Agnosticism, Atheism, Christianity, Faith, God, Persecution, Religion, Truth

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.

74 thoughts on “The Ultimate Blasphemy”

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. @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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  5. @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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  6. @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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  7. 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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  8. Ark, I personally enjoy reading your comments and can completely identify with your frustrations.

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  9. @ 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. @ 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. @ 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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