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Old 10th July 2019, 11:57 PM   #41
David Mo
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I find this thread quite useless. In a debate between agnostics and atheists about the god of the Bible there will hardly be a debate. We all agree.

To introduce a little disagreement —therefore debate— I recommend reading an intelligent and educated believer: Rudolf Bultmann: Jesus and the World. Specifically the introduction.
You can use this ling among others:
https://www.religion-online.org/book...-and-the-word/

To give an idea I copy a paragraph:
Therefore, when I speak of the teaching or thought of Jesus, I base the discussion on no underlying conception of a universally valid system of thought which through this study can be made enlightening to all. Rather the ideas are understood in the light of the concrete situation of a man living in time; as his interpretation of his own existence in the midst of change, uncertainty, decision; as the expression of a possibility of comprehending this life; as the effort to gain clear insight into the contingencies and necessities of his own existence. When we encounter the words of Jesus in history, we do not judge them by a philosophical system with reference to their rational validity; they meet us with the question of how we are to interpret our own existence. That we be ourselves deeply disturbed by the problem of our own life is therefore the indispensable condition of our inquiry. Then the examination of history will lead not to the enrichment of timeless wisdom, but to an encounter with history which itself is an event in time. This is dialogue with history.
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Old 11th July 2019, 12:01 AM   #42
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Why bother to make sense of the bible? By cherry picking the right passages, you can make God appear however you want him to appear.

For example, I can find passages that suggest that God didn't create humans but created gods who will ultimately be equal with him. That would make expectations a lot higher.
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Old 11th July 2019, 02:46 AM   #43
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I find this thread quite useless. In a debate between agnostics and atheists about the god of the Bible there will hardly be a debate. We all agree.

To introduce a little disagreement —therefore debate— I recommend reading an intelligent and educated believer: Rudolf Bultmann: Jesus and the World. Specifically the introduction.
You can use this ling among others:
https://www.religion-online.org/book...-and-the-word/

To give an idea I copy a paragraph:
Therefore, when I speak of the teaching or thought of Jesus, I base the discussion on no underlying conception of a universally valid system of thought which through this study can be made enlightening to all. Rather the ideas are understood in the light of the concrete situation of a man living in time; as his interpretation of his own existence in the midst of change, uncertainty, decision; as the expression of a possibility of comprehending this life; as the effort to gain clear insight into the contingencies and necessities of his own existence. When we encounter the words of Jesus in history, we do not judge them by a philosophical system with reference to their rational validity; they meet us with the question of how we are to interpret our own existence. That we be ourselves deeply disturbed by the problem of our own life is therefore the indispensable condition of our inquiry. Then the examination of history will lead not to the enrichment of timeless wisdom, but to an encounter with history which itself is an event in time. This is dialogue with history.
Well, the problem with making sense of the words of Jesus in light of his life is: which Jesus? Even scholars who support a historical Jesus, like Bart Ehrman, each of them cherrypicks a different Jesus. Because he's really that much of a composite of ideas from different people who changed the myths or the gospel manuscripts as fit their own views.

As Bart Ehrman himself puts it about the work of another scholar, and I'm quoting very loosely from memory: 'He concluded that only about 30% of the sayings attributed from Jesus are actually from Jesus, and the rest are interpolation. And I agree with that. I would disagree with which 30% of them those are, but that's a different issue.'

But actually it's not a different issue. It is THE problem. Everyone can cherrypick their own 30%, give or take a few percent, which is relatively self-consistent enough to have possibly been from the same guy. But so can someone else, and get a totally different guy. In fact, you can get polar opposites.

So for a start WHICH sayings of Jesus are you trying to make sense of, in light of his life?

Second, WHICH life of Jesus? We know virtually nothing about him. Even the thin slice into his ministry we get from the Gospels -- never mind that there is no indication that any of those even had access to any witnesses -- is only disparated episodes at best. And they're episodes where the author just sets up the stage for Jesus to deliver some canned wisdom and then skip to the next such episode, so we don't actually get to know much about how he lived between those episodes. People like to do their internal fanfic where they imagine what kind of guy Jesus would be, and how he'd do this or that, but the truth is, even taking the gospels as, well, gospel, you don't actually get much data.

But the problems only begin. Even those little episodes are AT BEST heavily redacted.

For a start the inclusio and chiasm structures in the text (a.k.a., "markan sandwiches") don't happen like that in a real person's life. At the very least, that stuff has been chronologically rearranged to fit that structure.

And actually that should come as very little surprise to anyone who's even read all four gospels, because John places the clearing of the temple at the beginning of it all, while Mark (and the other two who copied from Mark) has it at the end. So one of the version has got the chronology wrong.

Then you have the problem that even most of those episodes most definitely didn't happen like that, or possibly not at all. People act basically unlike real people, to allow the author to make a point. E.g., the apostles forget that they've seen the same miracle like two pages ago. E.g., the pharisees are stumped by Jesus saying some dumb stuff, just because the author said so, when in reality someone schooled in theology would have had no problem with it. E.g., Jesus's solution to a problem is flat out idiotic, and only works because obviously the author doesn't know anything about the area.

As a trivial example of the latter, take the whole "give Caesar what is Caesar's" idiotic episode. Actually at the time the WHOLE objection to those coins was that they have the Emperor's face on them, which for the Jews was forbidden as idolatry. So Jesus solving it by going some version, "well, it has the Emperor's face on it, so it's ok" is the COMPLETELY wrong way to defuse that, and wouldn't have worked.

And that's one of the milder ones, actually.

So WHICH sayings of Jesus are you trying to fit into WHAT life of Jesus?

It's basically the kind of dumbest possible idea that only makes sense to those who have no idea what that even involves.
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Old 11th July 2019, 06:42 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
As a trivial example of the latter, take the whole "give Caesar what is Caesar's" idiotic episode. Actually at the time the WHOLE objection to those coins was that they have the Emperor's face on them, which for the Jews was forbidden as idolatry. So Jesus solving it by going some version, "well, it has the Emperor's face on it, so it's ok" is the COMPLETELY wrong way to defuse that, and wouldn't have worked.
Just as a matter of curiosity, how should the "render unto Caesar" argument have been rebutted?
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Old 11th July 2019, 08:56 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
You say that as though those aren't powerful motivators.
Yes they are. That's why they are used.
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Old 11th July 2019, 09:03 AM   #46
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Just as a matter of curiosity, how should the "render unto Caesar" argument have been rebutted?
I'm not sure it could, to be honest. But pointing out that it does have the Emperor's face on it, when that was the actual objection to it, well, you can probably see how it wouldn't really calm anyone down.
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Old 11th July 2019, 09:21 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, the problem with making sense of the words of Jesus in light of his life is: which Jesus? Even scholars who support a historical Jesus, like Bart Ehrman, each of them cherrypicks a different Jesus. Because he's really that much of a composite of ideas from different people who changed the myths or the gospel manuscripts as fit their own views.

As Bart Ehrman himself puts it about the work of another scholar, and I'm quoting very loosely from memory: "He concluded that only about 30% of the sayings attributed from Jesus are actually from Jesus, and the rest are interpolation. And I agree with that. I would disagree with which 30% of them those are, but that's a different issue.'

...

So WHICH sayings of Jesus are you trying to fit into WHAT life of Jesus?
I'd like to ask how any scholar can attribute a percentage? The Gospels were written 30 plus years after Jesus was crucified. They are not eyewitness testimonies. And we don't have a clue who wrote them despite the church giving them names. The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) were all copied from Mark or another source document. And their are NO contemporary confirmations.

While I don't agree with the mythicist position. I do believe there probably was a Jesus. But the idea that people could accurately write the words that were said a year earlier let alone thirty years before hardly seems credible.
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Old 11th July 2019, 09:51 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I'm not sure it could, to be honest. But pointing out that it does have the Emperor's face on it, when that was the actual objection to it, well, you can probably see how it wouldn't really calm anyone down.
The question was "is it lawful to pay taxes?" and didn't mention the coins used. If Jesus was pointing out that the coins had graven images on them then that would have bolstered his answer.
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Old 11th July 2019, 10:29 AM   #49
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Well, you have to also read Josephus to see why the graven image was a problem. Pilate had to even take down some shields dedicated to the emperor BECAUSE they had the face on them, and caused the locals to go nearly into revolt. And the same happened about the standards for his cohorts, for the same reason.

So pointing out that the coins have the image on them would most definitely have been the wrong thing to point out. Even IF the mob had a different issue with those coins, pointing out the graven image would most definitely just add even more fuel to the fire.

But, yes, whatever idiot wrote that gospel, obviously had no idea of the local issues, and that would seem like the right kind of answer. That's the nature of the beast when making up BS that happens in another country, in a different culture.


Edit: it should also be noted that

1. The coins in use at the time in the region and used by the Romans to collect taxes did NOT in fact have the Emperor's face on them. They were the Tyrian shekels, which actually bore the even more offensive to the locals image of a Phoenician GOD, and an inscription proclaiming Tyre to be a holy city.

You know, if you want an extra reason why the whole episode is just made up BS, by someone who'd never even been to Judaea. G.Mark, who is thought to have lived in Rome, yeah, had no clue that the coins he makes a story up about were not, in fact, the same kind of coins as what he saw in use in Rome.

2. One of the first things the religious rebels did in the revolt against Rome was to mint coins WITHOUT a face on them. So, you know, it doesn't seem like pointing out there's a face on the coins would have made it better.
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Old 11th July 2019, 10:51 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, you have to also read Josephus to see why the graven image was a problem. Pilate had to even take down some shields dedicated to the emperor BECAUSE they had the face on them, and caused the locals to go nearly into revolt. And the same happened about the standards for his cohorts, for the same reason.
It seems like you are substituting a different question to the one that was put to Jesus.

They couldn't use coins with graven images at the temples but there is no evidence that they refused to accept those coins in other business dealings. If that had been the case then there would have been no need for money changers at the temples.

Nobody was asking Jesus if it was lawful to use coins with graven images. It probably wasn't an issue. Instead, they appeared to want to make this a first commandment issue. Had Jesus simply said that it was lawful to pay taxes to a Roman emperor (they considered themselves gods in those days) then he could have been accused of violating the first commandment. (Had he said "no" then he could have been accused of inciting rebellion).

By reminding them that they were using coins with graven images, he avoided that trap.
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Old 11th July 2019, 12:11 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
It seems like you are substituting a different question to the one that was put to Jesus.

They couldn't use coins with graven images at the temples but there is no evidence that they refused to accept those coins in other business dealings. If that had been the case then there would have been no need for money changers at the temples.

Nobody was asking Jesus if it was lawful to use coins with graven images. It probably wasn't an issue. Instead, they appeared to want to make this a first commandment issue. Had Jesus simply said that it was lawful to pay taxes to a Roman emperor (they considered themselves gods in those days) then he could have been accused of violating the first commandment. (Had he said "no" then he could have been accused of inciting rebellion).
that trap.
I heard this argument given before, in a Catholic sermon.

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
By reminding them that they were using coins with graven images, he avoided that trap.
How, exactly?

Was he telling them that they shouldn't be using those coins in the first place?

Or that as long as the coins with Caesar's image were only used for dealing with Caesar, it was all right?

That would fit with "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's".

It would also fit with with ""If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?"
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Old 11th July 2019, 06:24 PM   #52
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The answer to the OP is yes, of course, but it's more interesting to see what light history & archeology can shed on how it got that way.

Closely related languages belong to peoples that were recently one people, and only split recently, so they also have closely related cultures in other ways too, including their gods. For example, look at the names of the days, and you can see the names of some old English gods, which the English had in common with the Norse (with slightly different spellings) because those gods date back to when the English and the Norse were one people with one language and one pantheon (Proto-Germanic). So, you can learn about the earlier stages of a culture and its religion by looking at its nearest counterparts and predecessors.

Hebrew is not just a Semitic language (a category which also includes Arabic and Akkadian), but a Northwest Semitic language (which excludes Arabic and Akkadian, but still includes Aramaic, Phoenician, Syriac, Ugaritic, and Canaanite). And we have writings and artifacts from various towns around that area from the era when the Bible got its start and even slightly before. Along with the extremely similar languages/dialects (they could very well have been mutually intelligible back then), they also name the Northwest Semitic gods, two of which are El and Yahweh, the two most common names for "God" in the Pentateuch.

If they're just names of one god in the Bible, how do we know they were two separate gods? Because their names aren't just mentioned in a list; we're given specifics about who they are and what they do. El lives in the north; Yahweh lives in the south. El's home is a mansion on a mountain; Yahweh's is a tent. (In the Northwest Semitic world at the time, some southern tribes still lived as nomads, so this one is an example of the gods being characterized according to the natures of the tribes that favored them; Abraham is also described as living in a tent in Genesis.) When the gods gather at the royal court or "divine council", El is in control, and Yahweh is among the followers. For example, El tells them all which gods will be assigned to which places on Earth or groups of people living there, and Yahweh gets assigned to a southern tent-dwelling tribe.

From reading through Genesis and the first parts of Exodus (up to the first appearance of manna; I just haven't gotten to the rest yet) with that context in mind, it's amazing how neatly most of that earliest stuff fits together as the story of how Yahweh goes about following his orders from El to get that tribe to make him their chief god.
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Old 11th July 2019, 06:44 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
The answer to the OP is yes, of course, but it's more interesting to see what light history & archeology can shed on how it got that way.

Closely related languages belong to peoples that were recently one people, and only split recently, so they also have closely related cultures in other ways too, including their gods. For example, look at the names of the days, and you can see the names of some old English gods, which the English had in common with the Norse (with slightly different spellings) because those gods date back to when the English and the Norse were one people with one language and one pantheon (Proto-Germanic). So, you can learn about the earlier stages of a culture and its religion by looking at its nearest counterparts and predecessors.

Hebrew is not just a Semitic language (a category which also includes Arabic and Akkadian), but a Northwest Semitic language (which excludes Arabic and Akkadian, but still includes Aramaic, Phoenician, Syriac, Ugaritic, and Canaanite). And we have writings and artifacts from various towns around that area from the era when the Bible got its start and even slightly before. Along with the extremely similar languages/dialects (they could very well have been mutually intelligible back then), they also name the Northwest Semitic gods, two of which are El and Yahweh, the two most common names for "God" in the Pentateuch.

If they're just names of one god in the Bible, how do we know they were two separate gods? Because their names aren't just mentioned in a list; we're given specifics about who they are and what they do. El lives in the north; Yahweh lives in the south. El's home is a mansion on a mountain; Yahweh's is a tent. (In the Northwest Semitic world at the time, some southern tribes still lived as nomads, so this one is an example of the gods being characterized according to the natures of the tribes that favored them; Abraham is also described as living in a tent in Genesis.) When the gods gather at the royal court or "divine council", El is in control, and Yahweh is among the followers. For example, El tells them all which gods will be assigned to which places on Earth or groups of people living there, and Yahweh gets assigned to a southern tent-dwelling tribe.

From reading through Genesis and the first parts of Exodus (up to the first appearance of manna; I just haven't gotten to the rest yet) with that context in mind, it's amazing how neatly most of that earliest stuff fits together as the story of how Yahweh goes about following his orders from El to get that tribe to make him their chief god.
I think I read somewhere that Yahweh means "jealous". If anything could tell one that this god was man made it is that. Why would a being as powerful as this being is portrayed be jealous? Jealousy is not a sign of strength but of Weakness. Why would we believe a mature powerful being have one of man's weakest traits?

It's like Trump is their god.
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Old 11th July 2019, 07:01 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post

God is omnipotent, he can do whatever he wants.
Oh yeah. If he's so omnipotent can he write a post so full of contradiction that he himself can't make it sound logical?
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Old 11th July 2019, 07:08 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Senex View Post
Oh yeah. If he's so omnipotent can he write a post so full of contradiction that he himself can't make it sound logical?
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Old 11th July 2019, 09:05 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Humots View Post
How, exactly?
How would I know? I don't know if the story was recorded accurately or if it even happened at all.

My point was that if you are going to criticize the authors of the gospels then you need to criticize them on the words they wrote and not a different set of words entirely.
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Old 11th July 2019, 10:05 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, the problem with making sense of the words of Jesus in light of his life is: which Jesus? (...)

So for a start WHICH sayings of Jesus are you trying to make sense of, in light of his life?

Second, WHICH life of Jesus? (...)
As far as I know Bultmann has no much interest in the historical Jesus. He narrows him to a few sayings and facts. He focuses on Paul and the fourth gospel. He builds his Christianity on spiritualism. I think the clue is here: "When we encounter the words of Jesus in history, we do not judge them by a philosophical system with reference to their rational validity; they meet us with the question of how we are to interpret our own existence". This existential Christianity makes the orthodox Christians nervous. I would say that all the bluff of the Historical Jesus is an attempt to override Bultmann and Schweitzer at all costs.
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Old 11th July 2019, 10:53 PM   #58
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So we're back to: we must derail into whatever red herring you brought up, because it's a quote from some famous guy?
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Old 11th July 2019, 11:10 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
So we're back to: we must derail into whatever red herring you brought up, because it's a quote from some famous guy?
One of the most typical fallacies in these forums is to consider that any quotation from an important author is worthless because it is an authoritative argument. In any university they would be amazed at this nonsense.

Along with the mention of Bultmann I have included a quote and a reference to a book where you can easily expand your knowledge and argue conveniently. Yes, you can (I suppose).
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Old 12th July 2019, 01:38 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
One of the most typical fallacies in these forums is to consider that any quotation from an important author is worthless because it is an authoritative argument. In any university they would be amazed at this nonsense.
Strawman. What I said it's a red herring, not that it's an argument from authority. Address what was actually said, or don't. But dumb strawmen aren't it.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Along with the mention of Bultmann I have included a quote and a reference to a book where you can easily expand your knowledge and argue conveniently. Yes, you can (I suppose).
So, more of your usual bluster and flailing for why one should pursue a complete red herring? It still has nothing to do with the topic of the thread, no matter how educative it is or who wrote it.
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Old 12th July 2019, 02:26 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Strawman. What I said it's a red herring, not that it's an argument from authority. Address what was actually said, or don't. But dumb strawmen aren't it.
First it was you who spoke with contempt of Bultmann because he was "a famous guy". If there was no contempt, watch your language and there will be no misunderstandings.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
So, more of your usual bluster and flailing for why one should pursue a complete red herring? It still has nothing to do with the topic of the thread, no matter how educative it is or who wrote it.
You're obsessed with catching coloured fishes. Go back to land.
The theme of the thread is if the god of the Bible is stupid. This implies the question of how a rational Christian can withstand the absurd image that the Bible gives of his god. In the fact the thread passed to this way almost from the beginning. From comment #2, to be exact.

Bultmann is a sample of how cultured Christians obviate the presence of a primitive god in the Bible. To him, God is not stupid. The biblical god is simply a primitive god narrated by primitive believers. But, according to him, the Christian must overcome that primitive concept through a special interpretation of the texts. That's what Bultmann's chapter is about that you don't seem to have read. If you had, you wouldn't be talking about fishes.

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Old 12th July 2019, 06:32 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
First it was you who spoke with contempt of Bultmann because he was "a famous guy". If there was no contempt, watch your language and there will be no misunderstandings.
Well, see, that's the misunderstanding right there. The contempt wasn't for the famous guy, but for your recurring notion that you can pretty much demand -- then bait and troll, when that fails -- that everyone must drop everything else and discuss some quote because, look, some famous guy said it.

Look, I don't know what your problem is, but if you want to set the topic, you can start a thread like everyone else.
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Old 12th July 2019, 06:58 AM   #63
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That said, ultimately it says nothing about the God of the bible, or any other god, which is why I call it a coloured fish.

You can go existentialism on the ass of, well, just about anybody or anything. If nothing else, you can go for the absurd side of it, which is just as much a part of existentialism. E.g., the episode where Beavis kicks a taoist master in the nuts can cause reflection about how in an absurd world, that kind of bad things happen to good people. So, yeah, I just went existentialist on Beavis and Butthead's ass, yo

The problem is that it doesn't change how that character is actually portrayed in the actual work of art. What in my existence it makes me think about is an extra dimension, and outside the scope of that work of art.

E.g., I can go all introspective based on, say, reading about how Cao Cao in the Romance Of The Three Kingdoms murders a friend's sons over a misunderstanding. (He was on the run and thought they were planning to ambush him.) But at the end of the day, it's still just a part of his characterization as a ruthless, machiavellian character, setting the stage for him to say his famous line, "I would rather betray the whole world, than have the world betray me." Whatever extra lessons I learn by contemplating my existence and own actions or mishaps at various times, is extra material that Luo Guanzhong definitely wasn't thinking about when writing the novel in 14'th century China.

Or I can do it about the Beavis and Butthead episode that I mentioned, or about the actions of Peter in Family Guy, but it doesn't change the fact that they're characterized as idiots. You know, like the God of the bible is in the OP's view. Whatever extra parallels I can draw myself from there are just that: extra.

Unless the point can be made that the piece of art is deliberately doing a metaphor for situation X -- which I don't think the ancient Jews were -- then it inspiring me to think of unrelated situation X is rather orthogonal to the actual work of art or its characterization of its characters.
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Old 12th July 2019, 08:30 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
The price to be paid must be to someone's benefit.
Why?
Quote:
If God is omni-this-and-that, then isn't he paying himself?
Because, as I said earlier, then it would not cost God anything.
Quote:
We seem to have a god that makes all the rules and then claims he's stuck with them.
You seem to have a false dichotomy of either God makes all the rules or else there must be a more powerful being making those rules.

Doesn't follow. For example God can't decide that there will be an algorithm to generate the digital expansion of a Chaitin constant. That doesn't imply there is a more powerful being who can. An algorithm for the digital expansion of a Chaitin constant is intrinsically impossible.

So if good and bad, right and wrong, sin and redemption are unalterable brute facts about reality then God can't make rules about what is right and what is wrong and it doesn't imply that there is a more powerful being who can.
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Old 12th July 2019, 08:33 AM   #65
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I think this is related, so instead of starting a different thread

A couple of weeks ago in church was "Trinity Sunday" (in the church calendar). It comes at some point after Pentecost.

Now, I've been to church on Trinity Sunday a few times, and I've heard more than one sermon on said day. And that sermon inevitably involves some discussion of the concept of the Trinity, of course, and the greatness of the mystery of it. But it is also caveated with something like, "This 3-in-1 thing of the Trinity is really complex, and I don't really understand it, but still it is great and wonderful and this what we believe."

Now, these aren't random people, these are ministers that have been through the seminary, so have presumably had teaching on the Trinity. So why don't they understand it? Are the teachers all that incompetent at teaching? Or is it because what is being taught doesn't make sense? Or do the teachers not really understand it, either?

The short question is: I've heard a lot of people say, re: the trinity, "I don't fully understand it." Well, who DOES actually understand it? And why don't they help out the others?
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Old 12th July 2019, 10:55 AM   #66
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According to the Catholics at least, pretty much nobody understands how the trinity makes any sense. That's what makes it a mystery too great for mortal minds.
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Old 12th July 2019, 10:56 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Why?

Because, as I said earlier, then it would not cost God anything.

You seem to have a false dichotomy of either God makes all the rules or else there must be a more powerful being making those rules.

Doesn't follow. For example God can't decide that there will be an algorithm to generate the digital expansion of a Chaitin constant. That doesn't imply there is a more powerful being who can. An algorithm for the digital expansion of a Chaitin constant is intrinsically impossible.

So if good and bad, right and wrong, sin and redemption are unalterable brute facts about reality then God can't make rules about what is right and what is wrong and it doesn't imply that there is a more powerful being who can.
We could go round and round on the question of whether logical necessity transcends everything including the entire universe that God is said to have created. But with regard to the payment of a debt, what is a debt if not a transaction? If a debt must be paid it must be paid to someone or something or it has no meaning.
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Old 12th July 2019, 11:09 AM   #68
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Why?

Because, as I said earlier, then it would not cost God anything.

You seem to have a false dichotomy of either God makes all the rules or else there must be a more powerful being making those rules.

Doesn't follow. For example God can't decide that there will be an algorithm to generate the digital expansion of a Chaitin constant. That doesn't imply there is a more powerful being who can. An algorithm for the digital expansion of a Chaitin constant is intrinsically impossible.

So if good and bad, right and wrong, sin and redemption are unalterable brute facts about reality then God can't make rules about what is right and what is wrong and it doesn't imply that there is a more powerful being who can.
We're not talking about maths, though, we're talking basically a justice system. Which is just literally whatever rules you give. Hopefully it will be the ones that work the best, but if your justice system works by "throw her in the river, and if she can swim she's innocent" (I'm, of course, talking Mesopotamian law, not European witch trials) or "randomly kill a tenth of them" (Roman decimation) or "whoever wins a game of squash lives" (Aztecs) or whatever other arbitrary rule, that's that.

Ditto for what is the price to pay, if any, for a transgression. It can be stuff like you can be flogged to death for breaking curfew. (In late Han dynasty China, Cao Cao made a name for himself as an inflexible and incorruptible man while being a captain of the guard by flogging to death even a relative of a powerful noble for breaking the curfew.) Or it can be that you can be forgiven once from being executed if anyone wants to marry their daughter to you. (Feudal Romania.) Or that the price of a new bride is a fair price to pay for raping a girl. (Actual rule from the Old Testament.) Or that a fine of 400 shillings is a fair price to pay for killing a priest right in the middle of his reading mass. (I kid you not, it's in the early middle ages Germanic weregeld rules.)

Whatever.

The notion that God can't set whatever rules he wants, as if it's maths, is... interesting, to say the least. See, Euthyphro.

More importantly, though, Xianity would imply that in this perfect justice system from which even God can't deviate, it is perfectly ok for an innocent to pay for someone else's capital crime. In fact, for any unlimited number of other someones. E.g., that for example if I were the Han emperor, it would be ok that I can execute some loyal guy that didn't revolt or disobey in any way, as the price that the almost half a million yellow turban rebels have to pay for their rebellion.

It's... not a justice system I could get behind, to say the least.
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Old 12th July 2019, 12:21 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post

So if good and bad, right and wrong, sin and redemption are unalterable brute facts about reality then God can't make rules about what is right and what is wrong and it doesn't imply that there is a more powerful being who can.
Let's see. According to the bible. Oysters, clams, shrimp are bad as well as bacon, planting two different crops side by side, wearing clothes with mixed threads. Not to mention gathering firewood on Saturday or marrying a non-virgin since you are to kill her and leave her corpse on her father's doorstep.

The idea that the debt must be paid ignores that debts are forgiven throughout the bible. The idea that God must impregnate a woman, become his own son to be tortured 33 years later for him to accept a debt as paid is more than a little convoluted.
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Old 12th July 2019, 01:29 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
"Mysterious ways". God has a plan. Sin and redemption are an important part of that plan. God knows best. *shrug*

All I'm saying is that atheists (and antitheists) interpret the Bible in ways that actual believers do not. And so the objections that atheists (and antitheists) have don't necessarily apply.


I think we have had that argument (about mistaken atheists) here before, and quite recently. I was not convinced by that claim before, and I don't think it's at all convincing now.

Christians say all sorts of things about their beliefs in God, the bible, Jesus and all sorts of related issues. Much of what they say is not what it originally said in the biblical books 2000 to 3000 years ago. God has been reduced to an ever shrinking tiny few remaining gaps in our 21st century knowledge about this universe.

God was once claimed in those books to be the deliberate instigator of almost everything. But now we know (as much as anyone could ever "know"), that no such God was involved in any of that.

If Christians today (how many of them?) say they now believe all sorts of other things different from what was originally claimed for God, then it's completely inadmissible to criticise atheists if they explain why the original biblical God beliefs are wrong. It's completely insincere and unacceptable for Christians over the centuries until today, to be continually altering those original God claims, and then to complain that atheists are not addressing their new changed god beliefs.

The God beliefs were really fixed for all time in what was originally written in the biblical books. Because those were claimed to be written by prophets who could actually speak to God and who knew as certain fact what God did & what he wanted etc. You cannot change that 2000 years later after science shows all the original beliefs were wrong.

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Old 12th July 2019, 02:21 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
I think we have had that argument (about mistaken atheists) here before, and quite recently. I was not convinced by that claim before, and I don't think it's at all convincing now.

Christians say all sorts of things about their beliefs in God, the bible, Jesus and all sorts of related issues. Much of what they say is not what it originally said in the biblical books 2000 to 3000 years ago. God has been reduced to an ever shrinking tiny few remaining gaps in our 21st century knowledge about this universe.

God was once claimed in those books to be the deliberate instigator of almost everything. But now we know (as much as anyone could ever "know"), that no such God was involved in any of that.

If Christians today (how many of them?) say they now believe all sorts of other things different from what was originally claimed for God, then it's completely inadmissible to criticise atheists if they explain why the original biblical God beliefs are wrong. It's completely insincere and unacceptable for Christians over the centuries until today, to be continually altering those original God claims, and then to complain that atheists are not addressing their new changed god beliefs.

The God beliefs were really fixed for all time in what was originally written in the biblical books. Because those were claimed to be written by prophets who could actually speak to God and who knew as certain fact what God did & what he wanted etc. You cannot change that 2000 years later after science shows all the original beliefs were wrong.
Did Christians EVER really agree? The first bible only included the Gospel of Luke and 10 of Paul's epistles. The entire Old Testament was tossed.
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Old 12th July 2019, 03:24 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
It seems like you are substituting a different question to the one that was put to Jesus.

They couldn't use coins with graven images at the temples but there is no evidence that they refused to accept those coins in other business dealings. If that had been the case then there would have been no need for money changers at the temples.

[Nobody was asking Jesus if it was lawful to use coins with graven images. It probably wasn't an issue. Instead, they appeared to want to make this a first commandment issue. Had Jesus simply said that it was lawful to pay taxes to a Roman emperor (they considered themselves gods in those days) then he could have been accused of violating the first commandment. (Had he said "no" then he could have been accused of inciting rebellion).

By reminding them that they were using coins with graven images, he avoided that trap.
Originally Posted by Humots View Post
I heard this argument given before, in a Catholic sermon.

How, exactly?

Was he telling them that they shouldn't be using those coins in the first place?

Or that as long as the coins with Caesar's image were only used for dealing with Caesar, it was all right?

That would fit with "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's".

It would also fit with with ""If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?"
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
How would I know? I don't know if the story was recorded accurately or if it even happened at all.

My point was that if you are going to criticize the authors of the gospels then you need to criticize them on the words they wrote and not a different set of words entirely.
I was asking: If the situation as given (see first bolded above) was a trap, how did the answer as given (see second bolded above) avoid that trap?

I'm not criticizing the authors, I'm saying that, assuming it happened as described, is there some plausible explanation, like one of the ones I suggested in my post (see third and fourth bolded above), as to why Jesus' answer was appropriate.

You wrote as if there were one (first and second bolded again).
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Old 12th July 2019, 03:55 PM   #73
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I think it must be a strain for modern day theists, to mould the god they believe in, into something acceptable to modern day thinking. Hardly surprising really, given that most believe in different versions of the Abrahamic God, who supposedly made himself known, to some primitive nomads thousands of years ago. A god who had favourites, ideas about slavery and a woman's place, that surprisingly coincided with the views of the primitives, he took to his bosom. He had a single tracked mind about how to achieve consensus - violence - diplomacy was never entertained as a strategy.

There is a need perhaps for a more modern god, that is for those who need a god at all. A compassionate, multi coloured, multi sexual, god. A god who all can embrace without reservation. You can't hammer the Abrahamic God into this shape, no matter how you try.
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Old 12th July 2019, 04:03 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I think it must be a strain for modern day theists, to mould the god they believe in, into something acceptable to modern day thinking. Hardly surprising really, given that most believe in different versions of the Abrahamic God, who supposedly made himself known, to some primitive nomads thousands of years ago. A god who had favourites, ideas about slavery and a woman's place, that surprisingly coincided with the views of the primitives, he took to his bosom. He had a single tracked mind about how to achieve consensus - violence - diplomacy was never entertained as a strategy.

There is a need perhaps for a more modern god, that is for those who need a god at all. A compassionate, multi coloured, multi sexual, god. A god who all can embrace without reservation. You can't hammer the Abrahamic God into this shape, no matter how you try.
I'm not sure that's entirely the case. Plenty of modern Christians certainly try, and though it may not satisfy you it seems to satisfy them. You can, after all, presume that the Abrahamic account of God was what was defective, and perhaps that the accounts are corrupt and flawed, but not God himself. Of course it takes a bit of gymnastics to keep the Bible in the picture, but some people seem to manage.
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Old 12th July 2019, 04:56 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I think it must be a strain for modern day theists, to mould the god they believe in, into something acceptable to modern day thinking. Hardly surprising really, given that most believe in different versions of the Abrahamic God, who supposedly made himself known, to some primitive nomads thousands of years ago. A god who had favourites, ideas about slavery and a woman's place, that surprisingly coincided with the views of the primitives, he took to his bosom. He had a single tracked mind about how to achieve consensus - violence - diplomacy was never entertained as a strategy.

There is a need perhaps for a more modern god, that is for those who need a god at all. A compassionate, multi coloured, multi sexual, god. A god who all can embrace without reservation. You can't hammer the Abrahamic God into this shape, no matter how you try.
I don't think it's as hard as you think it is. People just do it.

My experience is EVERY Christian cherry picks what they accept in the bible. And that can be very different from what their pastor preaches.

I should look for it. But I read a poll that asked people what they believe in the Bible. And for the most part few people believed more than a little of The stories in the Bible despite the vast majority identifying as Christians.

Most Christians didn’t believe in Noah or Jonah or talking donkeys or snakes. Most Catholics do not believe in transubstantiation and practice birth control despite the opposite being doctrine. 80 percent of Americans say they believe in God and most only step into a place of worship on special occasions.

It is also my experience that only a fraction of people that identify as Christians have read more than a few random verses. I had barely read more than a fraction of the Old Testament despite regularly attending church as well as going to bible camp in the summers. You know, a few pages of Genesis a few of Exodus, the story of Job, a few Psalms and Proverbs and probably and odd verse focused on in Bible class.

More than half the time when you bring up some of the outright horrific verses in the Old Testament they'll doubt it outright. Ask the average Christian the story of Jepthah or Elisha and they won't know what you're talking about. I didn't.

My point is people identify as believing in God because that is the culturally acceptable thing to do. What they actually believe could be very different.

I was an atheist for 20 years before I would tell people I was. Actually being able to look people in the eye and say I'm an atheist was a big deal. I used the term agnostic because that was more acceptable. And I don't believe I'm an outlier.
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Old 12th July 2019, 05:24 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by Senex View Post
Oh yeah. If he's so omnipotent can he write a post so full of contradiction that he himself can't make it sound logical?
Heck, I do that all the time.


Hold on one second...... I'M GOD!!!!!
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Old 12th July 2019, 06:18 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
I'm not sure that's entirely the case. Plenty of modern Christians certainly try, and though it may not satisfy you it seems to satisfy them. You can, after all, presume that the Abrahamic account of God was what was defective, and perhaps that the accounts are corrupt and flawed, but not God himself. Of course it takes a bit of gymnastics to keep the Bible in the picture, but some people seem to manage.
Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I don't think it's as hard as you think it is. People just do it.

My experience is EVERY Christian cherry picks what they accept in the bible. And that can be very different from what their pastor preaches.

I should look for it. But I read a poll that asked people what they believe in the Bible. And for the most part few people believed more than a little of The stories in the Bible despite the vast majority identifying as Christians.

Most Christians didn’t believe in Noah or Jonah or talking donkeys or snakes. Most Catholics do not believe in transubstantiation and practice birth control despite the opposite being doctrine. 80 percent of Americans say they believe in God and most only step into a place of worship on special occasions.

It is also my experience that only a fraction of people that identify as Christians have read more than a few random verses. I had barely read more than a fraction of the Old Testament despite regularly attending church as well as going to bible camp in the summers. You know, a few pages of Genesis a few of Exodus, the story of Job, a few Psalms and Proverbs and probably and odd verse focused on in Bible class.

More than half the time when you bring up some of the outright horrific verses in the Old Testament they'll doubt it outright. Ask the average Christian the story of Jepthah or Elisha and they won't know what you're talking about. I didn't.

My point is people identify as believing in God because that is the culturally acceptable thing to do. What they actually believe could be very different.

I was an atheist for 20 years before I would tell people I was. Actually being able to look people in the eye and say I'm an atheist was a big deal. I used the term agnostic because that was more acceptable. And I don't believe I'm an outlier.

Yes well I suspect you guys are right about the majority of the faithful. They just lap up what comes from the pulpit and do a minimum of independent reading.

Interesting to listen to some of the arguments given by callers into the Atheist Experience. Those who call, in I suspect, are a little more familiar with actual doctrine than the average god bot, and the struggle they seem to have with making sense of scripture, is painful to listen to.

I suspect also, some of the prominent apologists like Lane Craig, don't really believe the tosh that comes from their mouths. I think some are secretly atheists, but have found a niche market for their product, and make a good living from it. I say this because I feel some are too smart to really believe. I mean some of these guys are really familiar with all the contradictory and nasty stuff in scripture.
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Old 12th July 2019, 08:42 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Yes well I suspect you guys are right about the majority of the faithful. They just lap up what comes from the pulpit and do a minimum of independent reading.

Interesting to listen to some of the arguments given by callers into the Atheist Experience. Those who call, in I suspect, are a little more familiar with actual doctrine than the average god bot, and the struggle they seem to have with making sense of scripture, is painful to listen to.

I suspect also, some of the prominent apologists like Lane Craig, don't really believe the tosh that comes from their mouths. I think some are secretly atheists, but have found a niche market for their product, and make a good living from it. I say this because I feel some are too smart to really believe. I mean some of these guys are really familiar with all the contradictory and nasty stuff in scripture.
Well most sermons are about God's love and how little is asked of us except to accept Jesus into your heart. Take what is maybe the most famous verse in the bible. "For god so loved the world he gave his only begotten son." John 3:16.

They never mention that it was God that condemned man to begin with Or that he didn't have to do this. Or that Jesus was only going to be gone for the weekend.

That God/Jesus didn't have to go through all that was always the part that made me roll my eyes when the preacher tried to explain it. After all, he's God. He could do anything. Right?
That was what they said about Noah being 800 years old or the talking donkey or any of the other nonsensical things in the bible.

For some reason god couldn't do the one thing that actually made sense.
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Old 12th July 2019, 09:42 PM   #79
psionl0
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Originally Posted by Humots View Post
I was asking: If the situation as given (see first bolded above) was a trap, how did the answer as given (see second bolded above) avoid that trap?

I'm not criticizing the authors, I'm saying that, assuming it happened as described, is there some plausible explanation, like one of the ones I suggested in my post (see third and fourth bolded above), as to why Jesus' answer was appropriate.

You wrote as if there were one (first and second bolded again).
Are you trying to set me up for some "gotcha"?

All I know is what I read and the rest is speculation. According to the bible, the answer worked. Who knows? Maybe with a different crowd, he would have been strung up as an idolater. Words aren't really all that persuasive.

I also know that what Jesus did not say (or, at least, it isn't recorded in the bible) is that you can't use coins with Caesar's face on it or that you can only use them to pay taxes to Caesar.
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Last edited by psionl0; 12th July 2019 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 12th July 2019, 11:19 PM   #80
David Mo
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
(...)for your recurring notion that you can pretty much demand(...)that everyone must drop everything else and discuss some quote because, look, some famous guy said it.

Look, I don't know what your problem is..
I don't understand what's in his head either. If someone proposes a topic about the god of the Bible and says it's stupid, I think it's perfectly reasonable for to bring here an opinion on the topic. It is a common practice in any discussion between sensible people. I am not forcing anyone to follow anything. If you would like to comment on it, you do so. If you don't feel like it, don't do it. But I don't know why you get these fits of rage and start insulting like a possessed man. You'll know what's happening to you.
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