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God Is Dead...And I Killed Him

Updated on July 18, 2016
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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  • 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 :)

  • jonnycomelately profile image

    Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

    Indeed, Paladin.

    @Joseph, I for one do care about your welfare, despite the rhetoric.

  • Paladin_ profile image
    Author

    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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

    Alan 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.

  • JMcFarland profile image

    Julie McFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

    It was purely a mistake on my part :-)

  • Paladin_ profile image
    Author

    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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

    Julie McFarland 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. :-)

  • jonnycomelately profile image

    Alan 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

    Julie McFarland 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.

  • Joseph O Polanco profile image

    Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

    @JM

    I smell your fear ...

  • JMcFarland profile image

    Julie McFarland 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

    “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

    Julie McFarland 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.

  • jonnycomelately profile image

    Alan 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!

  • Joseph O Polanco profile image

    Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

    ....

  • 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.

  • jonnycomelately profile image

    Alan 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.

  • JMcFarland profile image

    Julie McFarland 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.

  • 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 ...

  • jonnycomelately profile image

    Alan 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

    "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)

  • 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?

  • Paladin_ profile image
    Author

    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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!

  • Paladin_ profile image
    Author

    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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.

  • 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
    Author

    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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

    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
    Author

    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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

    "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
    Author

    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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.

  • Paladin_ profile image
    Author

    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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
    Author

    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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.

  • 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 ...)

  • 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

    "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

    @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 :)

  • Paladin_ profile image
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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.

  • Paladin_ profile image
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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... ;-)

  • 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...

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    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?

  • Paladin_ profile image
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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

    @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
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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...

  • Paladin_ profile image
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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?

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • Paladin_ profile image
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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

    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
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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!

  • Paladin_ profile image
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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.

  • 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

  • nmadore profile image

    Nancy Madore 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

    @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?

  • 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

    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.

  • 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.

  • Paladin_ profile image
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    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.

  • Paladin_ profile image
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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?

    https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Gdels-Ont...

    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?

  • jonnycomelately profile image

    Alan 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.

  • 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.

  • Paladin_ profile image
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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.

  • Paladin_ profile image
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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.

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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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.

  • 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!

  • 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

    "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.

  • Paladin_ profile image
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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

    @Brian

    As someone who appreciates truth I thought you would appreciate what the Bible actually teaches :)

  • Paladin_ profile image
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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.

  • 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
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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...

  • 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
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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

    @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

  • 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

    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

  • 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

    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

    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

    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.

  • Paladin_ profile image
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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!

  • jonnycomelately profile image

    Alan 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
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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."

  • Paladin_ profile image
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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."

  • 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
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    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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. 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
    Author

    Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

    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.