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Offline screwtape

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testing god
« on: July 22, 2013, 09:42:48 AM »
(I'd quoted Deut6:16, below was part of the reply)

So the passage in Deuteronomy that you listed, and that Jesus referenced in Matthew 4:7, is a law not to provoke God into jealousy and anger by worshiping anything other than Him.  "Test" even in our language can also mean "trial" or "tempt" as in the New King James version I listed, there.

Could be.  But you're wrong.  "at Massah" is the key.  What happened at Massah?  We turn to Exodus 17 for that.  The jooz were fleeing Egypt and they had no water.  They were pissed at Moses for schlepping[1] them, their kids, and their cattle out into the desert.  And they asked "is yhwh with us, or what?"  They were demanding some sort of proof.  So, Mo went to yhwh to kvetch[2] as he often did.  yhwh sighed and said "whack a rock with your staff."  He did.  And a spring sprung up and provided water for everyone. 

So, testing yhwh as they did at Massah, was to demand proof that yhwh was with them.  Either that or it means yhwh won't produce drinking fountains anymore. 


But I take it by your reply that it is okay to test god empirically.  Good.  The bible supports that, too.  Funny how you can support completely contradictory positions with the bible, isn't it?  Anyway, there was a test done by Elijah in one of the Kings books, with priests of Baal.  Care to replicate that test?
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Kings%2018:16-45&version=NIV
 1. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/schlepping
 2. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/kvetch
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Online wheels5894

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Re: testing god
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2013, 11:47:29 AM »
Mmmm - interesting thought!

Certainly we can look to the Exodus passage and see that Moses was in a bit of bother with the people complaining and that. However, by the time the Deuteronomy passage was written down, some 600 years later, Moses would have been see as a folk story, I bet. in a folk tale, people can have awesome powers that no real person ever has of course.

Now we can possibly date the Deuteronomy quote more accurately (possibly because I don't think there ever was either an Exodus and return or an exile and return - that's for another thread though.) When King Josiah ascends to the throne the priests 'find' and old law book in the temple and Josiah sets out to meet its requirements - getting rid of local alters and centralising the cult in Jerusalem and so on. When read together with his other reforms, it looks almost identical with the basic text of Deuteronomy which means that either the priests did find the old book or someone wrote a new law book, probably following the instructions of Josiah who, no doubt, liked the idea of leading a cult in the capital of his kingdom. If the latter is the case, and it seems for more likely, the book and reforms date from around 620BCE.

So, we have a folk legend about Moses who can produce water out of no where and we have real people in 620 BCE who, obviously,can't do magic tricks. How handy, then, when the 'found' law book bans the idea of testing god? The perfect answer for the priests and king to demands for demonstrations of the power of god - god has banned such things!

Of course, today, that verse is still the answer to the questions about trying to see if prayer works for example. It gets trotted out all the time. I imagine that the present day theists know just as well as their ancient predecessors that there is no power of god to demonstrate and hang on to the verse to stem the tide of requests. Its a shame it didn't stop various trials of prayer showing that prayer has no effect.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Nick

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Re: testing god
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2013, 12:30:31 PM »
Part of the "don't test God" thing is also to not question anything about Him not being real.  Works well as another means of controlling the flock.
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Offline Danohk

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Re: testing god
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2013, 03:34:22 PM »
You do have a valid point in regards to the scriptural context, and I'm happy to discuss it.

But first...I'm going to disagree, there, in regards to what happened at Massah.  They appeared to be demanding water, rather than a demonstration of God's existence.  The overall tenor of the testing of the Lord there seemed to be demanding an easing of their situational suffering.  Why was this bad?  Probably because the Israelites (the term "Jew" comes from the remnant of tribe "Judah" which arrived much later; at the time of Massah, all twelve original tribes of Israel were present), were so quick to abandon their faith, and did so in a way that provoked God's anger.  Hence the translated phrase "tempt" rather than the entirely different concept of an empirical "test."  Both of these words can be used properly in different contexts, and have different meanings -- there is no need attach a cynical assumption of agenda to a simple case of definition-dancing.

Now the reason that I referenced Deut 6:14-16 was due to the fact that I'm a Christian, and Jesus dropped the same verse fragment in Matthew 4:7.  I assumed that was the part in the story where the devil asked him to bow down and worship him.  It wasn't.  Jesus said it in response to the devil's challenge to throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple.  So...my bad.  Sorry. :)  I kind of dashed it off right before I went to work, and didn't put a whole lot of thought into it.

So, let me redact my hurried statement, and say it as I should have.  The command delivered in Deuteronomy 6:16 (with the key being Massah, as you rightfully point out) is one not to arrogantly assume that God will provide a miraculous intervention in a dangerous circumstance.  It has little or nothing to do with developing one's knowledge, or thoroughly examining any given situation or scenario for beneficial truths, as is the case in 2 Thessalonians 5:21.



But I take it by your reply that it is okay to test god empirically.  Good.  The bible supports that, too.  Funny how you can support completely contradictory positions with the bible, isn't it?  Anyway, there was a test done by Elijah in one of the Kings books, with priests of Baal.  Care to replicate that test?


I would not.  I am not Elijah, nor do I believe in modern-day miracles.  I believe miracles, especially in the Christian era, were a sign that an individual had a message from God, and the validity of that message or messages were attested to by a demonstration of power that could not arrive by any nominal human action.

I'm not sure that the God I know would be hanging around in a laboratory somewhere, waiting to give a blood sample, and it would take quite a bit of convincing to get me to believe you're a priest of Baal.  :P

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Online wheels5894

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Re: testing god
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2013, 03:57:50 PM »

I would not.  I am not Elijah, nor do I believe in modern-day miracles.  I believe miracles, especially in the Christian era, were a sign that an individual had a message from God, and the validity of that message or messages were attested to by a demonstration of power that could not arrive by any nominal human action...



In that case, why is it not happening now - Christian leaders attesting to their authority to teach in that way? Why did it stop spo early in the church's life?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Danohk

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Re: testing god
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2013, 04:45:09 PM »

In that case, why is it not happening now - Christian leaders attesting to their authority to teach in that way? Why did it stop spo early in the church's life?

The message has been delivered.  The church is established, the word spread worldwide.  The miracle wielders wrote their books, taught their lessons, and now that we have a record of them, nobody speaks with that kind of authority.
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: testing god
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2013, 05:09:00 PM »

In that case, why is it not happening now - Christian leaders attesting to their authority to teach in that way? Why did it stop spo early in the church's life?

The message has been delivered.  The church is established, the word spread worldwide.  The miracle wielders wrote their books, taught their lessons, and now that we have a record of them, nobody speaks with that kind of authority.

And new churches have been established (your own, for instance, which was established, however independently of others of the same denomination, in the 1800's) and much variation on what the "truth" might be is available. New versions are invented annually, and individual variations are concocted daily. Plus there are a whole bunch of folks, atheist and otherwise, who don't believe the story. If half a million in the desert could get some feedback and some water at the same time, why can't those of us that would appear to be wrong/doubting/etc in the billions not get a little contemporaneous info instead of having to rely on ancient texts? Because if your skydaddy is relying on the accuracy/veracity/wonderfulness of old texts, he's more naïve than I originally thought. If he is real.

Because it ain't working if he's real. And if he's not, it ain't working even worse.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: testing god
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2013, 06:08:52 PM »
They appeared to be demanding water, rather than a demonstration of God's existence.

For sure they wanted water.  Who wouldn't?  And it was Moses who suggested they were testing yhwh by asking for water. 

Quote from: ex17:2
So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”

It makes no sense in the context of them worshiping other gods.  It only makes sense in the context of of yhwy putting up or shutting up.  They had been assured that yhwh would protect them.  That was the covenant, afterall.    He had been providing for them all along the way. 

Why, just in Ex16, they were bitching about being hungry, and yhwh sent bread (manna) raining down on them.  So when they went thirsty, just one chapter later, they must have wondered where the hell yhwh went.  Was he reneging on his covenant?  Did he forget about them? Heh.  Kind of like a kid forgetting to feed his gold fish.

It even ends explaining what they were testing:
Quote from: ex17:7
And he called the place Massah[a] and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Is the lord among us or not?  Sure, they were not questioning the lord's existence.  They were testing his commitment.  I don't see how calling it temping the lord makes any sense.

So, no, this was not about being faithful to yhwh.


I would not.  I am not Elijah, nor do I believe in modern-day miracles.  I believe miracles, especially in the Christian era, were a sign that an individual had a message from God, and the validity of that message or messages were attested to by a demonstration of power that could not arrive by any nominal human action.

It's good you don't believe in modern-day miracles.  No man of reason should.  But why would you believe in olde timey miracles?  Do you acknowledge Vespasian's miracles?  How about the pharaoh's magicians who did the magic battle with Moses?  Since their magic was, presumably, not of yhwh's origin, that brand of magic must still be available, no?  If so, why do we see no magicians?  If not, why not?

And why did yhwh send messengers?  Why would he not communicate to everyone?  Reduce the possibility of transmission error.

it would take quite a bit of convincing to get me to believe you're a priest of Baal.  :P

Why would I have to be a priest of Baal?  Perhaps we could just pit science vs yhwh? 

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Offline neopagan

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Re: testing god
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2013, 08:37:36 PM »
it would take quite a bit of convincing to get me to believe you're a priest of Baal.  :P

Quote
Why would I have to be a priest of Baal?  Perhaps we could just pit science vs yhwh?


My money is on science for that show every time. Taste and see that the lord is... found wanting.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 08:39:29 PM by neopagan »
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: testing god
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2013, 03:00:51 AM »

In that case, why is it not happening now - Christian leaders attesting to their authority to teach in that way? Why did it stop so early in the church's life?

The message has been delivered.  The church is established, the word spread worldwide.  The miracle wielders wrote their books, taught their lessons, and now that we have a record of them, nobody speaks with that kind of authority.

And new churches have been established (your own, for instance, which was established, however independently of others of the same denomination, in the 1800's) and much variation on what the "truth" might be is available. New versions are invented annually, and individual variations are concocted daily....

And here's the thing - NONE of those new churches (or amendments, or splinter groups, whatever you call them) came into being with a flurry of miracles.

Which means, I would guess (by Danohk's reasoning) that none of them were saying anything new, else we'd have seen those miracles as heralding a change to the law.

So.....any church other than the Catholic church is likely to be wrong, on that basis.  Danohk says that all the lessons were laid, all the miracles done, the word was out there and complete.  Any alteration since then, unaccompanied by further miracles, is irrelevant at best, wrong at worst.
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Online wheels5894

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Re: testing god
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2013, 04:04:12 AM »
Ah, but even the Roam Church has been busy changing things since they started. New interpretations, new doctrines and all that but never, once a miracle to confirm that the changes were right. Odd that!

Going back to the Moses stories, The people should already have know the power of god by the miracles of the plagues and the part of the Red Sea. They had quite a lifetime's worth of miracles before they got to being short of water - probably caused by them forgetting to fill their water bottles. If a ,miracle was ever needed it certainly wasn't then just to provide water.

So, if god can manage the odd miracle to keep a well-miracled people in line in the desert, why on earth can't he do the same today when, in the West at least, church membership and belief are falling rapidly? Stories fro the past don't match the possibility of a miracle today. (Don't mention the so-called healing miracles the Vatican keeps recognising either as they are really dubious.)

Of course, there is always the alternative understanding of miracles - that they are the stuff of folk legend, created by fertile minds in re-telling stories. This is juts a polite way of saying that there  never were any miracles and there never was any god to do any miracles. A few hundred years ago and further back I might well have been executed for writing that last sentence which shows how far people have moved on from belief. If there is a god, now is the time to show something to the people which gives them a clear way of know that there is a god as the absence of such demonstrations leaves lots of people wondering if there could be a god and deciding, probably not!
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Danohk

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Re: testing god
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2013, 04:09:12 AM »
They appeared to be demanding water, rather than a demonstration of God's existence.

For sure they wanted water.  Who wouldn't?  And it was Moses who suggested they were testing yhwh by asking for water. 

Quote from: ex17:2
So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”

It makes no sense in the context of them worshiping other gods.  It only makes sense in the context of of yhwy putting up or shutting up.  They had been assured that yhwh would protect them.  That was the covenant, afterall.    He had been providing for them all along the way. 

Why, just in Ex16, they were bitching about being hungry, and yhwh sent bread (manna) raining down on them.  So when they went thirsty, just one chapter later, they must have wondered where the hell yhwh went.  Was he reneging on his covenant?  Did he forget about them? Heh.  Kind of like a kid forgetting to feed his gold fish.

It even ends explaining what they were testing:
Quote from: ex17:7
And he called the place Massah[a] and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Is the lord among us or not?  Sure, they were not questioning the lord's existence.  They were testing his commitment.  I don't see how calling it temping the lord makes any sense.

So, no, this was not about being faithful to yhwh.


"Tempting" as in "provoking."  Kind of like when my mom, raised in the south in the '50s, pointed it me and said "Don't test me, child."  (Heh, if i were to have foolishly popped off a smarmy "Test all things, holding fast to what is good" she would have backhanded me.)

The Israelites weren't asking nicely for water.  It's a question of attitude.  It's what I was saying here:

The command delivered in Deuteronomy 6:16 (with the key being Massah, as you rightfully point out) is one not to arrogantly assume that God will provide a miraculous intervention in a dangerous circumstance.

The Lord had just rained down mana, as you say, so the question of whether God was with them or not had, in fact, already been answered, and the memory of this intercession should no doubt have been fresh in their minds.  They are angrily demanding a new miraculous intervention, and doing so in such a way (bitterly asking if God is with them when it's already been demonstrated that it's the case) that is likely to provoke God...which Moses is hasty to point out, as you indicated he did.

So I see "tempting" or "testing" in the case of Deuteronomy 6:16 as "provoking God by demanding or assuming miraculous intervention," especially in light of the Matthew 4:7 context.  I'm still not convinced it's what Paul is talking about in 2 Thessalonians 5:21.

No, it's not about faithfulness or worshiping other gods, I already copped to my mistake and attempted to explain it.

----------------------------------------


It's good you don't believe in modern-day miracles.  No man of reason should.  But why would you believe in olde timey miracles?  Do you acknowledge Vespasian's miracles?  How about the pharaoh's magicians who did the magic battle with Moses?  Since their magic was, presumably, not of yhwh's origin, that brand of magic must still be available, no?  If so, why do we see no magicians?  If not, why not?


There are plenty of magicians still around.  Penn & Teller, Copperfield, Blaine, etc.

When I say "modern-day miracles" I mean anything past the 1st Century.  I didn't know Emperor Vespasien (if that's to whom you are referring) did miracles, and if he did, I'm not buying.  I gave the reason in a post above.

-----------------------------------------------


it would take quite a bit of convincing to get me to believe you're a priest of Baal.  :P

Why would I have to be a priest of Baal?

Anyway, there was a test done by Elijah in one of the Kings books, with priests of Baal.  Care to replicate that test?
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Kings%2018:16-45&version=NIV


That's all that meant.  I was being a little unnecessarily literal.
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Offline Danohk

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Re: testing god
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2013, 04:22:01 AM »

And new churches have been established (your own, for instance, which was established, however independently of others of the same denomination, in the 1800's) and much variation on what the "truth" might be is available. New versions are invented annually, and individual variations are concocted daily.


And here's the thing - NONE of those new churches (or amendments, or splinter groups, whatever you call them) came into being with a flurry of miracles.

Which means, I would guess (by Danohk's reasoning) that none of them were saying anything new, else we'd have seen those miracles as heralding a change to the law.

So.....any church other than the Catholic church is likely to be wrong, on that basis.  Danohk says that all the lessons were laid, all the miracles done, the word was out there and complete.  Any alteration since then, unaccompanied by further miracles, is irrelevant at best, wrong at worst.

Anfauglir's got the nail on the head, right there...though I don't buy into the Catholic church's miracles or idea of Apostolic Succession, so they're out, to my reckoning, too.  My crowd wasn't, and isn't, trying to establish anything new at all, it's trying to get back to the original principles and teachings of Christ and the apostles.  That's why we reject anything that's un-scriptural.

New translations, etc, may swing one way or the other, but that isn't the demesne of those who originally penned the words.  We fairly well know what those New Testament books say, and their meaning and intent is clear enough with an earnest search.  (Even the mistakes and errors in the handing down of the New Testament have their own branch of scholarship; see the book "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart D. Ehrman.)
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Offline screwtape

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Re: testing god
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2013, 09:30:18 AM »
"Tempting" as in "provoking."  Kind of like when my mom, raised in the south in the '50s, pointed it me and said "Don't test me, child."  (Heh, if i were to have foolishly popped off a smarmy "Test all things, holding fast to what is good" she would have backhanded me.)

So yhwh was a southerner?  No wonder I don't like him.  And technically, I suppose it is true.  yhwh was the god of judah.  In the north, Israel, they worshiped elohim.  So that would make yhwh a southerner, relatively speaking.

I still think you're wrong.

The Israelites weren't asking nicely for water.  It's a question of attitude. 

?  seriously?  They are in a desert with no water and yhwh doesn't like their attitude?  You make yhwh sound like a dick.  "What are the hebrews crying about now?  What?  They want water?  Jesus christ, what next, more manna from heaven?  The gall of those little bastards!"

In fairness, though, the OT kind of does too.  For example, yhwh, being omniscient, would presumably understand the logistics required in moving an entire nation through a desert.  He would know they would need food and water.  And yet, he never provides it until they beg for it.  I'd think an omnimax deity would be the ultimate in being proactive.

The command delivered in Deuteronomy 6:16 (with the key being Massah, as you rightfully point out) is one not to arrogantly assume that God will provide a miraculous intervention in a dangerous circumstance.

Why is it arrogant to think that?  They had a deal.  They were to perform specific sacrifices, follow ridiculous and arbitrary rules, not worship other gods and cut the ends off their penises (peni?).  In return, yhwh was supposed to give them protection and make them awesome sauce in the region.   So, I don't really think that expecting the deity to keep up his end of the bargain is arrogant. 

I'm surprised they stuck with him for as long as they did, to be honest.  If you look at all the times they were conquored or nearly exterminated, you would recognize yhwh has a terrible track record.  Egyptians kicked their butts.  Assyrians kicked their butts.  Babylonians totally kicked their butts and trashed yhwh's house. Romans kicked their butts, trashed yhwh's house and kicked them off their land.  It only goes downhill from there, historically.  You can see why the jews never bought into the idea of a devil.  With a god like that, who needs one?

... so the question of whether God was with them or not had, in fact, already been answered,

I think they knew he had been with them (past tense).  The question was, was he still?


They are angrily demanding a new miraculous intervention,

And what would be wrong with being angry?  They pointed out it would have been better to stay in Egypt and have food than freed and starving.  I don't disagree.  Moses and yhwh put them in this whole situation. Well, maybe not Mo.  They had a drought - yhwh's doing - which lead to no crops - yhwh's doing - which lead them to move to Egypt - as if yhwh didn't know they'd do that - where they got food in exchange for bondage - as if yhwh didn't know that would happen.

Then yhwh sics 10 plagues on the Egyptians - and by the way, he changes the pharaoh's mind every time the pharaoh agrees to let them leave just to prove what a badass he is - and more or less strands the hebrews in the desert without food and water.  For what?  To show what an awesome god he is. 

I dunno about you, but that strikes me as unnecessary, vain and ridiculous, particularly if we are talking about an omnimax and perfect deity. If we're talking about an old school pagan god, well, then, I'd say it's a perfect fit.

bitterly asking if God is with them

I don't blame them.  And frankly, I don't see how your position is defensible in the least.

No, it's not about faithfulness or worshiping other gods, I already copped to my mistake and attempted to explain it.

yep, you did already explain that.  My mistake for bringing it up.

There are plenty of magicians still around.  Penn & Teller, Copperfield, Blaine, etc.

Is that a dodge or are you saying Mo's duel with the wizards was just stage magic?  Smoke and mirrors?  Non-miracles?


I didn't know Emperor Vespasien (if that's to whom you are referring) did miracles, and if he did, I'm not buying.  I gave the reason in a post above.

Wha...?  You've never heard of Vespasian's miracles?  Were you raised in a cave?  Home schooled?  He healed the blind!  Restored use of limbs to the lame!  jesus christ, man, he was a miracle worker!  Of course, I don't believe that.  But you have no reason not to.

You dismissing him out of hand is, frankly, preposterous.  Me doing that is completely natural.  I assume every miraculous claim is bullshit.  So for me, there is no incongruity.  You, however, have a huge problem.  Huge. 

For starters, you think miracles actually happened at one point.  Of course, that point was at a time when lots of different tribes all over the world claimed all different kinds of miracles.  And it was distant enough in the past that none of them can be analyzed in detail.  Yet you have singled out the miracles of one specific tribe, backwards even in their day, as being acceptable, while disregarding all others.  How do you justify that?

Secondly, for all you know, or can know, Vespasian too was carrying a message from god.  Your facacta rationale rather arbitrarily limits what you consider.  The hebrews allegedly had several prophets, and only a couple were consecutive.  The rest were separated by many years.  And sometimes they changed things.  Why is it unthinkable to imagine that maybe there have been others since jesus H?  Maybe yhwh needs to send a prophet to straighten shit out every now and then?  That was always the function of prophets.

This all strikes me as excuseology for the fact that you know miracles do not happen.  You anticipate the universe behaving in pretty much the same way we do, which is to say, as if there is no god.  The idea that there is a cut off period for miracles only exists so that people can believe an Iron Age book of fables is literally true.  But why does that have to be so?  Why is that important?  We both know that if we set up two piles of wood and watered them down and you prayed for god to set it on fire, it would never happen.  And if I used kerosine and elemental sodium, it would.

Why then, can you not as a man of reason, say "1Kings account off Elijah was just a story they cooked up"? 

-----------------------------------------------

That's all that meant.  I was being a little unnecessarily literal.

Okay.  Let's not get hung up on that.  My whole point was, biblically speaking, it was perfectly fine to ask or demand yhwh to jump through some hoops and put on performances.  So if there is a god and it does take action in this world, we should be able to detect it.  It seems to me you are saying, god takes no action in the world and has not for about 2000 years.  Is that correct?

If so, the only reason to believe in god are the say so of primitive barbarians who lived in the Iron Age, which seems dicey to me. And why pick that particular Iron Age god?  Why not Marduk?  Afterall, Marduk led his people to kick yhwh's people's asses.

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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: testing god
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2013, 10:39:58 AM »
Anfauglir's got the nail on the head, right there...though I don't buy into the Catholic church's miracles or idea of Apostolic Succession, so they're out, to my reckoning, too.  My crowd wasn't, and isn't, trying to establish anything new at all, it's trying to get back to the original principles and teachings of Christ and the apostles.  That's why we reject anything that's un-scriptural.

New translations, etc, may swing one way or the other, but that isn't the demesne of those who originally penned the words.  We fairly well know what those New Testament books say, and their meaning and intent is clear enough with an earnest search.  (Even the mistakes and errors in the handing down of the New Testament have their own branch of scholarship; see the book "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart D. Ehrman.)

While I realize that the c of C considers itself not a denomination, but simply the church, from that POV it took around 1800 years for someone to get the worship of Jesus, etc. right. Presumably everyone had been doing it wrong prior to that, or a new way of doing things wouldn't have been needed.

In the actual, self-identified as a denomination department, where most christians run around and worship, there are tens of thousands of variations. You have your multitudinous Catholic spinoffs, your pre-Lutherans, various Reformed, Calvinists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Congregationalists, Lutherans, Baptists, Anabaptists, Adventists, Pentacosts. And I'm just getting started.

But your crowd has managed, despite all the pressures, all the prior scholarship, all the conflicting opinions from others who also follow the same Jesus, to get it right. The c of C is batting 1000% and the rest of them are out of your league.

My intent here isn't to attack just the c of C. I'm attacking all of you. This plethora of pious polymorphs is unable to explain itself. And to me, the consistency of this inconsistency amongst religious groups is a sure sign that the whole thing is made up rather than being something based on any actual word of an actual god.  Christianity suffers from this multiple-personality disorder for a reason. Any god worth revering would be competent enough to do it right. And the idea of spinoffs would be an alien idea rather than the norm.

Of course, that last statement is me making up yet another version of god. Which is amazingly easy to do.

So while you are able to explain/justify/rationalize the strange lack of a 1:1 relationship between the number of gods and the number of churches, those of us who diss the whole concept look at it as yet another proof that there is no god at all. That you, via scholarship and indoctrination, can argue any point cogently is beside the point. Whether or not you know it, you are merely expressing an opinion on an idea that was once a fiction in someone else's head. And you and your chameleony christian brethren haven't a clue.

So while screwtape loves arguing scripture, I am one who looks at the big picture and says you gotta be kidding me. The intensity, the detail, the excuses, the rationalizations. This biblical view of itself is so far from being a mirror on reality, and so close to being mass schizophrenia, that it scares me. Well, at least the groups that burn me at the stake scare me.

The rest of you are just plain being silly. Though scripturalism is not a rich source of comedic material. So you're not even good at being silly.




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Offline Danohk

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Re: testing god
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2013, 03:19:24 PM »

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So yhwh was a southerner?  No wonder I don't like him.  And technically, I suppose it is true.  yhwh was the god of judah.  In the north, Israel, they worshiped elohim.  So that would make yhwh a southerner, relatively speaking.


I feel obliged to point out that at this point, Israel still wanders in the wilderness, and haven't settled into the north or south yet.  I see "Elohim" meaning "Mighty One" and "Yahweh" meaning "I AM" or "I will become" as being names of the same God.  I've picked up from other forum posts that there is some theorizing that there were distinctive identities worshiped in the north and south, which may very well have been the case -- I don't buy into the idea that there were different Gods, I only believe in one.  That's getting a bit far from the question that spawned this discussion though, so I won't get into it here.

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?  seriously?  They are in a desert with no water and yhwh doesn't like their attitude?  You make yhwh sound like a dick.
     
Pretty much, yeah.  For exactly the reasons I supplied.  God says "Don't do that anymore" after it all goes down.  It's not an exactly parallel metaphor, but it kind of reminds me of the attitude when people on welfare are angrily demanding that others work to support them.  I have pretty much the same reaction.  Sorry you don't approve.

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Why is it arrogant to think that?  They had a deal.  They were to perform specific sacrifices, follow ridiculous and arbitrary rules, not worship other gods and cut the ends off their penises (peni?).  In return, yhwh was supposed to give them protection and make them awesome sauce in the region.   So, I don't really think that expecting the deity to keep up his end of the bargain is arrogant.

"Penises" is the proper latin plural, there.  And yes, God evidently wanted to foster a kind of a relationship with people where they were distinct from everyone else in the region, and had a nice time together as they dwelt in the land of Canaan.  That was the intent of God when He sent them Moses, according to Exodus 3:8, not so much a regional awesomesauce existence, as a pleasant pastoral one -- rife with Bronze and Iron Age upheaval, no doubt.  It's arrogant to assume it's all going to happen exactly as they think it should, and question God's resolve and/or presence in the face of difficulty.  God already told them that He would see them to the land of promise, and didn't like their attitude.  Now, God doesn't go completely phallic, there, notice that He goes ahead and gives them water, then tells them "Lose the crappy attitude."

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I'm surprised they stuck with him for as long as they did, to be honest.  If you look at all the times they were conquored or nearly exterminated, you would recognize yhwh has a terrible track record.

Well, since I believe in the Old Testament, I also look at the reasons Yahweh gave for sending in outside influences to conquer and/or nearly exterminate the Israelites.  A lot of them have to do with the fact that Israel didn't stick with Him.

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There are plenty of magicians still around.  Penn & Teller, Copperfield, Blaine, etc.

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Saying Mo's duel with the wizards was just stage magic?  Smoke and mirrors?  Non-miracles?


That.
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I didn't know Emperor Vespasien (if that's to whom you are referring) did miracles, and if he did, I'm not buying.  I gave the reason in a post above.

Wha...?  You've never heard of Vespasian's miracles?  Were you raised in a cave?  Home schooled?  He healed the blind!  Restored use of limbs to the lame!  jesus christ, man, he was a miracle worker!  Of course, I don't believe that.  But you have no reason not to.

You dismissing him out of hand is, frankly, preposterous.  Me doing that is completely natural.  I assume every miraculous claim is bullshit.  So for me, there is no incongruity.  You, however, have a huge problem.  Huge.

For starters, you think miracles actually happened at one point.  Of course, that point was at a time when lots of different tribes all over the world claimed all different kinds of miracles.  And it was distant enough in the past that none of them can be analyzed in detail.  Yet you have singled out the miracles of one specific tribe, backwards even in their day, as being acceptable, while disregarding all others.  How do you justify that?

The point of origin of my perspective is Christian.  That's the only view I give miraculous credibility.  Is it preposterous that I'm naturally going to reject other outside claims of miracles?  Why is my point of origin Christian?  I suppose that's a question for a different thread.

If I were to examine or reason out other miracles it would go something like this:  Did Vespasien have a message from God?  What was it?  Were these claims an ex post facto, or concurrent, propaganda to bolster his image?  The Roman emperors were fond of appointing themselves the Pontifex Maximus (titular head of Roman Religion, and interestingly enough, a title of the Pope), so that attacking or disagreeing with them was both a sin and a crime.

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This all strikes me as excuseology for the fact that you know miracles do not happen.  You anticipate the universe behaving in pretty much the same way we do, which is to say, as if there is no god.  The idea that there is a cut off period for miracles only exists so that people can believe an Iron Age book of fables is literally true.  But why does that have to be so?  Why is that important?  We both know that if we set up two piles of wood and watered them down and you prayed for god to set it on fire, it would never happen.  And if I used kerosine and elemental sodium, it would.

Why then, can you not as a man of reason, say "1Kings account off Elijah was just a story they cooked up"?


I don't have a single problem asking that question.  I can reason out every bit of it, and probably could even replicate the a miraculous experience with a helicopter, an air-to-surface incendiary missile and a healthy heaping of phosphorous.  I can reason out that situation contrary to my beliefs all day long.

So is the question why do I still believe it's a miracle that happened, and of a type that doesn't occur anymore?  I did touch on this in other posts in the thread, and we're wandering a bit from the source of this discussion, so I'll refer you to that post.
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That's all that meant.  I was being a little unnecessarily literal.
My whole point was, biblically speaking, it was perfectly fine to ask or demand yhwh to jump through some hoops and put on performances.  So if there is a god and it does take action in this world, we should be able to detect it.  It seems to me you are saying, god takes no action in the world and has not for about 2000 years.  Is that correct?

If so, the only reason to believe in god are the say so of primitive barbarians who lived in the Iron Age, which seems dicey to me. And why pick that particular Iron Age god?  Why not Marduk?  Afterall, Marduk led his people to kick yhwh's people's asses.


As I indicated above, the whole of this discussion swings around the idea that God  emphatically does not like being demanded to put on performances, as per Deuteronomy 6:16 and Matthew 4:7.  You've tried to say that the account of the Israelites in Exodus 17 was an empirical search for God to demonstrate Himself, contrary to the wishes of God, and, ironically, in accordance with Paul's assertion that one is to examine and think about all things, and I believe I've managed to convey why that's not the case, or at least why I don't believe it to be so.

I do think God takes action in this world, but miraculous occurrences herald a specific message, and as I indicated elsewhere, I believe all those messages are delivered "once for all" (Jude 3).  Any new miracle would entail a change in the message, and all the new claimants (Muhammad, Joseph Smith, David Koresh, et al) that I've studied thoroughly fail my litmus.

Why not Marduk?  One of Marduk's characteristics was being the Babylonian god of water.  He was supposedly Enki's son, and according to the Sumerians, Enki supplied all the water in Mesopotamia by masturbating it into the rivers.  So not only is it kind of weird that Marduk would play with his fathers semen, it would probably also smell kind of funny.

And again, according to the OT, it was YHWH who sent Marduk's followers to kick YHWH's peoples' butts up between their ears and lead them into captivity.

As far as the initial discussion of 2 Thessalonians 5:21 vs Deuteronomy 6:16 goes, I think I've managed to convey why exactly I think the way I do about it, so I'll probably be moving on.  We're getting into other areas of discussion, which is okay, but I do like to stay generally in the given area of discourse.  If my position hasn't been conveyed clearly enough, I'm happy to try to explain it further.

edited to fix a flubbed a couple of "quote" page codes and grammatical errors
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 04:03:00 PM by Danohk »
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Offline Danohk

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Re: testing god
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2013, 04:04:17 PM »
Quote
edited to fix a flubbed a couple of "quote" page codes and grammatical errors

I'm going to leave that one in there, though, just for funsies.
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Offline Danohk

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Re: testing god
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2013, 04:22:52 PM »

While I realize that the c of C considers itself not a denomination, but simply the church, from that POV it took around 1800 years for someone to get the worship of Jesus, etc. right. Presumably everyone had been doing it wrong prior to that, or a new way of doing things wouldn't have been needed.

In the actual, self-identified as a denomination department, where most christians run around and worship, there are tens of thousands of variations. You have your multitudinous Catholic spinoffs, your pre-Lutherans, various Reformed, Calvinists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Congregationalists, Lutherans, Baptists, Anabaptists, Adventists, Pentacosts. And I'm just getting started.

But your crowd has managed, despite all the pressures, all the prior scholarship, all the conflicting opinions from others who also follow the same Jesus, to get it right. The c of C is batting 1000% and the rest of them are out of your league.

I make no such claims.  We're just another group of people trying to look at the scriptures and figure out what God wants.  I don't have a problem with other scholarship; in fact, we lean on it fairly heavily.  Like I said in my intro, I'm not the kind of guy that says "You have to believe this way," I like to tell people why I believe the way I do.  Granted, being c of C puts us in a rather iconoclastic position, as you say, but it's a thoroughly interesting place to be  ;D

As far as super-convoluted rationale for stake-burning goes, have you seen the US Tax Code recently?  Our confusing little hubbub is almost small potatoes in comparison.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: testing god
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2013, 09:37:38 AM »
I feel obliged to point out that at this point, Israel still wanders in the wilderness, and haven't settled into the north or south yet.

I have no idea what you are talking about.  But no need to elaborate.  I gather this is not a main point of discussion.

I see "Elohim" meaning "Mighty One" and "Yahweh" meaning "I AM" or "I will become" as being names of the same God.

Sure you do.  That is a very common misconception that has been propagated for about 2500 years.  But don't feel bad about it.  You are hardly to blame.  Let me help correct you. 

Elohim means "the lords", not "mighty one".[1]  In fact, it is the exact opposite of "one".  It is plural of El.  El was the chief god and father - think of Zeus or Odin - of a whole pantheon of canaanite gods.  Not coincidentally, that pantheon was called elohim. 

Guess who else was in the pantheon.  All our old friends from the OT!  Baal was there, Yam, Shalem (after whom Jerusalem is named), yhwh, and his wife, Asherah.  Yep.  Asherah was Mrs yhwh.  They believed in these gods but each group only prayed to their own particular god.  Thus the commandment (which implies polytheism), "you shall have no other gods before me."  That did not mean "false" gods.  That meant actual gods.[2][3]

The hebrews did not become monotheistic until their shattering defeat and destruction of the temple at the hands of the Babylonians.  It was a face saving idea for them.  The idea that Marduk was superior to their puny little yhwh was too much for them to face.  Their denial manifested in the concept that Marduk was just a tool of yhwh and they were being punished for infidelity.  In fact, yhwh was soooo much bigger than Marduk, Marduk wasn't even real.  In fact, no gods are real except yhwh.  Yeah, that's the ticket.[4] 



I've picked up from other forum posts that there is some theorizing that there were distinctive identities worshiped in the north and south,

Yes.  Only, "theorizing" is not the correct word.  The correct word is "archaeology".  The discovery at Ugarit was very useful in that regard.[5]  It confirmed early hebrew henotheism and fleshed out the pantheon.  It helped understand the OT in other important ways.  Several psalms were directly copied.


I don't buy into the idea that there were different Gods, I only believe in one. 

Is that what a Man of Reason does?  Not buy into ideas that don't match what he already believes?  I did not realize that was how one reasoned.  Here I thought that was apologetics all this time. 

What you believe has no bearing on what they actually believed.  The evidence says God (capital G) evolved from an amalgam of at least two gods in a polytheistic culture.   

----------------------------------------

Pretty much, yeah.

 I don't understand.  Are you agreeing yhwh is a dick?   
 
..it kind of reminds me of the attitude when people on welfare are angrily demanding that others work to support them. 

Sorry for the digression, but this is a peeve of mine.  Do you actually know anyone on welfare?  Have you actually observed anyone on welfare "angrily demanding that others work to support them"?  I ask because I grew up in a very poor, rural area where some people didn't even have indoor plumbing.  Probably half the families in the area were on welfare.  Most of the kids I went to school with got free breakfast and lunch at school and for some, it was all they had to eat that day.  I knew no one who wanted to continue to live that way.  I have certainly never seen any poor people there or anywhere else demand other people to work to support them, angrily or otherwise.  I find this is just another myth about the poor that is an absolute lie.   


[
It's arrogant to assume it's all going to happen exactly as they think it should,

?  I think you are making assumptions.  You have no idea how they thought it should have happened since it isn't written in the bible.  I think it is fair to assume they didn't want to die of thirst or starvation in the desert.  I think it is fair to assume they didn't want their children to die that way either.  I don't find that to be particularly arrogant.

and question God's resolve and/or presence in the face of difficulty. 

?  In their position, one of utter insecurity, questioning yhwh's resolve seems eminently reasonable.  Particularly when he put them in that position to begin with and then didn't do squat for them until they begged for it.  Yhwh and Moses asked the hebrews to trust them without any good reason to do so.  I have no problem with them asking for evidence.  Blind faith is... foolish.


Well, since I believe in the Old Testament, I also look at the reasons Yahweh gave for sending in outside influences to conquer and/or nearly exterminate the Israelites.  A lot of them have to do with the fact that Israel didn't stick with Him.

Tit-for-tat?  Does that not seem beneath the omnipotent creator of all being?  Or is this extortion?

That.

So in exodus 4:1-9 yhwh was just showing Moses how to do stage magic?  And in exodus 7:9-13, the staves didn't really turn into snakes and the pharaoh's wizards' staves didn't get eaten?  In other words, the plain, literal reading of the bible is wrong.  I am confused.  I thought you were a literalist? 

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The point of origin of my perspective is Christian.  That's the only view I give miraculous credibility. 

That does not say anything and, frankly, evades the point.  You are trying to zoom out to a 30,000 ft view of it, which only serves to obscure the details.  As a Man of Reason the most important question is How Do I Know?  You are glossing right over that. 

Is it preposterous that I'm naturally going to reject other outside claims of miracles? 

I think it is preposterous to believe in miracles in the first place.  But if you are going to believe in them, then yes, drawing arbitrary lines is preposterous as well.

If I were to examine or reason out other miracles it would go something like this:  Did Vespasien have a message from God?

Do you even know?  No, you don't.  Because you didn't even bother to consider it. You only consider things that fit the beliefs you already have.  Isn't that the reason xians use to justify jeus H as messiah?  They say, he did not fit the jews expectations.  If you believe in magic, why must you try to put it inside a box?

So is the question why do I still believe it's a miracle that happened, and of a type that doesn't occur anymore?

No.  It's more of a point.  You said miracles happened for specific reasons.  Elijah's doesn't fit.  And yhwh had no prerformance anxiety for that one.  There was another one, where Elijah said something like, "If Ba'al doesn't like people desecrating his altar, he can come and do something about it."  There are several meanings to take away from that, but all of them are along the lines of, gods who don't show up can be ignored.
 
And again, according to the OT, it was YHWH who sent Marduk's followers to kick YHWH's peoples' butts up between their ears and lead them into captivity.

I've dealt with that above.  And really, why believe the PR of yhwh's reps? I don't think they are any more believeable than Marduk's, and they have good reason to spin things their way.  It was a way to turn crushing humiliation into victory.


 1. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H430&t=KJV
 2. I don't normally reference answers.com, but this piece actually references great material - the Mark Smith book.  http://wiki.answers.com/Q/When_did_Judaism_become_monotheistic
 3. here's one from U of Idaho http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/henotheism.htm
 4. do a search on "Jon Lovitz Tommy Flannagan"
 5. http://www.theology.edu/ugarbib.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugarit#Ugaritic_religion Ba'al was replaced by yhwh in that story.
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: testing god
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2013, 10:00:21 AM »

While I realize that the c of C considers itself not a denomination, but simply the church, from that POV it took around 1800 years for someone to get the worship of Jesus, etc. right. Presumably everyone had been doing it wrong prior to that, or a new way of doing things wouldn't have been needed.

In the actual, self-identified as a denomination department, where most christians run around and worship, there are tens of thousands of variations. You have your multitudinous Catholic spinoffs, your pre-Lutherans, various Reformed, Calvinists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Congregationalists, Lutherans, Baptists, Anabaptists, Adventists, Pentacosts. And I'm just getting started.

But your crowd has managed, despite all the pressures, all the prior scholarship, all the conflicting opinions from others who also follow the same Jesus, to get it right. The c of C is batting 1000% and the rest of them are out of your league.

I make no such claims.  We're just another group of people trying to look at the scriptures and figure out what God wants.  I don't have a problem with other scholarship; in fact, we lean on it fairly heavily.  Like I said in my intro, I'm not the kind of guy that says "You have to believe this way," I like to tell people why I believe the way I do.  Granted, being c of C puts us in a rather iconoclastic position, as you say, but it's a thoroughly interesting place to be  ;D

As far as super-convoluted rationale for stake-burning goes, have you seen the US Tax Code recently?  Our confusing little hubbub is almost small potatoes in comparison.

The fact remains that a wide variety of self-identified christians disagree with each other over all sorts of biblically related issues. Something that seems quite inconsistent with one really, really wise god with one really, really wise story. That you yourself are incredibly enlightened and without prejudice doesn't mean that others are equally endowed. Because I see little evidence that all versions of all christians are correct.

But I have to admit, you're right about the tax code.
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Offline median

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Re: testing god
« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2013, 10:50:28 AM »

Anfauglir's got the nail on the head, right there...though I don't buy into the Catholic church's miracles or idea of Apostolic Succession, so they're out, to my reckoning, too.  My crowd wasn't, and isn't, trying to establish anything new at all, it's trying to get back to the original principles and teachings of Christ and the apostles.  That's why we reject anything that's un-scriptural.


Just as a side note, the idea that one ought to reject anything that is un-scriptural is itself un-scriptural :)

http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/2010/05/case-against-sola-scriptura-part-i.html

http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/num6.htm
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 11:51:58 AM by median »
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Offline screwtape

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Re: testing god
« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2013, 03:48:32 PM »
Well, since I believe in the Old Testament, I also look at the reasons Yahweh gave for sending in outside influences to conquer and/or nearly exterminate the Israelites.  A lot of them have to do with the fact that Israel didn't stick with Him.
...

And again, according to the OT, it was YHWH who sent Marduk's followers to kick YHWH's peoples' butts up between their ears and lead them into captivity.

Sorry.  I wanted to swing back around on this for just a moment.  Every time the hebrews got stomped, it was attributed to idolatry and worshiping other gods.  Not that that was the natural result of it, but that those practices caused yhwh to fly into a rage and extract divine retribution on them. 

Is it safe to say, then, that the Holocaust can also be blamed on the Hebrew's idolatry?  It seems to me the logical conclusion based on their alleged past and the proper lesson learned from the OT.  If not, is it then possible that the OT is a mythic compilation, similar to the Iliad, attributing shifts in fortune to various different gods getting the upper hand or influencing events?

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Offline Danohk

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Re: testing god
« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2013, 01:44:57 AM »

Just as a side note, the idea that one ought to reject anything that is un-scriptural is itself un-scriptural :)


As a side response, I'll say sorry. I should say we reject any authority or principle that appears to contradict scripture.
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Offline Danohk

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Re: testing god
« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2013, 01:58:06 AM »
I'm working on unraveling the convoluted, needlessly personal hash this has become, but I'll pull this out since it's a standalone:

Quote
Sorry for the digression, but this is a peeve of mine.  Do you actually know anyone on welfare?  Have you actually observed anyone on welfare "angrily demanding that others work to support them"?

Sure have.  I live in the welfare capital of Colorado.  I've been on government subsidy, too, so I (at one point) fit into the poor-who-don't-want-to-be-there category you reference.

I'm not saying, nor can it be inferred by my statement, that, carte blanche, welfare people are like this.  I'm talking about the "**** these rich people, I'll take whatever my senator can get" kind of folks.  I see them and hear them all the time.  The "I don't have to work and I can put gas in my car" lady after Obama's speech also fits into this category. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg98BvqUvCc
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Offline stuffin

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Re: testing god
« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2013, 09:30:09 AM »

Just as a side note, the idea that one ought to reject anything that is un-scriptural is itself un-scriptural :)


As a side response, I'll say sorry. I should say we reject any authority or principle that appears to contradict scripture.

By what reason(ing) does this explain or help anything?

This is blinders on a horse or an ostrich burying his head in the sand.

I see these as typical shut down points for most xians.



1- God has provided miracles, shown himself enough in the past and it is all well documented, no further proof is needed so don't ask anymore.

The message has been delivered.  The church is established, the word spread worldwide.  The miracle wielders wrote their books, taught their lessons, and now that we have a record of them, nobody speaks with that kind of authority.

2- If ain't in scripture, it ain't. (see bolded comment in this post)

There a few others I'm having trouble recalling, but my point is, when an unpleasant contradiction confronts a Xian, they revert to this defense. This coping mechanism Xian’s deploy is a main reason they retard societal progress.
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: testing god
« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2013, 09:34:48 AM »
I'm working on unraveling the convoluted, needlessly personal hash this has become, but I'll pull this out since it's a standalone:

Quote
Sorry for the digression, but this is a peeve of mine.  Do you actually know anyone on welfare?  Have you actually observed anyone on welfare "angrily demanding that others work to support them"?

Sure have.  I live in the welfare capital of Colorado.  I've been on government subsidy, too, so I (at one point) fit into the poor-who-don't-want-to-be-there category you reference.

I'm not saying, nor can it be inferred by my statement, that, carte blanche, welfare people are like this.  I'm talking about the "**** these rich people, I'll take whatever my senator can get" kind of folks.  I see them and hear them all the time.  The "I don't have to work and I can put gas in my car" lady after Obama's speech also fits into this category. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg98BvqUvCc

A quick aside then a question relevant to the thread.

As a former welfare worker who has also been a businessman working for billionaires, the difference between the rich and the poor is simple. The rich know how to get money for doing nothing, the poor just dream about it. And occasionally manage to wrangle pitiful amounts out of the state. If you can accept the behavior in one group, you need to understand that it is normal for the other group to feel the same way. (and screwtape, I agree with you that most people involved with welfare are not wanting something for nothing, but since humans are involved, it is not like there are none of them. What I am saying here is that the rich who have given themselves incredible raises over the last two decades are in no position to complain if some poor person wishes they could get free money too.)

Anyway, Danohk, generically speaking how does anyone of any religious persuasion decide that their take on religion is fairly close to accurate, and how do ones in that position judge that the ideas/opinions/conclusions of others who self-identify as religious are wrong? I ask not only for you, but for me. Every single believer we get here has different ideas on what christianity is and what to believe. Most agree on the Jesus thing, at least generically, but the rest of it is a carte blanche combination of ideas and such that confuses the heck out of us, mostly because it doesn't match up with whatever the last guy said.

So how do you know that you are close to being right, and how do you know that others who believe in the same god are way off base. I know you are going to invoke your understanding of scripture here, but others read the same book and reach different conclusions.

Short version. Why aren't you a snake handler? Why don't you speak in tongues? Both of those groups also invoke scripture when asked.
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Online wheels5894

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Re: testing god
« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2013, 10:32:20 AM »
I don't want to pre-judge the answer but my perception is that people's view of their god is that the god's view happens, happily, to match their own views. Then, thanks to texts such as the bible which are open for interpretation is many way, they find verse and chapters that show that their view of their god is the right one. It comes down to a  circular argument based on what the individual thinks god ought to be like and it helps as the person has no need to change in order to believe.

It applies to morals too - both slave owners and abolitionists were both claiming that the bible supported their views whilst, clearly, it is either right or wrong to support slavery. Most morals work the same way.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: testing god
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2013, 10:38:36 AM »
I don't think that the rich (mostly) get money for doing nothing.  First off, they actually have money to begin with, and second, they can put that money to work for them (so they don't have to).  A poor person, or even someone in the middle class - basically anyone who has to work paycheck to paycheck, even if they have some money invested - doesn't have enough money to put it to work for them instead of working to earn it.  So even if they knew how to do so, they wouldn't have the means to.

Offline median

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Re: testing god
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2013, 10:40:17 AM »

As a side response, I'll say sorry. I should say we reject any authority or principle that appears to contradict scripture.

I know you do. That's called Protestantism (just like every other new church that rises up and tries to take the reigns), but as Dr. Robert Sungenis points out you have no pedigree of authority (by Apostolic Succession) by which to decide which interpretation is the correct one, which interpretation "contradicts scripture" (as scripture alone does not teach "scripture alone"), and scripture alone can't tell us what "scripture" is.

So getting back to the OP, perhaps your interpretation is in error. You are a fallible human being, right? What makes you think (or why did you first accept the idea) that your bible is "the inspired word of God"?


p.s. - Your assertion that "nobody speaks with that kind of authority" is merely a matter of arbitrary opinion (which if really the essence of religion...hear say). You heard your c of C pastor (or two) speak this way and now you're repeating it. How apropos! But it doesn't work because you've assumed your position in advance of having done your homework (i.e. - you assumed the bible was "God breathed" prior to actually doing disinterested research). Why is that?

« Last Edit: July 25, 2013, 10:46:44 AM by median »
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan