Discussion time

elephant444

The other posts are getting full so feel free to comment on anything here.

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68 thoughts on “Discussion time

  1. Atheists here seemingly target only Christians.

    We seldom, if ever witness the atheist bully attack Muslims. Bullies don’t typically attack when they know there will be an open and active response. We don’t witness the bully attacking Hindus. This would be politically incorrect and morally repugnant.

    We Christians worship the One True Living God. His ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts. Christians are expected to be faithful to God’s word, which often requires turning the other cheek and trusting in God’s ultimate protection. God has promised to take care of his own.

    So maybe the atheists should rethink their approach.

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    • I think that may more be a symptom of how divisive society has become in general. I also haven’t noticed much of a commenting readership of other religions here, so that makes sense as to why there aren’t significant viewpoints focused on other religions.

      I do find it disappointing when non-believers take an antagonistic approach toward those of faith without first finding understanding in why people find value in their faith. As a non-believer myself, I found great value in learning about Christianity and some of the concepts utilized within. Jesus, whether he was real, fictional, or somewhere in between, had a great liberating humanistic approach in what he did and taught, for the most part.

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      • I don’t want to appear stereotypical, but nearly all the atheists on here act in a supercilious manner

        Its the internet, people are generically more pompous on the net than they are in real life. If you believe in God (like me) then you can just ignore 90% of what is said on here, I don’t let it get to me. I welcome most peoples opinion as long as its reasonable and well not derogatory.

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      • I can’t see the Jesus character as a HUMANIST. :-
        1….”An advocate of the principles of humanism; someone concerned with the interests and welfare of humans”
        2…..”Of or pertaining to a philosophy asserting human dignity and man’s capacity for fulfilment through reason and scientific method and often rejecting religion”
        3….”Marked by humanistic values and devotion to human welfare”

        Nor even a humanitarian. From every angle he advocated suffering and hardship and discrimination on this earth on the basis that our earthly existence was unimportant.

        Most christians STILL believe that and (at least pretend) to operate according to those principles.
        …..But I note that they fight tooth and nail to stay here, rather than go to god. 😉

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      • He had pretty significant focus on helping uplift the outcasts of society, I find that to be quite humanistic. He clearly rejected the Old Testament as his teachings seemed to diverge from Old Testament understandings, though he did utilize it as reference material in order to be heard and noticed. He was also quite pissed off at hypocritical leadership and those in religion milking the common person of resources.

        Seems to me, Jesus actually fits your definition of humanism quite well.

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      • Y’wouldn’t be the first person to confuse ‘humanistic’ with ‘humane’. Have a look at a good dictionary.

        And I think more thought would suggest ~ far from ” helping uplift the outcasts of society” ~ his activities created MORE of them, and then taught that being an outcast and poor and persecuted, etc. was a virtue to aim for…. which would be rewarded after death.
        eg….turning perfectly socially-respectable fishermen into nomadic disciples who had to abandon their social positions and families, become unemployed and ridiculed.

        And there’s a good reason for it. Once he’d decided/been convinced of his ‘special’ status he needed followers to validate his claims. Can you imagine how many followers he’d have garnered from society’s Who’s Who register?
        (Try to picture the late, great Kerry Packer as a hippie! 😉 )

        As an anarchist I can admire the Jesus character BECAUSE he refused ~ even unto death ~ to be one of the sheeple. (though he let the side down a bit by paying taxes!)

        Years ago I had a book that described the life of a seriously disadvantaged Egyptian kid whose single mother consistently told him he was special to god, and who as he grew up worked at being just that because he had nothing else going for him, etc.
        In short it retold the Jesus story and eventually the kid had no doubt that it was true.

        Just another case of conditioning/indoctrinating kids too young to defend themselves.
        But in the end it was impossible to distinguish the real from the construct.
        If there’d been a Paul around to fall off his horse and get a concussion and start babbling incoherently this kid, too, could’ve been the messiah.

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      • Interesting perspective. I have my doubts that Jesus fully believed himself to be the messiah as the child you mentioned did. If Jesus simply believed in himself like that, I have my doubts that he would be surviving that crucifixion if that in fact did happen. He would have had to have an awareness of his own mortality in order to properly align things to allow himself the best opportunity to survive the ordeal.

        And yes, there are certainly trade-offs for the direction Jesus suggested that you mention. Maybe Jesus overestimated the long-term rationality of people when he led people to give up their troubling Old Testament superstitions, figuring that by the time they realized his teachings didn’t really line up with the Old Testament that the people would be free from those superstitions and be clued in to the nature of religion.

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    • Carmel. First, I’m sure most people think their God is the true God. Read the Shahadah if you doubt this. Second, challenging your views (especially on atheism) is not bullying you. Third, next time a Muslim or a Hindu tries on this site to assert that their beliefs should be the basis of social discrimination against homosexuals or that atheists don’t/can have ethics, I’ll be sure to participate in that conversation.

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      • “Stu, Hi. I don’t think most Christians believe in social discrimination against homosexuals or that atheists don’t/can’t have ethics.”

        I agree with every word you said Bryan. It’s certainly a reflection of most Christians I know personally.

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      • Maybe: “I don’t think most Christians believe in social discrimination against homosexuals or that atheists don’t/can’t have ethics.”
        …and maybe not.
        But at the end of the day any deliberately ‘christian’ deed or belief is tainted ~by the desire for personal gain.
        ….even if it IS only in the hereafter.
        Ironically, a non-christian doing/believing the same things, but having no hope of selfish gain, may be said to be acting ‘ethically’.

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      • But I don’t think it’s that simple, Dom.
        I don’t ‘target christians’; which is a different thing from targeting ‘christianity’.
        And, despite the stupid claims of bias, I’ve never refrained from targeting moslems, jews and assorted others who set themselves up as targets…….because martyrdom is a great attraction to some.
        It’s just that for some weird reason the censorship isn’t uniform. Apparently the delicate sensibilities of jews and moslems (and a few others) need to be protected more rigorously than those of christians.
        Or perhaps they’re seen as actually wanting to be persecuted for the promised rewards. (And you will be hated by everyone because of my name, etc. Matt 10:22 elsewhere) Perhaps Carmel should see the ‘targetting of christians’ as doing them a favour? (or might be seen that way if their god kept his promises; so far his failure-rate is running at 100%)

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      • Before the moderators, I remember Bolt having a survey with the readers on whether they should block someone that was irritating him. He did not like some of the home truths the lawyers was posting.

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    • Your complaint, Carmel, (and that of a few others), reminds me of the Old Dear who said her prayers (religiously of course) for many years: until one night there was a ‘poof’ of light and an angel appeared at the end of her bed, and said :
      ‘Because you’ve been such a devoted and devout Old Dear god has sent me down to grant you any two wishes you care to make. Name your poison!

      After some thought the Old Dear said:- Well, I’ve dedicated all my life and spare money to the Service of the Lord, and ~ while not regretting it ~ more recently, approaching the end, have become saddened in the realisation that I’ve missed much of the pleasures life has to offer. Thinking back, I have thought that I should have made more of an effort to get more money and a nicer house and finer clothes…and, especially, a man! Yes! That’s what I regret most. For years I’ve dreamt about having a man who’d cherish me and love me and…sometimes…sweep me off my feet and make mad, passionate love to me all night long!
      But, alas, it’s too late now. I’m old and creaky and can’t even stay awake after about 8pm. And I’ve lost what looks I had… and no man would want me now……

      But the angel assured her that all would be well, god was all-powerful and she had been granted two wishes. But there were only two, and no more, so she should think carefully what she wished for. And she did….. for all of 90 seconds.

      Then she told the angel that she’d very much like to be young again, beautiful and witty, with a wonderful house and wardrobes stuffed full of all variety of exotic clothes…and especially shoes! Yes! Shoes, of all shapes and sizes and colours from thongs to stilettoes…and every one a perfect fit, but still making her feet look small!….and …….

      So the angel heard her out ( a bit impatiently it must be said, seeing he had all of eternity to fill), and then waved his wing grandly, considering the small size of the bedroom, ……and BINGO!
      THERE SHE STOOD! All atremble; tall and slender with perfect skin and the daintiest of feet, and dressed as only a Divine Creator of haute couture could devise. And she stood in a most wonderful house with huge windows looking out over flower-sprinkled fields.
      And the angel, with a discreet glance at his watch, said: Well, it’s obvious that went well. Have you decided upon your second wish?

      And she said: “Yes I still want a man who loves me madly and has plenty of money to lavish on me and will never desert me. IN FACT!…. now that I think of it, my old tomcat sleeping under the end of the bed there, has been a faithful and loving companion to me for his entire life, and I know I’d be safe with him. He more than deserves a fitting reward. Can you turn him into a handsome young Prince who will sweep me into his arms and hold me close and …..and ..”
      …and she blushed at the very thought!

      But the angel said ‘Too easy’, waved his wing over the cat and BINGO!! There he stood! A stunningly gorgeous young man, tall, with flowing hair, dressed like Romeo of yore (with just enough of a stubble to make her blush again!) and pockets bulging with bags of gold coins.

      In a single bound he leapt across the whole large bedroom, swept her into his arms, looked lovingly,deeply, into her eyes (enough to make her blush again! ~ and tingle all over!!) and said in a hauntingly deep-throated voice:- “Darling! Tell me something I’ve wondered about all my life! I must know!”

      And she almost swooned, and said:- “Anything!. Anything my darling! What is it??’

      And his piercing eyes probed the depths of her dewy ones, and he said: “I’ve always wondered if you ever regretted taking me to the vet when I was a kitten……….”

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    • Hi Mon,
      The other day you quoted a good summary of the Evangelical argument about Sin and the literal interpretation of the Adam and Eve story. I’m not engaging here in offering an alternative approach, but just pointing out a couple of problems that show up in the argument.

      First, though I’m not in any way a Biologist or whatever with the appropriate expertise, I found that the quote you offered appeared to make a couple of mistaken asumptions about the evidence of DNA and Mitochondria theory. As I read it, though that ‘first woman’ we are all supposed to have inherited our genes from, appears to be for real according to the experts, nevertheless, two things don’t seem to automatically go with that particular fact.

      First, there is no reason to assume that in the apparent existence of the woman, there is no guarantee that ‘she’ happened to be the ONLY woman in existence at the time. And Second, there is no reason to take it for granted that the presumed ‘first male’ lived at exactly the same time as she did. He may have been, it appears, living prior to her existence, or some time after. I can only reiterate what I read about the matter.

      Now, the writer of your quote admitted that there is a sizable number of Bible Scholars who deny the literal nature of the Garden of Eden story. That is actually a bit of an understatement. Let’s understand that outside the Fundamentalist and Evangelical ‘Bible’ believers, there are very very few Bible Scholars of any standing who believe in the real existence of Adam and Eve as told in the story.

      Our brothers of the Catholic Church held until the 1920s that the Garden story along with all the accounts in Genesis were literally accurate. Then, around the 1923 mark, I think it was, the viewpoint of the Catholic Church was put forward as their standard outlook, that while ‘the story is true, nonetheless it is couched in figurative language.’ In other words, it is truly a crucially important Myth in the eyes of the Church, that tells truths about the human condition, but its details and events are not to be taken literally.

      As I’ve argued before, there are many discrepancies and problems in the story as it is written, and despite the inherent power of the simple account, there is clear evidence in its details of mixing and matching of tales from several ancient sources. The resulting lack of logic is most noticeable. And of course, I would always point to the crucial fact that our Jewish brothers have not a single mention of Adam and Eve anywhere else in their official Scriptures. And I doubt that the majority of regular Jewish Scholars of today believe the story to be authentically literal. One Christian correspondent some years back, set out for me, a complex justification of the truth of the story, by offering loads and loads of hypothetical extra interactions between God and A & E (as well as God’s plans for man) that are not mentioned or suggested anywhere in the text.

      The only possible defense of the Adam and Eve story that I can see, is that ‘God said it.’ And that doesnt satisfy the scrutiny of the outsider.

      Cheers as ever, Rian.

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      • The question is why are you on the outside. Weren’t you the son of a Christian clergyman to begin with?

        Maybe the following text is correct:

        “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).

        Didn’t your daddy teach you that:

        “but in vain do they worship me teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” Mark 7:7.

        “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”. 1 Sam.16:7

        All you have said so far is that you reject the Scriptures because people who have decided to reject them have written things against the Scriptures. And that because “God said it” doesn’t cut it with you. But how reliable are the opinions of men?

        Let us take the opinions of a man called “Rian” (which comments regularly on this blog). Recently he made this statement:

        “o what I want to query is the nature and being of that famous snake. Now, since the time of Pope Gregory the Great, the Serpent has been identified with the Satan, although not a single word in Genesis makes such a point. Some have got around it by making the Serpent some sort of a dummy that the Satan spoke and acted through.”

        Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20:2 both connect the Serpent with Satan. So whilst the serpent/Satan is not mentioned in Genesis, other parts of the Bible explain the matter. Not Gregory the Great.

        Word of God score 1.

        Rian and his cohorts of outsiders score 0

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      • Good old davinci,
        I might have expected some sort of Biblical ‘one upmanship’ attempt from you on this matter of the dear old Serpent.

        Actually despite the common Evangelical assumption that the Dragon/Serpent in the extravagant visions of the Patmos Sage is the same as the Genesis Serpent, there is absolutely nothing to truly connect the two. And I notice there is not a single word in the Apocalypse that confirms this creature in the sky crawls on the ground and eats dirt. That reminds me, old mate, how do you explain the curse on the Serpent that had absolutely NO detrimental effect on the Satan? Not a particularly effective curse!

        And regardless of the arguments, it actually was not until Pope Gregory, that the Genesis Serpent was officially identified within Christian doctrine, as the Devil/Satan. It was under Gregory’s influence too, that the Devil acquired his (now traditional) Goats Horns, his Tail, his black colour, his smell, and heaven knows just what else. You just dont know your history of Christian tradition.

        And oh dear, when are you going to get it into your head that it is no use quoting Scriptural verses to a non-believer, in order to make a point? By the way, my dad was a devout Lay Preacher, of an old Methodist/Anglican disposition, and he was not one to toss Pauline verses around either in the pulpit or around the lounge room fire at home.

        The score? – reversed now! Rian 1. Davinci 0.
        Cheers, Rian.

        PS. Why are you on the ‘inside’? Weren’t you an Atheist to begin with?

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      • Yes Rian, I was an atheist to begin with. I was also dishonest with myself… that was until I gave the Bible the benefit of the doubt instead of reading it through the lens of people who had rejected it. As a result I discovered that the Jesus of the Bible and what He came down to do is not the Jesus that is portrayed in mainstream media, or even in mainstream Christian churches. The difference between the Jesus of the Bible and that of mainstream media is that the one portrayed in the Bible has the power to transform character and life. The one portrayed in mainstream media and mainstream churches is nothing more than a cruel fantasy, based on people’s imagination after they have rejected the scriptures in favour of tradition and God knows what else.

        Gregory the Great’s depiction of the Devil is exactly that. Tradition that is not based on the word of God. Can you prove from the Word of God (the Bible) that the devil has horns, pointy tail, is black and smells, has a pitchfork and everything else you have adopted in lieu of the gospel? No? I didn’t think so either…

        Instead of searching the Scriptures, you have rejected them in favour of the opinions of organisations that have been instrumental in dragging Christianity through the mud and giving Christianity a bad name. Sadly some of these organisations were originally genuine Christian themselves once, but then they decided to reject the Scriptures in favour of their own opinions, they became an insult to Christianity.

        None more so than the Presbyterian Church from which you came. You recently pointed out that as an outsider, you find it bewildering that the different branches of Christianity disagree with one another.

        Queen Mary of Scots had the same problem. Here is an interview between Queen Mary of Scots and John Knox (one of the founders of Presbyterian Church).

        Queen Mary: “Ye interpret the Scriptures in one manner, and they in another. Whom shall I believe? Who shall be judge?”

        John Knox: “Ye shall believe God, that plainly speaketh in His Word; and further than the Word teacheth you, ye shall believe neither the one nor the other. The Word of God is plain in itself. If there appear any obscurity in one place, the Holy Ghost, which is never contrarious to Himself, explaineth the same more clearly in other places; so that there can remain no doubt, but unto such as obstinately will remain ignorant.”

        Rian, the same principle applies to your questions about the nature of the snake and the curse on the serpent. Why don’t you search the scriptures instead of spouting the opinions of men who have not bothered to search the scriptures?

        I could give you the answer to your many questions that you have raised on this web site. But it is not my job to do your thinking for you. I leave that to Gregory the Great and others who would do people’s thinking for them.

        Why not be honest with yourself and give the Bible the benefit of the doubt?

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      • “And oh dear, when are you going to get it into your head that it is no use quoting Scriptural verses to a non-believer, in order to make a point?”

        I quoted Scripture to prove that the link between Serpent and Devil was not something that Gregory the Great cooked up, it was done by the apostle John on Patmos. That is not the only connection.

        In revelation 12:17 we are told that the dragon was angry with the woman and went to make war with the remnant of her seed. Remnant of the woman’s seed? Where have we heard the concept of the seed of the woman before?

        In Genesis of course, where we are told that God would put enmity between the serpent and the seed of the woman.

        I’m not the one saying it. It is the Bible itself.

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      • oh davinci,
        Of course I agree that this Christian Devil is without horns, tail and all the rest of the equipment that TRADITION visited upon ‘him’. So please dont suggest that I agree with ‘Saint’ Gregory the Great or any other Christian authorities about anything much.

        And by the way, it was the Methodist church that I grew up in, not the respected Presbyterian church you quote, but that’s of no consequence.

        You claim you could answer (from the Bible) my questions. But searching the scriptures I can see no explanation of just why the Serpent of Genesis resembles in any way the Serpent/Dragon of the Apocalypse. For a start, I would remind you that the writer in Genesis specifically describes the Serpent as an ANIMAL. No spirit, no demon, no creature of stature that flies around in the air unencumbered by a restriction to crawling round on the ground and eating dirt.

        Indulge me, old mate, and do explain to me just how the Devil gets to suffer in any way, the curse that was inflicted upon him when he was just a mythological snake in the Garden of Eden. Are you going to explain that it was symbolic? Or are you as usual going to launch into more traditions within Christian teaching that are purely the ideas of human men? Please do tell???

        I must say that I am most impressed with the apparent fact that you belong to that small special and blessed elite grouping of favoured people who alone have found and determined the absolute truth in Scripture. What an achievement. What an authority you are.

        Interesting though. I recall how when Martin Luther had translated the Scriptures into the understandable German, he was quite confident that now everyone would automatically come to exactly the same conclusions and interpretations of the Bible that he had. How shocked he was when he discovered that they didnt. So I just have to come to the conclusion that you alone uniquely know the truth, and that Bryan, Monica, and our departed friends Prophet HUP, Alexie et al, were and are sincerely mistaken in certain of their beliefs. I really am most impressed. (or am I being just a faint bit sarcastic???)

        Rian.

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      • Again I say, davinci,
        how come Genesis tells us that the Serpent is an animal? and does or doesnt this Dragon/Serpent in the Apocalypse crawl on its belly and eat dirt?\
        Rian.

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      • Hi Rian. Interesting thought:-
        “Genesis tells us that the Serpent is an animal? and does or doesnt this Dragon/Serpent in the Apocalypse crawl on its belly and eat dirt?”
        Y’don’t suppose the ‘serpent’ of Genesis is the forerunner of the dragon arising in Revelation (see my other post ~ if it gets past the censor; theologically it’s R-rated) , which can be seen as representing a manifestation of Jesus, thus closing ‘the circle of life’ ??
        The bible tells us that Jesus was there from “in the Beginning” ~ as was Adam, another son of god’s according to Luke* ~ and their paths first crossed in the Garden of Eden.
        It further tells us Jesus came from the line of David ~ and obviously David came from the line of Adam.
        And the ‘purpose’ which is NOWHERE even hinted at in the bible?

        How about the ‘purpose’ being the older than Old son ‘rebelling against his father’ motivation? Even science supports that as a basic instinct upon which evolution depends, for example.
        And the whole thing inevitably evolving into the classical (and universally accepted)
        Oedipus Complex scenario?.:- (Oxford)
        “A complex of males; desire to possess the mother sexually and to exclude the father; said to be a source of personality disorders if unresolved etc.” **
        So from the Beginning the Son (in the form of a Serpent) seeks to overthrow his Father’s authority over the Creation by seducing his mother’s mother (hence the phallic ‘snaky’ imagery) and begins his reign over mankind via Adam and his descendents.
        Later on actually he actually DOES impregnate his mother (since ‘Father and Son are One’ – two-thirds of the Trinity ~ or else just plonks himself into Mary’s womb in order to usurp his Father’s role ~ an ‘Act of God’ in either case) and thereby achieves the first aim of Oedipus.
        The second aim is to seduce and assert his control over the Creation ~ and particularly mankind.
        What better way to do that than as the Dragon (aka ‘Serpent’ of Eden fame) : the progenitor and empowerer of religions, as described in Revelation.13 ( and foretold in Deuteronomy 13 by an omniscient god.)

        Interestingly the number 13 is also considered to be The Devil’s Number….and The Devil is accused of being manifested as both the Serpent and the Dragon, both of which have the mission of overthrowing god’s authority.
        Which, by yet another concidence, is the role of the son in any Father/Son relationship….and a role for which Satan (BEFORE ‘The Beginning’ ) stands condemned.
        Perhaps the Kid was banished to the boondocks (Earth) to get him out of his Father’s hair??
        Just like Satan.
        Curioser and curioser…………..

        *Since we’re all the sons of Adam and also the ‘children of god’ the claim has merit.
        ** As far as I can see the question becomes:- Did Jesus (the son) actually go the way of Oedipus and challenge his father for control of the whole Creation ~ including his mother ~ or was he simply the grandaddy of Personality Disorders?
        😉

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    • Ah yes, Carmel:- “We Christians worship the One True Living God.”
      But which one??

      um…incidentally:- “His ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts.”
      …if they’re not ‘our’s’ how do you KNOW they’re not.?

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  2. Here’s a question: did Christians (all Christians) always oppose slavery, using the bible? What really happened in the Crusades?

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    • No they didn’t. The Old Testament (which was the Scriptures of the apostolic Christians) regulated slavery by:
      – Not permitting the Jews to engage in slave dealing as a profession.
      – Allowing it as a means of social welfare for defeated enemies who would have starved to death if they were left to their own devices.
      – Allowing it for purpose of paying off debts and creditors.

      Jesus did not speak out against slavery. Neither did He speak out against paedophilia (despite the fact that Tiberius Caesar was notorious for engaging in it).

      The apostles did not speak against it either. But they preached the type of Christianity that would have undermined it from within. To understand how Christianity undermined slavery, read Paul’s epistle to Philemon.

      The reason why Christianity did not oppose slavery is found in Christ’s words:

      “I have many things to day to you but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12). In other words, they were too preconditioned by their environment and culture to be able to give up slavery.

      “My kingdom is not of this world… otherwise my servants would fight for it” John 18:36. Because the principles governing the true Christian are markedly different from those governing a non Christian, supremacy over non believers would be achieved only if non believers became Christians themselves or if Christianity would be enforced upon non believers by ramming Christianity down their throat through force. Including ramming down their throats freedom from slavery.
      We’ve had that during the American Civil war, where the South fought a bitter war in order to preserve the institution of slavery.

      “I send you as sheep among wolves, be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves” Mat. 10:16. Abolition from slavery is not something that can be enforced by brute force. Wilberforce understood it, Jesus understood it, and Gordon of Khartoum understood it. Often you need the so called wisdom of the serpent to undermine it and destroy it.

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      • A pleasure.

        Now we come to the dark and middle ages.

        The writings of the Church Fathers indicate that there was movement within Christianity to separate Christians from their Jewish roots and gain political power.

        Whereas Jesus resisted the second temptation (which revolved around gaining political power at the expense of loyalty to God), the majority of His followers rejected loyalty to God in favour of political power. Thus we have the emergence of the Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Church and Church of England as major religio-political powers. To do this they gradually undermined the Bible which would have exposed their errors regarding such things as slavery and crusades. By the time that John Wicliffe, Jan Hus and Martin Luther, Church traditions superseded the Bible to the point where basic truths that had been known during apostolic times, had to be re-discovered again.

        Any reformer (and there were many) who opposed this replacement of Bible as the final word in matters of faith, by traditions faced death. I am reminded here of William Tyndale who was burnt at the stake for attempting to introduce the Bible to the common man. Now there was censorship on a scale that would cause an outcry if it was done today. And then we have the Waldenses and Albigensians against whom the Catholic Church waged crusades, again brought on because by introducing the Bible to the common man meant introducing a “bull…t detector” that would denounce the established churches. The crusade against the Albigenses was so great, that all we know about them is from the writings of their enemies. All records in their defence have been destroyed, in a similar fashion that the turks did the Armenian genocide of recent times.

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      • Even assuming for a moment that you’re correct, enslavement is nonetheless enslavement. (and flagellation the reward for disobedience?
        And also for obedience?
        Further assume you suck up long enough and hard enough and get a ticket to heaven ~ and even assume ‘bitterness’ is not allowed there ~ what happens if you change your mind? Would your owner and resident slave-master allow you to leave?
        Think: y’can’t even sin your way out, since sin doesn’t exist in heaven.
        You’d be stuck for all of eternity harvesting cotton-clouds in the hot sun (no overcast weather allowed either: heaven’s perfect…except for the ‘No Pets’ policy.) singing ‘Old Man River’ in a boy-soprano voice because all the baritone-bits had dried up for lack of use,

        On the other hand, a cage, if it in fact existed, could be broken out of if you wanted a break from the wine, women and song.

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      • Who?Me?

        The Bible says that:

        “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Cor. 2:9

        The question is not whether we can leave God, but why would we bother leaving Him? Given that His reward is beyond our imagination?

        Secondly, our relationship with God is that one of love. Why would one abandon someone s/he loves?

        Have you ever thought about that?

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  3. Historian’s Response to Atheists Like Richard Dawkins Who Claim That the Bible Contains ‘Ethnic Cleansing’

    Atheist critics frequently cite the violence present in the Bible in voicing their opposition to the text, but Dr. John Dickson, an Australian historian and writer, believes that understanding scripture requires looking through a finely tuned and contextualized lens.

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/02/10/historians-response-to-atheists-who-claim-that-the-bible-contains-ethnic-cleansing-and-excessive-violence/

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      • Oh so the problem is at my end.

        No worries – God killing tons o people is absolutely fine. Fellas like me just don’t understand it. It’s all good he’s a God of love – and sometimes he just loves ya to death.

        I guess if you want to worship a mass murderer you’ll accept any rationalisation not matter how flimsy.

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  4. How does one apply a ” finely tuned and contextualized lens.” to the drowning of the entire world for forty days and nights?
    Or the slaughter of every living thing in and belonging to the whole of the seven tribes of Canaan, and the theft of anything that wasn’t killable?….which has spilled over into present-day Palestinians?
    Or the butchery of “over 3000” fellow jews in order to make a political point?
    Or crucifying your own son just because you can….or to demonstrate his/your devotion to a bloodthirsty god. The precedent was Abraham being willing to cut his own son’s throat.
    Or the promise of ‘The fire next time’

    Armageddon has always been with us.
    And always with a religious (or religious-style) copout.
    The most humane thing about about the biblical record is Satan.
    Not only does he (reportedly) ALWAYS keep his word, but as far as I can see he’s never killed anyone ~ least of all in ways that only a barbaric god could devise.
    Never mind the (indisputable) ethnic-cleansing, which has virtually eradicated entire civilisations; where god has gone murder and misery have followed.
    But that’s perhaps the least of the bastardries your god commits ~ or which are committed in his name.

    Like

      • Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. (Rev. 3:17)

        Like

      • Come off it Mon; you know better than that! I don’t direct curses at imaginary entities.
        But the question remains:- Why are you lot blogging about religion ~ if not with a view to making the world a better place?

        If, then, you cite the gods ~ based entirely on a collection of mostly self-serving mythology without any real foundation ~ as being the way to achieve that betterment, then why complain when somebody else who has the betterment of the world (animal, vegetable and environmental) at heart points out that the gods ~ over many millennia ~ have FAILED, and failed utterly, to achieve any gain? When, on the contrary, most of the strife from which this world suffers can be laid squarely at the feet of those ‘gods’ working, directly or indirectly, through their followers, over the same millennia.

        I can understand your ‘OMG!’ shock-horror, but the mountain of evidence ~ which is growing daily, by the minute ~ is indisputable.
        And it’s a process which is growing at an exponential rate which far surpasses any other malignant growth.
        Do you REALLY want your ‘grandbabies’ AND theirs to be stranded in the stress and the mess, and the hopelessness which is becoming more and more evident in the eyes of the young everywhere, and relying on principles and practices PROVEN to be failures?

        Like

      • ps. More false exhortation:- Gold (“18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich;”) is worth nothing except to weigh down corpses.. You can’t eat it and, at….er, bottom, y’can’t even wipe your bum with it.
        Where’s the value?

        Like

      • The Pathetic Atheist

        Blame not the pathetic atheist
        who sees life as a futile void
        he is a victim groping at heist
        his incessant psychosis avoid

        pardon his misunderstanding
        when he says there is no God
        his mind epithets backsliding
        sane path splintered his gourd

        the atheist is an unwitting victim
        of societal ignorance, bitterness
        smallness, insecurities in dictum
        of your pious world of tenderness

        our false sense of value shaped him
        the confused much touted science
        chortled ovation of laureates beam
        not to see behind life an omniscience

        to correct reversed mind takes wars
        their existentialism do not condemn
        and remember, things could be worse
        pray, for you could be one of them!

        Like

      • “Do you REALLY want your ‘grandbabies’ AND theirs to be stranded in the stress and the mess, and the hopelessness which is becoming more and more evident in the eyes of the young everywhere, and relying on principles and practices PROVEN to be failures?”

        I assume you are talking about ‘faith’ here?

        PROVEN to be failures to you perhaps, but not to me, or others who have tasted of God’s love and overcoming power. And in any case, it’s too late, my grandbabies already believe in Jesus. I’m their godmother, as well as their grandmother. 😉

        Like

      • I Mourn The Atheist Soul

        by Mike Loftis

        I bow my head I shed my tears
        I mourn the atheist soul
        He who thinks these fleeting years
        define existence whole
        To live his days then die at last
        returning to the dirt
        with no hope nor care of Heaven then
        gives cause my heart to hurt
        No thoughts of life eternal
        He will die in disbelief
        My own soul sorely burdened
        His destiny, my grief
        I pray that I could find the words
        to lead him to the fold
        so he might pass through Heaven’s gate
        and walk the streets of gold
        This prayer I pray unceasingly
        My tears I’’ll not control
        Until he calls upon the Lord
        I mourn the atheist soul

        Like

      • Yeah, I hear that (“or others who have tasted of God’s love and overcoming power.”) a lot.
        But what have y’all gained from it? You may, in some psychotic way be able to convince yourself that ‘the experience’ has made you happier.
        But, after thousands of years of such god-at-work ‘experiences’ by individuals, the world at large isn’t a happier place. Quite the contrary.
        Assuming you’re right and the ‘worthy’ (however that’s decided) go to heaven; what about the far greater multitude who are earmarked to burn in hell forever. How could a genuine follower of Jesus ~ or Jesus himself ~ tolerate such a situation?
        At the very least it’s the utmost in selfishness: I’m all right Jack: bugger you.

        Ever wonder why Jesus cured a few cripples and lepers….but left the others to rot?
        ….or either created pain and suffering in the first place or else hasn’t waved his magic wand and eradicated it instantaneously, permanently.

        …….and, keeping in mind god’s bigotry, where do ‘Sinners’ stand in terms of being discriminated against for their beliefs or skin-colour or gender?

        Like

      • Not quite:- “I assume you are talking about ‘faith’ here?”
        More the inevitable results and consequences of ‘faith’.

        “PROVEN to be failures to you perhaps, but not to me, or others who have tasted of God’s love and overcoming power”
        According to the documentation available god’s brand of ‘love’ should be XXX-rated ~ for the violence and treachery if not for the sex-content. (apparently he only ever experienced one single woman, once, in the whole of eternity!…..though he DID have Eve seduced by a snake 😉 )
        …And in terms of human/worldly health and happiness (and leaving aside the ‘promises,promises’) can you point to any useful achievement wrought by his alleged “overcoming power”?

        Even just one, in the whole of history.

        Like

      • The Pathetic Atheist

        Blame not the pathetic atheist
        who sees life as a futile void
        he is a victim groping at heist
        his incessant psychosis avoid

        pardon his misunderstanding
        when he says there is no God
        his mind epithets backsliding
        sane path splintered his gourd

        the atheist is an unwitting victim
        of societal ignorance, bitterness
        smallness, insecurities in dictum
        of your pious world of tenderness

        our false sense of value shaped him
        the confused much touted science
        chortled ovation of laureates beam
        not to see behind life an omniscience

        to correct reversed mind takes wars
        their existentialism do not condemn
        and remember, things could be worse
        pray, for you could be one of them!

        Like

      • …and that’s another thing about the uselessness of christianity:-
        It’s adherents have not the slightest idea about composing and constructing a simple bit of doggerel. Too …er, dogmatic. 🙂
        We won’t even mention ‘poetry’.

        Like

      • “Earth to earth
        Ashes to ashes
        Dust to dust”
        poetically put
        ….will do me.

        “There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,
        And the rivers all run God knows where;
        There are lives that are erring and aimless,
        And deaths that just hang by a hair;
        There are hardships that nobody reckons;
        There are valleys unpeopled and still;
        There’s a land—oh, it beckons and beckons,
        And I want to go back—and I will.”

        http://www.gutenberg.org/files/207/207-h/207-h.htm#link2H_4_0002

        OR:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvG1bIp7WP8

        Like

      • ps……and if you want a picture of the difference between heaven an hell, scroll down to ‘The Cremation of Sam McGee’ 😉

        Like

      • “Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
        Throughout the sensual world proclaim,
        One crowded hour of glorious life
        Is worth an age without a name.”
        Thomas Osbert Mordaunt

        Like

    • That seems to be well worth sharing, Bubba. Looking at some of their past appeals I am amazed at the cracks in our welfare service, allowing such needs to go unaddressed.

      Like

    • Value is usually based on rarity, Dom.
      Moslems are a dime a dozen; parking spaces are so scarce they can cost up to $200 a day. (I saw one recently being offered for sale for AU$180,000)
      The good news is that as soon as moslems kill off enough of each other they’ll become a protected species! (even the israelis won’t be allowed bomb them!)
      …and probably be exempted from having to feed parking-metres altogether.
      The problem might be that they breed too fast for that requisite population to ever be achieved….perhaps because they start popping them out at such an early age.
      Maybe they’ll need to raise the age of consent to 11 or 12?

      Like

  5. This was on the car radio at 4am; I hadn’t heard it for years though I have both versions on record.
    Really ‘uplifting’ ~ and wouldn’t be allowed in heaven, was my first thought.

    Like

    • Invitation to the dance. a beautiful waltz. (I hope there is someone else on this blog who really loves symphonic waltzes as I do. one of my favourites is Lehar’s Gold and Silver waltz.) As I indicated the other day, I came into Melbourne yesterday and saw the matinee of Der Freischutz. This opera is composed by the same guy – Carl Maria von Weber. Fine production at the Athenaeum in Collins Street. Years since I saw a movie of it, and had forgotten much of it.

      Some magnificent voices, and very fine chorus work. Great fun at the curtain call, when the terrific bass who had portrayed the demon-inspired Kaspar (and who came to a suitably sticky end when the Demon came for him.) got suitably booed by the audience when he came forward and bowed. Last time I recall an operatic villain getting booed by the audience (all in good appreciative spirit I must add) was in a performance of the WA Opera Company of Tales of Hoffman. The Baritone who played all of the four nasties came out, and a rather indignant European lady sitting near me asked her companion ‘Why are they booing him?” And she was told, ‘Ah well, someone always died when he was around”.

      Cheers, Rian. (any comments, Dabbles?)

      Like

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