Author Topic: Moral laws of the Bible  (Read 15039 times)

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Offline Astreja

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #203 on: May 01, 2012, 11:58:47 PM »
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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #204 on: May 02, 2012, 02:39:14 AM »
Quote from: Jstwebbrowsing
The law has been fulfilled.  There is no longer a need to fulfill it again.  That is not to say the Hebrew law has no applicatoin to christians at all because it does.  One major difference however is that in christian times the punishments are no longer handed out by man but by God.  This is why you do not see one christian kill another for breaking the law.  <snip>

An interesting interpretation, it's one I've not heard used before. The issue is that the law doesn't say, "you must not do this and you will be punished this way", the law is, "you must do this to those who do this". The law is telling you to pass judgement on others or you yourself will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Imagine if the government passed a law where it was mandatory to kill people with ginger hair? If you saw a person with ginger hair and did not kill them, then you would be punished.

For example, Deuteronomy 13:


Quote
If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, 2 and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. 5 That prophet or dreamer must be put to death for inciting rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. That prophet or dreamer tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.

6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. 9 You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again.

12 If you hear it said about one of the towns the Lord your God is giving you to live in 13 that troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods you have not known), 14 then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, 15 you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. You must destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. 16 You are to gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. That town is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt, 17 and none of the condemned things[c] are to be found in your hands. Then the Lord will turn from his fierce anger, will show you mercy, and will have compassion on you. He will increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your ancestors— 18 because you obey the Lord your God by keeping all his commands that I am giving you today and doing what is right in his eyes.

What about you not going to heaven for not obeying the law? The issue is Matthew 5, some translations word it differently, but many say that the law won't change until the heaven & earth have gone. Because you're a JW, I've chosen the New World Translation:

Quote
17“Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I came, not to destroy, but to fulfill; 18 for truly I say to YOU that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than for one smallest letter or one particle of a letter to pass away from the Law by any means and not all things take place. 19 Whoever, therefore, breaks one of these least commandments and teaches mankind to that effect, he will be called ‘least’ in relation to the kingdom of the heavens. As for anyone who does them and teaches them, this one will be called ‘great’ in relation to the kingdom of the heavens. 20 For I say to YOU that if YOUR righteousness does not abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, YOU will by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens.

It would appear it will not change until 'all things take place'. Another translations say "end of all things". A common translation Christians like is the King James Version, say 'till all be fulfilled' and 'till heaven and earth shall pass'.

It seems 'Until all things are accomplished' is not referring to the accomplishments Jesus' has brought but until all things 'have happened' or 'have ceased to happen' or 'are no more'. Given you're granted eternal life when you die and heaven is eternal, these laws will never change. Not by a single speck.

Should any teach otherwise will be called least in relation to the kingdom of heaven, should anyone not obey the law shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Another teaching said this is not up to personal interpretation, so it must be read as it is stated.


Also, what about these additional teachings from Jesus? These don't seem compatible with what you're saying either.


Quote from: Luke 16
16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. 17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.

And why is it Jesus criticises the Jews for not killing their child in Mark 7 as is told by the old law. He calls them hypocrites because they would praise God but not obey His law. The teaching Jesus is referring to is in Exodus 21 and Leviticus 20.
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Offline Maggie the Opinionated

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #205 on: May 02, 2012, 07:26:57 AM »
I have not been able to read the entire thread but this last bit caught my eye. Where does Jesus say that the Jews should kill their children? He doesn't, of course. He is rebuking the Pharisees, and, tellingly, the teachers of the law, for their hypocrisy and for picking and choosing which laws they will follow and which they won't, and interpreting them in ways that favor what they want to do.

Matthew 5, to which you allude is quite interesting too. The jot and tittle remark comes in the middle of the great sermon that starts with the Beatitudes. This context is important because what follows makes it clear that Jesus is referring to the laws given to Moses not the subsequent 617 (or was it 613?) ceremonial and ritual laws that fleshed them out for an ancient tribal theocracy. Those ten (a couple more really) commandments are binding on everyone, everywhere, at all times because they are the minimum requirements for a functioning society. Jesus ends his sermon by reminding his listeners that they are to love their enemies and to be perfect as God is perfect. This is the law that will never pass away and that Jesus fulfilled.

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #206 on: May 02, 2012, 08:23:13 AM »
This context is important because what follows makes it clear that Jesus is referring to the laws given to Moses not the subsequent 617 (or was it 613?) ceremonial and ritual laws that fleshed them out for an ancient tribal theocracy. Those ten (a couple more really) commandments are binding on everyone, everywhere, at all times because they are the minimum requirements for a functioning society. Jesus ends his sermon by reminding his listeners that they are to love their enemies and to be perfect as God is perfect. This is the law that will never pass away and that Jesus fulfilled.

Clear as mud, you mean.

"Love thy neighbour" does not come from the 10 commandments. At no point does Jesus tell anyone to stop following any Jewish law, because he is a Jew. Hand washing is not a law, and the Pharisees aren't picking which laws to do, but are implementing them in the wrong priority. It's clear that Paul is dismantling the law, since he shortens it further, believing that loving your neighbour fulfils them all. Like a typical Christian, you have no idea how Jesus "fulfilled".

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #207 on: May 02, 2012, 08:41:10 AM »
Of course.  And I would take your opinion over theirs? 

It comes back to 'opinion' does it? You are believing what your church tells you, not reading the page. You said that you belonged to the JW camp because they were beyond reproach, not because you have to swallow dubious excuses.

It's a bit like I write: "My uncle was a child molester. He fiddled with children."

Pretty clear what I'm saying, isn't it?

Then your church comes along and says "Ancient Add Homonyms always put a pause between child and molester, so it actually means "My uncle was a child, molester!" Perhaps saying that the reader is a molester! How ironic. Also "fiddled", really means to play violin. The author is clearly saying that: My uncle was an innocent man, who cared for children, and played the violin to them.

I know why you can't read, all of a sudden.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 08:43:32 AM by Add Homonym »
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #208 on: May 02, 2012, 09:07:03 AM »
Quote
Where does Jesus say that the Jews should kill their children?

Matthew 15:

Quote
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
9 They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules. ’[c] ”
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides.[d] If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”

16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

Jesus criticised them for breaking the command of God for their traditions. They should honour thy mother and father and any who curse their mother or father must be put to death. Jesus is clearly saying they should abide by this old testament law.

Quote
This context is important because what follows makes it clear that Jesus is referring to the laws given to Moses not the subsequent 617 (or was it 613?) ceremonial and ritual laws that fleshed them out for an ancient tribal theocracy. Those ten (a couple more really) commandments are binding on everyone, everywhere, at all times because they are the minimum requirements for a functioning society. Jesus ends his sermon by reminding his listeners that they are to love their enemies and to be perfect as God is perfect. This is the law that will never pass away and that Jesus fulfilled.

Actually it's not made clear. In fact. if you put this side by side with Matthew 15 it's quite easy to suggest he doesn't mean the 10 commandments. In Matthew 5 he said that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 15 tells the story of Jesus criticising Pharisees for ignoring said laws and only worshipping God by name only, he quotes one of these laws too and the law he quotes is from Exodus and it is not one of the 10 commandments. So in order to surpass the righteousness of the Pharisees you must not only follow the Lord by name but also by His laws. His laws are in the old testament.

As for being perfect as God is perfect, that can very easily be read as "I should live in God's example as He is perfect" and well...the God of the Old Testament is pretty violent.


Now all this would seem pretty contradictory. Love thy neighbour, turn the other cheek and all that 'peaceful' stuff. You can still love your neighbour and not fight back against those who persecute you AND enforce God's law. Think of God's logic here, He loves His children, but he sends the sinners to Hell. The bible allows you to love your neighbour but if that neighbour commits a sin and breaks God's divine law then they must be punished accordingly. As for the turn the other cheek, it is not saying, "do not be violent" it is saying, "do not retaliate".

To us (critics) we find the notion of hurting somebody you love in the same way the bible asks you to and the same way it is claimed God does is contradictory. You'd never kill your own wife, whom you love, because she found herself working on a Sunday (Exodus 31). To us that makes no sense. However, Christians would have us believe that God is benevolent, He loves you, but He'd have you spend an eternity of pain and torment because you didn't believe He was real. That's not love, that's somebody who's a psychopath and a huuuuuuge ego.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #209 on: May 02, 2012, 10:08:28 AM »
velkynThe Bible doesn't say this beast is imprisoned.  It shows it comes from the "sea" of tumultuous mankind.

wow, the ineptitue here.  Depending on the bible used, the beast aka the dragon aka satan is imprisioned in the pit.  Revelation 12.   Then we have the “dragon” at the shores of the “sea”, then the “beasts” arrive.  the “dragon” gives up all he is to the “beast of the sea”, so your claim about the “sea” being mankind makes no sense. Not like any of this makes much.  Then we got another beast, that the whore of Babylon is sitting on.  This beast is from the Abyss, aka Satan, since that’s where god sent him, right?  (oh and good to see that God is working with evil yet again in Revelation 17).  This beast is thrown alive into the fiery lake and all people who don’t believe in god are killed.  Then after all of this, and JC gets to reign for a thousand years, your god is required to allow Satan back up and corrupt some more.  Funny how a omnieverything god has to do anything at all   and allowing its evil foe back up to harm more people, why isn’t that special. 


EDIT: nice ot see a good theist lie by claimign somethign will be removed from a thread and also claiming that everyone but him is "petty".
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 10:10:06 AM by velkyn »
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Offline Maggie the Opinionated

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #210 on: May 02, 2012, 10:08:40 AM »
"Love thy neighbour" does not come from the 10 commandments. At no point does Jesus tell anyone to stop following any Jewish law, because he is a Jew. Hand washing is not a law, and the Pharisees aren't picking which laws to do, but are implementing them in the wrong priority. It's clear that Paul is dismantling the law, since he shortens it further, believing that loving your neighbour fulfils them all. Like a typical Christian, you have no idea how Jesus "fulfilled".
Oh, I think I have a vague notion or two of how Jesus fulfilled the law. That is what the whole passage is about. The reference to corban is a particular application of Jesus' approach to the law.  Corban is a direct violation of the spirit and intent of "honor your mother and father".

I don't believe that I said that "Love thy neighbor" (the formulation) is one of the ten commandments. The commandments have to do with two things-- love of God and love of neighbor. However, they are minimum requirements. Thou shalt not steal, murder, covet, etc. are all aimed at how we are to treat our neighbor, and pretty basic.  In the next scene, Jesus spells it out:
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
So, Paul is hardly making things up.

Quote from: PJ
Where does Jesus say that the Jews should kill their children?
Matthew 15:
Jesus criticised them for breaking the command of God for their traditions. They should honour thy mother and father and any who curse their mother or father must be put to death. Jesus is clearly saying they should abide by this old testament law.
I don't think so. As I said above, the real point of this discourse is to point out that the Pharisees and teachers' of the law have found ways to circumvent honoring their mother and father. Fathers having the power of life and death over their children was a feature of the ancient world. The Romans practiced it, as did many others. However, there were rules around how and under what circumstances it could be done among the Jews. Whether or not one was obliged to do it is a whole different story. Certainly the parable of the Prodigal Son and the story of the son who refused his father's request to go work in his vineyard suggest that disobedient children were not routinely executed.

Quote
In fact. if you put this side by side with Matthew 15 it's quite easy to suggest he doesn't mean the 10 commandments.
Well, I don't think that is true. Context trumps all. Reading either passage in isolation is going to yield different results. The answer to that is not ignore context but to read the whole and see what it tells you. Jesus talks many times about the law. He talks a lot about love. What does it all mean? What explanation/interpretation makes sense of the whole?

Quote
Now all this would seem pretty contradictory. Love thy neighbour, turn the other cheek and all that 'peaceful' stuff. You can still love your neighbour and not fight back against those who persecute you AND enforce God's law. Think of God's logic here, He loves His children, but he sends the sinners to Hell.
Err, no. God gave us free will, which means the ability to make moral choices. We can either follow God or follow a path or our own devising. Anyone who goes to hell, chooses to do so. God will respect your decision. We are told very little about hell and so the imagination, particular of Renaissance artists, has run wild. Physical torment seems unlikely, since we are not told that those in hell will have physical bodies, as the redeemed will. But I have no particular expertise on this subject and so will say no more.


Offline Graybeard

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #211 on: May 02, 2012, 10:30:39 AM »
Oh, I think I have a vague notion or two of how Jesus fulfilled the law.
Yes, and I think that is the trouble. Having a vague notion, is not much use. all theists have a vague notion of what their god is like, but no two agree.
Quote
That is what the whole passage is about.
No. You have taken far too literal a translation - it is what you feel it is about. This is where the "vague notion" lets you down badly.

Quote
The reference to corban is a particular application of Jesus' approach to the law.  Corban is a direct violation of the spirit and intent of "honor your mother and father".

...  In the next scene, Jesus spells it out:
...
Matthew 15:
...the real point of this discourse is to point out that the Pharisees and teachers' of the law have found ways to circumvent honoring their mother and father. Fathers having the power of life and death over their children was a feature of the ancient world. The Romans practiced it, as did many others.
This is a mass of generalisations and conclusions that are simply wrong.

Father and mother are allusions to "those who created you"  - i.e. God, against whom you should not speak.

"The father" is again clearly God, whom you should worship (honour) as prescribed and not find ways of avoiding this duty."

Anyway, all your arguments are simply based on what the Bible says. It is well-known that much imagination went into the Bible and it is as about as reliable as a drunk. You will admit that there isn't the slightest shred of evidence that there every was a real "Jesus."
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #212 on: May 02, 2012, 10:34:42 AM »
Jane, your magic decoder ring is certainly shiny.  It’s even shinier than the magic decoder rings that other Christians use.  But it’s not showing your version is any better or more accurate than theirs.  You cite “context” and claim that this “context” makes your interpretation the right one.  Alas, your claims that the laws Moses got were only ceremonial and ritual and don’t inconveniently apply to you fails. If you actually read the OT, you would see that there is no difference between the first ten (and the few more that you’ve decided you like) and the rest that you don’t like. All are given by your god with equal emphasis.  You make up what you want your god to have “really” meant.

I was a Christian once.  And I know that Christians all have their own version of what they really want to be god’s law.  I’ve read the bible myself, as a believer and as not, as have seen what Christians love to leave our and to claim is in there.  JC never said that all of the laws given to Moses were to be cherry picked.  Indeed, he said that those who follow all of those laws get better seats in heaven. Your supposed messiah repeatedly says that his fathers laws are not to be ignored. And again, that’s all of them, not the ones that modern Christian find “icky”. 
The laws of your god in the OT does say indeed love thy neighbor
Quote
Leviticus 19: 17 ‘You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. 18You shall not take vengeance,nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. - NASB
  You see here, it’s not about everyone but just one’s tribe.  Your god was all about murdering lots of people constantly in the wars he commanded.  And your god is all about stealing too, forcing by his divine will the Egyptians to give up all of their wealth to the Israelites.  There are no “minium requirements, Jane, one must fulfill all of the commandments, which can be *summarized* by the two that JC gives, not replaced.  JC says that the Pharisees have obeyed the word and not the spirit of the law, not that the laws should be ignored. 
Then we have your typical excuse that the ancient world was different so how could we possibly expect your god to do anything different. Oh look the Romans did it so that’s okay that my god does it.  Funny how your god, for being so immutable, changes constantly and is beholden for humans to get more humane and decent morals.  and it’s hilarious tm that you want to try to claim that it wasn’t an obligation.  Isn’t that convenient!  Just ignore that it was an obligation in the OT.  That you “don’t think so” means nothing against the facts.  And hmm, shall we take parables as demonstrations of how people acted then?  So, we can be sure that people were indeed told to bring non-beleivers before Jesus and kill them if they don’t accept him as king? (Luke 19, the parable of the 10 minas: 27 But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.”) 
Quote
Well, I don't think that is true. Context trumps all. Reading either passage in isolation is going to yield different results. The answer to that is not ignore context but to read the whole and see what it tells you. Jesus talks many times about the law. He talks a lot about love. What does it all mean? What explanation/interpretation makes sense of the whole?
  I think what you mean here is what explanation/intepreration makes me feel best?  The bible is a mess, full of contradictiosn, outright lies and much xenophobic intolerance and primitive violence.  It is in no way some magical book.
Quote
Err, no. God gave us free will, which means the ability to make moral choices. We can either follow God or follow a path or our own devising. Anyone who goes to hell, chooses to do so. God will respect your decision. We are told very little about hell and so the imagination, particular of Renaissance artists, has run wild. Physical torment seems unlikely, since we are not told that those in hell will have physical bodies, as the redeemed will. But I have no particular expertise on this subject and so will say no more.
Err, no. Your bible says not one thing about free will and repeatedly shows your god interfering with human decisions.  Any miracle that changes a battle, any forcing of your god’s will on others (the pharaoh, the Egyptians), any murder by your god removes free will.  And yrou bible says directly, by JC and by Paul, that some people will never be allowed to accept this god of yours and will be damned.  No free will at all. I’m guessing you are a Roman Catholic and may not have read the bible.  I suggest you do so for yourself.  As for hell, your book sure seems fond of claiming it will have flames and worms.  Are those more “metaphors” from your magic decoder ring, Jane?
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Online Add Homonym

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #213 on: May 02, 2012, 10:34:55 AM »
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
So, Paul is hardly making things up.

I didn't say Paul was making things up. He's un-making things up. Paul's perspective is that you don't need to know about Jewish law, if you hold to loving your neighbour. He is clearly not interested in "circumcision". But his perspective is lack of knowledge, whereas the writer of Matthew says that you should be taught even the smallest of the laws.

You will notice that what you quoted, says "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments". That is, the 613 bitchin laws in Deut are derived from it, and consistent with it - if you can believe that.

Quote
Oh, I think I have a vague notion or two of how Jesus fulfilled the law.

Stay around here, and you may get less vague.

Quote
I don't believe that I said that "Love thy neighbor" (the formulation) is one of the ten commandments.

Exactly. It's hidden in the 613 gibberish laws, giving evidence that they are not being ignored.

« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 10:38:14 AM by Add Homonym »
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Offline Zankuu

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #214 on: May 02, 2012, 10:53:38 AM »
The commandments have to do with two things-- love of God and love of neighbor. However, they are minimum requirements.

Minimum requirements for what? Loving God? No. Getting into heaven? No, that's certainly not the case. So what are you talking about here?

Thou shalt not steal, murder, covet, etc. are all aimed at how we are to treat our neighbor, and pretty basic.

Ah, you're talking about the first broken set of tablets. What are your thoughts on the set of tablets God forged afterward? You know, the sillier ones he made a covenant with that include "You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk" and "The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck". Do you think these are useful or logical in any sense?

Err, no. God gave us free will, which means the ability to make moral choices. We can either follow God or follow a path or our own devising.

That's a nice false dichotomy, Jane. Tell me, what happens when an atheist's path is a path of moral choices? With this reasoning, your only viable escape is to say that the atheist is unknowingly following the path of God, which is laughable. Which reminds me of something Jesus said that I've always found particularly offensive: "He who is not with me is against me [...]" -Matthew 12:13. It's a truly childish idea that propagates the us vs. them mentality along with more pain and anguish on this little blue planet than humanity deserves. Jesus really dropped the ball, so to speak.

 
Anyone who goes to hell, chooses to do so.

This is also false. I am not choosing to go to hell, yet the God character in the Bible would send me there for not finding evidence for his existence. That's on him, not me. And while we're on the subject, what kind of god condemns a person to hell for simply not believing in him, regardless if they lived a good, moral life? The biblical god has a severely skewed vision of what justice is.
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Offline Maggie the Opinionated

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #215 on: May 02, 2012, 12:40:08 PM »
Oh, I think I have a vague notion or two of how Jesus fulfilled the law.
Yes, and I think that is the trouble. Having a vague notion, is not much use.
Now, now. I choose to use understatement, which is a well loved literary device.
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...  all theists have a vague notion of what their god is like, but no two agree.
Is that so? What don't they agree on?

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No. You have taken far too literal a translation - it is what you feel it is about. This is where the "vague notion" lets you down badly.
If you say so. But that strikes me as an indefensibly weak rejoinder. The first rule of intelligent reading is to read what is actually on the page. Then, with respect for the context and the author's intention, one can move into interpretation, if needed.

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This is a mass of generalisations and conclusions that are simply wrong.
Well, they aren't but let's pretend for a moment that you are right. What is your argument? Saying that God is meant makes no sense in the context.

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Anyway, all your arguments are simply based on what the Bible says.
Ya think???!
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It is well-known that much imagination went into the Bible and it is as about as reliable as a drunk.
No, it is not well-known. Its historicity is perfectly well established. How much weight one gives to various parts of it depends on a number of factors. There are actually people who want to take the story of Jonah at face value without ever understanding that it is a story, and a very funny one at that. So one of those important factors is enough literary skill to recognize genres, familiarity with the language enables one to recognized idioms,  conventional ways of expressing certain ideas, etc.

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You will admit that there isn't the slightest shred of evidence that there every was a real "Jesus."
I certainly will not admit any such thing. I would look like an idiot. Like I said elsewhere, you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of trained historians who dispute the historicity of Jesus. That stuff went out in the 19th century!

Offline screwtape

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #216 on: May 02, 2012, 12:49:00 PM »
No, it is not well-known. Its historicity is perfectly well established.

AAHHAHAHAHAhahahahaha!  Snort.  Hehhehheh.  Whew.  Good one.

I suppose it depends what you mean by "historicity" and "perfectly well" and "established".


you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of trained historians who dispute the historicity of Jesus.

Oh yeah?  Then name them.  Or is this going to be a silly exercise like when creationists name "scientists" who disagree with evolution?  We had one do that just yesterday.[1] He ended up looking really silly.

Say, how old are you?
 1. http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,22022.msg501236.html#msg501236
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #217 on: May 02, 2012, 12:50:52 PM »
I certainly will not admit any such thing. I would look like an idiot. Like I said elsewhere, you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of trained historians who dispute the historicity of Jesus. That stuff went out in the 19th century!
Jane, do you worship a Jesus Christ the son of God who did miracles or do you worship a possible itinerant rabbi from around 1 CE? 

the wiki entry on christ as myth does a good job on showing how the idea of Jesus' existence is debated
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However, there is ambiguity in the meaning of the word myth:[1][2]

It can refer to the story of a historical person or event that ranges from almost totally accurate to nearly entirely false[1][3]
It can refer to a fictional story that may or may not have historical details (including actual people) woven into it.[4]
Thus, there is a large variance regarding how the Gospel Jesus is a myth; for instance:

The Jesus character could be a pure allegoric myth to which historical details (possibly including an actual obscure 1st century teacher of the same name) were added later, forming a composite character. Some scholars contend that Christianity emerged organically from Hellenistic Judaism, drawing on perceived parallels between the early stories of Jesus and the gods of Greek, Egyptian, and other cultures (especially dying and rising deities).[5][6][7][8][9][10]
The Jesus character could be a myth that grew up around a historical Jesus who devised the founding tenets of his new religion.[1][11] Some scholars accept that Jesus may have lived in the 1st century but that the Gospel version is a composite character made of several would-be Christs and that no one particular person can be said to be the founder of Christianity,[12] while others say that the Gospel version is based on a single individual who lived around 100 BCE and who was made to seem of the 1st century CE.[13][14]
The Gospel account of Jesus is so full of myth and legend that determining the historical accuracy of anything reasonably close to the man described is impossible.[15]


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Offline Maggie the Opinionated

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #218 on: May 02, 2012, 01:31:29 PM »
The scholarly literature is far more reliable.

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #219 on: May 02, 2012, 01:56:16 PM »
The scholarly literature is far more reliable.

oh really? then quote it.  You see, wikipedia uses scholarly literature too. See those little numbers. Those are referencing other works. 

Jane, you should realize that many of us have read what you think is "scholarly" literature and find it wanting for good reason.  I read both sides and then I question both.  Whichever has the evidence to support it, is what gains my trust in its high probability. 

and again Jane, do you worship a Jesus Christ the son of God who did miracles or do you worship a possible itinerant rabbi from around 1 CE? 

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #220 on: May 02, 2012, 02:00:23 PM »
The scholarly literature is far more reliable.

I agree, scholarly literature is far more reliable.  Sort of.  Sort of, because scholars are not typically unanimous about much.  You can find scholarly literature that says almost any crazy thing.  You might even find a flake biologist who disagrees in some way with germ theory. You need more than just a citation, but a weight of citations.

Anyway, in this part of the forum - the part that is not The Shelter - it is considered to be good form[1] for you to provide that scholarly literature.  The format we use is:

make a claim --> provide evidence --> rebut the peanut gallery

So, you've made the claim: jesus H is well documented[2].
Now it is up to you to back that up with evidence.
 1. mandatory, really
 2. I paraphrase.  please correct me if I am far afield
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #221 on: May 02, 2012, 02:32:53 PM »
Quote
You will admit that there isn't the slightest shred of evidence that there every was a real "Jesus."
I certainly will not admit any such thing. I would look like an idiot. Like I said elsewhere, you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of trained historians who dispute the historicity of Jesus. That stuff went out in the 19th century!

Again, welcome Jane.  I just wanted to say that I grew up in a secular household, and I was taught about and believed in the "historical Jesus." 

In recent years, however, there has been a significant volume of academic and historical and forensic research which questions the existence of the historical Jesus.  I have skimmed some of it, and found some arguments rather compelling.

You will find that many of the regulars on this forum are more familiar with this body of research than I am, and have very strong opinions about it.  Others, like me, are undecided. 

So you will certainly find yourself defending the existence of the historical Jesus in certain discussions here. 

Offline Ivellios

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #222 on: May 02, 2012, 02:39:27 PM »
honestly, I do not believe in Jesus, historical or otherwise. However, if he existed, to me he was a cult leader, said some good things, and some not so good. Like Jesus is either sexist, racist or both. In his esteemed opinion he equates women to dogs.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #223 on: May 02, 2012, 03:14:57 PM »
It seems to me that the best path is to never hear of Jesus or any god whatsoever and to live as good and moral atheist life as you can. Or die as a fetus or small infant. According to Christians, isn't that more of a guarantee of getting a good afterlife than anything you can do as a bible-believing but sinful adult?  :?
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Maggie the Opinionated

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #224 on: May 02, 2012, 03:28:41 PM »
Jane, you should realize that many of us have read what you think is "scholarly" literature and find it wanting for good reason.
I am a teensy bit skeptical after having read a number of your posts which don't suggest any great familiarity with the Bible or the scholarship. Perhaps, you might have read a popular book along the way. The work of scholarship is carried out in stupefyingly dull (sometimes) journal articles and a lot of it is in German and other languages that you would have to be able to read, since articles are rarely translated. Still, there are serious books out there and it is certainly possible that you have read one or two. Care to name them?
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... I read both sides and then I question both.  Whichever has the evidence to support it, is what gains my trust in its high probability. 
How interesting. What have you read? How do you evaluate the evidence proposed? Do you have a background in Near Eastern history? Semitic languages and cultures? Ancient literature? Old Testament studies?

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and again Jane, do you worship a Jesus Christ the son of God who did miracles or do you worship a possible itinerant rabbi from around 1 CE?
I have no interest in worshipping a "possible itinerant rabbi" of any period. I worship God-- and that means Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I agree, scholarly literature is far more reliable.  Sort of.  Sort of, because scholars are not typically unanimous about much.  You can find scholarly literature that says almost any crazy thing.  You might even find a flake biologist who disagrees in some way with germ theory. You need more than just a citation, but a weight of citations.
Where the historicity of the NT is concerned, the consensus is quite overwhelming. That does not mean uniform agreement on all the details.

Quote
Anyway, in this part of the forum - the part that is not The Shelter - it is considered to be good form[1] for you to provide that scholarly literature.  The format we use is:

make a claim --> provide evidence --> rebut the peanut gallery
 1. mandatory, really


Could you please remind Ms Velkyn of that? I have but I think it will carry more weight coming from you than me! More seriously, the problem is where to start and stop. And what will you do with the information when you get it? Will you investigate it? Will my effort pay off in any way, shape or form?  How much will be enough?

Quote
So, you've made the claim: jesus H is well documented[2].
 2. I paraphrase.  please correct me if I am far afield
The 26 books that make up the New Testament (sans Revelation) are, as I have said, primary, historical documentation. It is simply no good to dismiss them as fictional, etc. Very few historians will do so and for good reason. Even those whose sympathies lie on the atheist side of the matter, know that if they did so, they would be pulling the rug out from under all ancient scholarship. We do not have any documentation of the quality and nearness to the subject in time for any other ancient figure that we have for Jesus. The earliest biography of Alexander the Great (that we know of) was written 400 years after his death.  Socrates is only attested by Plato and his circle and, if I remember correctly, only one letter survives that is attributed to Plato. All his works survive in much later editions. We have nothing contemporary with him or even nearly so. Want to question the reliability of the transmission of the biblical text? Again, we have fragments, parts of books, and quotes in sermons, letters and glosses that go back to the middle of the 2nd century and many slightly later books, partial books, etc. written in many different places that all attest to the reliability of the text. Our earliest manuscript of Caesar's Gallic Wars dates from the 10th century and was preserved by, you guessed it, monks! Yet suggest that it is not reliable and hordes of aging classicists will descend on you like ... well, you don't want to know. They are a mean bunch. Fortunately, historians know how to separate the wheat from the chaff.

In any case, please do me a bit of a favor and set some parameters on how much proof I have to supply.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 03:31:18 PM by Plain Jane »

Offline screwtape

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #225 on: May 02, 2012, 04:10:59 PM »
Where the historicity of the NT is concerned, the consensus is quite overwhelming. That does not mean uniform agreement on all the details.

Again, you haven't defined "historicity" enough for me to argue with you or agree with you. It is true, the NT has "historic" value in that it tells us things about the period in which the various articles were written.  It is false that the NT can be taken at face value or as journalistic accounts of the events they describe.

And what will you do with the information when you get it?

Personally, I will probably tear it to shreds.  Sorry if that sounds arrogant. I did not become an atheist on a whim.  I spent a lot of time in classes on religion.

Will you investigate it?

Sure.  If I haven't already. Former catholic here. "Been there, done that".  Even considered the priesthood.  Dodged that bullet though.

Will my effort pay off in any way, shape or form?

In some ways, even if not the ones you may hope.  It is unlikely anyone here is going to believe in god because of your references or arguments.  Most people - not all - will not change their mind in any way.  For myself, it may change some nuances of my understanding.  References and smart debate always pay off for reputation. 

How much will be enough?

It depends what the point is.  If you are trying to correct my understanding of some catholic doctrine, not much.  If you are trying to get me to believe that doctrine, the internet probably isn't big enough.

We do not have any documentation of the quality and nearness to the subject in time for any other ancient figure that we have for Jesus

Are you sure you want to stick with that statement?  Because, you know, we have sculptures of Julius Caesar that he posed for.  We have his writings. 

When do you think the earliest gospels were written?

Socrates...Plato

Does it matter if Socrates or Plato actually existed?  That is, if they didn't exist, that that affect what they said?  Is the same true of jesus H?

And here is the other point about historical evidence - it is about believability of the events.  With all those other guys you mentioned, they did mundane stuff.  Aristotle started science, but nobody is claiming he healed people also.  Alexander carried out wars and conquored nations, but nobody said he rose from the dead.  So, less than perfect documentation for mundane events is reasonable.

And what about other ancient miracle workers?  If you think the "documentation" of jesus H's miracles is valid, how about Vespasian?  If you reject him, on what grounds?
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #226 on: May 02, 2012, 04:57:32 PM »
How do we evaluate stuff that is written about historical figures from ancient times? One thing is to consider the source. When there are several different descriptions of a person's activities by people who knew him, by friends and enemies and casual observers, we have some evidence of his existence. If that person left physical evidence and their own record as well, and all that coincides with the others, even better.

But any time there is someone that says Person X, say, Alexander the Great, grew a pair of white feathery wings and flew to the moon and brought back some green cheese, what do we do? We toss that out as impossible, because it is impossible. And we look at anything else that person wrote with a skeptical eye.

And we treat all texts exactly the same way. If it includes impossible sh!t, we can't regard it as true, no matter who it is about. Stories that say Alexander the Great was born of a virgin, raised people from the dead or fed his army for a year with magic bread, are assumed to be lies or legends. Same with the Jesus legend and the myths of the bible.

Otherwise, we have to believe that every single supernatural story, including the Hindu Gita, the Greek myths, Aztec legends, Shango stories, Edgar Allan Poe, Dr. Who and Stephen King, are equally factual. Because we have equal evidence of supernatural events for all of them. NONE.

Same criteria for all magical tales. The Prophet Muhammed is not exempt from factual scrutiny. Harry Potter is not exempt. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are not exempt. Neither are Moses, Noah and Jesus.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Maggie the Opinionated

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #227 on: May 02, 2012, 05:04:28 PM »

I have spent too much time here today and have to get back to work. so please forgive the brevity of my responses-- I will follow up on anything that you want to discuss latter.

Again, you haven't defined "historicity" enough for me to argue with you or agree with you. It is true, the NT has "historic" value in that it tells us things about the period in which the various articles were written.  It is false that the NT can be taken at face value or as journalistic accounts of the events they describe.
  Few if any ancient source documents can be taken that way. That is an anachronistic expectation, in any case, since history was, until the 18th century, a branch of literature and boy do we see that in Livy, Herodotus, Suetonius, et al. Historicity=factual account of real events. Doesn't mean that some details may not be wrong but it does mean that the author is writing what he believes to be true.

And what will you do with the information when you get it?

Quote
Personally, I will probably tear it to shreds.  Sorry if that sounds arrogant. I did not become an atheist on a whim.  I spent a lot of time in classes on religion.
Color me skeptical. You will have to read it all first. If you can tear it to shreds, you need to join the scholarly community!

Will you investigate it?

Quote
Sure.  If I haven't already. Former catholic here. "Been there, done that".  Even considered the priesthood.  Dodged that bullet though.
  Whew!


How much will be enough?

Quote
It depends what the point is.  If you are trying to correct my understanding of some catholic doctrine, not much.  If you are trying to get me to believe that doctrine, the internet probably isn't big enough.
Err no. The issue was my claim that the scholarly consensus believes in the historical person, Jesus. It is only whackadoodles that deny that there was such a person.

We do not have any documentation of the quality and nearness to the subject in time for any other ancient figure that we have for Jesus

Quote
Are you sure you want to stick with that statement?  Because, you know, we have sculptures of Julius Caesar that he posed for.  We have his writings. 
We don't have his writings from as near to him in time as we have for Jesus. The statues are irrelevant. Stones can't speak in the absence of a written record. Now I am not saying that the evidence for Caesar is lacking. But we are comparing apples and oranges. Caesar was a public figure so of course there is a fair amount available to us. However, as I said, what has survived is further removed from him in time than the writings about Jesus are removed from him.

Quote
When do you think the earliest gospels were written?
This is kind of off-topic. A number of dates have been proposed  but the middle of the road estimate is Mark (65-80 A.D.) with the others a little later--Matthew ca. 80-100 a.d.,  John ca. 90--100 A.D., Luke 80-100 A.D.

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Does it matter if Socrates or Plato actually existed?  That is, if they didn't exist, that that affect what they said?  Is the same true of jesus H?
Yes it matters! Our understanding of the ancient world depends on being able to reconstruct with some accuracy what happened at various points in history. Much of what we know about ancient Greece is preserved in a relatively small number of manuscripts. The lives of both Socrates and Plato were enmeshed in the political events of their times. If they didn't exist, our sources of knowledge about those events is diminished.

Quote
And here is the other point about historical evidence - it is about believability of the events.
Not exactly. All our knowledge of history is provisional. If more and/or better evidence comes to light, then we revise what we thought we knew in accordance with the evidence. One of the funniest pamphlets I have ever read was written a mere 21 years after Napoleon's death and it proved that he never existed! It is easy to make claims. Not always easy to debunk them!

Quote
With all those other guys you mentioned, they did mundane stuff.  Aristotle started science, but nobody is claiming he healed people also.  Alexander carried out wars and conquored nations, but nobody said he rose from the dead.  So, less than perfect documentation for mundane events is reasonable.
That is just the old, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" reworded. Well, no. Evidence will do. Documentation is, one hopes, equally good for the mundane and the not very.

Quote
And what about other ancient miracle workers?  If you think the "documentation" of jesus H's miracles is valid, how about Vespasian?  If you reject him, on what grounds?
There have always been miracle workers. Most, I suppose have been con men but not all. Where is it written that God can't use anybody he wishes to bring about a certain end?

Offline Historicity

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #228 on: May 02, 2012, 05:08:12 PM »
The 26 books that make up the New Testament (sans Revelation) are, as I have said, primary, historical documentation.
You have misused the term "primary source".

Luke stated he was not a primary source but secondary.  The only identification of Mark is from a man named Papias who was thought by other Christian writers to be possibly crazy.  He identifies Mark as John Mark, an assistant of Peter in Rome.  There is no identification for Matthew.  The Book of John alleges to be a primary source and was written by John dictating to his secretary Cerinthus.

Paul never met Jesus except by channeling so he is a primary source only on the things he says he did.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #229 on: May 02, 2012, 05:25:03 PM »

Quote
With all those other guys you mentioned, they did mundane stuff.  Aristotle started science, but nobody is claiming he healed people also.  Alexander carried out wars and conquored nations, but nobody said he rose from the dead.  So, less than perfect documentation for mundane events is reasonable.
That is just the old, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" reworded. Well, no. Evidence will do. Documentation is, one hopes, equally good for the mundane and the not very.

Uh. No. Mundane evidence is only good for ordinary assertions.

If someone says they own a horse, a photo of them on the horse and a bill of sale from the horse ranch will probably be enough documentation for most purposes. Because we don't need evidence that horses exist and that people can own them. 

However, if someone says they own a unicorn? I don't know about you, but I won't believe it unless I see the actual animal in the flesh. Not a photo or video that could be doctored. Not a bill of sale that could be forged. The real animal. Because nobody has ever produced a real bona fide unicorn in human history. So you need more than what you would need to document ownership of an ordinary horse.

And even then, I would want some vets and horse experts and biologists to assert that the animal we are looking at is really a unicorn, has a unique DNA pattern, etc., and is not just a deformed horse or something with a horn glued to its head. Because the unicorn person is attesting to something that has never been documented to be true before. So the quality of the evidence must be way, way better.*

If Jesus is the only person to have ever raised someone from the dead, come back to life, etc. then we need more than a piece of paper that says so.  Mr. Spock died and came back to life, too. We have a lot of pieces of paper that say people did things like that. Are they all true? If not, we need something more than what we have for all the other supernatural stories.

*Afterthought: the evidence must be equally convincing to people who already believe in unicorns (therefore being inclined to want very much to be proven right) and people who don't think they exist (who might also want there to be unicorns, but don't want to be fooled).
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 05:29:42 PM by nogodsforme »
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Omen

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #230 on: May 02, 2012, 05:49:05 PM »
The scholarly literature is far more reliable.

Find me scholarly literature, supported by archaeological evidence, of biblical historical claims prior to the 8th century BCE.
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Offline Asmoday

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Re: Moral laws of the Bible
« Reply #231 on: May 02, 2012, 05:51:50 PM »
You have misused the term "primary source".

Luke stated he was not a primary source but secondary.  The only identification of Mark is from a man named Papias who was thought by other Christian writers to be possibly crazy.  He identifies Mark as John Mark, an assistant of Peter in Rome.  There is no identification for Matthew.  The Book of John alleges to be a primary source and was written by John dictating to his secretary Cerinthus.

Paul never met Jesus except by channeling so he is a primary source only on the things he says he did.
I would like to add to this that the actual authors of the gospels are actually unknown. The naming of the texts known as 'gospel of XYZ' today took place in the late second century. Before the end of the second century these "primary sources" are mentioned nowhere.

Justin Martyr wrote his argumentation for the divinity of Jesus around the middle of the second century. Yet in his writings there is not one citation from either of the four gospels. One would think that primary sources would be the prime material to make a case for Jesus' divinity. But there's not one quote from them in all of the writings. They are not even mentioned by name.

It gets worse when looking at a contemporary of Justin Martyr, church father Papias. In his writing he mentions writings that are supposedly from Matthew and Mark but the way he speaks about them makes it clear that those writings are not the gospels. Once again, if the gospels were primary sources, why aren't they mentioned or quoted?

And what of all the other "gospels" that are mentioned or turn up through the ages?

All in all, upon closer inspection there is not much left that would lend credibility to the gospels or any other book of the NT as evidence for a historical divine Jesus as described in the bible.
Absilio Mundus!

I can do no wrong. For I do not know what it is.