God Is Dead...And I Killed Him

Good riddance
Good riddance

All my life, I had been a believer of the casual sort, with occasional visits to church and Sunday school but no real sense of commitment. As I approached the age of thirty, I suddenly decided to dedicate myself more completely to the life of Christianity, and to become "closer" to God. I began studying the Bible, going to church, praying, tithing and even fasting once a week.

Yet, even from the very beginning, there were little red flags and troubling questions. But I either ignored them or rationalized them away. For example, why did I feel nothing when I sincerely asked God to come into my heart when, for every other Christian it was supposedly a life-changing event? All my life, I'd been promised that I would immediately feel God's love, and would be instantly transformed, so I struggled to understand why I wasn't having the same experience those "saved" believers claimed they had.

I suspected that I hadn't done something right -- or more fundamentally, that there was something wrong with me (I now understand that this feeling is very common among those who seek out God. It's no accident that "conversions" and "rebirths" usually happen in crowds of enthusiastic believers, where atmosphere and shared experience can overwhelm the senses and convince one of something that isn't there).

Looking back, I can now see that this was when the intellectual dishonesty truly began, where I started to earnestly rationalize this and other failures of my faith. The more deeply I looked, the more the contradictions and inconsistencies rose to the surface. The more questions I had, the more contrived and convoluted the answers became.

After struggling for months trying to reconcile my religious beliefs and personal sense of sin with my intellect, integrity and intuitive sense of morality, I began to wonder why my prayers for help were never answered, when the Bible clearly states they will be. Why did it seem I was completely on my own, when I'd always been taught that God would be there?

I often reminded myself of the story of the "Footprints in the sand," where a person dreams of his life's journey represented in footprints on a sandy beach: his and those of Jesus, who walked beside him. In his times of trouble, the two sets of footprints became one, where Jesus supposedly carried him. I reassured myself that, just like in the story, Jesus (or God) would come to my rescue and help me carry my burden. He never did.

Inevitably, I was forced to consider the most important, provocative -- and ultimately, liberating -- question that a believer can ever ask himself: What if God doesn't actually exist? The very approach to the question can feel like edging toward a cliff over an abyss, the first timid steps compelled by an unsettling mix of desperation and hopeful courage.

Yet, as I began to honestly contemplate the issue of God's existence for the very first time, I also began to realize how misguided my initial fears had been -- that they had been a figment of my own self-deception. Eventually I began to understand the same about God. In the end, when I reflected on my own "footprints in the sand," I had to recognize that there had only been one set of steps all along...my own. The problem wasn't that my prayers weren't heartfelt enough. The problem was that there wasn't anyone listening.

Ironically, it was my newfound commitment to becoming a better Christian that, in the end, made me a non-believer. I finally had to admit that I could no longer maintain the delusions that had perpetuated my faith. I had to accept that I was an atheist. When that realization finally crystallized in my mind, it was as if blinders had been removed from my eyes. I finally felt that joy that was supposed to come from God, but it had come instead from a new, sublime sense of clarity and self-discovery, and a reaffirmed love for truth and reason. And I wanted to share it with EVERYONE!

The road to atheism is littered with the hopes of people who sincerely sought out God, only to be met with stony silence. The only reply they ever get is in the whispers of their own delusions, interpreted or deciphered through the rose-colored glasses of faith. For me, like so many other ex-believers, the truth is that God only ever existed in my head. Once I removed those rose-colored glasses, whatever remained of him died. In a way, I'd gone looking for God and ended up finding myself.

That was more than twenty years ago. Since then, I've become even more convinced in my atheism. I've re-examined the "evidence" of God's existence and found it wanting. I've reconsidered and deconstructed all the apologetic arguments I could find. And now that I recognize all the errors, repetitions, inconsistencies and self-contradictions in the Bible, I now understand why I once struggled so much trying to read and comprehend this absolutely horrible piece of literature.

Today, as a committed ANTI-theist, I've learned much more about the negative influence of religion and blind faith, now and throughout history. I focus my efforts trying to free others from the same delusions that kept me in the dark for so many years. I now do what I can to chip away -- one piece at a time -- the sinister and malignant deceptions of religious and supernatural faith that hold humanity hostage.

It's often said among atheists that you can't reason somebody out of something they didn't reason themselves into in the first place. But I disagree. I believe (perhaps naively) that, deep down, every human intellect cherishes truth. My goal is to appeal to that particular part of every believer -- however deeply it may lay buried beneath layers of religious or ideological nonsense -- giving them the key to eventually free themselves (as I finally did years ago). That's my gift to them, and to the world.

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Comments 284 comments

Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 3 years ago from back in the lab again

“Ironically, it was my newfound commitment to becoming a better Christian that, in the end, made me a non-believer.”

It's amazing how many atheists and nonbelievers in general have this in common. In attempting to get to the truth and really know God or know their faith they uncover all the holes in it and eventually it just falls apart. From the outside looking in sometimes I can't believe that I ever believed that stuff, and yet I did, wholeheartedly. It's like escaping any cult I guess, you can't believe that you were duped by such ridiculous nonsense.

I also agree that it isn't pointless to try to reason people out of it. Sure those of us who escape usually have to do the intellectual legwork ourselves but that doesn't mean believers aren't receptive to doubts about their faith. Even if they have an initial angry knee jerk reaction to our arguments I have to think that at least we are trying and they are being exposed to the ideas, doubts and facts that may come back into mind once they've calmed down and really begun thinking about the subject.

Excellent hub Paladin!


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 3 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, Titen! I always enjoy reading the stories of other ex-believers, and decided it was about time to explain my own story a bit more.

I'm also hoping current believers will read my words and recognize familiar themes in their own situation, which may nudge them a bit in the right direction.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

You said you were a casual believer and so I just have to ask, why would you expect Jehovah God to listen to the pleas of someone who did not have a close, personal relationship with him? Do you really think he is nothing more than some magical genie anxiously waiting to fulfill your every desire?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

With all due respect, Joseph, did you even read my hub? It appears from your comments that you read only the first sentence.

I stated that I grew up a "casual" believer, but then became much more committed in my late twenties. It was THEN that I began to have serious problems with my belief.

Also, if you read my hub, you know that I wasn't merely trying to make God fulfill my "every desire."

You're trying to make excuses for God, and I understand that. My own experience -- and the experience of countless others -- tells me that is usually the "casual" believer that finds it easier to maintain his or her faith, because he doesn't examine it too deeply -- sort of like someone who only reads the first sentence of a hub.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

And my decades of experience as well of that of millions of sedulous Christians tells me that when someone doesn't love the God who loves you that relationship is too enervated to withstand the daily trials of everyday living in an ungodly world.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, if your "decades" of experience are in any way similar to your examination of this hub, I daresay you've travelled through life with only one eye open (if that). I invite you to open them both. You won't be sorry you did.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

Here, I'll prove it.

Did you ever love God Almighty and Jesus?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Of course I did, Joseph. I'll repeat: If you would have read beyond the first sentence of this hub, you'd have known that.

Do you approach your belief in God the same way, reading only the first sentence of a page, or the first chapter of a book, like the Bible? If you do, you're probably like a great many believers, who maintain their belief by not delving too deeply into the actual mechanics and fundamentals of the thing.

I was the same way, until I went from being a casual believer to truly committing to my faith. It was only THEN that I began to realize the glaring inconsistencies, contradictions and darker elements of what it was I actually believed.

I encourage you to do the same. Read beyond the first sentence. Step beyond the platitudes about "loving God" and Jesus. If you examine your faith more deeply and honestly, I have no doubt you'll begin to realize it's all a delusion.

Good luck!


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

I only ask because you never said so.

I'm curious, why did you love God Almighty as well as Christ Jesus?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Because I was deluded into believing in something that wasn't actually there. I had accepted, without question, the almost incessant indoctrination that happens to each of us in predominantly Christian cultures.

I have no doubt that this is also the reason you believe, and I encourage you to objectively and honestly examine your own faith. If you're ready to engage on that journey, I and other ex-believers are ready to help.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

Thing is, what reason do you have to believe in what your senses tell you know when, as you claimed, they were so woefully wrong before?

Moreover, are you suggesting every single theist on the face of this earth is non compos mentis? And if we ought to discard as dementia the reality our senses portrays to us, how does this not make every single thought we’ve ever had - yourself included - completely otiose?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

*what your senses tell you now


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, this is becoming quite tedious. I'm perfectly willing to discuss theological issues with those who are actually willing to listen to what the other person has to say.

However, each of your comments thus far reveals that you still have to read my hub beyond the first sentence. It's like a kid given a reading assignment who, instead of reading the book, expects the teacher to explain it to him when the book report's due.

If you wish to have a discussion here, please have the courtesy to know where I'm coming from by reading my hub (and if you REALLY wish to know more, visit some of my other hubs).

If not, I'll simply delete any further comments you make here (though I'd really prefer not to do so). I'm not going to indulge you in your attempt at a one-way discussion. I'm sorry, but I don't play those games.


The Agnostic profile image

The Agnostic 2 years ago

The sad thing about this story is how the vast majority of us have been brainwashed since birth into accepting our faith blindly. It seems a majority of atheists and agnostics were at some point fervently religious. The more we delved into our faith (intellectually), the more we began to doubt. Most faith systems cannot stand the test of an open minded reasonable man. They really on emotion and tradition. This article is an good example of how one can shatter the veil of faith, if one can step back and honestly look at the evidence.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Absolutely! They say, in certain contexts, that light is the greatest disinfectant, and that is definitely true when it comes to examining one's religious beliefs. The more light you shine on them, and the more you honestly examine them, the more ridiculous and untenable they become.

Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the comment!


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Paladin, thank you so much for this hub. I have only just taken the time to look into it.... and your way of writing is superb. Good grammar, good "flow," logical and clear.

Your path has been similar to my own. It was common, for me, to see individuals "coming to Jesus," and being "blessed by His Love," yet then they suddenly become very unloving to others around them. They are all luvvy-dovvy while trying to evangelize and bring another person to Jesus, yet always from a judgmental, non-loving perspective

I tried Siddha Yoga, as taught by Swami Muktananda in India. Some of the things he taught me opened my eyes to far greater potential in life. Yet all I found amongst his "followers" was selfishness and people being "up themselves" with self pride. Rarely (but not always, of course) an out-flowing of unconditional Love that I sought.

It's the Inner Journey, for each and every one of us, that is in some ways the hardest to even begin and then continue. Because it has to be accomplished alone. Yet once entered upon, it becomes a wonderfully enlightening pathway, with at last a view of others also traveling. Then it becomes a sharing, instead of a persistent desire to "convert" them to any particular religious view.

I guess you have found new pastures to enjoy in life, because I don't see you much in HubPages. Fare thee well.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thank you, Jonny, for visiting and for your kind words.

The reason I haven't been around much lately is because I've been busy designing and building a new brick walkway for my mom's front yard. Naturally, I had to go with a fancy wave design (as opposed to a straight, simple sidewalk), so it's taken a lot more effort, but the results are definitely paying off. It's becoming quite a work of art.

Then again, even when I'm not busy with a project, I'm notoriously slow in creating hubs. I currently have about twenty in various stages of development, but it can take me months to finally hone in on one and finish it.

I'm currently focusing on a hub regarding the historical evidence for Jesus, though I don't yet know if I'll take a broad look at all the supposed citations or perhaps look at Josephus exclusively (as he appears to be the most commonly cited by apologists). At the very least, it will certainly be weeks before I can get anything published.

Thanks again for your interest and your best wishes. Same to you!


nmadore profile image

nmadore 2 years ago from Boston

Love this article!


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, Nancy! I'm glad you enjoyed it!


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

You're not an atheist Paladin.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

That's an interesting assertion, Tim. Please elaborate.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

TimFellow, it matters not to me whether someone can build an argument to support the existence or non-existence of "God." The thoughts and cajoling of a philosopher will only succeed in encouraging me to draw my own conclusions. Such conclusions are designed to give me confidence in what I accept and perceive to be the reality of life.... for me.

What anyone else wishes to accept/believe is their own choice, I cannot argue with them, nor do I wish to. Philosophical argument might make for good entertainment, for some. Yet I find it interesting only for a few minutes, then it becomes a boring irrelevance. Each to our own desires to believe what we wish.

There is a seed of a discussion coming up in my mind... will try to address it in a new Thread.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

Can a bacteria in your small intestine prove you exist? No, because you are outside of its system. It has no access to the world outside of the body. But, your existence is not dependent on them proving you. You exist, whether they know it, or not. Not believing in God is fine. You shouldn't believe in anything cause knowledge is better than belief. But, saying that God does not exist is a belief as well. The creation of the universe could be from an intelligence. Not the Christian God, but something that could be called God. It makes sense, since no one actually knows how the universe began.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

The thing is Tim that atheism is not the belief that God doesn't exist, its disbelief in God or the absence of belief in God.

If someone says, "Do you believe in God" and I answer "No I do not" I'm not necessarily saying that I believe there are absolutely no gods, all I'm saying is that I don't believe, I'm not convinced. Atheism is not a positive assertion of certainty regarding the non-existence of God.

As to your statement that the Universe might be created, okay, but what do we get out of calling this thing we cannot possibly perceive a God? If we are mere bacteria to this grand intelligence that may be out there why call it a God? It seems to me that the word God carries with it a lot of baggage, religious and otherwise. Gods are typically anthropomorphic, their goals and desires are typically anthropocentric and they typically offer some kind of rewards and punishments in return for obedience, worship, etc. If all we're looking for is a Prime Mover, or some nebulous force of benevolent energy or consciousness, what correlation does that have to any of the fictional beings humans have called gods over the millenia?

If we posit that the Universe is the result of some intelligence we need not bring the word God into it at all. Of course at this point I see no reason to assume we need the supernatural to explain the natural world in the first place. Sure I can't disprove your deistic reasoning but then deism is often unfalsifiable so I am still left in the position of disbelieving the claim that a god exists.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

It's not a semantics issue. The word God is only for communication purposes.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

It doesn't matter what you do, or do not believe. That doesn't change the truth and the truth is no one knows and cannot know unless they leave the system they are in.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

and does being an atheist even matter? Like you're even gonna need that information when you're walking into Walgreens everyday to buy some pepto bismol. It's pointless.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

@TimFellows, "The creation of the universe could be from an intelligence. Not the Christian God.....etc." I agree with you here. It is the christian god, and the god of other monotheistic religions that do not sit with my understanding, nor my acceptance.

I can see your point of view, and that of Titen-Sxull. In particular, the use of the term "god," (and "God,") pulls us into a preconceived set of ideas. The presumption that such an entity exists and is concerned with "my" behavior in this physical universe, is extremely naive. It can only serve those humans who wish to control me according to their precepts.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

its TimFellow


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

The judgmental God of the bible is just part of that story. It's not meant to be taken literally. The bible is just a story.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

@TimFellow

"and does being an atheist even matter? Like you're even gonna need that information when you're walking into Walgreens everyday to buy some pepto bismol. It's pointless."

Well it would be pointless if we didn't live in a world of believers in God who act on those beliefs. I feel that religions and superstitions in general are more harmful than they are helpful and atheist is a short-hand for both non-religious and non-believer. So it has its uses, limited as they may be, as a label.

"It's not a semantics issue. The word God is only for communication purposes."

So why use the word at all? All I'm saying is that if we're gonna say some intelligence created the Universe or got it all rolling but this thing is so far beyond our understanding why pretend and call it God? Why even bother naming it? Why not just call it Prime Mover? And why assume it has to be intelligent or a an entity to begin with? It could be that before the Universe the nature of reality was such that the Universe as we know it was the inevitable result of natural unguided forces, we just don't know.

The word God means a lot of different things to a lot of different people and people are very very attached to their conceptions of God so much so that many are willing to KILL or DIE for their beliefs. So yeah, whether or not we call it God matters, it will dictate how people react to it.

Personally I say we just call it a mystery and wait for scientists to do their thing and figure it out, I've seen no reason to jump on the God bandwagon.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

I was going to reply to Tim's link, noting that it's just another presentation of Anselm's classic ontological argument, which -- after years of examination -- I STILL find fundamentally flawed and wholly unconvincing. Thus, I'm still perplexed as to why I'm suddenly not an atheist.

However, I find the currently ongoing discussion much more interesting, and it may shed some light on my question. So I'll sit back and await further developments...

In the meantime, thanks again to everyone -- Tim, Johnny and Titen -- who've visited and commented!


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Paladin, much respected, thank you.

@Titen-Sxull, I was going to immediately respond to your last posting, but you have virtually expressed my thoughts in the latter part of your post, in other words: I go along with the personal perspectives which lead any person to "believe in God."

We here in this sort of discussion are usually here because we tend to think a little more deeply than most. I am not saying this in any respect as superior to anyone else; just to show there are different ways of looking at things. Some have a higher intelligence, i.e., willing to question and open up to new points of view; some wish to stay in their particular cultural or religious mind frame. Others are extremely adept at working out the deeper questions of philosophy, way beyond what I can personally cope with. We are all entitled to our view-point.

So, yes, that God will be developed in the mind to suit the individual circumstances. If this fact can be accepted as true, it should allow us all to be more friendly in discussion. This would apply right across the spectrum of HubPages topics. Not saying we should discard any extreme views, just to keep them in perspective, that's all.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

Paladin had this idea of a God that was supposed to listen to his prayers. You can not have prayers answered and there can still be a God. Jumping to the conclusion that there is no God because your prayer were not answered seems odd. It looks like you just labelled yourself an atheist because you didn't want any uncertainty about the world. You think you are this enlightened guy now who uses reason and logic. But, you might be in the same boat you were in before, just a different version of it. It still looks like you are a man of faith and belief. You just switched the ingredients. If you want my advice, it would be to ditch atheism altogether and be label less.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

and in the article you used a logical fallacy called denying the antecedent.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

and you have also used the argumentum ad ignorantiam fallacy in other places.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

or whatever, I hate citing this crap and it's probably wrong cause you don't say There is no god. But, you say no one was listening and then you stopped believing in God cause you thought no one was listening to your prayers, so it looks like you're getting to that, but don't wanna say it. As long as atheism is the disbelief in God and not the knowledge that God doesn't exist, you're fine. It's good to break free of beliefs cause a belief is just faith in something that you don't actually know.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Tim, I also said -- and this is a very important point -- that as I became more immersed in my faith and examined it more closely, the contradictions and inconsistencies became more difficult to ignore, and it became progressively more difficult to maintain the delusion.

It wasn't just unanswered prayers that led to my loss of belief (thought that was certainly a big part of it). It was also a more comprehensive -- and for the first HONEST-- examination of that belief that led to its eventual decline.

As for my supposed use of logical fallacies, I'm afraid you'll have to elaborate.

As for you final comments, I'm pretty certain I made it clear that I no longer BELIEVE in God -- which, by definition, makes me an atheist.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

I think of atheism as more of an assertion that God does not exist. Disbelieving is not atheism for me. Disbelieving makes you nothing, which is good. I think when you label yourself something there are beliefs that you have to conform to. There are a lot of people that disbelieve in God, but that does not make them atheists.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Actually, Tim, disbelief -- lack of belief -- is the very DEFINITION of atheism:

a (without) -- theism (belief in a deity or deities)

Disbelieving is -- by definition -- atheism. ANYONE and EVERYONE who disbelieves in God is an atheist, regardless of whether they claim to KNOW that God doesn't exist.

Labeling yourself as an atheist doesn't mean you need to "conform" to any additional beliefs. It merely means that there is at least ONE thing in which you don't believe. That's all. There are no other beliefs -- or disbeliefs -- that are required AS A RESULT of atheism.

For example, my atheism (lack of belief in God), on its own, doesn't mean I have to therefore subscribe to the priority of empirical evidence. That's not to say there isn't a relationship between the two. But it's the emphasis on empirical evidence that necessitates the atheism, NOT the other way around!

What I suspect you're doing is confusing cause and effect with regard to atheism. Since there are so many other memes (like a high regard for the scientific method) that tend to be common to atheism, it's easy to assume that they're a RESULT of atheism, or a PART of it. But it is the atheism that is the end product, not the beliefs or memes.

Atheism is simply one expression of belief (or more correctly, disbelief) with regard to one notion (the existence of God). It isn't "nothing." It's merely the answer to ONE question ("does God exist?"). Anything that goes beyond this one answer goes BEYOND atheism (like, for example, my anti-theism, which is a proactive opposition to theism in general).


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

"Paladin had this idea of a God that was supposed to listen to his prayers. You can not have prayers answered and there can still be a God."

As someone who is also a former believer I think you are misunderstanding what Paladin is saying. Deconversion is typically a gradual process with many different layers, many pieces of evidence, doubts, and realizations may lead one to ultimately leave belief in God behind.

Many theists will falsely accuse atheists of merely being personally angry with God rather than actually disbelieving but they too miss the point.

When I was fifteen and I was begging God to cleanse my heart of sin and show me my calling and guide me and I received silence in return THAT was when I felt empty, angry, and confused it was only much later, when I was in my early twenties and leaving faith behind for a myriad of reasons that I realized all those unanswered prayers made sense because there was no one to answer them or, if there was a god, it wasn't the sort that listened to our every word and obeyed our every whim.

Also I'd once again like to point out that gods themselves usually have anthropocentric goals, especially those that survive into the modern day. While I would not rule out the existence of a god somewhere out in this vast cosmos I think even if we found a being of great power or intelligence that was or at least seemed beyond our understanding we would still have to consider very carefully whether to call it a god in the first place.

To use a fictional example Time Lords from Doctor Who can live thousands of years, regenerate into new bodies, they possess a great deal of intelligence and can travel anywhere in time and space (if they have a TARDIS of course ) and they have been known to occasionally save the Earth but if they turned out to be real would we call them gods? What qualifies as a god? Must it be supernatural or could there be a natural god? The word itself is too often used for nebulous deistic and pantheistic gods which only seem to use the word god as a place-holder for something else.

The word atheist is very limited as it only describes what you are not, namely not a believer in god(s) however words like ignostic and apatheist also help explore the nuanced attitudes people hold in regards to the god question. I would consider myself an atheist because I don't believe in gods but I would also put forward a separate positive belief that all the gods mankind has ever worshiped or believed in are fictional when considered in the context of the beliefs and mythologies surrounding them.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

Not having a belief is not disbelief. I don't hold a belief, or disbelief about God.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

Whats the difference between agnostic and atheist? Also, I would like to say how impressed I am with how kind you have been in your responses. My opinion of you has changed. I thought you were on this high horse and thought you were better than everyone and thought you were so smart, but now I think you are a good writer that is just seeking truth. That is good. I am glad I commented to learn this.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Titen

Happy Monday! I've thoroughly enjoyed the exchanges shared thus far but would like you to clarify something for me, if you would. Specifically, I'm wondering if you had ever read the Bible in full. Have you?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Tim

Happy Monday to you as well!

There are two flavors of Atheism. One is the Gnostic Atheist who makes the positive claim that he knows God does not exist. The other is that of the Agnostic Atheist who believes God doesn't exist but doesn't know for certain one way or the other.

On the Dawkins scale, the Gnostic Atheist is a 7 whiles the Agnostic Atheist is a 5 or 6. http://bit.ly/19nktlO


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Joseph O Polanco, you asked Titen-Sxull if he had ever read the bible in full.

What is the significance of your question? What will be your reaction to his reply if he says "Yes?" What will be your reaction if he says "No?"

Is you road ahead already decided? Are you intending to "bring him back to the Lord?" Or are you allowing him his total freedom to decide for himself what he wishes to believe and accept concerning "God?"

If your intention is the latter, that is fair and acceptable. Because you have no right to decide his choice for him.

If your choice is the former, then how did you come about your own "beliefs?" Were they imposed upon you, or did you have total freedom to choose?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thank you for your kind words, Tim.

For an atheist, it's sometimes quite difficult to NOT seem condescending and snarky when confronting religion. And it can be a very delicate matter, when challenging someone's belief, to not give personal offense. Especially for the believer, it can be difficult or even impossible to separate an attack on what one believes from an attack on one's person, as the two are so intertwined.

Especially in my particular approach -- where one of my primary objectives is to force the believer to contemplate what it is they believe and why they believe it -- the issues of "honesty" and "objectivity" often inevitably arise. This is an even more delicate matter (but one that is wholly necessary when religious belief requires such an inordinate amount of self-delusion).

Then again, flawed human being that I am, I admittedly sometimes cross the line that distinguishes purely logical or technical debate from personal offense -- especially when I sense that a believer is being condescending or snarky, or is engaging in dishonest tactics or arguments.

Back to the subject at hand: The difference between an a agnostic and an atheist is that the former doesn't KNOW whether God exists and the latter doesn't BELIEVE that God exists.

As for the difference between "dis-belief" and "lack of belief," I suspect it's more of a semantic difference than anything. Still, if there's any distinction at all between the two, I'd say it's a matter of context.

A "lack of belief" is a broad phrase that can apply to ANYTHING -- or even EVERYTHING -- only when not used within a specific context. It is only then that it acquires the more generic meaning you ascribe to it.

Once we use the phrase in a specific context -- as in regard to the question of God's existence -- it becomes equivalent to the more specific phrase "dis-belief." After all, it is only in a specific context that the very word "disbelief" has any practical meaning at all.

As for your statement that you don't hold a belief, or disbelief, about God, I must respectfully disagree. Once confronted with the question of God's existence (as you obviously have), it is literally IMPOSSIBLE for you to neither "believe" nor "not believe," as the very question itself is a matter of belief.

In other words, even if you altogether reject the QUESTION of God's existence or refuse to even consider or contemplate it, you have still demonstrated a lack of belief, purely by default, for the matter of belief is inherent in the question.

Merely by addressing the issue of belief in the context of God's existence from a personal perspective, you literally define yourself as either an atheist or believer. Since you've stated directly that you don't "hold a belief" in God, you define yourself as an atheist, whether you acknowledge a "dis-belief" or not.

On an unrelated note, welcome back to Joseph! I hope all is well with you...


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

But, you can know there is a God. Knowing and believing are different because knowledge is not based in faith. My definition of God is synonymous with awareness. I think that everything is God and part of God. I think it depends on how you view reality. For example, I don't see reality as objective. From my experience and understanding, I see it like a dream, except that the rules are more strict. I don't see the brain as the producer of consciousness. I view reality as subjective.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

I think somehow our views collide and are similar in areas because you said you found yourself and I view that as God because you are God and so am I.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Hmmm. An interesting approach to reality, Tim. As to whether reality is truly objective or subjective, I honestly can't say for certain. There's a lot of fuzzy gray area there, the depths into which I have yet to plunge. Perhaps another day... ;-)

As for "knowing" whether or not there is a god, I must again disagree, for I propose that one can "believe" in a god but not actually "know" whether or not he exists. I personally think that knowledge must be independent of belief, but that belief must be utterly dependent upon knowledge!

I believe that your own definition of God actually accentuates my point. It is so broad and generic that it can be applied to practically any philosophy or set of circumstances -- making it that much easier to "believe." However, it makes it that much more difficult to even presume to "know" whether or not God exists, for there is nothing specific in your definition against which you can compare or contrast your existing sense of "knowledge."

Furthermore, it's the very specificity that is so often offered regarding God's supposed nature and character that makes it easier to actually approach the point of "knowing" whether or not God exists (though I suspect we can never actually reach that point).

With each specific detail or argument, there is another item that can be examined, analyzed or tested against the facts (if applicable). The more details that are offered, the more certain one can become one way or the other as to what one believes. It's a cumulative effect.

But when it comes to "knowledge," I suppose it depends upon what you mean by "knowing." And, as you've demonstrated, it also depends largely on how you define "God." Of course, this is when all those epistemological issues start creeping in, and the discussion starts getting all abstract.

Perhaps that's also better left for another day... ;-)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

I'm just trying to determine what god or gods Titen attempted to draw close to.

And, to answer one of your queries, I was free to choose to believe or not to in the all-loving God of the Bible as is anyone really.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Joseph, that's good... I hope you will always unconditionally allow such freedom for others, regardless of your own beliefs.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

I use God and awareness interchangeably. By God, I just mean awareness which is what you are. You're aware. That's what God is.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

@Joseph O Polanco

"Specifically, I'm wondering if you had ever read the Bible in full. Have you?"

Hi Joe, not to be too self-promotional but if you read my deconversion hub From Superstition to Skepticism, you'll see that reading the Bible in its entirety was one of the biggest steps I made away from Christianity. It was quite by accident. I wanted a revelation directly from God, I wanted those pages to speak to me and reveal God to me and cut out the middle man of fallible human preachers and pastors.

Instead I found that the good God I had been taught to believe in, the merciful and infinite God of the Universe, was not contained in the pages of the Bible. The Biblical God is immoral, self-contradictory, psychotic and his best laid plans involve burning most of humanity in agony for eternity.

To make a long story short I wandered through a great many beliefs and researched all sorts of religions, ideas and gods eventually reaching the conclusion that superstition and the belief in the supernatural are generally harmful and the beliefs themselves usually false or based on false perceptions of reality.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

@TimFellows

"I think somehow our views collide and are similar in areas because you said you found yourself and I view that as God because you are God and so am I."

So in a sense any conscious being is God? Or are we just a part of God? Also how does your belief differentiate from autotheism, or the notion of declaring oneself God?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

@Titen-Sxull Your summary of your Journey is very helpful to me, thank you. For me, the "Journey is All Important." It's what each of us is here to experience.

Leading on from that premise, where you ask: "So in a sense any conscious being is God? Or are we just a part of God?" I would answer, "Both are true."

Back to the analogy of the wave. A wave IS the ocean, at the same time as being a definable PIECE of the ocean.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

Why do people keep calling me timfellows?


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

No, not in a sense. Every conscious being is God. But, that's just a word we can use to talk about it. God, or awareness, or consciousness work too. As long as you understand the message.

Part of, or anyway you wanna say it, yes. Everything is God.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

"Back to the analogy of the wave. A wave IS the ocean, at the same time as being a definable PIECE of the ocean."

Okay, but that brings me back to the question I asked Tim, which would be why call it God? Why not just call it the Universe? The Cosmos? Reality? I went through a pantheistic phase of believing the Universe was God and the separation between creator and created was an illusion taught by religions to control people and teach them they were incomplete and broken. But in the end I realized that there was no reason to use the word God or to assume anything supernatural was going on. I'm in awe of the Universe, whether there is a god or not and whether we want to arbitrarily call the Universe itself God or not. For me calling it God would actually detract from the experience because of all the baggage that word carries with it.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

"Why do people keep calling me timfellows?"

Hasty typing perhaps, or hasty reading. If you think that's bad you should hear the way most people pronounce my user name when they try to say it out loud.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

Enough with the parenthesis.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

You can call it the universe if you want. The words don't really make a difference as long as you get what I am saying.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

I fully agree with your opinions regarding the baggage which comes with the use of the word "God." Personally I only use it in trying to show "believers" there is room for dialogue. For me, it only represents the unknown in relation to how this consciousness that we enjoy has come about. Anything more than that is born out of fear - of that Unknown. IMHO.....


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

Jonny you're a little late


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Did I miss the bus? lol

I am not in total opposition to "believers," one reason being that I was once one myself. But I have moved on to (I think) better understandings.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Titen

You claim that "belief in the supernatural [is] generally harmful and the beliefs themselves usually false or based on false perceptions of reality." (Bracket mine) Could you please show me the harm in teaching others the following:

“YOU heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ However, I say to YOU: Continue to love YOUR enemies and to pray for those persecuting YOU; that YOU may prove yourselves sons of YOUR Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous. For if YOU love those loving YOU, what reward do YOU have? (Matthew 5:43-46)

How precisely is this harmful, false or based on a false perception of reality?


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

@Joseph O Polanco

No offense but your question answers itself. I said belief in the supernatural is generally harmful but what you've just posted is one of Jesus' moral teachings and is not a supernatural belief or claim at all. While I do not share all of Jesus' ethical or moral positions I do not reject all of them either, but I do reject any supernatural claims made about him.

If Jesus were merely a good man and a moral philosopher, one for whom no claim to divinity was ever made, than he would have likely ended up like Socrates or other philosophers of antiquity. It is precisely because of the nature of religious faith and supernatural belief that so much harm came out of Christianity throughout its history and even right into today.

If the Vatican were just a bunch of moral philosophers reiterating the teachings of Christ we would have stormed the place and arrested everyone there for the atrocities that Church has been a part of and covered up in the last few decades alone.

It is because religion hides behind this idea of infallibility, that they are recipients of Revelation beyond our comprehension, that they are somehow beyond reproach and sacred, that they are able to get away with so much and avoid criticism.

There is nothing harmful in teaching the words of Christ, but in pretending that they are the words of a God there can be tremendous harm, besides the fact that its a false claim.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Titen

If you would clarify for me, how do you define "supernatural" and what about Jesus' life and ministry do you consider "supernatural"?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

@ Titen-Sxull thank you for your latest post. Such wisdom, from my own point of view. Keep writing, please!

@ Joseph O Polanco, would you regard the notion of being born of a woman without the influence of a man's sperm; or "curing" people of serious medical conditions with only so much as a word; or actually rising up into the sky having reclaimed his physical body from a dead condition ..... would you regard these as "natural" or "supernatural?"


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

"If you would clarify for me, how do you define "supernatural" and what about Jesus' life and ministry do you consider "supernatural"?"

A supernatural event or miracle is something that could not happen within the natural world without intervention from something beyond it.

Typically supernatural is used as adjective describing a claim or supposed event (ie Jesus' Resurrection) that is used to differentiate it from those things which conform to natural laws/ the possible. A miracle or supernatural event is IMPOSSIBLE within observable reality and thus it is said that the cause or even the event or object in question) is supernatural.

There are many supernatural claims made on Jesus' behalf by the Gospels and other New Testament writings. He was miraculously conceived by the union of Mary and the Holy Spirit, he was the son of God and presumably one third of the Trinity (Christology within the New Testament is debatable but modern Christianity universally accepts the divinity of Christ), he performed miracles including necromancy (raising the dead), and died only to achieve immortality three days later after being raised from the dead himself.

As I've stated if Jesus was a mere philosopher like Socrates, Plato, Diogenes, etc we wouldn't have people covering up child molestation, blowing up abortion clinics, pushing creationism into schools, etc. It is because of the supernatural claims that so much harm came from Christianity, because these false beliefs are what people get hung up on and use to support erroneous morals.

For example the oppression of homosexuals which continues around the world in the name of the two largest Abrahamic faiths, Christianity and Islam, these backwards moral teachings regarding homosexuals are defended because they are from religious texts. Slavery is another example, as both abolitionists and slave owners used the Bible to support their side. These beliefs stunt progress and cause obvious harm.

And to top it all of none of these claims have been verified as even remotely true, no supernatural claim ever has.

Believing false claims is usually harmful.

Supernatural claims fail to meet their burden of proof.

Supernatural claims therefore require a suspension of disbelief grossly disproportionate with the evidence they provide.

Employing this suspension of disbelief, or faith, would therefore lead to accepting false and harmful claims.

So the logical conclusion is to disbelieve supernatural claims until such time that they meet their burden of proof.

And lastly, as to Jesus' moral philosophies, some I agree with and some I don't however I do not have to believe someone was a god to judge their words or their advice. Jesus may not have ever even lived but the merits of the Golden Rule are obvious, so obvious that they appear in dozens of cultures throughout history.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

How is belief in the supernatural harmful?


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

@TimFellow

Believing false claims is typically harmful and I would argue that supernatural claims, by their very nature, are more likely to be false. Also, as I said, they leave the door open to this false assumption of infallibility, of being "sacred" or somehow beyond question, which is dangerous.

That is not to say all supernatural claims are false but like any other claim they must meet the burden of proof, which is steep for extraordinary and supernatural claims.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

You sound like a typical college kid, which is by its very nature, annoying.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

there's Jonny again, late as usual.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

"You sound like a typical college kid, which is by its very nature, annoying."

I was enjoying the discussion but I guess after all that you'd rather make an attempt at ageism.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

@TimFellow, it's better to be late than never....

When you feel annoyed by a "typical college kid," who can engage sensible and logical discussion, then look within.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

"I was enjoying the discussion"

I was enjoying the discussion, but I decided to do another overused tactic. Put what he says in parenthesis.

Jonny where were you ten minutes ago? Jonnycomeearly is way more reliable.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

I spend a lot of time in the garden, Tim. A favourite pastime of mine is making and using compost.....

One great use of compost is if one has Athletes' Foot...... you sit with your feet in a compost pile for about one hour and it takes all the smell away!


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

Late yet again jonny


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

“A scientist is no longer able to say honestly something is impossible. He can only say it is improbable. But he may be able to say something is impossible to explain in terms of our present knowledge. Science cannot say that all properties of matter and all forms of energy are now known. . . . [For a miracle] one thing that needs to be added is a source of energy unknown to us in our biological and physiological sciences. In our Scriptures this source of energy is identified as the power of God.” (Time, July 4, 1955) - Professor John R. Brobeck - University of Pennsylvania

Concordantly, only someone who has a perfect and absolute comprehension of all of nature's forces in all conditions can claim with authority what is and is not a violation of natural law(s). Do you have such an apprehension?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Titen

"The virus eventually entered male gay communities in large United States cities, where a combination of sexual promiscuity (with individuals reportedly averaging over 11 unprotected sexual partners per year[56]) and relatively high transmission rates associated with anal intercourse[57] allowed it spread explosively enough to finally be noticed.[53]"

56: Morris, M.; Dean, L. (1994). "Effect of sexual behavior change on long-term human immunodeficiency virus prevalence among homosexual men". American Journal of Epidemiology 140 (3): 217–232. PMID 8030625

57: Jin F et al. (March 2010). "Per-contact probability of HIV transmission in homosexual men in Sydney in the era of HAART". AIDS 24 (6): 907–913. doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e3283372d90. PMC 2852627. PMID 20139750

53: Gilbert MT, Rambaut A, Wlasiuk G, Spira TJ, Pitchenik AE, Worobey M (2007). "The emergence of HIV/AIDS in the Americas and beyond". Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104 (47): 18566–70. Bibcode:2007PNAS..10418566G. doi:10.1073/pnas.0705329104. PMC 2141817. PMID 17978186

"Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV and are the only risk group in which new HIV infections have been increasing steadily since the early 1990s. In 2006, MSM accounted for more than half (53%) of all new HIV infections in the United States, and MSM with a history of injection drug use (MSM-IDU) accounted for an additional 4% of new infections. At the end of 2006, more than half (53%) of all people living with HIV in the United States were MSM or MSM-IDU. Since the beginning of the US epidemic,MSM have consistently represented the largest percentage of persons diagnosed with AIDS and persons with an AIDS diagnosis who have died." (Center for Disease Control, http://1.usa.gov/1pO6flp)

"CDC estimates that approximately 50,000 people are newly infected with HIV each year in the United States. In 2009 (the most recent year that data are available), there were an estimated 48,100 new HIV infections.1 Most (61%) of these new infections occurred in gay and bisexual men." (Center for Disease Control, http://1.usa.gov/1rf1mmA)

"MSM are the only risk group in the U.S. in which new HIV infections are increasing. While new infections have declined among both heterosexuals and injection drug users, the annual number of new HIV infections among MSM has been steadily increasing since the early 1990s." (http://bit.ly/WMHC0q)

Given the above, it's readily apparent that our Creator's prohibition of homosexuality and promiscuity is of great benefit to us.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Titen

With respect to your example of slavery in the colonial US I'm reminded of this famous quote:

“The vulgar modern argument used against religion, and lately against common decency, would be absolutely fatal to any idea of liberty. It is perpetually said that because there are a hundred religions claiming to be true, it is therefore impossible that one of them should really be true.

The argument would appear on the face of it to be illogical, if anyone nowadays troubled about logic. It would be as reasonable to say that because some people thought the earth was flat, and others (rather less incorrectly) imagined it was round, and because anybody is free to say that it is triangular or hexagonal, or a rhomboid, therefore it has no shape at all; or its shape can never be discovered; and, anyhow, modern science must be wrong in saying it is an oblate spheroid. The world must be some shape, and it must be that shape and no other; and it is not self-evident that nobody can possibly hit on the right one.

What so obviously applies to the material shape of the world equally applies to the moral shape of the universe. The man who describes it may not be right, but it is no argument against his rightness that a number of other people must be wrong.”

― G.K. Chesterton

So you see, the fact that some twisted the Bible's text to support the forced enslavement of Africans in the colonial US has no bearing on what the Bible actually taught. To underscore this fact you may be surprised that, in ancient Israel, the kidnapping and sale of anyone into slavery was a crime punishable with death (See Exodus 21:16)


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

@ Joseph, you are totally biased in whatever you write here, in that you have christian beliefs. You "believe" the existence of a "god," a Creator that is sufficiently interested in the imperfections of what "He" created, that he has to impose a severe penalty for any misdemeanor.

You have an absolute phobia against anything homosexual. That is understandable since you are fundamentally biased. I cannot change that, and have no wish to provided you are willing to leave me out of your beliefs.

HIV and AIDS did not arise simply because people are homosexual. Granted the disease was efficiently assisted in its spread by promiscuity amongst the homosexual community. However, it has been very efficiently assisted in other countries, where heterosexual promiscuity is just as common. Dealing with the promiscuity would help in preventing its spread. Outlawing sexuality is not the answer.

As you will probably know from my posts in other threads, I reject the existence of your god. I am homosexual in my orientation, although whether or to what extent I indulge is none of your business and you will never know the truth. But neither you, nor any believes you might harbour, will ever change me. So don't bother trying.

You could, however, seek to inform yourself of facts about people who are homosexually orientated. You could drop any judgment and accept us as fellow human beings, worthy of consideration on equal basis. That might be a "Christ-like" way to approach us.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

@Joseph

No one needs to twist the words of the Bible to make the morally abhorrent parts any worse, they are already appalling to anyone with a decent moral understanding and an average dose of empathy and compassion. Exodus 21 is one of the chapters in particular that caused me to realize the Bible was written by men and that it's God was either fictional or grossly misrepresented by what they had written. Immediately after giving Moses the 10 commandments and bragging about how he set the Israelites free God sees to fit to tell them they can own slaves from foreign nations and even BEAT THEM SEVERELY. When I was an eighteen year old Christian reading those verses for the first time you can only imagine how angry they made me. The God of peace, the God of this magnificent and transcendent Cosmos, condoning and regulating slavery. Obvious fiction at best, at worst ancient wicked people putting words into the mouth of God.


TimFellow profile image

TimFellow 2 years ago from The Universe

jonny, you're doing it wrong


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Mr. Anonymous Fellow, doing what wrong? You do not know "what" I do, whether it's construed as right or wrong, so you are not in a position to judge me.

The main reason I come back to this subject of puritanical people declaring homosexuality wrong, is that they come at it from a totally biased, uninformed, presumptive position.

Often the judgment comes from individuals who themselves are perpetrators of the very same activities they judge others for. They do it secretly, but pretend to be something else. That is hypocrisy.

Now you, TimFellow, tell me where you think I am "doing it wrong." I am open to reasonable and rational criticism, but not to ignorant rhetoric.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

Yet none of that means Christ condoned homosexuality nor immorality of any kind. In fact he taught, "For from inside, out of the heart of men, come injurious reasonings, sexual immorality [πορνεῖαι.] All these wicked things come from within and defile a man."-Mark 7:21,23 (Bracket mine.)

Further along in the Christian Greek Scriptures we find, “Φεύγετε τὴν πορνείαν. πᾶν ἁμάρτημα ὁ ἐὰν ποιήσῃ ἄνθρωπος ἐκτὸς τοῦ σώματος ἐστιν· ὁ δὲ πορνεύων εἰς τὸ ἴδιον σῶμα ἁμαρτάνει.” -1 Corinthians 6:18

"Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin that a man may commit is outside his body, but whoever practices sexual immorality is sinning against his own body."

“ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἄδικοι θεοῦ βασιλείαν οὐ κληρονομήσουσιν; Μὴ πλανᾶσθε· οὔτε πόρνοι οὔτε εἰδωλολάτραι οὔτε μοιχοὶ οὔτε μαλακοὶ οὔτε ἀρσενοκοῖται οὔτε κλέπται οὔτε πλεονέκται, οὐ μέθυσοι, οὐ λοίδοροι, οὐχ ἅρπαγες βασιλείαν Θεοῦ κληρονομήσουσιν.” - 1 Corinthians 6:9,10

“Or do you not know that unrighteous people will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Do not be misled. Those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts, men who practice homosexuality, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners will not inherit God’s Kingdom.”

"Their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature; likewise also the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and receiving in themselves the full penalty, which was due for their error." -Romans 1:26,27

Notice that those passages utilize conjugations of the key phrase πορνεία. Precisely what is πορνεία?

The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon

πορνεία

Strong's Number: 4202

Transliterated Word - Porneia - Phonetic Spelling - por-ni'-ah

Definition:

Illicit sexual intercourse -

1.1 adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.

As you can clearly see, with just a rudimentary comprehension of the Koine Greek concept of πορνεία , it's clear what exactly is and is not normal human sexual conduct in our Creator's sight.

Does this mean that those with homosexual or bisexual inclinations must forever be a slave to their lust? Not at all! Unalike irrational beasts, human beings are more than capable of adapting their sexual behavior and limiting it to its proper place. (Even those struggling with sexual deviations have benefited greatly from medical advances designed to help them regain their good health.)

Withal, there are many loyal to God who refuse to engage in any kind of porneia. They happily prefer to remain celibate until such time as they find a fitting heterosexual partner to marry and build a natural family with, as our loving Creator originally purposed. Such ones not only enjoy the benefits of having a clean conscience but the wonderful blessings reserved for those who persist in maintaining a close, personal relationship with the Sovereign of the Universe, Jehovah God. (Psalms 83:18; Psalm 97:10; Psalm 145:20; 2 Samuel 22:26; 1 Samuel 2:9)

http://bit.ly/1ckFtZt


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Titen

Your analysis commits the fallacy of Presentism. You need to evaluate their lifestyle by the standards of these ancient cultures, not today's modern ones. For instance, “Freedom in the ancient Near East was a relative, not an absolute state, as the ambiguity of the term for “slave” in all the region’s languages illustrates. “Slave” could be used to refer to a subordinate in the social ladder. Thus the subjects of a king were called his “slaves,” even though they were free citizens. The king himself, if a vassal, was the “slave” of his emperor; kings, emperors, and commoners alike were “slaves” of the gods. Even a social inferior, when addressing a social superior, referred to himself out of politeness as “your slave.” There were, moreover, a plethora of servile conditions that were not regarded as slavery, such as son, daughter, wife, serf, or human pledge.”- A History of Ancient Near Eastern Law 1.40

All your assertions betray your particular mindset, your presumptions as to what you feel slavery to be , the way you imagine these were dealt with as well as what you feel slaves were thought of as by their society . Yet factotums in the Hebrew Scriptures were not viewed as sub-human . They possessed the right to their own personal lives , they enjoyed ‘human dignity’ , they had value . The above-mentioned details are elements anybody can readily deduce from the reality that they were able to purchase their liberty , their murder was punishable by death , the were not permitted to be punished beyond the penalties set for other free Hebrews . Aside from all that , they possessed their very own assets ( anything they bought before offering themselves and/or the cash paid to these for the transaction , they were able to ‘prosper’ and then buy themselves back ) . Their boss bestowed them a part of everything he had produced in the period they helped him as soon as they went free . These were considered cherished members of the family and took part in its regular feasts . They were able to actually consume the holy offerings if they belonged to a priest ( something which no person but members of the priest’s family could do ) . Put simply , anyone that has examined the Pentateuch well enough and without preconception can easily appreciate this .

There were absolutely no ‘two groups’ , certainly no segregation , simply no diminished dignity ( any more than the individuals ended up losing dignity by being known as slaves of the king ) , never any inhuman treatment , certainly no apathy . Simply put , you have mistaken ancient Israel's moral and just labor system for something else entirely .

“The definition of slaves as property runs into conceptual as well as empirical problems. ‘Property’ is a shorthand and abstract term for a bundle of very specific and relatively exclusive rights held by a person (or group) relative to a thing (or person). To say that in any given society, something (say, a person) is ‘property’ has meaning only to the extent that the rights involved are specified and understood in the context of other rights prevalent in the society. For example, in many precolonial African societies, the kin group had the right to sell equally its slave and nonslave members, it had equal control over the wealth acquired by either of them, it extracted (or failed to extract) as much labor from one as from the other, and the majority of slaves were quasi-relatives or actual relatives, and, if prosperous enough, could acquire slaves of their own. Here, obviously, one must look at other features to find the difference between the slave and the ‘free’.” Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology 4:1191, s.v. “Slavery”

“Guterbock refers to ‘slaves in the strict sense,’ apparently referring to chattel slaves such as those of classical antiquity. This characterization may have been valid for house slaves whose master could treat them as he wished when they were at fault, but it is less suitable when they were capable of owning property and could pay betrothal money or fines. The meaning ‘servant’ seems more appropriate, or perhaps the designation ‘semi-free’. It comprises every person who is subject to orders or dependent on another but nonetheless has a certain independence within his own sphere of active.” [A History of Ancient Near Eastern Law:1632]

“However, the idea of a slave as exclusively the object of rights and as a person outside regular society was apparently alien to the laws of the ANE.” [Anchor Bible Dictionary s.v. "Slavery, Ancient Near East"]


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

@Joseph

You are at liberty to follow all that you have written, applying that code in your own life.

I am at liberty to not follow any of what is written in that bible.

Nothing I say will change your mind about what you believe, or what you believe those scriptures tell you. All of your opinion is biased, because your mind is closed to any other interpretation. Yes, my opinion is biased also. You have already judged my life on the basis of your opinion. I see your teachings as trying to determine the path of my life. I do not allow you to do that.

If you would like to expand your mind to other possibilities, please read the hub of Hanavee, http://hanavee.hubpages.com/hub/The-Bible-Does-NOT... He quotes from a book, which I have read with great interest. It teaches me that there are alternative ways of reading the traditional interpretations of the bible. I am not condemned to a "Hell" for eternity, no matter what you imagine.

Your sermons are of no interest to me. You can declare that I will face that god of yours when I die, but that is an empty idea, one to be ignored because it is in no way true.... just a belief, a superstition. There is no such god waiting for me.

Therefore... no convert here, Joseph.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

“Your analysis commits the fallacy of Presentism. You need to evaluate their lifestyle by the standards of these ancient cultures”

Apparently you don't understand the context of what I was talking about Joe. According to what I was taught Exodus 21 and the rest of the Biblical laws, Old and New Testament, all have God's stamp of approval. When I was an eighteen year old Christian, nearly ten years ago now, reading those verses for the first time, I was reading them in that context. Of course if the Bible ISN'T divinely inspired berating its authors for being slave-owners would be a waste of time, but we live in a world where BILLIONS OF PEOPLE believe a GOD had a hand in its authorship.

“All your assertions betray your particular mindset, your presumptions as to what you feel slavery to be”

No. My assertions are based on what Exodus 21 and the rest of the Mosaic law say slavery is, namely owning another human being as property and being able to beat them provided they recover within a few days time.

“Yet factotums in the Hebrew Scriptures were not viewed as sub-human”

Honestly Joe I don't give two shits if they were considered subhuman or were property in a "modern sense", slavery, even the nice fluffy version the ancient Middle East had (according to you) is not the sort of thing we'd expect an omnibenevolent God to want. Obviously you're not getting it. Its not about what the Israelites did and what their culture allowed its about the fact that Christians claim the Israelite culture and laws were set up by God himself. The Bible doesn't say slavery was something the Israelites practiced and condoned, it says it was something God himself condoned and in Exodus 21 he supposedly sets up those regulations.

The point is that the Bible wasn't written by a God, it wasn't inspired by one either, because it has all the hallmarks of a book written by fallible ancient men. The fact that it has you defending slavery should be a big red flag that your Holy book is anything but...


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

All of your hand waving is absent any proof whatsoever. Your position, then, very much falls in line with this famous quote:

“Atheists don’t hate fairies, leprechauns, or unicorns because they don’t exist. It is impossible to hate something that doesn't exist. Atheists — like the painting experts hated the painter — hate God because He does exist.”

― Ray Comfort


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Titen

God did not institute slavery of any kind the very same way he did not institue poligamy or a whole host of other human customs. In his great wisdom, instead of outlawing such practices outright with the ancient Israelites, he saw fit to regulate these until he saw fit to do away with them. So, no, I'm not defending slavery especially since the ancient laws of Israel punished the kidnapping and sale of others into slavery with death. (See Exodus 21:16)

All this aside, I'm very curious to know how you know with such certainty what an omnibenevolent and all-knowing God would or would not do or temporarily allow?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Knowing what is written in that ancient book, being able to quote it and appear "moral" does not bring much wisdom with it. Instead of making judgment on the basis of those writings, why not get out and do some real down-to-earth work with those sinners. Just help them live. Love them.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Your first reference:

You cannot take one story, that possibly (not necessarily) was a success for that person, and translate it into another person's life.

Anyway, it is not unusual for JWs to take a person, who happens to be on "the bottom rung" in their life, when there is virtually no other direction that person can move to, then JWs claim the credit for the person "reforming."

Second reference:

Same situation as above.

Third reference:

The one reason you are in this Hub is to proselytize. You will find any negative aspect of a person's life, magnify it in that person's mind, get him or her into a position where they will listen to your preaching, your goading, then you pounce. Crafty, cunning, blatant, self-serving.

Fourth reference:

The bible is NOT clear in its attitude to homosexuality. There are other ways of interpretation.

There was nothing written at the fifth reference.

Read the book which I referred to earlier in this discussion. Your entire attitude towards homosexual people is tarnished by your religion. There is no love involved.

I do not accept the existence of a god, or any life after my death. All your talk about "sin," "redemption," "being saved," evil, devil, satan, etc., is in the effort to gain control over the lives of others. Go and do your bidding elsewhere.

Nothing I can say will change your mind, because you are steeped, indelibly in that religion, so I will not waste my breath. Btw, I notice you have not written anything about yourself in your profile. Afraid of frightening people away?

Have a good day, Joseph.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

@Joe

“God did not institute slavery of any kind the very same way he did not institue poligamy or a whole host of other human customs. In his great wisdom, instead of outlawing such practices outright”

Go and read your Bible Joe. Exodus 21 is supposed to be the DIRECT WORDS OF GOD HIMSELF to Moses, its the chapter right after the 10 commandments, and in those verses God tells Moses all the rules and regulations for slavery including how brutally they are allowed to BEAT THEIR SLAVES.

We are NOT talking about something God ALLOWED the Israelites to continue doing, we're talking about Exodus, God has just freed them from slavery, they don't have any slaves yet, they don't even really have a nation yet. Try to think about things before you type them. This is not some time tested cultural practice that God has decided to turn a blind eye to and the fact that every time I have this discussion with a (slavery) apologist I have to explain that fact it frightens me to wonder what other parts of your Bible you've ignored or forgotten. God condoned, regulated and explained how he wanted slavery to work, that's what the Bible literally actually says happened.

“I'm very curious to know how you know with such certainty what an omnibenevolent and all-knowing God would or would not do or temporarily allow?”

I don't think I need to explain to you why owning another human being is wrong. The moral issue of slavery has been debated for thousands of years, its not something that became immoral overnight or as the result of Abraham Lincoln, it was always immoral and mankind's moral understanding and compassion had to eventually overcome the practical benefits of keeping slaves and the dehumanization that slaves often faced. An omnibenevolent God would be MORE moral than humans, so to say that humans can figure out slavery is wrong but God can't is stupid. So what moral standard should we expect from a good God? Because I expected one superior to human morality.

And to suggest that God couldn't have sat down with the Israelites and reasoned with them about why slavery was wrong. Why not? He's God right? You believe he can do ANYTHING right? So why the hell would it have been so hard to stop them from keeping slaves? The answer is simpler than you might think, its because people wrote the Bible and a God had nothing to do with it.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Titen

You're still missing the point. After all, who are you to dictate what is right and what is wrong, what is moral or immoral? Who made you God Almighty?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

And what if you're completely wrong? (Your position is not, after all, supported by any concrete evidence.) What then?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

@Joseph to Titen: " ...who are you to dictate what is right and what is wrong, what is moral or immoral?

Indeed Joseph! And you? Do you follow every "law" and moral directive that you find written in the bible to the nth degree? I bet you select very carefully to see which you can manage and reject or ignore the others. Don't we all?

Joseph to Jonny: "And what if you're completely wrong? (Your position is not, after all, supported by any concrete evidence.)"

Neither is your position, Joseph. Simply agreeing amongst yourselves in the JWs does not make you completely right.

You, I, everyone might be completely wrong. I take the course that suits me, but do not subject myself to your judgment. I am not authorised or fit to subject you to my judgment. You take the course that suits yourself.

However, when a book of ancient writings is interpreted to suit the preconceptions, in order to judge that two people of the same gender, enjoying a fruitful, loving life together, are being "sinful" and likely to spend eternity in "hell," then I say - that is wrong!


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

Yes, I follow God's laws for Christians to the very best of my abilities. That's what being loyal to All-Loving God means.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

Forgot to add that following All-Loving God's laws is not only simple but an absolute delight! After all, everything he requires of us is for our own eternal benefit :)


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

That "God," built up in your mind, for your own edification, has nothing to do with me, Sir. Please yourself. Leave me out of it.

Your mind is just one of 7 billion. So is mine. Each entitled to our own understanding.

For me, there is no such God.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

I'm sorry, Joseph, but the image of God portrayed in your very own Bible is hardly "all-loving." Based upon his commandments and his actions, he is an insecure, bigoted, murderous, genocidal sociopath.

It literally ASTOUNDS me that anyone can read the Old Testament (and the New Testament, for that matter, with its descriptions of Hell), and still say that God is "loving" with a straight face. It's absolutely mind-boggling! Outside of religion, a person making such a delusional claim about such an outrageously evil being would be considered insane.

I realize that neither God nor Satan actually exist, but compared to God (as described in the Bible), Satan is the fairy godmother.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

Do you have a problem with law and order because that's what it sounds like. Just sayin'.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

And you can also race your car across any freeway but it doesn't mean you're not eventually gonna get caught and fined for speeding ... or worse.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Law and order? Really, Joseph?

Which of God's atrocities are "law and order?" Is it when he commands the killing of people who work on the Sabbath, or children who curse or "smite" their parents, or people who worship the wrong god, or have gay sex, or are a witch or a wizard, or get too close to the tabernacle, or try to convert a member of their family to another religion, or -- if they're a woman -- aren't a virgin on their wedding night?

Or maybe it's when he commands the Israelites to slaughter every man, woman and child in neighboring tribes, merely because they worship the wrong god, or are living in land promised to the Israelites.

Or perhaps it's when he orders the particularly sinister practice of sparing the virgin women of these same tribes to be kept as sex slaves. Or maybe when he orders the bellies of pregnant women to be ripped open with swords, or making sure mothers with children see their children "dashed" on the ground before their eyes.

Then again, perhaps it's "law and order" when God promises the Israelites time and time again that he'll force them to eat their own children.

Or maybe it's when he continues to rain down horrific and murderous plagues on the Egyptians, long after Pharaoh was willing to release the Israelites, but prolonged because God purposely "hardened" Pharaoh's heart (at least twice), just to prove a point.

Speaking of "proving a point," perhaps it's when God and Satan start making bets over Job, where God allows Satan to afflict Job with all sorts of abuse (joining in the fun himself, of course), from destroying his property, killing members of his family and even covering his body with boils.

Maybe it's "law and order" when God decides to destroy every living thing on the planet (except for a procreating couple of each -- or seven of the clean ones to kill later), all for things that Man supposedly did.

If it's none of those -- and certainly, there are many more examples -- then surely it must be "law and order" when he condemns people to an eternity of fiery torment for not loving him.

Joseph, these aren't the actions of someone establishing "law and order." They're demonstrations of the character of a being (albeit an imaginary one) who demands complete, sycophantic and slavish obedience and love, yet gives NO love, compassion or friendship in return.

...and before you're tempted to begin quoting John 3:16 to me, consider that, if humans are indeed in need of redemption, God could have chosen to allow this in any number of infinitely more just ways.

He didn't have to force people into accepting the hideous and tortuous death of another human being as the only means of "salvation" -- essentially trapping them in a web of debt they neither willingly incurred nor can ever actively repay on their own, through their own actions.

The more you think about the supposed nature of this deity, the more evil, hideous and psychopathic he appears. If Heaven and Hell actually existed, THIS is the guy you'd want in charge of Hell. He's a perfect fit.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Joseph, do you have on your bookshelf one titled, "Irrelevant Analogies?"


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

IOW, your choices and actions in life have consequences.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

Would a sadistic warmongering god ever extend mercy? Yet, when the people of one particular Canaanite city , Gibeon , sought mercy , Jehovah extended it . ( Joshua 9 :3-27 ) Could a bloodthirsty war god have done so ? Of course no , yet a God who delights in peace and justice would certainly .—Psalm 33 :5 ; 37 :28 .

Over and over again , the Bible connects God’s blessing with tranquility because Jehovah is a lover of peace , not war . ( Numbers 6 :24-26 ; Psalm 29 :11 ; 147 :12-14 ) Due to this fact , when King David hoped to erect a holy space of worship to Jehovah , God explained to him : “You will not build a house for my name, for you have shed a great deal of blood on the earth before me .”—1 Chronicles 22 :8 ; Acts 13 :22 .

While on earth , the Greater David , Jesus Christ , referred to an era when God’s love of justice would cease to permit him to stomach the modern-day ungodliness we observe the world over . ( Matthew 24 :3 , 36-39 ) As he did with the Flood of Noah’s time as well as in the devastation of Sodom and Gomorrah , Jehovah God Almighty will very soon take judicial measures to scour the world of narcissistic , ungodly individuals , thereby paving the path for tranquil conditions to exist under his heavenly Kingdom rule .—Psalm 37 :10 , 11 , 29 ; Daniel 2 :44 .

Now, even though the Bible recounts Jehovah God’s past adverse judgments frankly, you need to keep in mind that such were invariably against ungodly individuals and in defense of the innocent . After all, “Minatur innocentibus qui parcit nocentibus.”

By way of example , it was not until the entire world of Noah’s time finally became “filled with violence” that Jehovah declared : “As for me, I am going to bring floodwaters upon the earth to destroy from under the heavens all flesh that has the breath of life .” ( Genesis 6 :11 , 17 ) Surrounding another judgment , it absolutely was only as a result of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had “abandoned themselves to sexual immorality and were bent on perverted sensuality” that God caused it to “rain sulfur and fire .”—Jude 7 , The New Berkeley Version ; Genesis 19 :24 .

Did God relish bringing all flesh to ruin in Noah’s day ? Or did he derive some fiendish pleasure from destroying the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah ? For an answer , let us look at the events surrounding the Flood of Noah’s day . The Holy Scriptures inform us that it devastated God that “every inclination of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only bad all the time .” Their maleficence ' saddened his heart. ' Nonetheless , God dispatched Noah , “a preacher of righteousness ,” to sound a monition as well as to construct an ark for the preservation of the godly .—Genesis 6 :3-18 ; 2 Peter 2 :5 . ( Bracket mine ) So you see, undesirable judgments from God Almighty have at all times resulted only because evil men and/or women adamantly refuse to forbear their depravity and evildoing , not because Jehovah delights in doing away with individuals . Now you might ask yourself , ‘Did not Jehovah spur the Israelites to battle with various other nations and obliterate these ?’

The Amalekites , just to illustrate , were “the first one of the nations” to launch an unprovoked assault on the Israelites after the Exodus , at Rephidim in the vicinity of Mount Sinai . For this reason , Jehovah decreed absolute annihilation for the Amalekites . ( Nu 24 :20 ; Ex 17 :8-16 ; De 25 :17-19 ) Twice in the course of the period of the Judges these acrimonious foes of Israel shared in attacking Israel . They did it in the times of Eglon king of Moab . ( Jg 3 :12 , 13 ) Yet again , with the Midianites together with Easterners , they ransacked the territory of Israel seven years before Gideon together with his 300 men dealt them a great defeat .—Jg 6 :1-3 , 33 ; 7 :12 ; 10 :12 . As a result of their unrelenting violence , in the period of the kings Jehovah ‘called to account’ the Amalekites , instructing King Saul to strike them down , which he actually did “from Havilah as far as Shur , which is in front of Egypt .” ( 1Sa 15 :2-33 )

Meanwhile , demon worship , child sacrifice , sadistic violence , together with a range of disgusting sex worship were the order of the day with the Canaanites . Being a God of justice , Jehovah would not make it possible for these types of sickening practices to thwart the tranquility and safety of godly human beings , in particular Israel . ( Deuteronomy 5 :9 ) To illustrate , imagine if the neighborhood where you reside was without a legitimate police force or militia to apply the laws and regulations of the land—would that not give rise to sheer bedlam and violent rioting of the worst kind ? Equally , Jehovah was required to take action against the Canaanites owing to their licentiousness as well as the legitimate peril they presented to pure worship . For this reason , he decreed : “the land is unclean, and I will bring punishment on it for its error, and the land will vomit its inhabitants out.”—Leviticus 18 :25 . “ It is because of the wickedness of these nations that Jehovah is driving them away from before you” , he conveyed to the Israelites at Deuteronomy 9 :4-6 , “It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to take possession of their land .”

Divine justice was undertaken every time God’s executional forces—the Israelite armies—destroyed the Canaanites . That God decided to make use of human beings to execute this judgment , in lieu of fire or flood , could not lessen the verdict . Consequently , when warring with the nations of Canaan , the Israelite legions were mandated : "In the cities of these peoples, which Jehovah your God is giving you as an inheritance, you must not allow any breathing thing to live. Instead, you should devote them completely to destruction, the Hit′tites, the Am′or·ites, the Ca′naan·ites, the Per′iz·zites, the Hi′vites, and the Jeb′u·sites, just as Jehovah your God has commanded you; so that they may not teach you to follow all their detestable practices that they have done for their gods, causing you to sin against Jehovah your God." —Deuteronomy 20 :16-18 .

As opposed to Ares , Otrera , Keres , Enyo or Eris , among others , Jehovah God is a respecter of life . Accordingly , He would not endorse indiscriminate slaying . Deuteronomy 20 :10 and 11 instructed the ancient Israelites , ““If you approach a city to fight against it, you should also announce to it terms of peace. If it gives a peaceful answer to you and opens up to you, all the people found there will become yours for forced labor, and they will serve you."

Even though Israelite troops were permitted to marry captives they had to attend to them with the same rights and honor due to an Israelite wife . Poles apart from what's seen in today's wars , Israelite soldiers were absolutely barred from raping or otherwise abusing women . Jehovah instructed , "If you go to war against your enemies and Jehovah your God defeats them for you and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you are attracted to her and you want to take her as your wife, you may bring her into your house. She should then shave her head, attend to her nails, and remove the clothing of her captivity, [for hygienic reasons ] and dwell in your house. She will weep for her father and her mother a whole month, and afterward you may have relations with her; you will become her husband and she will become your wife. But if you are not pleased with her, you should then let her go wherever she wishes. But you may not sell her for money or treat her harshly.” -Deuteronomy 21:10-14 ( Bracket mine . )

Unmistakably , then , Jehovah is not the bloodthirsty God he is undeservedly charged of being . Having said that , he will not shrink back from rendering justice whenever it is due . God’s love of goodness demands that he take action on behalf of those godly ones who love him by eradicating the evil system that oppresses them all . When he does so , authentic peacefulness will certainly flourish earth wide as the genuinely meek ones unitedly worship Jehovah , “the God of peace .”—Philippians 4 :9 .


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

"@Jonny

IOW, your choices and actions in life have consequences."

They sure do, Joseph. In THIS life. There is no other.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

Prove it. Prove there's no hope for man beyond death.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

You prove there is. I say "Proof." Not just something that satisfies your mind.

However, whether there is any consciousness beyond death or not, what, please what?, is the point of arguing about it?

Here and now, you and I and everyone else human, we have the ability to reason our way through life. Surely such an ability is wasted on arguing something that can never be proven.

If you wish to carry on that sort of discussion, please count me out. There is lots for me to keep doing, lots of good, down-to-earth activity that gives me fresh air, achievement, good company and an optimistic future. This does not include religious dogma.... I find that a waste of time.

Have a good day.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

Consider the following -

"To my surprise, I found substantial knowledge and deep insight in the pages of the Bible. I was fascinated with researching the scientific accuracy of the Bible and the fulfillment of hundreds of detailed prophecies applying to events occurring over thousands of years of human history. I was especially impressed by how the integration of multiple Bible prophecies—in the books of Daniel and Revelation—provides a solid basis for determining that we live in “the last days.”—2 Timothy 3:1.

In studying the Bible, I was unknowingly in excellent company. I later learned that Sir Isaac Newton, regarded as one of the greatest scientific geniuses of all time, admired and intensely researched the Bible. Like Newton, I focused on prophecies in Daniel and Revelation that foretold major historical events and developments that have actually occurred. However, I had the distinct advantage of living during and after the realization of the many prophecies that have been fulfilled since Newton’s day. I discovered that these prophecies are amazingly diverse and extensive as well as unerring and undeniable. It was an eye-opener to realize that the entire Bible, penned by more than 40 men over a period of 1,600 years, contains an internally consistent, coherent, and compelling message concerning the major issues facing humankind and its future.

Letting go of my belief in evolution did not come without resistance, however. I respected the substantial weight of scientific authority backing up this theory. Nevertheless, I discovered that all Bible statements about the physical world are entirely consistent with known facts and cannot be disproved. I came to appreciate that in order to achieve a complete, cohesive understanding of the Bible’s extensive, interrelated contents, one cannot discount a single teaching, including the creation account in Genesis. I therefore discerned that acceptance of the entire Bible as truth was the only reasonable conclusion." -Dr. Kenneth Tanaka - Former Atheist (http://bitly.com/1ebIe05)


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, I've never seen anyone work so hard to rationalize evil as I've just read in your latest comments to me. Your attempt to explain away the taking of sex slaves in battle was particularly disgusting -- as if, somehow, "marrying" them makes everything legal and proper. Utterly despicable.

Then again, addressing the genocide commanded against the tribes and nations around Palestine, you don't even try to rationalize it. You merely claim that God used the Israelite armies to "execute his judgment," as if that somehow makes it more legitimate.

But whether he's doing it himself -- as in the case of the Egyptian plagues and the worldwide flood -- or using humans to carry out his bloodthirsty purposes, it's still the act of a murderous psychopath. Hitler doesn't get a pass because he didn't personally kill millions of innocent people in his concentration camps, and neither does God.

Still, your weakest attempt at rationalization is that God was merely executing "ungodly individuals." I'd like to hear your explanation (or, more likely, your rationalization) of how being "ungodly" makes someone deserving of death or torture (let alone ETERNAL torture), or what this has to do with "justice" or "law and order."

You also assert that, in committing his barbarities, God was acting "in defense of the innocent," tossing it in as almost an afterthought. But please name me ONE instance where one of these acts was "in defense of the innocent." Just one.

Joseph, you really need to examine what you've just written here, in your latest response to my comments -- how you've gone out of your way to rationalize and explain away the most horrific atrocities ever committed to paper -- as a whole, worse than ANYTHING humans have ever committed.

You really need to think long and hard about how you set about searching through apologetic resources, trying to find some sort of "answer" to some of the evils I've listed here (though some you entirely ignored). How many times, in the midst of your fervent efforts to defend God's action at all costs, did that little inner voice of human morality cry out that something is amiss here, but you just ignored it and pushed ahead, anyway.

I'm going to continue forcing you to make such outrageous (and immoral and dishonest) apologies for Biblical atrocities -- as well as its contradictions and inconsistencies -- as long as you're willing to engage others in a public forum such as this.

I have no doubt that, the longer you do it, the more your conscience will begin to weigh on you, and the more difficult it will become to maintain the dissonance between what you're saying and what, deep down, you know to be true -- that the atrocities of the Bible are an evil for which there is no defense.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

First I need to clarify that the Hellfire doctrine is a perverse Antichrist mendacity that defames God. As a God of justice and love he would never prescribe infinite punishment for a finite crime no matter how wicked: http://bit.ly/17fVMYm


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

As for the rest of your reply, I refute your claims in the careful rejoinder I submitted. I know it's a lot of information to take in but if you go through it with care instead of just skimming it you'll see that the only dissonance that exists is that between your caricature of All-Loving God Jehovah and what the Bible record actually states.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Joseph, I have fully considered the posting of a quote from Dr. Kenneth Tanaka. It seems he was a Baptist minister before becoming involved with the JWs. Thus he does not come at the subject with no prior bias.

Whether he believes in a god or not; whether he feels drawn to your religion or not; whatever conclusions he comes to after researching the subject extensively, that in no way implies that I or anyone elsoe can/should follow suit.

You church obviously likes to quote from him, because he backs up what you believe. Not a good reason for me to take all that story on board in my own life efforts.

Fair try on your part, but totally unsuccessful.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

So if I'm understanding you correctly (and I think I am), you expect an atheist scientist to be convinced of the evidence for God's necessary existence but still remain an atheist? Is that right?


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jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Joseph, you are not understanding me correctly. You are trying to put words into my mouth. Nothing you have said in this most recent post above can be drawn from what I have said or not said.

Throughout this thread you have consistently tried to imply that I am "bad" in relation to that fictitious god that you worship.

You have tried to use scriptures of an ancient book to prove that I need to change my ways.....

You have consistently tried to present to me a reason for me converting to your religion.

You and your mission represent to me all that is obnoxious about religious evangelism. That is, the presumption that you are right, and I am wrong; the beliefs you have are right and any beliefs I might have are wrong; that what I do in and with my life are necessarily subject to the judgment and punishments of your fictitious god.

I have never asked you to poke your nose or interfere in my life. You have no business even questioning me. If you think otherwise, then you are arrogant and conceited.

I do care about the other people you try to influence with your self-appointed mission. They are quite likely to fall into the trap that you fell into. You have allowed yourself to be hooked and landed by your "church." They want control of your life and they obviously have got it. More fool you for allowing that to happen.... but you don't fool me, nor does your church.

Control, Joseph. That is what it's all about. Admit it.... you have been had.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

You're wrong. It's not about control but freedom. Freedom from an oppresive and wicked system of things that only brings misery, anguish and death with it's sensless wars, corruption and politicking. Freedom from illnesses that have hopelessly ravaged man for centuries with no cures in sight. Freedom to live in a paradisaic world where peace, unity, joy and love will reign for all time. It evens means freedom from the very clutches of death and the freedom to receive our dead loved ones with full life and vigor. If you too would like to enjoy this precious freedom we enjoy then I kindly invite you to study the Bible and learn what is in store for mankind in the very near future :)


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jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

No Joseph. YOU are wrong. Everything you are saying is to create fear, then offer an antidote, all in order to "win" people over.

Your object IS to control the lives of others along the lines that YOU and your cronies preach.

Such preaching of religion is and has been one of the major causes of war and turmoil in the history of the human species.

Go away. Do your prosletizing elsewhere.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, there are a great many things I have to say in reply to your most recent comments -- most predominantly, your absurd assertion that you refuted any of my previous claims. Then, there's the even more ridiculous assertion that Hell isn't described as an eternal punishment in the Bible (while I have plenty of scriptural evidence to the contrary).

However, I feel ill at ease continuing this discussion while you and Jonny are also engaging in another debate. It feels to me as if we're ganging up on you, and that's not my style. Also, it's distracting me from taking more of an interest in what you and Jonny have said so far, and I don't like that, either.

So, I'll sit back for a while and let your discussion with Jonny develop. I have absolutely no qualms about ceding the floor others, and we can certainly resume our discussion once you're done.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

Correct me if I'm wrong but weren't Danton, Lenin, Sanger, Than Shwe, Stalin, Mengele, Mao, Kim Il Sung, Ceausescu, Honecker, Castro, Pol Pot, Broz Tito and Milosevic oppressive, sadistic, democidal atheists who, collectively, murdered ***hundreds of millions*** of helpless men, women and little children?


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Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

I don't mind continuing our exchange if you don't :)


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jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

@Paladin, my apologies for allowing this hijacking of your Hub.

@Joseph, I do object to continuing this exchange. It is not what I am here for.

@ Paladin again, a quote from your hub: "I suspected that I hadn't done something right -- or more fundamentally, that there was something wrong with me (I now understand that this feeling is very common among those who seek out God. It's no accident that "conversions" and "rebirths" usually happen in crowds of enthusiastic believers, where atmosphere and shared experience can overwhelm the senses and convince one of something that isn't there)."

So much of what you have written rings true in my life. My walk and search for meaning took a similar path, but will not go into details here.

Suffice to say that the result of becoming a non-believer has come after long and tedious inner searching. No one can take that away from me, because it's on firm ground. Not to say I am closed to other information/understanding, far from it. However, my journey continues to be mine, period. My choices, my responsibility, the onus being upon me for any mistakes as well as successes.

Thank you for being a like-minded acquaintance of my journey.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Fair enough, Joseph.

Incidentally, I didn't merely "skim" your reply to me. I simply didn't find any substantial refuting of the previous points I made. I'll now explain why.

I listed quite a few of God's atrocities (and certainly not a comprehensive list). You addressed a handful, and some of those only peripherally, yet you now presume that you've "refuted" them all. Not by a longshot.

First, in response to my mentioning of the numerous atrocities commanded by God in the Israelites' wars of conquest, you cite ONE example of God's supposed "mercy" -- the Gibeonites. But you can hardly call this "mercy," since they would have been slaughtered outright if they hadn't surrendered. In any case, ONE exception -- however weak it is -- doesn't "refute" the overall pattern of genocide.

Of course, after Joshua and the Israelites extended "mercy" to the Gibeonites by conquering them (instead of wiping them off the face of the earth), they resumed their bloodshed -- at God's command -- killing every man, woman and child in Makkedah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron and Debir. And that's just chapter 10! Again, what part of "law and order" and "all-loving" includes the slaughter of innocent children?

Next, you cite a few Biblical references that claim that God is a lover of "peace." Yet how is that any different from you claiming the same thing, when the actual ACTIONS of God disprove such a claim?

It's a well-established axiom that what really matters is what you DO, not what you SAY. This applies particularly well to your attempt to mitigate countless atrocities in the Bible by citing a few songs of misguided praise.

The Bible could be FULL of psalms praising God for loving peace, but if the historical narrative of the Bible portrays a God who loves bloodshed, violence and genocide, that only demonstrates the outrageous cognitive dissonance of the book -- and yours, when you make similar claims.

Next, you cite the stories of the worldwide flood and the destruction of Sodom. As I already mentioned, you preceded this with the declaration that God was executing "judgments" against "ungodly individuals and in defense of the innocent." But, again, I ask you -- how does being "ungodly" merit genocide?

As for "defending the innocent," you cite a quote that "He threatens the innocent who spares the guilty." So, are you saying that the only way to spare the "innocent" is to kill EVERYONE -- including the innocent -- just to make certain you get those who are guilty? That makes absolutely NO sense whatsoever.

When God ordered his troops to rip open the bellies of pregnant women, was that to make certain he wasn't "sparing the guilty?" When he ordered children dashed to the ground before their mothers eyes, was he making certain he wasn't "sparing the guilty?" When he ordered them to kill every man, woman and child in the territories they conquered, was that also making certain they weren't "sparing the guilty?"

When God killed every living creature on the planet -- including countless billions of innocent animals -- was he, again, making certain he wasn't "sparing the guilty?" Come on, Joseph...

Next, you refer to the attack of the Amalekites on the Israelites in the desert during the exodus, claiming that they were the "first of the nations" to launch "an unprovoked assault on the Israelites." Yet, from what I've seen in the Old Testament narrative, they were the ONLY group to launch an attack on the Israelites that was "unprovoked."

Again, you cite ONE exception, as if that somehow "refutes" the overall pattern of genocidal conquest against the nations and tribes of the region. Hopefully, you're beginning to notice a pattern here...

Next, you cite the supposed "demon worship , child sacrifice , sadistic violence , together with a range of disgusting sex worship" as justification for the genocide of whole tribes and nations -- again, including innocent children.

Then, you try to further justify it by offering an analogy of a lawless neighborhood, with the presumption that things would turn to "sheer bedlam" without some authority to establish "law and order." But that's NOT what God did, is it?

To continue your analogy, your apparent solution is to slaughter EVERYONE in the neighborhood -- including innocents -- in order to prevent "bedlam" and establish "law and order." Do you honestly believe what you're typing?

Next, you claim that God is a "respecter of life." But the examples I've cited -- and there are MANY more -- absolutely, unequivocally refute your claim. The God of the Bible is a lover of DEATH, destruction and violence.

Next is your somewhat repulsive rationalization of God's command for the Israelites to take sex slaves. You claim that the Israelites were "absolutely barred from raping" women, but, again, that simply isn't true.

Let's be perfectly honest about this -- what you're saying is that, if you wish to rape a woman and keep her as a sex slave, you should marry her first. I would LOVE to hear you repeat that to any woman I know!

You finish by repeating your preposterous equivocation that God is merely executing "divine justice." But you gloss over not only the countless innocents who were incapable of any wrongdoing (animals, children and fetuses in the womb) but you ignore one of the most fundamental tenants of genuine justice -- that the punishment should fit the crime.

The sadistic and malevolent dispenser of "justice" you're defending wipes out entire cultures -- including countless innocents -- for the supposed deviances of a few. He orders the deaths of people who commit the most inconsequential of infractions, like talking back to one's parents or working on the Sabbath. And he condemns souls to an eternity of torment for failing to love him.

Joseph, if anyone -- say a general or warlord -- in contemporary times were to commit the genocidal atrocities attributed to God in the Old Testament, you would surely condemn him as evil. You, as a moral and civilized person, might even demand that he stand trial in the Hague for war crimes.

Yet, because of years of religious indoctrination, you look at that very same behavior in your God and type -- no doubt with an absolutely straight face -- that he is "loving," "just," a "respecter of life" and an arbiter of "law of order."

I'm wondering how long your conscience can allow such dissonance.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Jonny, neither you nor Joseph have any need to apologize! I include the "comments" capsule on each of my hubs to encourage discussion -- including those that don't include me!

I only proposed backing off to Joseph because I didn't want to feel as if we were both ganging up on him. Few things rile me more than an unfair fight and, since we're both obviously in opposition to Joseph's point of view, that didn't seem fair to me.

However, Joseph has stated that it's fine if we continue, so that sufficiently soothes my conscience for now.

As for the hub itself, I had been enjoying reading the de-conversion stories of many other ex-believers here on HubPages. It always gives me hope to see others who have escaped the delusion, and it encourages me to keep focusing my efforts on current believers, like Joseph, who may also someday see the light. Nothing would give me greater pleasure and satisfaction in my life than to believe that, even in some small way, I personally helped someone follow that noble path.

In any case, I decided it was time to add my own story to the mix. For reasons of privacy, some of the details have been left out, but I believe it portrays the general themes of my transition pretty accurately.

Thanks for visiting, and for your kind words!


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

1. The Gibeonites certainly did experience kind and forgiving treatment when they could have been treated harshly for their wrongdoing. That's the very definition of mercy!

2. RE: The Canaanites

Once again, demon worship , child sacrifice , sadistic violence , together with a range of disgusting sex worship were the order of the day with the Canaanites . Being a God of justice , Jehovah would not make it possible for these types of sickening practices to thwart the tranquility and safety of godly human beings , in particular Israel . ( Deuteronomy 5 :9 )

3. RE: The Great Flood

Once again, The Holy Scriptures inform us that it devastated God that “every inclination of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only bad all the time .” Their maleficence ' saddened his heart. ' Nonetheless , God dispatched Noah , “a preacher of righteousness ,” to sound a monition as well as to construct an ark for the preservation of the godly .—Genesis 6 :3-18 ; 2 Peter 2 :5 . ( Bracket mine )

So you see, undesirable judgments from God Almighty have at ALL TIMES resulted ONLY because evil men and/or women adamantly refuse to forbear their depravity and evildoing , not because Jehovah delights in doing away with individuals .

4. RE: Sodom and Gomorrah

Lot and his family were protected by God's just action. See 3.

5. Correct me if I'm wrong but weren't Elizabeth Bathory, Brian And David Freeman, Nelson Byrdwell, Edmund Kemper, Joshua Phillips, Willie Bosket, Laurie Tackett, Brenda Anne Spencer, Jon Venables, Robert Thompson, Jesse Pomeroy, Mary Bell, Andrew Golden, Mitchell Johnson, Jamie Rouse, Barry Loukaitis, Talat Pasha, Margaret Sanger, Josef Mengele, Reinhard Heydrich, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Eichmann, Kim Il Sung, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Emperor Hirohito, Nero, Caligula, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Leopold II of Belgium, Tomas de Torquemada, Mao Zedong, Ivan the Terrible, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Vlad Dracula once children too?

6. You're forgetting that you Creator is responsible for the existence of all the life that exists. By virtue of this fact, he is the legitimate and maximum authority on what punishment evildoers should receive. Again let me emphasize: ALL who perished by God's command were EVIL. No innocent has ever perished by God's hand as the survival of the Gibeonites, Noah and his family as well as Lot and his family clearly evinces.

7. Any forced marriage would rise to the level of rape. Prove that the Canaanite women were forced into marriage to any Israelite.


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Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

Do you honestly feel it's noble for you to hinder others from gaining everlasting life on Paradise Earth?

bit.ly/18CngYk

bit.ly/15XCebD


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Dear Joseph, how could Earth be a paradise when I get so old that all my friends and relatives who grew up with me; all those grew old with me; anyone who meant anything to me all --- are dead and gone?

It would be lonely as Hell! But if there are at least a few nice-looking JW or 7th DAs around, that could brighten my existence. ;)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

Here's how -

bit.ly/18CngYk

bit.ly/15XCebD


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Utter rubbish in my opinion, thank you Joseph. I will ignore them.

Individuals making their choices does make their choices believable or true. It just remains their choices which we can learn to respect but not need to take on board. As I respect your choice for your life.

Please stop trying to convert me.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

"A mind is like a parachute. It only works when it's open." -Frank Zappa


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, you must be reading from a different Bible than I if you claim that the Gibeonites were being punished for "wrongdoing," as there is absolutely NO mention whatsoever of any "wrongdoing" by them. Instead, the confrontation arose from the Israelites' war of conquest. Gibeon was simply the next stop on the warpath.

I recommend you go back to Deuteronomy 34, where God shows Moses all the land he's promised to them -- and that they must conquer. It includes -- among many other nations -- Judah, of which Gibeon was a part.

The Gibeonites weren't extended mercy for their "wrongdoings." They simply were allowed to surrender, in fear of the slaughter that had previously occurred in Jericho and Ai. If you think that's the sort of "mercy" that deserves praise, I also recommend you reconsider your definition of the word.

As for the Canaanites, you cite all sorts of sickening practices, and your rationalization for God's sickening brutality and slaughter against innocent women and children is that such practices would "thwart the tranquility and safety" of neighboring Israel.

To illustrate to you just how absurd, pathetic and utterly despicable this premise is, I propose you conduct a brief thought experiment: take your rationalization, place it in a more recent context, and replace the word "Canaanites" with "Jews." Then tell me whose personal philosophy this sounds like...

In any case, the Canaanites weren't slaughtered because they threatened the "tranquility and safety" of the Israelites. They were slaughtered because their lands had to be CONQUERED by them.

As for the flood, you're once again completely ignoring my point regarding the countless innocents -- including every living non-human animal -- who were destroyed in God's "one size fits all" punishment for Man's supposed misdeeds.

And, of course, you've again failed to address some of the other examples of God's supposed "judgment" I cited, such as all the otherwise minor infractions that require the death of the "offender."

Actually, your next paragraph offers a perfect example, when you mention the supposed "protection" offered to Lot's family in the Sodom and upon Gomorrah. Apparently, this "protection" didn't extend to Lot's wife, who was turned into a pillar of salt -- solely because she disobeyed God's order to not look back on the cities. She looked in the wrong direction, and was killed for it. There's your "law and order" in action!

You've cited a number of individuals in your previous reply that -- judging from the few names I recognize -- are all presumably supposed to be evil. I'm not even sure what point you're trying to make here. Are you proposing that, since any child has the potential to grow up to be a murderous megalomaniac, they should be killed? I don't even want to go there...

In your point 6 of your previous comments, I suspect we're really getting to the heart of your philosophical approach to this question -- that might makes right. You're essentially asserting that, since God (supposedly) created everything and everyone, he has the right to implement whatever punishment and "justice" he deems fit.

This expresses what is perhaps the greatest and most depressing irony of all in your argument -- that the definitions of "good" and "evil" (at least with regard to the atrocities committed by God) are defined not by the ACTIONS themselves, but by WHO commits them.

If God commits (or commands) genocide on entire tribes and nations (or WHOLE PLANETS), it's GOOD. It's "judgment" against people who are "evil." Yet if someone like Joseph Stalin kills millions of people, he's an "atheist" monster.

The irony is that, many times here on HubPages, you've spoken of "objective" morality. Yet, your argument for the difference between "good" and "evil" actions rests upon the ENTIRELY SUBJECTIVE distinction of WHO commits them! That, to paraphrase your own words, is the "very definition" of subjectivity!

Near the end of your most recent reply, you assert that "no innocent has ever perished by God's hand." And, as I've demonstrated time and time again with my references to innocent children (including fetuses in the womb) and animals, this is absolutely and unequivocally untrue.

If you can read this and claim, again, that children, fetuses and animals are all "evil" and deserve to suffer destruction then you, my friend, need to seriously re-examine your morals.

Ending your reply, you challenged me to prove that Canaanite women were forced into marriage. But here's the problem -- YOU'RE the one who introduced the concept of marriage to try to rationalize God's abominable commandment to take sex slaves in war.

The actual verses in question say NOTHING about marriage -- only rape and sexual slavery. In case your memory needs refreshing, here's the relevant segment, from Numbers 31, where Moses is instructing the Israelites what to do with the Midianite captives captured in battle:

"...kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."

I lost track -- is that the "law and order" part or the "loving God" part?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, I'm NOT trying to "hinder others from gaining everlasting life on Paradise Earth," because there IS NO everlasting life. It is an absurd concept stubbornly persisting from humanity's much more ignorant and superstitious youth. It's time for us to grow up and let it go.

Everything we reliably know about nature tells us that there is only ONE life -- the one we're currently living.

To strive for the illusion of everlasting life -- courtesy of any number of religious dogmas -- is not only a waste of our one and only life, the religious faith required inevitably corrupts the intellectual and moral integrity of those who believe it.

Look at what it's done to you. You've invested a great deal of time trying to defend the most horrendous atrocities committed or commanded by your god, even though -- deep down -- you certainly know they aren't defensible.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Joseph, you are employing door-to-door salesman tactics, trying to get you foot in the door. You are trying all the tactics: arriving here initially without declaring you object, i.e. to peddle your religion.

When you had gained attention you tried to convince me of my need. That failed. Then you raise the idea that I was/am in grave danger if I don't follow your recommendations. All the time you are addressing me with the presumption there is a something wrong with my life. Well the door is closed to you.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

It looks like a brief review of the history of Caanan is in order:

"The land of Canaan became saturated with detestable practices of idolatry, immorality, and bloodshed. The Canaanite religion was extraordinarily base and degraded, their “sacred poles” evidently being phallic symbols, and many of the rites at their “high places” involving gross sexual excesses and depravity. (Ex 23:24; 34:12, 13; Nu 33:52; De 7:5) Incest, sodomy, and bestiality were part of ‘the way of the land of Canaan’ that made the land unclean and for which error it was due to “vomit its inhabitants out.” (Le 18:2-25) Magic, spellbinding, spiritism, and sacrifice of their children by fire were also among the Canaanites’ detestable practices.—De 18:9-12.

Baal was the most prominent of the deities worshiped by the Canaanites. (Jg 2:12, 13; compare Jg 6:25-32; 1Ki 16:30-32.) The Canaanite goddesses Ashtoreth (Jg 2:13; 10:6; 1Sa 7:3, 4), Asherah, and Anath are presented in an Egyptian text as both mother-goddesses and as sacred prostitutes who, paradoxically, remain ever-virgin (literally, “the great goddesses who conceive but do not bear”). Their worship apparently was invariably involved with the services of temple prostitutes. These goddesses symbolized the quality not only of sexual lust but also of sadistic violence and warfare. Thus, the goddess Anath is depicted in the Baal Epic from Ugarit as effecting a general slaughter of men and then decorating herself with suspended heads and attaching men’s hands to her girdle while she joyfully wades in their blood. The figurines of the goddess Ashtoreth that have been discovered in Palestine are of a nude woman with rudely exaggerated sex organs. Of their phallic worship, archaeologist W. F. Albright observes that: “At its worst, . . . the erotic aspect of their cult must have sunk to extremely sordid depths of social degradation.”—Archaeology and the Religion of Israel, 1968, pp. 76, 77; see ASHTORETH; BAAL No. 4.

Added to their other degrading practices was that of child sacrifice. According to Merrill F. Unger: “Excavations in Palestine have uncovered piles of ashes and remains of infant skeletons in cemeteries around heathen altars, pointing to the widespread practice of this cruel abomination.” (Archaeology and the Old Testament, 1964, p. 279) Halley’s Bible Handbook (1964, p. 161) says: “Canaanites worshipped, by immoral indulgence, as a religious rite, in the presence of their gods; and then, by murdering their first-born children, as a sacrifice to these same gods. It seems that, in large measure, the land of Canaan had become a sort of Sodom and Gomorrah on a national scale. . . . Did a civilization of such abominable filth and brutality have any right longer to exist? . . . Archaeologists who dig in the ruins of Canaanite cities wonder that God did not destroy them sooner than he did.”—PICTURE, Vol. 1, p. 739."


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Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

Your analogy could never work because God is not a mere man. He is the Sovereign of the Universe, the Creator of All. He knows and understands more than you or anyone else ever could. Nothing but sheer arrogance could possibly induce you to even try and compare your feeble and shortsighted opinions with His all-knowing wisdom. You would do well to learn some humility ...


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Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

Say we acknowledge for the sake of argument that a malicious Creator/Designer exists . Seeing as this being is evil , that signifies he does not carry out his moral responsibilities . But then exactly where do those come from ? Just how can this evil god receive obligations to execute which he is violating ? Who prohibits him to do the immoral things that he does ? Without hesitation , we discover that such an evil being simply cannot be supreme : there needs to be a being that is even higher than this evil god which is the source of the moral duties which he prefers to shirk , a being that is unqualified goodness Himself . Hence , if god is evil well then there must necessarily exist a maximally splendid , incomparable God that is all powerful , all good as well as all loving ; One who is actually the very paradigm of good .

Which means that we don’t shower Him with affection for performing His duty . Really He is to be adored for His moral identity as He is fundamentally loving , just , kind , and so on . It is simply because God is that way that all these traits count as virtues to start with . In effect , God Almighty is good the very same way rain is wet , diamond gemstones are hard , photons tear across space at luminous speeds or cerulean suns blaze . Therefore if we envision God’s goodness in terms of His possessing definite virtues as opposed to fulfilling selected duties , we get an infinitely more exalted and correct notion of God . http://bit.ly/1fc7kyS


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

How do you know for a fact that there is no everlasting life? On what conclusive evidence is this based on?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

On what basis do you dare pass judgment on anyone as being good or innocent? Who made you God Almighty?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

Once again, even though Israelite troops were permitted to marry captives they had to attend to them with the same rights and honor due to an Israelite wife . Poles apart from what's seen in today's wars , Israelite soldiers were absolutely BARRED from raping or otherwise abusing women . Jehovah instructed , "If you go to war against your enemies and Jehovah your God defeats them for you and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you are attracted to her and you want to take her as your wife, you may bring her into your house. She should then shave her head, attend to her nails, and remove the clothing of her captivity, [for hygienic reasons ] and dwell in your house. She will weep for her father and her mother a whole month, and afterward you may have relations with her; you will become her husband and she will become your wife. But if you are not pleased with her, you should then let her go wherever she wishes. But you may not sell her for money or treat her harshly.” -Deuteronomy 21:10-14 ( Bracket mine . )


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Crikey, Joseph! You must have had a slow day! ;-)

You've offered a supposed "history" of the Canaanites, but all the supposed "depravities" you can cite STILL don't change the fact that the region was invaded NOT as divine "judgment," but as part of a war of conquest.

And even if we accepted -- if only for a moment -- your counterfactual assertion that it was some sort of "judgment" for "evil" practices, you STILL haven't explained how it justifies wholesale genocide of innocents like babies (in particular, "dashing" them on the ground in front of their mothers) and fetuses in the womb. Whether in a war of "judgment" or conquest, these are STILL sadistic, indefensible abominations!

Incidentally, you've now cited supposed child sacrifice by the Canaanites a number times, in the presumption that it adds weight to your argument. Yet you seem to forget that human (including child) sacrifice was also practiced by the Israelites (or, if you're simply unaware, I'll be happy to provide references).

They also committed incest, rape, animal cruelty, slavery and the previously mentioned genocide and forced abortion. So it could hardly be argued that God was destroying the Canaanites to protect the virtue of the Israelites!

I'm happy to see that, in your next comment, you've trotted out the "who are you to question God..." argument. As a general rule, that's usually the last card in the apologist hand in pretty much any theological debate. That suggests to me that even you are beginning to recognize the inherent weakness of the rationalizations you've offered!

I must admit, I'm fascinated by your hypothetical scenario of a "malicious creator." Quite thought-provoking! Still, even in your hypothetical scenario, you're falling back to the erroneous presumption that one's sense of "moral responsibilities" must have an external source.

But they don't. GENUINE morality must come from WITHIN. Anything else is merely reacting to threats or inducements. While such things do play a role in shaping moral behavior, it is one's personal sense of empathy that constitutes the only true foundation of morality.

If a deity is malevolent -- and the preponderance of evidence in the Bible certainly suggests that Jehovah is -- it isn't because he's ignoring or defying the moral dictates (or "responsibilities") imposed upon him externally by another, higher deity. Rather, it is because of his own selfish and capricious defiance of his OWN moral understanding.

As for how I know for a "fact" that there is no everlasting life -- All I know is that every single bit of relevant evidence points to the suggestion that, like every other living being on this planet, we have one life, we die and our remains return to the biological ecosystem.

I also know that, having examined all the arguments and explanations for the supposed existence of "everlasting life," I've found them wholly unconvincing -- not only on their own merits but in light of the knowledge of how this idea has evolved over the millennia, from mythology to mythology and from culture to culture .

Now, I can ask you the same question -- how do YOU know for a fact that "everlasting life" actually exists? After all, you did introduce the subject first...

Next, you ask me how I "dare pass judgment on anyone as being good or innocent?" An interesting question -- which I can answer only based upon my own human understanding of those qualities. Yet you probably don't recognize what sort of paradox you've just created with regard to your OWN arguments.

Repeatedly, you've referred to God as "good" or "just," and to the Canaanites and others as "evil." So I ask you your own question --

"On what basis do you dare pass judgment on anyone as being good or innocent? Who made you God Almighty?"

If neither you nor I (being mere mortals) have the right or ability to "pass judgment" on what constitutes "good" or "evil," then most of what you've stated here is absolutely meaningless. In fact, in the context of your question, NONE of us can assess for ourselves what constitutes "good" or "evil."

Fully extrapolated to its ultimate implication, your question suggests that you can't presume to know that even GOD is "good" or "just." You simply don't have the capacity to draw that conclusion, do you? Given this inability, you may be, indeed, worshipping an evil deity and not even know it!

In your final comment, you once again assert that the Israelites were "absolutely BARRED" from raping female captives. But I've shown you the direct quote that demonstrates that this is absolutely UNTRUE. Not only were they NOT "absolutely BARRED" from raping female captives, they were COMMANDED to take them as sex slaves. Keep denying it if you must, but the proof is right there, in black and white.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

It’s true, all sound individuals rely on their innate moral awareness, their conscience. This is why, since time immemorial, even the most primitive cultures, regardless of their metaphysical values, enforced laws and regulations against homicide and various other acts of evil.

But the truth is that, just as with our verbal communication abilities, for instance, our conscience has to be refined, calibrated, made more robust. If not, it could be stunted, or worst, perverted such that evil behavior is deemed good with good ones perceived as evil.

Because of this, the eternal wellbeing and of course joy of mankind is inextricably bound to the objective moral values and responsibilities lovingly given to us by our Maker. Without these you have absolutely nothing to guard your conscience from becoming disoriented perhaps even corrupted.

An exceptional instance of this can readily be observed with child soldiers. They are demonstrably much more coldblooded and ruthless when compared with their older counterparts. “More than 300,000 children—some as young as 7—are fighting as soldiers in 41 countries around the world,” said an Associated Press dispatch. Most are between the ages of 15 and 18. “Besides being used as front-line fighters, children are used to detect land mines and also as spies, porters and sex slaves, according to the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers.” Drugs are often administered to make children fearless. Those who refuse drugs are killed, said a 14-year-old rebel soldier in Sierra Leone. Regarding his fighting in 1999 when he was 15, a North African youth reported: “They put all the 15- and 16-year-olds in the front line while the army retreated. I was with 40 other kids. I was fighting for 24 hours. When I saw that only three of my friends were alive, I ran back.” The Coalition’s report stated that governments recruit children because of “their very qualities as children—they can be cheap, expendable and easier to condition into fearless killing and unthinking obedience.”

And so we arrive at the heart of our exchange. Whether or not someone possesses a conscience isn’t truly the issue. It’s if or not an individual possess a reliable one or, more to the point, if he/she honestly obeys it.

This predicament calls to mind a very old Cherokee lore. It goes, roughly speaking, like this:

“An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."”

With that in mind, take into consideration what another equally wise and ancient passage reveals:

“This is what Jehovah has said [] “I, Jehovah, am your God [Creator], the One teaching you to benefit [yourself], the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk. O if only you would actually pay attention to my commandments. Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” - Isaiah 48:17,18 (Brackets mine.)

As would any caring mother or father, our Creator, Jehovah God, is keenly interested in our well-being. To this end, he instructs us on the best ways to preserve and also make full use of the conscience he produced us with.

To close, here’s a remarkable example of this loving guidance at work as reported in a well known intercontinental journal:

“In Liberia, Alex served as an altar boy in the Catholic Church. But at the age of 13, he joined a warring faction and became a notorious child soldier. To make himself brave in battle, he turned to witchcraft. Alex saw many of his companions killed, but he survived. In 1997 he met Jehovah’s Witnesses and found that they did not look down on him. Rather, they helped him to learn what the Bible says about violence. Alex left the army. As his faith began to grow, he followed the Bible command: “Let him turn away from what is bad and do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”—1 Peter 3:11.

Meanwhile, a former child soldier named Samson came through the town where Alex now lived. He had been a choirboy but in 1993 became a soldier and got involved in drug abuse, spiritism, and immorality. In 1997 he was demobilized. Samson was heading for Monrovia to join a special security force when a friend persuaded him to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, and as a result, he developed a Bible-based faith. This gave him the courage to abandon his warlike ways. Both Alex and Samson now live peaceful and moral lives. Could anything but Bible-based faith make changes in lives that had been so brutalized?” - http://bit.ly/18WopZ0

Has it become apparent to you now exactly why each of us needs to scrutinize and make use of what the Bible teaches?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

Once again, and correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't Elizabeth Bathory, Brian And David Freeman, Nelson Byrdwell, Edmund Kemper, Joshua Phillips, Willie Bosket, Laurie Tackett, Brenda Anne Spencer, Jon Venables, Robert Thompson, Jesse Pomeroy, Mary Bell, Andrew Golden, Mitchell Johnson, Jamie Rouse, Barry Loukaitis, Talat Pasha, Margaret Sanger, Josef Mengele, Reinhard Heydrich, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Eichmann, Kim Il Sung, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Emperor Hirohito, Nero, Caligula, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Leopold II of Belgium, Tomas de Torquemada, Mao Zedong, Ivan the Terrible, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Vlad Dracula once children too?

Now, if you could see perfectly into the future and knew with absolute certainty that these children would grow up to be sadistic monsters, would it be just to end their lives before they had the opportunity to rape, maim and murder or to let them grow up and slaughter innocents and then execute them?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

If certain Israelites practiced child sacrifice, rape, murder, etc., etc., they would be doing so in contravention of Jehovah God's just laws proscribing such acts. What's your point?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

a. So you don't have any actual hard evidence that clearly demonstrates that everlasting life is impossible. Thanks for clearing that up!

b. How do I know everlasting life will soon be a reality? Not only do I accept this as fact because our Creator, Jehovah God, has promised as such but man's design itself suggests that we were not created to live a few years and then die.

Consider the following:

"Our body is made up of trillions of microscopic cells. Practically all of them must die and be replaced. Each type of cell has a different life span; some are replaced every few weeks, and others every few years. Our body’s system of programmed cell death has to be highly controlled to maintain the delicate balance between cell death and cell formation.

Some studies indicate that when cells fail to die as they should, rheumatoid arthritis or cancer may result. On the other hand, when cells die before they should, it could cause Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. My research is linked to finding ways to treat these diseases.

The complexity of the whole process is mind-boggling, yet its elegance displays exceptional wisdom. I believe it’s the wisdom of God. I use powerful microscopes to study the many complex mechanisms that regulate the process. Some mechanisms can trigger the destruction process within seconds if need be. The cells participate in their own self-destruction. The process is so well-designed that it’s absolutely awe-inspiring." -Dr. Paola Chiozzi, former atheist (http://bit.ly/1bgG30d)

What scientists like Dr. Chiozzi also know is that if this process of cell replacement were to continue indefinitely then man would live forever. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, this process breaks down as we get older: "“Fewer people [in the United States] die from infectious diseases or the complications of childbirth,” says Scientific American magazine. “Infant mortality is down by 75 percent since 1960.” But science has met with limited success in extending adult longevity. “Even after decades of research, aging largely remains a mystery,” says another edition of Scientific American. However, “evidence suggests that aging may occur when genetic programs for development go awry.” The article continues: “If aging is primarily a genetic process, conceivably it could one day be preventable.”"

"Physical evidence that humans were originally designed to live much longer than we do can be seen in the power of the brain, especially in its potential to learn. The Encyclopedia of the Brain and Brain Disorders states that the long-term memory capacity of the human brain “is virtually unlimited.” Why have this capacity if it were not meant to be used? Yes, in fundamental ways, humans reflect God’s original purpose for mankind." http://bit.ly/1CnVOKM


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

You're conflating moral ontology with moral semantics. Our concern is with moral ontology, that is to say, the foundation in reality of moral values. Our concern is not with moral semantics, that is to say, the meaning of moral terms. We have a clear understanding of moral vocabulary like “good,” “evil,” right,” and so on, without reference to God. Thus, it is informative to learn that “God is essentially good.” The only thing I’ve done is offer an ontology of moral values and duties that grounds them in the reality of God and His commands.

To put it another way:

1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.

2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.

3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.

4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.

6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

7. God is defined as being a maximally great being.

8. Therefore, God exists.

9. It is greater to be the paradigm of goodness than to conform to it.

10. Moral values are not contingent but hold in every possible world.

11. Therefore, God is morally perfect.

12. Therefore, God is the locus of all morally perfect values and duties.

As you can see, God doesn’t have moral duties to fulfill, since He doesn’t issue commands to Himself. So we don’t praise God for doing His duty. Rather He is to be adored for His moral character because He is essentially loving, just, kind, etc. It is because God is that way that these qualities count as virtues in the first place. Essentially, God is good the same way rain is wet, diamond gemstones are hard, photons tear across space at luminous speeds and cerulean suns blaze. So if we think of God’s goodness in terms of His possessing certain virtues rather than fulfilling certain duties, we have a more exalted and more adequate concept of God.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, you must have a lot of free time on your hands! Just saying...

In the beginning of your discourse on morals (in your most recent collection of comments), you had me in agreement for the first two paragraphs -- right up to the point where you inserted the presumption of God into it.

You claim that our morals are "inextricably bound to the objective moral values" of God. But, as you've already clearly demonstrated in your previous comments, in the context of God, morality is clearly SUBJECTIVE! If God does something -- no matter how malevolent or abhorrent -- it's "good." If anyone else does the same thing, it's "evil." That's SUBJECTIVE morality, in a nutshell.

Even setting human moral interpretation aside for a moment, the Bible itself demonstrates that God's "morality" is wholly SUBJECTIVE, as can be easily demonstrated with its own numerous examples.

As I recall, every "moral" dictate in the Bible is either superceded or contradicted by another. When it comes to God's actions and commands (with regard to morality), everything seems depend upon his particular whim of the moment. Again, that is the essence of SUBJECTIVE morality.

Hence, you argument that we need God's "objective" morality to guard our conscience from "becoming disoriented" is complete hogwash -- for God's morality is SUBJECTIVE, not objective. Actually, relying on such an unreliable external source for moral direction is a GUARANTEE of moral "disorientation" (as so many historical and contemporary examples of behavior by believers can demonstrate).

Next, you offer a couple of anecdotal examples of people who supposedly found moral direction through faith. Yet, for every such example you can offer, I can counter with numerous examples where faith PERVERTED the morals of some individual, and set them on the wrong path, and I guarantee that you'll run out of examples LONG before I do!

Again, you've offered your list of names supposed "sadistic monsters," and I still don't understand what point you're trying to make. Are you suggesting that god included children and fetuses in his genocides because they would all grow up to be "sadistic monsters?"

Please explain to me how you know this, since you've admitted you don't have the capacity to know or understand the mind of God...

Or are you simply PRESUMING what God MAY HAVE been thinking, in an outlandish (somewhat freakish) attempt to rationalize his genocide?

As for my point regarding the perverse practices of Israelites, I was actually making a relatively minor counterpoint to your assertion that God was destroying the Canaanites to protect the morals of the Israelites (by suggesting that the morals of the Israelites were just as questionable).

Still, it's interesting to note how, in your original point, you casually painted the Canaanites with a broad brush, implicating them ALL in such practices -- men, women and children -- and deserving of the same capital punishment. Yet, now addressing my similar point regarding the Israelites, you phrase it as "certain Israelites" -- being careful not to use the same brush you applied to the Canaanites. Nice spin, there.

And thanks for changing what I said regarding "everlasting life." I never said it wasn't "impossible." Science may, indeed, find the secret to eternal life someday, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen any time in the foreseeable future. What I ACTUALLY said is that the overwhelming evidence suggests that it doesn't exist now -- which is a perfectly reasonable answer.

What is NOT a perfectly reasonable answer is YOUR reply to this same question. First, you assert that God has "promised" it. But you don't know this, for two reasons:

First you don't even know that God even exists. You only BELIEVE he exists. Second, you don't know -- assuming God DOES exist -- that what the Bible tells you regarding eternal life is true. Again, you only believe your particular interpretation.

As for your quotes regarding the "design" of the human body, there is nothing FACTUAL in either of them that supports your assertion that humans were "designed" to live longer than they currently do (or that they were "designed" at all!), only the personal interpretations of the authors of those quotes.

"I believe it’s the wisdom of God," is not a scientific observation! And it sure as hell doesn't constitute evidence.

In truth, the actual, overwhelming evidence suggests that human beings have evolved to live and die -- just like every other living thing on the planet.

Finally, you've claimed that I'm confusing "moral ontology with moral semantics." But this isn't as "ontological" as you suggest. Rather, it is a discussion of only ONE aspect of existence (morality), NOT existence itself! But that's a minor -- and largely irrelevant -- point.

In the end, all I'm doing is applying your very own arguments (and the standards they imply) to the question at hand, in the very same context as you. Your only problem is that I'm doing so in a manner you find disagreeable.

If you claim that I don't have the ability to discern "good" from "evil" with regard to God's actions, then NEITHER DO YOU. You can't personally insist that God's actions are "good," then turn around and claim that I can't make the opposite assessment.

In other words, if I can't "dare" to call God's actions "evil," then you can't "dare" to call them "good." We're either both in the same boat -- in which case NEITHER of us can make an argument -- or we're not, and we can proceed from our own understanding of such terms (without trying to fuzzy the issue by debating whether it's "ontology" or "semantics."


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

"Are you suggesting that god included children and fetuses in his genocides because they would all grow up to be "sadistic monsters?""

Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding,Ding,Ding,Ding!!! Give the man a cigar! We have a winner!

Finally!!

Ultimately, this is why your comparisons fail for man does not have the ability to foresee the future with precision the way All-Mighty God can.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

"in the context of God, morality is clearly SUBJECTIVE!"

That's like saying tha wet rain is subjective, a cerulean sun's flames are subjective, a diamond's hardness is subjective, etc., etc.

Once again, God doesn’t have moral duties to fulfill, since He doesn’t issue commands to Himself. So we don’t praise God for doing His duty. Rather He is to be adored for His moral character because He is essentially loving, just, kind, etc. It is because God is that way that these qualities count as virtues in the first place.

Concordantly, man's morality must be grounded in God's very nature in order for him to do what is good. Any deviation from this standard constitutes evil. It really is that simple.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

"the Bible itself demonstrates that God's "morality" is wholly SUBJECTIVE, as can be easily demonstrated with its own numerous examples."

Such as?

"I can counter with numerous examples where faith PERVERTED the morals of some individual,"

There's no surprise here since not all manners of faith are equal in substance or value. Being a Christian who worships Jehovah God is very different, for example, from being an Islamist terrorist.

"Please explain to me how you know this, since you've admitted you don't have the capacity to know or understand the mind of God..."

That's a strawman. I've never made such a claim.

"Nice spin, there."

No spin involved. Except for Rahab and the Gibeonites, all of the Canaanites were evil and they paid for their evil with their lives. On the other hand, the nation of Israel strove to practice good. Eliminating the evil Canaanites served to protect these loyal Israelites from becoming victims of their evil.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

"First you don't even know that God even exists."

LOL, I most certainly do know that God exists the same way I know I exist. I've walked in his paths for decades and have personally experienced his care and protection because of this.

"Second, you don't know [] that what the Bible tells you regarding eternal life is true. " (Bracket mine)

I do know it's true because God doesn't lie. Remember, it is his nature to be good. Honesty is a virtue only because it is characteristic of his very own nature.

"there is nothing FACTUAL in either of them that supports your assertion that humans were "designed" to live longer than they currently do (or that they were "designed" at all!)"

Please. Don't be so jejune my friend. If exceptional intellect is required to merely duplicate designs and systems present in nature ( Biomimetics ) then much more the original being replicated. Creation is thus proof of an Almighty Creator.

"If you claim that I don't have the ability to discern "good" from "evil" with regard to God's actions,"

That's not my claim. Rather my assertion is that you cannot decide for yourself willy nilly what is good and what is evil. Without grounding your views in God's very nature (remember, he is the very paradigm of goodness) all you're doing is expressing your own subjective, inconsequential opinions.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Joseph, all those pronouncements of yours are based upon you beliefs, not on absolute fact.

You cannot pronounce the existence of a god that has no form. You can only state your beliefs.

If the entire world is the manifestation of an infinite being, i.e., "God," then you and I ARE "God." Not separate but one entity. Different manifestations, maybe. But rather like the waves upon the sea -- different manifestations of the sea yet remaining in fact The Sea at the same time.

You continue to confront Paladin with argument, trying to win him over to your belief system. This is the one objective of yourself and your elders that advise you and goad you on.

You allow no credence for Paladin's point of view bec


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

And here I thought you wanted nothing to do with me, lol :)


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, I was actually trying to give you an "out" when I asked you again about your ridiculous rationalization for God's genocide. But with, your latest comments, you've proudly owned your previous remarks. So I'll repeat them here, just for anyone else who happens to read this hub, so they'll fully realize what I'm dealing with, here:

PALADIN: "Are you suggesting that god included children and fetuses in his genocides because they would all grow up to be "sadistic monsters?""

JOSEPH: "Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding,Ding,Ding,Ding!!! Give the man a cigar! We have a winner!"

Un...freaking...believable. I can only hope that, someday, you'll look back on these comments and feel some sense of shame.

You've asked me to cite examples from the Bible that demonstrate that God's "morality" is wholly subjective, and I'm happy to oblige. But understand that this will be limited due to space. My comments here have already been much longer than I'd like (and, also, I'm planning on writing a hub on this someday, and don't want to entirely "shoot my bolt" ;-).

For example, God issues a moral commandment that "thou shalt not kill," yet commands people to kill numerous times, and does more than his own share of killing.

He also issues a moral command that "thou shalt not steal," yet commands the Israelites to steal the land, property and even children of neighboring tribes.

He also commands that "not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife...nor any thing that is thy neighbour's -- unless, of course, that neighbor happens to subscribe to a different religion!

God commands people to "honour thy father and thy mother, but then commands you to kill them if they try to convert you to another religion.

God commands that "he that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death," but he forbids anyone to kill Cain after he murders his brother.

God commands that "whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death," but makes an obvious exception for Jesus (who was later killed by the Romans, but not for working on the Sabbath).

There are certainly more I can offer, but I believe the point is sufficiently made.

As for your claim about knowing the "mind of God," it's true you never made such a claim using those EXACT words. But you did say this:

"He [God] knows and understands more than you or anyone else ever could."

I'll leave others to conclude whether or not I accurately represented your claim, or whether I was making a "straw man."

And you DID "spin" your respective comments regarding the Israelites and the Canaanites. You claimed that the Canaanites were universally "evil" (even though you have no proof), yet proclaimed that any evil done by the Israelites was limited to a select few.

But the Bible certainly contains enough references to counter your other claim that "nation of Israel strove to practice good." In fact, according to the Old Testament narrative, God REGULARLY and routinely punished (and killed) the Israelites for their misbehavior.

And, again, you DON'T know that God exists. You can claim that you've "walked in his paths for decades," but that phrase is perfectly meaningless. It's like saying you've "walked in the path of Santa Clause" for decades. In either case, you'll simply expressing your delusion and asserting that, because you've believed it for decades, it MUST be true. It would be sort of funny if it weren't so incredibly pathetic.

In fact, you have absolutely no proof that God exists.

You also claim that God doesn't lie. But how do you know this? Because you read in a Bible somewhere? If you did, you'd also know that God DOES lie! And, again, I can offer you multiple examples, from the Bible itself!

You also assert, again, that it's God's "nature" to be good. But the numerous examples I've cited (and there are many more) demonstrate that it's actually God's nature to be evil -- to kill, maim, destroy and torture. If this is your definition of "good," then the word obviously has NO meaning in your universe!

Also, you've asserted that "creation" is "proof" of an "almighty creator." But if there is no "creation," there is no "creator." This is where apologists like yourself inevitably end up on the circular argument treadmill.

You assert there is a "creation" because you believe there is a "creator." But your proof of a "creator" is (supposedly) in "creation." All the while, the enormous elephant in the room is that you have no proof for either.

I'm somewhat confused by your last comments. You seem to be proposing that, even though I DO (after all) have the ability to discern "good and evil," I shouldn't exercise that judgment! Rather, I should "ground" my moral views on "God's nature."

Yet I certainly can't "ground" my views on "God's very nature," because his nature is one of malevolent evil. That would be akin to grounding my moral views on "Stalin's very nature," or "Hitler's very nature."

Actually...on second thought, that would be a slight improvement over using the Biblical God as my moral template!

The more I think about it, your bizarre arguments offer a fascinating insight into the apologetic mind. You insisted before that this discussion isn't about semantics, but I'm now becoming convinced that you're completely wrong.

It is about nothing BUT semantics -- at least in the context of "good" and "evil" -- because it's becoming clear that you believe neither word has any meaning outside the context of God's whims.

How else you ANYONE who's sane describe the sadistic genocides ordered by God as "good?" Or the ripping of children from the womb? Or the dashing of babies on the ground in front of their mothers? Or the premeditated destruction of an entire planetary ecosystem?

I believe the biggest part of the problem here, Joseph, is that you've been immersed in your religious delusion for so long that "good" and "evil" no longer have any REAL, practical meaning for you. They've become nothing but abstract concepts, to be debated with ridiculous rationalizations and explanations -- like God wiping out whole cultures just to make certain none of the babies grow up to be "monsters."

Really!


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Actually, Jonny, I must admit that I'm doing the very same you accuse Joseph of doing -- trying to convert him (or, more correctly, trying to free him from his religious delusion).

Actually, this specific sort of discussion is arguably the most fertile for my purpose. I know there are no "magic bullets" to de-convert someone or instantly make them an atheist, and I fully realize that the road from delusion to reason is a slow, often tortuous one.

Based on my experience -- both in my own life and in the awakenings of other believers I've seen and read -- it's usually a matter of many, many tiny cracks and fissures accumulating in the foundation of delusion over years of time -- more a process of erosion than a sledge hammer.

Each time a believer is exposed to an irreconcilable contradiction or inconsistency in his or her faith, that's one more little crack in the foundation, one more little drop of water eroding away the granite. And it's my personal belief that discussions of morality are more effective for this purpose than discussions of logic or specific evidence.

I proceed from the presumption that Joseph -- like the vast majority of humans on this planet -- is, deep down, a moral person, with a human, empathic understanding of morality (albeit one that has been perverted and distorted by religion). I count his conscience -- however sublimated it may be by apologetic concerns -- as my ally.

Each time Joseph -- or any other apologist -- is forced to confront the enormous moral contradictions in his belief, each time he's forced to make apologies or rationalizations for the most repugnant and malevolent evil, it's going to affect him, even if he doesn't consciously realize it.

Even if he can brush it aside with flippant comments, it's going to weigh on his subconscious and, eventually, the accumulation will be too much for it to bear. He'll ultimately be forced to rectify the disparity somehow, and that's often the first step in the awakening.

That's why I keep replying to him long after others would be disgusted by some of his comments and give up.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

RE: Exodus 20:13, you're misquoting. What it actually says is:

New International Version

"You shall not murder."

New Living Translation

"You must not murder."

English Standard Version

“You shall not murder."

New American Standard Bible

"You shall not murder."

Holman Christian Standard Bible

"Do not murder."

International Standard Version

"You are not to commit murder."

NET Bible

"You shall not murder."

GOD'S WORD® Translation

"Never murder."

English Revised Version

"Thou shalt do no murder."

World English Bible

"You shall not murder."

Young's Literal Translation

"Thou dost not murder."

New World Translation

"“You must not murder."

NOTE:

תִּֿרְצָֽ֖ח׃לֹ֥֖א

loʼ tir·tsach′ -“not murder”

Observe that the Heb. verb ta·harogh′, “should kill,” is not employed here.

Compare with Exodus 2:14 -

"Are you intending to kill me?"

hal·hor·ghe′ni ʼat·tah′ ʼo·mer′?

Literally: “Are you talking so as to kill me?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

"I can only hope that, someday, you'll look back on these comments and feel some sense of shame."

Your argument here is an egregious example of the affectuum excitatio fallacy. Whether you find something disgusting or pleasing is completely irrelevant! Your emotions are not a substitute for facts and reason. In order for you to strike down my argument you need to prove that executing someone evil before they commit their evil is immoral and unjust. Can you?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

"you'll simply expressing your delusion and ..."

Nice ad hom. Completely useless and irrelevant, though.

"you DON'T know that God exists"

Actually, yes, yes I most certainly do -

Irrefutable Evidence Of God's Necessary Existence: bit.ly/1197U6R


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

"the numerous examples I've cited (and there are many more) demonstrate that it's actually God's nature to be evil -- to kill, maim, destroy and torture. "

All you're showing us here is that you do in fact have a serious problem with law and order because Jehovah God has only ever executed evildoers, never innocents, and he's never tortured or maimed anyone.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

"You assert there is a "creation" because you believe there is a "creator." But your proof of a "creator" is (supposedly) in "creation." All the while, the enormous elephant in the room is that you have no proof for either."

Once again, (I'll say it slower this time ...) if exceptional intellect is required to merely duplicate designs and systems present in nature ( Biomimetics ) then much more the original being replicated. If the replica is created by an intelligence then more so the original being mimicked! Creation is thus proof of an Almighty Creator.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

.....slow and often tortuous indeed!


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, I'm well aware that the literal translation of "thou shalt not kill" is "thou shalt not murder." Multiple references aren't needed.

Change the translation to "murder," if you wish, but my point still stands: God commands "thou shalt not commit MURDER," but commits or commands MURDER multiple times. The contradiction still exists, whichever word you choose.

As for your statement about pre-emptive murder, you apparently don't understand the reason for my repulsion. I have no problem with eliminating someone to save lives -- for example, Hitler, before he began the Holocaust.

The problem is that you're applying this purely HYPOTHETICAL scenario to innocent children and fetuses in the womb, when there is absolutely NO WAY for you know that they would grow up to do evil. You also have NO WAY to know that that's what God was supposed to have done -- especially since he was killing them in a war of conquest, and NOT as punishment, despite your continued insistence to the contrary!

In any case, I'd really like to hear your explanation of why fetuses had to be ripped from the womb with swords, or why children had to dashed onto the ground before their mothers' eyes. If God had to kill them to prevent them from growing up to do "evil," wouldn't it be sufficient to just kill them? Why the barbaric cruelty?

I'm really looking forward to reading your ridiculous, cold-blooded justification for this one.

As for "knowing" God exists, you can keep insisting that until you're blue in the face, but until you offer some compelling proof, you're just spitting in the wind. And getting your face wet.

As for my supposed ad hominem attack -- In my defense, I offer the following definition:

----------

DELUSION: 1. A mistaken or misleading opinion, idea, belief, etc. 2. A belief held in the face of evidence to the contrary, that is resistant to all reason.

----------

That's not an ad hominem. It's simply addressing your belief using its proper and formal definition.

A perfect case in point is your assertion that "God has only ever executed evildoers, never innocents, and he's never tortured or maimed anyone..."

Please refer to my example/question above, then see if you can re-iterate that statement with a straight face.

As for your defense of your "creation" argument, you still don't seem to grasp the circular nature of your argument, so (to borrow a phrase from you) I'll say it slower this time...

You're still (erroneously) assuming a "creator" in your defense of creation, engaging in a circular argument.

The problem with your supposed proof is that it DOESN'T require an "exceptional intellect" to duplicate "designs and systems present in nature." It doesn't require an intellect at all! It happens all the time, and quite naturally, without the need for an intelligence or a creator (just think of cell replication for an easy example).

Furthermore, even if such duplication DOES involve an intelligent agent, that doesn't necessitate an intelligent agent in the origin of the natural phenomena being duplicated. That's a wholly unsupported assumption on your part. We must examine each -- the original and the duplicate -- on its own merits to draw such conclusions.

In the end, you're applying a hierarchal relationship between intelligent agents (from duplicate to original) whose existences simply aren't necessary, assuming the existence of an original "creator" only in order to justify your argument for creation. But whether you call him an "intelligence" or "creator," the argument is just as circular -- and just as flawed.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

a. Prove that God committed murder and/or commanded it.

b. Prove those children were innocent little angels.

c. Where does God command anyone to rip 'fetuses from the womb with swords or that children had to be dashed onto the ground before their mothers' eyes'?

d. No matter how hard you try to pretend otherwise, I've already presented an entire body of evidence for God's necessary existence: bit.ly/1197U6R. I challenge you to refute it.

e. When have you proved God's nonexistence? If you can't then there is no delusion.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, are you serious? You're saying that, unless something can be proven to NOT exist, it exists? Classic! :-D

You ask me to "prove" that God committed murder or commanded it. Yet I can't "prove" that God commanded anything -- or that he even exists (and neither can you). All I can do is quote what's in the Bible.

Incidentally, I've already cited examples where God both murders and commands murder. You've simply refused to notice. I've already mentioned the world-wide flood -- murder on a global scale, and I've already mentioned some of the many commandments to kill people who, for example, try to convert you, or are rebellious children. You and I both know that's merely the tip of the iceberg.

As for me "proving those children were innocent angels" -- the ones God commanded to be killed, that's a pretty pathetic (and despicable) attempt to shift the burden of proof. Remember that YOU'RE the one asserting that God killed them to prevent them from growing up to be evil.

Let's take your burden of proof shift and apply it to something more recent:

For example, prove that all the people murdered in the Holocaust (including a great many children) were innocent little angels.

If that sounds just a little repugnant and repulsive, you may have some inkling of how abhorrent your rationalization is!

As for the commandment to rip fetuses and dash children, I can't believe I actually must quote you Bible verses, but here goes:

In Hosea chapter 9, God hints at what's to come:

"As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception."

Then, in chapter 13, he gets more specific:

"Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up."

In Isaiah chapter 13, he makes certain that the fathers will see their children destroyed and their wives raped:

"Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished."

Incidentally, he also threatens on multiple occasions that he'll make the people of Israel eat their own children (whether he actually followed through is never stated). I suppose that's simply "law and order," too?

Joseph, the saddest part of this is that I actually have to point out to you the most cruel and sadistic moments from God's genocidal narrative in the Bible just to get your attention. Any moral person would be horrified merely at the thought of genocide and widespread murder.

But not you. Sometimes your cavalier attitude toward such abhorrent evil is so uncharacteristically amoral that I tend to wonder if there's something deeply, psychologically, wrong with you. But I'm keeping the "faith" that you're a reasonable, moral person underneath all the apologetic smokescreen.

As for your supposed "entire body of evidence" (for which you've gratefully provided a link), surely you must be kidding! What you've linked to isn't "evidence" at all!

It's merely reiterations of the cosmological argument, misrepresentations of atheism and scientific thinking, and examples of historical corroboration of events identified in the Bible (which only proves that they made reference to actual historical events -- not that the rest of the mythology is true).

I can't "refute" it, because it's not even evidence! It's simply more of the same tired old arguments. I wish I had that time back!


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

i. " I've already mentioned the world-wide flood -- murder on a global scale."

I'm now fully convinced, much to my awe, that you don't know what "murder" actually means. According to Webster, murder is "the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought." So prove your claim. Prove that Jehovah God committed 'the crime of UNLAWFULLY killing people especially with malice aforethought' when he executed all of the evildoers with the Noachian Flood. Whose laws did Jehovah God violate when he executed all of those evildoers?

ii. "As for me "proving those children were innocent angels" [...] that's a pretty pathetic (and despicable) attempt to shift the burden of proof."

Far from it! Again, it is YOU who is claiming that God murdered them. All I expect is for you to actually back up your claim with more than just bluster. Can you?

iii. "As for the commandment to rip fetuses and dash children ..."

Nothing you've cited shows that God commanded anyone to do anything. You're entire argument is a naturalistic fallacy; deriving ought from is. All the passages you cited are merely descriptive in nature, not prescriptive.

iv. "What you've linked to isn't "evidence" at all!"

So you say but how does the body of evidence I presented you with fail to induce certainty or establish the validity of God's existence?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

@Joseph, you directed us to a particular link, bit.ly/1197U6R. I don't see anything there to provide "proof" of the existence either now or in the past, of a "God." You might well be convinced of the efficacy of those stories/testimonials, sufficiently to say with conviction that you believe "God" exists. No... that is not proof.

It is not possible that something "does not" exist, especially some concept that is just that... a concept. Speak of it as a concept; call it a concept; believe yourself in the concept. No problem so far. But please say openly and honestly that it is what you believe, not that it's truth absolute for everyone in the world.

You keep referring to "God" as though it's a fact, universally proven and accepted.

No. The belief is within your own mind to suit your own psychological needs. It is up to you to allow others to reach their own conclusions, in something that cannot be proven either way.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

Still waiting on this one too:

v. When have you proved God's nonexistence? If you can't then there is no delusion.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

You cannot prove "nonexistence." You can only prove existence. Period.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

Are you insinuating that an unrestricted negative can't be proven ? On the other hand wouldn't that render your own claim an unrestricted negative ?

In turn , if unrestricted negatives cannot be verified , then no one can prove that no one can prove an unrestricted negative . But if there is absolutely no way to prove that no one can prove an unrestricted negative , it must be possible to substantiate an unrestricted negative .

Which means that your allegation is self-refuting - if it's true , it's false !

Ex : Evidence Santa Claus cannot exist in reality - http://bit.ly/185Tf1D

Now try to apply the same approach to God Almighty.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

So, Joseph, what you're essentially saying -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- is that it's impossible for God to "murder" anyone, because any killing he does is de facto "lawful." By default, that means that anyone in charge can kill millions at their whim --and NOT have it called murder -- simply by claiming they have the legal authority to do so. Nice.

Try to remember that one, the next time you're citing some "atheist" dictator -- whose mass murders were all "lawful" according to your argument -- as an example of evil.

As for the killing and brutalizing of men, women, children and fetuses, I presented you the specific quotes where these were dictated by God. But, even with the evidence right before your eyes, you still deny it. That, as much as anything, demonstrates to me how deeply the delusion has sunk into your brain. That's truly sad...

As for your supposed "evidence," please provide ONE piece of actual evidence from the website you provided. Not some silly argument that's already been proven inadequate many times over. Actual EVIDENCE!

As for your expecting me to disprove God's existence, I must surmise that it's your practice to believe EVERYTHING unless it's been disproven! So, tell me how you believe in Zeus, Brahma, Ahura Mazda, unicorns, bigfoot, faeries and the Lucky Charms leprechaun. ;-)

Good grief!


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Actually, Joseph, despite your complete (and somewhat amusing) lack of understanding regarding the burden of proof, our discussion has -- already in retrospect -- proven to be of immense value to me.

For a while, I was somewhat aghast at your casual and brazen rationalizations for the most horrendous of God's Biblical atrocities. I was so flabbergasted that I even briefly contemplated composing a hub about it, just to seek input from others. But I now believe I've actually come to learn something new and significant about the way the apologist mind works.

I've long known that believers use at least two intellectual processes to functionally maintain their religious delusion -- self-deception (which is fairly self-explanatory) and compartmentalization, wherein ideas are mentally separated into those groups that will receive critical examination and those which will receive absolutely none (like one's personal religious faith).

Yet, from my recent conversations with you, I've recognized another process to add to that list -- abstraction. Contemplating some of your outlandish and outrageous rationalizations for God's Biblical crimes, I've noticed your predilection to take visceral immoral atrocities and reduce them to legalistic amoral intangibles.

In your apologetic approach, you seem to have a freakish ability to ignore the idea of someone else's horrific suffering, as if you can't even imagine the terror of a mother seeing her child dashed to the ground, or can't perceive the horror of a father witnessing his wife's pregnant belly ripped open. Or you can't fathom the screams of billions of innocent creatures as they die in a worldwide deluge (for which they had no responsibility).

You casually wave such things away with obscene legalistic notions of divine punishment, or rationalize them as some cold, calculated precautionary measure -- killing them all, just in case they'll grow up to be evil (and then you demand that someone "prove" that they didn't deserve it!).

Though I now more fully realize that such abstractions are absolutely necessary to avoiding the moral contradictions in one's faith (and I suppose I should thank you for that recognition), it still seems a bit sociopathic to me. And it's still difficult to tolerate.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

"please provide ONE piece of actual evidence from the website you provided."

Problem is , you're trying to find God's presence in a test tube or a peer-reviewed paper . The good news is , however , reality doesn't operate like that . For instance, precisely what demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , falsifiable , testable , replicable evidence explicitly establishes that Christopher Columbus landed in America in 1492 or that Yuri Gagarin was the very first man to actually journey to space ?

Just what demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , falsifiable , testable , replicable evidence do you have demonstrating it’s immoral for an atheist to do this http://bit.ly/1bu2CrY or rape a little girl to death ?

Exactly what demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , falsifiable , testable , replicable proof is there which proves you ought to care for others and treat them with dignity , honor as well as beneficence ?

Precisely what demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , falsifiable , testable , replicable explanation is there for why anything exists rather than just nothing at all ?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

a. "killing them all, just in case they'll grow up to be evil"

Strawman. That has never been my claim. Try again.

b. "it's impossible for God to "murder" anyone, because any killing he does is de facto "lawful.""

More to the point, God Almighty has every right to reward the good and punish the evil however he sees fit because he has both the legal and moral authority to do so as Sovereign of the Universe. As such, your comparison with any human authority doesn't have a leg to stand on because only Jehovah God can ever be the Sovereign of the Universe.

c. "I presented you the specific quotes where these were dictated by God."

That's a lie. Again, all you presented were instances where such events are described, never commanded.

d. "I must surmise that it's your practice to believe EVERYTHING unless it's been disproven!"

Hardly. I do, however, expect you to present some actual evidence for your claims especially in the face of the irrefutable evidence I've presented for God's necessary existence.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

@ Joseph, why do you bring this video clip into the discussion? I did look at it right through.

"Abortistas atacan a católicos que defendían la Catedral de San Juan

(Abortionists attack defending Catholic Cathedral of St John)"

Somehow you connect that scene with "raping a little girl to death," and to atheism. Is your mind-set really this ugly? That video clip is set amongst others on You Tube, full of pretty ugly, dark stuff. In particular I notices lots of women with boobs hanging out, crowd frenzy, hatred, anger, probably lots of illicit drugs around, burning of an effigy, ...... WHAT! has this stuff got to do with having an atheist frame of mind?

Why and how would you ever find such a collection of videos? What were you searching for? Was it for boobs? Was it to confirm your somewhat twisted ideas of a God that is judgmental upon your own life? Are you feeling guilty on account of your inner dark thoughts?

That scene of half-clad females cajoling and spitting at courageous men lined up in unity, must have been reminiscent of a hill in Palestine, with a man being nailed to a cross naked and killed for telling them the truth. Lynch-mob, hysteria, enjoying the scene and hoping to get away with it, not being recognized in the crowd. I wonder what good ever became of that demonstration.

In contrast:

Please let me tell you that this wonderful world we live in is absolutely full of beautiful things; absolutely full of amazing ecosystems and lifeforms. Take a walk in a forest or on a sea shore. Open your eyes, your ears, your senses of smell, taste and touch. Feel the air about you. Observe the beauty before your eyes, then go inside of your being and experience a real connection with that Creator that you say you Love.

Instead of coming onto this forum, with the express desire to convert others to your crazy religion, step out of it into the Light. The real light of day. Then let that light go into your mind, clear out the cobwebs, give you a new way of thinking and living. Begin to live the change that you wish for.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

As you can see from the video, Anti-Theist Atheists aren't the gentle little creatures of night time fairy tales you'd like for us to believe they are. These militant types are as deadly as just about any other hate group or terrorist cell . . .


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

And hate is just as much a product of fanatical religious minds as any other group......

I suggest the state of mind of each individual will determine how we see the world and in what light.

All the time you judge every person according to your religious prejudice you will make a false judgment.

Jurn your attention inward.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"If atheism were such a blessing for humanity, Mao’s China would have been an empire of sunshine, rainbows and frolicking bunnies, instead of a countryside of cadavers." - Unknown


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

And without religious bigotry and hypocracy there would been no lynchings, no excuse for slavery, no eugenics, and the world would have learned to live cooperatively.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

Your quarrel is with false religion since true religion has been nothing but a boon for mankind:

“Suffice it to say that if all the world lived by the creed of the Jehovah Witnesses there would be an end of bloodshed and hatred, and love would reign as king!”- “The Sacramento Union”

“The work of Jehovah’s Witnesses is the revival and re-establishment of the primitive Christianity practised by Jesus and his disciples . . . All are brothers.” - “The Encyclopedia Canadiana”

“I have come to the conclusion that if Jehovah’s Witnesses were the only ones living on the earth, wars would cease to exist, and the only duties of the policemen would be to control traffic and to issue passports.” - “Gyűrű”


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Self-promotion, Joseph? Look inward.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Actually, Joseph, there IS evidence that Christopher Columbus landed in America in 1492! We not only have surviving letters from members of his crew, we also have surviving ships logs from the voyage, all which all tend to corroborate each other. And there are, no doubt, official records from the Spanish government of the time regarding the voyage as well.

As for Yuri Gagarin, that's a more difficult one, as the Soviet government of the time wasn't exactly a bastion of integrity. But if he hadn't actually made it into space, the United States government certainly had HUGE incentive to debunk Soviet claims about it, and never did.

In any case, I don't know of anyone who fashions their philosophical, spiritual and intellectual lives around the worship of Columbus or Gagarin (though it certainly wouldn't surprise me if there were). ;-)

As for evidence for moral issues, you're confusing apples and oranges. You can't "prove" whether a feeling or action is immoral. You can only make the best judgment you can, based upon our own best understanding of morality. Incidentally, that's the also the best YOU can do.

On the other hand, you SHOULD be able to provide some sort of concrete or compelling evidence of a deity who supposedly not only created the universe and everything in it, but takes a constant personal hand in its day-to-day operation, as well as in the personal lives of each of its human inhabitants.

You claim that I've created a "straw man" when I characterize one of your rationalizations as "killing them all, just in case they'll grow up to be evil."

But I beg to differ. Here -- once AGAIN -- is your specific quote, in its original context:

----------

PALADIN: "Are you suggesting that god included children and fetuses in his genocides because they would all grow up to be "sadistic monsters?"

JOSEPH: "Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding,Ding,Ding,Ding!!! Give the man a cigar! We have a winner!"

----------

That doesn't look like much of a straw man to me. Then again, words (such as "good," "evil" and "just") seem to have vastly different meanings in your universe. So it's difficult to tell...

Also, you claim that "God Almighty has every right to reward the good and punish the evil however he sees fit because he has both the legal and moral authority to do so as Sovereign of the Universe."

But how do you know this? How do you know he has the "legal and moral authority" to do ANYTHING? How do you know he is the "Sovereign of the Universe?"

You say that my examples of God dictating certain atrocities are a "lie" because the passages are merely describing "events," not actual commands.

That's a nice attempt at hair-splitting and equivocation, but these are quotes from Hosea and Isaiah -- who are both (presumably) speaking directly for God. Are you proposing that any future action promised by God doesn't carry the weight of a dictate by him?

In earlier comments, you spoke of your focus on the "prophecies in Daniel and Revelation." Are you now suggesting that all the events outlined in those prophecies -- just like the horrific events outlined in Hosea and Isaiah -- aren't "dictated" by God? Are you reducing "almighty Jehovah" to a mere fortune-teller or store-front psychic?

If you're willing to open that intriguing can of worms, I'm more than willing to go down that road! :-D

As for the burden of proof regarding God's existence, I'll AGAIN ask you for some of that "irrefutable evidence" to which you've referred in your last statement. Give me just ONE piece of "irrefutable evidence" from the page you've linked to, and let's take it for a test drive!

You can't just claim that something is "irrefutable," then refuse to demonstrate it or back it up. That just makes you look silly.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

i. RE: Columbus and Gagarin

But is that evidence quantifiable , empirical , falsifiable , testable or even replicable?

ii. RE: Moral issues

Sure you can! You do it using the same principle employed when confirming a kilogram's actual physical weight. Are you aware of what the IPK is?

iii. RE: Your Strawman

Do you honestly not apprehend the vast difference between "might" (perhaps) and "will" (certainty)?

iv. " How do you know he has the "legal and moral authority" to do ANYTHING? How do you know he is the "Sovereign of the Universe?""

His eminence as Creator of all reality invests him with the legal and moral authority to both reward the good and punish the evil.

v. "Are you proposing that any future action promised by God doesn't carry the weight of a dictate by him?"

Irrelevant. The issue is that God is simply describing events not that he's giving any command for anything to be done at his behest. You're, once again, committing the Naturalistic or "Is-Ought" Fallacy.

vi. RE: Irrefutable Evidence for God's Necessary Existence

I've presented you with a series of essays which, individually and in aggregate, establish the validity of God's necessary existence in accordance with the principles of reasoning:

http://bit.ly/1197U6R

http://bit.ly/1d0Y82v

Feel free to refute any one or accept the preponderance of this evidence and abjure Atheism :)


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, the evidence for Columbus' voyage is certainly verifiable to any reasonable standard, so it's certainly testable -- and has been tested, as I already stated, against other accounts. It certainly was "empirical" when it was actually recorded, and I imagine it could certainly be falsified, given the right contrary evidence.

As for whether Columbus' voyage is "quantifiable," that's pretty much a red herring, for I can't imagine a context in which a voyage can be mathematically "quantified" by measurement, volume, weight or number.

In any case, it's a wholly analogous point, and unless you can persuade me that it's directly relevant to our discussion, I'm not going to waste any more time on it.

As for "proving" whether a feeling or action is immoral, you insist that you can, "using the same principle employed when confirming a kilogram's actual physical weight."

Um...no, you can't. I have no idea what you're talking about, but I'm sure your reference to "IPK" is going to be a doozy! :-)

As for your complaint regarding my supposed "straw man," you're actually complaining that I stated that God murdered Canaanite children because they MIGHT grow up to be evil, rather than that they WILL grow up to be evil.

Yeah, that's sooooo much better.... ;-D

I asked you how you know that God has the legal and moral authority to do anything, and how you know he is the "Sovereign of the Universe," and you replied...

"His eminence as Creator of all reality invests him with the legal and oral authority to both reward the good and punish the evil..."

But you only partially answered my question, and actually ignored the most important part:

"...How do you know God is the "Sovereign of the Universe?"

As for God dictating future events, you insist that, when God issues a warning of atrocities that will happen to people, he's "simply describing events not that he's giving any command for anything to be done at his behest."

So, to reiterate my reference to prophecies, including the entire book of Revelation -- are you claiming that God is still "simply describing events?" -- and that none of these events are dictated by him?

Or let's make it even simpler -- are you claiming that when Jesus supposedly predicted that he would be betrayed and crucified, that God was, again, "simply describing events," which weren't anything "to be done at his behest?" Are you claiming that God didn't dictate these events as well?

It sort of blows the whole notion of God's supposed plan for mankind's "redemption," doesn't it? ;-)

Finally -- AGAIN -- I'll ask you to produce for examination just ONE piece of your supposedly "irrefutable" evidence contained in the website to which you've linked. If it's so "irrefutable," it should easily withstand any critical examination I might offer.

If you continue to refuse -- for quite obvious reasons -- I'll simply proceed on my own, and demolish it without your help! ;-)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

i. Why do you keep accusing him of murder? Whose laws did Jehovah God violate when he executed all of those evildoers?

ii. "...How do you know God is the "Sovereign of the Universe?"

He is the Sovereign of the Universe by virtue of him being the Creator of all reality. As such he has every right to reward his sentient creation for being good and punishing it when it's evil.

iii. "are you claiming that God is still "simply describing events?"

When reading prophetic passages you often need to take its context into account. The context of the passages you cited from Hosea and Isaiah clearly demonstrate that Jehovah God is simply describing future events that will take place. Neither are specifically directed at anyone as commands.

iv. "are you claiming that when Jesus supposedly predicted that he would be betrayed and crucified, that God was, again, "simply describing events," which weren't anything "to be done at his behest?""

Yes.

iv.b. "Are you claiming that God didn't dictate these events as well?"

Yes. All-Loving God knew what was going to happen to his son but neither did he cause those events to take place nor did he command anyone to hurt his son.

v. RE: Irrefutable Evidence for God's Necessary Existence:

"If you continue to refuse [...] I'll simply proceed on my own, and demolish it without your help!"

So quit stalling and get to it already. I gave you well over a dozen pieces of evidence to contend with. Let's see your refutations ...


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, merely re-phrasing my question about how you know God is the "Sovereign of the Universe" isn't answering it. You've merely replied that he is such "by virtue of him being the Creator of all reality."

But, again -- how do you know he is the "Creator of all reality?" (Given your evasions thus far, I almost expect you to reply, "because he's the Sovereign of the Universe").

It's becoming clear that you just don't have an answer for this one.

As for God "predicting" events and not "dictating" them -- especially with regard to Jesus' supposed sacrifice and mankind's supposed redemption -- all I can say is that your interpretation doesn't appear to jibe with any of the interpretations of Christianity I've ever heard, including those of actual Christians. So I guess I don't even know where you're coming from on that one....

As for the supposed "evidence" in your link, I was trying to give you a chance to present your strongest points. However, since you've insisted that I proceed, I'll therefore rightly assume that you're claiming that EVERY individual point you put forth in your essays is "irrefutable."

So I'll "get to it, already."


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Now, on to your supposedly "irrefutable evidence."

At the risk of being accused of padding the number of comments on my hub, I'm going to break this up into separate comments, for there's a lot of material to address, and I prefer to make it more "digestible" to the reader.

Your supposed "irrefutable" evidence consists of six essays. The first is entitled, "Does God Really Exist? : I Want to Share Proof of Gods Existance (sic) Story & Experience."

The actual "evidence" consists of four supposedly fulfilled prophecies, so I'll split my comments into four separate replies, each addressing one of the items you list.

To begin, the essay opens by proclaiming that "not a single one of fulfilled Bible prophecies has ever been wrong." But this not evidence. It's only an assertion -- and a wholly INCORRECT assertion at that. It's been more than adequately demonstrated -- even some of my own hubs -- that MANY of the Bible's prophecies are incorrect, implausible, adapted in retrospect or so generic that they could be applied to practically anything.

As for the four specific "prophecies you cite, the first regards Edom which, you assert, "as a nation was prophesied to become...desolated for all time." This is a classic example of apologist cherry-picking and carefully using semantics to mislead.

You're careful to include the qualifier "...as a NATION..." in your claim, perhaps hoping that nobody notices the prophecy also declares the same fate for individual cities of Edom, like Bozrah. In fact, Bozrah (the modern Buseirah, in Jordan) is doing just fine, despite God's prophecy.

And, of course, the region itself is NOT desolate. Only Edom -- "as a nation" -- has ceased to exist. Despite your best attempt to narrowly adapt the prophecy to the ONLY interpretation that could fulfill it, the prophecy is a failure.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

The second "prophecy" regards the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, claiming that Jeremiah predicted it "40 years" before it happened, and Isaiah did so "150 years" before. Yet, unlike the preceding prophecy, this specimen is both proclaimed and "fulfilled" within the narrative of the Bible -- in books whose original authorship is impossible to date. In fact, NOBODY knows for certain when the original scrolls of the Old Testament were first written.

The earliest known translations of the Old Testament books, from the original Hebrew into Aramaic (the "Targums"), date from the last few centuries BCE, long AFTER the Babylonian captivity "prophecy" had already been "fulfilled" in the 6th century BCE. The oldest existing copy of the book of Isaiah is the Isaiah scroll, which dates to around 125 BCE -- even longer after the prophecy was "fulfilled." A "prophecy" written AFTER the predicted event isn't much of a prophecy at all.

You also mention Isaiah's "prophecy" regarding the destruction of Babylon, in which -- again -- you cherry-pick one detail of his prediction and ignore others that contradict your argument. Specifically, you quote his prediction that "She will never be inhabited." But you leave out the REST of the prophecy, including the manner of her destruction, which turns out to be wholly inaccurate.

Isaiah predicts that it will be the MEDES -- Babylon's former wartime allies -- who will be responsible for her ultimate destruction. But it wasn't. Babylon was captured in the 6th century BCE, but WASN'T destroyed, and continued as a city for centuries after that. It's abandonment was a result of a gradual, steady decline as a city of political importance, NOT the "wrath and fierce anger" of God.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

The third "prophecy" claims that Daniel predicted the arrival of Alexander the Great, in the dream metaphor of a one-horned goat. The prophecy specifically refers to the great horn as the "first king."

Yet the first monarch to ALMOST unify Greece -- and the first person that could reasonably be considered its "king" -- WASN'T Alexander. It was his father, Phillip II. And even he wasn't "king" of a unified Greece, for he never ruled Sparta (neither did Alexander). Greece, as a whole, didn't have a king until the 19th century. But that's a relatively minor point.

Let's assume for a moment that the "prophecy" does, indeed, refer to Alexander, and acknowledge that, in the wake of his premature death in 323 BCE, his empire eventually did divide into four regions. However, again, the Biblical text of Isaiah could very well have been written (and almost certainly was transcribed and translated) centuries after the events it describes, leaving the translators free to adapt the "prophecy" to fit the actual historical events.

And, of course, you ignore the REST of this particular prophecy, regarding the "latter time of their kingdom," when a "king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences shall stand up...and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people." To whom is that supposed to refer, since the four regions of their "kingdom" eventually fell to or were annexed by various other powers, such as Rome?

You add to this "prophecy" Ezekiel's prediction regarding Tyre, claiming it's a prediction of Alexander's sacking and destruction of the city -- even citing the specific detail that "they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water," comparing it to the happy coincidence of Alexander's use of the old city's materials to bridge the water that surrounded the city.

But this particular idea fails for two reasons. First, the quote regarding stones, timber and dust in the water most certainly refers to the disposition of these materials AFTER the city's destruction, NOT as a device to take the city using reclaimed materials from the older, mainland part of the city. This is made fairly clear in the ENTIRE quote (including preceding verses):

"...he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city wherein is made a breach. With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets: he shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground. And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise: and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses: and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water."

The second -- and most compelling reason -- that your reference fails regards the identity of "he" in the quote. It's NOT Alexander, as is made perfectly clear only a few verses earlier:

"Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people."


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Strangely, you refer to the Nebuchadrezzar prediction for your fourth "prophecy," but appear to forget what is actually foretold by Ezekiel. In his prediction of Tyre's destruction by Nebuchadrezzar, he makes absolutely NO mention of another conqueror who will come along later to complete the destruction.

In fact, Ezekiel identifies the Babylonian king as the agent of Tyre's destruction a mere three verses after he makes it clear that the destruction will be total:

"...they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock."

In any case, there is no record of Alexander actually destroying the city after conquering it. Indeed, according to historical sources, he made a sacrifice to Heracles, then held a triumphal procession and torch race through the streets of the city. Contrary to your wholly inaccurate and brazen assertion that she was "left a bare crag," Tyre still exists, and is currently the fourth largest city in Lebanon!

So, not only was Ezekiel wrong about the destruction of Tyre by the Babylonians, YOU are wrong about Alexander's supposed destruction of it centuries later.

This is the extent of the supposed "evidence in your essay. Its five remaining paragraphs ramble on with platitudes about how God is supposedly "loving" and "forgiving" (assertions which are certainly contradicted by some of the examples I've offered in previous comments).

In summary, you've offered "irrefutable evidence" in the form of "prophecies" that are either misleadingly adapted to fit your arguments, open to accusations of retrofitting or factually inaccurate.

That's not what I call "irrefutable." It's what I (and I daresay most reasonable people) would call "nonsense."


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Gentlemen, you will please excuse me from giving any commentary on your current discussion/debate.

It is all way beyond what my mind is capable of at this time....the mind getting older and not able to assimilate or retain enough of the context and detail.

However, my view of Joseph's contributions is that he has been educated, probably at university level, but that university is totally biased on the side of Jehovah's Witnesses and their philosophy....therefore not open minded sufficiently to consider other possible interpretations.

Oh well... at least I know there is another life worth living in this world, away from the constrictions of religion. Who to thank I do not know.... can't thank "god," because he/she/it does not exist in or outside of my mind.

Sure, I marvel at how this beautiful, complex, wondrous world came about, but it does not include a superhuman person sitting in judgment of me. Humans perform that function.

However, I do respect the amount of knowledge you two gentlemen have accumulated and presented. May the truth prevail.......! If there is such a thing.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Hehe. No problem, Jonny! I appreciate your input thus far, and these discussions can become a bit tedious to all but the most determined. Feel free to jump back in if you're ever inclined.

As for Joseph, he's certainly articulate, but I suspect that much of his knowledge comes from external apologetic sources -- such as his reliance on the sloppy, inaccurate and dishonest dissertation by Gertoux in our discussion of Daniel 9 (in another hub).

I'm learning that, once you exhaust such external resources, an apologist's replies tend to devolve to drivel, like Joseph's reiteration of my question above, about God's sovereignty.

I believe there IS such a thing as truth, and I have complete confidence that, if one is determined and persistent enough, it can ultimately be revealed.

In any case, thanks again for visiting and commenting!


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

i. Why do you keep accusing him of murder? Whose laws did Jehovah God violate when he executed all of those evildoers?

ii. "how do you know he is the "Creator of all reality?""

“You are worthy, Jehovah our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they came into existence and were created.” - Revelation 4:11

Now, how do I know the Bible is actually the Inspired Word of God? Here's how I know: http://bit.ly/1d0Y82v

iii. "As for God "predicting" events and not "dictating" them -- especially with regard to Jesus' supposed sacrifice and mankind's supposed redemption -- all I can say is that your interpretation doesn't appear to jibe with any of the interpretations of Christianity I've ever heard."[sic]

Argumentum ad populum. You judge an argument's validity based on the body of facts and information presented not by how many people agree with it.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

i. RE: Edom

Argumentum assertio. “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” What is your evidence that the ancient capital of Edom, Bozrah, is modern day Buseirah.

ii. RE: Israel and Babylon

a. "NOBODY knows for certain when the original scrolls of the Old Testament were first written."

Argumentum ignoraio elenchi for Cyrus himself was aware of the prophecy:

"Cyrus, according to Josephus, heard of this prophecy of Isaiah delivered so long before; hence he was induced to do that which was so contrary to Oriental policy, to aid in restoring the captive Jews and rebuilding their temple and city." (See "The Works of Flavius Josephus" - Translated by William Whiston, Book XI, Chapter I, Sec. II -http://bit.ly/19vwuDg)

As such, your allegation of fraud is demolished.

b. "But you leave out the REST of the prophecy, including the manner of her destruction, which turns out to be wholly inaccurate."

That's another lie. The essay clearly states, "Jeremiah said that the Babylonian soldiers would put up no fight. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah foretold that Babylon’s protecting waters, the river Euphrates, “must be dried up.” Isaiah even gave the name of the conquering Persian general, Cyrus, and said that before him “the gates [of Babylon] will not be shut.”—Jeremiah 50:38; 51:11, 30; Isaiah 13:17-19; 44:27; 45:1.

The Greek historian Herodotus explained that Cyrus actually diverted the flow of the Euphrates and “the river sank to such an extent that the natural bed of the stream became fordable.”Thus, during the night, enemy soldiers marched along the riverbed and entered the city through gates that had been carelessly left open. “Had the Babylonians been apprised of what Cyrus was about,” Herodotus continued, “they would have made fast all the street-gates which [were] upon the river . . . But, as it was, the Persians came upon them by surprise and so took the city.”Actually, the Babylonians were involved in drunken revelry, as the Bible explains, and as Herodotus confirms. (Daniel 5:1-4, 30) Both Isaiah and Jeremiah foretold that Babylon would eventually become uninhabited ruins. And that is what happened. Today Babylon is a desolate heap of mounds.—Isaiah 13:20-22; Jeremiah 51:37, 41-43."


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

iii. RE: Grece

"the Biblical text of Isaiah could very well have been written (and almost certainly was transcribed and translated) centuries after the events it describes, leaving the translators free to adapt the "prophecy" to fit the actual historical events."

Sloppy argumentum ignoraio ellenchi. The Grecian prophecy referenced in the essay is contained in Daniel, not Isaiah.

iii.b. "To whom is that supposed to refer, since the four regions of their "kingdom" eventually fell to or were annexed by various other powers, such as Rome?"

This is part of the omnibus of End Times prophecies. I'll be more than happy to discuss these with you as soon as we're done with our current topic, i.e., irrefutable evidence for God's necessary existence.

iii.c. "You add to this "prophecy" Ezekiel's prediction regarding Tyre, claiming it's a prediction of Alexander's sacking and destruction of the city -- even citing the specific detail that "they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water," comparing it to the happy coincidence of Alexander's use of the old city's materials to bridge the water that surrounded the city." [sic]

Now you're just being noetically dishonest. Accurately predicting future events years and years before they come to pass is anything but a "happy coincidence." It's humanly impossible!

iii.d.1."First, the quote regarding stones, timber and dust in the water most certainly refers to the disposition of these materials AFTER the city's destruction, NOT as a device to take the city using reclaimed materials from the older, mainland part of the city. "

How does any of this change the fact that mainland Tyre's ruins were, in fact, pitched "into the sea?" (Zechariah 9:4)

iii.d.2. "The second -- and most compelling reason -- that your reference fails regards the identity of "he" in the quote. It's NOT Alexander."

Actually the prophecy clearly states, "“I will bring up against you ***many nations***. . . And they will certainly bring the walls of Tyre to ruin and tear down her towers, and I will scrape her dust away from her and make her a shining, bare surface of a crag. ”—Ezekiel 26:3-5 (Emphasis mine)

So you see, Nebuchadnezzar was to be but one in a procession of rulers who would lay siege to Tyre. Your argument is, thus, demolished.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

iv. RE: Tyre

"In his prediction of Tyre's destruction by Nebuchadrezzar, he makes absolutely NO mention of another conqueror who will come along later to complete the destruction."

See iii.d.1

iv.b. "In any case, there is no record of Alexander actually destroying the city after conquering it."

Are you hard of reading or just really, really sloppy? The essay clearly stated, “With the debris of the mainland portion of the city,” explains the Encyclopedia Americana, “he built a huge [causeway] in 332 to join the island to the mainland. After a seven months’ siege . . . he captured and destroyed Tyre.”

iv.c. "Contrary to your wholly inaccurate and brazen assertion that she was "left a bare crag," Tyre still exists, and is currently the fourth largest city in Lebanon!"

Actually, as, once again, clearly stated in the essay, "Today “as with much of what was once Phoenicia, little remains of the great cities that stood at the center of this ancient maritime power. None of the original buildings they lived in and temples they built are still standing, and there is no great wealth of art depicting exactly how they lived. In fact, it has taken chance and persistent digging just to uncover some of the foundation traces of these intrepid people, despite the once heralded majesty of their municipalities. And, albeit informative, what has been physically brought to light does not pack the same kind of punch that tripping through Pompeii or the Roman Forum does.”"

Sloppy, very, very sloppy ...


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

CORRECTION -

iv. RE: Tyre

"In his prediction of Tyre's destruction by Nebuchadrezzar, he makes absolutely NO mention of another conqueror who will come along later to complete the destruction."

See iii.d.2


Brian Dashner profile image

Brian Dashner 2 years ago from St. Charles

Interesting story! It's always interesting to me that people insist they were religious first, then became Atheist. I submit that all babies are born Atheist and then forced to believe in things their own curiosity and conscious minds rejected from the start. In America they are threatened with horrific torture, convinced they live forever and then warned that their eternity could be spent in a fiery torture chamber should they fail to believe in the nonexistent beings and places presented to them. They are then treated to cute little Easter Bunnies and funny, jolly old Santa who bring them candies and gifts to be associated with their newly discovered imaginary beings and places.

These tactics are common in abusive relationships.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Brian

The Hellfire doctrine is a perverse Antichrist mendacity that defames God. As a God of justice and love he would never prescribe infinite punishment for a finite crime no matter how wicked: http://bit.ly/17fVMYm


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, I keep accusing God of "murder" because his barbaric killings and genocides WERE murder under any realistic definition of the word. It is only in the bizarre, topsy-turvy world of religious apologetics where it's impossible for God to commit "murder" solely by virtue of his being God.

And thank you for FINALLY offering an actual explanation to my question regarding how you know God is "sovereign of the universe," the "creator," etc. I'll have to examine the supposed prophetic proof you've offered as to the Bible's authority in this matter, but it will have to wait until we finish our current examinations (though I suspect it's merely more of the same).

As for my supposed argument from authority, I wasn't making any claims regarding the correctness of your assertion regarding God's "predicting" certain events rather than dictating their occurrence. I was simply observing that it seemed strange to me -- especially for someone whom, I'm presuming, accepts the New Testament (and also presumably the concept of salvation through Jesus' supposed sacrifice). Still, I can see how you may have taken it as a criticism.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

Good to have you back! :)

So, in your opinion, executing evil individuals is immoral (since, after all, All-Loving God has only ever executed the evil) ... in your opinion ...

Well, now that we've got that cleared up, I'd like to see your responses to the rest of the items I've laid out for you.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

I never left. I've just been extremely busy! :-)

No, that's NOT my opinion, for you haven't established that such persons were "evil." However, I'd like to have a chance to respond to your other comments before you respond to this...


Brian Dashner profile image

Brian Dashner 2 years ago from St. Charles

Joseph, I did not mention what "God" might have said or done. I was referring to what religion teaches and how parents and religious authorities teach their children.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Dang! I just accidentally closed this page, with my responses to your second comment. Which means I'll need to start again. Sigh...

There are plenty of religious sites that claim that the modern day Buseirah and the Biblical Bozrah are one and the same. However, I've tried to find a source you may find more authoritative. It's the U.S. Department of State's Self Study Guide for Jordan (beware, it's a pdf):

http://www.governmentattic.org/3docs/Jordan%20SSG....

The relevant citation:

"The most important existing site of this period is at Buseirah in southern Jordan. Buseirah is the modern name of Bozrah, the capitol of Edom."

Jeremiah specifically prophesies that Bozra will become a "desolation" and a "perpetual waste." Yet Bozra (the modern Buseira) still stands. Thus, the "prophecy" fails.

As for my allegation of likely fraud in the case of transcribing Old Testament prophecies, it isn't "demolished" at all. You DO realize, don't you, that in your quote, Josephus was paraphrasing the Bible? What you're essentially doing is relying on the same questionable source. Thus, my allegation still stands.

As for my accusations regarding the destruction of Babylon, there is no "lie" involved at all. Your quote from Jeremiah only addresses the conquest of Babylon, and still says NOTHING about the destruction of Babylon.

That said, Jeremiah DOES address Babylon's supposed destruction in other verses:

51:8 -- "Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed..."

51:11 -- "Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the Lord hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it..."

51:54 -- "A sound of a cry cometh from Babylon, and great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans..."

Jeremiah is clearly predicting that Babylon will "suddenly" be destroyed by God's hand. Yet -- as I've already noted -- the city survived long after its supposed destruction, and is desolate now only because of gradual decline and eventual abandonment. Thus, this "prophecy" also fails.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Brian

As someone who appreciates truth I thought you would appreciate what the Bible actually teaches :)


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Regarding Tyre -- I'm not being dishonest at all regarding my assessment of the supposed "prophecy" of its destruction by Alexander.

First of all, Ezekiel makes NO mention of Greeks (let alone Alexander) in his predictions regarding Tyre. That was YOUR interpolation -- added in your thesis. So my argument is NOT "demolished."

Ezekiel's "prophecy" clearly implies that the city's stones, timbers and dust will laid in the "midst of the water" AFTER its conquest. He also unequivocally claims that the city will be destroyed, and will be made "like the top of a rock."

Yet, like Bozra, Tyre still exists. You can try your best to equivocate by claiming -- as you do in your essay -- that "little remains" of Phoenicia's cities. But we're talking specifically about TYRE -- which your "prophecy" predicted would be utterly destroyed. It still exists, and is Lebanon's fourth largest city. Thus, this "prophecy" also fails.

So, to summarize: You cite four "prophecies" that supposedly constitute "irrefutable" evidence for God's existence, and out of the four, three are demonstrably incorrect and the other is a prediction that could have easily been altered in transcription long after the fact.

"Irrefutable," indeed! ;-D

---------------

Okay. I'm done for now. Thanks for waiting! :-)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

"Yet Bozra (the modern Buseira) still stands."

i. Here's an image of the ancient city of Bozrah: http://bit.ly/1ySwBYD. It looks pretty desolate to me ...

ii. "You DO realize, don't you, that in your quote, Josephus was paraphrasing the Bible?"

Josephus was not paraphrasing the Bible since the Bible makes no mention of Cyrus' awareness of Isaiah's prophecy.

iii. "51:11 -- "Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the Lord hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it...""

As you can see, then, Jehovah God prophesied that he would use the Medo-Persian empire to wage war with ancient Babylon ... and that's exactly what happened.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

a. "Ezekiel makes NO mention of Greeks (let alone Alexander) in his predictions regarding Tyre."

Actually the prophecy clearly states, "“I will bring up against you ***many nations***. . . And they will certainly bring the walls of Tyre to ruin and tear down her towers, and I will scrape her dust away from her and make her a shining, bare surface of a crag. ”—Ezekiel 26:3-5 (Emphasis mine)

So you see, Nebuchadnezzar was to be but one in a procession of rulers who would lay siege to Tyre. Your attempted refutation is, thus, demolished.

b. "Tyre still exists"

You're confusing modern Tyre with ancient Tyre. They're not the same. Ancient Tyre is nowhere to be found exactly as prophesied:

"None of the original buildings they lived in and temples they built are still standing, and there is no great wealth of art depicting exactly how they lived. In fact, it has taken chance and persistent digging just to uncover some of the foundation traces of these intrepid people, despite the once heralded majesty of their municipalities."


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

c. "You add to this "prophecy" Ezekiel's prediction regarding Tyre, claiming it's a prediction of Alexander's sacking and destruction of the city -- even citing the specific detail that "they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water," comparing it to the happy coincidence of Alexander's use of the old city's materials to bridge the water that surrounded the city." [sic]

Now you're just being noetically dishonest. Accurately predicting future events years and years before they come to pass is anything but a "happy coincidence." It's humanly impossible!


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Yes, Joseph, I've seen the picture of the ruins of Bozra. But that doesn't mean that the entire city is destroyed and desolate, does it? That's like saying that, because there are ancient, broken down ruins in Rome and Athens, those cities no longer exist, either.

According to this website:

http://www.stad.com/index.php?city_id=249842

"Busayra" in Jordan is a city of 7,000 people, located at latitude 30.7, longitude 35.6 (if you search for "Buseira" on any number of map sites, you'll get the same latitude and longitude).

The city exists. It is NOT desolate. The prophecy fails.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

As for Josephus, he WAS quoting the Bible. Compare the Josephus quote with others from Isaiah and 2 Chronicles:

Josephus --

"This was known to Cyrus by his reading the book which Isaiah left behind him of his prophecies; for this prophet said that God had spoken thus to him in a secret vision: "My will is, that Cyrus, whom I have appointed to be king over many and great nations, send back my people to their own land, and build my temple."

Isaiah 44 --

"[I am the Lord] That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid."

2 Chronicles 36 --

"Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up."

Ultimately, since Josephus lived CENTURIES after Cyrus, he STILL wouldn't have known when the original biblical texts were written, so quoting him doesn't help you establish an earlier version of biblical texts. By Josephus' time, the biblical accounts could have been adapted in transcription.

Furthermore, it doesn't help your arguments regarding the "destruction" of Babylon (which is where the quote came up in the first place). The Bible prophecies claim it will be SUDDENLY destroyed. But it wasn't. It merely fell into disrepair and disuse. The prophecy fails.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, how does the Ezekiel prophecy's mention of "many nations" "demolish" my refutation regarding Tyre? I asserted that Ezekiel's "prophecy" makes no mention of Greece in the "destruction" of Tyre, and it doesn't (as anyone can read for themselves).

I also stated that Tyre still exists, and you've tried to assert that I'm confusing "modern" Tyre with "ancient" Tyre. But that's simply not the case. The only "ancient" incarnation of Tyre was the older part of the city whose materials Alexander used to create a bridge to the rest of the city (which was an island).

This is the key to recognizing that the modern city of Tyre is the same as that which existed in Alexander's time. The "newer" (at that time) city that Alexander besieged and conquered is the VERY SAME city that now still exists.

In fact, if you look at any map of modern Tyre (also called Sour), you can see where Alexander's original causeway has been built upon, more fully connecting the formerly island city with the mainland. Ezekiel prophesied that Tyre would be destroyed. The city still exists. The prophecy fails.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

As for the "happy coincidence" to which I refer regarding the Tyre prophecy, I'll try to explain this once again:

The "coincidence" to which I'm referring is that both Ezekiel's "prophecy" and Alexander's assault on Tyre involved "stones and timbers" being "laid upon the water.

But that's ALL IT IS -- a coincidence -- because the "prophecy" clearly asserts that Tyre's "stones and timbers" will be laid on the water AFTER the city's destruction (which didn't even happen), whereas Alexander laid "stones and timbers" on the water PRIOR TO the capture of the city, and it was from the older city on the mainland -- NOT the city he was besieging -- the city that still exists.

You've latched on to a coincidental similarity between the two accounts, juxtaposed them and have tried to assert that it's "evidence" -- which, in any case, is moot, because the city STILL EXISTS.

As for "accurately predicting future events years and years before they come to pass," you are wrong on two counts: First, it IS humanly possible, in the form of a lucky guess.

Second, it's not established that Daniel's "prophecy" regarding the conquest of Media and Persia (which is actually the only one of your four "prophecies" that isn't demonstrably false) wasn't altered or added after the fact.

As I noted before, the earliest currently available biblical transcriptions are dated to WELL AFTER these events -- by as much as a millennium. And, looking at the prophecy as a whole, it seems quite plausible that they WERE adapted to fit historical events after the fact.

This is suggested by the amazing specificity regarding those events which had already occurred prior to the transcriptions, contrasted with the vague and generic descriptions of those still yet to happen.

Consider Daniel & Gabriel's "prophecy" regarding events that happened BEFORE the earliest available biblical transcriptions. They specifically identify Greece, Media and Persia. They specify that the empire of the "first king" will not be inherited by his offspring, and that it will break into four kingdoms.

They all but referred to Alexander specifically by name (which certainly would have blown their cover if retrofitting the prophecy was indeed the transcribers' purpose). Yet, when the "prophecy" speaks of things yet to come, there are only vague references to a king of "fierce countenance," and no references to any countries.

Isn't it peculiar how the prophetic vision of the "sovereign of the universe" begins to get fuzzy once we move from prior history to events yet to occur?

Incidentally, on a hunch, I'm actually developing a hypothesis of how the retrofitting of the Daniel "prophecies" could have been accomplished, but I need to do more research to see if it's plausible. If that turns out to be the case, I'll publish a hub and post the link here in the comments.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Hi Joseph

by now it should be clear that many atheists are not interested in reason and science when it comes to serious discussions about God.

Many such Hubs exist full of atheist vacuous self congratulatory praise.

If I dare bring up solid themes such as Godel, Freud, Shakespeare or notable atheist political failures they are dutifully ignored.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Beware Mr Joseph and Mr Paladin...Mr O likes to drop big boulders into the pond when he wants to get noticed. He does it for fun.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Oz, you must be joking. Did I not recently spend WEEKS discussing and debating Gödel with you? Did I not compose and publish a hub examining his ontological argument? Was it not YOU who insisted that neither you nor I have the capacity to challenge it?

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Gdels-Onto...

You, sir, either have an EXTREMELY short memory (for which you have my sympathy) or are an outright liar (for which you have my contempt).

Which is it?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

i. "This was known to Cyrus by his reading the book which Isaiah left behind him of his prophecies; for this prophet said that God had spoken thus to him in a secret vision"

Where precisely is this exact phrase found in the Bible? Chapter and verse, if you would.

ii. "The Bible prophecies claim it will be SUDDENLY destroyed."

Where?

iii. "how does the Ezekiel prophecy's mention of "many nations" "demolish" my refutation regarding Tyre?"

Because it clearly shows that Babylon would not be the only nation to raze Tyre until she was no more.

iv. "The only "ancient" incarnation of Tyre was the older part of the city whose materials Alexander used to create a bridge to the rest of the city "

Which necessarily means that ancient Tyre is underwater, precisely as prophesied.

v. "The "newer" (at that time) city that Alexander besieged and conquered is the VERY SAME city that now still exists."

No, it's not. See iv.

vi. "Ezekiel prophesied that Tyre would be destroyed."

And it was. See iv.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Palladin

"That's like saying that, because there are ancient, broken down ruins in Rome and Athens, those cities no longer exist, either."

Those ancient cities don't exist. They've been replaced same as Bozrah. At Jeremiah 49:13 it was prophesied, “For by myself I have sworn,” declares Jehovah, “that Boz′rah will become an object of horror, a reproach, a devastation, and a curse; and all her cities will become perpetual ruins.” The image I shared with you clearly shows those ruins; that's all that remains of ancient Edom. Prophecy fulfilled.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

Both Isaiah and Jeremiah foretold that Babylon would eventually become uninhabited ruins. And that is what happened. Today Babylon is a desolate heap of mounds.—Isaiah 13:20-22; Jeremiah 51:37, 41-43. Prophecy fulfilled.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, I distinctly stated that Josephus was PARAPHRASING the Bible, not quoting verbatim. And I already quoted the verses that were quite similar to what Josephus expressed. So it seems clear that he was either intentionally paraphrasing or quoting from memory and only getting close.

As for the "prophecies" themselves, you can try to split hairs and rationalize all you wish, but the Bible, the historical record and common sense all contradict you. And I'm not going to let you off the hook.

As for the sudden "destruction" of Babylon, I ALREADY quoted the relevant verse from Jeremiah's "prophecy." But here it is AGAIN:

Jeremiah 51:8 --

"Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed."

This is in one of the VERY SAME chapters you quoted in your "prophecy," so it's surprising that you missed it. Okay...On second thought, it's NOT so surprising, for it makes the "prophecy" untenable -- because history shows that Babylon WASN'T suddenly destroyed -- that it was, instead, a victim of slow decline. So, AGAIN -- contrary to your assertion -- the "prophecy" fails.

As for my comments regarding Tyre, you're being disingenuous. My complaint is that you claim that the "prophecy" predicts the Greeks destroying Tyre, but it doesn't. It NEVER mentions Greece specifically.

It ONLY mentions "many nations." Incidentally, that could mean "many nations" in succession, or it could ALSO mean "many nations" together, at the same time -- which, incidentally, PERFECTLY describes the Babylonian empire! You're merely ASSUMING it's referring to Alexander's attack, after Nebuchadrezzar's -- without a single biblical reference to it.

Further, you keep insisting that Tyre was destroyed. But it clearly was NOT. You claim that the currently existing city (now actually called "Sour") is a "different" city than that which was supposedly "destroyed. But there is NO historical record that it was destroyed. EVER.

You also insist, more specifically, that it was Alexander who "destroyed" the city -- even though history records that he DID NOT (nor did anyone else). The city that was besieged and eventually conquered by Alexander STILL EXISTS. And, as I ALREADY pointed out -- if you look at a satellite image of the city (or even a standard map), you can actually see how Alexander's causeway has been expanded to make the formerly Island city -- the one that he attacked -- a peninsula.

Ruins aside, archaeologists clearly consider the modern, EXISTING city of Busayra to be the same as the ancient Edomite capitol. For example, from an analysis of the Tafila-Busayra Archaeological Survey of 1999-2001:

http://www.academicroom.com/article/tafila-busayra...

"...While some Iron I and early Iron II ceramics were collected from sites and random squares, occupation increased rapidly during the Iron II period, especially around the Edomite capital, Busayra..."

Joseph, it's quite convenient how, when you're trying to support the legitimacy of the supposed "prophecies" regarding Edom, you're quite willing to include the whole region, as one entity.

Yet, when trying to contradict evidence that even ONE of Edom's cities is still standing, you begin to prevaricate and split hairs, insisting that new construction in an old city must be considered a wholly SEPARATE entity from its older elements.

Worse yet, you try to explain it all away by insisting that these ancient cities "have been replaced" -- further evidence that your rationalizations are becoming more and more tortured and flimsy -- no matter that these 'replacement' cities are in the same locations as the originals.

Not only is your assertion invalid, it STILL contradicts the "prophecy," for -- as you quoted yourself -- it predicts that Bozra (now "Buseira" or "Busayra") will become perpetual ruins." Even if the city WERE destroyed (and there's no historical evidence that it was), and "rebuilt," this precludes it from being a "PERPETUAL ruins."

You close by again repeating your assertions about the Babylon "prophecy," carefully (and purposefully) omitting the fact that the Old Testament "prophets" predicted a sudden and violent end to the city (as I just demonstrated, AGAIN).

As already stated, that WASN'T the fate of the city. Therefore, the "prophecy" regarding Babylon fails -- just as the "prophecies" regarding Tyre and Bozra fail.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Paladin

you spent weeks avoiding avoiding the plain truth that a maths proof exists for the Proof of God: we agreed we could not comment on the details of the math but totally disagreed as to the philosophy behind it. You failed to discuss necessity in a scientific manner.

In other words the math stands up and has not yet been challenged by those who have the skills to do so.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

i. "I distinctly stated that Josephus was PARAPHRASING the Bible, not quoting verbatim."

i. So you admit that the phrase, "This was known to Cyrus by his reading the book which Isaiah left behind him of his prophecies; for this prophet said that God had spoken thus to him in a secret vision," is not from the Bible. That Cyrus read Isaiah's prophecy belies your fatuous claim that the prophecy is merely history being passed off as prediction.

ii. "Jeremiah 51:8 --

"Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.""

So how long did the Medes and Persians take to conquer Babylon?

iii. "My complaint is that you claim that the "prophecy" predicts the Greeks destroying Tyre, but it doesn't. It NEVER mentions Greece specifically."

And just where do I ever make that claim?

iv. "Further, you keep insisting that Tyre was destroyed. But it clearly was NOT."

Actually, as, once again, clearly stated in the essay, "Today “as with much of what was once Phoenicia, little remains of the great cities that stood at the center of this ancient maritime power. None of the original buildings they lived in and temples they built are still standing, and there is no great wealth of art depicting exactly how they lived. In fact, it has taken chance and persistent digging just to uncover some of the foundation traces of these intrepid people, despite the once heralded majesty of their municipalities. And, albeit informative, what has been physically brought to light does not pack the same kind of punch that tripping through Pompeii or the Roman Forum does.”"

Sloppy, very, very sloppy ...

v. "You also insist, more specifically, that it was Alexander who "destroyed" the city -- even though history records that he DID NOT (nor did anyone else)."

“With the debris of the mainland portion of the city,” explains the Encyclopedia Americana, “he built a huge [causeway] in 332 to join the island to the mainland. After a seven months’ siege . . . he captured and destroyed Tyre.”

vi. "The city that was besieged and eventually conquered by Alexander STILL EXISTS."

No, it doesn't. See iv and v.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

"You close by again repeating your assertions about the Babylon "prophecy," carefully (and purposefully) omitting the fact that the Old Testament "prophets" predicted a sudden and violent end to the city."

And this changes the fact that, today, Babylon is nowhere to be found, how exactly?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

"Even if the city WERE destroyed (and there's no historical evidence that it was), and "rebuilt," this precludes it from being a "PERPETUAL ruins.""

So the ruins of ancient Bozrah are what exactly?


nmadore profile image

nmadore 2 years ago from Boston

The comments in this thread illustrate perfectly why "faith" endures despite the glaringly obvious facts that dispute organized religion. If God doesn't come through and answer all your prayers, it simply means your faith wasn't strong enough. It's such a great disclaimer.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@nmadore

"The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable to Jehovah,

But the prayer of the upright is a pleasure to Him.

Jehovah detests the way of the wicked one,

But he loves the one who pursues righteousness." - Proverbs 15:8,9


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Oz, you're like a broken record. You constantly cite Gödel's ontological argument as "proof" of God, but you consistently refuse to understand the difference between MATHEMATICAL 'proof' and EVIDENTIARY 'proof.'

And you disingenuously cite the mathematical "translation" of his original argument -- which you've admitted you don't understand -- as proof. But you can't honestly cite it as proof if you don't understand it, can you?

On the other hand, Gödel's ORIGINAL ontological argument is right there, in plain English, for anyone to examine and analyze for themselves. This, you steadfastly refuse to do, except for some obscure reference (whose relevance you never explained) to "necessity." I DID examine his argument, and even wrote a hub about -- which you then lied about, claiming that atheists "ignore" Gödel's argument.

So, please, explain why Gödel's ontological argument -- his ACTUAL argument -- constitutes "proof" of God, or shut the hell up.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

No, Joseph, I'm saying that either Josephus was paraphrasing the Bible, or incorrectly quoting it from memory (how many times must I explain this?). In any case, it's a red herring, and irrelevant.

As I've ALREADY pointed out -- Josephus wrote this LONG after the events of the Old Testament -- including the captivity of the Jews in Babylon. So how does quoting him contradict my assertion that nobody knows when the original scrolls of the Old Testament were written?

In reply to my comments regarding Babylon's supposed "sudden" destruction, you ask how long it took for the Medes and Persians to "conquer" Babylon. But what does that matter? The issue isn't the CONQUERING of Babylon, but it's DESTRUCTION -- which Jeremiah clearly specifies will be "sudden."

Incidentally, since Jeremiah also specifies that it will be the Medes who will "destroy" Babylon, the "destruction" was obviously to have occurred while that empire still existed, prior to the sixth century BCE. Yet history demonstrates that Babylon existed as a viable city for more than a MILLENIA after that.

Unbelievably, you've asked me where you make the claim that it was the Greeks who "destroyed" Tyre. Yet you spend two paragraphs in one of your theses

http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Study-Bib...

explaining how Ezekiel and Zechariah foretold the destruction of the city, and how Alexander fulfilled it. You even cite details from the Biblical accounts and misapply them to Alexander's siege.

And I honestly don't understand why you keep reciting your paragraph about the "cities of Phoenicia" in response to my assertions regarding Tyre. The ONLY city that matters here is Tyre. The "prophecy" claims it would be destroyed. It wasn't, and still exists. How much clearer can that be?

Also, you offer a quote from the Encyclopedia Americana which claims that Alexander destroyed the city, but provide no link to demonstrate that the quote is correct and/or genuine. Please provide one.

That aside, here's a quote from someone a bit closer to the actual historical event -- from the "Library Of History" of Diodorus Siculus (Vol. VIII, Book XVII, Chapter 46):

"...So Tyre had undergone the siege bravely rather than wisely and come into such misfortunes, after a resistance of seven months. The king [Alexander] removed the golden chains and fetters from Apollo and gave orders that the god should be called "Apollo Philalexander." He carried out magnificent sacrifices to Heracles, rewarded those of his men who had distinguished themselves, and gave a lavish funeral for his own dead. He installed as king of Tyre a man named Ballonymus..."

Why would Alexander install a king over a city he just "destroyed?" And why do you continue to refuse to admit that Tyre still exists -- which is as clear as looking at a map?

As for my references to Babylon's sudden "destruction," you keep replying that the city is in ruins today. What you FAIL to acknowledge is that the ENTIRE prophecy claims that, not only will Babylon be a perpetual ruin, its destruction will come SUDDENLY (details above). Keep ignoring this, and I'll keep reminding you. In the end, it just may get through that wall of denial!

As for Bozra, even if a portion of the original city is in ruins, if the city still exists -- and it DOES -- it CANNOT be "perpetual ruins," can it?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, I must admit, it's been somewhat fascinating, watching you stubbornly trying to avoid the facts. It's almost like playing "whack-a-mole" -- just as you whack one mole down, another one pops up -- the same on you just whacked down two seconds before.

You keep going back to the same points that have already been addressed, and this suggests to me that you're nearing -- or perhaps have already reached -- the limits of your apologetic resources on this matter. This is good.

On the other hand, the longer we continue this discussion, the stronger the case becomes against the veracity of the "prophecies" you've cited.

For example, while recently doing research for a new hub, I've come across additional information (that I overlooked before) regarding the Tyre "prophecy" which undercuts it even more.

In Ezekiel chapter 26 -- where he makes it clear that it will be the BABYLONIANS who "destroy" the city (and not anyone else later), he adds a few more details which demolish your attempt to split hairs regarding the "old" city and the newer, "replacement" city:

"...Now shall the isles tremble in the day of thy fall; yea, the isles that are in the sea shall be troubled at thy departure. For thus saith the Lord God; When I shall make thee a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited; when I shall bring up the deep upon thee, and great waters shall cover thee..."

So, not only were the Babylonians supposed to "destroy" Tyre, and "scrape" her like the "top of a rock," the ocean water was supposed to have covered the city.

Not only does this preclude Alexander's later siege of the city (which ACTUALLY happened), but it contradicts your half-assed attempt to split hairs about the "old" and "new" cities, for one or the other of them should now be covered by the ocean.

But the older city -- the one whose materials Alexander used to besiege the newer city -- is still there, and NOT covered with water. And attached to it is the newer city, which is also NOT covered with water. So no matter which of the cities you decide suits your apologetic purposes, neither of them is covered with water, as the "prophecy" predicted.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for visiting and commenting, Nmadore.

I've found religious apologetics to be full of such disclaimers, and they sometimes make it seem like one is talking to the wall. But I won't let it discourage me from speaking up for -- and seeking out -- the truth!


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

A. "Josephus wrote this LONG after the events of the Old Testament -- including the captivity of the Jews in Babylon. So how does quoting him contradict my assertion that nobody knows when the original scrolls of the Old Testament were written?"

So because you don't know Josephus couldn't have known? Where's the logic in that? More importantly, Josephus is explaining that Cyrus read the PROPHECY found in Isaiah, the one that mentions him by name as Israel's "rescuer." Are you insinuating that Josephus was lying? If so, where's your evidence?

B. "You close by again repeating your assertions about the Babylon "prophecy," carefully (and purposefully) omitting the fact that the Old Testament "prophets" predicted a sudden and violent end to the city."

And this changes the fact that, today, Babylon is nowhere to be found, how exactly? I'd like a direct answer if you would ...

C. "I honestly don't understand why you keep reciting your paragraph about the "cities of Phoenicia" in response to my assertions regarding Tyre."

Because they're talking about ancient Tyre!

D. "why do you continue to refuse to admit that Tyre still exists"

Because ANCIENT Tyre no longer exists! It's at the bottom of the ocean. As you yourself recognize, "the older city -- the one whose materials Alexander used to besiege the newer city" was pitched into the ocean. It served as the causeway that linked the mainland to island Tyre. Prophecy fulfilled.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

No, Joseph. I'm not saying that Josephus was lying.

It certainly seems -- from the similarity between his quotes and what's actually in the text -- that Josephus was paraphrasing the Bible. Yet, with regard to my particular point, it doesn't really matter. For all we know, Josephus could have been making a reference to something that was handed down in oral tradition (which is quite plausible, given his Jewish identity).

All I'm saying -- in the final analysis -- is that your quote doesn't demonstrate that he knew when the Old Testament scrolls were written. There is NOTHING in the quote you offered that demonstrates that he did.

As for Babylon, I suspect you're purposely being disingenuous (or perhaps it's the only way you can continue to rationalize the "prophecy"). You keep referring to Babylon's current ruins as proof of the "prophecy," but continue to ignore that the prophecy ALSO predicted the NATURE and TIMING of Babylon's "destruction."

As I'm scoring it, God appears to be wrong on two out of the three aspects of the Babylon "prophecy." Though he gets the "desolation" part right, he's absolutely wrong on both the timing ("sudden") and the nature (destruction by the Medes) of her demise.

If you consider getting ONE OUT OF THREE predictions to be a good score, then I guess I can only wish you were at my table when it's time for a poker game!

As for your Tyre comments, you're conveniently conflating details to try to make the "prophecy" fit actual historical details. According to Ezekiel, the Babylonians were supposed to have destroyed the city, and it was supposed to have been covered by water, never to be found again.

You're trying to suggest that, since Alexander pitched materials from the older city into the ocean to build a causeway to the newer city, the "prophecy" is fulfilled.

But the "prophecy" actually predicts that the city would be "scraped" like the top of a rock and covered with water. This simply didn't happen. The older and "newer" cities both still exist -- UNCOVERED by water. It also predicts that the city will "never be found again" and will "be no more." But, of course, if you look at a satellite map, you can actually see the city (including the ruins!), clearly on DRY LAND.

If anything, the "prophecy" is not only factually incorrect, but it actually predicts the OPPOSITE of what genuinely happened. Instead of being covered by water, there is actually MORE of it above the water than before (thanks to Alexander, and subsequent additions to his causeway)!

Worst of all, your reference to Alexander's siege is irrelevant, for the "prophecy" specifically states that it would be the BABYLONIANS who "destroy" Tyre, NOT the Greeks! But the Babylonians DIDN'T destroy Tyre. Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city for thirteen long years, and the battle ended with a political compromise.

So, let's score God on his Tyre "prophecy:" He predicted it would be destroyed "suddenly" by the Babylonians. But the they DIDN'T destroy it -- suddenly or otherwise. He also predicted that Nebuchadnezzar would break down the walls and his chariots would spread dust through the city. But his siege was unsuccessful, and he never took the city by force. He also predicted that the city would be submerged in water, never to be found again. But, of course, anyone with internet access or an atlas can find both the city and its older ruins. So on this "prophecy," God is 0 for 3.

As a prognosticator, it appears that the "sovereign of the universe" is nothing more than an untalented hack.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

Actually Jeremiah 51:8 reads, "פִּתְאֹ֛ם נָפְלָ֥ה בָבֶ֖ל וַתִּשָּׁבֵ֑ר הֵילִ֣ילוּ עָלֶ֗יהָ קְח֤וּ צֳרִי֙ לְמַכְאֹובָ֔הּ אוּלַ֖י תֵּרָפֵֽא׃" that is to say, "Suddenly Babylon has fallen, so that she is broken. Howl over her, YOU people. Take balsam for her pain. Perhaps she may be healed." So you see, her fall would be sudden, not her destruction. You should have gone to the original Hebrew or, at the very least, used a reliable translation of the original Hebrew text before you doubled down on your sloppy analysis.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

I. "According to Ezekiel, the Babylonians were supposed to have destroyed the city, and it was supposed to have been covered by water, never to be found again."

Wrong. Actually the prophecy clearly states, "“I will bring up against you ***many nations***. . . And they will certainly bring the walls of Tyre to ruin and tear down her towers, and I will scrape her dust away from her and make her a shining, bare surface of a crag. ”—Ezekiel 26:3-5 (Emphasis mine)

So you see, Nebuchadnezzar was to be but one in a procession of rulers who would lay siege to Tyre. Your argument is, thus, demolished.

II. "The older [city] still exist[s] -- UNCOVERED by water." (Brackets mine.)

Wrong again. Actually, as, once again, clearly stated in the essay, "Today “as with much of what was once Phoenicia, *** little remains *** of the great cities that stood at the center of this ancient maritime power. **** None **** of the original buildings they lived in and temples they built are still standing, and there is no great wealth of art depicting exactly how they lived. In fact, it has taken chance and persistent digging just to uncover some of the foundation traces of these intrepid people, despite the once heralded majesty of their municipalities. And, albeit informative, what has been physically brought to light does not pack the same kind of punch that tripping through Pompeii or the Roman Forum does.”" (Emphasis mine.)

Nothing you say ersases these facts. Both prophecies were fulfilled exactly as predicted. End of story.

III. "All I'm saying -- in the final analysis -- is that your quote doesn't demonstrate that he knew when the Old Testament scrolls were written. "

So Josephus, being the reputed historian he was, didn't know that Isaiah was written before Cyrus read it? He was lying when he referred to it as a PROPHECY? Really? What's your evidence?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

As for Josephus -- and I can't believe I must explain this yet AGAIN -- what I'm saying is that Josephus' knowledge of Cyrus' reading of Isaiah's text could have been -- and most likely was -- based upon his own reading of Biblical documents that were dated WELL AFTER THE FACT!

Do you not understand that Josephus lived CENTURIES after Cyrus supposedly read Isaiah's words, and that his source -- whatever it was -- was also likely transcribed CENTURIES after Cyrus read the words (and we have no way of knowing whether or not they weren't)?

Unless you can provide some citation that specifically dates Josephus' own source for this knowledge, how does quoting him prove anything regarding the date or authorship of the earliest biblical texts?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

As for your Babylon quote, how is "broken" different from "destroyed?" I realize you're splitting hairs here, desperately trying to save a "prophecy" that's beyond rescue, but that's a bit much.

Incidentally, the ACTUAL word-for-word translation of the verse in question -- according to the Hebrew Interlinear Bible -- is:

"Suddenly she-falls Babylon and she-is-being-broken howl-you ! over-her take-you! balm for-pain-of-her perhaps she-shall-be-healed."

The English translation offered reads:

"Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so she may be healed."

Apparently, the scholars who created the Hebrew Interlinear Bible are inclined to accept that "broken" means the same as "destroyed." And the JPS Tanakh -- which you yourself cited as an authoritative source during our debate over Daniel 9 -- reads "shattered," which any reasonable person would also understand to be "destroyed."

In any case, only three verses later, it's made clear that Babylon is supposed to be "destroyed," specifically by the Medes (again, from the Hebrew Interlinear Bible):

"he-roused Yahweh spirit-of-kings-of Medes that on Babylon plan-of-him to-to-ruin-of-her..."

Further, your own New World Translation also reads that the Median empire will "bring her [Babylon] to ruin." Let's see you try to split hairs and claim that "ruin" is not the same as "destruction."


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

As for Tyre, you're trying to rationalize that "many nations" means a "succession" of nations. But there's NOTHING in the quoted verse that states that it will be nations acting in succession.

There is, however, scriptural support for MY interpretation that Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian empire -- on its OWN -- can be considered "many nations." For example, in chapter 27, Jeremiah states that...

"And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon...And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son's son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him."

Apparently, even Jeremiah doesn't agree with your rationalization. In any case, in the verses I cited in my earlier comments, the "prophecy" makes it clear that the BABYLONIANS who are to "destroy" tire. But they didn't.

Nor did anyone else. As I already mentioned, Babylon wasn't "destroyed" at all. It gradually fell into decline and disrepair over the centuries.

And you've posted your quote from your thesis regarding Phoenicia for, what, the FOURTH time? As to what purpose, I don't know, for as I've demonstrated, it's INCORRECT. Not only does Tyre still exist, but so do cities like Beirut and Byblos (which, incidentally, I've had the pleasure of visiting myself, and I KNOW it exists!).

You claim that "both" prophecies" (presumably those regarding Babylon and Tyre) were "fulfilled exactly as predicted. End of story."

However, if you sincerely believed the "prophecies" were "fullfilled EXACTLY," you you wouldn't be trying to split hairs between "destroyed" and "broken."

And you wouldn't be trying to rationalize that "many nations" means nations in "succession," when the Jeremiah chapter itself suggests that Nebuchadnezzar's empire is "many nations."

And you wouldn't attempt your half-baked rationalization that, since the modern city of Busayra is a "replacement," it doesn't mean that Bozra isn't eternally desolate.

This is just sad...


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

a. "I'm saying is that Josephus' knowledge of Cyrus' reading of Isaiah's text could have been [...]"

Could have been? You're going to have to do much better than that. Where's your evidence?

b. "Do you not understand that Josephus lived CENTURIES after Cyrus supposedly read Isaiah's words"

And? Contemporary historical texts explain, for instance, that Cortes captured Tenochtitlan in 1521. Should we doubt the veracity of this historical fact simply because this is found in a text written centuries after the fact?

c. "As for your Babylon quote, how is "broken" different from "destroyed?""

Broken:

a : made weak

b : subdued completely : crushed

d : reduced in rank

All of these certainly apply to Babylon's fall as a world empire.

d. "there's NOTHING in the quoted verse that states that it will be nations acting in succession."

"“I will bring up against [Tyre] *** many nations ***. . . And they will certainly bring the walls of Tyre to ruin and tear down her towers, and I will scrape her dust away from her and make her a shining, bare surface of a crag. ”—Ezekiel 26:3-5 (Emphasis mine. Bracket mine.)

Just how precisely does this absolutely not mean that Nebuchadnezzar was to be but one in a procession of rulers who would lay siege to mainland and/or island Tyre?

e. RE: Jeremiah 27:7

Actually the text correctly reads, "וְעָבְד֤וּ אֹתֹו֙ כָּל־הַגֹּויִ֔ם וְאֶת־בְּנֹ֖ו וְאֶֽת־בֶּן־בְּנֹ֑ו עַ֣ד בֹּא־עֵ֤ת אַרְצֹו֙ גַּם־ה֔וּא וְעָ֤בְדוּ בֹו֙ גֹּויִ֣ם רַבִּ֔ים וּמְלָכִ֖ים גְּדֹלִֽים׃" that is to say, "And all the nations must serve even him (Babylon) and his son and his grandson *** until *** the time even of his own land comes, and many nations and great kings must exploit him (Babylon) as a servant.’" (Parenthesis mine. Emphasis mine.)

So you see, your quote does nothing to support your claim.

f. "As to what purpose, I don't know, for as I've demonstrated, it's INCORRECT"

Are you now trying to claim that ANCIENT Tyre with all of it's ANCIENT buildings are extant?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, I don't NEED to prove ANYTHING regarding Josephus! All I need to do is create reasonable doubt regarding your quote.

As you may remember, YOU'RE the one who cited Josephus' quote as proof that someone knows when the original biblical texts were written. Thus, the burden of proof is upon YOU to demonstrate how the Josephus quote proves it, which -- despite your attempts to confuse the issue -- you've utterly failed to do.

And I see you're still prevaricating about Babylon's "destruction." You offer three definitions from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary to bolster your argument, but I see you were careful to leave out any of the entries that contradict it.

Specifically, you left out the very first definition offered by that very same dictionary for the word "broken" (emphasis theirs):

1 : violently separated into parts : SHATTERED

Joseph, in your attempt to mislead us, did you really think that I'd simply take your word, or that I don't know how to use a search engine?

In any case, it doesn't matter, for the rest of Jeremiah's "prophecy" makes it clear that the Medes, along with their allies, will not only cause Babylon to "fall" as an empire (as you insist) but will DESTROY her:

"...Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes, the captains thereof, and all the rulers thereof, and all the land of his dominion. And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the Lord shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant."

(which, incidentally, agrees with the original Hebrew).

So, it's clear that -- according to God's "prophecy" -- the Medes and their allies are to make Babylon "desolate" and "uninhabited." Yet, as history shows, Babylon WASN'T made "desolate" and "uninhabited" by the Medes or anyone else. It simply declined and faded away over the centuries.

No matter how you try to equivocate and save this "prophecy," for every hole you try to plug, two more begin spouting water, and everyone but you can see that you're drowning (which is a particularly fitting analogy, since God ALSO "prophesied" that Babylon would be "covered" by the sea -- which seems odd, given that the nearest sea (the Persian Gulf) is hundreds of kilometers away)

As for your quote regarding Tyre, it says NOTHING about nations acting in "succession." You can emphasize the phrase "MANY NATIONS" as many times as you like, but you know as well as I that "many nations" can also mean "many nations" acting SIMULTANEOUSLY and TOGETHER -- which perfectly describes the Babylonian empire at the time of Nebuchadnezzar's attack on Tyre.

Incidentally, how does your translation of my quote challenge this interpretation, when it clearly states that "many nations" will be serving him [Nebuchadnezzar]? Whether it applies to his "sons" and "grandsons" makes no difference. It is HE who is "prophesied" to destroy Tyre.

And I haven't changed my claim at all regarding Tyre. Both the older, mainland city and the "newer" city (that was an island before Alexander's siege) STILL EXIST. The existence of ancient ruins in their midst doesn't change that fact one iota.

The "prophecy" specifically predicts that Nebuchadnezzar will destroy Tyre by "scraping" it flat like the top of a rock (or "crag"). Yet even the ruins of Tyre aren't in that condition -- let alone the rest of the city. Try as you may to equivocate, this "prophecy" doesn't stand up to scrutiny any more than that regarding Babylon.

It's obvious to me -- and, hopefully, anyone else who may read this -- that you've been reduced from proudly proclaiming "irrefutable evidence" to hair-splitting over definitions and equivocations over "ruins" and "replacement cities" in your desperate defense of the failed "prophecies" regarding Bozra, Babylon and Tyre.

You may not admit it, but surely even you must realize how paper thin your case has become. Hopefully, all these refutations will gradually begin to sink in and finally get through that crumbling apologetic wall you've built around your belief. Time will tell...


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"YOU'RE the one who cited Josephus' quote as proof that someone knows when the original biblical texts were written."

Incorrect. I cited Josephus as evidence that Cyrus read Isaiah's prophecy, nothing more.

"(which, incidentally, agrees with the original Hebrew)."

Actually it doesn't. The passage correctly reads,

"קדשו עליה גוים את־מלכי מדי את־פחותיה ואת־כל־סגניה ואת כל־ארץ ממשלתו׃

ותרעש הארץ ותחל כי קמה על־בבל מחשבות יהוה לשום את־ארץ בבל לשמה מאין יושב׃"

That is to say, "Appoint* against her the nations,

The kings of Me′di·a, its governors and all its deputy rulers

And all the lands they rule over.

And the earth will quake and tremble,

For the thoughts of Jehovah against Babylon will be carried out

To make the land of Babylon an object of horror, without an inhabitant."

Before you pretend to teach anyone Hebrew shouldn't you learn it first?

"So, it's clear that -- according to God's "prophecy" -- the Medes and their allies are to make Babylon "desolate" and "uninhabited."

No, it's not. All Jeremiah tells us is that Jehovah's thoughts regarding Babylon would be carried out without fail. It makes no mention of who specifically or even when this would take place. You're clutching at straws.

And, by the way, where is Babylon found today?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

Add Your Comment."God ALSO "prophesied" that Babylon would be "covered" by the sea"

"Jeremiah described the sound of the attackers of Babylon as being “like the sea that is boisterous.” (Jer 50:42) Hence, when he foretold that “the sea” would come up over Babylon, he evidently meant the flood of conquering troops under the Medes and Persians.—Jer 51:42; compare Da 9:26." http://bit.ly/1uOTInu

"You can emphasize the phrase "MANY NATIONS" as many times as you like, but you know as well as I that "many nations" can also mean "many nations" acting SIMULTANEOUSLY and TOGETHER."

And this precludes these "many nations" from being nations who attack Tyre in succession, how exactly?

"Both the older, mainland city and the "newer" city (that was an island before Alexander's siege) STILL EXIST. The existence of ancient ruins in their midst [...]"

You're not making sense. How can these cities both be extant and in ruins at the same time?

As a closing thought, I hope it's become readily apparent to you that understanding precisely what the Bible states requires, not a lazy reading and a lazy understanding, but precise reading and precise understanding. In other words, apprehending context, definitions in context and employing an accurate rendering of the ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine manuscripts of the Bible, to only mention a few, are absolutely necessary if you hope to correctly understand what you're reading in the Bible...


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, regarding the Josephus quote, I'm going to give you the benefit of a doubt and assume you simply don't remember the context of your quote. So I'll refresh your memory:

PALADIN -- "NOBODY knows for certain when the original scrolls of the Old Testament were first written."

JOSEPH -- "...Cyrus himself was aware of the prophecy: "Cyrus, according to Josephus...""

You clearly cited Josephus directly in response to my assertion that nobody knows when the original biblical scrolls were written. In any case, it's irrelevant, for as I already explained, the quote demonstrates nothing (as Josephus' own source could have been altered numerous times in the centuries before he quoted it).

As for my quote regarding Babylon, how does my translation differ from yours? BOTH translations make it clear that it will be the MEDIAN EMPIRE who will carry out Yahweh's "purpose" against Babylon. And that purpose is to make Babylon "desolate" and "uninhabited" -- as explained in the original Hebrew (from the Hebrew Interlinear Bible):

"...to-place-of land-of Babylon to-desolation from-there-is-no one-dwelling..."

Try as you may to twist and spin this "prophecy," God clearly predicts that the Median empire will make Babylon "desolate" and "uninhabited" (and obviously therefore within the timeframe of their empire).

But Babylon DIDN'T become "desolate" and "uninhabited" during the reign of the Medians. It existed as a city for CENTURIES afterward. So God "predicts" WHO will do it, and WHEN -- and FAILS miserably on both counts.

You keep pointing out that the city of Babylon no longer exists -- but consistently fail to rectify the two aforementioned failures of this so-called "prophecy." You speak of "clutching at straws," but you've been dishonestly fondling that one slender reed since this discussion began. It ought to be pretty frazzled by now... ;-)


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

As for the "covered by the sea," translation, the relevant passage in actually in Jeremiah 51, not 50. Still, I can assent on that one. Reading the original Hebrew transliteration, it appears to give a masculine tense to the "sea," as it does in later verses where it mentions men more specifically. So it seems reasonable to conclude that the author was speaking poetically and not literally.

As for the "many nations" phrase in the Tyre "prophecy," it's not necessary for ME to prove that it "precludes" the presumption of many nations acting in succession. YOU'RE the one making that assertion. It's up to YOU to demonstrate this, and you haven't (and you can't).

On the other hand, as I've already demonstrated, there is biblical support for MY contention that "many nations" means the "many nations" of the Babylonian empire, acting simultaneously. While it's not definitive proof, it certainly makes my interpretation -- and my explanation -- as plausible as (and I daresay MORE plausible than) yours.

Keep in mind, Joseph, that you're the one offering these "prophecies" as supposed "irrefutable evidence" for God's existence. So it's not enough for you to merely propose plausible explanations or definitions. They must be incontrovertible.

Conversely, all I must do to contradict the supposed "irrefutable" nature of your arguments is merely create reasonable doubt. Of course, I've done far more than that. To any rational, objective reader, I've "refuted" large portions of your so-called evidence.

You say I'm not "making sense" with my mention of ancient ruins, but I honestly can't comprehend what's so difficult about this. Surely you realize that there are a great many cities on this planet that have ruins from earlier and ancient times in their midst. Does the existence of one preclude the other?

Based upon your arguments thus far, it appears you would have us believe that, if any city contains ruins from an earlier time, that city no longer exists. For example, Rome is a city filled with ruins, even in the midst of the modern city. Yet, according to your flexible 'logic,' because the ruins exist, Rome no longer exists as a city.

You speak of the necessity of understanding "context" and 'accuracy' in reading the Bible. Yet it's become clear to me -- and I've demonstrated this numerous times -- that your understanding of "context" extends only to those contexts and interpretations that suit your preconceptions.

This is crystal clear, not only in your numerous equivocations and hair-splitting regarding definitions, but most dramatically in the aforementioned cherry-picking regarding Babylon -- where you focus on the ONE aspect of the "prophecy" that suits your purposes while explaining or waving away those aspects that don't.

MY hope is that it's becoming "readily apparent" to you that the time and effort you're expending in rationalizing, hair-splitting and cherry-picking the details of your arguments is MUCH more than would be required if the arguments actually had merit or truth.

Think about it...


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

And speaking of rationalizing, hair-splitting and cherry-picking -- lest you believe that I've forgotten about the rest of your so-called "irrefutable evidence" -- let's examine your next thesis in your list of "Irrefutable Evidence For The Necessary Existence Of God."

You offer a wholly disjointed, non-sensical attempt at a teological argument for God's existence. You begin plausibly and agreeably enough, by declaring in your first axiom that everything that exists must have an objective explanation. You then immediately proceed to a non sequitur (and strawman), declaring that, if atheism is true, the universe has no objective explanation of its existence.

WRONG!

Atheism isn't the rejection of ANY objective explanation for the universe's existence -- Not one! Rather, it is the rejection of a wholly SUBJECTIVE explanation for the universe's existence -- God.

Next, you posit that, if the universe has an objective explanation of its existence then atheism is false.

WRONG AGAIN!

Atheism is potentially compatible with ANY objective explanation for the existence for the universe. The ONLY explanation with which it is incompatible is the SUBJECTIVE explanation of "God."

Your next axion is also fairly benign, declaring that "the universe exists." You then proceed to the more questionable argument that "the space-time universe does not exist out of the necessity of it’s own nature" because it didn't always exist. But this rests on the presumption that one can know the "necessity" of the universe's nature (regardless of whether or not that existence is finite). In any case, it's a relatively minor quibble.

From there, you extrapolate that the universe must therefore have an external cause. But this is based upon the aforementioned presumtion, and doesn't even necessarily logically flow from that presumption. But, again -- a minor quibble, and one we can set aside for the purpose of proceeding.

With your next argument, you completely run off the rails, adding all sorts of qualifications for which -- up to this point -- you've offered NO foundation or logical support. You declare that the "external cause" of the universe "must necessarily be a transcendent, beginningless, spaceless, immaterial, timeless, unchanging, omnipotent and personal being."

WRONG AGAIN!

Again, up to this point, you've offered NOTHING that even suggests that the "external cause" must be "beginningless, immaterial, timeless, unchanging, omnipotent" or "personal." The ONLY specific qualification that derives from your arguments thus far is that this "external cause" must be "spaceless," for if it is truly "external," it is by definition outside "space" (as the term is applied to the universe), and therefore "spaceless." EVERY OTHER qualification you've listed is pulled entirely out of thin air.

Next, you proceed to assert that your preceding definition -- with all the qualities just listed -- is the definition of God. That may, indeed, be true. But you haven't established that those qualities are necessary for the 'creation' of the universe. It's simply your SUBJECTIVE, and wholly unsubstantiated, assertion.

You conclude that, "therefore, the objective explanation of the universe's existence is God." But, as we can see, your explanation is neither logical nor objective. This is NOT "irrefutable evidence" for God's existence. It's a laughably flimsy house of cards that collapses at the first breath of objective, critical examination.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

"as Josephus' own source could have been altered numerous times in the centuries before he quoted it"

So you only trust contemporary history because, you know, you're paranoid, I get it :)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"up to this point, you've offered NOTHING that even suggests that the "external cause" must be "beginningless, immaterial, timeless, unchanging, omnipotent" or "personal.""

Patience young padawan:

Foremost , this cause must per se be uncaused . Why ? Simply because an infinite regress of causes does not have any basis in reality ; it can’t be turtles all the way down . ( http://bit.ly/1o2W0vq )

Next , this uncaused cause needs to transcend space-time since it itself created space-time . It is , as a result , spaceless .

Third , considering the fact that this uncaused cause exists beyond space and time it is must be a non-physical or immaterial cause . Why ? Because physical stuff exists only in space – they possess dimension .

Fourth , this uncaused cause must invariably also be timeless for the simple fact that it itself doesn't exist in space-time .

Fifth , it must likewise be changeless . As I'm sure you're well aware , all of matter is present in a state of continuous flux . This is particularly observable at the atomic level . Given that this uncaused cause is immaterial it is not governed by the same forces that alter matter , and so , is unchanging .

Sixth , this uncaused cause is without a doubt unimaginably powerful , if not omnipotent , for it produced matter , energy , space and time into existence entirely on its own .

So , to sum up , whatever it is that brought about the universe to come into existence 13 .70 billion years ago it needs to be beginningless , spaceless , immaterial , timeless , unchanging and omnipotent .

Still we're not done for there are two more attributes of this uncaused cause that we are able to ascertain from what we perceive of the universe . Before we identify these , though , we first want to take a finer look at cause and effect . Here's exactly what I mean : if a cause is sufficient to yield it's effect then the effect also needs to be present . The pair are joined at the hip , so to speak ; you can't have one without the other .

Permit me to borrow from an illustration to help make this sharper . “Suppose that the cause of water’s freezing is the temperature’s being below 0°C . If the temperature were below 0°C from eternity past , then any water that was around would be frozen from eternity . It would be impossible for the water to just begin to freeze a finite time ago . Once the cause is given , the effect must be given as well .” ( http://bit.ly/WQtgZY )

The problem is , if we have indeed a timeless , transcendent cause how come the effect isn’t permanent as well ? Stated another way , if this timeless , transcendent cause in fact brought the universe into being , why hasn't the universe always been ? Just how can a cause be eternal yet its effect commence a finite time ago ? We are aware the universe is roughly about 13 .70 billion years old but as you see we've further deduced that whatsoever brought about the universe has to be transcendent as well as timeless .

The one and only way that is feasible is if this timeless , transcendent , uncaused cause were at the same time a free agent – a being with free will who is able to operate of its own volition . Naturally we all know free will is the hallmark of personhood .

Last but certainly not least , this beginningless , spaceless , immaterial , timeless , unchanging , omnipotent being must be unimaginably good . Why ? Suppose we admit for the sake of argument that he’s evil . As this being is evil , that suggests he fails to discharge his moral duties . But then exactly where do those originate from ? Just how can this evil being have obligations he is violating ? Who forbids him to do the immoral things he does ? Right away , we discover such an evil being simply cannot be supreme . There needs to be a being who is even greater , one who is absolute goodness himself and thus the source of the moral responsibilities this other prefers to shirk . Therefore , there must necessarily exist a supreme being who is all powerful , all good and all loving ; One who is the very paradigm of good .

So here we arrive at this uncaused cause of the universe 13 .70 billion years ago that is beginningless , spaceless , immaterial , timeless , unchanging , omnipotent and personal being who is all good and all loving .

This is to say - God Almighty.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"This is NOT "irrefutable evidence" for God's existence."

It is for reasonable people who do not have a staunch faith in God's nonexistence ...

"A mind," after all, "is like a parachute. It only works when it's open." -Frank Zappa


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"if any city contains ruins from an earlier time, that city no longer exists."

Correct. If the earlier city existed it wouldn't be in ruins ...

... How do you not get that? ...

"As for the "covered by the sea," translation, the relevant passage in actually in Jeremiah 51, not 50. Still, I can assent on that one."

Prophecy fulfilled. Now, this one alone should give you pause (... but it won't because of your obdurate faith in God's nonexistence ...)


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, I see you're still getting practice building straw men. But, as they say, practice makes perfect. ;-)

I never suggested that I only trust contemporary history. Contemporary history can be just as unreliable as that which is written years or decades after the fact.

The difference is that there is one ADDITIONAL reason to be skeptical of historical accounts that aren't contemporary -- such accounts are much more likely to rely on fading memories of events or second, third or even worse-hand accounts of them.

Worse, with the passage of time, collective historical memory of particular events fades, leaving unscrupulous authors and historians (or theologians with an agenda) more latitude to re-write the events to suit their own purposes.

In the end, it's a matter of reasonable doubt. You quoted Josephus to contradict my assertion regarding the origin of the original biblical scrolls, and I merely pointed out that such a reference is unreliable -- for the reasons I've already repeatedly noted.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

As for your teological/ontological argument, I should point out that, if you actually have explanations for the assertions I challenged, you probably should have somehow included them in the original argument. Otherwise, others who read it are likely to be equally as skeptical and dismissive.

That said, your explanations are just as bogus and presumptuous as the assertions I questioned, so perhaps it's a moot point.

For example, in your first explanation, you simply replace one unfounded assumption with another. You declare that the original "external cause" of the universe must be "uncaused," because "an infinite regress of causes does not have any basis in reality."

But how do you know this? Within our current understanding of the physical nature of the universe, there is NOTHING (outside of religious texts) to suggest that such an infinite regression doesn't exist. And, given our current knowledge, the existence of an infinite regression of causes is AT LEAST as plausible as the existence of a single initial cause.

For obvious reasons, you choose to accept the latter. But that doesn't rule out the former.

As for your next point regarding the "spaceless" nature of this "external cause," I already agreed with your definition in my original comments, so I don't know why you addressed it again. Actually, I singled it out as the ONLY quality you proposed that made any sense in the context of your argument.

Your third explanation falters because you fail to see the issue in a larger context. Specifically, you assert that this "external cause" must be "non-physical or immaterial" because it necessarily exists beyond the boundaries of the universe.

But you fail to consider other possibilities -- such as the notion that THIS universe is merely a component of yet ANOTHER physical universe, or that it arose from a PREVIOUS universe with similar physical laws (given your arbitrary obsession with "consecutive" nations attacking Tyre in our previous discussion, this thought should have come naturally to you!).

In either case (and I'd wager some enterprising theoretical physicist could propose more), the "external cause" of the universe could very well have physical or material properties.

Next, you assert that this "external cause" must be "changeless" because it's "immaterial" nature means that it isn't subject to the same physical forces. However, as I already explained, this "external cause" isn't necessarily "immaterial" at all. You can only ASSUME that it is.

Finally, you proclaim that, since this "external cause" is "unimaginably powerful," it must therefore be "omnipotent." But this is where you make your greatest leap, for you equate "powerful" with "omnipotent." You're conflating an adjective that generically describes ANY massive amount of energy or force with another adjective that MUST -- by definition -- describe a cognizant being.

The first adjective is SUBJECTIVE -- "powerful" is a description that is wholly dependent upon one's personal application of the word. For example, a vacuum cleaner is "powerful" to a spider in his cobweb, but not so "powerful" to me.

The second adjective is OBJECTIVE -- Regardless of who is applying the term, or in what context, "omnipotent" ALWAYS means having every conceivable power.

In the end, not only have you confused a generic description with one that is exclusively personal, you've confounded a subjective description with one that is objective.

As for your next few paragraphs explaining the subtleties of cause and effect, I'm not sure why you felt them necessary, for I largely agree with that part of your premise. I simply don't agree with your characterization of the cause itself.

Finishing your explanations, you return to your thesis on the supposedly "good" nature of this "external cause," harping on the same issue of the source of morality -- which you have already addressed extensively.

I'm NOT going to go over this territory again. You believe that morality must come from an external source -- one that you insist is objective. I, on the other hand, insist that morality must arise INTERNALLY, and that the external source you propose is NOT objective.

I (and I daresay most humanists) obviously disagree with your assessment of this supposed characteristic of the "external source" of the universe's origin, so asserting this as additional support for your thesis isn't going to make it any more convincing.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, as for our discussion of "ruins" of cities -- I've just re-read the first three lines of your last comment, and I must admit I'm utterly flabbergasted that you can't see the incoherence in your reply.

Do you really expect anyone to believe that you can't understand that a city can have ancient ruins from an earlier time within it and STILL exist as a city?

Do you really expect others to accept that, since Rome and Athens have ancient ruins in or around them, that Rome and Athens literally DON'T EXIST? I think you're being utterly dishonest here.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, you assert that your supposed "irrefutable evidence" for God's existence is, indeed, evidence for "reasonable people who do not have a staunch faith in God's nonexistence."

Nothing you've ever stated in our discussions thus far could possible be more in error -- and more reflective of your own delusional presuppositions -- than this statement!

Your "irrefutable evidence" -- to the point that I've examined it thus far -- consists of one thesis composed entirely of quotes from others. By definition, this is nothing but a collection of opinions. Not only the most committed believer could reasonably characterize that as "evidence!"

Your next thesis focuses on four "prophecies" that supposedly support the truth of the Bible (and, hence, the existence of God). Yet, of the four, one is suspect -- as both the "prophecy" and it's "fulfillment" were recorded prior to the only existing transcriptions of the Bible. And the other three are either wholly or partially contradicted by either the Bible itself or by historical records.

Your next thesis is a mish-mash of teological and ontological arguments that are utterly unconvincing, as they rest upon assumptions that -- as I've once again just explained -- are either unfounded or wholly incorrect.

Despite what you've wished yourself into believing, NO reasonable person is going to consider these three theses as "irrefutable evidence" for God's existence.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"As for the "covered by the sea," translation, the relevant passage in actually in Jeremiah 51, not 50. Still, I can assent on that one."

Prophecy fulfilled. Now, this one alone should give you pause (... but it won't because of your obdurate faith in God's nonexistence ...)


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, I'm confused. Why did you re-post a previous comment? Am I missing something here?

(scratches head...)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

I wasn't sure that you had read it and addressed it :)

It's a point that bears reiterating for it is a weighty one.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Got it.

However, I don't see how that "proves" the "prophecy." My acknowledgement that I misinterpreted one detail doesn't eliminate the "prophecy's" other problems -- especially since I merely added that "covered by the sea" observation as an afterthought after already having demonstrated the "prophecy's" historical inaccuracy.

The "prophecy" fails quite well on it's own without my help! ;-)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

So Jeremiah and Isaiah were wrong and the Medes didn't attack Babylon and displace here as the world power? (Jeremiah 50; Isaiah 13)


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

They were wrong that the Medes would make Babylon "desolate" and "uninhabited."

"...Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes...for every purpose of the Lord shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant."

But Babylon was neither "desolated" nor "uninhabited" after the Median attack. In fact, it survived as a city for centuries thereafter. Only time and disuse eventually made Babylon an uninhabited desolation.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Now, let's continue examining your theses as part of your supposed "irrefutable evidence" for the "necessary existence" of God. I can actually skip the next thesis in the series, as it's essentially a repeat of the teological/ontological argument I examined recently here in the comments. In fact, with the exception of the introduction, it's an almost word-for-word duplicate!

The thesis following that one is titled "The Only Valid Evidence Is Scientific Evidence." Its underlying theme is the building a straw man -- a mischaracterization of the scientific method (which you can then, of course, knock down).

You begin by coining a couple of helpful phrases. The first is "radical positivism," which suggests that the reliance on empirical evidence is somehow a "radical" approach. The next is "scientism," which, I suppose, is the ugly cousin to "Darwnism" or "Darwinists," those laughable terms that creationists have concocted to make believers in the biological sciences seem more dogmatic or sinister.

Next, you proceed to the construction of said straw man, insisting that scientific "positivism" means that there is "nothing good or evil, right or wrong, beautiful or ugly." But the scientific method -- as properly applied -- is entirely OBJECTIVE (this is, in fact, its greatest strength), and thus approaches such SUBJECTIVE and abstract notions only peripherally, to the point where such notions can be quantified or measured.

Science largely leaves such questions to other fields of philosophy, and doesn't even try to address issues of morality, which makes your assetions regarding the "raping" and "killing" of a little girl not only obnoxious and offensive, but completely absurd.

Next, you proceed to a portion of your thesis that could only be called a "word salad," no doubt in the hopes that anyone who doesn't bother to try to decipher this tangled multisyllabic mess will be impressed. Here we find the following particular gem:

"...Science is suffused with suppositions that cannot be scientifically substantiated."

One could easily spend a half-hour trying to sort out not only the contextual meaning of these words, but their lazy incoherence (for example, if science is filled with such suppositions in the first place, what sense would it make to try to substantiate them scientifically?).

Naturally, this all fits in neatly with your other straw man proposition that the scientific method is the ONLY means of discovering truth-- which any self-respecting scientists would surely tell you isn't the case!

You continue this dishonest notion with your next assertion that positivism is "self-refuting," since it can't verify itself using its own standards. Of course, positivism CAN be evaluated by any number of standards that aren't exclusively scientific. For example, it can be evaluated merely on the standard of its own practicality (which it passes with flying colors, by the way).

Throughout your thesis, you repeatedly refer to Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem, which doesn't contradict or undermine the utility, reliability or practicality of the scientific method at all. It only suggests (in the broadest sense) that there are going to be questions within any given system that aren't going to be answerable within the confines of that system.

I think most scientists would concede that such limitations routinely apply to science. However, that doesn't mean that the scientific method isn't still the most reliable means we have of ascertaining the truth about the physical world.

You end your thesis by concluding that atheists' rejection of the existence of God is therefore wholly philosophical, not evidentiary (another clear-cut case of projection). Actually, you are partially correct, but only with regard to the most practical INITIAL approach to a question.

It is a very wise axiom that dictates that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Thus, when approaching outlandish claims like God's existence, it is perfectly rational and reasonable to take the 'philosophical' approach of skepticism, THEN proceed to apply the scientific method to whatever relevant evidence is available, if possible, following it wherever it leads.

This is the complete opposite of the manner in which apologists like yourself approach a question. You begin with the philosophical (and, to you, indisputable) premise that God exists, then proceed to adapt the evidence to fit that position (or ignore it altogether if it contradicts it).

And this thesis is a great example of such an approach (as it simply begins with the philosophical position and never even ventures near the evidence). You offer it as part of your "irrefutable evidence for the necessary existence of God," but in the entirety of its text, you haven't offered a single piece of evidence for God's existence (let alone his NECESSARY existence!).

All you've done is attack the opposition-- the scientific method and "positivism" -- but you haven't offered a single piece of evidence to support YOUR position.

You proceed in the mistaken belief that, by attacking and undermining the opposite position, you've positively strengthened your own (no evidence necessary!). But this is merely demonstrative of another intrinsic characteristic of the apologetic mindset -- the tendency toward bifurcation: seeing every issue or idea in the context of only two diametrically opposite extremes.

As usual, you fail to grasp that there are other alternatives. For example, the scientific method isn't the only standard by which the notion of God's existence fails. It also fails under the scrutiny of philosophical, historical or logical examination. It even fails to measure up to the simple standards of practicality and common sense!


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"apply the scientific method to whatever relevant evidence is available, if possible, following it wherever it leads."

“I would not expect religion to be the right tool for sequencing the human genome and by the same token would not expect science to be the means to approaching the supernatural. But on the really interesting larger questions, such as ‘Why are we here?’ or ‘Why do human beings long for spirituality?,’ I find science unsatisfactory. Many superstitions have come into existence and then faded away. Faith has not, which suggests it has reality.” - Francis S. Collins - MD,

"Science largely leaves such questions to other fields of philosophy, and doesn't even try to address issues of morality"

Instead of delusions of omniscience, then, shouldn’t the fact that the sciences are not infallible nor omniscient lead you to humility rather than contemptuousness and openness rather than bigotry?

"It is a very wise axiom that dictates that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. "

“The sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and willfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices.”

― Aleister Crowley

"To my surprise, I found substantial knowledge and deep insight in the pages of the Bible. I was fascinated with researching the scientific accuracy of the Bible and the fulfillment of hundreds of detailed prophecies applying to events occurring over thousands of years of human history. I was especially impressed by how the integration of multiple Bible prophecies—in the books of Daniel and Revelation—provides a solid basis for determining that we live in “the last days.”—2 Timothy 3:1.

In studying the Bible, I was unknowingly in excellent company. I later learned that Sir Isaac Newton, regarded as one of the greatest scientific geniuses of all time, admired and intensely researched the Bible. Like Newton, I focused on prophecies in Daniel and Revelation that foretold major historical events and developments that have actually occurred. However, I had the distinct advantage of living during and after the realization of the many prophecies that have been fulfilled since Newton’s day. I discovered that these prophecies are amazingly diverse and extensive as well as unerring and undeniable. It was an eye-opener to realize that the entire Bible, penned by more than 40 men over a period of 1,600 years, contains an internally consistent, coherent, and compelling message concerning the major issues facing humankind and its future.

Letting go of my belief in evolution did not come without resistance, however. I respected the substantial weight of scientific authority backing up this theory. Nevertheless, I discovered that all Bible statements about the physical world are entirely consistent with known facts and cannot be disproved. I came to appreciate that in order to achieve a complete, cohesive understanding of the Bible’s extensive, interrelated contents, one cannot discount a single teaching, including the creation account in Genesis. I therefore discerned that acceptance of the entire Bible as truth was the only reasonable conclusion." -Dr. Kenneth Tanaka - Former Atheist (http://bitly.com/1ebIe05)

"the scientific method isn't the only standard by which the notion of God's existence fails. It also fails under the scrutiny of philosophical, historical or logical examination. It even fails to measure up to the simple standards of practicality and common sense!"

How so? Can you elaborate?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"NO reasonable person is going to consider these three theses as "irrefutable evidence" for God's existence."

"My work as a biochemist involved studying the design of certain molecules found in ocean-dwelling cyanobacteria, which are microorganisms that don’t depend on other living things for food. Some researchers think that these organisms were the first living things on our planet. Using energy from sunlight, the microbes use an extremely complex chemical process, which is still not fully understood, to convert water and carbon dioxide into food. I was also amazed at how cyanobacteria can harvest light with incredible efficiency.

I thought about engineers trying to imitate the marvelous mechanisms found in living things, and I came to the conclusion that life must have been designed by God. But my faith was not based solely on what I studied in science. It was also based on a careful study of the Bible.

One of the many things that convinced me was the detailed fulfillment of Bible prophecies. For example, centuries in advance Isaiah described in abundant detail the death and burial of Jesus. We know this prophecy was written before Jesus’ death because the Isaiah Scroll, found at Qumran, was copied about a hundred years before Jesus was born.

That prophecy says: “He will make his burial place even with the wicked ones, and with the rich class in his death.” (Isaiah 53:9, 12) Remarkably, Jesus was executed with criminals but was buried in the tomb of a wealthy family. This is just one example of the many fulfilled prophecies that convinced me that the Bible is inspired of God. (2 Timothy 3:16) In time, I became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses." -Dr. Davey Loos, former atheist (http://bit.ly/16DSMSi)


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Joseph, you are fond of quoting from "former atheists." I note that this latter person, Dr. Davey Loos, is also a JW. So, his opinion backs up your opinion.....hardly an unbiased opinion, eh?

Ok, individuals can change their opinion. Each of us is free to do just that. But is does not, in any way, amount to proof, nor does it tend to convince others that they should change their own opinion to coincide.

If you claim that your bible is a direct instruction from your god, why did "he" write it in such an obscure way that it has to be interpreted and explained so much, before the common person can understand it?

Be honest, Joseph. You have a fixed mind, totally conforming to the message of the JWs. Thank you for coming into HubPages and letting us be convinced of that.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

In all honesty I can't understand your apparent dilemma since the Bible is the single most published book in all of human history. No matter what corner of the globe you travel to you'll always find a Bible. I guess the question you should be asking yourself is why is it that so many others understand something I can't ...


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Not understanding something is far cry from not accepting it, and that's apparent to everyone except, it seems, a few of an apologetic mindset. The appeal to popularity is not evidence at all either, simply a tactic that serves little use.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

"Tactics" This describes what I perceive coming from you Joseph. The sort of devious used by people coming to my door, trying to sell me something I don't really want or need.

I have NEVER heard a person from your "church" openly and clearly, right from the word go, declaring "Hi, I am a Jehovah's Witness." There is always that feeling that he or she is just a little bit shy of declaring that basic fact of why he or she is there at all.

The conversation begins with an attempt to be polite. Then withdrawing a copy of the magazine from the bag, and opening it so I can be drawn into a discussion and, hopefully, persuaded to accept the dogma and beliefs. It's very similar to the Amway technique. Don't declare it out front....beat about the bush and try to avoid awkward rejection.

In my view, Joseph, this was the tactic you used when initially coming here into HubPages. You still tend to be a bit devious, by quoting from the experience and thoughts of other people, rather than putting your own bona fide opinions out in front, ready to be debated. It's like you have been brain-washed.... at least, that's as it appears to me.

I respect your need to find your true path in life. All acceptance or rejection of the dogma is entirely your choice.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@JM

Re-read his post. He asked, "If you claim that your bible is a direct instruction from your god, why did "he" write it in such an obscure way[?]" Obviously he was letting us know that he couldn't understand what the Bible says not that he didn't accept it.

The fact that so many people can and do comprehend it should, at the very least, disconcert him.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

....


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

@Joseph

"Obviously he was letting us know that he couldn't understand what the Bible says not that he didn't accept it."

Not obvious, and not a fair conclusion from what I wrote, Joseph!


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

But it's arguable that no one "understands" it. There are 40,000 denominations of Christianity alone, and every single Christian I meet interprets the Bible differently than every other. If what you mean is "I understand it and I (or my church) are the only ones who have gotten it right" then you're in the company of every other Christian who claims the exact same thing with exactly the same evidence, which is to say. .. None. .. To prove their interpretation correct.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@JM

“The vulgar modern argument used against religion, and lately against common decency, would be absolutely fatal to any idea of liberty. It is perpetually said that because there are a hundred religions claiming to be true, it is therefore impossible that one of them should really be true.

The argument would appear on the face of it to be illogical, if anyone nowadays troubled about logic. It would be as reasonable to say that because some people thought the earth was flat, and others (rather less incorrectly) imagined it was round, and because anybody is free to say that it is triangular or hexagonal, or a rhomboid, therefore it has no shape at all; or its shape can never be discovered; and, anyhow, modern science must be wrong in saying it is an oblate spheroid. The world must be some shape, and it must be that shape and no other; and it is not self-evident that nobody can possibly hit on the right one.

What so obviously applies to the material shape of the world equally applies to the moral shape of the universe. The man who describes it may not be right, but it is no argument against his rightness that a number of other people must be wrong.”

― G.K. Chesterton


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

seen that quote from you before, don't care about someone's opinion who I don't know and am not conversing with. Now I am reminded WHY I stopped engaging with you last week or the week before. Thanks for the reminder, again.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@JM

I smell your fear ...


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Joseph, if you have to tell yourself that to make yourself feel better, go right ahead. Doesn't make it true, but you have one again reaffirmed my decision to not interact with a person who simply is arrogant enough to think that anyone who decides not to engage with you is afraid of you. Sounds so Christ-like, too. I do not have to justify myself to you, and I certainly don't have to choose to engage you in conversation.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Julie, I am told there's a nice little coffee bar, just inside the Pearly Gates, so when we get there how about us popping in and having a morning cuppa? I'm sure His Lordship won't mind... I mean, it's the camaraderie that's so important amongst us morals that most important, isn't it?

We might even bump into Liberace if he's there to welcome others of the Gay Fraternity.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Let's do it, Jonny. It would be nice to see the scenery, but I'm prefecture content ceasing to exist and going back to stardust from where I came as well. :-)


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Jonny and JM -- I've noticed that you've both submitted duplicate posts. Would you like me to delete the second of these, or is this a subtle attempt to mimic Joseph's proclivity for re-posting the same thing over and over again in different hubs?

If it's the former, I'll be happy to rectify your mistake. If it's the latter, I bow to your snarkiness! 8-)


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

It was purely a mistake on my part :-)


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

@Paladin, sorry if that has happened. Purely accidental, and I suspect it's something to do with the extremely slow internet connection here right now. If I think the post has not gone through, and try to re-post it, this can turn up as a duplicate copy, so please feel free to delete.

I am currently in the Philippines, just north of where Typhoon Ruby is crossing the country. Quite safe, but people in the south of the country are not so fortunate.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

No need to apologize. I just went back and deleted the second, duplicate posts.

Incidentally, I believe Joseph is also from the Philippines. If he is one of those unfortunate southerners, let's hope that he is securely hunkered down in safe shelter somewhere!


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Indeed, Paladin.

@Joseph, I for one do care about your welfare, despite the rhetoric.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

@Jonny

While I'm not from the Philippines I do appreciate the sentiment :)

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