Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge

If you happened to be watching C-SPAN last night you got to see a parade of conservative Republicans prattling on about House Resolution 284 (AKA National Year of the Bible) and related concerns. It’s gotten to the point that a showing of middle-aged and older conservative white guys from Texas, in all their doughy glory, has become a caricature of itself. You know what they’re going to say and you know it’s usually full-tilt crazy. But Texas isn’t alone and folks sometimes forget that. Take Ohio. Last night, representative Jim Jordan had the floor for a few minutes and spoke about his admiration for the Declaration of Independence. He said it was a great document, perhaps “the second greatest document” ever written. What is Jim Jordan’s greatest document? Why “Scripture” of course! And by “Scripture” it was very clear that he was referring to the Christian Bible. As an elected member of Congress, a writer of our nation’s laws, I would’ve thought, oh I don’t know, The Constitution perhaps? After all, it is the core document of this country and he did swear to defend it.

Now I don’t care how much comfort Congressman Jordan gets from the Bible in his personal life, but as a member of Congress I expect him to always remember that we are a nation of secular law and not a theocracy. I have no desire for the people who run our country to look for guidance in a text that says it’s perfectly OK and proper for children to suffer punishment for their parent’s transgressions, that we can’t eat shellfish or wear clothes made of two different kinds of thread, and that an acceptable means of punishing kids for taunting an elder’s baldness is to have two bears come out of the nearby woods and kill 42 of them.

Call me crazy.

Comments

  1. #1 Andy
    June 18, 2008

    You’re crazy.

    And probably an islamo-communist sleeper agent.

    Who eats christian babies.

    Hope that helped. :)

  2. #2 SDC
    June 18, 2008

    How embarassing. I’m hoping if I learn Python well enough, I can get a job with EVE Online and move to Iceland or something.

  3. #3 Mark P
    June 19, 2008

    Maybe if he actually reads his scripture one day he will change his mind.

  4. #4 Lofcaudio
    June 20, 2008

    Mark P: Maybe if he actually reads his scripture one day he will change his mind.

    Or maybe unlike you and Jim, he reads his scripture with a little more comprehension and isn’t looking for straw man arguments.

  5. #5 JimFiore
    June 20, 2008

    Why do you even bother? Your argument only makes sense if you redefine “comprehension” as “to twist and contort so as to make that which is vile and obvious appear less so”.

  6. #6 Lofcaudio
    June 20, 2008

    JimFiore: Why do you even bother?

    I’m encouraging you to be more honest (or perhaps a little less ignorant) in your portrayal of the Bible. I realize that you had no intention of being objective in your analysis of scripture, but pulling out Old Testament concepts (most of which have a different meaning when looking through the lense of the New Testament) and presenting them inaccurately just reinforces the fact that you have no business making any opinion on a subject which (a) you know nothing about and (b) have no desire to know anything about other than to make silly derisive comments to belittle others and encourage class bigotry.

  7. #7 JimFiore
    June 20, 2008

    Sorry Binky, but honesty and objectivity seem to be in short supply in your tent. When it comes to objectivity concerning the Bible, you’re about as unbiased an observer as a crack whore is about cocaine.

    All you have ever done since you arrived at the Refuge is complain that anyone who says anything less than glowing about your precious book simply doesn’t understand. “Oh no, you don’t understand“. You just can’t bear the thought that a great many people either never drank the Kool-Aid or later threw it up.

    But, for entertainment’s sake, at least for the time being, do tell us about Lev 11:10, Deut 22:11, or 2 Kings 2:23

  8. #8 Lofcaudio
    June 20, 2008

    JimFiore: Sorry Binky, but honesty and objectivity seem to be in short supply in your tent. When it comes to objectivity concerning the Bible, you’re about as unbiased an observer as a crack whore is about cocaine.

    Because I have read the Bible and studied it over the years and objectively tested its claims, I am the deluded junkie? You appear to proudly display your presupposition and rejection of all things religious. That hardly qualifies as being objective, especially when the extent of your knowledge of the Bible consists of the typical Old Testament “soundbites.”

    JimFiore: All you have ever done since you arrived at the Refuge is complain that anyone who says anything less than glowing about your precious book simply doesn’t understand.

    Jim, I realize that you (and perhaps everyone else who visits this blog) have no respect for the Bible. Neither do I expect you to understand how to interpret scripture as you would have no reason to based upon your presuppositions. But if you are going to use the Bible as a tool to marginalize other people, perhaps you should know a little bit more about it. For on cross-examination, there are a lot of wonderful things that the Bible encourages people to do that would be a credit to Congressman Jordan and anyone else who studies scripture. By you only presenting those things you find “vile”, I would submit that you are being disingenuous (at best).

    JimFiore: But, for entertainment’s sake, at least for the time being, do tell us about Lev 11:10, Deut 22:11, or 2 Kings 2:23

    When I have a little more time, I’ll humor you with going over these passages (all of which I got correct on the Bible quiz in which you probably learned about these things).

  9. #9 JimFiore
    June 21, 2008

    There you go again. You assume that I came to this with a “presupposition and rejection of all things religious”, that I cannot think objectively, and that therefore, my conclusion was reached as soon as the process commenced. Sorry, son, but I was raised in a nice Christian household, went to church every Sunday, attended weekly religious education classes, etc. I started with the presupposition that the Bible was correct and the revealed word of God. It was drilled into me and as I never had any reason to doubt the words of parents, aunts, uncles, etc., I believed every word of it. It was only later, after I became an adult and had learned to think critically, did I go back and look at this objectively. Initially, I didn’t like what I saw. It made me uncomfortable so I tried to avoid it and not think about it. But think about it I did and I began to read the Bible and about the Bible from non-religious (objective) sources. I also began reading the books of some other major religions (sorry to burst your bubble, but I didn’t “learn about these things” through a simple Internet Bible quiz). I came to the conclusion that this “greatest document” is nothing more than a collection of stories and myths from a group of people a few thousand years ago created as a means to record their history and attempt to make some sense of who they are, where they came from, and where they’re going. It is not the revealed word of some omnipotent creator-deity, but it does gives us a clue into the thought processes and socio-political norms of those times. While there are some good lessons in the Bible, that does not excuse the vile ones. What it tells us is that its writers shared at least a subset of ethics that we recognize today as proper and that there were things they felt were proper which we find abhorrent.

    In that regard I don’t have any “problem” with the Bible. What I have is a problem with people who have the benefit of a couple thousand years of hindsight and dozens of generations worth of human scientific exploration using that document as some form of absolutist guidebook for modern society. The whole point of my post is that, as we are a nation of secular law, no representative should answer to anything “higher” than the Constitution.

  10. #10 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 23, 2008

    When I have a little more time, I’ll humor you with going over these passages (all of which I got correct on the Bible quiz in which you probably learned about these things).

    I can’t wait.

    Funny how you had time to answer all those other questions right away, but when you actually have to provide real information you run away.

  11. #11 Lofcaudio
    June 23, 2008

    JimFiore: There you go again. You assume that I came to this with a “presupposition and rejection of all things religious”, that I cannot think objectively, and that therefore, my conclusion was reached as soon as the process commenced.

    Regardless of your background, your current stance towards religion is well-documented here at the Refuge. By bringing up such topics as this for purposes of ridiculing and perpetuating intolerance towards a class of people, it certainly does appear that your “conclusion was reached as soon as [this] process commenced” as your past studies have led you to a settled conclusion that the Bible is “nothing more than a collection of stories and myths…” Such a conclusion does not make you any more objective than any other truth-seeker, in my opinion.

    JimFiore: But think about it I did and I began to read the Bible and about the Bible from non-religious (objective) sources.

    Non-religious sources = objective? I ask sincerely: How is that NOT a presupposition? Does that mean that if I want an objective source on science, then I would be better off studying from non-scientific sources? It would seem that your opinion is that only those things which you agree with are “objective”.

    JimFiore: While there are some good lessons in the Bible, that does not excuse the vile ones.

    If there are some good lessons in the Bible, why did you fail to mention those when impeaching Mr. Jordan? And these vile lessons of the Bible, which ones would those be?

    JimFiore: The whole point of my post is that, as we are a nation of secular law, no representative should answer to anything “higher” than the Constitution.

    If that were really your intent, then perhaps you would have been better served by showing where Congressman Jordan has done something to weaken and/or disrespect the Constitution. Instead, you chose to turn the post into a Bible-bashing session based upon a statement as to one of the congressman�s personal opinions which has absolutely no bearing upon the U.S. Constitution.

    As promised, I will now discuss the prevailing Christian view on the Old Testament passages that you highlighted. I�ll lump the first two together (shellfish and cloths) since they are both what are referred to as the Mosaic Code (those rules which God had Moses institute for the Israelites after leaving Egypt). This Code was a subset of the “old covenant” which also included a plethora of rules regarding animal sacrifice and everything else which God used for two primary purposes: (1) to make his chosen people different and (2) to teach them the importance of obedience. When Jesus fulfilled his mission through his death and resurrection, the old covenant was set aside for a new covenant where God’s chosen people were identified not by what they ate, wore, touched, looked like, etc., but instead by the recognition of who Jesus was and what his sacrifice actually accomplished. As such, the Mosaic Code which most certainly applied to the Israelites of the Old Testament no longer applies to Christians. Instead, there is a gracious liberty found in Christ for those who believe their only hope is in him. So while it easy to pull out passages (especially many of those in the Old Testament) to ridicule the Bible, they are in effect nothing more than misquotes since the Bible needs to be understood in its entirety in order to determine what should be applied from the individual passages.

    As for the youths who got mauled by the bears, the passage certainly does not teach that this is an “acceptable form of punishment” as you suggest. While I agree that the end result of this story is harsh, sin does have its consequences.

    I have no illusions that you give a rip about what I just wrote. But since you were looking for some “entertainment”, there it is.

  12. #12 Rhapsody
    June 24, 2008

    When Jesus fulfilled his mission through his death and resurrection, the old covenant was set aside

    So while it easy to pull out passages (especially many of those in the Old Testament) to ridicule the Bible, they are in effect nothing more than misquotes since the Bible needs to be understood in its entirety in order to determine what should be applied from the individual passages.

    So can you please explain to me (European, female (before we get any further misunderstandings)) then why the passages you claim to be set aside are being quoted as the word from god and must be lived up to when it comes down to gay rights (gay marriage and so on). This is what I find a bit hypocritical to be honest and that is what Jim found out as well once he broadened his horizon.

    Either you truly live fully by the bible and will not use passages anymore against gay people when it comes down to simply human rights and legalisation (be it as it may, marriage has historically always been a legal prodecure and not a religion thing (just look up the etymology of the word marriage and you’d be surprised). Either do or don’t, but don’t pick passages that suits your argument the most, especially if they are no longer in proper Christian use. I am tired of Christians acting butt hurt when it comes down when people hold up a mirror to them and when they get their own behaviour reflected back at them. Those excuses that bubble up then are simply outrageous.

    Jim, I was wondering how truly secular the states is. After all, maybe it’s me, but shouldn’t phrases like: In god we trust and one nation under god, be left out of the rethorics and documents (or the oath’s being sworn on the bible)? Or does the word god apply to Thor as well? :) Equal rights to all, even the deities.

    But seriously, with these examples present, it’s a bit understandable why the congressman would look at his own worldview and believes and apply it to his holy book alone (and yes that is a bit narrowminded).

  13. #13 JimFiore
    June 24, 2008

    In all seriousness, lofcaudio, your ability to think in a clear and reasoned manner is decidedly suspect. Let’s take your argument about my supposed presupposition and lack of objectivity. Consider:

    lofcaudio: Non-religious sources = objective? I ask sincerely: How is that NOT a presupposition?

    How can anyone examine a topic objectively and not use all available sources? I stated clearly that I began with the bible and my religious training, and then expanded on that as an adult using writings from other religions and non-religious sources. In other words, I want to see all sides. That’s being objective. Your proposal pretty much defines presupposition and a lack of objectivity as apparently, you only want to look at religious sources. If the resulting reasoning were any more circular, you’d have a perfect sphere.

    Now, having reached an objective, multi-source conclusion about the bible, if I say something negative about it, that doesn’t mean that I’m not being objective.

    Regarding the final bit, I have noticed a tendency among some evangelicals to soft-peddle the old testament, to say, “Well, it doesn’t really apply today”. Basically, what you have claimed is that the rules have changed. God used to say X, now he says Y. Two comments on that: First, why even bother with the old testament? It’s obsolete. Dump it. But no, as Rhapsody mentioned, some parts of it are still quite useful in order to ostracize certain groups or establish certain points. In other words, it’s a matter of convenience. Second, you have described a system of the utmost arbitrary morality and capricious ethics. That is, ethical/moral behavior is only what god says it is. He changed his mind (for whatever reason), so we have new rules. And what if the big G changes his mind again? Apparently, we’d have to abandon our current system.

    lofcaudio: While I agree that the end result of this story is harsh, sin does have its consequences.

    Man, that’s just too effing rich. 42 children mauled by bears for taunting an old man about his baldness is “harsh”. And you defend it by saying “sin” has its consequences? So now derisive commentary is a sin?

    lofcaudio: But since you were looking for some “entertainment”, there it is.

    And entertain me, you do. And I appreciate it. Really. I couldn’t come up with these sorts of things on my own.

    But again, this is all secondary to the point that you seemed to have missed in spite of your continual bleating. As an elected official of a nation conceived and built on secular law, the highest document that Jordan should answer to is the Constitution. He can get his personal inspiration from the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, or a stack of old Mad magazines, but the Constitution is where it’s at in the halls of Congress.

    Rhapsody:

    Regarding the stuff about “In God We Trust” et al, that’s primarily an outgrowth of the 1950’s communist “red scare”. None of that stuff can be found in any of the founding documents. The initial incidents of God references on the currency didn’t occur until the Civil War (1860’s) and the IGWT motto wasn’t officially added to the currency until the mid 1950s. The original Pledge did not have “under God” in it (and the 1954 alteration would most likely have pissed off the original author who had long since passed away).

    I would say that the US is secular by law, but not always so by deed. There’s an awful lot of “look the other way” when it comes to separation of church and state in some circles, and some groups are actively pushing to tie the government into Christianity. Given the demographics, “god” usually refers to the Christian God for most folks, but my experience is that, while there are some serious zealots out there, the average guy on the street doesn’t spend an awful lot of time and thought on the subject. For most folks, it’s an abstraction and they have more immediate concerns. But there is that undercurrent.

  14. #14 Lofcaudio
    June 24, 2008

    Rhapsody: So can you please explain to me then why the passages you claim to be set aside are being quoted as the word from god and must be lived up to when it comes down to gay rights (gay marriage and so on).

    Unfortunately, not all Christians interpret the Bible in the same fashion (and typically do not study it enough to have a comprehensive understanding of what the primary purposes of God’s revealed Word in written form are). As a result, I cannot adequately answer your question as to what the motives and justification are for everyone who has an opinion on gay rights. I know what I think (and why I think what I do), but I have no idea if my opinion is even one that would be held by the majority of self-professed Christians.

    The model for a Christian marriage can be found in Genesis 2:24 (with Ephesians 5 and I Timothy 3 providing additional support). The Biblical definition of sexual immorality refers to any sexual acts occurring outside of marriage. While the Old Testament does have provisions relating to homosexual acts, the New Testament (in the writings of Paul mostly) affirms that homosexual acts are “shameful” (Romans 1:27) and not worthy of the kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:9-10).

    Despite that, the Bible also provides that these types of sin should only be dealt with inside the church (I Corinthians 5:9-13) and have no business being foisted upon people outside of the church. Thus, I do not agree with people who feel that it is the government’s job to legislate Christian morality nor do I think it is appropriate for Christians to denounce classes of people (such as the gay community) who may have differing (or no) theological views on these issues. Jesus’ own words would be more appropriate in these instances when he encouraged his follows to “judge not, lest they be judged.” (Matthew 7:1).

    Rhapsody: Either do or don’t, but don’t pick passages that suits your argument the most, especially if they are no longer in proper Christian use.

    I agree. I would, however, reiterate the importance of understanding the message of the whole Bible in how we apply all of the individual passages.

    Rhapsody: I am tired of Christians acting butt hurt when it comes down when people hold up a mirror to them and when they get their own behaviour reflected back at them. Those excuses that bubble up then are simply outrageous.

    Regardless of what anyone will tell you, a Christian is not any more holy or less sinful than a non-Christian. So while we Christians strive to be more loving to our fellow man, we fail miserably time and again.

  15. #15 Lofcaudio
    June 24, 2008

    JimFiore: But again, this is all secondary to the point that you seemed to have missed in spite of your continual bleating.

    The point of your post was to bash the Bible (which you have right every right to do). After all, that is what you did in the post. Why is that so hard to admit since that is also what you did the day before by posting the Bible Quiz. You just used some of the fodder from the quiz to fuel the attack on Jim Jordan.

    JimFiore: As an elected official of a nation conceived and built on secular law, the highest document that Jordan should answer to is the Constitution.

    No doubt you would have posted something similar if Jordan had opined that the greatest writing ever was Daniels’ Running Formula.

  16. #16 JimFiore
    June 24, 2008

    The point of your post was to bash the Bible
    No, the point of my post was to bash Jim Jordan. I don’t need Jim Jordan to act as some form of a front for a bible attack.

    You just used some of the fodder from the quiz to fuel the attack on Jim Jordan.

    For the second time, I didn’t learn those things from that quiz. You seem to have a very hard time with reading comprehension and the fact that I’ve actually read those things in the Bible long before my recent post about the FFRF convention (and for the record, the post was indeed about the convention, not the quiz. The quiz was simply a little add-on of interest). In fact, I’ve used biblegateway more times than I count (very handy to compare different translations and versions). Hmmm, I might guess that you just assume that I’m lying, because, after all, I am an atheist and we all know those two things go hand-in-hand, right?

    No doubt you would have posted something similar if Jordan had opined that the greatest writing ever was Daniels’ Running Formula.

    Yes. Similar in that Jordan would still bear the brunt of caustic jokes and general derision. In fact, I’d wager that Jack would be equally aghast if he heard a Congressman call his book “the greatest writing ever”. Of course, Jack makes no claim whatsoever that individuals and societies should follow his training rules in order to be ethically and morally sound. Further, his discussions and conclusions are fully backed and supported by experimental science, so that’s another thing he has going for his writing; he doesn’t just make shit up.

    And finally, thanks for ignoring the other bits. I noticed. I’m sure others did as well.

  17. #17 kemibe
    June 24, 2008

    It’s interesting to be an observer in one of these desultory maraudings of the Lofcaudio faithbot, the purpose of which is to crawl this (and perhaps only this) blog in a determined and beshitted effort to commit exactly those errors of reason, logical fallacies, and outright absurdities he attributes to his interlocutors. The misguided lad is like the Black Knight from Monty Python’s Holy Grail, a torso and head spouting four founatins of blood from the stumps of disarticulated limbs and goading those mean mean atheists to give him their best shot.

    Lofcaudio’s two chief “arguments” are, here and in other threads, these:

    1. You bash the Bible on purpose; therefore, you’re clueless and wrong, making Christianity true.

    2. I, Lofcaudio, have read and studied the Bible more than you have [a presumptive statement in itself, but fuck it]; therefore, my opinion about the veracity of its contents counts for more than yours and my word about it is final. Christianity is now even truer.

    (Lofcaudio may label these “straw men.” They are schematic representations at worst; Lofcaudio’s rhetorical flailings are beyond the reach of conventional satire.)

    Guess what, L-man. If something is — from a historical and scientific perspective — a heap of shit, then one might deliver this news cheerfully or with as much acid as he can, and it matters not. I can claim in dulcet tones while I hand out ten-dollar bills that 2 plus 2 is 5, or I could call you all cocksuckers and eat your babies while retorting that 2 plus 2 is 4. Who’s right? Anyone not named Lofcaudio have an issue with this?

    Number two is just as ramshackle. I don’t need to know the entire history of the Lord of the Rings series to know that Mordor is a fictional place and that the only true balrog who ever lived was my third-grade teacher, not some Tolkensian construct. You can memories every word in those books and films and all that makes you is dedicated.

    Lofcaudio at this point likes to jeer at such arguments, reckoning that because comparing Heaven to Middle Earth is disrespectful that the argument is trivially specious. This is convenient to his purposes, since he never answers substantive questions head on. I’m still laughing about how he ran and hid after confidently yammering about how Francis Collins never claimed in his book to have found the Trinity in a fachrissakes waterfall.

    Noise and emotion rooted in good old-fashioned middle-American brainwashing never, ever beats reason, but it makes for a stompin’ good time. Damn.

  18. #18 Lofcaudio
    June 25, 2008

    JimFiore: And finally, thanks for ignoring the other bits. I noticed. I’m sure others did as well.

    Actually, I was still waiting on you to answer some of the questions that I posed back in Comment #11 which you conveniently ignored. I’ll give you another shot though.

    You acknowledged that there were some good lessons in the Bible, but that they didn’t excuse the “vile ones.” I ask again, what are these vile lessons of the Bible?

    Now for those other bits…

    How can anyone examine a topic objectively and not use all available sources? I stated clearly that I began with the bible and my religious training, and then expanded on that as an adult using writings from other religions and non-religious sources. In other words, I want to see all sides.

    All sides of what? I thought we were talking about the Bible and how it should be read, understood and applied. You started this by referring to the Bible and then misapplying the passages in a libelous fashion. I only jumped in to point out how the Bible should be applied correctly.

    Having said that, how does studying a different religion or something unrelated to religion help you understand the Christian religion and the Bible? Based upon your comments in this thread, your well-rounded education did not do you any favors in understanding the scriptures since your current view of the Bible can be summed up as the Gospel according to Hitchens.

    Your proposal pretty much defines presupposition and a lack of objectivity as apparently, you only want to look at religious sources.

    First of all, I made no such proposal. Secondly, a religious source when the topic is religion is on point and the idea of something being objective or subjective is a meaningless distinction. Your claim is complete nonsense when you suggest that only nonreligious sources are sufficiently objective even when the issue is religion, while any religious source is tainted with subjectivity.

    Now, having reached an objective, multi-source conclusion about the bible, if I say something negative about it, that doesn’t mean that I’m not being objective.

    No, it means that you are being negative to engender animosity towards people who have differing views than you do. In addition, it’s one thing to say something about the Bible and an entirely different matter if you are claiming to know what is in the Bible. If you are the bastion of objectivity that you think you are, then why single out the verses that you did?

    Regarding the final bit, I have noticed a tendency among some evangelicals to soft-peddle the old testament, to say, “Well, it doesn’t really apply today”.

    Read Hebrews 8. I’m curious as to what your “objective multi-source” research into the Bible has led you to believe in the interaction of the old covenant with the new.

    Basically, what you have claimed is that the rules have changed.

    No. The rules of the old covenant applied to a certain people for a certain time and provide a wonderful illustration of some of the facets of God’s character.

    God used to say X, now he says Y.

    Does he? If God is preparing a feast, he first builds the table (X) to seat all of the guests and then he brings out the food and drink (Y). X is necessary before Y. The foundation has to be laid before the good stuff can be brought out.

    Two comments on that: First, why even bother with the old testament? It’s obsolete. Dump it.

    While the rules and system of the old covenant do not apply, it is still an important foundation in which the Christian religion is built upon and provides much insight into who and what God is.

    But no, as Rhapsody mentioned, some parts of it are still quite useful in order to ostracize certain groups or establish certain points. In other words, it’s a matter of convenience.

    No, the point of the whole Old Testament can be summed up into one sentence: We are all losers and we need some help. I don’t deny the fact that some people have a “holier than thou” attitude and feel it is their job to criticize certain behaviors, but I certainly do not ascribe to that approach (as I tried to convey in my response to Rhapsody). Do not blame the Bible for other people’s misuse of it.

    Second, you have described a system of the utmost arbitrary morality and capricious ethics. That is, ethical/moral behavior is only what god says it is. He changed his mind (for whatever reason), so we have new rules. And what if the big G changes his mind again? Apparently, we’d have to abandon our current system.

    Au contraire, God has never changed his mind. The Biblical ethical/moral standard has not changed one bit. The rules God laid out in the Old Testament were for man’s good (Mark 2:27). Christianity is NOT about following rules and regulations and hoping that your account balance at the end of the day is in the black. (It never was. Romans 4:3-4) Christianity is about God rescuing a pathetic group of people and giving them a more glorious future than they deserve.

  19. #19 JimFiore
    June 26, 2008

    I was going to give you the courtesy of a point-by-point answer, but then I realized that it would be a stultifyingly huge waste of my time. To wit:

    lofcaudio: a religious source when the topic is religion is on point and the idea of something being objective or subjective is a meaningless distinction. Your claim is complete nonsense when you suggest that only nonreligious sources are sufficiently objective even when the issue is religion, while any religious source is tainted with subjectivity.

    That’s not precisely what I said, but thank you for telling me that I am deluded for attempting to consider multiple sources (those that make a claim, those that make a parallel claim, and those that make a contradicting claim). It explains a lot.

    Consider for a moment an individual who was raised in a household that believed in astrology. By your logic, if this person wants to better understand astrology then the writings of astrology should be studied as they are “on point” and any idea of the subjective versus objective is a meaningless distinction. I guess that’s fine if all you want to do is follow the dictums of astrology as best you can, but it’s not a very good course to follow if you want to discover the veracity of astrology itself.

    You can, of course, replace “astrology” with anything you like and the argument still works, for example, numerology, homeopathy, the moon landings were a hoax, the germ theory of disease, everything is made of atoms, etc. It’s simple really. You listen to all of the claims and counterclaims, weigh the evidence, and off you go. But if you find that process to be wrong, well, there’s really not much I can say to you that would be helpful. If you counter that religion is outside the bounds of this methodology, then why aren’t astrology or numerology similarly excused? All you’re left with is special pleading. And to be honest, my feeling is if that’s good enough for you and makes you happy, have at it, but don’t expect other people to roll over for you.

  20. #20 Lofcaudio
    June 26, 2008

    I guess that’s fine if all you want to do is follow the dictums of astrology as best you can, but it’s not a very good course to follow if you want to discover the veracity of astrology itself.

    We seem to be arguing at cross-purposes as the issue is not the veracity of a religion, but instead what such a religion says (or believes). All of my posts in this thread have been to indicate what the Bible actually says. This is a far cry from arguing whether the Bible is true or not. In your original post, you did NOT make any statements as to the truth or falsity of the Bible. If you had done so, I probably would have gone on my merry way without saying a word. Instead, you claimed that the Bible “says it’s perfectly OK and proper for children to suffer punishment for their parent’s transgressions, that we can’t eat shellfish or wear clothes made of two different kinds of thread, and that an acceptable means of punishing kids for taunting an elder’s baldness is to have two bears come out of the nearby woods and kill 42 of them.” I have argued that the Bible teaches none of these things.

    So as I see it, the issue has always been: Jim says the Bible says A while Lofcaudio says that the Bible does not say A. Now somewhere along the way (perhaps when I called into question your ability to interpret scripture), you felt the need to bring in your well-rounded education using “objective, non-religious” sources to determine what exactly? Whether the Bible does indeed say A (the issue at hand) or whether the Bible is true or not (which is not the issue at hand and interestingly enough, was not explicitly raised until comment #19)? Perhaps you can see my incredulity at your claiming that non-religious sources were somehow pertinent to shedding light on the issue, since as far as I can tell the issue has always been determining what the Bible (as a whole) says.

  21. #21 JimFiore
    June 26, 2008

    What? You’re telling me that I’m going down some alternate path when I made it very clear at the outset that the post was entirely about Jordan’s “greatest document” claim in the halls of Congress? That’s rich. I was very clear that the greatest document that an elected official should be referring to in said role is the Constitution; not the Bible, not Daniels’ Running Formula, not The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, not The God Delusion, and especially not my own linear IC textbook. But no, you were hurt by that claim and came blathering as usual. There is only one greatest document in your mind and I didn’t agree. End of story.

  22. #22 Lofcaudio
    June 26, 2008

    I noticed. I’m sure others did as well.

  23. #23 anon
    June 27, 2008

    2 Kings 2: “And he went up from thence unto Bethel. And as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him and said unto him, “Go up, thou bald head! Go up, thou bald head!”

    And he turned back and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two shebears out of the wood and tore forty and two children of them.

    And he went from thence to Mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.”

    A bunch of little kids jeer at a bald guy so he calls down a curse from the lord on them. 42 of the kids are shredded by bears as a result. No remorse is shown for their deaths. No negative remarks about it are given at all. It seems pretty vile to me. What sort of context do you need to make this OK? Is it ever OK to wish that kids be torn apart by bears because they called you a baldy? What sort of god would listen and respond to this entreaty in kind?

  24. #24 ADSL Ba?vuru
    June 27, 2008

    A bunch of little kids jeer at a bald guy so he calls down a curse from the lord on them. 42 of the kids are shredded by bears as a result. No remorse is shown for their deaths. No negative remarks about it are given at all. It seems pretty vile to me. What sort of context do you need to make this OK? Is it ever OK to wish that kids be torn apart by bears because they called you a baldy? What sort of god would listen and respond to this entreaty in kind?

  25. #25 Lofcaudio
    June 30, 2008

    I was very clear that the greatest document that an elected official should be referring to in said role is the Constitution; not the Bible, not Daniels’ Running Formula, not The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, not The God Delusion, and especially not my own linear IC textbook.

    I would be curious to hear what you thought of Nancy Pelosi’s Earth Day Press Release?

  26. #26 hopper3011
    June 30, 2008

    Lofcaudio;
    “This Code was a subset of the “old covenant” which also included a plethora of rules regarding animal sacrifice and everything else which God used for two primary purposes: (1) to make his chosen people different and (2) to teach them the importance of obedience. When Jesus fulfilled his mission through his death and resurrection, the old covenant was set aside for a new covenant where God’s chosen people were identified not by what they ate, wore, touched, looked like, etc., but instead by the recognition of who Jesus was and what his sacrifice actually accomplished.”
    It is interesting that you ascribe the same weight to a book of the New Testament that you do to the Old Testament?
    As I understand it Hebrews was probably written by one of two people (Paul or Barnabas) who never met Jesus, or ever heard him preach, and whose specific rejection of the Jewish law (including circumcision) was designed to allow, even encourage, Gentiles to accept the Christian faith.
    It is documented that the Disciples, and probably Jesus himself, did not envisage spreading their beliefs to non-Jews, but Paul saw that by rejecting these laws he could increase the size of the “flock” (and so, presumably the “take” when the collection plate was passed around). No mention is made of this rejection of the old covenant by any of the writers who had actual contact with Jesus.
    By contrast the Hebrew Scriptures laying out the Mosaic code are widely accepted to have been given to Moses directly by God – and, most importantly, written by Moses himself. They are, supposedly, inerrant – the Word of God – so how can they be rejected by someone who never had any contact with the Son of God?
    Call me cynical, but if I were looking for a way to fleece the maximum number of gullible fools, I would avoid entry requirements also.
    Is it not slightly foolish to give the same weight to both these documents?

  27. #27 JimFiore
    June 30, 2008

    I think it’s pretty obvious that Pelosi was trying to reach conservative Christian voters, a disproportionate number of whom still deny anthropogenic climate change, by tapping into their own language. I find it unfortunate that she felt she had to do so (i.e., that such folks still exist in large numbers). Of course, she also made it very clear that it was the scientific community that brought this (and other environmental problems) to our attention.

    To simplify, she didn’t say “Hey everybody, this book is the greatest thing ever written”, she said “Hey, this is what your own book says so maybe you should think about getting on board”.

  28. #28 Lofcaudio
    June 30, 2008

    hopper3011, you have made some interesting comments.

    It is interesting that you ascribe the same weight to a book of the New Testament that you do to the Old Testament?

    If you believe the Bible to be true, then I think it is important to understand the full message of the Bible and not to give more weight to one part over another. Otherwise, you are guilty of being the “pick and choose” type and are not really following the lessons of the Bible, but instead are trying to fit the Bible into your particular way of thinking. It is my experience that most Bible-believing Christians tend to have the opposite lean though in that they give more weight to the New Testament over the Old since Jesus’ life and ministry were revolutionary and effectively ushered in a new way of thinking about God. Just as I believe that science and religion combined provide a more accurate view of reality, a proper understanding of the God of the Bible is provided by giving equal weight to ALL of the Bible, both the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament presents a just and holy God, while the New Testament shows a God who will do whatever it takes because of a seemingly irrational love for humanity. These two views of God are not contradictory, but when meshed together paint a better and more accurate picture of what God is.

    As I understand it Hebrews was probably written by one of two people (Paul or Barnabas) who never met Jesus, or ever heard him preach, and whose specific rejection of the Jewish law (including circumcision) was designed to allow, even encourage, Gentiles to accept the Christian faith.

    While the authorship of the book of Hebrews is unknown, Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles is evident in his other writings, particularly in the letter to the Romans. There is no indication that Paul’s rejection of the necessity of circumcision and the like were his views alone. In fact, the realization that the Gentiles were to be added to the early church (Acts 11:18) was as a result of a dream/vision that Peter had (Acts 10).

    It is documented that the Disciples, and probably Jesus himself, did not envisage spreading their beliefs to non-Jews, but Paul saw that by rejecting these laws he could increase the size of the “flock” (and so, presumably the “take” when the collection plate was passed around). No mention is made of this rejection of the old covenant by any of the writers who had actual contact with Jesus.

    Again, it was through Peter that ministry to the Gentiles began. Peter most certainly was a disciple of Jesus and had actual contact with him. In addition, Jesus himself presents this concept vaguely in John 10:16 and blatantly when presenting the disciples with what is referred to as the Great Commission: “Go make disciples of all of the nations” (Matthew 28:19). The Old Testament also contains numerous prophecies of salvation being given to the Gentiles, many of which are in the book of Isaiah. (See Isaiah 56). As a result, I do not see this as being a unilateral strategy of Paul’s to pad his wallet.

    By contrast the Hebrew Scriptures laying out the Mosaic code are widely accepted to have been given to Moses directly by God – and, most importantly, written by Moses himself. They are, supposedly, inerrant – the Word of God – so how can they be rejected by someone who never had any contact with the Son of God?

    The old covenant is not being rejected, it just no longer applies. It fulfilled its function to the people that it was presented to and is now historically important as we see that the new covenant of grace is how a just and holy God comes to the rescue because of his love for those who acknowledge Jesus as his son. It’s a pretty amazing story, especially for those of us who believe it is true.

  29. #29 hopper3011
    July 1, 2008

    Lofcaudio;
    “If you believe the Bible to be true, then I think it is important to understand the full message of the Bible and not to give more weight to one part over another. Otherwise, you are guilty of being the “pick and choose” type and are not really following the lessons of the Bible, but instead are trying to fit the Bible into your particular way of thinking.”
    There is a problematic assumption in that statement; if you believe “the Bible” to be true in its entirety, and yet fail to weight its different parts then you must also accept the Book of Mormon and the New World Translation to be the revealed word of God, without discrimination?
    If these different parts of “the Bible” are all to be given equal weight because, as you say, discriminating between the authors on the basis of their actual experience with God (Moses actually met him, whereas Paul only saw a vision) is illegitimate, then on what basis can you discriminate against Mormonism or the Jehovah’s Witnesses? And if you don’t discriminate against them, how do you square the contradictory beliefs that they express? The authors of these works claim an experience of God no different in quality from the experience of Paul.
    Secondly, even if you restrict your belief in the veracity of the entirety of “the Bible” to “your Bible” and the standard 27-book canon, how do you square the establishment of this canon with your injunction not to “pick and choose”? Are not the leaders of your church guilty of picking and choosing when they decided not to include the Apocryphal books in the canon? How else, except picking and choosing, do you explain the relative weight given to the writings of Paul?
    As for the idea that Paul’s rejection of the Laws of Moses was not his idea alone, why isn’t this rejection mentioned in any of the other Gospels. If Jesus had intended a rejection of those laws why didn’t he say so directly, through one of the Disciples, instead of leaving this (incredibly fundamental idea) to an epistle which – more likely than not – was written by someone who, as I said earlier, had no contact with Jesus. The rejection of the Laws of Moses is an immense, earth-shattering deal – are you suggesting that the Disciples “forgot” to mention it when Jesus said it?
    “The old covenant is not being rejected, it just no longer applies.”
    That is a distinction without meaning.

  30. #30 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    July 1, 2008

    When Jesus fulfilled his mission through his death and resurrection, the old covenant was set aside for a new covenant where God’s chosen people were identified not by what they ate, wore, touched, looked like, etc., but instead by the recognition of who Jesus was and what his sacrifice actually accomplished. As such, the Mosaic Code which most certainly applied to the Israelites of the Old Testament no longer applies to Christians.

    Matt 5:17-18 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
    For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

    It seems odd that you would consider Jesus’ death and resurrection to be the completion of his mission and the end of Mosaic law. He seems pretty clear in this passage that the law applies “Till heaven and earth pass,” and didn’t his self-declared mission include a second coming?

    ——————-
    Now back to topic: The list of 32 cosponsors of the “Year of the Bible” includes six Democrats.

  31. #31 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    July 1, 2008

    If God is preparing a feast, he first builds the table (X) to seat all of the guests and then he brings out the food and drink (Y). X is necessary before Y. The foundation has to be laid before the good stuff can be brought out.

    Who sets these rules that God must follow? I guess omnipotence is not all it’s cracked up to be.

  32. #32 Lofcaudio
    July 1, 2008

    There is a problematic assumption in that statement; if you believe “the Bible” to be true in its entirety, and yet fail to weight its different parts then you must also accept the Book of Mormon and the New World Translation to be the revealed word of God, without discrimination?

    Uh no. The Christian Bible consists of 66 books (39 in the OT and 27 in the NT). The canon of scripture was agreed on by the early church leaders, many of whom had personal interaction with Jesus and the original disciples and apostles (though some issues were not firmly settled until 300 years after Jesus’ ministry). The Old Testament canon was a settled issue during the time of Jesus, so there should not be any concern there. The Book of Mormon and other apocryphal writings are simply not considered to be canonical and never have been, so I’m not sure what you are trying to get at by suggesting that they should be given equal weight as the book of Hebrews and the writings of Paul.

    If these different parts of “the Bible” are all to be given equal weight because, as you say, discriminating between the authors on the basis of their actual experience with God (Moses actually met him, whereas Paul only saw a vision) is illegitimate, then on what basis can you discriminate against Mormonism or the Jehovah’s Witnesses?

    Easy. Do Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the Bible or do their belief systems have to add supplemental information which ultimately contradicts or is at odds with Biblical orthodoxy? I would opine the latter as these man-made religions bump up against Christianity in some crucial ways (JW’s do not believe in the diety of Christ and Mormons believe that the God of the Bible is a man and that salvation is based upon works are just a few examples that immediately come to mind).

    And if you don’t discriminate against them, how do you square the contradictory beliefs that they express? The authors of these works claim an experience of God no different in quality from the experience of Paul.

    It is the very fact that they do contradict the Bible which calls them into question. When looked into more carefully, it appears that the claims of these religions do not pass the test. The Book of Mormon in particular has no historical verification for any of the stories it contains. Joseph Smith was a known fraud during his life and told numerous prophecies which were contained in Doctrine and Covenants (another Mormon writing), none of which came true. Joseph Smith’s god is certainly not the God of the Bible.

    Secondly, even if you restrict your belief in the veracity of the entirety of “the Bible” to “your Bible” and the standard 27-book canon, how do you square the establishment of this canon with your injunction not to “pick and choose”?

    It appears that this is where your issue lies. Again, Christian orthodoxy on the canon of Scripture is well-settled and has been for nearly 2000 years.

    Are not the leaders of your church guilty of picking and choosing when they decided not to include the Apocryphal books in the canon? How else, except picking and choosing, do you explain the relative weight given to the writings of Paul?

    If you are really curious as to why Christianity holds the 27 books of the New Testament to be canon, this summary is pretty good.

    As for the idea that Paul’s rejection of the Laws of Moses was not his idea alone, why isn’t this rejection mentioned in any of the other Gospels. If Jesus had intended a rejection of those laws why didn’t he say so directly, through one of the Disciples, instead of leaving this (incredibly fundamental idea) to an epistle which – more likely than not – was written by someone who, as I said earlier, had no contact with Jesus. The rejection of the Laws of Moses is an immense, earth-shattering deal – are you suggesting that the Disciples “forgot” to mention it when Jesus said it?

    By holding onto the old covenant laws, you are denying what Jesus’s mission was and what he accomplished. His life, death and resurrection were the earth-shattering event, not anything that Paul said or did. Jesus did plenty to show how he felt about the Mosaic law (healing on the Sabbath, forgiving the woman caught in adultery, etc.). When questioned, he even responded in Matthew 5 by saying “I come not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it.” Thus, rendering the Law inapplicable to the followers of Jesus. One other thing to remember is this: the Gospel accounts are not exhaustive. There were plenty of other things that Jesus said and did which the disciples were privy to which led to the theological epistles written by Peter, Paul and the other new testament writers.

    “The old covenant is not being rejected, it just no longer applies.” That is a distinction without meaning.

    Again, no Christian believes that the old covenant has been rejected. Much of the old covenant simply does not apply to Christians today. Jeremiah 31 prophesies of a new covenant that God was going to make which was “not like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt.” When Jesus fulfilled the Law with his death and resurrection, the former law became of no effect. (See Hebrews 7:18-19)

  33. #33 hopper3011
    July 2, 2008

    “The canon of scripture was agreed on by the early church leaders, many of whom had personal interaction with Jesus and the original disciples and apostles (though some issues were not firmly settled until 300 years after Jesus’ ministry).”
    The Roman Catholic version of the new Testament canon was not settled until the late 16th Century, as a response to Martin Luther’s setting out of the Protestant canon.
    The Old Testament canon was a settled issue during the time of Jesus, so there should not be any concern there.
    The Old Testament canon is not a direct translation of the Hebrew text of the Tanakh. The early Christians used a Greek translation called the Septuagint which is still used today by the Eastern Orthodox churches. Jerome retranslated the Tanakh from Hebrew in the early 5th Century because he believed (the crucial word here is “believed”) that the Hebrew text testified to Christ better than the Greek version.
    So the early Church used a version of the Old Testament derived from a Greek Translation from the Hebrew, which is still in use today by the Eastern Orthodox church, while the Roman Catholics and Protestants use a translation from the 5th Century Latin of Jerome, which in turn was a translation of the Hebrew text from pre-400 BCE, which in turn was a translation of the Aramaic texts.
    The Book of Mormon and other apocryphal writings are simply not considered to be canonical and never have been, so I’m not sure what you are trying to get at by suggesting that they should be given equal weight as the book of Hebrews and the writings of Paul.The Book of Mormon is considered canonical by the Mormons and always has been. Joseph Smith claimed to have been visited by an angel who gave him the text, Paul was visited by the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus; on what grounds do you differentiate these authorities? If you are going to disavow the legitimacy of Joseph Smith because he was arrested for fraud, then you must disavow Paul – he was arrested several times also.
    You held that it was illegitimate to pick and choose among biblical authorities, yet there is clear evidence of people with no more authority than you or I picking and choosing which books to use, and which translations to accept. Now you are claiming to be the only person to decide who has a legitimate vision?
    It appears that this is where your issue lies. Again, Christian orthodoxy on the canon of Scripture is well-settled and has been for nearly 2000 years.
    As shown above, that is not so.
    If you are really curious as to why Christianity holds the 27 books of the New Testament to be canon, this summary is pretty good.
    That wasn’t the question that I asked. What I wanted to know was why you feel that it is wrong to “pick and choose” when there is clear and obvious evidence that not only do the various sects of Christianity pick and choose, but that there is picking and choosing going on within the sects, and that this picking and choosing is done by people with no more authority in terms of a “divine mandate” than you or I?
    “His life, death and resurrection were the earth-shattering event, not anything that Paul said or did.”
    But you said that Jesus declared an end to the Laws of Moses, not Paul, so I asked why such a declaration was not mentioned by any of the Apostles, but was left to an Epistle? This declaration would have had a more profound, even earth-shattering effect, on the average man in the street than anything else Jesus said or did, it is declaring an end to the Jewish religious laws, which affected the daily lives of people in terms of what they could eat, where they could go, who they could talk to, how they could dress, shave, cut their hair, attend temple, what where and how they could worship, and you expect anyone to believe that if Jesus had expressed this intention it would not have been front page in all the Gospels?
    “When questioned, he even responded in Matthew 5 by saying “I come not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it.” Thus, rendering the Law inapplicable to the followers of Jesus.”
    The suggestion that by fulfilling the law Jesus rendered it inapplicable to his followers is not a reasonable inference to draw from the statement. If Jesus is using the word “fulfill” in the sense of “bring to an end”, why does he feel the need to differentiate “fulfill” from “destroy”, which can also mean bring to an end?
    Interestingly Matthew 5 demonstrates the problem that you have with claiming “the Bible” to be a settled corpus of “the Word of God” without actually defining which document you are referring to as “the Bible”:
    New International Version: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
    New American Standard Bible: Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.
    The Message: Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures? either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete.
    Amplified Bible: Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them.
    New Living Translation: Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.
    King James Version: Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. (evidently the version you prefer, judging by the archaic spelling of “fulfill”)
    English Standard Version: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
    Contemporary English Version: Don’t suppose that I came to do away with the Law and the Prophets. I did not come to do away with them, but to give them their full meaning. (this edition is not very supportive of your views on what Jesus meant, is it?)
    Eight different versions of the same verse, which one is the direct, word-for-word, translation of what Jesus actually said?
    “When Jesus fulfilled the Law with his death and resurrection, the former law became of no effect.”
    Once again a distiction without meaning; “rejected”, “no long applies”, or “of no effect” all mean simply that the laws of Moses are nugatory, that is why the distiction has no meaning.

  34. #34 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    July 2, 2008

    The Book of Mormon and other apocryphal writings are simply not considered to be canonical and never have been

    By whom, and on what grounds?

  35. #35 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    July 2, 2008

    It is the very fact that they do contradict the Bible which calls them into question.

    But the Bible (i.e. 66 book Protestant version) contradicts itself, and therefore calls itself into question. QED.

  36. #36 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    July 2, 2008

    By holding onto the old covenant laws, you are denying what Jesus’s mission was and what he accomplished. His life, death and resurrection were the earth-shattering event, not anything that Paul said or did.

    Once again, you seem to be denying that part of JC’s self-stated mission included a second coming. Why do you insist that this was not part of his “mission”?

  37. #37 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    July 2, 2008

    When Jesus fulfilled the Law with his death and resurrection, the former law became of no effect. (See Hebrews 7:18-19)

    Why would you consider this excerpt from an epistle to have higher status than JC’s own words, which you have already quoted from Matt 5:17-18? BTW, the epistle to the Hebrews is generally held by textual scholars to have been written by someone other than Paul.
    Why do you continue to insist that JC’s death and alleged resurrection fulfilled his mission and voided the law when JC himself said that the law will persist “Till heaven and earth pass,” and his self-stated mission included a second coming?

  38. #38 Lofcaudio
    July 3, 2008

    hopper3011, if you want to disagree with me on what constitutes Biblical canon, that is fine. The Bible that I read is the same Bible that the early Christians read and has been regarded as Holy Scripture for nearly 2000 years.

    As for giving more or less weight to various parts of the Bible based upon who said what is also not in line with Christian orthodoxy as the entire Bible is treated as being inspired by God. For you to suggest otherwise is the same as impeaching the whole Bible (which is perhaps your intention). I am not “picking and choosing” if I use all of the scripture to conclude what God is saying in the Bible. If you want to indict me for such a thing since I refuse to include the Book of Mormon, the Qu’ran, the God Delusion and every other writing on religion as being part of the Bible, then so be it. None of those things are even considered to be part of the Bible by those who respect such texts, so I’m not sure why you are so adamant about wanting to include them.

    But you said that Jesus declared an end to the Laws of Moses…

    I never said any such thing.

    The suggestion that by fulfilling the law Jesus rendered it inapplicable to his followers is not a reasonable inference to draw from the statement. If Jesus is using the word “fulfill” in the sense of “bring to an end”, why does he feel the need to differentiate “fulfill” from “destroy”, which can also mean bring to an end?

    The fact that Jesus had to make such a statement in the first place tells us he had been accused of destroying the Law. I think it is safe to say that Jesus was doing things and saying things which led the Jewish leaders at that time to think that he was in fact destroying (or abolishing) the Law as they understood it. His response to such criticism helps us understand the Law as being something which needed to be satisfied or completed and that his whole purpose was to do that very thing. We see this concept fleshed out at greater length in the books of Romans and Hebrews.

    Doc or Jim, while I enjoy such discussions, I realize that much of these issues are so far removed from what the Refuge is all about. There are plenty of other places to carry on such discussions for people interested in debating religious/theological issues. As a result, please say the word and I will be happy to stop commenting on this particular thread as I think the original issues have been sufficiently played out.

    Having said that, please know that it is hard for me not to respond whenever I see Christianity and/or the Bible falsely portrayed.

  39. #39 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    July 3, 2008

    The Bible that I read is the same Bible that the early Christians read and has been regarded as Holy Scripture for nearly 2000 years.

    Very doubtful. As previously presented, the content of “The Bible” was decided by committee a few hundred years after the alleged life and death of JC, and Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox each have their own set of approved books. You seem to want to simply ignore this argument.

    Also, changes were made to The Bible over time, so the likely truth of your statement would depend both on which version of the Bible you use, and what you mean by “early Christians.” For example, the end of the Gospel of Mark, dealing with the resurrection, does not appear in the earliest manuscripts, it was added later. a reference to the trinity was added to the first epistle of John around the 9th century. This forged verse appears in some modern Bibles, in particular the King James version, which is inexplicably still popular in certain Protestant sects.

    Your strategy seems to be to reiterate your position even though it has been brought into question, as though stubbornness were a respectable argument, so I’ll be leaving now.

  40. #40 Lofcaudio
    July 3, 2008

    But the Bible (i.e. 66 book Protestant version) contradicts itself, and therefore calls itself into question.

    I agree that if the Bible did contract itself, it would certainly be called into question. However, there are no such contradictions. There are a few things that skeptics like to point out (differing geneologies, timing approximations, etc.), but these are not contradictory when put in the proper perspective.

    Once again, you seem to be denying that part of JC’s self-stated mission included a second coming. Why do you insist that this was not part of his “mission”?

    I have never insisted any such thing and I’m at a loss as to what you are trying to prove with this point. (straw man)

    Why would you consider this excerpt from an epistle to have higher status than JC’s own words, which you have already quoted from Matt 5:17-18?

    When have I ever said that it should be given higher status? (another straw man) For people who respect the Bible, the books of Romans and Hebrews offer a lot of insight in how the Law applies to Christians. Rather than just ignore these books or claim that Paul and the writer of Hebrews were wrong, good scholarship requires using the teachings contained in these books to expand our understanding of what God’s eternal plan is. The whole concept of Jesus fulfilling the law is one of the central components of the Christian faith.

    Your strategy seems to be to reiterate your position even though it has been brought into question

    When discussing what the Bible says, I have provided plenty of references to support my claims and you expect me to change my stance because you think that certain books of the Bible need to be ignored or changed or added to? Perhaps you should enlighten me as to what a better strategy might be when confronted with straw men arguments.

  41. #41 hopper3011
    July 4, 2008

    So how do you square this:
    “But if you are going to use the Bible as a tool to marginalize other people, perhaps you should know a little bit more about it.
    and this:
    Because I have read the Bible and studied it over the years and objectively tested its claims, I am the deluded junkie?”
    with this:
    “The Bible that I read is the same Bible that the early Christians read and has been regarded as Holy Scripture for nearly 2000 years.”
    You claim to have extensive knowledge of the Bible, yet, when questioned about the method in which your holy book was constructed, you reject all pretence at rational discussion and fall back on some self-assembled fantasy. There is plenty of good, well-researched literature on the origins of the Bible, none of which concurs with your last statement. It wouldn’t take you a second to read about the Nicene Creed, the Lutheran Antilegomena, or the real authors of the Gospels.
    If you did, you would understand my point about the weighting of the various books, and, despite your injunctions not to pick and choose, that various church leaders, who never had personal contact with either God or Jesus, picked various writings which supported their views and excluded others which didn’t fit, despite those writings being of equal provenance.
    “As for giving more or less weight to various parts of the Bible based upon who said what is also not in line with Christian orthodoxy as the entire Bible is treated as being inspired by God.”
    That is not my point, and never has been. I am perfectly at ease with the idea that the entire Bible is treated as being inspired by God – my point is that you make the claim “you are guilty of being the “pick and choose” type and are not really following the lessons of the Bible, but instead are trying to fit the Bible into your particular way of thinking” when it is perfectly obvious that the entire Bible has been constructed to fit someone’s point of view – and that this person is not God.
    “If you want to indict me for such a thing since I refuse to include the Book of Mormon, the Qu’ran, the God Delusion and every other writing on religion as being part of the Bible, then so be it.
    (What was that about straw men?) This sentence perfectly encapsulates your problem – The Book of Mormon and the Koran are not “books about religion” they are divinely-inspired religious texts that happen to disagree with your position, so, in order to dissipate their authority, you have to align them with The God Delusion, which is a book about religion. Your indoctrinated mind can’t possibly be objective enough to accept that these books have as much divine authority as your book.
    Much of the Christian canon is constructed using documents written by people who never met Jesus, and never heard him preach. The earliest gospel, Mark, was written by a follower of Peter, Mark certainly was not associated with Jesus in any way – so what, qualitatively, distinguishes him from Joseph Smith? Answer: Nothing except that Joseph Smith doesn’t fit your world view. So you pick and choose without admitting to yourself that you do so, how “objective” is that?

  42. #42 hopper3011
    July 4, 2008

    “I never said any such thing.”
    Yes you did:
    “the old covenant was set aside”
    “the Mosaic Code which most certainly applied to the Israelites of the Old Testament no longer applies to Christians”
    “the rules and system of the old covenant do not apply”
    Perhaps you care to explain the qualitative difference between “declaring an end to” and “no longer applies”? You are rather good at making distictions without meaning.
    “For you to suggest otherwise is the same as impeaching the whole Bible (which is perhaps your intention).”
    I find this rather insulting – despite, thus far, refraining from the various epithets which other posters have flung at you and attempting to engage in a rational discussion, you would rather make wild accusations. You have no idea what I believe, nor what my intentions are with regards to this discussion. Simply because I produce some reasoned skepticism in regards to your sheep-like devotion to one or other modern interpretation (and make no mistake, whatever your priest, vicar, or pastor reads to you every Sunday, what you are listening to is someone’s interpretation of another interpretation of stuff someone remembered having heard at one time or another several years previously) of a religious text, you assume that I don’t believe and that I am trying to destroy that text.
    Your entire position is a false portrayal of the Bible, but
    I suppose that God needs sheep as well as shepherds – at least we have determined what you are.

  43. #43 Lofcaudio
    July 4, 2008

    hopper3011, there’s really no point in continuing this conversation if you can’t make sense of what I have been saying. For example, your last post says this:

    “I never said any such thing.”
    Yes you did:
    “the old covenant was set aside”
    “the Mosaic Code which most certainly applied to the Israelites of the Old Testament no longer applies to Christians”
    “the rules and system of the old covenant do not apply”

    Perhaps you care to explain the qualitative difference between “declaring an end to” and “no longer applies”? You are rather good at making distictions without meaning.

    “I never said any such thing” (comment #38) was in direct response to your statement that claimed I had said “that Jesus declared an end to the Laws of Moses.” (comment #33) So your whole “Yes you did” is 100% wrong since not one of your supporting statements shows that I claimed that “Jesus declared an end to the Laws of Moses.”

    I find this rather insulting – despite, thus far, refraining from the various epithets which other posters have flung at you and attempting to engage in a rational discussion, you would rather make wild accusations. You have no idea what I believe, nor what my intentions are with regards to this discussion.

    Wild accusations? Because I said “which is perhaps your intention”? Again, you fail to comprehend the words that I write. For example, the word “perhaps” should tell you that I am making a guess and really don’t know what your intention is. I certainly question your ability to read with precision if you would deem such a statement a “wild accusation”? I also find it interesting that you would gleefully exclaim how I have no idea what your intentions are. Well…what are they? If you are really wanting to communicate ideas, why the admitted deception?

    Your entire position is a false portrayal of the Bible, but I suppose that God needs sheep as well as shepherds – at least we have determined what you are.

    Nice finish with the ad hominem attack. I would love to debate some of these issues with you, but you continue to build straw men from my statements making it virtually impossible to maintain a quality discussion. If you can’t see why I feel that way based upon these examples, then why continue?

  44. #44 kemibe
    July 4, 2008

    Whenever I see the self-parodic Lofcaudio mention straw men or complain that others are being unreasonable, I think back to this:

    Lofcaudio:

    “Do you happen to have a reference to where Francis Collins stated anything as bourgeois as “the beauty of waterfalls” line or was that a complete fabrication to prop up the straw man?”

    Response:

    On a beautiful fall day, as I was hiking in the Cascade Mountains, the majesty and beauty of God’s creation overwhelmed my resistance. As I rounded a corner and saw a beautiful and unexpected frozen waterfall, hundreds of feet high, I knew the search was over. The next morning, I knelt in the dewy grass as the sun rose and surrendered to Jesus Christ.

    “Doesn’t leave much wiggle room about how Collins ‘came to believe,’ now does it?”

    Lofcaudio:

    (Dead silence)

    If Lofcaudio could be complimented for anything, it would be his heroic ability to convince himself that every time he returns here to spew wildly hypocritical, whiny, and disorganized righteous horseshit, the regulars here will forget his previous seventeen or eighteen atrocious attempts at argumentation.

  45. #45 hopper3011
    July 5, 2008

    Lofcaudio;
    An ad hominem goes like this:
    Person A makes Claim X;
    Person A has an objectionable personal characteristic;
    Therefore Claim X is wrong.
    I called you a mindless sheep; however I had already shown quite clearly that your claim that the Bible which you use is the same document which the early Christians used is false; therefore my argument does not rest on the personal attack and there is no ad hominem.
    Similarly, a straw man goes like this:
    Person A makes Claim X;
    Person B ignores Claim X and presents Claim Y;
    Person B attacks Claim Y;
    Person B draws the conclusion that Claim X is also false.
    It is insufficient for you to simply claim that I have set up a straw man with my statement: “But you said that Jesus declared an end to the Laws of Moses, not Paul, so I asked why such a declaration was not mentioned by any of the Apostles, but was left to an Epistle?” while failing to show how that statement is qualitatively different from your statement: “Thus, rendering the Law inapplicable to the followers of Jesus”, you need to demonstrate that I am misrepresenting you, not merely using a different vocabulary.
    “Declared an end” and “inapplicable” are synonyms, one is an action, the other is a state. Therefore there is no misrepresentation, and no straw man.
    Just squawking about straw man and ad hominem is not a valid response to any of the arguments I have put forward, especially since you obviously have no idea what those fallacies consist of.
    Instead, why don’t you explain how your claim:
    “The Bible that I read is the same Bible that the early Christians read and has been regarded as Holy Scripture for nearly 2000 years.”
    In the light of the controversy of Luther adding the word “alone” to Romans 3:28 so that it read: “thus, we hold, then, that man is justified without the works of the law to do, alone through faith”. The word is not in the original Koine Greek text. Luther defends his addition by saying that the word “alone” was required both by vernacular German and what Paul intended the verse to mean. So Luther felt free to add to the Bible – how many other transcribers and translators did the same thing because it was the writer’s “intention” as they saw it?
    The translators of your Bible – you have used the King James Version in this discussion so I assume it is your favoured text – utilised the The Tyndale New Testament, The Coverdale Bible, The Matthews Bible, The Great Bible, The Geneva Bible, and the Rheims New Testament in order to develop their version. So the King James Bible is at minimum a 4th generation translation – plenty of time for errors and “intentions” to slip in.
    King James himself ordered that the word “congregation” should be translated as the word “church” wherever possible to reflect the governing structure of the Church of England, the resulting awkwardness can be seen in e.g. Matthew 18:17: “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” If you repeat that verse with the word “congregation” inserted: And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the congregation: but if he neglect to hear the congregation, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” not only does it make more sense, it scans better.
    Now why don’t you respond to some of these points, instead of making yourself look foolish with accusations of straw men and ad hominem attacks that aren’t there?

  46. #46 Lofcaudio
    July 7, 2008

    Instead, why don’t you explain how your claim:
    “The Bible that I read is the same Bible that the early Christians read and has been regarded as Holy Scripture for nearly 2000 years.”

    My claim (made in the opening paragraph of comment #38) was made when discussing the Biblical canon. The term “canon” has always referred specifically to what books belong in the Bible and has nothing to do with the differing translation versions. I had previously posted a link (in comment #32) which provided a timeline for the acceptance of the New Testament books into Biblical canon. You completed sidestepped the points I raised in that comment by responding with translation differences (which appears to be either a red herring or misapplication of what “canon” means).

    Many of your comments don’t make any sense and seem to be made just to be argumentative. Here is one, as an example:

    But you said that Jesus declared an end to the Laws of Moses

    Which, of course, I never did say.

    , not Paul, so I asked why such a declaration was not mentioned by any of the Apostles, but was left to an Epistle?

    Hmmmm, perhaps you mispoke here when you ask “why such a declaration was not mentioned by any of the Apostles, but was left to an Epistle.” Everything mentioned by the Apostles were in epistles. The primary apostles were Paul, Peter and John, and but for Hebrews, James and Jude, all the other epistles of the new testament were written by these three apostles. So the very declarations that you question were made by the Apostles (Paul, Peter and whoever wrote the epistle to the Hebrews), not to mention the old testament prophecies of Jeremiah and Isaiah which foretold a new covenant that would differ from the one made previously.

    Now back to my statement which you objected to when I said that the Bible that I read (66 books with 39 of them in the OT and 27 in the NT) is the same which has been held to be Biblical canon for nearly 2000 years. The aforementioned link shows that by 200 A.D. all of the new testament with the exception of four books (Hebrews, James, 2 Peter and Revelation) were considered to be Holy Scripture and it wasn’t until 367 A.D. when these other four books were unanimously accepted into the Biblical canon. As a result, for the past 1,641 years (2008 – 367), the Biblical canon has been unchanged.

    Just because various sects (such as the Catholic Church) have added some additional books does not impeach my statement as the Bible that I read does not contain those subsequent additions. Neither does the presence of the Book of Mormon (first published in 1830), as you have claimed, have any effect on the canon of Scripture. Not even Mormons claim that the Book of Mormon should be considered part of the Bible. Even though many of them bind their Book of Mormons along with the Bible, they still consider these two collections to be distinct. (It should be noted that the Book of Mormon has a plethora of problems, but that is an entirely different issue.)

    The differing translations and the later councils that have convened to determine unified doctrine also have not changed the canon of scripture. However, some of the early councils were responsible for the shaping of the accepted canon, as noted in the aforementioned link.

  47. #47 JimFiore
    July 7, 2008

    You know, lofcaudio saying “I never said that” is becoming almost comedic, as in a Monty Python sketch (“Brave, brave Sir Robin, bravely ran away, away” “No! I didn’t”. “When danger reared it’s ugly head he quickly turned his tail and fled.” “No! Never!”)
    Consider the following:

    lofcaudio: Many of your comments don’t make any sense and seem to be made just to be argumentative. Here is one, as an example:

    hopper3011: But you said that Jesus declared an end to the Laws of Moses

    lofcaudio: Which, of course, I never did say

    But, he did indeed say in comment 11:

    lofcaudio: When Jesus fulfilled his mission through his death and resurrection, the old covenant was set aside for a new covenant

    I have little doubt that he will come back and declare these two statements to be entirely different. I will grant that he literally did not say “Jesus declared…” but the effect of the two statements is the same and that is what is of importance here.

    Apparently, “set aside” is entirely different from “declaring an end to”. Yes, I can see that when New York State set aside the old Thruway speed limit of 55 MPH in favor of the current 65 MPH, they were not really declaring an end to it, they were only setting it aside. But then again, I haven’t studied the vehicle and traffic code word-for-word over the course of many years, so I’m undoubtedly wrong.

    Where are those two she-bears when you really need them?

    I think this comment pretty much does it for me. Tegumai Bopsulai was right.

  48. #48 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    July 8, 2008

    But the Bible (i.e. 66 book Protestant version) contradicts itself, and therefore calls itself into question.

    I agree that if the Bible did contract itself, it would certainly be called into question. However, there are no such contradictions. There are a few things that skeptics like to point out (differing geneologies, timing approximations, etc.), but these are not contradictory when put in the proper perspective.

    “The proper perspective”? So it needs to be spun?

    Mark 16

    16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    That sounds like salvation by faith, which is very popular amongst Protestants. And yet in another gospel we find this:
    Matthew 25:31-46

    31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
    [32] And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
    [33] And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
    [34] Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
    [35] For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
    [36] Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
    [37] Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
    [38] When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
    [39] Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
    [40] And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
    [41] Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
    [42] For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
    [43] I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
    [44] Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
    [45] Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
    [46] And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    That sounds an awful lot like salvation by works.

  49. #49 Lofcaudio
    July 8, 2008

    So it needs to be spun?

    No, so we can best understand what the writer intends to say rather than miscontrue (or “spin”) the words of the Bible.

    Are you suggesting that there is an apparent contradiction between Mark and Matthew as to what Jesus had to say about the key to salvation? The Bible is fairly clear that salvation does not come by works for this reason: no one has the good works deserving of salvation (Psalm 143:2; Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10; Romans 3:23). Why then would Jesus say that the righteous will go into eternal life?

    The Bible does not equate “righteous” and “righteousness” with works as you have suggested. This is where a “proper perspective” is important as these words are defined in the Bible, but with a different meaning than we would normally apply to them. Genesis 15:6 says that Abraham “believe in the LORD, and He (the LORD) accounted it to him as righteousness.” The Apostle Paul also further defines righteousness in the first 8 verses of Romans 4 similarly. More blatant verses regarding salvation would be Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5, both adhering to the concept that salvation is by faith and not by works.

    So while the righteous will inherit eternal life according to Matthew 25, it is only through faith that one can be righteous in the first place. There is no contradiction and there is no “spin” to reach such a conclusion.

  50. #50 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    July 10, 2008

    This is where a “proper perspective” is important as these words are defined in the Bible, but with a different meaning than we would normally apply to them.

    Spin, spin, spin.

    So while the righteous will inherit eternal life according to Matthew 25, it is only through faith that one can be righteous in the first place.

    You’re saying that a person without faith could not perform the good works mentioned in Matt 25? You are a silly, silly person. Go read the parable of the good Samaritan.

  51. #51 Lofcaudio
    July 10, 2008

    You’re saying that a person without faith could not perform the good works mentioned in Matt 25?

    No, that is not what I said. What I said was that good works does not make one righteous. It is only by faith that one can be deemed righteous. I provided plenty of scripture to support such a claim.

    The parable of the good Samaritan has nothing to do with salvation as Jesus told that parable to make a point of who a “neighbor” is in the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself.” The fact that the Samaritans were despised by the Jewish community of the day makes this a fairly remarkable concept in that we are to love those we would naturally hate/despise.

  52. #52 kemibe
    July 10, 2008

    None of the writers of the gospels (and Matthew and Luke were obviously copied in large part from Mark; if you son’t believe me, refer to what theologians have to say) even know Jesus, so who gives a shit what they claim about his message? It would be like me telling you all what Truman really meant when it came to foreign policy, the stuff he never told anyone else.

    I’m convinced that Lofcaudio is a robot invented by atheists for two purposes: to maker Christians look even dumber than they do and waste the time of reasonable people. It’s been over three weeks since Jim posted about Jordan and Lofcaudio just hasn’t had enough of a rhetorical ass-kicking yet.

    Tegumai, I wouldn’t necessarily accuse Lofcaudio of spinning anything. Spin requires at least a basic comprehension of the thing being spun. Lofcaudio comes into these discussions under the lash of insurmountable brainwashing and prejudice and really does think he’s making sense even though an objective person an look at just this page and spot a dozen or more instances of him contradicting himself, making tings up as he goes, or otherwise acting the worm. It’s no wonder he can say with a straight face that the Bible isn’t internally inconsistent.

  53. #53 JimFiore
    July 11, 2008

    OK, the following has nothing to do with my original post (not that the majority of this comment thread does), but I’d like an answer based on the following recent comment, just so that I can better understand where you’re coming from:

    So while the righteous will inherit eternal life according to Matthew 25, it is only through faith that one can be righteous in the first place.

    Are you stating that ONLY the righteous will inherit said eternal life, or are other paths possible? It’s not clear to me from your statement. For example, I could state that all batteries should be recycled, but this does not imply that all that should be recycled are batteries.

    Just a clarification, please.

  54. #54 Lofcaudio
    July 11, 2008

    Are you stating that ONLY the righteous will inherit said eternal life, or are other paths possible? It’s not clear to me from your statement.

    Your question is a good one since I most certainly did not state that. (I also appreciate the fact that you read my words with precision and did not automatically jump to a conclusion that was not supported by what I wrote. It was getting old saying “I did not say that.”) However, the passage that was originally referenced by Tegumai Bopsulai (Matthew 25) certainly conveys that very idea that it is only the righteous that will inherit eternal life. It talks about separating everyone into two groups (sheep and goats) with the goats’ ultimate destination being “everlasting fire” and “everlasting punishment” while the sheep obtain “eternal life.”

    There are a couple of interesting points to consider as a result of this parable:

    (1) Matthew 25:32 provides that the Son of Man (Jesus) will separate everyone into the two groups. Thus, Jesus is the ultimate judge. He then gives us a picture of what types of actions we would expect to see from someone who has been made righteous.

    (2) This passage combined with James 2 tell us that true faith in God will result in good works. Thus, it calls into question a person’s faith if good works are lacking.

    (3) In John 14, Jesus says that the only way to get to the Father (Heaven) is through Jesus himself. This is the primary passage which declares that heaven is exclusively for Christians. While some find such exclusivity offensive, it is entirely consistent with the overriding theme of the Bible.

    I hope that clarifies things.

  55. #55 JimFiore
    July 11, 2008

    Not much. Your first paragraph implies that there are other paths besides being righteous, however, your final paragraph states that only Christians can get in. Logically, “non-righteous Christians” is the only group that would satisfy both statements. Is that what you’re saying?

    For the record, I do read what you write and I would be careful about calling out others on “jumping to conclusions that were not supported by what (you) wrote”.

  56. #56 kemibe
    July 11, 2008

    Asking Lofcaudio to clarify something is like asking him to ovulate.

    “It was getting old saying ‘I did not say that.'”

    It gets even older holding up people’s own words to their faces and watching them disown them, like the obnoxious chain-smoking lawyer Martin Short portrayed on Saturday Night Live. If you’d quit contradicting yourself, people wouldn’t quote you contradicting yourself and you wouldn’t have to deny it.

    But why shouldn’t Lofcaudio contradict himself when the Bible itself does, with uncanny vigor? Compare these two passages from the NIV:

    “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin … For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” (Romans 3:20,28)

    “All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” (Romans 2:12,13)

    The first bit clearly places an enormous premium on faith at the expense of works, while the second says the exact opposite. There is simply no way to spin things, not even on Planet Lofcaudio, in such a way as to deny this.

    Anyway, as typically happens when the religiously intoxicated slur on and on, people lose sight of the fact that it really doesn’t matter whether condition X is necessary, sufficient, or both to get you to status Y when Y is make-believe. To those of us ensconced in the real world, it doesn’t matter whether the Bible “really” says faith is more important than works or vice-versa to get into Heaven or whether the reverse is true, because “Heaven” is a childish fantasy. Every cult has them, and every cult lays claim to the rules for getting there. It’s pathetic and tiresome.

  57. #57 hopper3011
    July 12, 2008

    “The term “canon” has always referred specifically to what books belong in the Bible and has nothing to do with the differing translation versions.”
    That statement is wrong on two counts: The term “canon” can mean variously;
    1 a general rule or principle by which something is judged. 2 a Church decree or law.
    3 a collection of authentic sacred books.
    4 the authentic works of a particular author or artist.
    5 a list of literary works considered to be permanently established as being of the highest quality.
    6 a passage or piece of music in which a theme is taken up by two or more parts that overlap.
    So while the term is used to denote a list of books, it can also be used to refer to the contents of those books (see Definition 3).
    The second problem is the one you are trying to gloss over by quibbling about definitions. You are saying that it dosn’t matter what is in the books of the Bible so long as they are in the right order. I have no doubt that you will tell me you didn’t say that,and I will agree that you didn’t, but the inference that you would quite happily drink whatever is in the bottle so long as the label says “Koolaid” is plain for all to see.
    “I had previously posted a link (in comment #32) which provided a timeline for the acceptance of the New Testament books into Biblical canon. You completed sidestepped the points I raised in that comment by responding with translation differences (which appears to be either a red herring or misapplication of what “canon” means).”
    You have simply failed to address even a single one of the points I have raised, but since I have taken the time to correct your idea of what “canon” means I feel it incumbent upon me to also point out that addressing the contents of the books is far from being a “red herring” but is in fact central to the point of this discussion (I use the word loosely, since you seem to have little idea of what constitutes a discussion).
    Anyway, thanks for the link, I did look at it, but, since there was nothing I didn’t already know, it wasn’t much help. It did, however, confirm my original point – most of the books in the mainstream Christian canon were written by people who NEVER met Jesus, NEVER heard him preach and who either wrote down the recollections of others or copied from other texts. My point about the Book of Mormon (which you totally ignored) was that the authority for that text is equivalent (save for antiquity) to the authority for several of the texts accepted as canon – if you really knew your Bible you would know that.
    “The primary apostles were Paul, Peter and John, and but for Hebrews, James and Jude, all the other epistles of the new testament were written by these three apostles.”
    And the relevant passage was in Hebrews – a book which, by your own admission, was not written by an Apostle, so my point stands.
    “Just because various sects (such as the Catholic Church) have added some additional books does not impeach my statement as the Bible that I read does not contain those subsequent additions.”
    You claim to read an early version of the Bible, but quote from the King James Version – is there a reason that you don’t use your version in the discussion?
    “No, so we can best understand what the writer intends to say rather than miscontrue (or “spin”) the words of the Bible.
    Why is your understanding of the writer’s intention more accurate than that of anyone else? I pointed this out when I made the comment about Luther, but you ignored me.
    “It was getting old saying “I did not say that.”
    Instead of simply saying “I did not say that” why not show us exactly how the two phrases differ, because as far as I (and, it would appear, several others) can see, you did say that.

  58. #58 Lofcaudio
    July 13, 2008

    In response to hopper3011 and Comment #57:

    Not only are you wrong, you appear to not even notice when your own words prove that very point. It also appears that you do not understand how to use a dictionary.

    “That statement (my definition of the word canon) is wrong…”

    If my definition of canon is “wrong” then why did you acknowledge that it was correct?

    “So while the term is used to denote a list of books, it can also be used to refer to the contents of those books (see Definition 3).”

    When definition 3 says “a collection of authentic sacred books”, I’m not sure how that supports your claim that canon refers to the contents of those books. In fact, it simply does not. No definition that I have found for this word even comes close to supporting your claim. What I find odd is that the evidence you provided to support your claim that my supplied definition was wrong actually and empathically proved that I was right and you were wrong. If there is any doubt on this point, I googled “canon definition”. The Free Dictionary provides that canon is “The books of the Bible officially accepted as Holy Scripture.” The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary provides “an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture.” I could continue going right down the list, but they all say the same thing.

    “The second problem is the one you are trying to gloss over by quibbling about definitions.”

    Excuse me, but when words are all that we have to work with here, definitions are important.

    “You are saying that it dosn’t matter what is in the books of the Bible so long as they are in the right order. I have no doubt that you will tell me you didn’t say that,and I will agree that you didn’t, but the inference that you would quite happily drink whatever is in the bottle so long as the label says “Koolaid” is plain for all to see.”

    Good grief. Were you attempting to set the record for the most fallacies contained in a single statement? Your earlier comments were at least coherent, but this–this is downright inane.

    “but since I have taken the time to correct your idea of what ‘canon’ means”

    Hilarious.

    “most of the books in the mainstream Christian canon were written by people who NEVER met Jesus, NEVER heard him preach and who either wrote down the recollections of others or copied from other texts”

    Which means…what exactly? You have just described the situation that applies to almost all biographers and historians. If you are saying all this to say that the Bible is a work of fiction, then just say that outright and we can end this silly banter. I won’t argue with you on that ground if that is the opinion that you hold.

    “My point about the Book of Mormon (which you totally ignored) was that the authority for that text is equivalent (save for antiquity) to the authority for several of the texts accepted as canon – if you really knew your Bible you would know that.”

    This statement is ridiculous. The writings of the New Testament which were accepted as canon were (1) agreed to by all of the Christian churches AND (2) based upon either apostolic authorship or the doctrinal content which was in accordance with the rest of the scriptures. There were numerous other writings and gospels floating around at that time which were not deemed worthy of becoming scriptural canon. The Book of Mormon has not been accepted by all of the Christian churches, nor was it written by an apostle nor does it contain doctrinal content that is in accordance with the rest of the scriptures. Just like the Gospel of Thomas, it is not worthy to be considered canon.

    And the relevant passage was in Hebrews – a book which, by your own admission, was not written by an Apostle, so my point stands.

    Here we go again. What point stands? You have no point. Kindly show me where I stated that Hebrews was not written by an Apostle. (I’ll give you a hint: I NEVER SAID SUCH A THING.) You are now talking in circles since you originally said in your first comment (#26) that either Paul or Barnabas (both apostles according to Acts 14:14) was the writer of the book of Hebrews. Is your point that the book of Hebrews is a bunch of bunk? And what about the book of Romans which says virtually the same stuff regarding the old covenant?

    You claim to read an early version of the Bible

    Again, you misunderstand. My claim that I read the same Bible that was being read nearly 2000 years ago was said when discussing canon–you know, just as the third century church’s Bibles had 39 books in the old testament and 27 books in the new, so does mine. I have already explained this yet you refuse to acknowledge it. I have never said one thing or another about the various translated versions of the Bible. That has been just another tangential red herring that you have introduced into this discussion for who knows what purpose.

    Why is your understanding of the writer’s intention more accurate than that of anyone else?

    It’s not.

    I pointed this out when I made the comment about Luther, but you ignored me.

    I’m not a translator, nor do I speak Greek. However, I do own a Greek Lexicon and there are numerous commentaries that allow me to see what the literal Greek says and how we might interpret some of the idiomatic expressions that are sometimes used in the original text. Again, where are you going with this line of reasoning?

    Instead of simply saying “I did not say that” why not show us exactly how the two phrases differ

    hopper3011 claims that Lofcaudio said “Jesus declared an end to the Laws of Moses” when he made the following statements:
    (1) “the old covenant was set aside”
    (2) “the Mosaic Code which most certainly applied to the Israelites of the Old Testament no longer applies to Christians”
    (3) “the rules and system of the old covenant do not apply”

    Okay, so I made three statements in my own words and you jumped to the conclusion that I said that Jesus made these statements? And you think that shifts the burden to me? I don’t see how. You better get out that dictionary again.

  59. #59 The Art of Noise
    July 14, 2008

    If you are saying all this to say that the Bible is a work of fiction, then just say that outright and we can end this silly banter. I won’t argue with you on that ground if that is the opinion that you hold.

    Hopper did say, multiple times, that it is impossible to treat ‘The Bible’ as fact because its many, many authors openly contradict one another in various places. That means ‘The Bible’ cannot be true throughout. A work of literature that contains at least some untruths is either openly fictitious or just plain erroneous.

    Either way, Hopper referred to ‘your church’ (emphasis mine) and made it plain there is no more reason to believe that ‘The Bible’ is true than there is to believe the same about the Book of Mormon and other ‘sacred’ texts. To those of us watching from the sidelines, it is clear that he has been periodically baiting you for days on end just to see what kind of idiocy you would produce in defense of the indefensible.

    So, does this mean you’ll go away now? Shouldn’t you be defending Bill Donohue and ripping PZ Myers a new arse for belittling a sacred cracker? (And I don’t mean a redneck from the States, I mean the food used as a symbol in those silly Catholic rites.)

  60. #60 hopper3011
    July 14, 2008

    “That statement (my definition of the word canon) is wrong…”

    If my definition of canon is “wrong” then why did you acknowledge that it was correct?”
    I didn’t say that the definition was wrong (I said “the statement” and quoted the whole statement, so it is strange that you would settle on the idea that I was referring to your definition only – if I were more cynical I would suggest some level of disingenuousness in this repeated quote-mining, but I’m not, so I won’t), just incomplete (which is why I used the word “wrong” instead of the word “incorrect”). I was criticising your claim that the term “”canon” has always referred specifically to what books belong in the Bible”.
    The word “specific” means “restricted to a particular individual, situation, relation, or effect” and I showed that the word “canon” does NOT always refer specifically to your definition, but can mean other things as well, including, but not limited to, my definition which refers to the contents of those books so collected. I don’t use Merriam-Webster except for Americanisations, but the even that dictionary clearly defines the word “canon” much more broadly than you have reproduced in your post:
    1 a: a regulation or dogma decreed by a church council b: a provision of canon law
    2[Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin, from Latin, model] : the most solemn and unvarying part of the Mass including the consecration of the bread and wine
    3[Middle English, from Late Latin, from Latin, standard] a: an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture b: the authentic works of a writer c: a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works 4 a: an accepted principle or rule b: a criterion or standard of judgment c: a body of principles, rules, standards, or norms
    5[Late Greek kanōn, from Greek, model] : a contrapuntal musical composition in which each successively entering voice presents the initial theme usually transformed in a strictly consistent way

    Is there any particular reason you “forgot” to include the numerous other definitions in your post? After all, “when words are all that we have to work with here, definitions are important.”, and when your use of the word “specifically” is questioned, I think that all the definitions are important, don’t you?

    “Good grief. Were you attempting to set the record for the most fallacies contained in a single statement? Your earlier comments were at least coherent, but this–this is downright inane.
    A “fallacy” is a misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning, if you can show me how it would be incorrect to reason, in the light of this statement: “The differing translations and the later councils that have convened to determine unified doctrine also have not changed the canon of scripture.” that it is simply the list of books which is important to you, and not what is said in those books? It has been shown several times that each iteration of the translation of “The Bible” has accumulated significant changes, additions and “interpretations”, which you repeatedly dismiss, while referring to the integrity of the “canon”. If you persist that the only definition of “canon” is the list, rather than the contents, of the books, then it is a valid inference that, so long as the list does not change, the word of God is unchanged, therefore the contents are unimportant.
    You made the restriction on the definition of “canon”, and I’m sorry if your reasoning skills are so flawed you cannot see what you have done, but the inference is valid and there is no fallacy.

    “Which means…what exactly? You have just described the situation that applies to almost all biographers and historians. If you are saying all this to say that the Bible is a work of fiction, then just say that outright and we can end this silly banter. I won’t argue with you on that ground if that is the opinion that you hold.”
    Actually, my point has nothing to do with the truth or fiction of the Bible, but instead refers to your point: “If you believe the Bible to be true, then I think it is important to understand the full message of the Bible and not to give more weight to one part over another. Otherwise, you are guilty of being the “pick and choose” type and are not really following the lessons of the Bible, but instead are trying to fit the Bible into your particular way of thinking.”. You think it is wrong to “pick and choose”, when it is patently obvious (and has been shown to be a fact) that the parts of the Christian Bible have been specifically hand picked to reflect a specific viewpoint. Therefore, by your own definition, Apostle Paul and the various people down the years who picked and chose the “canon” are not really following the lessons of the Bible.

    “The writings of the New Testament which were accepted as canon were (1) agreed to by all of the Christian churches AND (2) based upon either apostolic authorship or the doctrinal content which was in accordance with the rest of the scriptures.”
    Now that IS a fallacy. What you are trying here is a consensus gentium: the conclusion that a proposition is true because many people believe it.

    “There were numerous other writings and gospels floating around at that time which were not deemed worthy of becoming scriptural canon.
    Can you explain how “not deemed worthy” and “pick and choose” differ?

    “The Book of Mormon has not been accepted by all of the Christian churches, nor was it written by an apostle nor does it contain doctrinal content that is in accordance with the rest of the scriptures. Just like the Gospel of Thomas, it is not worthy to be considered canon.”
    The use of the word “worthy” implies a value judgement – perhaps you can explain HOW considering something to be “worthy” differs from “pick and choose” without resorting to an argumentum ad populum?

    “Kindly show me where I stated that Hebrews was not written by an Apostle.”
    “The primary apostles were Paul, Peter and John, and but for Hebrews, James and Jude, all the other epistles of the new testament were written by these three apostles.”
    I know you like the Merriam-Webster dictionary so I thought I would look up “apostle”:
    1: one sent on a mission: as a: one of an authoritative New Testament group sent out to preach the gospel and made up especially of Christ’s 12 original disciples and Paul b: the first prominent Christian missionary to a region or group
    2 a: a person who initiates a great moral reform or who first advocates an important belief or system b: an ardent supporter : adherent
    3: the highest ecclesiastical official in some church organizations
    4: one of a Mormon administrative council of 12 men

    Now, if we use the first definition of apostle, then Paul and Barnabas do qualify as apostles, but neither of them can be supported as having a divine mandate without resorting to an argumentum ad populum. And if you want to say that Paul’s divine mandate comes from his vision on the road to Damascus, then why do you disparage Joseph Smith’s divine mandate?
    However, neither Paul nor Barnabas were one of THE Apostles, i.e. one of the people who actually had contact with Jesus, but you expect us to believe that none of the people who actually had contact Jesus would have reported on his assertion that the Laws of Moses were being abrogated?
    The argument stands for Romans, which was written by Paul.
    It should be obvious that this is once again directed at your assertion that to “pick and choose” from the Bible is wrong. Obviously, whether or not the Bible is regarded as truth or fiction, someone picked and chose, and even more obviously it wasn’t anyone who had contact with either God or Jesus – so why should they be able to do so legitimately, but Jim can’t?

    “You claim to read an early version of the Bible

    Again, you misunderstand.”
    Interesting way to pick out half a quote – I was more interested in the way in which you claim to gain enlightenment from one version of the bible, yet quote to us from the King James version. Why is that?

    “It’s not.”
    Then on what basis do you claim to know the “proper perspective” and that Tegumai doesn’t: “There are a few things that skeptics like to point out (differing geneologies, timing approximations, etc.), but these are not contradictory when put in the proper perspective.”?

    “Okay, so I made three statements in my own words and you jumped to the conclusion that I said that Jesus made these statements?
    Not much of a jump, more of a literal reading:
    “When questioned, he even responded in Matthew 5 by saying “I come not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it.” Thus, rendering the Law inapplicable to the followers of Jesus.”
    So you, despite the fact that you quoted a sentence which is held out to be Jesus’s own words (even though it probably wasn’t written by Matthew and was probably composed about 50 years AFTER Jesus’s death), and then offering us your own interpretation of those words, would deny that in your opinion Jesus said that, and that you believe Jesus to have said that? In your own words:
    “Hilarious.”

    Now, based on past experience, I expect you’ll flail around a little more, quote-mine a bit and then name call, but why don’t you try to actually argue these points instead? You could (at least, I could, but I suspect you don’t have the ability) make a valid defence of the Bible by abandoning your attempts to cohere the entire book with the dubious “proper perspective”, and making some points about the irrelevance of the truth or fiction of the document since it forms the basis of a body of metaphysical rules and morality, but I’m guessing you lack the necessary philosophic grounding to see the true worth of the book and would rather just stick to rote and dogma. You object to being called a mindless sheep, but seem to enjoy behaving like one.

  61. #61 Lofcaudio
    July 14, 2008

    In response to JimFiore and Comment #55:

    “Logically, ‘non-righteous Christians’ is the only group that would satisfy both statements. Is that what you’re saying?

    Well…not quite. I’ll try to methodically explain what I’m trying to say.

    Premise #1: All people are unrighteous. (Romans 3:23; Psalm 143:2; Romans 3:10)
    Premise #2: Some unrighteous people (“Christians”) believe that Jesus’s death and resurrection will give them eternal life. (John 14; John 3:16-17) Evidence of this belief should come in the form of good works. (James 2; Matthew 25; Galatians 6)
    Premise #3: It is this belief (“faith”) which God recognizes and in his system of doing things makes these unrighteous people (“Christians”) considered righteous as far as God is concerned. (Genesis 15:6; Titus 3:5; I Corinthians 15)
    Premise #4: These people, who God now considers to be righteous, will inherit eternal life.

    The Biblical term “righteousness” is a label describing one’s faith rather than describing a person’s actions (works).

  62. #62 Lofcaudio
    July 14, 2008

    In response to hopper3011 and Comment #60:

    “Is there any particular reason you ‘forgot’ to include the numerous other definitions in your post?”

    When the issue we have been discussing is Biblical canon, only one of the definitions is on point. Pardon the bluntness, but you are just wrong on this one and your insistence that your “contents” definition still works is really quite pathetic.

    “You think it is wrong to ‘pick and choose’, when it is patently obvious (and has been shown to be a fact) that the parts of the Christian Bible have been specifically hand picked to reflect a specific viewpoint. Therefore, by your own definition, Apostle Paul and the various people down the years who picked and chose the ‘canon’ are not really following the lessons of the Bible.

    I do not think it is wrong to pick and choose. What I said was

    If you believe the Bible to be true, then I think it is important to understand the full message of the Bible and not to give more weight to one part over another. Otherwise, you are guilty of being the “pick and choose” type…(Emphasis Added)

    My whole point was to critique those people who will use the Bible to argue one point and then will not accept what the Bible says about some other issue. This was in regards to what is in the Christian Bible.

    Your whole “you’re guilty of picking and choosing” for this and that is frankly…irrelevant (which is why I have ignored all of those “points”). Of course I pick and choose. We all do. That’s how we make decisions. There is nothing wrong with that. Your whole statement highlighted above falls a part when you replace the word “canon” with its definition:

    “Apostle Paul and the various people down the years who picked and chose what belongs in the Bible are not really following the lessons of the Bible.”

    By taking my “pick and choose” quote and applying it to anything and everything in order to discredit my original quote is a ridiculous straw man and has no relevance to such quote.

    I also recommend that you read up on what a consensus gentium fallacy is, because you don’t appear to understand it. A good example of one can be found in the last line of Comment #57.

  63. #63 JimFiore
    July 14, 2008

    lofcaudio:Premise #1: All people are unrighteous.
    Premise #2: Some unrighteous people (“Christians”) believe that Jesus’s death and resurrection will give them eternal life. Evidence of this belief should come in the form of good works.
    Premise #3: It is this belief (“faith”) which God recognizes and in his system of doing things makes these unrighteous people (“Christians”) considered righteous as far as God is concerned.
    Premise #4: These people, who God now considers to be righteous, will inherit eternal life.

    That is impressive. I mean that in all sincerity. You are one confused puppy if you don’t see contradictions in this. For starters, the language that everyone is unrighteous but one group isn’t, as far as god is concerned. I mean, he considers them to be righteous? Really?

    lofaudio: The Biblical term “righteousness” is a label describing one’s faith rather than describing a person’s actions (works).

    In the context of my statement it doesn’t really matter. Logically, you have proclaimed that only righteous Christians get the big reward. When I couple that with the above statement, we find that only people who have appropriate Christian faith get the big reward, and other people, no matter what their works may be, get eternal damnation. This leads to the conclusion that Gandhi’s going to hell. I find that vile.

  64. #64 kemibe
    July 14, 2008

    What’s especially funny is that an all-powerful God not only relies on lowly humans in order to defend him, but assigns this task to the stupidest, most gullible people of the species. Just look at the mess in Orlando with that college kid being demonized by Wild Bill Donohue for “kidnapping” a piece of unleavened bread.

    Not only is the Bible fiction, it’s not even original fiction. Then there’s the absolutely remarkable similarity between the Jesus myth and the Horus myth, which was being swapped around campfires a couple thousand years before Jesus’ alleged ministry.

    There are no sane or intelligent responses to these pieces of information save for one: the simple acknowledgment that Jesus is not a historical figure. But this acknowledgment cannot be made without simultaneously admitting that things like Heaven, Hell, resurrections, second comings, and so on are also a crock of shit, so don’t expect Lofcaudio and those like him to start making sense anytime soon. They’ll keep blithering like hominids, caught between being smart enough to see the obvious and too brainwashed and scared to confront it.

  65. #65 hopper3011
    July 15, 2008

    “When the issue we have been discussing is Biblical canon, only one of the definitions is on point.”
    But that wasn’t what you said – you said the word “canon” refers “specifically” to the list of books in the Bible, and I showed that you are wrong. You didn’t say “on point” before, you said “specifically”.

    “Pardon the bluntness, but you are just wrong on this one and your insistence that your “contents” definition still works is really quite pathetic.”
    But it’s not MY definition, it is the definition of both the Oxford Dictionary and Merriam-Webster, and since the definition refers to “a collection” of books as well as “a list” when talking about Holy Scripture, it is very much on point. When the dictionary states that the definition talks about “canon” as “a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works” and “a body of principles, rules, standards, or norms”, then it is patently obvious that the term “canon” can refer equally to the list or the contents of the books of the Bible.

    “I do not think it is wrong to pick and choose.”
    Then why do you use the term “guilty”? Merriam-Webster defines “guilty” as:
    1: justly chargeable with or responsible for a usually grave breach of conduct or a crime
    2obsolete : justly liable to or deserving of a penalty
    3 a: suggesting or involving guilt b: aware of or suffering from guilt
    If you choose to use that sort of language (and remember “when words are all that we have to work with here, definitions are important.”) you can’t then claim that you: “do not think it is wrong to pick and choose.” and expect anyone to take you seriously.

    “Your whole “you’re guilty of picking and choosing” for this and that is frankly…irrelevant (which is why I have ignored all of those “points”).”
    But it’s not MINE, it’s YOURS, and if it is irrelevant why did you bring it up? If it is OK for you “pick and choose” for your purposes, why is it wrong for Jim to “pick and choose” for his? The only inference that anyone can draw from the phrase “pick and choose” is that you accept some parts of the Bible and reject others – there is no other meaning that can be given to that phrase.
    Merriam-Webster gives us: pick and choose : to select with care and deliberation, and they define “select” as: transitive verb : to choose (as by fitness or excellence) from a number or group : pick out; intransitive verb : to make a choice.
    By your own definition if you pick and choose from the Bible you are selecting some parts and rejecting others – yet you condemn Jim for the same thing, why is that?

    “Your whole statement highlighted above falls a part when you replace the word “canon” with its definition:

    “Apostle Paul and the various people down the years who picked and chose what belongs in the Bible are not really following the lessons of the Bible.””
    I’m not sure how that falls apart? The Bible is a collection of books which are designed to teach and outline laws, whether the individual books are collected in one place or not, the teachings could be followed, and your point (originally, although you seem to have flip-flopped since then) was that picking and choosing from the teachings was wrong. What I asked was who gave the people who picked and chose the texts which make up the Bible the authority to do so, and why they chose some of the most politically expedient texts with dubious provenance, but left out others from people who actually met Jesus?

    “By taking my “pick and choose” quote and applying it to anything and everything in order to discredit my original quote is a ridiculous straw man and has no relevance to such quote.”
    I think we have voided that accusation, it is perfectly clear that I have not been applying the original quote to anything and everything and that the questions I have asked are perfectly valid.

    “I also recommend that you read up on what a consensus gentium fallacy is, because you don’t appear to understand it. A good example of one can be found in the last line of Comment #57.
    An argumentum ad populum is a fallacy because it advances an UNPROVED or UNPROVEABLE conclusion based on the proposition that many people believe it.
    The conclusion in the last line of Comment #57 is PROVEN – just look at the posts from Jim and Kevin above it. So (once again), no fallacy.

  66. #66 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    July 15, 2008

    No, that is not what I said. What I said was that good works does not make one righteous. It is only by faith that one can be deemed righteous. I provided plenty of scripture to support such a claim.

    and I’ve supplied scripture contradicting that position. That was my point, that the scriptures contradict themselves.

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