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July 8th, 2014
01:01 PM ET

Eye for an eye: The Bible's role in revenge attacks

Opinion by Joel Baden, special to CNN

(CNN) - This past Sunday, six Israelis were arrested for the murder of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy. Israeli officials admitted the likelihood—already acknowledged by many—that this killing was carried out in revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.

Both sides have stepped up their aggression in the past few days, with rocket launches from Gaza into Israel and Israeli airstrikes against Gaza.

It’s a familiar cycle: attack for attack, murder for murder. Such patterns are familiar from conflicts across the world, but they have a special resonance in the Holy Land.

After all, it was from Israel, nearly 3,000 years ago, that this famous concept spread.

The Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible says, “The penalty shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

The Book of Deuteronomy uses even stronger language: “Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”

And the Book of Leviticus says again, “Anyone who maims another shall suffer the same injury in return: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The injury he inflicted on another shall be inflicted on him.”

Few biblical laws are repeated three times; this is one of those few. It is known as the lex talionis, or “law of retaliation,” and it would seem to be central to the biblical worldview.

Flare-up in Israeli-Palestinian violence: Why now?

This law is often brought as evidence that the Bible cannot be a reliable guide for modern morality: Who today would truly advocate for this kind of retributive justice?

It seems barbaric that the penalty for arson, for example, would be burning the arsonist to death—this sounds like something out of the Middle Ages, not out of the 21st century.

Though famously biblical, lex talionis isn’t a biblical creation at all.

It was already present in the famous Code of Hammurabi, from the 18th century BCE: “If an upper-class man should blind the eye of another upper-class man, they shall blind his eye,” and so on through breaking bones, knocking out teeth, etc.

Earlier Mesopotamian law codes, two generations before Hammurabi, take what we would consider a more civilized approach to the matter:

“If a man bites the nose of another man and thus cuts it off” —don’t ask— “he shall weigh and deliver sixty shekels of silver; an eye, sixty shekels; a tooth, thirty shekels …”

It turns out that the oldest codes in the Near Eastern legal tradition, Sumerian laws from the 21st century BCE, also have payment in place of retaliation.

The concept of “eye for an eye” isn’t really representative of some primitive state of humanity—it’s actually a development from an earlier system of monetary compensation.

Yet it was not a permanent shift; some of the earliest interpreters of the Bible read the lex talionis as advocating for monetary compensation: the value of an eye for an eye.

This remains a very common interpretation even today—quite likely as an attempt to make the biblical custom seem less harsh in comparison to contemporary cultural and legal norms.

Has the Middle East crisis reached a tipping point?

In the Talmud, the fundamental Jewish legal text, there is an extended discussion about the phrase “eye for an eye,” with multiple rabbis arguing, and the text concluding, that the phrase means nothing other than financial compensation.

Eventually, in Judaism the literal reading of lex talionis came to be associated with heresy.

There is another important aspect of “eye for an eye” that is often overlooked: in the Bible, the law prescribes that the punishment be leveled against the offending individual by the state.

It is not permitted for the victim himself to turn around and inflict the same injury on the aggressor. On this the Bible and modern law agree.

But another biblical legal tradition provides the exception to this rule, and it too has enjoyed a long life down to the present: the idea that in the case of premeditated murder, someone from the family of the victim is appointed the “blood-avenger.”

The notion of putting a murderer to death is common enough even today (see: death penalty). But not so the idea that it is the obligation of the victim’s family, rather than of a central government.

This biblical passage enshrines in law the retaliatory instinct of anyone whose close relative has been injured. And it is this instinct that we see playing itself out in the Middle East today.

The problem, both between the two nations and for the rest of the world, is defining which side is playing which role. Both Israel and Gaza believe themselves to be the blood-avenger, and the other to be the murderer.

Yet even in the case of blood vengeance, biblical law at least keeps the system under the watchful eye of the elders, who arbitrate the claims of the respective parties, just as in the more direct cases of lex talionis.

Nowhere in the world is the Bible more alive and its traditions more present than in Israel and Palestine, the lands from which the holy book emerged.

Was teen's death a revenge killing?

As the conflict between the two parties worsens, yet again, comparisons with the kinds of retaliation and blood vengeance found in the Bible grow more and more apt.

And so, therefore, does the need for a third party to play the part of arbitrator: to settle the price of monetary compensation, to declare the terms of retaliation, and to put a stop to the cycle of blood vengeance.

That's a role the Bible calls for someone to fill - and we're all still waiting.

Joel S. Baden is the author of “The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero,” and professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Ethics • Foreign policy • Israel • Jerusalem • Judaism • Opinion • Palestinians • Religious violence • Violence

soundoff (3,582 Responses)
  1. TruthPrevails1

    Since ragansteve seems to think he is an authority on all that pertains to religion and on all that pertains to humanism, I thought he should educate himself a little...this pertains to 'End Times' but it gives a very clear view on the differences between believers in a deity and humanists. He had called me a humanist and I guess from the perspective of this article, he is right but I believe he wishes to label Humanism as a religion when clearly it is a philosophy.

    "This fatalistic belief in the end of humanity, most often because of our sins or lack of virtue, is as frightening as it is harmful. If we believe that no matter what we do, the majority of us will perish in some reign of heavenly or demonic fire, what is our motivation to plan for our collective future?

    Humanism is opposed to this ideology, not only because it's always based on unprovable religious superstition but because humanists believe strongly that the fate of humanity is not subject to divine whims but rests with humanity itself.

    For this reason, humanists work hard to ensure that our collective future is one that is sustainable and desirable for all. This motivates strong support of the environment because a stable ecosystem is necessary for a long-term existence. Humanists are also supporters of governmental policies that promote peace and mutual disarmament, because constant war is untenable and could mean the destruction of all life on the planet. And humanists are supporters of scientific inquiry, for without it we are vulnerable to diseases and natural catastrophes.

    The religious predictions of how the world will end are rejected by humanists not because we think that humanity is invulnerable but because we recognize that there are real threats to humanity's survival, and that by focusing on unrealistic and uncontrollable "end times" distractions we neglect to take ownership of our own choices, and in the process decrease our chances for continued existence. Our opposition to this religious fatalism is motivated entirely by our own belief that the ability of our species to preserve itself is entirely in our own hands and minds."
    (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roy-speckhardt/religions-connection-to-the-end-times_b_5570809.html)

    July 15, 2014 at 9:46 am |
    • Doris

      "Man is fully responsible for his nature and his choices." –Jean-Paul Sartre

      July 15, 2014 at 9:56 am |
      • truthfollower01

        Doris,

        On naturalism, why is a rapist responsible for his actions if his thinking is the by-product of firings in his brain?

        July 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          If he randomly evolved to have these brain firings, why is he at fault?

          July 15, 2014 at 5:52 pm |
        • LaBella

          "On" Chistianity, why is a rapist rewarded with a wife?

          July 15, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          On atheism, why is ra-pe morally wrong?

          July 15, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
        • igaftr

          belief follower
          On christianity, why is a ra.p.e victim the one who carries the stain, and the perpetrator allowed to pay 50 sheckles to her father and then marry her?
          many young girls kill themselves because of this.

          On christianity, where is the morality?

          July 16, 2014 at 9:31 am |
    • ragansteve1

      You sir, are not telling the truth, even as your name proclaims. I have made very clear in several places that I claim no authority. What I offer is my belief and my belief alone. Take it or don't. It is your choice.

      July 15, 2014 at 10:37 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        You don't have to claim it necessarily, It is how you come across. So, no I' not a liar.

        July 15, 2014 at 10:51 am |
        • ragansteve1

          I very carefully label my statements as something I believe, something I have read (I.e., with citations) and the like. I also very carefully said in several places that I was and am not an authority and I explained what I mean by "not an authority."

          You can call it what you like, but I do not respond to people who misrepresent what I write. So this will be my last response to you. Have a nice day.

          July 15, 2014 at 10:54 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          You call me a liar and then scream foul when corrected....I did explain that it is how you come across-even if you're not intending to. I'm sorry you felt persecuted.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:10 am |
  2. Chris Farmer

    This 'theophileo' character must be a poe! he keeps spouting nonsense about Christianity here.... 'theophilo' does not realize that

    a) Jesus death on the cross and His resurrection was part of a divine plan.

    b) Jesus crucifixion was foretold in the book of Isaiah, it was part of God's plan for the redemption of mankind.

    c) The Jews and the Romans had no power over the life of Jesus. Jesus Himself clearly states that-John 19:11

    If you have not read the Bible then don't pretend you have, you poe!

    July 15, 2014 at 8:05 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      Chris,
      When have I said anything that denies the Sovereignty of God?

      July 15, 2014 at 8:14 am |
    • Chris Farmer

      You have essentially denied the sovereignty of God, when you blame a specific group of people for the crucifixion of Jesus.

      It was God's plan that Jesus will die on the cross and shed His precious blood which will serve as the remission for the sins of mankind. It was not the Jews or Romans that put Jesus on the cross. It was the sins of mankind which put Jesus on the cross – Read Isaiah 53.

      Without that sacrifice there is no way for mankind to be made right with God. Don't go around pointing fingers at a specific group of people, when the Bible states very clearly that Jesus had to die on the Cross for ALL of mankind's sins.

      July 15, 2014 at 8:30 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        You have essentially denied the sovereignty of God, when you blame a specific group of people for the crucifixion of Jesus.
        ----------------–
        No, the Bible speaks of the Sovereignty of God, and the volition of man being a compatible concept. For instance, Christ’s death on the cross was carried out by the “predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.” Acts 4:27-28 further reveals that the actions of Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel had been determined and decreed by God Himself to occur as they “gathered together against” Jesus and did “what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.” Although God had determined that Christ should die, those responsible for His death were still held accountable for their actions. Christ was put to death by wicked men, “yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer” (Isaiah 53:10). So the answer to the question "who put Jesus to death?" is both God and the wicked people—two purposes carried out by two ent.ities within a single action.

        This is the Biblical concept known as Compatibilism.
        Compatibilism is an attempt to reconcile the theological proposition that every event is causally determined, ordained, and/or decreed by God (i.e., determinism, not to be confused with fatalism)—with the free will of man. It states that though the free will of man seems irreconcilable with the proposition of determinism, they both do exist and are “compatible” with one another.

        We are creatures with a will of our own. We make things happen. Yet the causal power that we exert is only secondary. God’s sovereign providence stands over and above our actions. He works out His will through the actions of human wills, without violating the freedom of those human wills.

        July 15, 2014 at 8:40 am |
        • Doris

          Then there is semicompatibilism which is the idea that moral responsibility is compatible with determinism (regardless of free will). All is fair of course in the land of "spooky" physics....

          July 15, 2014 at 8:53 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          God’s decrees are not the necessitating cause of the sins of men, but the fore determined and prescribed bounding and directing of men’s sinful acts. God does not take up a good man, instill an evil desire into his heart, and thereby force him to perform the terrible deed in order to execute His decree. Instead, God decreed the act, and then selected the one who was to perform the act, but He did not “make him evil” in order that he should perform the deed. On the contrary, when we look at the life of Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, he was “a devil” at the time the Lord Jesus chose him as one of the twelve. (John 6:70) And in the manifestation and exercise of his own devilry, God simply directed Judas’ actions – actions that were agreeable to his own vile heart, and performed with the most wicked of intentions. By this way, man is still accountable to God for his sins.

          “The Sovereignty of God” by A.W. Pink

          July 15, 2014 at 9:18 am |
      • Chris Farmer

        who put Jesus to death?" is both God and the wicked people—

        –Who is wicked people??

        –If you are a Christian, as you claim to be one, you will admit that it is you and I. All of mankind is wicked.

        –Don't go around charging a specific group of people(Jews), for the crucifixion of Christ, when it is the likes of YOU and I that put Jesus on the cross. That is the fundamental message of Christianity-John 3:16

        July 15, 2014 at 8:52 am |
        • igaftr

          Candlemakers are wicked people.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:01 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          –Who is wicked people??
          –If you are a Christian, as you claim to be one, you will admit that it is you and I. All of mankind is wicked.
          ---------------
          Yup, I agree.

          –Don't go around charging a specific group of people(Jews), for the crucifixion of Christ, when it is the likes of YOU and I that put Jesus on the cross. That is the fundamental message of Christianity-John 3:16
          ----------------------–
          Yeah, the blame rests on us because we are all sinful, but you must also understand that although there is a general responsibility that rests on the shoulders of all men, there is also a specific responsibility held by those who were directly responsible for specific sins, even though they were ordained of God.

          Compatibilism (the coterminous actions of both God and man) is a doctrine readily shown throughout scripture.

          Look at the story of Joseph and his brothers. “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt” (Genesis 45:8). What makes this statement startling is that Joseph had previously said his brothers had, in fact, sold him into Egypt (Genesis 45:4-5). A few chapters later, the concept of compatibilism is presented: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).

          Next, look at God's commission of As.syria for the punishment of Israel. As divinely promised in Deuteronomy 28-29, God is sending a nation to punish His people for their sins. Isaiah 10:6 says that As.syria is the rod of God’s anger, “commissioned” against God’s people to “seize loot and sn.atch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets.” Notice, however, what God says about As.syria: “Yet [As.syria] does not so intend, Nor does it plan so in its heart, But rather it is its purpose to destroy And to cut off many nations” (Isaiah 10:7). God’s intent in the As.syrian invasion is to inflict His righteous judgment against sin, and the intent of the As.syrians is to “destroy and cut off many nations.” Two different purposes, two different ent.ities acting to bring about this purpose, in one, single action. As we read further, God reveals that, although this destruction is determined and decreed by Him (Isaiah 10:23), He will still punish the As.syrians because of the “arrogant heart of the king of As.syria and the pomp of his haughtiness” (Isaiah 10:12, cf. Isaiah 10:15). Even though God Himself had infallibly determined the judgment of a disobedient people, He holds those who brought the judgment accountable for their own actions.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:06 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Whoops... That was a long answer... Sorry about that.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:07 am |
        • Chris Farmer

          What is the lesson for You and I from the story of Joseph, that you just narrated?

          -Learn to forgive like Joseph did, Joseph understood God was in control and forgave his brothers.

          -As far as judgment goes, you are no prophet Samuel, Isaiah or even a Jonah, so quit judging them. God is their ultimate judge and He knows how to care for His people whom He has chosen. He will chastise them and bring them to Him according to His plan and purpose for them.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:16 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Chris,
          I'm not acting as anyone's judge. I am merely proclaiming what the scripture says.

          There is a very interesting occurrence in 2 Chronicles where we see how God sovereignly ordains that an event take place, in this case, the death of the wicked king Ahab, and then He fulfills His sovereign will through the willing participation of those who would perform their deed to their own wicked desires.

          2 Chronicles 18:18-22 – Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing on His right and on His left. The Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this while another said that. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘How?’ He said, ‘I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice him and prevail also. Go and do so.’ Now therefore, behold, the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of these your prophets, for the Lord has proclaimed disaster against you.”

          July 15, 2014 at 9:20 am |
        • igaftr

          Chris
          The christians would have you believe everyone is a sinner, all people are wicked.

          In fact, all people have within them the natural survival instincts, which include the abilities to steal, kill, and other behaviors that are anti-social or harmful to others. They are necessary for our ability to survive, so ultimately a good thing for humanity as a whole. Unfortunately, it is quite easy to do harmful things to others...it is only our own evolved morality that makes one realize that we are best when working together, so we do not need to steal from everyone, nor kill everyone.

          It is not "wickedness" or "sin" ...it is nature, and our evolved social skills, and need for social interaction as a species, while it has a side that is normally kept in reserve, is necessary for any species to survive.

          Don't buy into the dogmas that try to claim you are a horrible sinner that needs to be saved. Without those abilities, you wouldn't stand a chance in the world.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:24 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          igaftr,
          You sound like you've been reading the Book of Thoth.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:25 am |
        • Doris

          Theo: "I am merely proclaiming what the scripture says."

          And it's quite obvious that it says different things to different Christians – even in the English language – and I'm sure even to those who practice the methods prescribed for Analogia Scriptura.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:26 am |
        • igaftr

          theo
          i have no idea what the book of thoth is, so no.
          I simply study reality. We are part of nature, not some made up dogma.
          Once you drop the religious nonsense, the realities of nature are fascinating.
          And there continues to be no evidence of any "gods".

          July 15, 2014 at 9:32 am |
        • Chris Farmer

          As I stated earlier, you are no prophet and you are no angel to advice them. The last time I checked they have a copy of the Hebrew Bible they can read and follow.

          What I fail to understand from your posts is this: Why do you choose a secular form like this to confuse people with your theology?

          Why would you discuss theology with heathens?

          Where is the gospel message in all this?

          Having said that, I am sure you will continue on the same path... that being the case, what should Christians do in these situations? They pray that souls will come to know Christ and that no one acts as a stumbling block in that process....

          July 15, 2014 at 9:35 am |
        • Doris

          Chris: "Why would you discuss theology with heathens?"

          WELL! If you must call me names, I would prefer Brienne of Tarth.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:49 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          As I stated earlier, you are no prophet and you are no angel to advice them. The last time I checked they have a copy of the Hebrew Bible they can read and follow.
          -----------------
          True, but do you believe that they read it correctly? That is, from a Messianic standpoint? Do you believe that Jews are exempt from the Church's mandate of the great commission?

          What I fail to understand from your posts is this: Why do you choose a secular form like this to confuse people with your theology?
          -----------------------
          It's never been my intent to confuse anyone. I'm an avid reader, and just happened to fall onto this blog one day, and in my reading of current events here, my intent is to give (to the best of my ability) the Biblical perspective on current issues. And it isn't "my theology." The doctrines that I espouse are those supported by the Biblical text. If I have been incorrect in anything that I state, then you have my humble apologies, and please, prove me wrong from scripture. For as Martin Luther once said "Unless I am convinced from scripture and plain reason, my conscience is held captive by the Word of God."

          Why would you discuss theology with heathens?
          -----------------
          They are not all heathens. I have had some great discussions with Topher, whom I highly respect, and there are others as well. We are called to scatter seed among every kind of ground, for we are sowers. It is out of our hands as to how the ground receives the seed.

          Where is the gospel message in all this?
          --------------------
          If I were preaching, you would hear it. And indeed, I have often given the gospel message, which others can attest to. My intent here is to give a Biblical perspective on things. If the discussion was on the gospel, then you would certainly hear it.

          Having said that, I am sure you will continue on the same path... that being the case, what should Christians do in these situations? They pray that souls will come to know Christ and that no one acts as a stumbling block in that process....
          ----------------------–
          Sir, the gospel messege is itself a stumbling block to the Jews, and is foolishness to the Gentiles. But does that mean that we cease from teaching all of its aspects? As I said, the condition of the soil is out of our hands.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:59 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          Should you cease from teaching, Lordy no. Your ridiculous concepts do more to promote non belief in you trinity than I as a Deist could ever hope to achieve. Don't forget the turn the other cheek shtick, you fail at that so often.

          July 15, 2014 at 10:12 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Heathen – anyone who doesn't believe the exact same nonsense as yourself...

          What did the Romans call christians as they tossed them to the lions? Heathens.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          I would rather be a 'heathen'... then a member of the destructive and hateful cult known as christians

          July 15, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • Vic

          It really is simpler than what people make of it.

          God did not cause people to crucify the Lord Jesus Christ, rather, as God is Omniscient, He knew beforehand what man will do at "Free Will," and He (God) therefore predetermined the counter measure accordingly, hence turning the evil doing of condemning the Lord Jesus Christ to the Cross† into Salvation for humankind.

          † At the time, it was in fact the Pharisees who condemned the Lord Jesus Christ to the Cross.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          pure cult-speak ...

          July 15, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • G to the T

          "And it isn't "my theology." The doctrines that I espouse are those supported by the Biblical text. If I have been incorrect in anything that I state, then you have my humble apologies, and please, prove me wrong from scripture"

          Here's is where I believe you fail Theo. It is indeed "your theology". The reason being that the same biblical texts can be interpreted in variety of ways and using a variety of different tools/systems. You have chosen which ones you think are the best and assume everyone else will as well.

          July 15, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          God did not cause people to crucify the Lord Jesus Christ, rather, as God is Omniscient, He knew beforehand what man will do at "Free Will," and He (God) therefore predetermined the counter measure accordingly, hence turning the evil doing of condemning the Lord Jesus Christ to the Cross† into Salvation for humankind.
          ---------------------
          I worry then that by stating this you rob God of His sovereignty and hand it over to mere men. By that notion, God is merely reacting to the whims of men who themselves ordain whatsoever comes to pass.

          The Westminster Confession of Faith states it this way:
          “God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of secondary causes taken away, but rather established. Sinfulness proceeds only from the creature and not from God who being most holy and righteous neither can be the author and approver of sin, but all that God decrees and all that God providentially brings to pass is all to the praise of His glory.”

          And as to the term "Free Will," we must be sure to define terms. From a theological viewpoint, the definition of the will is viewed in light of the revealed, biblical truths of original sin and the spiritual depravity of man. These two truths render the definition of “will” in regard to fallen man as “captive to sin” (Acts 8:23), a “slave of sin” (John 8:34; Romans 6:16-17) and subject only to its “master,” which is sin (Romans 6:14). As such, although the will of man is “free” to do as it wishes, it wishes to act according to its nature, and since the nature of the fallen will is sinful, every intent of the thoughts of the fallen man’s heart is “only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5, cf. Genesis 8:21). He, being naturally rebellious to that which is spiritually good (Romans 8:7-8; 1 Corinthians 2:14), “is bent only on rebellion” (Proverbs 17:11). Essentially, man is “free” to do as he wishes, and he does just that, but man simply cannot do that which is contrary to his nature. What man “wills” to do is subject to and determined solely by his nature.

          At the time, it was in fact the Pharisees who condemned the Lord Jesus Christ to the Cross.
          -----------–
          True... According to the "predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God." (Acts 2:23-25)

          July 15, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          The reason being that the same biblical texts can be interpreted in variety of ways and using a variety of different tools/systems. You have chosen which ones you think are the best and assume everyone else will as well.
          ----------------
          What he means by this statement, is that every Thursday at noon, he has a Tuesday breakfast with the King of England in Tehran while dressed in a mini skirt and tap dance shoes. They also have flatulence competi.tions after midnight on the veranda overlooking Antarctica. And if you gleam another meaning from this statement you are a heretic!

          July 15, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Chris,

          Please, not all of us are heathens, many of us are apostates.

          July 15, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • Vic

          @July 15, 2014 at 12:48 pm |

          The "Westminster Confession of Faith" you posted actually supports my belief. It states that sinfulness does not proceed from God, hence my belief that God did not cause people to crucify the Lord Jesus Christ, and that He (God) from all Eternity, out of His Will, ordains what comes to pass, hence out of His Sovereign Grace, Will, Wisdom, and Command fore-ascertained the "Ultimate Provision" for our Salvation out of the betrayal of man, before the foundation of the world.

          What man does at "Free Will," which is not caused by God, does not mean it is out of God's Sovereignty, since God foreknew it before the foundation of the world and ordained it to come to pass.

          Regarding "Free Will," there is no Belief in God without literal "Free Will."

          As for "Free Will" and sin, that is exactly why God made the "Ultimate Provision" for our Salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, for He (God) knew before the foundation of the world that man will fail. John 3:16, 4:34 & 17:4,5, Romans 5:6, Galatians 4:4,5, & Hebrews 9:25,26.

          Regarding Acts 2:23-25 of which is Acts 2:23, that's exactly what I have been saying all along; God foreknew before the foundation of the world what man will do, and He (God) therefore planned the countermeasure accordingly and let it all come to pass!

          July 15, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • G to the T

          "What he means by this statement, is that every Thursday at noon, he has a Tuesday breakfast with the King of England in Tehran while dressed in a mini skirt and tap dance shoes. They also have flatulence competi.tions after midnight on the veranda overlooking Antarctica. And if you gleam another meaning from this statement you are a heretic!"

          Sorry Theo – was there a point to this response other than to make you look like a fool? I am, and have always been, an honest seeker. Is that an issue for you?

          July 15, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • James XCIX

          Vic – "... God made the "Ultimate Provision" for our Salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ..."

          Just curious, what is your idea of what became of people who died before Jesus was born? I don't mean Israelites/Jews/Hebrews, I mean everyone else.

          July 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • idiotusmaximus

          Just curious, what is your idea of what became of people who died before Jesus was born?

          Anyone who dies and is buried becomes worm food ONLY....but not this so called Jesus since there is no empirical evidence that thiis person ever existed.

          July 16, 2014 at 9:17 am |
        • Bob

          Vic, your whole Jesus-sacrifice-salvation tale that you keep referencing, the foundation of your crazy Christian superstition, is a steaming pile of bull excrement out of the gate. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers?

          Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          July 15, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Vic,
          I believe the difference hinges on the Biblical definition of the word "foreknowledge."

          "This is not a reference simply to God’s omniscience – that, in eternity past He merely knew who would come to Christ. Rather, this speaks of a predetermined choice to set His love on us and establish an intimate relationship – this is His election."
          > Dr. John MacArthur

          The word “foreknew” is the Greek word transliterated as “proginosko” (Strong’s Number 4267). It is a verb that means to have intimate knowledge beforehand of those whom God elected to salvation and it goes hand in hand with the word “predestination.”

          The word “proginosko” is always a verb that is applied to people. It is never applied to the actions of people. Therefore it isn’t that God knows “what we do” before we do them, rather, it means that God knows “us” before we can do anything.

          Amos 3:2 “You (Israel) only have I known among all the families of the earth…”

          Does God only know of Israel on the planet? Is He ignorant of all other people? Of course not. God knows all people, as there is nothing hidden from Him (Hebrews 4:13). What this means is that God only set His favor and affection upon Israel out of the all the families of the earth. This is what the word ‘know’ means throughout the entire Bible – intimate affection. For instance, when a man has se.x with his wife, the Bible calls it, ‘knowing’. “Adam knew Eve…” (Genesis 4:1).

          “Foreknowledge” then does not refer to God’s actual knowledge of anything beforehand, rather it refers to God’s setting His intimate affection and favor upon His people beforehand. God intimately chose His people, and this foreknowing is the foundation of His predestination, so if we were to translate the Biblical meaning of foreknowledge into Romans 8:29 it would read like this, “For those whom God intimately set His affection upon beforehand, He also predestined…” And this meaning is in sync with the rest of the Bible.

          The word “predestined” is the Greek word transliterated as “proorizo” (Strong’s Number 4309). This word, also a verb, is to predetermine, to decide beforehand, this is God decreeing from eternity to foreordain, to appoint beforehand.

          Now check out Acts 2:23 – "this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

          According to the rule of Greek grammar known as the Granville Sharp rule, the word “foreknowledge” is equated with the word “predetermined” – the word must be interpreted the same in both verses. (Acts 2:23 and Romans 8:28-30)

          July 15, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          was there a point to this response other than to make you look like a fool? I am, and have always been, an honest seeker.
          ------------------
          Yes, it is that words have meaning, and authorial intent is THE most important aspect of reading anything. We cannot apply meaning to paintings, conversations, OR scripture. Instead, it is the task of the theologian to determine authorial intent, because any given passage, painting, or conversation, although they may be "interpreted" (wrongly) to mean anything the reader may wish, the ACTUAL meaning is found only in the author's intent. And it is up to us to discover that.

          July 15, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          Of course you are yet again absurd. Let's take scul-pture for example. Aphro-dite by Praxiteles and David by Michelangelo, some may see the beauty of the human form, some the genius of the scu-lptor and some, like you, would only see the nu-dity as por-no-graphy. You wouldn't give a damn about author/artist intent now would you? Author intent when you don't even know for sure who the authors were of the bible. Of course you are yet again absurd.

          July 15, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "the ACTUAL meaning is found only in the author's intent. And it is up to us to discover that."

          Ok, but your conclusions (also known as your interpretation) of what the author intended is not necessarily what the author really intended. Since you aren't the author of the bible, it is impossible for you to know what was actually intended.

          Consider the possibility that the authors of the bible's intent was to fool the masses into believing in something that would make them easier to control. Whether you believe that is the case or not is irrelevant – it is unquestionably a possibility. To claim that you know what the true intent was is not only arrogant, but it's completely asinine.

          July 15, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
        • djangoboy

          Vic: "God did not cause people to crucify the Lord Jesus Christ, rather, as God is Omniscient, He knew beforehand what man will do at "Free Will," and He (God) therefore predetermined the counter measure accordingly, hence turning the evil doing of condemning the Lord Jesus Christ to the Cross† into Salvation for humankind."

          You do realize (of course you don't) that what you said makes no sense whatsoever.

          "† At the time, it was in fact the Pharisees who condemned the Lord Jesus Christ to the Cross."

          It was actually the Sadducees, the Temple priests, who wanted to put Jesus to death because she was a threat to their comfortable existence. And they could have, contrary to the Gospels – there were plenty of Jewish laws that prescribed the death penalty. This was a total fabrication by the Gospel writers – it was the Romans who condemned Jesus to death for sedition.

          July 15, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LET's Religiosity Law #5 – The highest form of ignorance... is one dumbass Christian telling another dumbass Christian that they are not really Christian... because (insert whatever dumbass thing they believe differentiates them from each other)…

      July 15, 2014 at 8:34 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Yes, it provides great humor. It's like listening to two five year olds arguing over who has the bigger imaginary friend...oh wait, we are listening to two 5 years old...religion stymied their brains.

        July 15, 2014 at 9:49 am |
    • ausphor

      Chris as a Deist I do not agree with your Christian perspective. What I can agree with is that Theo Phileo is about as phony as you can get as a self proclaimed theological expert. In The Theo's mind the bible means what HE interprets it to mean. Pathetic.

      July 15, 2014 at 8:48 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        Then quote me as saying that the Bible only means what I say it means. Otherwise admit that you just lied to everyone.

        I have NEVER ONCE stated that I apply meaning to the text. The meaning of the text IS THE TEXT, and it is revealed, not created. Not by any interpreter.

        July 15, 2014 at 8:53 am |
        • igaftr

          " it is revealed, not created. Not by any interpreter"

          Funny, but obviously not true. Not one word of the bible was put there by any gods. Men created it, men wrote it, every word of it, so no matter what, whether they made the whole thing up ( most likely) or if god did influence it, either way, the entire bible is an interpretation...even in the orginal languages. the bible is not any "god" speaking directly to anyone, but rather a proxy. One thing is certain...there continues to be no evidence of any gods.

          July 15, 2014 at 8:59 am |
        • SeaVik

          Theo, what are you talking about? You constantly accuse any Christian who interprets the bible different than you as being wrong. You make it very clear that your interpretation is the only correct interpretation. Not only is it incredibly arrogant, it's also completely delusional considering the bible is full of inconsistencies and falsehoods.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:17 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          You are the liar and in denial. I don't know how many time you have stated "This passage/verse means....." or "What this passage verse says....." Pathetic

          July 15, 2014 at 9:26 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          I don't know how many time you have stated "This passage/verse means....." or "What this passage verse says....."
          ---------–
          That's because words have meanings. I have never once stated "what this means to me" or "I believe this means." I have only ever stated the meaning of a passage when it agrees with the whole of scripture.

          If you are in an art gallery, looking at a painting of a boat pulled up onto a shoreline, and then someone comes up to you and says that "I believe this painting symbolizes the struggles of a modern man to live his life as an individual against a world who disagrees with him and desperately tries to silence him." You're forced to conclude that either he's looking at a different painting altogether, or he's blind as to what the artist clearly painted.

          The meaning of the painting, just as with scripture is AUTHORIAL INTENT. We don't get to apply meaning to it that the author did not intend.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:36 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          I have to agree with Mr. Farmer who you have been trying to convince that YOUR interpretation of scripture is right and his is wrong, of course I think you are both wrong BTW. Another ridiculous analogy from you, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there is no ultimate truth that applies to all 7 billion people on earth. Your claiming that to be so does not make it correct or right; your delusion overrides your reason.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:47 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          He didn't lie. Now look in a mirror and skip the hypocrisy. You always try to proclaim your version is the correct one, you just can't see it because you're so accustomed to doing it..it's like a bad habit.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:51 am |
        • SeaVik

          "We don't get to apply meaning to it that the author did not intend."

          The point is, the bible contradicts itself constantly and is full of many factual inaccuracies. It seems to me that the logical conclusion is that it is an obvious work of fiction. However, for those who insist on trying to find some meaning from it, they are forced to decide which side of the contradictions to take and since much of it is untrue, they also must guess as to what part of the bible they should accept and what they should ignore as just a fable.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:58 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Beauty is in the eye of the bee holder. If you don't admit i'm the most beautiful them i'll unleash all these bee's on you!

          July 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • G to the T

          "The meaning of the painting, just as with scripture is AUTHORIAL INTENT. We don't get to apply meaning to it that the author did not intend."

          Then your use of scripture to interpret scripture is a failure. You are the one trying to treat the bible as if it had one author and intent. Oh and any real author/artist will tell you that people are welcome to apply their own meanings to their works. That's part of how art works.

          July 15, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          You are the one trying to treat the bible as if it had one author and intent
          --------------------
          It does. It is 66 books, written by over 40 different individuals acting as amanuensis to God Himself, over a period of 1600 years. It has one hero, that is God, it has one villian, that is Satan, and it has one theme and intent, and that is Salvation.

          July 15, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • igaftr

          "individuals ALLEGEDLYacting as amanuensis to God Himself.

          Since no one has ever shown any "gods" to exist, you cannot say they were doing anything for god...you can say they allegedly acted for god, but there is just as much evidence that Satan inspired it in his greatest trick ever.

          July 15, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
  3. Doris

    Theo mentioned his beloved Analogia Scriptura again earlier. One of the so-called tools that goes along with this hermeneutic principle of using scripture to interpret scripture is to favor clear scripture over less clear scripture when comparing similar themes and concepts. I just read an example using I Timothy 2:11-14 which evidently should be favored over Romans 16:7 according to the author of the example I was reading.

    I Timothy 2:11-14: Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

    Evidently this principle of Analogia Scriptura goes back to William Tyndale (1492-1536), the English Reformer and first translator of the Bible into English directly from the Greek and Hebrew texts.

    Oddly, I just read this on CNN:

    Church of England to allow female bishops

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/14/world/europe/uk-church-women-bishops/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

    July 15, 2014 at 1:49 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      Yeah, that's the Reader's Digest version of it.

      The Analogia Scriptura is the "Synthesis Principle" of hermeneutics. That is, where there are verses that may be unclear on a topic, they are explained by other passages that deal with the same topic. It can be said that the implicit is explained by the explicit.

      Truth about the Word of God comes only from Scripture. It does not come from any other source, and certainly it doesn’t come from tradition or through some supposed mystical personal experience since the Canon is closed.

      2 Peter 1:20-21 – no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God

      July 15, 2014 at 7:34 am |
      • Doris

        Theo: "Truth about the Word of God comes only from Scripture. It does not come from any other source,"

        But then, for the Christian God, where else could it come from? This notion of Tyndale's seems primarily a stamp of approval of the canon. And it's funny how you mention 2 Peter as if to try to keep the red bows looking fresh and sparkly atop some gift. As I have noted before "the history of the acceptance of 2 Peter into the New Testament canon has all the grace of a college hazing event" (Bible.org). There wasn't then and there isn't now much confidence among NT scholars that Peter authored Peter 2. It could have been a close disciple or maybe not. Whoever it was, there certainly seems to be much political afterthought that went into how it should be perceived. It sounds like a desperate attempt to give some validation for Paul's claims where there is just not much else there for support.

        July 15, 2014 at 8:20 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Of course it must be understood that when you mention "New Testament Scholars" you refer to the lot of highly liberal theologians whose main goal is not to determine truth, but rather to re-write the Bible according to the accepted notions of political correctness.

          Thomas Jefferson was one of old, and Ehrman is one of the new. Those as well in the Jesus Seminar are nothing but historical revisionists whose blatant errors are only eclipsed by those who believe the Confederate States of America won the War of Northern Aggression in 1865.

          July 15, 2014 at 8:32 am |
        • Doris

          Nonsense, Theo. Perhaps you missed the part about the "acceptance of 2 Peter into the New Testament canon [having] all the grace of a college hazing event". Let me add "this epistle was examined, prayed over, considered, and debated more than any other New Testament book—including Revelation." That reflects the activities of those involved at the time of its acceptance, not something as recent as Thomas Jefferson. And there are plenty of NT scholars of various types that question the authorship of Peter 2. I have a feeling that's why Bible.org says "The rejection of Peter as the writer of 2 Peter is by far the most common opinion today. In fact, the view of the pseudonymity of the epistle is almost universal."

          July 15, 2014 at 8:42 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          And there are plenty of NT scholars of various types that question the authorship of Peter 2
          --------------–
          And there are plenty of scientists who say that evolution is bunk. Do you trust them?

          July 15, 2014 at 8:49 am |
        • Doris

          Can you say that the scientists who say evolution is bunk are in the majority?

          July 15, 2014 at 8:54 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Theo
          A 2009 poll by Pew Research Center found that "Nearly all scientists (97%) say humans and other living things have evolved over time".
          There really isn't any disagreement in the scientific community over the validity of evolutionary theory.
          The 5 basic laws as described by Darwin 150 years ago have never been falsified.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:07 am |
        • SeaVik

          "And there are plenty of scientists who say that evolution is bunk. Do you trust them?"

          Theo, there are 7 billion people on the planet (if you trust science). Of course there are some people who claim to be scientists who disagree with the theory of evolution. The the vast majority of scientists believe the theory of evolution. In addition, the extreme majority of the best scientists are atheists. Please, don't try to use science to support your fictional stories.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:25 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          The the vast majority of scientists believe the theory of evolution.
          ----------–
          So truth is determined by consensus now? Are there numbers out on the consensus of scientists who agree with the basic tennants of gravity? If it was settled science, wouldn't everyone agree?

          July 15, 2014 at 9:28 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Theo
          Your statements was:
          "And there are plenty of scientists who say that evolution is bunk."

          That is not true, unless you consider 2.5% of the scientific community to be "plenty".
          Narrow down the field to strictly biologists and you find that the number rises above 99%.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:34 am |
        • SeaVik

          "So truth is determined by consensus now? Are there numbers out on the consensus of scientists who agree with the basic tennants of gravity? If it was settled science, wouldn't everyone agree?"

          Nope, you've got your causality backwards. There is a truth. As that truth becomes more and more clear, more and more people accept it as truth. That's why more and more (and now almost all) scientists believe the theory of evolution to be correct. It has become almost impossible to deny with the evidence available.

          No, not everyone agrees on what most people consider to be "settled science". There are still people who believe the earth is flat. Believe it or not, there are even people who still think the earth is only thousands of years old.

          July 15, 2014 at 10:18 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      As to the news about the Church of England – given the amount of corruption seen throughout Christendom, and indeed among many professors of Christ, it does make one wonder how soon the Rapture could actually be. After all, one of the markers that we look for is a great falling away from the faith, and that for sure is happening in increasing steadiness.

      2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 – Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

      1 Timothy 4:1-3 – But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

      July 15, 2014 at 7:42 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        *increasing regularity" Not steadiness....

        July 15, 2014 at 7:42 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        @Theo
        I don't think you need to worry about the Rapture.
        Christians have been calling for the Second Coming since Biblical times.
        The End is always nigh.
        So I'm going to hedge my bets until the 7 headed, 10 horned, bear pawed, amphibious Beast is spotted.

        July 15, 2014 at 8:18 am |
        • Doris

          lol – oh Doc, the Christians can't get to far without a beast or two. I wonder where the Devil is keeping himself these days. Justice Scalia seems to have heard the word on the street about his activities. He has, of course, made kitchen cameo appearances in recent years: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEeptg1YvSI

          Even the early Christian apologists such as Justin Martyr could not hold onto a claim without the help of the devil when they claimed that he was able to perform plagiarism in reverse time order in attempts to confuse the faithful.

          July 15, 2014 at 8:34 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Well, the Bible's symbolism aside, the Christians will be gone by that time, and then it will be too late for all who are "hedging their bets."

          Incidentally, if you want a good primer on the symbolism of Revelation, the book "Because the Time is Near" is a great one to start with.

          July 15, 2014 at 8:35 am |
        • midwest rail

          There is always profit in pretending to be a prophet. End times fear mongering always sells.

          July 15, 2014 at 8:35 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Rapture-paloza .... Pre-tribulation rapture theology was developed in the 1830s by John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren, and popularized in the United States in the early 20th century by the wide circulation of the Scofield Reference Bible.

          Nothing like editing god's original word... I wonder if the editors were "god breathed" or whatever other silly crap they call it...

          July 15, 2014 at 8:56 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Evil Twin,
          Actually, the idea of a pre-tribulational rapture was first invented by Jesus in John 14:1-4.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:10 am |
        • Doris

          Theo: "pre-tribulational rapture"

          I saw that on TV once. Oh wait, no – that was the Trouble with Tribbles...

          July 15, 2014 at 9:20 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Kudos on the trekkie reference.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:29 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Theo

          I see nothing at all in John 14 about a "pre-tribulation rapture" – not even allegorically. What kind of weird double-think interpretation are you employing?

          July 15, 2014 at 9:32 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Doc,
          In John 14, Jesus is comforting His disciples in a pastoral way. This isn't a deep dissertation on the intricacies of HOW and WHEN that He is to come again... Rather, He wishes to give them comfort by simply stating that He WILL come again. "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself..."

          Now, the Bible is clear that those who are Christ's will never receive either the Eternal Wrath of God, nor the Eschatological Wrath of God. And in order to ensure that, He must come again and take up those who are His own before the great and terrible Day of the Lord. This rapture is more fully explained in 1 Thess. 4:13-18.

          The Rapture is the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ immediately before the seven year tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; T.itus 2:13) who will bring with Him the spirits of all of those saints who have died before, where He will come in the air to translate His living church, body and spirit from this earth (John 14:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11), and raise the bodies of those saints who have died before to meet in the air and take them all to be with Him in heaven.

          After the Rapture, the church will celebrate the marriage supper (Revelation 19:7-10), be rewarded (1 Corinthians 3:10-15, 4:5, 2 Corinthians 5:9-10), and later return to earth with Christ when He comes again to set up His kingdom (Revelation 19:11-20:6).

          To say that the idea of the Rapture is a 19th century creation is intellectually dishonest.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:48 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Theo
          There is far more dissent in Christian circles regarding The Rapture than there is in scientific communities about evolution.
          Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Eastern Orthodox are just some of the larger Christian sects that reject the rapture.
          Popular acceptance of the theory comes largely from C.I. Scofield, who taught the view in the footnotes of his Scofield Reference Bible. His version of the Bible was popular amongst British and American Protestants in the 19th century.

          July 15, 2014 at 10:04 am |
  4. fiftypercenthollow

    I guess being run by a run away government is way better than taking matters into our own hands *cough* *cough* America!

    July 14, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
    • observer

      fiftypercenthollow,

      Are you enough of a dim bulb to advocate taking action against our government?

      July 14, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
      • fiftypercenthollow

        Observer you talk like that behind a screen.. bet you wouldn't do that to someone face to face.

        July 15, 2014 at 12:37 am |
        • observer

          fiftypercenthollow,

          I asked a question and you went all "MACHO".

          No problem. I think I've already figured out your support for the NRA and your IQ.

          July 15, 2014 at 12:39 am |
        • fiftypercenthollow

          I'm sorry you feel that way.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          A braggart, a bully, and a douche... the redneck trifecta

          July 15, 2014 at 9:04 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I would agree that roughly half of America has no substance and I bet Mr. Fifty here is just one of their proud members...

          Only in America can you be praised for how little you know about the rest of the world... land of the free (from thought) and home of the brave(ly stuffing our diabetic faces with more processed fast food).

          July 15, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • fiftypercenthollow

          So what? Everyone is happy believing that their way is right. Isn't that the crux of tolerating someone? Instead in order to get noticed we Americans as you call us who are fat and dumb only value what we believe as truth even if we contradict it and say someone's beliefs are justified as long as they practice toleration of others. Baloney! Whatever you say mister. We are in the same boat as the so called mislead. Nobody wants to believe it.

          July 15, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • tallulah131

          You forgot to include "troll" in that equation, LET.

          July 15, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Christians and Guns=very delusional mad men

      so 50%HalfBrain, tell us how many weapons do you own? (and yes I would speak like this to your face...it takes a bigger dolt than you to scare me)

      July 15, 2014 at 7:54 am |
      • fiftypercenthollow

        I scare you?

        July 15, 2014 at 11:03 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Not with that kind of reading comprehension you don't...

          July 15, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • fiftypercenthollow

          But I apparently scare her even with your redundant way of writing.

          July 15, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Trolls are not terribly scary. Mostly just annoying.

          July 15, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • fiftypercenthollow

          Okay tallulah. I'm only a troll but it's the ones who spend all their time getting annoyed that make this comment board like a poison spreading into our society. Am I wrong?

          July 15, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Reading comprehension is a problem for you I see.

          July 15, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
        • fiftypercenthollow

          What's your beef? You don't really care if I can't read your insults. Your fighting me truth for no reason. It's easier for you just to ignore me.

          July 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Look at the way you speak to people yourself on here before condemning others.

          July 15, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
        • fiftypercenthollow

          There's a difference between saying it and allowing them to defend themselves and talking behind their back. Whatever else is said was to challenge the article based on it own interpretations of the bible and how it motivated killers based on a double standard of right and wrong. Might as well just say at least I'm not as bad as them. I can't put it any nicer for you truth but I'm trying.

          July 15, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
  5. unsername1

    Bible was written by primitive people for primitive people..

    July 14, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
    • colin31714

      Yes, it was. It is an unsophisticated, unimpressive collection of writings produced by ignorant men for ignorant men. Today, we know so much more about the World that it is really only the woefully ignorant or horribly ill-educated who take the silly thing seriously. Unfortunately, the education system in the USA has been so bad at teaching science and natural history for so long that there are many, many such people around today. Men walking on water, rising from the dead, turning water into wine etc. Very, very childish stuff.

      July 14, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        Men couldn't write the Bible if the wanted to. 66 books written by around 40 authors from all walks of life over a period of around 1500 years.

        July 14, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
        • Doris

          Do you think camels had a hand in it, tf?

          July 14, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          To clarify, I'm referring to men on their own, apart from God.

          July 14, 2014 at 10:39 pm |
        • Doris

          It seems like there was plenty of time for the OT and the NT to arrive at the states we see them in today, understanding that during much of that time it was only oral.

          July 14, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
        • LaBella

          Then who do you imagine wrote the Bible?
          Women?

          July 14, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Labella,

          Please see two posts up.

          July 14, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
        • observer

          It the Bible was written under the guidance of one supremely intelligent being, it wouldn't be so full of errors, contradictions, hypocrisy and nonsense.

          July 14, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
        • LaBella

          You clarified men. I asked who you thought did. Who actually wrote down the words?
          Answer; lots of men. So?

          July 14, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          Do you research the supposed "errors" you think exist to see if they hold up? Do you extensively study to try to see if there are in fact viable answers to your objections?

          July 14, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
        • otoh2

          tf
          " 66 books written by around 40 authors from all walks of life over a period of around 1500 years."

          *All* of whom knew *exactly* what was written previous to their their contributions. Nothing special here.

          July 14, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          Yes, I do. Apparently you don't. Apparently you think the Newton's laws are just OPTIONAL and that the moon and sun can suddenly STOP in their orbits.

          There isn't a math class in the world that would accept the ratio PI to be 3.0 like the Bible says. So do you?

          July 14, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          Even a cursory glance online gives information on the two instances you list. I'm surprised you would even list the supposed pi error.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          lol.

          So you had NO REBUTTAL.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:21 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          I didn't feel like copying and pasting when the information is there. Don't be lazy. Do the research.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:24 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          "I didn't feel like copying and pasting when the information is there. Don't be lazy. Do the research."

          lol. I've already done the research. That's why I KNOW that the Bible and YOU are wrong.

          Don't be lazy. Do the research.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          No offense, but based on all of our past conversations concerning morality and such, you have never come across as having done the research. And even when you get answers, you continue to propound the same things. Seriously do the research and see what you find.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          "Seriously do the research and see what you find."

          Translation: "I can't supply any good PROOF to support my statements, so I'll try to flack things up by asking you to find ANYTHING to support my error".

          lol. CLASSIC!

          July 14, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          What is your purpose for spending all of the hours you do on this blog? Why all the animosity? What or who are you angry with? Why do Christians and/or God make you so angry?

          July 14, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          You are still UNWILLING to supply any proof to your claims. Why the stalling?

          July 14, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          I'm truly interested.

          What is your purpose for spending all of the hours you do on this blog? Why all the animosity? What or who are you angry with? Why do Christians and/or God make you so angry?

          July 14, 2014 at 11:46 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          People like you are part of the reason I am on here.

          Examples: You infer that atheists (and probably agnostics) don't have any morals. You are probably like a lot of Christians on here who are such HYPOCRITES that they use the Bible as an excuse to pick on gays and pro-choice supporters. You PRETEND that you are better than other people because you support the Bible.

          But here's the bottom line - you pick and choose from the Bible without knowing what it actually says and what you are supposedly supporting. You need to have a CLUE before you continue to use the Bible for an EXCUSE. You have no problem telling others how to live their lives but are missing any INTEGRITY to answer questions about what you actually SUPPORT.

          If your religion is making your life better, don't use it to make other people's lives WORSE especially when you are such a HYPOCRITE. START to follow the Golden Rule that Christians LOVE to preach, but not follow.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:59 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          I'm out of here for the night. Remember, God provided a way for salvation through the blood of His innocent Son who took the punishment on the cross, that we might be declared innocent. Think of it like this. You’re in a court room. you’re guilty as you’ve professed. Someone walks in and pays your fine for you. Now the judge can legally dismiss your case and let you go. This is the gospel message. What you must do is repent (turn from your sins) and follow Jesus as Lord. This following is enabled by God when He gives you new desires and a heart that wants to please God instead of the flesh.

          July 15, 2014 at 12:03 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          Yep. You are guilty of a CRIME, but get none of your DESERVED PUNISHMENT.

          Great system. That really encourages the best in people. lol.

          July 15, 2014 at 12:08 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          And yet even in our system of justice there are certain things that we would not allow smeone else to pay for, or take responsibility for, because to do so would be unethical. Really that just points out the flaw in the christian system.

          July 15, 2014 at 1:23 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          If man didn't write, was it Zeus, Thor, a ghost, a unicorn or perhaps there were 40 tiny green men dancing a jig on the shoulders of man who did...who/what do you think wrote the book and try to back your answer without referring to the bible or anything that relates to it???

          July 15, 2014 at 7:59 am |
        • igaftr

          belief follower
          "Men couldn't write the Bible if the wanted to. 66 books written by around 40 authors from all walks of life over a period of around 1500 years."

          Couldn't? Why not...be specific.

          Man couldn't possibly write encyclopeadiia's...not possible to gather all that info in one place.
          Man couldn't have written war and peace...it is too long.

          Seriously...we know men wrote the bible. What we don't know is if the god hypothesis is correct, and likely not, so claiming some "god" had something to do with it... pointless until you can show this "god" of yours to exist...until then, it is baseless belief.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:19 am |
    • ddeevviinn

      user

      " The world is too complicated in all its parts and interconnections to be due to chance. I am convinced that the existence of life with all its order and each of its organisms is simply too well put together. The nature of God is not to be found within any part of the findings of science. For that, one must turn to the Scriptures."

      – Allan Sandage Ph.D. Cal Tech

      What was your point again?

      July 14, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        Did Dr Sandage provide any evidence?

        July 14, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          I'm certain he would be able to provide much evidence, not to your liking, but evidence nevertheless. Doesn't really matter much in this context. I was simply pointing out the OP's fallacious statement about primitive people and the bible.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:51 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          The fact that he converted to christianity just before he died and made unsupported claims, does not make the OP fallacious – the bible was written by primitive people with no knowledge of how the Solar system was created or how species evolved. None of those foundational stories are true. A Hindu scientist could make the same claim for the Hindu gods but you would not consider them evidence of their gods.

          July 15, 2014 at 10:05 am |
      • LaBella

        How old is the universe?

        July 14, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Labella,

          I believe around 13.6 billion years old. What do you think caused the Big Bang?

          July 14, 2014 at 11:19 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          Well, I know for a fact that " In the beginning..." was only about 300 years before them Sumaryanns lived in Mesopotato, so the universe is about 5,550 years old.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:57 pm |
        • LaBella

          Devin,
          And yet the man you quoted is the man who came up with the method for aging the universe.
          Hint, he didn't say it was less than 6000 years old.
          You should probably find out about the people you quote mine from.

          TF:
          Non sequitur.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          LaBella

          Hint: You may want to brush up on your sarcasm detection skills.

          July 15, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
        • LaBella

          Devin, you didn't use the sarcasm font, you used the young earth font.
          One can get easily confused, as the young earth don't is used very often here; although it is sometimes indistinguishable from the sarcasm font, I will admit.

          July 15, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
        • LaBella

          Young earth font
          Dyac

          July 15, 2014 at 6:18 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          LaBella

          Sorry, I thought the "Sumaryann's" and "Mesopotato" would have been enough to tip you off.

          July 15, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
        • igaftr

          "5,550 years old"

          Hilarious devin. There are living things on the earth that are older than that. How do you explain that?

          July 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
        • djangoboy

          igaftr: "5,550 years old"
          Hilarious devin. There are living things on the earth that are older than that. How do you explain that?

          Perhaps he's thinking in dog years?

          July 16, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          iga

          Scan up a few replies and read my follow up to LaBella. Perhaps you'll be able to put 2 and 2 together.

          July 16, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        "The nature of God is not to be found within any part of the findings of science. For that, one must turn to the gaps."

        **fixed**

        July 14, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          But that was not the wordage chosen by the primitive man with the Ph.D. in physics.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:48 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          devin,

          It doesn't matter what his degree was in or his level of education...in that quote he is making claims he cannot back up other than through assertions. His quote is no different than Bill O'Reilly when he said "tide goes in, tide goes out....you can't explain that". Thereby insinuating he (and the good Dr. here) can explain it by inserting god into the "gap".

          July 15, 2014 at 12:03 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          As I mentioned to another poster, the OP's initial post gave the implication that only primitive people could be the beneficiaries of the Bible's teachings. Simply not true. The context had absolutely nothing to do whether or not the writer of the quote could "back it up", prove it. or otherwise verify it. That's a whole other discussion.

          How's your summer going Cheese?

          July 15, 2014 at 12:14 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Well 2 things devin,

          First, even I will admit there are things in the bible that benefit me...so I do agree with you there.

          Second, my response was only to the quote you posted and my thoughts concerning it.

          But my summer is going pretty well. I am working hard and playing hard. I am lucky enough to be able to send my kids to camp which they are thoroughly enjoying. Get so busy that I look forward to the fall slow down. How bout you, are you having a good summer? Not too busy in the ER I hope....

          July 15, 2014 at 12:37 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Well, I know our perspectives on the bible are polar opposites, but I'm glad you are able to derive some benefit from it.

          Yeah, with that whole quote thing. I find it really unfortunate that so many on this site feel the need to resort to portraying the Scriptures as primitive, something no modern, intellectual being would embrace. If one wants to outright reject the bible, define it as bronze age mythology, whatever, that's fine. I get it. But when an attempt is made to convey the impression that there are no intellectually competent people who have thought through the issues extensively, and who have considered what they believe to be significant evidence for their faith, then the issue becomes one of sincerity. Not directing this at you.

          Glad your able to get your kids off to camp. Sounds like they are still fairly young so I will encourage you to cherish the moments, they go by too fast. My third is heading off to college in a month. I'm having a hard time with it, C'est la vie.

          You have a better memory than I, didn't remember divulging my work environment ( anonymity is a good thing here). Most of my time is actually spent in ICU, and as to be expected it is tends to be stressful. It does, however, keep me grounded in reality. Seeing human beings on a daily basis making the transition from life to death, often in an acute context, lends it self to the constant recognition of the transience of life. Something we can all agree on no matter what our perspective is on what comes next.

          July 15, 2014 at 1:26 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          devin,

          The bible does have some good stuff in it. I just don't see anything that leads me to believe it is in any way divine. That point is one of the reasons I have rejected christianity. Honestly, I think when people attack it, it has more to do with the claim it comes from god and how absurd that claims seems given the writing and its overall history. If it was compared as just another collection of ancient, man-made, literature I don't think there wouldn't be the polemic responses. Its the divine claim that brings that on. When some people say what a wonderful "perfect" book it is, the response is going to be that it is a POS with no redeeming qualities, and to point out the awful stuff, the contradictions and the ignorance both morally and philosophically. For a man made creation it is fine, for a "god inspired" book I find it lacking to say the least.

          Yeah you mentioned your work in the past, I know that is a tough, stressful job. Didn't mean to divulge anything.

          July 15, 2014 at 2:36 am |
        • djangoboy

          "The nature of God is not to be found within any part of the findings of science. For that, one must turn to the gaps."

          But then what happens as the gaps get filled in with knowledge? God seems to keep retreating.

          There may always be things that we cannot measure or comprehend. That doesn't mean that a supernatural being provides the explanation.

          July 16, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
      • G to the T

        Argument from incredulaty.

        July 15, 2014 at 9:18 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Obviously you did not comprehend the argument.

          July 15, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
        • colin31714

          Actually, he didn't misunderstand the argument. Your argument is a classic case of "I don't understand it, so [my particular] god did it. Your logic is flawed and your inability to understand why is surprising (well, maybe not)

          July 15, 2014 at 5:52 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Ddeevviinn,
          The person you quoted was making an argument from nicredulity.

          G to the T,
          I think ddeevviinn's point was that one non-primitive person refutes unsername's argument.

          Although, that is icorrect also as one believer does not show who it was written by or for.

          July 15, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          Midwest

          " One" of many.

          July 15, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          Colin

          This really isn't that hard. Is reading comprehension and lucid thought really that rare of a commodity these days?

          Again, for the third time, there was no attempt to prove anything. Op implied that only primitive individuals will find value in the bible, I pointed out the blatant inaccuracy of his statement with the quote. If you find yourself still unable to grasp this very simple concept, I'm afraid there is nothing else I can do for you. But please feel free to continue putting your spin on it.

          Oh, be sure to give my regards to Seth.

          July 15, 2014 at 7:28 pm |
  6. observer

    Theo Phileo,

    Did you miss this part of the Bible where God CHANGED his mind?

    (Eze. 18:3,20) “As I live," declares the Lord God, "you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore.” “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”

    July 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
  7. kenmargo

    I'm not an Israeli or Palestinian so I don't have a dog in the fight. The Palestinians (Hamas) have got to do a better job for their people. Other than cursing/bombing Israel, What good does Hamas do. The Palestinians got to get the people on their side that can help them improve.

    July 14, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
  8. Peaceadvocate2014

    Joey,

    What is disgusting? It may sound disgusting to you but it is a possibility.

    July 14, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Opps. Meant as a reply to joey not a post.

      July 14, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Peaceadvocate2014", but it is, in fact, disgusting.

      July 14, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        Lol. Wevonly want to hear the good stuff but not the bad. How could we have an objective view if we dont look at both.

        July 14, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Right Bill below (sarcasm). Both sides , all sides not just israel.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
  9. Bill

    Israel has the right to defend its nation!

    It's neighbors have to accept this fact and learn to live in peace with Israel.

    Israel should not have to compromise on its territory or have to negotiate what belongs to Israel! Israel has the right to a peaceful existence and defend itself against violence.

    July 14, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Stop listening to the conspiracy theories and do some actual research...Israel is in the wrong here. Those fighting for Israel are no better than Hitler, they won't stop until all Palestinians are dead. How you see that as good is beyond logic.

      July 14, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
    • Brad Reynolds

      The origin of the Arabs in the land dates back to eons much before the Israelis were born. At least those from S.East Asia seem to think so-hindus and Muslims have been going at it(over some sacred birth place) for a few centuries now. Most don't realize the problem unless it happens in their own backyard. It is always easy to stand on lofty pedestal and preach to Israel as long as the land does not belong to you.

      July 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
    • igaftr

      Bill
      You don't know what you are talking about.
      Since Isreal became a country again, they have been expanding their borders. They are the agressors. They illegally take over land and then claim the right to it, then need a "buffer zone" to protect the stolen land, so then take more.

      For every Isreali killed 6 Palestinians die. Isreal has wiped out over 28,000 homes, while they have lost virtually none.

      You should really look carefully at the history before posting something that is so misinformed.

      July 14, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        Since Isreal became a country again, they have been expanding their borders. They are the agressors
        -----------------------
        Well, the land of Israel extendsfrom the river Egypt (Wadi Al Arish) as far as the river Euphrates, all the land of Canaan. And when the Bible prophesied the re-insti.tution of Israel as a nation after her diaspora (Amos 9:14-15, Ezekiel 37:10-14, Isaiah 66:7-8), it was said that they would never again be uprooted. (Grant Jeffrey has even said that Ezekiel predicted the exact day when Israel would be re-established – Ezekiel 4:3-6)

        Despite many centuries of exile, many Jews returned to Israel and reclaimed sovereignty over a very small portion of their ancient homeland. This declaration of independence, in 1948, triggered a war with the surrounding countries, which objected to the presence of a Jewish state. On May 15, 1948, the day that armies from the surrounding countries invaded, Azzam Pasha, the Secretary General of the Arab League, said “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.” Similar quotes were uttered by others during the war of 1948-49 and during the two major wars that followed. Despite its tiny size, Israel prevailed in these wars, preventing its people from being uprooted again, as they had been in ancient times.

        Here's the point. The land is rightly due to Israel. When she was dispersed from her land by her enemies, squatters took over. All that Israel has done is to reclaim that which is rightly hers, and so she should.

        July 14, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • tallulah131

          The bible is not a deed. It is not evidence. It is simply an old book of myths. Israel is creating this conflict by taking what does not belong to them. The Palestinians have every right to fight for their homes. I would in their shoes, and if you were honest, you'd admit the same.

          July 14, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          The bible is not a deed.
          -------------–
          I agree. But it does record legal deeds. The land belonging to Israel is one of those deeds.

          It is not evidence.
          -------------
          Really? Up until the 1990's, the scientific community did not believe that there was any "evidence" to the existence of the House of David, then an inscription was found that changed all of that. Even in that time, the Bible was EVIDENCE of the line of David. The same is true with the deeds of Israel's land.

          The scientific naturalist says:
          "“Only those things which can be objectively and empirically verified are true.” But this statement is proved false, because it cannot be objectively or empirically verified as being true…

          It is simply an old book of myths.
          --------------–
          Really? Like the "myth" of the House of David?

          Israel is creating this conflict by taking what does not belong to them.
          -------------------–
          I'm sorry, you'd have to prove that the land doesn't belong to them.

          The Palestinians have every right to fight for their homes.
          -----------------------
          Calling people there "Palestinians" is like calling Canadians "Americans" because they live in North America. Palestine is a geographical area, not a nation, and not a people. (Biblically speaking)

          I would in their shoes, and if you were honest, you'd admit the same.
          ---------------–
          The Arabs who have taken up residence in the lands originally deeded to Israel have the right to become national Israelites once all of her original boundaries have been re-established.

          July 14, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • LaBella

          So....you would have zero problem with the NA taking back your land because it belonged to them thousands of years ago, Theo? Okay.

          July 14, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "Really?"

          Yes, really.

          Surely you realize that books of fiction often contain aspects of reality? Having SOME truth doesn't make the bible a work of non-fiction any more than Green Eggs and Ham is a work of non-fiction just because ham truly exists.

          July 14, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • tallulah131

          The bible is not a deed. It is not a legal document. It records some ancient history, but that's it. It has no legal bearing on what is happening today. The Palestinians lived that land. Israel took that land. The Palestinians have every right to defend their homes. I would do the same. If you were honest, you'd admit that you would, too.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          So....you would have zero problem with the NA taking back your land because it belonged to them thousands of years ago, Theo? Okay.
          --------------
          I live in North Georgia, and personally, I'd MUCH rather pay my taxes to the Cherokee Nation than to the US Government.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • James XCIX

          Theo – "The land is rightly due to Israel. When she was dispersed from her land by her enemies, squatters took over. All that Israel has done is to reclaim that which is rightly hers..."

          And so goes the argument for so many wars, not just those with Israel. The fact is, the land any nation possesses today is the result of conquest, often after changing hands many times after many different conquests. That's just the way "owning" land works for nations. To claim some land should be yours today just because it used to be long ago, before you were conquered, is silly, since those who you conquered could say the same, and so on, ad nauseum.

          And to say that some land is yours because a supernatural being says so, well, you can hardly expect anyone who doesn't believe in your supernatural being to agree with that reasoning.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          SeaVik,
          Seems like you take the Jeffersonian view of scripture – that is, the Bible is true if you first take all the miraculous stuff out of it.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • LaBella

          Not what I asked.
          You would have no problem with the NA forcibly removing you and bulldozing your house because they once owned your property?

          July 14, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo

          Thomas Jefferson was an extremely smart man with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. He tried to create an INTELLIGENT version of the Bible with much of the seeming nonsense out of it.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          You would have no problem with the NA forcibly removing you and bulldozing your house because they once owned your property?
          -----------–
          I seriously doubt that's what Israel would want should the squatters be willing to become Israelis. Deporation would be a logistical and costly nightmare that I doubt anyone would want. (Just look at how we're handling illegals here!) Hey, if the US gave back all of its lands to the original Americans, I'd have no problem claiming my residence in the Cherokee Nation. My wife is Cherokee Melungeon on her dad's side anyway.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "Seems like you take the Jeffersonian view of scripture – that is, the Bible is true if you first take all the miraculous stuff out of it."

          Not really. My view is that the bible has been proven wrong on so many points that I would never consider it a source of information on anything. Again, pretty much all works of fiction have SOME aspects of reality to give the story context.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Thomas Jefferson was an extremely smart man with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. He tried to create an INTELLIGENT version of the Bible with much of the seeming nonsense out of it.
          ------------------
          He may have been smart in some areas of life, and having been a residential architect myself, I respect his insights in architecture. But when it comes to theology and hermeneutics, he was unfortunately but a babe. Just because a man may be an expert in ONE field, that does not make him an expert in ALL fields.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo

          "Just because a man may be an expert in ONE field, that does not make him an expert in ALL fields"

          True, but he also analyzed every word of the Bible which gave him a far greater knowledge of what it said that probably more than 90% of all Christians.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • Doris

          Why in the world did you even bring Thomas Jefferson into this discussion about land rights, Theo?

          July 14, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          SeaVik,
          No, the Bible has not been proven wrong in anything that it speaks upon.
          The problem is rather with scientists who are entirely too prone to applying overextending applications of conclusions that are based upon preconceived worldviews when examining data.

          For instance...
          Observation:
          It is observed that animals have the ability to adapt somewhat to their environment.
          Conclusion:
          It may be possible that, over time, aquatic life may be able to adapt to terresterial life, should environmental factors be drammatic enough.
          Application:
          All animals evolved.

          Overextending applications based upon conclusions brought about by preconceived worldviews while observing data. And in so doing, the scientist has LEFT the world of science, and has now entered the relm of BELIEF.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "No, the Bible has not been proven wrong in anything that it speaks upon."

          Uh huh. We know – you think the earth is thousands of years old. Unfortunately, you and your bible have been proven wrong. The only real question is, do you know that you're in deep denial or not?

          July 14, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          True, but he also analyzed every word of the Bible which gave him a far greater knowledge of what it said that probably more than 90% of all Christians.
          ---------------------
          That's true. I've been saying that for years... Too many Christians DONT read their Bibles, and most have no idea what it says.

          But, just because he read the Bible, that doesn't mean that he understood what he was reading.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • LaBella

          Good, Theo,you would have no problem giving up your home, since you are a squatter, also.
          How do you reconcile land being granted to form the new nation of Israel with your assertion that the relatives of those settling within the new nation deserved their fate in the Holocaust?

          July 14, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Unfortunately, you and your bible have been proven wrong
          ----------------
          As I said, overextending applications based upon conclusions brought about by preconceived worldviews while observing data. The kind of thing that comes from watching "Planet of the Apes" as if it's a scientific doc.umentary.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          In biblical times, Israel and Canaan were much different in size than subsequent territories with those names. Also are you saying that the land use rights historical residents trump those of current residents?

          July 14, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • Doris

          But since you brought it up, Theo, let's take a look at our Deistically-influenced Consti.tutional founders:

          Jefferson: claimed to read and write six languages: Ancient Greek, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, and English. After his death, a number of other books, dictionaries, and grammar manuals in various languages were found in Jefferson's library, suggesting that he studied additional languages beyond those he spoke and wrote well. Among these were books in Arabic, Gaelic, and Welsh.

          Madison: began his studies of Latin at the age of twelve and had mastered Greek and Latin by the time he entered the College of New Jersey, later Princeton University. He produced many translations of Latin works, including translations of Grotius, Pufendorf, and Vattel. He also studied Horace and Ovid. He learned Greek as an admissions requirement for higher college learning. While in college, Madison learned to speak and read Hebrew. When he could have graduated, Madison remained at college for an additional year to study ethics and Hebrew in greater depth.

          Then we also have these Deistically-influenced Presidents:

          John Tyler: excelled at school, where he learned both Latin and Greek.

          John Adams: learned to read Latin at a young age In preparation for attending Harvard University, Adams attended a school for improving his Latin skills . While posted in France, Adams became fluent in French.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • James XCIX

          Theo – "But, just because he read the Bible, that doesn't mean that he understood what he was reading"

          So, is it your position that those who read the Bible but reach different conclusions about it than you reach must not have the ability to understand what they are reading?

          July 14, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          LaBella
          If I understand your question, Mark 11:12-22 because of Deuteronomy 28:15-68 and backed up by Matthew 23:13-16. But, because Hebrews 12:6, there will be Ezekiel 16 which will bring about Zechariah 12-13.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • igaftr

          theo.
          Isreal has no right to the land that USED to be Isreal. None.
          They are the aggressors.
          See the dokumentary "5 broken cameras" ...it shows quite clearly the aggressive tactics of the Isrealis on stealing land.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • LaBella

          In Santa We Trust
          "In biblical times, Israel and Canaan were much different in size than subsequent territories with those names. Also are you saying that the land use rights historical residents trump those of current residents?"

          This seems to be exactly what Theo is suggesting.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          So, is it your position that those who read the Bible but reach different conclusions about it than you reach must not have the ability to understand what they are reading?
          ------------–
          Not at all. Those who come up with meaning that does not agree with the Analogia Scriptura need to rethink it.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • James XCIX

          Theo – "Those who come up with meaning that does not agree with the Analogia Scriptura need to rethink it."

          The analogia scriptura, as I understand it, is basically just an idea that says nothing in the Bible can be contradictory with another part of the Bible. Interesting, but strange, idea to just announce ahead of time that nothing you are about to read can possibly be contradictory, so if you see contradictory ideas you're obviously not reading it correctly.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • LaBella

          As you are a follower of Luther and seem to hold great stock in everything that he said, it is of little surprise that you would think the Jewish people deserved their fate during the Holocaust, Theo.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          As you are a follower of Luther and seem to hold great stock in everything that he said, it is of little surprise that you would think the Jewish people deserved their fate during the Holocaust, Theo.
          -------------------
          Firstly, I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be a follower of Luther. Neither have I ever stated that I agree with everything he ever said or did.

          What happened to the Jews during the holocaust was yet another in a long line of results of their violation of their covenant with God found in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 that started with the 1st Temple's destruction by the Babylonians in 586BC, then the desecration of the 2nd Temple by Antiochus Epiphanes in 215-164BC depicted in Daniel 9, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, and so on, and so on, even to this day.

          July 14, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Theo phileo,
          Israel's boundaries are determined by the most recent treaties not "the original deeded" land. If we even had an "original", it would probably mention Neanderthals.

          July 14, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo

          So the self-proclaimed Christian Hitler and the Holocaust were God's punishment for something that happened THOUSANDS of years ago by people who died THOUSANDS of YEARS AGO.

          Why do you like to portray God as a heartless monster?

          July 14, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "As I said, overextending applications based upon conclusions brought about by preconceived worldviews while observing data."

          And then you provided an incredibly weak example of wildly jumping to conclude with the theory of evolution, as if there hasn't been endless evidence to support it.

          Do you really not see the deep irony of you claiming that scientists base their conclusions on some "world view"? It reminds me of the Seinfeld when George won't date a bald woman and Elaine says, "YOU'RE BALD!". Theo, YOU HAVE A WORLD VIEW, science does not. You have a book that you won't budge from even when all evidence is against it. You are the definition of a pre-determined outcome despite all evidence.

          July 14, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          So the self-proclaimed Christian Hitler
          -----------------
          Well, I can claim to be a car, but that doesn't make me one.

          ...the Holocaust were God's punishment for something that happened THOUSANDS of years ago by people who died THOUSANDS of YEARS AGO.
          -------------------
          Well, if Israel would repent (Zechariah 12-13) then God would quit the chastisement of her. But, as is prophesied, that will not occur until the end of days.

          Why do you like to portray God as a heartless monster?
          --------------------–
          Your interpretation of God is between you and Him.

          July 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • igaftr

          "What happened to the Jews during the holocaust was yet another in a long line of results of their violation of their covenant with God"

          Seriously? By all means show the direct cause and effect relationship. This will of course require you to prove the existance of YOUR god.
          Until then we will have to go with the MAN did it, and not god did it.

          It amazes me that you seriously think "god" is punishing these people for some ridiculous slight that you think god felt. Your god truly is a vindictive thing if you are correct...now time for you to prove it theo...since I know ahead of time you cannot show any cause and effect relationship, we'll just throw your nonsense ouit.

          July 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo

          Sorry you missed the question. Here it is again –

          Why do you like to portray God as a heartless monster?

          July 14, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          ...cause and effect relationship...
          -------------
          Read Deuteronomy 28:15-68 and Mark 11:12-22.

          July 14, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • igaftr

          no theo
          that is a reference to a story book. It does not show any cause and effect relationship.
          A cause and effect relationship requires evidence, proof. Not a story.
          Try again.

          July 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Why do you like to portray God as a heartless monster?
          -------------–
          God is not "heartless monster," He is "Just Judge."

          If your spouse openly cheated on you with another, and then boasted about it to the whole town, you might be inclined to abandon her to her lover. That is what God has done to Israel. She has prosti.tuted herself to other "gods" who are indeed not God, and God has actively as well as passively chastised her by abandoning her to the unintended consequences of her actions. He does this that He might bring about her repentance, and she return to Him who was her first love.

          July 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "Well, I can claim to be a car, but that doesn't make me one."

          True. And you can pretend to be an authority on what a "real" Christian is, but that doesn't make that true either. The ambiguity of what it means to be Christian is a key feature that has allowed it to survive despite the fact that it's based on a book of fiction. Every time something written in the bible is disproved, Christians can just re-interpret the religion to be consistent with reality. Afterall, most Christians, despite believing in a sky fairy, think that taking the bible literally is a step too far off the sanity scale. And then there are those like you Theo, who hold on to views that directly conflict with what we know to be true.

          July 14, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
        • Vic

          I just would like to point out that the Jews are not singled out by God anymore since the "Message of the Gospel" of the Lord Jesus Christ became ecumenical. If someone is to be chastised by God in this lifetime for not believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, that would be anyone, Jewish or not. The "New Covenant" of God through the Lord Jesus Christ is with everyone.

          It is not up to humans to make Biblical prophecies come to pass and whenever desired!

          July 14, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
        • idiotusmaximus

          The “New Covenant” of God through the Lord Jesus Christ is with everyone....

          Total fantasy crap...it boggles the mind that supposedly grown up people believe this garbage.!

          July 14, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
        • LaBella

          Oh, sorry, Theo, I thought since you shared Luther's disapproval of the Jewish people, you were a follower.

          And you are wrong on the Jewish people's deserving their deaths in the Holocaust. That is wholly monstrous. And using the Hebrew Bible as a weapon to justify your views is a double slap in the face; I pray you learn some empathy, of which, for all of your words and apparent knowledge, you seemed never to have grasped.

          July 14, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
        • redzoa

          "Observation:
          It is observed that animals have the ability to adapt somewhat to their environment.
          Conclusion:
          It may be possible that, over time, aquatic life may be able to adapt to terresterial life, should environmental factors be drammatic enough.
          Application:
          All animals evolved."

          Well, this does leave out a host of other observations ranging from phylogenetic analyses linking aquatic forms to terrestrial forms to a fossil record evidencing transitional forms from water to land and back to water to the presence of vestigial molecular and anatomical structures in terrestrial forms and those aquatic forms with terrestrial ancestry (e.g. retention of hind limbs in some cetacean forms), etc, etc. There is a distinct difference in the "belief" derived from testable and empirical physical evidence which is repeatedly validated via successful predictions and applications in medicine, agriculture, engineering, etc, and the "belief" of those who rely on alleged supernatural, divinely-inspired narratives where the only application for these "beliefs" is apologetics. Also, the order of creation in the genesis narrative is directly contradicted by the available physical evidence, e.g. Gen – seed/fruit trees before fish v. fossil record – seed/fruit trees long after marine life; Gen – birds before land animals v. fossil record – birds evolved from land animals, etc.

          July 15, 2014 at 2:11 am |
      • LaBella

        You understood my question, Theo.
        I find it beyond absurd that you think it's fine for Israel to continue their land grab when you think the Jewish people are damned for being Jewish in the first place.
        Your opinion is all over the place.

        July 14, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          when you think the Jewish people are damned for being Jewish in the first place.
          ------------–
          Jews are not damned... They're being scourged and chastened for their repentance. BIG difference.

          July 14, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • James XCIX

          Hello LaBella –

          As I understand Theo's position, since the Jews endured such a massive collective persecution, it must have been a punishment from their god. Since the Old Testament is full of instances where their god indiscriminately passes collective judgement on an entire group, innocent along with the guilty, this point of view can probably be considered Biblically "valid". I think it's a cold, twisted point of view, but it's hard to point out how it is un-Biblical.

          As for Israel reclaiming "their' land, since that event is "foretold" in the Bible, that would also be something I would expect Theo to support (again, I don't agree with that idea, but I think I understand where the idea comes from).

          July 14, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • LaBella

          For WHAT, Theo? For WHAT? How in the hell can you possibly take the position that the 6 million Jewish people who perished in the Holocaust were being "scourged and chastised"?

          You have studied the Bible so much that it has allowed you to excuse the unthinkable. Hooray for you.

          July 14, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          For WHAT, Theo? For WHAT?
          ------------
          For the apostasy and bankruptcy of Judaism that permitted them to deny and then murder their Messiah, and that same apostasy continues to this day. (Mark 11:12-22)

          July 14, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
        • LaBella

          Hi, James-
          It's an untenable position to hold, but I can see how one who lets the Bible do all their thinking for them would come to that conclusion.

          July 14, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • James XCIX

          For what it's worth, I believe Jews debate among themselves whether or not the holocaust was punishment from their god. I'm pretty sure, however, that none of them would consider the cause to be the same cause Theo would propose (denying Jesus as the Messiah).

          July 14, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • LaBella

          So you think that the Jewish people deserved to die in the Holocaust because of what happened in 33AD?!? What about the other 6 million? God's collateral damage?

          Rubbish. Baloney.

          July 14, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • LaBella

          (My last post was to Theo, not James.)

          July 14, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
    • Brad Reynolds

      In other words, ask a hindi whether it's prepared to forgo the "sacred" land that it thinks it belongs to it to a Muslim. When it does so, it can contribute its two cents worth in "dong" to this conversation about Israel.

      July 14, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Bill,

      Do indians, mayans, incas, palestinians or any individual, etc have the same rights?

      July 14, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
  10. His Panic

    No doubts about it! All of these people DO NOT Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son
    That is why they all go from anxiety to mass hysteria, to brawls, stampedes, riots, revolts, revolutions, violence, hatred and eventually all ends up in a total State of Panic. Those are the Facts.

    July 14, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
  11. Dalahäst

    "If I find Him with great ease, perhaps He is not my God.
    If I cannot hope to find Him at all, is He my God?
    If I find Him wherever I wish, have I found Him?

    If He can find me whenever He wishes, and tells me Who He is and who I am, and if I then know that He Whom I could not find has found me: then I know He is the Lord, my God: He has touched me with the finger that made me out of nothing."

    -Thomas Merton

    July 13, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
    • Reality

      Thomas "Father Louis" Merton, another brainwashed mind !!

      And before Merton, someone who put it all together:

      "The Two Universal Sects

      They all err—Moslems, Jews,
      Christians, and Zoroastrians:

      Humanity follows two world-wide sects:

      One, man intelligent without religion,

      The second, religious without intellect. "

      Al-Ma'arri
      , born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .

      Al-Ma’arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth."

      Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/resalat-al-ghufran#ixzz1lI6DuZmZ and http://www.humanistictexts.org/al_ma'arri.htm

      July 13, 2014 at 11:21 pm |
    • tallulah131

      There is no evidence to support the existence of any of the thousands of gods humans have ever worshiped, so it doesn't matter what any theologian says. it's all just talk.

      July 14, 2014 at 12:08 am |
  12. fkahodor

    "ragansteve1
    I am certainly no authority on either comparative religions or morality. But I do seem to recall that for the primary moral tenets, most major religions agree. Don't kill people, don't steal; don't commit adultery; and, so on. Clearly there are significant theological differences among the major religions, but in terms of morality, it is my understanding that most agree."

    so, if there is agreement on the nature of morality from most religions, wouldn't that make holding specific, e.g. christian, religious beliefs even more arbitrary? why assume that one religion is the correct religion if there is little difference between what matters in terms of goodness and value within each one? i imagine it comes down to these "theological differences" to which you refer, but then i don't know why those differences should matter either/at all.

    July 13, 2014 at 6:10 pm |
    • fkahodor

      considering that theological beliefs are irrational (that is, they obtain despite a lack of evidence) why hold specific religious / theological views at all? is it geographical-filial? do other specific religions just not fit with your personality? it just seems arbitrary to me to favor one set of unverifiable claims over any other.

      i suppose it's possible that some deity exists without anybody being able to perceive it, but having an entire worldview hinge on this possibility seems reckless, especially when we attribute a bunch of specific claims, details and an ever-evolving incredible story to this purportedly imperceptible being.

      July 13, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Hodor!

        July 13, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
    • Vic

      Knowledge is tricky—it's like Energy & Entropy, the more you acquire of it, the less free your mindset becomes.

      I've seen this come up frequently here but I don't know what started it. However, it is relevant since I believe the conflict in the Holy Land is of an ideological nature.

      Christianity is the only belief system that proclaims "Time Dispensations" and "Redemption/Salvation by Grace." Other belief systems proclaim 'merit-based redemption' that leads one into a state of constant contemplation of keeping scores, self-righteousness, and adherence to barbaric punitive laws. "Salvation by the Grace of God through Faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior" in Christianity, on the other hand, puts the Lord Jesus Christ center stage and leads the believer into a state of rest, peace, and constant reverence for and personal relationship with God. The Lord Jesus Christ is our focus.

      Christianity is God's "New Covenant," hence the reign of the "Dispensation of Grace," and the end of the "Old Covenant," hence the end of the "Dispensation of Law;" it is the culmination of God's plan for redemption. Right now, we are still in the "Dispensation of Grace" and awaiting the "Dispensation of the Millennial Kingdom."

      Since we are not in the "Dispensation of Law" anymore, I believe morality is a civil matter rather than an ecclesiastical one thereafter; it is part of God's everlasting "Natural Revelation," of which is the "Natural Law." We can easily detect that God made "right or wrong," hence "morality," inherent in us.

      Now, the ideological differences between various belief systems that bring about conflict, e.g. the Holy Land, are of a fundamental level and concern "Who God Is & what His method of redemption is."

      Early on:
      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/07/08/eye-for-an-eye-the-bibles-role-in-revenge-attacks/comment-page-4/#comment-3044579

      July 13, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
      • tallulah131

        "Other belief systems proclaim 'merit-based redemption' "

        So what you are saying, Vic, is that christianity does not require that a person actually deserve or earn their reward. How real is redemption if it comes without effort? No wonder christianity is a refuge for scoundrels and the week-willed.

        July 13, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Very good Tallulah, you are catching on. No one deserves it. No one can earn it. It is the gift of God.

          July 13, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          It's more ultimatum than gift...

          July 13, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
        • observer

          Can any Christian explain why they would brag about a religion that doesn't believe in rewards for being good or punishment for being bad since you can just pass the buck to someone who died 2,000 years ago. Doesn't anyone believe in RESPONSIBILITY for their actions?

          July 13, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Observer,

          While it is true that salvation is not earned, it doesn't mean that Christians aren't rewarded/punished for behavior. I have been both blessed and chastised by God.

          July 13, 2014 at 11:04 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Blessed,

          You are focussing on the ultimate consequence of rejecting the offer. Concerned? Appalled?

          July 13, 2014 at 11:08 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Robert,

          I can't reject an offer that isn't real.

          But if I was to assign a word to the concept...I would go with "unconscionable".

          July 13, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Frankly Robert, that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Anything of value is worth earning. Any god who only rewards sycophants and suck-ups is not a god I could ever worship.

          July 14, 2014 at 12:17 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Observer
          – Can any Christian explain why they would brag about a religion that doesn't believe in rewards for being good or punishment for being bad since you can just pass the buck to someone who died 2,000 years ago. Doesn't anyone believe in RESPONSIBILITY for their actions?

          I'm not a Christian who brags about a religion that doesn't believe in rewards for being good or punishment for being bad since I can just pass the buck to someone who died 2,00o years ago, so I can't speak for them. But I am a follow of Jesus. And I am responsible for my actions and behaviors. I definitely believe in taking responsibility for my actions. What I do matters. And my actions speak louder than my words. I believe God wants me to be a person who makes good decisions, not because I'm trying to please some deity, but because it is the right thing to do.

          July 14, 2014 at 10:58 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I think being raised in a society that teaches that American capitalism as an ideal way to live may have trouble understanding how we don't earn God's love. It took me (and I still have to work on it) a while to understand. It is more about accepting it, not trying to do something to earn it. God already loves us.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:14 am |
        • bostontola

          I was never taught that capitalism was ideal. It was more along the lines of Churchill's dictum on Democracy; it's the worst economic system, except for all the others.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • tallulah131

          The rewards of christianity are easily given because it's very easy to give away something that does not exist. It's very easy to promise a gift that will not be delivered until after death. What I find amazing is that there are people who fall for this con.

          July 14, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Uh, I haven't been promised any rewards that will be delivered after death. I'm not sure who taught you that, but it doesn't describe my beliefs. You are describing something that is way too self-centered. Think more self-lessly to get at what Jesus teaches.

          July 14, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Dala, you have shown time and again that you can't prove anything. Your religion has no substance. It's very easy to promise something that does not exist, and that is all you do.

          July 14, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          What do you imagine is being promised?

          I'm not sure what you are describing. It is possible you have a misunderstanding.

          July 14, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
      • kudlak

        "the less free your mindset becomes"
        If you mean that, the more knowledge you acquire, the less likely it becomes to ignore the fact that Christianity if full of inconsistencies, illogic, and other problems, then yes. If you desire a mindset that can easily ignore all of Christianity's faults, then avoid acquiring knowledge by all means.

        Alos, I really don't see the Christian system as superior to other religions at all. Justification by faith alone takes almost all the emphasis away from morality. By not "keeping score", all one need do to get the reward of a positive afterlife is to convert in the last minutes of life. This leaves heaven open to the very worse that humanity has to offer, who are free to terrorize others for the vast majority of their lives knowing that Christianity will forgive them any evil as long as they show remorse at the end. What kind of justice is that? It's the religious equivalent of having a "get out of hell free" card. I

        n contrast with religions that stress a lifelong working towards being the best person you can be Christianity could require very little effort in order to gain the same reward. Saying that "perfection" prevents people from earning their way into God's heart is just nonsense. Why should we be judged on such an impossible standard?

        July 13, 2014 at 8:35 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Kudlak,

          Part of your post reminds me of one of the parables Jesus told. One person came to work first thing in the morning and agreed to work all day for $1. Another person shows up a few hours later and agrees to work the rest of the day for $1. This continues until the day is almost over, each person that comes in to work agrees to the same wage. When the day is over and everyone is paid, the ones who came in early were upset that the ones who came in late were paid the same. The boss basically says you agreed to the wage.

          Also, Christians don't keep score, so to speak, but we do our best to obey God, not because we are trying to earn salvation, but because we are thankful for the gift.

          July 13, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          @Robert

          "jesus said ..." you say.

          It's a delusional statement really. We have absolutely NO idea of anything your book character may or may not have said or done. In a time when stories were passed on verbally and people had no idea of how the world worked and so wanted their "god" to be bigger and better than the next man's god, the stories just got better and bigger and more far fetched. You couldn't trust the accuracy or the authenticity of a story written down a month after the supposed happening, much less something written down the staggering 60 years, 100 years, 200 years after all the "jesus said" and "jesus did" parts of the bible supposedly happened. And even more laughable is that the "jesus" parts were written by people who weren't even there when it was supposedly said or done!!!

          July 14, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • kudlak

          Robert Brown
          But I wouldn't agree to that wage if I knew the conditions, and most workers use to how labor is paid would assume that you'd get paid more the longer you actually work, because that actually makes sense, right? That parable just doesn't make any practical sense. It's OK if you happen to buy into it as a Christian, but it shouldn't irk against those who choose not to work for your weird boss.

          July 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
      • djangoboy

        "... and awaiting the "Dispensation of the Millennial Kingdom.""

        And still awaiting, and awaiting, and ...

        You'd think after almost 2000 years people would wise up.

        July 13, 2014 at 8:38 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Django,

          Thankfully, God is very patient. I think he knows when the last person will accept Christ. When that happens then it will be time to wrap things up. Could he be waiting for you?

          July 13, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
        • djangoboy

          If he's waiting for me, he's got a long wait coming, indeed.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        Vic,
        Just out of curiousity,

        What is the basis for these "dispensations"?
        How do you reconcile them with a supposed unchanging God and unchanging morality?
        If "morality is a civil matter rather than an ecclesiastical one", then why refer to the spiritual/religion/bible at all in moral matters?

        July 13, 2014 at 8:50 pm |
        • Vic

          The Biblical accounts of God-to-human relationship and affairs going from the very obvious to the very mysterious, starting with creation and going through a multitude of stages, the fall, the expulsion and curse, trials and covenants, rebellion and Law, culminating with God's "Ultimate Provision" for Salvation, the "Good News" of the Lord Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, the "New Covenant," the "Millennial Kingdom" to come, the end of time, and the afterlife, are the basis for the Christian Theology on "Time Dispensations."

          Regarding your second fold, God Himself is unchanging; it is out of His Grace that He kept renewing His Covenants with man who could not keep and broke them until He (God) made the "Ultimate Provision" for our redemption by the "Ultimate Sacrifice" of His only begotten Son, the "Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ," the "New Covenant," the "Good News"—Salvation, hence, the method of redemption is what changed. In other words, morality has not changed, rather, the method for redemption has changed from merit-based (Law) to Grace (Gift of Salvation.)

          Last but not least, we can always use the Bible for good teachings. What is given to us by "Natural Revelation," of which is the "Natural Law," was once part of God's Law† for redemption and we can learn from what's applicable to to maintain order that we need in this lifetime. I always think of it as Alcoholics Anonymous.

          † God brought the Law before to show human how sinful and short of Glory he/she is and that he/she needs God for redemption, hence, it was the shadow of Christ to come.

          July 13, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Vic,
          So there is no actual reference in the Bible to these "dispensations", correct, even by other terms. It is someone's or some group's interpretation of the different changes in the rules on how to be moral. Is that close?

          July 13, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
        • Doris

          Vic called a bunch of things something and talked about new club rules for those following the NT. It made me think of British Petroleum changing to BP PLC back in 2001. Of course after that Gulf disaster, they'd probably like to change it to something else...

          July 13, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
        • Vic

          Your follow up question is inconsistent with your first inquiry.

          To reiterate, the terms created, sin, expulsion, curse, covenants, Law, Salvation, etc., are all mentioned in the Bible, they are consequent events in consequent time frames, hence "Time Dispensations."

          Again, in layman's terms, it is not how to be moral that changed, rather, it is how to be redeemed from not being able to be moral that changed, hence from "Old Covenant" to "New Covenant," hence from "Time Dispensation of Law" to "Time Dispensation of Grace."

          July 13, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
        • Doris

          Maybe that's one of the problems with Christianity. It would have been much easier, effective as a straight-up shot, instead of one of those time-release capsules that your body sometimes just ejects before it's really had a chance to do anything.

          July 13, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
        • Doris

          And you know I still have my gall bladder. For some folks who don't have it anymore, you can forget it – you'd better put those dispensations in some easily dissolvable Ovaltine or similar...

          July 13, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • Doris

          So it sounds like Vic is saying that eating shellfish is still a sin, but that we don't have to worry about that as long as we're in the club.

          July 13, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
        • LaBella

          "It's all in the interpretation."

          @Doris, I no longer have my gall bladder..."time dispensation" is everything!

          July 13, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Vic,
          Inconsistent, how so? I asked about dispensations and you attempted to explain the rationale behind it. I was trying to clarify.

          So the bible uses these specific terms to identify specific time frames in which the rules for “redemption” of sin change, is that correct? And these time frames are laid out in the bible somewhere in such a way that everyone agrees on the time frames and which rules apply when, right? Otherwise, wouldn’t there be some confusion on what one is supposed to do in which time frames?

          For example, it would seem to cause a lot of problems if the “eye for an eye” time dispensation was confused for the “love they enemy” time dispensation, would it not?

          How to be redeemed? So, as I asked someone else today, is it moral to sacrifice an animal to God today? I’m not asking if it is necessary, but is it moral in the current time dispensation as opposed to previous time dispensations?

          July 13, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, I believe you went from inquiry in your first question to assertion —predetermination— in your second, regardless of my answer, that's the inconsistency I detected. No big deal.

          Concerning the rest, of course confusion arises when people conflate the "Dispensation of Law" and the "Dispensation of Grace," that's 'legalism,' you can't have it both ways. No one can fulfil the "Law of Commandments and Ordinances," and that's why the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled it on our behalf. Salvation is a "Free Gift," an "Unmerited Favor," you can't earn it. That's what many people don't seem to understand.

          Regarding your question on animal sacrifice, it is not a matter of morality to sacrifice an animal† to God today or not, it is a matter of requirement. In the "Dispensation of Law," animal sacrifice was a temporal requirement for the remission of sins until the coming of Christ Whose "Ultimate Sacrifice" is "Sufficient."

          † God measures transcend human measures. When Adam & Eve sinned and realized that they were naked, they used tree leaves to cover their private parts. That was a human measure, a human effort, it was not sufficient. Then God shed the first animal blood to cloth Adam & Eve with animal skins. That was God's superior measure, a Divine work, and it was sufficient—very symbolic of what was to come for the remission of sins. The same thing followed throughout Biblical times, man tried earning redemption by own merits and efforts/works but could not keep God's Covenants & Law, man's efforts were not sufficient. Then God made the "Ultimate Provision" for our redemption and gave His only begotten Son in the "Ultimate Sacrifice," that is Sufficient.

          July 14, 2014 at 7:23 am |
        • G to the T

          "No one can fulfil the "Law of Commandments and Ordinances," and that's why the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled it on our behalf. "

          I don't believe that's entirely true Vic. There are several people in the bible who are described as being "blameless before the law". The ability to keep the law does appear to have been possible. Even Paul says as much.

          July 14, 2014 at 7:43 am |
        • Vic

          Ah, that's a misconception, the answer is simple.

          Man was blameless before the Law by means of no Law in place to convict man while inherently a sinner because of the fall of Adam & Eve. But when man disbelieved on top of that, God instituted the Law to show man that he is a sinner, incapable of fulfilling the Law, and needs God for redemption.

          Nothing pleases God like Faith/Belief in Him.

          In layman's terms, there was no Law to hold man accountable for sin, yet man disbelieved in God, then God said, so to speak, you want to play by the book? fine, here is the Law, you are on trial now, and man became blamefull.

          Apostle Paul explained that precisely in Romans 5:12-21, of which is:

          Romans 5:13
          "13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law." (NASB)

          July 14, 2014 at 8:21 am |
        • G to the T

          "The Biblical accounts of God-to-human relationship and affairs going from the very obvious to the very mysterious"

          Perhaps, but I see the same as evidence of a movement from an anthropomorphic/mythic god to a more ethereal/abstract one. In other words, the religion/beliefs of the jews evolved over time and their god evolved to keep pace.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:00 am |
        • observer

          Vic

          "for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law."

          Yes. Murderers were allowed to go free. People could marry their own sister. Murderers were protected. And those were all COMMANDED by God until he came up with the new laws that were later changed by Christ.

          July 14, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
      • Reality

        And now returning to the 21st century for some straight talk from the educated side of the aisle: (from my scrapbook of essential theology)

        JD Crossan from his book, Who is Jesus)

        "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

        July 13, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
      • fkahodor

        that's exactly what i mean. these are very specific claims that cannot be substantiated and when applied to a simpler claim like 'god exists' seem to make said claim even more arbitrary. i'm fairly certain these specific theological notions are not referred to in the bible, so where do they come from and why should they have any validity?

        July 14, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
    • ragansteve1

      You seem to be assuming that the only purpose for religion is morality. While morality is important, faith is more about relationship with God than it is to morality per se. That is to say, moral behavior grows out of that relationship, not the reverse. And as I said before, there are significant theological differences. The nature of that relationship is one of those significant differences. IMHO

      July 13, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
      • fkahodor

        so you're claiming that morality necessarily grows out of a faith-based relationship with the divine? if so, is moral behavior on the part of non-christians just seemingly moral, but not actually moral? so it's kind of like an actor playing a janitor; s/he is using a mop and appears to be cleaning, but really, it's just a performance for the sake of those around us and some form of payoff?

        July 13, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          I did not say that at all. I have said in at least two places prior to this post that I know people who behave morally but are not Christians. And I know people who claim to be Christians who appear to exhibit some immoral behavior.

          In short, you missed my whole point, which was that morality is not the only purpose for faith and, perhaps, not even the most important thing about faith. It should naturally grow out of the relationship we have with God, but we do not have to be a moral person in order to approach God through Jesus.

          July 14, 2014 at 8:44 am |
        • igaftr

          ragan
          Humans had morality, and wrote it into religions.
          The "golden rule" appears in all religions in one form or another, it is not exclusive to Christianity.
          Morality is not tied to religions at all, and many religions are immoral (such as allowing another to take your just punishment, as in christianity)
          Man's humanity has existed far longer than your religion, or even your god ( at least in the christians form). Humanity was written into religious texts. Just look at the words of Jesus. 90% of what he allegedly said, was said by the Buddha 400 years earlier, and yet no where do you see Jesus give any credit.

          July 14, 2014 at 9:00 am |
        • ragansteve1

          Hmm, I think I said something similar in writing that all major religions have similar primary moral tenets. So, I don't think we disagree on that point. I think it would have been difficult for Jesus to give Buddha credit since He, in earthly human form, did not meet him. Moreover, I'm not sure, but I don't know that they had U.S. copyright laws in effect at the time.

          "The "golden rule" appears in all religions in one form or another . . . ." And you say morality is not tied to religions. Do you edit your writing?

          ". . . such as allowing another to take your just punishment, as in christianity (sic)" I didn't have a choice about "allowing" Jesus to die for my sins. He did that on His own. I accept it as the method of my salvation, peace, joy and reconciliation. One is not immoral for accepting a gift s/he had no choice in the making.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          ragan: What you seem to be missing is that human's have existed long before a god was imagined. We are social creatures and thus, over time have had to develop some morals to allow for the betterment of all. The Golden Rule as acknowledged by religion is not founded in religion but instead has been adopted by religion.
          So while you may need an imaginary friend to get you by in this world, not all are so weak...we do well without it.

          July 14, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • igaftr

          ""The "golden rule" appears in all religions in one form or another . . . ." And you say morality is not tied to religions. Do you edit your writing?"

          No that statement stands as it is. Since all religions have the "golden rule", it exists outside of religions. They all have them in the religions because it existed before the religions, so is not tied to them.

          Many species clearly demonstrate the same principle, so it is an evolved trait among social animals, and existed long before humans or any of the religions man has created.

          July 14, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          So, now we are back to square one. You don't believe in God. I do.

          Have a nice day.

          July 14, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • fkahodor

          ragansteve1:
          "I did not say that at all. I have said in at least two places prior to this post that I know people who behave morally but are not Christians. And I know people who claim to be Christians who appear to exhibit some immoral behavior.

          In short, you missed my whole point, which was that morality is not the only purpose for faith and, perhaps, not even the most important thing about faith. It should naturally grow out of the relationship we have with God, but we do not have to be a moral person in order to approach God through Jesus."

          maybe i did miss your point, and maybe you failed to make it. in any event, i don't see what morality and faith have to do with one another.

          July 14, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
  13. igaftr

    tallulah
    I grew up with my father studying psychology, and my family has always had an interest. I have taken many psychology classes myself, and have both studied and been the study in pschological studies.

    Many of the things he said, the way he said them...he did not study the same as I did for certain, and anyone who believes they converse with god, should not be involved with anyone elses treatment.
    Imagine a 10 year old boy goes to see him and says he is gay...what will kermit do....certainly not help, and the potential damage is quite high.

    scary stuff.

    July 13, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
    • LaBella

      My best friend is a psychologist. And worked extremely hard to attain that level of education. After reading k4jc's posts, I showed my friend some of his posts. The laughter neared hysterical levels.
      There is no way that k4jc was a psychologist anywhere but his imagination.
      I get that people sometimes...exaggerate their education/profession on the webs, but he probably should have chosen a profession that isn't so easily debunked by the uneducated posts he has made.
      He may know Christianity. He certainly didn't know psychology.

      July 13, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
      • igaftr

        I have been around psychologists/psychiatrists my entire life, He was not involved in the practice the way I understand it.
        Just some of the things he said made it obvious he had little to no training in psychology. Just his communication skills, a basic and necessary skill, were so poor that he was obviously lying.

        July 13, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • Doris

          Perhaps k4jc is/was an alternate personality of His Panic – the personality that more than complemented the one that claims to be panic-free.

          July 13, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • LaBella

          Obvious anxiety issues and bad punnery aside, His Panic could at least write clearly.
          My eyes bled reading k4jc's posts.

          July 13, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
        • Doris

          Lol – agreed. I guess I was hypothetically thinking of k4jc as the alternate personality that served as the release for all that might be pent up in HP under the guise of 'not panicking'. When all someone writes mostly about one thing – i.e., not panicking, then I start to wonder what they might be hiding.

          July 13, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
    • tallulah131

      I suspect that any "degree" that kermit might have came from a religious college, therefore he will be more interested in forcing church doctrine than in actually helping anyone. Certainly his ego is such that compassion and concern will not be part of the "treatment."

      July 13, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        He stated at one point that he attended a Christian university called Sampson or Simpson U in California.

        July 14, 2014 at 5:34 am |
        • tallulah131

          Honestly, the guy doesn't even sound like he passed a mail-order course, much less a college degree program.

          July 14, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
  14. bostontola

    Cherry picking works.

    By ignoring the bad morality in the bibles, and focusing on the wise philosophy in the bibles, the vast majority of Christians are productive members of society.

    It seems to all happen subconsciously. Humans have jointly developed morality, learned lessons and improved it over time. These improvements are taken for granted and provide the modern filter that notches out the bad morality and generates 'interpretations' for the stuff in the gray zone.

    This accounts for the majority of morality, if it didn't there would be chaos. Some things like se.xual preferences, etc. are slow to evolve, but it is changing.

    So I don't criticize cherry picking, I'm thankful for it.

    July 13, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
  15. monica7c

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU9MbXueRFg

    July 13, 2014 at 11:02 am |
    • MidwestKen

      SPAM

      July 13, 2014 at 11:21 am |
      • LaBella

        "I don't like Spam!!"

        July 13, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • jhg45

          you have to grill it with pinepple and it only goes on rye toast.

          July 13, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Eggs, spam, bacon, and spam hasn't got much spam in it.

          July 13, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • LaBella

          Bloody Vikings.

          July 13, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • Doris

          Yuk... Blood sausage of the Ironborn...

          July 13, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
    • otoh2

      = DU..Mb (it's right there!)

      July 13, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
  16. Reality

    And again showing the insanity of all religions as noted 24/7 by the horror and terror of the Middle East.

    And the irony is that the following short list easily puts an end to the insanity in less than ten seconds:

    (from my scrapbook of essential religious history and theology)

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details previously provided.

    July 12, 2014 at 11:26 pm |
  17. Vic

    ♰♰♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰♰♰

    Again, when I look at the world and its problems, I can only believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

    I find the following article very interesting:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/neal-wooten/so-whats-new-about-the-ne_b_5576576.html

    God Is Love.

    Early on:
    https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/07/08/eye-for-an-eye-the-bibles-role-in-revenge-attacks/comment-page-4/#comment-3044579

    July 12, 2014 at 7:03 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Nice article. Great last line:

      "If these messages of Jesus are too tough for you, I understand. Jesus set the bar high. It goes against human nature. But if you can't abide by His teachings and feel the need to lash out at Muslims, g.ays, liberals, immigrants, or whomever, please stop pretending the Bible told you to do so. Please stop claiming you're doing your Christian duty, because - you're wrong!"

      July 12, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
      • evolveddna

        Dalahast Jesus set the bar high.. what did he do that set the bar high? What bar? what did Jesus do for the rights of women for instance< and their acceptance into say the churches..especially the one that is claimed to be directly attributed to him.... What did he tell the world that was not known before? if the bible was inspired by the divine why not sprinkle some little nuggets of interest in there that would only be known to those of a later epoch?

        July 12, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
        • rogerthat2014

          Yes he set the bar high. It was nice that he spoke out against slavery. Oh wait, that didn't happen.

          Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

          All Christians are getting ready to serve the evil slave master.

          July 13, 2014 at 1:44 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Did you read the article? The bar is set high on how we treat others. Who was the apostle to the apostles?

          July 13, 2014 at 9:35 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Roger

          “And, masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him” (Ephesians 6:9).

          Masters are given the same set of principles concerning submission as slaves. Read the whole thing and you will see it is not simply about slaves and masters, but something concerning everyone.

          I can't see how someone can say they are following Jesus, yet own slaves. It would be impossible for me to do. I do know slavery exists today, even in the United States. And I know groups of Christians who are actively fighting and sacrificing to help the victims of slavery. Are you doing anything to help the victims, too?

          July 13, 2014 at 9:43 am |
        • igaftr

          "I can't see how someone can say they are following Jesus, yet own slaves."

          christians had justified owning slaves because of the story of Ham. Ham's descendants were allegedly cursed by being black because of the first murder.
          Clearly another place where the bible is wrong, since it is not a curse, it is a naturally evolved trait.

          That was the christians justification for owning black slaves. It was noted many times in our history that the people of Ham are meant to be slaves. Just shows you that you can justify anything with that man made book.

          July 13, 2014 at 10:16 am |
        • MidwestKen

          Dalahast,
          "I can't see how someone can say they are following Jesus, yet own slaves."

          I have yet to see anywhere in the Bible a condemnation of owning other people, which seems obviously wrong to most people today, regardless of how well slaves are treated they are still property.

          "Are you doing anything to help the victims, too?"

          Ad Hominem and Red Herring

          July 13, 2014 at 11:38 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahast,
          "I can't see how someone can say they are following Jesus, yet own slaves."

          Yet, for hundreds of years, the majority of Christians saw no problem with owning slaves. That's a testament to the plastic character of Christian ethics, right? The Enlightenment, not the Church, led to the thinking that all men were equal, thus slavery was wrong. It was a hard sell for Christianity. The first Christian abolitionists were a tiny minority, fighting a difficult battle against Christian slavery supporters who could quote twice as much scripture for their position, and still could.

          You're just the product of a more liberal time, and assume that your idea of what a proper Christian would believe has always been the case, but the times are still a' changing, and future Christians might point at some of your positions and cringe too, right?

          As society modernizes, Christianity follows, ... eventually. Then Christianity claims responsibility for all positive change, even if it was originally it's greatest barrier. Want to bet that, if you happen to still be around in another 50 years, the majority of Christians living then will say and believe that they actually led the way in ending h0m0ph0bia?

          July 13, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
        • evolveddna

          Dalahast.. how we treat others.. or how Jesus treated men perhaps. He appeared to have little regard for womens rights and considering he had the ear of dad he blew a great opportunity to prevent the chronic abuse of women today in many religious countries . God, knowing this was going to be an issue,as he of course knows every thing.. would have done better to have had a daughter than a son..would have had a better impact . .

          July 13, 2014 at 11:49 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Some Christians have justified mistreating women or owning slaves because of what they say they say Bible says.

          I can't do that.

          Some people have justified mistreating women or owning slaves because of what they say science says.

          I can't do that either.

          Not all Christians have owned slaves, supported slavery. Not all Christians have mistreated, ruled over women.

          People have used all kinds of reasons to justify their bad behavior. All groups of people are guilty of this. Even the atheists.

          When I read what Jesus says, it clearly implies the exact opposite of what some of you guys imply.

          It is not a red herring to ask someone what they do to oppose slavery. I hope that was a joke or something said out of haste. I wasn't even talking to you. What you do matters more than what you say.

          I think it is relevant that I see Christians DOING more to oppose slavery than I see atheists doing. I don't want to be all talk.

          July 14, 2014 at 8:25 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          So, like I said, you are actually a product of our modern, more liberal, egalitarian society, but you are insisting on giving credit for this to "Christianity", as if Christianity has always lined up with your beliefs. Throughout history, Christians have done all of those nasty things. Quite possibly, future Christians will disown some of the things you do, and believe in too, right? So goes the fashion of religious belief, and what you currently hold as what "true" Christians believe probably won't still be in vogue in the coming decades.

          If you check your history, the abolitionist movement was mostly secular in the beginning. The groundwork was begun by 18th century thinkers. Maybe you should be looking at secular efforts rather than ones specifically branded "atheist", eh?

          July 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm not merely a product of our society. There are downsides to our society I don't agree with. I don't give credit for this to "Christianity", as if Christianity has always lined up with my beliefs. Whatever you imagine that means.

          There are downsides to every group of people. Even secular groups. Secular people are responsible for nasty things, too.

          There were people opposing slavery for very good reason before the '18th century thinkers' thought about it. People had risked their lives to oppose it before them, too.

          July 14, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          If you dug through all of Church history you might find a few leaders like St. Patrick who openly opposed slavery, but the vast majority regarded it as consistent with Christian theology up until the general abolitionist movement.

          Not surprising since Christianity seems to have thrived particularly well within the ranks of slaves, and opposing something which Roman society depended upon for it's survival would have led to Christians being persecuted even more. Constantine would never have endorsed a religion that opposed slavery either. In any case, it can be easily stated that Christianity was perfectly OK with the inst.itution of slavery for most of it's history, yes?

          You can still be the product of our society even if you reject some of the things that are now available to you. Nobody chooses all the options available in our society, right? A woman of the 60s didn't have to actually burn her bra in order to feel "liberated". Just getting a job in a once male-only industry would be enough for her to feel like the product of her changing society. Today, you can feel free to speak of the equality of blacks, but even not so long as a century ago you'd have been kicked out of many churches for even daring to say something like that, and there are most likely still churches that would kick you out. Point is, identifying yourself as a "Christian" is really no guarantee of having any att.itude, is it?

          Yes, secular people are responsible for some nasty things too, but the point is that "Christianity" claims to have the final word on morality because it says that it gets it from the ultimate source, God. So, when Christian morality fails, or falls behind society, it just proves that this assumption is false. If it's "obvious" to you now that slavery is wrong, you have to wonder why all those earlier Christians didn't realize it too.

          July 14, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I have never said "Christianity" claims to have the final word on morality because it says that it gets it from the ultimate source, God. That is your argument, not mine.

          If a person who happens to be a Christian fails your moral standards, it is probably for the same reason anyone fails your moral standards.

          Some Christians didn't think slavery was wrong. Same with atheists. And secularists. And scientists. And all kinds of people. I can only control what I do. Not what others do. I don't want to be the type of person that justifies slavery with something like what Jesus teaches or what science shows us. There is nothing that I've learned from Jesus that would justify me enslaving another human being. No way.

          July 14, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Not "some" Christians, but the large majority for most of Christian history didn't oppose slavery. You still seem to be denying this fact.

          Is it nothing you learned "from" Jesus, or "about" Jesus, that would justify slavery? Supposedly, all these Christians from history, including some like Augustine who definitely didn't oppose slavery, all were listening to Jesus too, right? So, you have to ask yourself, did Jesus change his eternal mind, or do people tend to imagine that Jesus just happens to support all the same causes and atti.tudes that they do?

          July 16, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          You have claimed that Christianity "works" for you more than your former atheism, so I thought I detected a judgment of it's superiority there.

          The typical Christian justification that I've encountered has to do with God creating people, thus being ent!tled to make up our morality and pass whatever sentence he sees fit. If he isn't the final word on morality then it follows that he doesn't have this authority as our creator, right?

          July 16, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
      • kudlak

        The first lines are interesting too.

        There's one thing that will always be true - people will believe what they want about the Bible. They will cling to certain scripture, manipulate the messages, and come to their own conclusions.

        That actually works more against those who take scripture to be literally and/or historically true, right?

        July 13, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Not necessarily. It works against me, too.

          July 13, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
        • kudlak

          You seem to prefer the conclusion that Christianity is inherently against slavery. Are you saying that you are clinging to, or manipulating scripture to match this conclusion?

          July 14, 2014 at 7:42 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't know how a belief system that is founded on the principle of loving others – not just saying it, but actually doing that – can justify enslaving or supporting slavery. I know people found ways to justify their own wicked deeds. I think they would use whatever means possible to do so. I'm just glad that you and I are agreeing that slavery is something we would not support.

          July 14, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          You don't see it because your a product of our modern age, but Christians back then probably thought that people who ended up as slaves probably deserved it. Even today, there are probable lots of Christians who will blame Islam for Muslims becoming slaves, with the thought that they deserve what they get for not converting to Christianity.

          For most of Christian history, the "curse of Ham" found in the OT gave justification for enslaving blacks, right? It was believed that blacks deserved to be slaves because of this old sin. Right now, there are plenty of other groups that many Christians believe don't deserve equality, or common human respect. People that they see as "sinners", like gays, atheists, women who abort pregnancies, and so on. They say that they "love" them, but it comes off more like a condescension, treating fellow adults like they are naughty children without sense enough to know better.

          July 16, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      Yes, an interesting article.

      ... and those who don't believe in you... Love them.

      Got that god? don't send them to hell to burn for eternity... love them.

      July 12, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
    • Vic

      I am only posting this for the Glory of God that concerns all matters of existence including this Blog post, I believe.

      It's all over the "Space News" that 80% of the light in space is missing, that is the source of it.

      http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2014/07/09/cu-boulder-instrument-onboard-hubble-reveals-universe-%E2%80%98missing%E2%80%99-light

      July 12, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
      • kudlak

        So, what are you saying, that God is taking all the light out of the world?

        Hmmm ... Maybe you're right?

        I sure do think that the world would be a whole lot more brighter without him even being mentioned.

        July 13, 2014 at 8:40 pm |
    • LaBella

      This was a great article. I wonder how many will recognize themselves as the people he's talking about?
      Not many, I'd wager. I've seen the excuses for judging many times.

      July 12, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
    • igaftr

      " when I look at the world and its problems, I can only believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior"

      When I look at the world and it's problems, I see the effect that baseless beliefs and superst!tions cause.

      July 13, 2014 at 11:37 am |
      • tallulah131

        No kidding. When I see the world and it's problems, more than half the time the causes or those problems are waving the banner of faith. Religion is the problem, not the solution.

        July 13, 2014 at 8:31 pm |
    • Bob

      Vic, the whole Jesus-sacrifice story, the foundation of your crazy superstition, is a steaming pile of bull-do. How is it again that your

      omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent

      being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself

      there.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      July 15, 2014 at 9:54 am |
  18. fkahodor

    how has it been established that the bible is the single authoritative source of morality? it seems that simply believing this to be true and rejecting the notion that other religious texts have just as much to say about the nature of morality is quite arbitrary. wouldn't an understanding of morality be more comprehensive if all potential sources were examined?

    July 12, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
    • ragansteve1

      I am certainly no authority on either comparative religions or morality. But I do seem to recall that for the primary moral tenets, most major religions agree. Don't kill people, don't steal; don't commit adultery; and, so on. Clearly there are significant theological differences among the major religions, but in terms of morality, it is my understanding that most agree.

      Now, putting those morals into practice is the challenge for everyone. And in every religion there are extremists who take parts of the religion and run away without looking back to see what the whole is about.

      I don't know if that helps. But it is my view anyway.

      July 12, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        You're a liar! Earlier you claimed that without religion there can be no morality..why claim that if you don't feel you're an authority??? ..it would seem that if you need religion to be moral, you're not moral to begin with. You have shown time and time again here that you think you're an authority on things...so stop the lying and stop the arrogance and admit that you really don't know!

        July 12, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Truth?

          "You're a liar! Earlier you claimed that without religion there can be no morality..why claim that if you don't feel you're an authority???"

          I don't have to be an authority to believe something and I have read authorities who agree with my belief. That does not mean that I am lying. When I say I am not an authority, it means that I am simply a Christian who goes to church, reads the Bible (and related books), and prays. I have no degree in theology. I am not a pastor. Therefore I have no "authority" either in or out of the church.

          Earlier (since you want to take my other writings into this context) I also said that I would be the last to claim that there were no moral non-Christians or that all Christians were highly moral. I stand by what I said. Your Baptist minister has gone the way of many in the church today and become a Humanist rather than a Christian. Our society and our culture are based on Judeo-Christian values and morality. Watch it over the next several decades and see if it gets better or worse from a moral perspective.

          "..it would seem that if you need religion to be moral, you're not moral to begin with" Exactly so.

          Humanists believe that people are born good and simply need to be allowed to develop. (J J. Rousseau)

          Christians believe that people are born with a nature bent toward sin and need a savior, Jesus, to form a bridge between them and God.

          July 13, 2014 at 8:12 am |
        • igaftr

          ragan
          "Christians believe that people are born with a nature bent toward sin and need a savior, Jesus, to form a bridge between them and God"

          Exactly...Convince the people they have a disease, then sell them the cure. You're catching on.

          July 13, 2014 at 8:28 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          I don't believe people are born with morals...so no good or bad. People are taught and to clarify what I mean by this, I'll give the example of an abusive home:
          So Little Joey is born to parents where Dad totally control's the home. Mom is subservient and treated as less than the equal partner. If Mom 'angers' Dad, Dad hits her and little Joey see's this. Little Joey grows up seeing abuse and it is what he knows, so unless he is shown different he won't know it is wrong.
          This goes the same for a good loving home or almost anything. Pro's vs. con's basically...a simple question of, "Does It cause harm in any way?" should be what it takes to determine right from wrong to a large extent. Christianity isn't a very moral system to follow, it teaches great divide and has been (and still is) at the root of many problems in this world.
          I must say that I agree with igaftr here...your entire belief system is based on giving you the disease and selling you the false cure.
          The quickest path to disbelief is said to be an open-minded read of the bible, you should try it..you'd be amazed at how wonderful this world is without the need for imaginary friends.

          July 13, 2014 at 8:46 am |
        • ragansteve1

          Well, clearly you and I disagree. At least we can agree on that. I do like your examples, except that it doesn't always, or perhaps in many cases it doesn't, work out that way. Even in loving and caring homes, children can go wrong. And even in really bad situations, kids can grow up strong and moral.

          We also agree that the world is a wonderful place–except I would add, if you're rich. For most people across the globe, not so much. Where we will likely always disagree is our differing beliefs about how to make it a better world.

          July 13, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          igaftr, NO one has to "convince" people. They know it.

          July 13, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
        • igaftr

          ragan
          You claim to "know" you have a disease called sin...absurd. Youbelieve it because you want to believe it.
          I do not sin. Until someone can show any "god" to exist, and then show that something I do is a transgression against this "god", then no one can show sin to exist either.
          You know nothing of the kind.

          Christianity literally teaches you that you are a sinner ( convince them of the disease) and that they have the "cure", this man-god that no one can ever show was anything more than a man.

          My analogy is accurate. You believe you are a sinner, and because you want it to be true, have convinced yourslef it is, but it is one of an inifnite number of possibilities, so you simply do not "know".

          July 13, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          ragansteve1,
          " Our society and our culture are based on Judeo-Christian values and morality.
          ...
          Humanists believe that people are born good and simply need to be allowed to develop. (J J. Rousseau)"

          I find it interesting that you claim a Judeo-Christian base and then almost immediately quote someone, as a Humanist, whose ideas were integral in the formation of the US, i.e. the social contract.

          July 13, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          igaftr,

          Well, clearly we disagree.

          July 13, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          " Even in loving and caring homes, children can go wrong. And even in really bad situations, kids can grow up strong and moral."

          We don't disagree here. I know plenty who have gone either way...we all have a story. You made a claim about humanists and what you think I as an Atheist, believe. I merely explained how you were wrong.

          July 13, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          igaftr: Well said.

          ragansteve: You keep saying we disagree...we understand that, no need to sound like a broken record. Why do you disagree? Where are we so wrong? Tell us, if you didn't have the bible or your imaginary friend, would you on a killing spree? Would you go and rape someone or break the law? Would you have an affair?
          Point is that, it's a shallow life when one needs religion to make them be good. igaftr isn't wrong and you're a sad person if you think people are born bad...what a pathetic way to look at your fellow man.

          July 13, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          The reason we disagree is that I believe in God and you do not. I thought that was self-evident.

          And yes, religion is a constraining force against all the things you suggest, those and more. Watch the next couple of decades as secularism and Humanism (similar but not exactly the same) take over in our culture. Unless there is a push-back from religion you will see abortion expanded into voluntary euthanasia, and then the government will move to "quality of life" measures to "suggest" ending life early. Those measures are already under discussion. And that's just one example.

          And before you leap, this is not some great left wing conspiracy. It is simply the only logical outcome for a culture that is increasingly devaluing life and refusing to punish those who take it. That is more pathetic than believing that mankind tends toward error and needs salvation.

          But then, if we do not agree on God, the creation, and the Bible, there are few points about which we can agree.

          July 13, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • igaftr

          "It is simply the only logical outcome "

          Not using any form of logic I am aware of. What do you mean when you said "a culture that is increasingly devaluing life and refusing to punish those who take it" What is that based on? What statistics, studies are you getting that info from, or are you simply voicing an opinion?

          There are many outcomes that floow logically, so it seems we also disagree on what logic means.

          July 13, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        • LaBella

          ragansteve, I completely disagree with the slippery slope direction you feel the country is headed in.
          Have you forgotten that our country has been secular since its inception, and will remain so? Why do you feel secular=lawless or immoral? One cannot legislate one's own version of morality. It's infringes on personal liberty. And the FF were big on personal liberty.

          July 13, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          LaBella, Yes, the FF were very much in favor of personal liberty. But they also believed firmly in the restraining forces that kept liberty from encroaching on others' liberty. Thus, they were very supportive of the Christian churches, even to the point that states and local government taxes supported churches and church related organizations. They believed, as do I, that religion is a culturally restraining force that balances liberty. (The first amendment was originally intended only for the federal government and not the states. That is because in the early days, until after the civil war, most of the power resided in the states. It was believed that the states had the right and responsibility for most of these issues.)

          Yes, I know, as Ken above says, Rousseau had some influence on the FF, as did Ben Franklin, and Jefferson who were not Christians, and probably John Locke from England and several others. But in the main, the FF knew that Christianity would balance out the secular freedoms and create stability. That is why they supported the church.

          It was, in fact, not until the early 20th century that secularists began to tilt the balance and create instability. Woodrow Wilson was the first openly progressive President, assuming office in 1913 I believe. Following that, there has been a steady erosion of both liberty and restraint that leads me to what you refer to as the "slippery slope." 100 years of evidence seems enough for me to draw a conclusion.

          BTW: In case I am not being clear, I do not "blame" secularists or Humanists for this situation. It is clearly a failure of the church, through distraction or pure apathy, that this has come about. The leadership of many mainstream churches are abdicating their responsibilities as Christians to stand up for the people. And they are leading their parishioners astray. They will pay a higher price than any Humanist. If I were in the Humanist religion, I would push the same agenda as they are.

          July 13, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
        • igaftr

          " But in the main, the FF knew that Christianity would balance out the secular freedoms and create stability. That is why they supported the church."

          Incorrect. There were so many differences in their beliefs, they could not agree, except to removing religion from government.

          They may have supported their churches but this was due to their own opinions. Religion is not a stabilizing force, quite the contrary, which is why it was removed from the government. They did put money to the churches, but this was quickly stopped when they realized how wrong it was to do so.

          July 13, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          igaftr,

          Why don't you try reading ALL of my post, and particularly the part about federal vs states rights. My point is that the first amendment regarding religion was intended for the weak federal government, not the states.

          July 13, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • igaftr

          So you are saying that an amendment to the const!tution was intended for the federal government, but should not have bearing on the states?
          If that were the case, no federal law or amendment to the const!tution would have any bearng on any state, so be completely pointless.

          As it is, the religious have violated the const!tution many, many times over, restricting the rights of non-christians, hijacking the Pledge of Allegience, putting a lie on our money, teaching religion in public schools...over and over again, and now that we are working to put things right, the religious try to claim we are pushing atheism on people, which could not be further from the truth.We are simply removing the illegal garbage that has been forced on all of we the people.

          Our founding fathers certainly did not agree with you, and your "reason" for them supporting the churches is quite inaccurate. Try reading the actual words of the journals they kept, the correspondances back and forth. You will find that your version of christianity is nothing like what it weas then, and many you think were christian, were deists,

          July 13, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • LaBella

          Ragansteve,
          And in those hundred years, we have seen women obtain the vote, the end of child labor, the end of Jim Crow laws, civil rights for blacks, the end of segregation, the end of the prohibition of mixed race marriages, and the list goes on and on. Next up: equal rights for gay people and their right to marry whom they love.

          You see those things as regression. I disagree.

          Thomas Jefferson warned of the danger of religious overreach in his "Notes on Virginia:"

          “The first settlers in this country were emigrants from England, of the English church, just at a point of time when it was flushed with complete victory over the religious of all other persuasions.

          Possessed, as they became, of the powers of making, administering and executing the laws, they showed equal intolerance in this country with their Presbyterian brethren, who had emigrated to the northern government. The poor Quakers were flying from persecution in England. They cast their eyes on these new countries as asylums of civil and religious freedom; but they found them free only for the reigning sect."

          A theocracy is untenable.
          And the FF knew this. Keep religion out of our laws. Period.

          July 13, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          " first amendment regarding religion was intended for the weak federal government, not the states"

          Wow, that's quite the story. You're so very wrong...the First Amendment is meant for everyone regardless of what state you reside in.
          Your belief in god has clouded your ability to think logically.
          We know that Secular Nations tend to fair better overall...less crime; education stats are more positive.
          You live in a Secular Nation and that won't change. You should be thankful you do and that your rights to practice your silly belief will never be taken away...we'll fortunately just see less of it as people become better educated.
          (btw: Did you even complete high school? You don't sound extremely intelligent...)

          July 13, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
        • redzoa

          "Following that, there has been a steady erosion of both liberty and restraint that leads me to what you refer to as the "slippery slope."

          Although we can certainly point to examples which support the trend you allege, e.g. most notably, IMHO, erosion of 4th Amendment protections and steady increase in application of civil forfeiture laws, there has also been some truly significant advances with respect to individual and group liberties. In addition to civil rights for people of color, women and LGBT, there has been an expansion of religious liberty for minority sects, enforcement of viewpoint neutrality with respect to access to various public and non-public forums (e.g. religious student groups must be granted equal access to school facilities as their secular counterparts, etc) greater protections against age and disability discrimination, and recognition of habeas corpus rights even for enemy combatants. The right of privacy has been recognized with respect to marriage, contraception and family planning. The right of parents to exercise control over their children's education has been recognized. Sedition acts have been held unconst-itutional and certain forms of political and religious speech have received heightened protection (e.g. Citizen's United, Hobby Lobby). 2nd amendment rights have been recognized as an individual right (rather than "within a well-regulated militia"). Children and adults are no longer required to recite prayers or pledges which may contradict their personal/religious views and are not required to advocate a government message on their personal property (e.g. they cannot be forced to display a state slogan like "live free or die" on their license plate). Criminal suspects must be Mirandized and must receive assistance of legal counsel. Etc, etc.

          Property rights and government takings have evolved with both real costs and benefits, e.g. Kelo allowing economic development as a legitimate "public use" v. the various cases finding in favor of property owners in the context of local government mandated dedications and exactions.

          Again, I agree there have been clear examples of erosion of individual liberty, but on the whole, the trend appears to be more of an expansion rather than an erosion of individual liberties within the time frame you referenced.

          July 13, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
        • Doris

          ragansteve1: "But in the main, the FF knew that Christianity would balance out the secular freedoms and create stability."

          If you're talking about the founders of the initial colonies, that might well represent their hopes and wishes. But when it comes to they key figures involved with the Consti.tution, they were obviously quite afraid of the growing instability born of differences between Christian sects that they observed around them – especially for people like Madison and Jefferson who saw first-hand the conflicts in their home state. Under the charge of George Mason, Madison had to deal with the issue feuding religious sects for Virginia before his drafting of the the U.S. Const.itution. They did want to preserve state rights as much as possible – why shouldn't they, considering the size and population of Virginia relative to the others at the time. But they, especially Madison, knew the best way to give as much religious freedom to the individual sects was to, as much as possible, limit their involvement in government:

          "Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.

          The Civil Govt, tho' bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability and performs its functions with complete success, Whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, & the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State."

          Madison, a Deistically-influenced Christian who, along with his family, helped establish the Anglican church in the U.S.,
          saw many of this goals for government attained with the ratification of the Consti.tution and the Bill of Rights. Had his advice had been followed through his presidency, the government would have eliminated the practice of retaining chaplains for the U.S. Congress. And had he still been around in 1992, he would have witnessed yet another of his proposed Amendments become law.

          July 13, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
        • Doris

          typo correction – second paragraph:

          Under the charge of George Mason, Madison had to deal with the issue of feuding religious sects for Virginia...

          July 13, 2014 at 5:45 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          LaBella, I certainly am NOT suggesting that we adopt a theocracy. NEVER did I say anything that approaches that. Nor did I say that nothing good had happened in the last 100 years. But my point is that the trend is not in your favor. What concerns me most today, is not religious overreach, but government overreach. And I am concerned that we are now more concerned about who to blame (e.g., political finger pointing) for the problems that we have than we are in solving those problems.

          July 13, 2014 at 9:30 pm |
        • Doris

          ragan, you initially replied to TP to include this:

          [ "When I say I am not an authority, it means that I am simply a Christian who goes to church, reads the Bible (and related books), and prays. I have no degree in theology. I am not a pastor. Therefore I have no "authority" either in or out of the church.

          Earlier (since you want to take my other writings into this context) I also said that I would be the last to claim that there were no moral non-Christians or that all Christians were highly moral. I stand by what I said. Your Baptist minister has gone the way of many in the church today and become a Humanist rather than a Christian." ]

          I have to assume that we are missing part of an earlier discussion you had with TP regarding TP's "Baptist minister". What is it that makes you feel so confident that TP's "Baptist minister" is not a Christian?

          July 13, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Because TP indicated that he believed secular morality was superior to Christian morality and because he actually said he was an "ex-Baptist Minister." The two taken together are pretty strong evidence that he is no longer a Christian.

          July 14, 2014 at 1:02 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Doris: He was referring to my comment to the OP where I suggested the OP look up Matt Dillahunty's youtube video on The Superiority of Secular Morality.

          ragansteve: No, Matt is no longer Christian but after having spent time studying it, I would wager he has a far greater comprehension of morality on both sides than you do. You keep labeling people as Humanists and making false assumptions. You attempted to claim that Humanists believe everyone is born good and yet that is not the case...your one quote proves nothing and certainly doesn't cover all humanists, that is painting with a broad brush-something Christians scream and whine about having done to them. You failed to answer my other questions to you about what you would do if you didn't have the bible as a guide-so please tell us, do you think you'd be incapable of being good?

          July 14, 2014 at 4:11 am |
        • ragansteve1

          Truth, I actually provided you all with one quote from the person who is widely thought of as the "father" of Humanism. I think that is relevant and on point even if there are varying beliefs within the camp. Moreover, I referenced both Humanist Manifestos (1933 and 1973). So, while I will say again that I am not an authority on either, I do know enough to be able to tell when a person belongs in the Christian camp or the Humanist camp,I believe. If there are nuances that I am not aware of then please cut me a little slack. I realize that people often paint Christians with a broad brush and I don't complain much about it because I assume they don't understand all of the doctrinal details. And that's OK.

          As for being good without the Bible–I think I could be moderately good if I were raised in a stable culture and had a stable home life as a child. But my point throughout this discussion is that having those assets in a place where there is no God is becoming more and more unlikely. My childhood home was not stable and the fact that the church was there when I was 12 made the difference in my life. If it had not been there, I also likely would not have found my wife, and I would have become something other than what I am.

          It is pure speculation what I might have become. So, I will not go there. But I can say that my brothers were not so fortunate, and they had serious periods of alcohol abuse and broken marriages before they became believers. One actually died in a car crash at a very young age.

          So, is it possible? Probably yes. Is it likely, not so much.

          July 14, 2014 at 8:59 am |
        • ragansteve1

          I didn't think to do it before, but I should also add that even with the help of Jesus, I had multiple problems growing up and through my early adult years as a result of the unstable home life. And, I need to add that after my two living brothers came to God, one became a strong and moral church leader in his home church. The other, a missionary to Mexico for nearly two decades. So, Jesus is the difference, at least for us.

          July 14, 2014 at 9:10 am |
        • gordonhide

          @TruthPrevails1
          "I don't believe people are born with morals" - We are almost all born with the genetic traits gifted to our animal ancestors by natural selection. They are what made us social animals. They are now part of modern morality. They include things like empathy, a sense of fairness, reciprocity, a need to be accepted, altruism and some tendency to defer to authority.

          July 14, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          gordonhide: Those are human traits but they are still taught, thus my point stands-we are not born knowing right from wrong.

          July 14, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Look up Matt Dillahunty's Superiority of Secular Morality on youtube. Matt is an ex-Baptist minister who is far more intelligent than this ragansteve guy and gives a take from both sides. Trust the experts not the sheep.

      July 12, 2014 at 8:06 pm |
  19. bostontola

    Eye for an eye is part of the eternal, perfect, absolute morality gifted to humanity by Yahweh.

    It is pretty clear that eye for an eye, while an improvement on the unbridled brutality that preceded it, is a short sighted philosophy of social justice. It is not worthy of an omniscient being. Eye for an eye is not alone. It joins slavery, women's role, s.exual preference, etc. as temporal morality.

    Some Christians will say that morality has been eclipsed by NT testimony. I find that logically void. According to the basic tenets, Jesus is Yahweh.

    Did Yahweh give moral law that was what man could understand at that time, only to be improved later with the Jesus incarnation? If so, then moral law is temporal and there could be new updates coming. Then morality is not eternal and absolute.

    Did Yahweh learn that humans were worse than he thought so he needed to change his law? Then he is not omniscient, and again moral law is not eternal and absolute.

    Bottom line is biblical morality changed from the OT to the NT. It is not eternal and absolute. Worse, the NT God is not consistent with the OT God. There is no trinity because these are different characters. I can see why Jews see Jesus as a fraud. While the philosophy of Jesus is beautiful and in many ways superior to that of Yahweh, the narrative that Jesus was the messiah and son of Yahweh/one with Yahweh doesn't hold water. Christianity is really a new religion, an improved religion. It still has many useful social elements, but after 2000 years, it needs updates.

    July 12, 2014 at 10:46 am |
    • austin929

      about your comment on being void because of the trinity........and the discussion of morality is interesting.

      Why was the old testament valid and why is the new testament better? why was there a need for the two? why was it not always the new testament.

      We can see that the gospel starts with Adam, and the beginning of the family tree. Adam was with God. and then God turned his back on sin. And we see that the law, was given to emphasize the reality that all men are sinners. No one could abide by the law.

      Can you Bostontola, call yourself a sinless man according to God's law? O.K. well the law was there to keep your mind aware of sin, and you should then understand your need for God's forgiveness.

      Do you understand that enmity makes us enemies of God by nature, especially when we rationalize a life apart from God. and even salvation is God's miracle.

      I appreciate my redeemer and the Holy Spirit who protects me and guides me. If God's gift was revokable I would have been lost again. But He makes promises.

      July 12, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
      • G to the T

        " No one could abide by the law."

        There are multiple examples of people who were "blameless before the law". Paul claims to be one of them. The inability to keep the laws was never a valid reason for saying they are null and void.

        July 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • austin929

          Paul claimed to be a sinner

          1 Timothy 1:15 ►

          Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.

          July 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • austin929

          I see what you are saying though.

          July 12, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
        • Reality

          Once again, Paul was not the author of the Timothy epistles so again you fail to convince anyone.

          July 12, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • G to the T

          Philippians 3:6

          July 12, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
      • observer

        austin929

        "enmity makes us enemies of God"

        Does that make h0mophobic Christians and those who trash pro-choice supporters as "enemies of God"?

        July 12, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • austin929

          politics and "christians" are not the issue.

          July 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          No but when one invokes the other and tries to make laws based in accordance to, you get one very dangerous combination.

          July 12, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
      • Reality

        Just as there is no god, there was no biblical Adam so your reasoning is nil.

        July 12, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
    • austin929

      Bostontola, you could also ask this question. Why wasn't Jesus crucified when Adam sinned? why wait?

      July 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
      • djangoboy

        Interesting question. Since according to the Gospel of John, Jesus was existent form the very beginning, and it was the sin of Adam and Eve that condemned all of their descendants, why didn't God just get it over with then? Crucify Jesus, cleanse the human race of sin, and everyone is happy (except maybe Jesus, who would have been somewhat inconvenienced).

        July 13, 2014 at 10:04 am |
    • austin929

      Bostontola, morality did not change.

      The new covenant is a better covenant because of the realities of salvation. When you receive the Holy Spirit, through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you are baptized with water and fire. Fire is judgment. This Holy Spirit is A PROMISE, to change you from within. Observing the law could not do this.

      The Holy Spirit, and the resurrection power of Christ, brings about supernaturally what the law is intended to do, a law of righteousness and purity.

      The Holy Spirit is the supernatural law at work in one who yields and calls upon the savior for the REMISSION OF SIN.

      This is the supernatural sanctification, or the living laws of God borne within the heart of man.

      Ezekiel 36:26 ►

      I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

      July 12, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        If the new covenant is "better" does that not imply that the 'effective covenant' changed? Does not the 'effective covenant' define morality?
        ergo did not morality change?

        July 12, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Not to make too fine a point of it, but morality did not change. Jesus was very specific in saying that He came to fulfill the law, not to abolish it. He said further that not one item in the law would be destroyed by His coming. In fact, the 11th commandment is much more rigorous than the Jewish law, but then the 11th commandment was not new either.

          Now, of course, if one does not believe God exists, then all of that is moot, and there is no morality except power. The survival of the fittest (i.e., the strongest or most powerful).

          July 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • observer

          ragansteve1

          Of course morality has CHANGED. For instance, you don't see Christians claiming that God was right to command that we cut off the hands of women protecting their husband from attackers and touching their attackers' genitals.

          July 12, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          ragansteve1,
          Sorry, but OP said that the new covenant was "better". In order to be better it must have been different, ergo the covenant changed. If as you say the "morality" did not change then which covenant was not moral?

          July 12, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          I don't see OP, and anyway, who or whatever that is doesn't govern my views.

          July 12, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          ragansteve1,
          The original post (OP) that I was replying to, austin, made the statement. If you are going to reply to my comment you really should look into the context of what I'm saying. Believer's being big on context and all.

          But let's take your point for a moment, if Jesus fulfilled the law does that not imply that the law was not fulfilled earlier? Therefore the law was different, correct? If morality did not change then which law was not moral?

          July 12, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
        • LaBella

          Ragansteve, the OP said: "The new covenant is a better covenant because of the realities of salvation. When you receive the Holy Spirit, through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you are baptized with water and fire. Fire is judgment. This Holy Spirit is A PROMISE, to change you from within. Observing the law could not do this."

          July 12, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          LaBella, I certainly agree that the second covenant was necessary because virtually no one could keep all of the laws in thier own human strength, just as we cannot even today. And anyway, the law was in place simply to point people to God and show where they fell short. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice once and for all. But I believe the second covenant was part II of a continuing plan. It is not better or worse in the moral sense, which is what I thought we were discussing. It is simply the completion of God's plan for humanity. Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law, not to destroy it.

          July 12, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
        • LaBella

          Ragansteve, I was just trying to clarify what Austin said, since that is what people were initially responding to. You seemed somewhat unsure as to what the OP said.

          July 12, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          I was. And thank you for the clarification. I hope my comments clarified my position, which is obviously not exactly the same as OP's.

          July 12, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Ken, It seems apparent, although I'll admit I could be wrong, that you at least don't believe the Bible and perhaps not even that there is a God. So our debating the morality of God's laws is useless. But to answer your questions (1) no, (2) no and (3) none. A law does not have to be in error to need completion. Jesus did that on the cross and by rising from the dead.

          I hope that helps. If not, . . .? I'm not sure I can help you.

          July 12, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
        • observer

          ragansteve1,

          What difference does it make if someone is a believer or not when it comes to the morality or lack thereof in God's laws?

          July 12, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          ragansteve1,
          If you feel this is useless then why did you respond to my post?

          I did not claim that it was in "error", I was simply stating that if the law was "fulfilled" (whatever that means) then it would seem that it had changed. If that is not correct, then it would seem that either the laws of the OT are still in effect or they were incomplete, in that they didn't include the "fulfillment" clause that Jesus invoked.

          Hope that helps....

          July 12, 2014 at 7:56 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          I'm guessing that based on similarities in how ragansteve communicates and how Austin communicates, it is safe to say neither made it out of grade school. How anyone believes the tripe of Christianity in the 21st century is puzzling.

          July 12, 2014 at 8:01 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Observer, I would be the last person to say that there are no moral non-Christians, or that ALL Christians are highly moral. If that is your point, then that should settle that. But that is not the only thing Christianity is about. At its core, Christianity is about love and relationship and communication. Moral behavior grows and flows out of that relationship and communication, not the reverse. If we have a pure heart (not something we can do on our own) then good things will flow out in our behavior. If not, . . . well?

          July 12, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Observer, Sorry, I omitted a word in editing that is crucial.It should read something we CANNOT do on our own.

          July 12, 2014 at 8:09 pm |
        • observer

          ragansteve1,

          Why do Christians make such a big deal out of "God's morals" when none of them believe that all of God's laws are "MORAL"?

          July 12, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Ken, Because it would be rude not to respond. I see your point about completion changing things. But it is not the law that changed but the way we can respond to the law. We do not have to give animal sacrifices any longer for the mistakes and sins that we make and commit. That has been done. We just need to accept the gift and begin the relationship.

          July 12, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Observer, Because God created us in His own image. Fellowship with Him, communication with Him, and striving to as best we can become like Him with the help of the Holy Spirit, brings about His morality to some extent. It is clear to most of us however that we will fall short in this life and will continually need his comfort and forgiveness.

          July 12, 2014 at 8:56 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Truth, As I said in one of my earlier posts, one either believes in a spiritual life, or not. One cannot "prove" a spiritual life using material methods. We can show evidence. We can listen to testimony (as in a courtroom). But proving God by scientific method is not rational.

          Know this though. There are many ways of "knowing" other than hard sciences.

          July 12, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
        • observer

          ragansteve1,

          God's "morals" come in handy for Christian h0mophobes looking for an EXCUSE for their prejudice, but are ignored when any discussions come up that are embarrassing like support for slavery and discrimination against the handicapped.

          It's all pick and choose.

          July 12, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          ragansteve1,
          "Because it would be rude not to respond."

          I had no expectation of your first reply. That was what I was referring to.

          "But it is not the law that changed but the way we can respond to the law. We do not have to give animal sacrifices any longer for the mistakes and sins that we make and commit."

          So, a simple question then, is it currently moral to sacrifice animals to "God"? I'm not asking if it is required, but is it moral?

          July 12, 2014 at 9:08 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Ken, I apologize for responding the first time. I thought this was an open forum. I won't do it again.

          But to answer your last question in my last response, it is neither moral nor immoral. It is not essential and therefore a non-issue. There is no moral component, except that killing anything needlessly is a waste. That is just stupid, not immoral.

          July 12, 2014 at 9:22 pm |
        • observer

          ragansteve1,

          So God's near-obsession with animal sacrifices for him wasn't IMMORAL, just STUPID?

          July 12, 2014 at 9:30 pm |
        • LaBella

          Given that God's preference for animal sacrifices caused the first murder to be committed, I'd say that He was rather partial to them.

          July 12, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          ragansteve1,
          "I apologize for responding the first time. I thought this was an open forum. I won't do it again."

          (sigh) It is open and you are free to respond, but if your response is "it is useless to debate this" then I have to wonder, why respond in the first place?

          "There is no moral component, except that killing anything needlessly is a waste. That is just stupid, not immoral."

          Is there no moral component to how we treat other animals? That seems a bit limited, but it's your code, so okay.

          July 12, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
        • G to the T

          "The survival of the fittest (i.e., the strongest or most powerful)."

          Then you misunderstand what "fit" actually means. It does not equate to physical strength (except perhaps in an oblique way). "Fittest" in that context is supposed to me "Fits Best". Like a puzzle piece, the species that "fits" best with it's environment will tend to do better than those that haven't (this is known as specialization). Specializations can take many forms, and yes, strength is one of them. But it often takes the form of cooperation, reciprocity and kinship. Humans as individuals would have almost no chance of survival. It's only with the combined effort of all humans throughout time that we've reached the point we are at.

          July 13, 2014 at 10:49 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Austin: How do you define supernatural? You use the word a lot and yet I don't think you have a damn clue as to the actual meaning of it and how using it makes you look even crazier than wee suspect you to be.
        To help you out slightly:

        1: of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil

        2a : departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature
        b : attributed to an invisible agent (as a ghost or spirit)

        If it is supernatural, it can't be verified and therefore there should be no reason for accepting it. Many people believe in things that can be defined supernatural...what makes them wrong and you right? (and please don't say it is due to the bible or personal experience...neither count because they can't be verified)

        July 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          You are correct about the verification BY YOUR STANDARDS. One either believes there is a spiritual world, and hence the supernatural exists, or they don't. It is very simple (not to be confused with stupid, in case you're wondering, but not complex). There are people who believe that matter and energy are all that exist (e.g., Carl Sagan and his folks). Atheists in general, I understand, also believe this. Fortunately, the vast majority of humanity do believe in a spiritual world that either co-exists with, or wraps around, the material world.

          Humanism, as you may know, also relies primarily on the material world and human beings, believing that a God is not necessary. Science and a evolving human race will succeed without a God. But then, Humanism is also a religion. (See the Humansist Manifestos 1 and 2 and at east two US Supreme Court cases.) As such, it seems to me that it would take about as much faith to believe in Humanism as it does to believe in a spirit world.

          July 12, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          I gave the dictionary definition and in reality that is the only definition that matters. Nowhere did I state I was a humanist, so your point on that is moot.

          July 12, 2014 at 7:56 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          " Fortunately, the vast majority of humanity do believe in a spiritual world that either co-exists with, or wraps around, the material world."

          So what? Majority doesn't make anything fact. Majority when it comes to belief usually has more to do with mob mentality than anything else.
          No matter how you try to spin this to make yourself sound smart, the fact that you invoke a god that can't be shown to exist tells us something vastly different about you. Skip the arrogance!

          July 12, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          I am sorry if you perceive arrogance in my response. It certainly was not intentional. I tried to simply provide you with what I believe and what I understand about the other side. If you are not a Humanist, then may I ask what you do believe?

          BTW: I don't disagree with your dictionary definition, at least for the most part. You can stop the insults any time.

          Thanks.

          July 12, 2014 at 9:07 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Once again, it is not my definition so you agreeing with it or not does not matter....it is the definition as given by Merriam Webster-you do know how to use a dictionary-right??
          Why is it you assume Atheists are Humanists? Not everyone requires a religion or religion-like practice to get them by in this world. Morals come from being able to differentiate between the positive and negative, they do not come from religion.
          As for the insults, you might wish to skip the hypocrisy when it is you who claimed that without religion there can be no morals, simply power-you insult many by making such a ludicrous claim and you fail to comprehend that there are only 2 billion Christians in this world...does that make the remaining 5 billion immoral?

          July 13, 2014 at 8:09 am |
    • MidwestKen

      bostontola,
      Well said.

      July 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
  20. monica7c

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU9MbXueRFg&w=640&h=360]

    July 12, 2014 at 9:56 am |
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