultimately fail, as people cannot be held captive to this level of stupidity for ever.
    But the former, the cherry pickers, of whom some are here among us, have an insidious tendency to subtly move the goalposts whenever the midden hits the windmill; using philosophy and apparent logic to justify belief in their god but at the same time dismissing Him,
    and STILL managing to acknowledge parts of the Old Testament that are relevant, and necessary to their man-god, Jesus.

    This is the type of reasoning that will continue to be inculcated into children and those who would be unfortunate enough to drift within the clutches of Christianity and who may stumble across some of the nastier, and noticeably more HUMAN characteristics of Yahweh.

    Well, let’s make it plain to these people, there is NO bible currently in print that has Buffet Edition printed on the cover.

    Yahweh is Jesus is God is Yahweh is Jesus.

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  38. You wrote…

    ‘Schornak tries to discredit the competence of the experts and resorts to ad hoc explanations like this jewel.
    “As the distribution of 0.003 objects per square meter suggests, this was a pastoral area, so the single Herodian shard could have been lost by shepherds, a picnic party, Roman soldiers on patrol – there thousands of probable scenarios how pottery shards might have been distributed in pastoral areas like this.”

    And your own expert opinion and knowledge of archaeology tells the reader that this minuscule amount of retrieved artifacts is clearly indicative of a city (as per Luke) or town or village, is it?
    Even the archaeologists don;t state this outright. Ad hoc? It is verified fact. What is the problem with it?

    Unklee a his best….from the post in question.
    ”But it becomes clear after a while that a discussion is unlikely to be productive any further, and so without any personal criticism of Bernard, and GRANTED THE UNRELIABLE SOURCES he was quoting, I couldn’t see that further discussion was worthwhile.”
    My emphasis.
    WHAT, unreliable sources?

    Re: the archaeologists.
    Schornak quite openly refers to Bagatti’s work and explains that he never found ANYTHING to suggest a village,town city was evident at the time of Jesus. I cannot see what you are trying to prove here?

    You are quite clearly cherry-picking once more, and even though you love to throw the sheet over the piano, it is still a piano underneath and no amount of subterfuge or thinly veiled attempts to besmirch Schornak’s excellent refutation of Unklee’s poorly presented article for a Nazareth in Jesus’s time will take away from this.

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  39. And your own expert opinion and knowledge of archaeology tells the reader that this minuscule amount of retrieved artifacts is clearly indicative of a city (as per Luke) or town or village, is it?
    Even the archaeologists don;t state this outright. Ad hoc? It is verified fact. What is the problem with it?

    1. I did not claim a single shard indicates a city, town or village.
    2. The archaeologists do think a village existed on the site of Nazareth, called Nazareth, in the first century CE.

    Regarding ad hoc arguments, it is not verified fact that the shards were produced by herdsmen, Roman soldiers or a picnic group as an alternative to agricultural land. Relying on the archaeologists seems the most prudent option.

    WHAT, unreliable sources?

    UnkleE was quite clear about the sources he found unreliable. These are Wikipedia and Religious Tolerance. Wikipedia, while moderated, can get edited by any, and the bias of Religious Tolerance is quite obvious in some sections, where they refuse to correct mistakes. You should try to present your opponents fairly in a discussion and interpret their arguments charitably. That would mean not pretending that UnkleE is doing anything dubious there.

    You are quite clearly cherry-picking once more, and even though you love to throw the sheet over the piano, it is still a piano underneath and no amount of subterfuge or thinly veiled attempts to besmirch Schornak’s excellent refutation of Unklee’s poorly presented article for a Nazareth in Jesus’s time will take away from this.

    Nice metaphor, especially considering it is related to the work of Salm the piano man, but I am not guilty of any subterfuge. Schornak is simply an amateur (like you and me) who (unlike me) disagrees with the archaeologists who have dug at the site and I trust his expertise as much as Ken Ham’s expertise on evolution. But perhaps you can show me what is excellent about his attempted refutation? I prefer to trust the experts disagree with them. And please excuse me, but as you may have noticed I am becoming slightly suspicious you have not read the discussion with much care for UnkleE’s argumentation (making much about him calling some sources unreliable which shouldn’t be suspect) and are giving in to a predisposition to agree with Schornak.

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  40. @ Your are a christian with an obvious bias. Since it was posted I have read the post more times than might be considered good for me.
    Your replies though quite eloquent, are disingenuous, like those of your chum.
    The ‘experts’ have not had their work peer reviewed nor has it been published in any recognized scientific journal. Furthermore, the site of the house has since been covered so further, excavation is impossible.
    And, just to clarify for other readers.
    None of the archaeologists, not even Bagatti, have EVER produced concrete evidence to show there was a village/town/ or city on this site at the time of Jesus, and none would be so bloody stupid to risk their reputation by stating this as fact either.

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  41. @ignorantianescia,

    thanks for the reply.

    you say,
    “Simple, it’s not based on pick-and-choose, but based on evidence. With the assumptions outlined above (including the assumption that Jesus is God’s Son), I ask myself whether it is probable a certain portion is factual based on my knowledge.”

    Forgive me, but this still looks like pick-and-choose to me, even though you say it isnt, but never mind that for now. when you go on to say that you make your decisions based upon your assumptions, including the assumption that jesus is god’s son. isnt that quite an assumption? Doesnt that assumption dictate most, if not all, of your following “logical” connections? if you start with a false premise, the best logic in the world will to error when starting from a false idea. Like building your house on the sand; the best carpenters and masons could have built the house, but without a good foundation it will never be structurally sound.

    wouldnt that be like someone assuming that zeus is the supreme god, and then “looking” to please god? that assumption would seem to dictate every following move, and would lead the individual farther and farther into a false notion. And if ever questions or if ever presented with information that refutes his religion, he only falls back to his foundational assumption, that zeus is the supreme god, then follows that right back to his previous and flawed conclusion, all the while convincing himself that he has reexamined things. And he did, he just failed to reexamine why he begins with his assumption each time.

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  42. Arkenaten, I’m willing to discuss the archaeological evidence of Nazareth and to answer your question, but I’d like to focus on [url=https://findingtruth.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/the-ultimate-blasphemy/#comment-3346]another post by you[/url] first.

    I’m more interested in asking you some questions, but it’s probably good to know where I’m coming from, so I’ll respond to some points you make there:
    -To my knowledge, there aren’t any passages that come close to establishing inerrancy (admittedly, some passages state that God cannot lie – though other passages effectively have God lying), but feel free to scupper me! 😉
    -Also to the best of my knowledge, a majority of New Testament scholars consider the epistles to Timothy pseudepigraphical and I trust their conclusion, so I don’t give much credit to 2 Tim. 3: 16.
    -Passages referring to “Scripture” generally do not refer to current Western Christian Scripture, as likely some books didn’t when the author wrote that word and in any case there wasn’t any fixed canon yet (as you know, since you referred to Marcion yourself).

    Now to the questions: I’m confused you find the “cherry-picking” Christian belief I profess worse than fundamentalism, while calling the fundies potentially admirable. Do you really think that less rigid forms of Christianity are worse than fundamentalism?

    Please allow me to list a few not too hypothetical scenarios, based on various interpretations of “worse”. First some ethical ones:
    -Fundamentalists may cherrypick OT laws against homosexuality or same-sex marriage, while ignoring prohibitions on shrimp. Whereas I, who accept the secular character of the modern state, wouldn’t dream of imposing religious ideology on others through the state.
    -Back on-topic: they will justify immoral acts described in the OT with all sorts of contrivances. That might be consistent if they had defined morality as God’s arbitrary will, but generally they will deny that horn of the Eutrypho dilemma. Non-inerrantists can however candidly admit the narrated actions are morally unacceptable.

    Then now some scenarios based on consistency and truth:
    -Ultra-conservative deny the inconsistency in Luke regarding the dating of Jesus’ birth. Yet a non-birther Christian may happily state that it is unlikely a census was held under Herod’s rule while Quirinius was legate of Syria, since the latter only received that rank when Herod’s son Herod Archelaus was deposed and Archelaos only became a tetrarch after Herod was dead.
    -Fundamentalists still read “prophecies” in Daniel as referring to “the Messiah” instead of “a messiah”, but.

    Would you consider the fundies the preferable party on these issues or us? If not, why are those unethical or improbable beliefs superior to our alleged inconsistency?

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  43. William, for a change I’ll be brief:

    First of all, you are forgiven. 😉

    Anyway, getting to the point, the issue of “pick-and-choose” was brought up in a Christian context (namely versus Christian fundamentalism), with me trying to establish that these beliefs are not incostent or arbitrary. Even then they aren’t assumptions proper as I outlined the reason I accept the Resurrection in a previous post, but they are insufficiently fleshed out to be considered conclusion. I could describe it in more detail but it is probably ill-advisable to immediately discuss an enormous variety of subjects. Besides, I’m more concerned with defending the coherence and validity of my beliefs at the moment (as they are being regarded by some as “cherry-picking” or “pick-and-choose”), not defending the truth of them. After all, coherence and truth are two different concepts.

    Nevertheless, I think foundational assumptions are a necessity of life, but I don’t think belief in the Resurrection is one. And such axioms may be reconsidered as well.

    (Arkenaten, I have also posted a response to one of your comments, but I included a link so it was and may still be in the moderation queue.)

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  44. ignorantianescia,

    Sorry your comment to Ark got caught in the spam filter — thanks for letting me know!

    Just for the record, I don’t think you’re being inconsistent in your approach to the Bible. Guys like you and UnkleE always have my respect, even if we disagree, because you seem to study these issues with an open mind.

    I can see why you are skeptical of certain passages (in most cases, they’re the same ones I’m skeptical of), but the reason I don’t accept the rest of the Bible as being inspired is because I think if God wanted to really send us such an important message it would be clearer — not piggy-backing on writings that are obviously inaccurate. Does that line of thinking make sense to you?

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  45. Some assumptions are safer and more necessary than others. What has led you to assume that Christ actually resurrected? I hear people say they believe it based on history quite often, but never really see why.

    I mean, I believe Jesus existed, i just no longer buy into the far-out-there claims that he actually performed miracles, walked on water, rose the dead, died and came back to life, etc. I can see where history may indicate that Jesus lived and was crucified, but I have yet to see anything that actually corroborates the claim that the other stuff happened. I wouldn’t buy that from anyone I know, and I’d be skeptical even if i saw video today… one reason I dont believe in Bigfoot, alien encounters or islam, etc.

    The validity of the resurrection or any other supernatural claim of jesus seems to be an assumption that looks an awful lot like a giant leap. But no more so than the belief in any other religious hero, yet I suspect you have no issue doubting other religions’ validity or credibility.

    and I still think that saying, “this part of the bible (collection of books and letters) is good and reliable, while that portion is bad and incredible,” is in fact picking and choosing. My question is really how do you do that?

    I understand we may all do that to a certain degree with history, but again, some assumptions are better than others. So assuming that there was a man named jesus who was crucified, is one that is easy to accept based on history and the fact that nothing supernatural or out of the ordinary is required to make that happen. to say that this man was the son of god, flew, raised the dead, etc, is something completely and drastically separate.

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  46. @ Ingnoraianecia
    I will disagree with Nate here, although I can see where he is coming from, having had to endure all the crap he did, he is probably worn out by fundamentalists giving him uphill…uphell?

    My comments re Fundamentalists.
    Let me be perfectly clear. They are nuts! Total wackadoodles. But at least one can usually spot them a mile off. And I said I admire them because they prefer to accept the inerrancy of the bible and not cherry pick,which is at least honest. Totally wrong, but honest nevertheless.

    That doesn’t make them any less dickheads.

    Your ilk, on the other hand, will accept the prophecy of the Virgin Birth re Isisiah – which is utter hogwash, and you are perfectly well aware of this – and the Resurrection, as crucial parts of your belief in the man-god, as perfectly plausible, yet will decry as much of the OT and to a lessor extent the NT that doesn’t suit your purpose. That of ensuring Yashua is deemed your god without an Old Testament blemish to his name.
    This insidious approach, allows you to maintain a hold on the false prophecy of the Virgin Birth and the divinity of Yashua while chucking out everything else.
    And worse, you think that you are able to ‘hoodwink’ the likes of Nate with your oh-so-reasonable approach.

    Unfortunately for you, the bible does not say Interpret as You Please.

    And if there are passages that scholars consider pseudepigraphical’
    ( and some scholars believe that many if not most of Paul’s epistles fall into this category) then you should have the decency and integrity to apply similar criteria to the Isiah passages, and be even more scrupulous towards the written accounts of the resurrection.
    That you and your ilk choose to blatantly ignore these topics clearly smacks of an ulterior motive.
    You are , I believe , a coward and a fraud.

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  47. ignorantianescia says: March 18, 2013 at 12:38 pm
    Arkenaten, I’m willing to discuss the archaeological evidence of Nazareth and to answer your question, but I’d like to focus on [url=https://findingtruth.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/the-ultimate-blasphemy/#comment-3346]another post by you[/url] fir

    Absolutely no problem at all.I relish the discussion. First though, open up a blog of your own.
    It will makes things more on the level and wont clutter up Nate’s blog.
    Do that, am I am there in a shot.

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  48. Hey Nate,
    I’ve been reading a few of your conversations and I have a question. “Why do you go to so much time and effort to debate the existence of God?” I just don’t get the point. You have chosen to walk away from your previous belief – thats your call – but why are you still so engaged. I can understand that it is intellectually stimulating, but surely their are better pursuits for the mind than debating a myth – no matter how wide spread.
    It seems your existence has become defined as the guy who used to believe in God but doesn’t, and has found nothing new in it’s place except to intellectually debate a subject that is primarily a matter of the heart and not the head.
    On the other hand, perhaps your heart knows something that your head refuses to accept – so you are marooned in the world of the intellect while the bridge off that island, the mystery of the heart is never crossed.
    Please don’t tell me you gave up faith in God to become a mere creature of the intellect – or maybe you never actually believed, you simply chose an intellectual position and subsequently changed it.
    I’m starting to ramble now, you know from past conversations that I try to speak plainly, I hope I havn’t offended you this time,
    cheers Graeme

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  49. Hi Graeme,

    Thanks for the question.

    I can assure you that my faith was genuine while I was a Christian, and I can equally assure you that I have no such faith now. I concede that it’s possible a god exists; I just personally don’t believe in one right now, and I feel quite certain that the god of the Bible is fiction.

    As to why I continue to discuss it, that’s a really good question. Mostly, I’ve seen the damage that religious fundamentalism can cause, and I feel like it’s worthwhile to help make its flaws accessible to people. If others hadn’t done the same, I’d likely still be a fundamentalist myself.

    Secondly, I just enjoy discussing the stuff. 🙂

    Hope you’re doing well, and thanks again for the question!

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  50. Comments like this one from mybroom smack of ‘Hard Done By’. There is a petulance about them that is all too familiar – the Holier than thou Christian having his little dig at the former Christian, couching his terms in a pseudo intellectual fashion that oozes condescension.
    . Many atheists, myself included, often wonder why bother writing about the utter absurdity of religion and in this case, Christianity. Many times we walk away. Then a comment like Graeme’s pops up and one is quickly reminded, once again, why we write, and why deconvertees need support and why twits like mybroom who still want to belittle those who follow a path of true enlightenment , free from superstition and fear are deserving of the same belittling.
    However, sometimes it may be better to just smile. It is often tough enough to find one’s own path without having to light the way for the delusional-minded worshipers of a narrative construct and would be man-god.

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  51. Wow, is this guy Arkenatan really an improvement on the religious fundamentalists?
    Yes, I’m doing well and thanks for receiving my comment in the spirit it was given. By the way – I’m not a big rap for religious fundamentalists either.

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  52. Yes, this guy Arkenaten is most definitely an improvement on the fundies.
    You are a Christian of the ‘We Don’t Need Religion’ variety but probably claim a relationship with Yashua, yes?
    If I have any of this wrong, feel free to rap me over the knuckles, but this is the impression created on your blog.
    I would strongly recommend you go back to basics, study some of the history of your ‘I am not part of a religion’ religion.
    Composition of the biblical texts is always a good one to kick off.
    Read up on all the Church Conclaves, Eusebius etc etc.
    Read Marcion too.
    This will help you clear up many misunderstandings and erroneous beliefs you may have been saddled with along the road of you inculcation.

    Why not then look at an in-depth study of the Isaiah prophecy, its terminology, etymology and who it was REALLY directed at.

    Sorry if I come across as somewhat pointed, I have spent far too much time having to listen to William Lane Craig types and this puts a dent in one’s normal civility.

    Most atheists are more than willing to help you understand real truth, if this is what you want. It all depends on you.

    Any questions you have have , feel free to ask….no problem. I, at least will do my best to help you find a better path. It might not yet be the best, but it can only be an improvement on the one you are currently on.
    Cheers
    The Ark

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  53. Win? Win what? I did not realise you and I were competing?
    Christians compete with themselves and other religions. You are all fighting for those limited places in Heaven, I believe?

    Atheists don’t fret over this nonsense. It is far easier for us. Believe me.
    .

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  54. I am not even going to pretend to have all of the answers on this one lol but I will say that to go back to one of your other posts, We did not create dogs, we did not even create other people, even if we want to claim we created our own kids, someone else created us and the way kids are created etc. God created all of us he is the only one who did, we have never made life or created life so if we murder someone it is truly murdering someone but if the one who gave you life to begin with who promised you death one day decides when it will end then is it murder then? Imagine you created something, if someone else came along and destroyed it, it would be vandalism and would seem cruel and wrong but if you destroyed it yourself it is different. Especially if you destroyed it because maybe it did not serve it’s purpose but not only that it was ruining other things you created that were serving their purpose and were doing great things, but maybe some others are upset because they love what you created or were benefiting from it somehow but does that mean you are wrong for destroying it? You love it to but also love your other creations and do not want them all to be destroyed or for them to even just suffer due to the other ones? There is just one thought on the subject. Another thought it some people believe in God but not Hell, I personally like to think that even the Devil himself could be saved so what if we all end up saved and in Heaven what does it matter if we die here, we are not really dead just finally alive without all of the suffering? For the wages of sin is death but he came to save us all from that. As for the ways people were killed, I may be mistaken but my understanding is God’s usual commands were to kill everything. Just to kill it, not to enslave it, torture it, keep it for yourself or give it a cruel death, etc. People often went against God’s commands in this matter and suffered for it. This of Saul for example. Also, I think people often try to say God had them do something when that was not the case like with the Indians so like with a lot of things he gets a bad rep because of people like that but think of the religious people when Jesus came. They rejected Jesus, and actually caused him to be crucified, an innocent man, I think any wrongful death or genocide is the result of people saying they are doing things in the name of God but really are not, not God himself. I really feel strongly about the way the Indians were treated too because my great great great grandmother was full blooded. I am Indian/Native American. Of course I am also a relative of the ones who did it to them lol Also the people in the Bible were going to Land but not just land, land promised to them by God, to do great things for God, those people were not just in the way of land they wanted they were in the way of God’s plans. Yes maybe they could have asked nicely for it and in some cases I believe they did but when it comes down to it everything is God’s, and if those people are not willing to give it to God to whom in belongs to, so he takes it from them ,everything from them. This is not our world, these are not our lives, our children, our things, they are all his and we realize that and are thankful for it we are rewarded even more. It is like your children, imagine if they have a lot you have given to them, maybe they are even spoiled a little but they do not appreciate what they have, do you give them more? Or do you maybe give them less or at least stop giving more until they appreciate what they do have? Or if you give them a lot and they are so thankful and appreciate it so much you probably reward them with even more. Some do just continue to spoil them whether they are thankful or not and end up with spoiled brats yet that is what most expect God to do with us and think it is unfair when he doesn’t.

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  55. Two things:

    1) If you created a piece of pottery, then later wanted to destroy it, that’s no big deal. You’re certainly within your rights to do so. But what if you could create a doll that came to life, you know, like Pinocchio. Would you still have the right to destroy it, once it’s truly alive?

    2) You mentioned that you didn’t think God commanded for people to be tortured or enslaved, but that’s actually not true. In Numbers 31, Moses tells the Israelites to massacre the Midianites. However, they were to save the virgin girls for themselves. And before you think that Moses just went rogue here and God had nothing to do with it, the same chapter says that God told Moses he wanted a share of all the spoils, including the virgins. Some pretty horrible stuff.

    Also, the Law of Moses has a number of laws concerning slavery — none of them prohibit the practice. And God told the Israelites that they could enslave people from the nations around them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_and_slavery

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  56. And about the Pinocchio doll if it goes crazy and turns into an evil Chucky doll would you kill it? lol

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  57. I still have not had a chance to read all your blogs and they may address this but how did you explain this when you were a Christian? how did you justify it then? Or could you not and you just accepted it at the time? If I don’t reply to any of your other replies I replied to so much I don’t know if I will ever have time to go back and read them all lol Can’t normally spend as much time as I did yesterday

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  58. Here is a response to the response below I know won’t appease you but does appease me. I have also seen a good one before explaining slavery in the Bible I will try to find. I have had all of these same questions and concerns before but have had them answered over time through prayer, not internet research really so it is not just the article below that appeases me. I use the internet to give another side at times because you cannot explain to people what you have seen and have experienced easily that makes you trust God when it comes to this stuff and in general. I actually thought something similar when I was watching the Bible on the history channel recently and he killed Pharoah’s son. When I was younger it used to bother me but I now realize his son died in his sleep, no suffering and went to heaven as he was still an innocent child. Had he killed the Pharoah instead, his son would have grown to probably be even crueler than him, hate God even more and avenge his father’s death. I also questioned the whole Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son and like with things like this I think it is a test to make sure you trust God and that he is not the type of God that would do that, he was not testing him to see how much he loved him. He knew how much he loved Him, he even already knew what he would do but Abraham did not know what he himself would do so if anything it was to show Abraham that. Before his wife doubted that child God promised so much that she had her husband sleep with another woman and have a child with her and Abraham went along with that, that child was a gift from God, that child was God’s yet people think God cares about that child less than them? .

    http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=763

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