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Old 03-13-2007, 01:57 PM   #1
JediMaster12
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Thread split from "Your Views on Atheism". Carry on all Theism/Atheism discussions here. Thanks, Jae

Atheism is the belief that there is no God or gods. More often they are characterized as being persons of science, that they'd rather have it shown to them in some proof rather than relying on things like faith or Divine Mercy. There is nothing wrong with that in my opinion because I have colleagues who think the same way.

My department chair is a professed atheist. He loves his course on Primatology and African archaeology and will argue with you the limitations of having faith. Needless to say that I have learned some if not all of my debate skills from him. Most of the department of Anthropology at my school could be considered atheist since they don't recognize the higher power thing except in terms of anthropological study.

Atheism is not the same as paganism, which is discussed in another thread. However with SykoRevan's enlightenment on the stereotyping and the like, what I can say is that stereotypes exist because there is a significant majority of that group that has those characteristics. When I was in Chicago, most people thought that us Californians were all blonded haired and beach bums. I am not going to deny it but it does exists. In S. CA, there are still the stereotypes of the pachucos going around, especially in LA. It's the world we live in. To come out and say that atheists aren't citizens is a blatant disregard for the Constitution.

The Constitution guarantees citizenship regardless of race or creed. I would go through specific ammendments but I won't. It seems to me that the ulta conservatives and Christian fundamentals aren't reading their Bibles enough or the Constitution. Since I work with people who are pagans and atheists, I don't judge. Rather my opinion is based upon their work ethic and contribution to the academic world. I know that there are some on this forum who find it hard to believe that I can live in a world of science and yet still have a professed faith in Christianity but like I said, it's the way I am. In fact I get the third degree at least once a week on my reading materials. If carrying a dictionary on witchcraft is bad, evolution and primatology texts come second and I am on the edge of being called a pagan though mach generously said that I am far from it. The point is that atheism is a belief or idea that should be respected within this country (USA). The only problems I tend to have is when there are the extreme atheists who try to have certain phrases like that last line in the Declaration of Independence that goes, "And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor." I think that people forget that when this country was founded, the men who wrote these document were Enlightened men. They did have interest in science and literature, we get natural law from this, and besides that, the only thing that they had to base our laws upon with the Good Book. I used to say to my mother that all they had was a gun in one hand and a Bible in the other. This is grossly simplified but the point is that the founding fathers were Enlightened men but they also had the Bible too. True that most of the laws we have come from English common law but the principles are still from the Bible. I think that people, atheist and non-atheists, forget that.

Atheism is a system that doesn't bother me. You could say that I am tolerant of it though I loathe the term and have lack of a better word. I don't judge people for being atheistic because, well some of the best scholars that I associate with are atheists. It doesn't matter to me. What is important to me are the ideas in research. Yes, I am an academic but even as a young child, it never bothered me that people were of different colored skin. I never try to force people to see my point of view becuase I accepted the idea that point of view is a way of truth, depending on the individual.


Last edited by Jae Onasi; 04-12-2007 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 03-13-2007, 03:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JediMaster12
Atheism is the belief that there is no God or gods.
I'd like to offer a correction here.

To categorize atheism as a belief is to falsely set it up as the antithesis of theism. I think a more accurate represention is to think of belief as a scale. For atheist n=0; for theist n>0. In other words, atheism isn't an opposite of belief, it is a lack of belief.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JediMaster12
what I can say is that stereotypes exist because there is a significant majority of that group that has those characteristics.
Could you please point me to a source that supports this? Otherwise, I'm afraid that this is an opinion being mischaracterized as a fact. If it was only meant to be an opinion, that's fine, but your wording doesn't make that very clear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JediMaster12
It seems to me that the ulta conservatives and Christian fundamentals aren't reading their Bibles enough <snip>.
Oh goodness, no. Please don't encourage that! That would be very bad for a lot of people (atheist, agnostics, Muslims, Buddhists, etc)
Quote:
The man who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the LORD your God must be put to death. You must purge the evil from Israel.
Deuteronomy 17:12
Quote:
Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed.
Exodus 22:20
Quote:
All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman.
2 Chronicles 15:13
Quote:
that wicked men have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods you have not known), then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. Gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God. It is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt. None of those condemned things shall be found in your hands, so that the LORD will turn from his fierce anger; he will show you mercy, have compassion on you, and increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your forefathers, because you obey the LORD your God, keeping all his commands that I am giving you today and doing what is right in his eyes.
Deuteronomy 13:13-19
Quote:
If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone him to death, because he tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again.
Deuteronomy 13:6-11
And if you're thinking God isn't talking about you, well...
Quote:
A curse on him who is lax in doing the LORD's work! A curse on him who keeps his sword from bloodshed!
Jeremiah 48:10
So, please don't encourage more Bible reading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JediMaster12
I think that people forget that when this country was founded, the men who wrote these document were Enlightened men. They did have interest in science and literature, we get natural law from this, and besides that, the only thing that they had to base our laws upon with the Good Book.
Agreed that they were enlightened men, but most people forget that the founding fathers were Deists. They believed in a Creator God but not a personal God. Several of them would most likely be considered atheists by today's standards. Also, we know that at the very least, Jefferson studied Islam and the Greek philosophers (especially while Ambassador to France). Therefore we know that the Holy Bible wasn't their only source of law.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JediMaster12
You could say that I am tolerant of it though I loathe the term and have lack of a better word.
Agreed! We don't have a term for people that don't believe that Elvis is still alive. Nor do we have a term for people that don't believe they've never been abducted by aliens. We don't have a term for people that don't believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It seems very silly to me that we have to have a label for people that don't believe in God.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JediMaster12
I don't judge people for being atheistic because, well some of the best scholars that I associate with are atheists.
93% of the members of the National Academy of Science are atheists
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Old 03-13-2007, 04:02 PM   #3
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I think JediMaster12 was referring to things in the Bible such as 'Love your neighbor as yourself' and not the oft-quoted-by-atheists 'marry your rapist!'

General view in Bible circles--Christ's sacrifice meant the Law in the Old Testament (from which you quote all those verses) was rendered complete and no longer necessary--Christ's payment for sin superseded any payment required in the OT.
Humor mode way on: I don't think God sat down one day and said "You know, on second thought, I think that rule sucks. I must have been sipping a little too much wine there when I made that one up. Think I'll go change that one and make it all warm and fuzzy."

What I think happened is society developed, and God adjusted the laws according to our development, just like I adjust some of the rules for my kids as they grow older. I don't tell my kids "Don't go in the street at all," anymore, because they're old enough to know to watch for traffic. So the rule got changed to "You can cross the street, but don't play in the street." If we've grown as a society, why wouldn't God want to tailor the rules to our development?

Remind me some time to go re-read some Dawkins and cherry-pick comments that make atheism look horrible.


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Old 03-13-2007, 04:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
I think JediMaster12 was referring to things in the Bible such as 'Love your neighbor as yourself' and not the oft-quoted-by-atheists 'marry your rapist!'
I understand your point and I'm very frustrated by the fact that this is going to lead us (the forum, not just you and I) down a path that I've been asking for clarification on, but have yet to receive any.

If the Bible is the source of our morality and not our own sense of reason, then how is it that we have the aptitude to distinguish which verses are correct and which ones aren't? I understand and agree with the argument that times have changed and our moral precepts have changed too, but God's haven't! Theists can't have it both ways. Every time I bring this up the thread dies, because no one seems interested in explaining this to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
General view in Bible circles--Christ's sacrifice meant the Law in the Old Testament (from which you quote all those verses) was rendered complete and no longer necessary--Christ's payment for sin superseded any payment required in the OT.
Humor mode way on: I don't think God sat down one day and said "You know, on second thought, I think that rule sucks. I must have been sipping a little too much wine there when I made that one up. Think I'll go change that one and make it all warm and fuzzy."
Why would God have need to change his mind? If God is the one that makes the rules, then why is the sacrifice of His son necessary? Is God playing by some set of rules that are more powerful than he is? Who created those? Seems to me that if God wanted to break the Covenant and create a new one, He could have just snapped his fingers and made it so. I mean he did create the universe in 6 days

Again, theists can't have it both ways. Theists can't cherry-pick the good parts out of the Bible and say that religion is the source for all that's good and pure. It's intellectually dishonest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
What I think happened is society developed, and God adjusted the laws according to our development, just like I adjust some of the rules for my kids as they grow older. I don't tell my kids "Don't go in the street at all," anymore, because they're old enough to know to watch for traffic. So the rule got changed to "You can cross the street, but don't play in the street." If we've grown as a society, why wouldn't God want to tailor the rules to our development?
I think that's an interesting hypothesis, but in light of the evidence I think it rings false. I don't have rule for my children that states that it's ok to murder up until age 4, then it's not ok anymore and I doubt that you do either. The "big things" I've always been pretty consistent with, i.e. no fighting, play nice, share, treat others the way you want to be treated, behavior is a choice, etc.

Of course the more they mature the more specific I can be with my example and their application, however the precepts themselves have not changed. Therefore, I don't accept the idea that God encouraged murder, slavery, rape, etc because we weren't ready for the truth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Remind me some time to go re-read some Dawkins and cherry-pick comments that make atheism look horrible.
Please do. Just realize this would be a fallacy.

Dawkins does not claim to be God, nor do his texts claim to be the inerring source of morality for all mankind.
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Old 03-13-2007, 06:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
I understand your point and I'm very frustrated by the fact that this is going to lead us (the forum, not just you and I) down a path that I've been asking for clarification on, but have yet to receive any.
That's probably because we don't have a brilliant answer for you. It's not a topic that comes up during church or Sunday school services--when we study topics, we're studying things that are relevant for today in our lives. I've never seen a discussion on 'Ancient Rape Law in the Old Testament and How It Applies Today in Christian Life.'
It's a tough question to answer and I haven't figured out where to look yet, and I haven't had a ton of time to search like I'd like to in order to find an answer for both of us. I don't know if there's a cultural/historical context I'm missing, an interpretation context, a canon context (i.e. was there debate over whether it should have been included in the Bible in the first place), and so forth. Someone has to have addressed this (because you're not the first atheist to ask that question), but I don't know who and where to find the answer right now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
If the Bible is the source of our morality and not our own sense of reason, then how is it that we have the aptitude to distinguish which verses are correct and which ones aren't? I understand and agree with the argument that times have changed and our moral precepts have changed too, but God's haven't! Theists can't have it both ways. Every time I bring this up the thread dies, because no one seems interested in explaining this to me.
I don't think it's a lack of interest, it's a lack of an answer. The other issue is that for a Christian or theist, the question 'Why has God changed?' is a very odd one. For us, the obvious answer is "God hasn't changed--we have."
Only thing I can think of is that 5000 years ago we were different people, we needed different rules, and God changed the rules as we changed and grew. I don't know if that's even close to a right answer, either.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Why would God have need to change his mind? If God is the one that makes the rules, then why is the sacrifice of His son necessary? Is God playing by some set of rules that are more powerful than he is? Who created those? Seems to me that if God wanted to break the Covenant and create a new one, He could have just snapped his fingers and made it so. I mean he did create the universe in 6 days
Does He need to change His mind to change the rules?
The necessity for God the Son's sacrifice has had dozens and possibly hundreds of books written about it--huge topic to tackle.
If God's omniscient/omnipotent, then He only has to operate on His own set of rules.
God certainly is _able_ to break His covenant, but that would mean breaking His promise to us. He doesn't break His word.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
I think that's an interesting hypothesis, but in light of the evidence I think it rings false. I don't have rule for my children that states that it's ok to murder up until age 4, then it's not ok anymore and I doubt that you do either.
Neither of my kids had the physical capacity for murder at that age, so that example isn't relevant. It was OK for my kids to poop the diapers until they were physically and cognitively able to use the toilet (for lack of a more pleasant example ). Now they have to use the toilet for elimination, not their pants.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Of course the more they mature the more specific I can be with my example and their application, however the precepts themselves have not changed. Therefore, I don't accept the idea that God encouraged murder, slavery, rape, etc because we weren't ready for the truth.
I see no laws that say "Thou shalt go commit rape." God didn't _encourage_ rape/slavery--He gave laws to govern man's already bad situation to keep it from getting worse. Those laws were a vast improvement on what existed in the entire region of that time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Please do. Just realize this would be a fallacy.
Dawkins does not claim to be God, nor do his texts claim to be the inerring source of morality for all mankind.
Humor mode way on: Somehow, that makes me feel a lot better.


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Old 03-13-2007, 06:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
I see no laws that say "Thou shalt go commit rape." God didn't _encourage_ rape/slavery--He gave laws to govern man's already bad situation to keep it from getting worse. Those laws were a vast improvement on what existed in the entire region of that time.
No, but it says how when men conquer a town, they should do something like "have all the virgins for themselves."
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Old 03-13-2007, 06:54 PM   #7
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Isn't there somewhere in the Bible where it says the law takes presidence over carrying out your religion? Maybe that's why you don't see many witch burnings these days.

Not to say I believe in Harry Potter but there are those who declare themselves witches and the Salem trials were real enough.
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
That's probably because we don't have a brilliant answer for you.
I don't know that I require a brilliant answer I don't know if I'm reading this correctly but it seems as though you may have thrown out your first comment unprepared to back it up if challenged. That isn't a dig. You acknowledge that both verses are there, throw out the fact that one is coveted by believer and the other isn't, and it seems that's supposed to harpoon my argument (although I could be missing some key element in the subtext).

I guess this raises the larger question of: at what point does one accept that faith is not rational? At what point does the lack of evidence become more compelling than delusion (and I use that term in the literal sense, not the inflammatory one)?

If someone backs me into a corner on a subject that I thought I knew well, I have to abandon it until I can come back with something that makes sense. To me, that's learning.

I see atheist getting panned pretty regularly here and it seems to be that the only thing we're truly guilty of is asking uncomfortable questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
It's not a topic that comes up during church or Sunday school services--when we study topics, we're studying things that are relevant for today in our lives. I've never seen a discussion on 'Ancient Rape Law in the Old Testament and How It Applies Today in Christian Life.'
I think I may have mentioned before that I spend quite a bit of time lurking in EvCforum.net. I am generally uniformly impressed with the intellects on both sides of the issues discussed there. The theists and the literalist really do know their stuff and are generally prepared to jump head first into Roman culture, contemporary historian, papyrus classifications, etc, so it's not like all the believers are Bible-thumpers jumping into a buzz saw.

I say this because in the 3 or 4 years that I've been visiting that site, I haven't seen anyone answer this question without resorting to, "well, we just ignore the ugly parts".

I know this will probably sound controversial, but it may be that the Sunday schools and the seminaries don't bring it up because they don't want to draw attention to it. It might be they don't discuss it because they don't have a reasonable explanation to arm you with. They're probably pretty confident that they can sufficiently convince you to ignore "those annoying atheists" enough that it won't be a problem.

Unfortunately, it does nothing to address the glaring contradictions (and their implications) that exist in the Bible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
It's a tough question to answer and I haven't figured out where to look yet, and I haven't had a ton of time to search like I'd like to in order to find an answer for both of us. I don't know if there's a cultural/historical context I'm missing, an interpretation context, a canon context (i.e. was there debate over whether it should have been included in the Bible in the first place), and so forth. Someone has to have addressed this (because you're not the first atheist to ask that question), but I don't know who and where to find the answer right now.
Perhaps someone in your church group would have an answer.

In doing my own search, I was able to find a couple of sites:

Apologetics Index. This site offers a few "rules of engagement" (some of which are examples of logical fallacies), but offers absolutely nothing in the way of "meat" (i.e. Here's what to say to this particular "contradiction"). It appears to assume that you will automatically know what to say, but in large part, the answer seems to be "well, this is my faith and you can't shake it". Not very intellectually honest.

Countering Bible Contradictions. This site is probably more to your liking and seems as though it would be more useful. Unfortunately, after just glancing at a few of the listing, the counter-arguments still seem to be based on circular reasoning and appeal fallacies rather than actual arguments.

Example: "The first thing I would point out is these are likely to be metaphors and it would seem unwise to take such language too literally when describing God."

Ok, so the 1 Tim 6:16/1 Kings 8:12 contradiction isn't a contradiction because we should assume that it's a metaphor? Well, why should we assume that it's a metaphor? This argument wouldn't be very helpful to a Christian at all.

Perhaps there are some other examples that are much more useful and don't rely on fallacious thinking but looking at the first 5 or 6 examples, my hopes aren't high.

I found these sites by typing "contradictions in the bible" and looking down the first page until I found something that wasn't published by atheists. Perhaps you will have better luck with other search terms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
I don't think it's a lack of interest, it's a lack of an answer. The other issue is that for a Christian or theist, the question 'Why has God changed?' is a very odd one. For us, the obvious answer is "God hasn't changed--we have."
I don't think there's any denying that we have changed. The concern that non-theists have is that our Biblical moral guidance hasn't changed in 2000 years. What change has come has not come from within the Church, rather the Church has been forced to change to keep up with their followers. For example, yes, Christianity had a big role to play in the abolitionist movement, but that was the flock guiding the Sheppard, not the other way around.

If you take God out of the equation and look at the change in a purely social context, the whole thing suddenly makes sense. Trying to figure it out with God in the picture is like forcing yourself to go swimming in wet jeans and tennis shoes.

And closer to the original point, since God hasn't given us a Bible V.2.1, is it really wise to assume that we shouldn't still be practicing slavery, murder, rape, etc? If God hasn't changed, we have (quoting you), then it would stand to reason that his expectations are still the same and we aren't meeting them. Btw, this is the same thinking that was used when members of the Evangelical Church stated that the 2004 tsunami was God punishing us for not persecuting homosexuals. So it's not like I'm just making this stuff up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Does He need to change His mind to change the rules?
That's an excellent question. A literal reading of the Bible (which seems like a safe bet since it's inerrant) would seem to indicate that he changed his mind. I don't like sacrifices anymore, oh wait, I'm going to send an essence of myself down in the form of a man to be sacrificed so that I may be appeased. By the way, I'm doing this so that I can forgive you for something that I should take responsibility for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
The necessity for God the Son's sacrifice has had dozens and possibly hundreds of books written about it--huge topic to tackle.
It's possible that hundreds of books is an indication of the degree of mental gymnastics that are necessary to make it make sense. Also, if they can't get it right after hundreds of books, well...

If God wanted to forgive us, he could have just forgiven us. He didn't need an elaborate 30 year plan when he decided that flooding the Earth was wrong and that he wouldn't do it anymore. He just said that he wouldn't do it anymore. Omnipotence is powerful like that

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
If God's omniscient/omnipotent, then He only has to operate on His own set of rules.
Ok, then I've clearly introduced another big fat hairy problem for us to dialog about. God makes the rules, but he makes them unreasonably convoluted. To which most Christians will reply, "we cannot understand the mind of God". To which I reply, "We seem to understand it well enough to know that it's ok to go against his doctrines for murder, rape, and slavery. Not to mention that we're uncannily able to pick out where he's being metaphorical".

It doesn't add up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Neither of my kids had the physical capacity for murder at that age, so that example isn't relevant. It was OK for my kids to poop the diapers until they were physically and cognitively able to use the toilet (for lack of a more pleasant example ). Now they have to use the toilet for elimination, not their pants.
This is a strawman. Since we don't have any record of children committing homicide at age 4, perhaps 10 would be more plausible. Assuming that you own a firearm and taught your children gun safety, did you wait until they were 10 to teach them that hurting other people was wrong or was that something that you indoctrinated them to from a very young age?

Proper use of the toilet is a complete strawman to this discussion (unless you can explain the moral implication of Pampers )

Norms, values, etc are critical to social creatures and enculturation begins at birth (some would argue before). To say that God changed His mind about slavery (in the face of evidence that he did not) is still stating that God sometimes changes His mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
I see no laws that say "Thou shalt go commit rape." God didn't _encourage_ rape/slavery--He gave laws to govern man's already bad situation to keep it from getting worse. Those laws were a vast improvement on what existed in the entire region of that time.
Numbers 31:7-18
Judges 5:30
Judges 21:10-24
Deuteronomy 20:10-14
Deuteronomy 21:10-14
Deuteronomy 22:23-24
Deuteronomy 22:28-29
Zechariah 14:1-2 (this reference should not be considered. Thanks to Ambrose for the correction below)

For those of you following along but don't have a Bible of your own, you can find an online version here. Jae has mentioned that she prefers the New International Version (NIV).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Humor mode way on: Somehow, that makes me feel a lot better.
That's a little sad, because despite his strident delivery, a great deal of what he has to say makes sense.

Last edited by Achilles; 03-14-2007 at 04:50 AM. Reason: correction
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Old 03-14-2007, 01:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Zechariah 14:1-2
You're taking that WAAAY out of context.

(New American Bible, Zechariah 14:1-2)

Quote:
A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you.

I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.
He's talking about Jerusalem being ransacked, Jewish women raped by outsiders, and half of the people exiled. This is CERTAINLY not condoning rape. It's saying that this is what the evil armies who oppose God's people will do to Jerusalem. Unless I'm thinking of another passage, many biblical scholars believe that this is a prediction of the apocalypse very similar to that in Revelations.

Not that it matters, because the point is made: no where in the Bible is rape condoned.


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Old 03-14-2007, 01:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
Not that it matters, because the point is made: no where in the Bible is rape condoned.
Except in... all of the other verses he listed.
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Old 03-14-2007, 01:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
You're taking that WAAAY out of context.
<snip>
He's talking about Jerusalem being ransacked, Jewish women raped by outsiders, and half of the people exiled.
I suppose I had not read it in that context before. Thank you. I learned something today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
Not that it matters, because the point is made: no where in the Bible is rape condoned.
I think you might be getting a little ahead of yourself. I gratefully concede this point, but not all of them.
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Old 03-14-2007, 01:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
I suppose I had not read it in that context before. Thank you. I learned something today.

I think you might be getting a little ahead of yourself. I gratefully concede this point, but not all of them.
I'm getting there, hold your horses

EDIT- Sorry, had some clarity errors, and left out some verses by mistake. It's all fixed now though

Quote:
Originally Posted by TK-8252
Except in... all of the other verses he listed.
Did you personally look up all of those verses, and the chapters they are in to ensure they are in context? If not, please don't make such assumptions.

I did. This is all my own hasty analysis from the past 40 minutes with my trusty Bible and BibleGateway for copying and pasting, so I'm sure it's not perfect, but I think it will suffice handily.

Quote:
Judges 5:30
This is a canticle, and the particular passage is a quotation from some princes describing what is probably taking the men so long in returning from battle.

"'Are they not finding and dividing the spoils:
a damsel or two for each man,
colorful garments as plunder for Sisera,
colorful garments embroidered,
highly embroidered garments for my neck—
all this as plunder?'"

There is no implication that rape is condoned. It's a song about battle, and this is a woman wondering what the heck is taking so long in the mens' return.

Quote:
Judges 21:10-24
This passage discusses how the Israelites plan to restore Benjamin's tribe, which they just destroyed, out of sorrow for what they have done. Unfortunately there are few female survivors. The Israelites rounded up 400 virgins (virgins for obvious reasons) that may be courted by the survivors to thus preserve the tribe. Maybe a bit totally anti-feminist, but definately not rape.

Quote:
Numbers 31:7-18
I'm sure you've noticed that the Old Testament is quite violent and that God is quite fervent in his smiting of wrongdoers. I'll explain why this is so different from the New Testament some other day (it's getting late), but for now let's work under the assumption that the sacking of Midian was just.

Anywho, wikipedia explains the passage quite well.

"Toward the close of the forty years' wandering of the children of Israel in the wilderness, the Midianites ally with the Moabites against the Israelites, in asking Balaam the son of Beor to curse the Israelites (Numbers 22); however, Balaam refuses, and prophesies future greatness for Israel (Numbers 24). Subsequently Israelites coexisted peacefully with Moabites and Midianites (Numbers 25). However, Israel suffered a plague which was blamed on Israelite participation in the local religion and sexual immorality. For this reason, according to the Torah, Moses was ordered by God to punish the Midianites. He dispatched against them an army of 12,000 men, under Phinehas the priest; this force defeated the Midianites and slew all their males, including their five kings, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba. These five kings may have been the rulers of the five clans descended from their eponymous folk-ancestor's sons.

"It may be noted that these five princes of Midian are called by Joshua[14] the vassals of Sihon, the Amorite king of Heshbon. It is possible that Sihon had previously conquered Midian and made it a vassal, and that after his death the Midianites recovered their independence. The Israelite soldiers set on fire all the cities and fortresses of the Midianites, carried the women and children into captivity, and seized their cattle and goods. God later ordered Moses to have the Israelites slay every Midianite male child and every woman, sparing only the female virgins."

I believe the implication is that female virgins were spared because they were often perceived as simply being more "innocent" than basically anyone else in society. That's a belief commonly referenced in the Bible. And why would the Israelites lead a battle against a people for their sexual immorality, and THEN just turn around and rape a bunch of virgins? Certainly, that makes no sense, and if anyone were trying to fabricate a religion, that absolutely BLATANT hypocrisy wouldn't have been included.

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midianites

Quote:
Deuteronomy 20:10-14
I'm sure you are in particularly referencing to this:

"Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the LORD your God has given you."

This does not imply rape. It implies that the captured women be integrated into the society. However, they are often considered "spoils" because often an Israelite would fall in love with and marry a captive woman. Your next passage actually deals with this matter quite handily. Putting Deuteronomy 20 and 21 together clearly shows that there was no rape involved in this.

Quote:
Deuteronomy 21:10-14
Here is the passage:

"When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive,

"and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself,

"then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall (F)shave her head and trim her nails.

"She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife.

"It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her."

Quite contrary to RAPING these captive virgins, the author DEMANDS that they "not be mistreated." Furthermore, they may not "have relations" (sexual, obviously) until they are married (which may only occur a month minimum) after the proposition.

Definitely no rape there.

Quote:
Deuteronomy 22:23-24
This seems to condemn rape to me. No idea where you're coming from.

Quote:
Zechariah 14:1-2
Already dealt with this one.


In conclusion, while I certainly wouldn't disagree if you said that the Old Testament implies (to say the least) a male dominance in society, there is absolutely no implication that rape is ok. None whatsoever. Quite to the contrary, captured women (the "spoils") are "not to be mistreated."

Edit:
Sorry for the double (or triple now, yikes) post, but I think its valid that I draw attention to the fact that my previous post (above now) was garbled and mixed up, but all fixed up now. If it didn't make sense, please give it a reread, it's all fixed up.


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Old 03-14-2007, 02:20 AM   #13
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I'm going to ramble because it's late here.

What are my views of atheists? From my point of view, atheists see the universe as well, dead. (I'm more of a panentheist.) It seems to me, and please correct me where I'm mistaken, that to an atheist, a living human is really just a special concoction of chemical processes that are obeying the laws of thermodynamics. We are stardust. In that sense, we aren't different from other matter in the universe.

I assume atheists, therefore, are monists -- that is they believe in materialism and that mental phenomenon are side-effects of chemical processes. After all, chemical properties can be measured and studied. The brain's electrical activity can be measured. But what about the mind? Can this be measured and predicted and fully understood? Is there a belief by atheists that by studying the brain exhaustively using powerful computers etc., the human mind could essentially be predicted and understood in full? What a feat it would be for the human mind to fully encapsulate itself when logically no other closed system can fully describe itself. But I digress.

So what is life to an atheist? Something similar to a burning match that eventually gets blown out? I know atheists ascribe morality as something that can be derived through deductive reasoning and empathy, so I assume value is placed on life because it is an ordered system of high-complexity that's impossible for us to recreate?

I look at physicists searching for the fundamental thing that all the universe is comprised of. I wonder how many of them think of the universe as unliving and how many of them think of it as Brahman?
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Old 03-14-2007, 02:45 AM   #14
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I want to start this off by personally thanking you for your response. You've put forth more effort than several others that have come up against these questions and I sincerely appreciate your concern with furthering my education.

Ok...
Quote:
Judges 5:30
I think that referring to women as "spoils" and "plunder" is a pretty clear indication of what transpires. It may be that I've read too many histories of the Norse, but it would seem that the translation is universal.

Quote:
Judges 21:10-24
I think forceably abducting women to "take them as wives" is what is says it is.

Quote:
Deuteronomy 20:10-14
You and I obviously disagree on what it means to take a women as "plunder". The word itself carries a lot of negative baggage, however you opt to apply it in a very positive way. Considering it's context (i.e. Killing all the men in verse 13), I do not agree that your interpretation is the correct one.

Quote:
Deuteronomy 21:10-14
I'm going to disagree with you based on the following:

"and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife."

My (limited) understanding of Biblical language understands this to be a reference to a specific act (trying to keep it PG-13, Mods). My (limited) understanding is that this is a common euphemism.

Compounded by the reference that she should only be released if he is not happy with her and that he cannot sell because he "dishonored" her (presumably because she is no longer a virgin, but possibly because she's been a captive, which doesn't seem likely in light of the contextual application of women's rights), I do think that is talking very specifically about rape.

Quote:
Deuteronomy 22:23-24
Verse 24 specifically states that both the man and the woman should be killed if she is raped. She should die because she did not scream for help and the man because he violated another man's wife. I suppose that I could concede the point that by not screaming for help the act was consensual, however the implication that she should have screamed makes me think that it is not. This analysis is further supported by the juxtaposition of verses 25-27 which mention rape specifically. It would seem that 23-27 are a handbook for city rape vs. country rape.

Furthermore, the man is punished, not for raping a woman, but for befouling another man's property.

In conclusion, I feel that my argument stands. Before you go through too much effort to refute my position further, I want to let you know that for the sake of this discussion, I am completely willing to concede every one of your points in the interest of moving on to slavery or murder. In these cases, the need to rely on euphemisms for context is considerably reduced.

Sincere thanks once again for your reply.

PS: Mods, if you deem this off-topic, pretty please split it out rather than delete it. Ambrose and I really did put a lot of work into this. Thanks in advance.

"Views on Atheists" is so broad a topic that not too much is going to be off-topic. I appreciate you all taking care with whoopee euphemisms, too. --Jae

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Old 03-14-2007, 04:14 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
From my point of view, atheists see the universe as well, dead. (I'm more of a panentheist.) It seems to me, and please correct me where I'm mistaken, that to an atheist, a living human is really just a special concoction of chemical processes that are obeying the laws of thermodynamics. We are stardust. In that sense, we aren't different from other matter in the universe.
I absolutely disagree with your first sentence and the last. I agree with the others with the caveat that your take sounds rather morose.

First, I think the evidence shows that the universe is anything but dead. Everything is moving all the time! Considering that our technology can't even take us outside our own solar system, I think it's way too early in the race to discount life, intelligent or no, elsewhere in the universe.

If I may take (un)poetic license with the point I think you're driving to here: I picture a person on a high wire. The fall is long and sure lethal but for those that see inherent (maybe "external" would be a better word here) "purpose" in the universe there is a safety net. For those that don't view purpose as inherent (by way of the Divine), there is no safety net, but in exchange they get handrails.

I remember the first time I realized that there is nothing underneath us (the Earth). If gravity were to stop right now, our planet would fall away from the Sun and continue to fall forever. No bottom. Anywhere. Scares the bejesus outta me everytime I give is serious thought.

But the good news is that gravity is there and will keep us circling the Sun until it goes supernova in a few billion years. I won't be alive then, so that doesn't bother me too much. Anyone that is alive will probably live in a society so technologically advanced that they'll be safely colonized in another solar system by then, so I'm not terribly worried about them either. And if I'm wrong and gravity does suddenly stop tomorrow, there probably isn't a single thing I can do about it.

This frees me up to worry about other things like did I tell my children that I loved them enough today or which charities I'm going to contribute to this month or if I should spend less time in LF and more on doing my homework, etc.

What seems like a rather...peculiar... choice to me would be to spend all that extra bandwidth on trying to divine the nature of an invisible man that lives in the sky. Whether or not I'm doing the things he wants me to do. If he's going to like me enough when I die. All of which I would do for absolutely no reason other than a book written in the Bronze Age tells me that I should.

Yes, current theories in biochemistry and other branches of science are giving us good scientific reason to think that we are "nothing more" than a special concoction of chemical processes that are obeying the laws of thermodynamics. Is that really so terrible? Are we so needy as a species that we really must feel inherently superior to every other thing in the universe. We take a plant and look at it under a microscope. We can see it's cellular structure. We can do chemistry experiments in a lab to determine whether or not it has potasium. We can disect animals and see their respiratory systems, their nervous systems. We can look at them under a microscope and look at their cellular structure. We can conduct chemistry experiments on them. Yet we can do the same things with human beings and somehow compartmentalize that we're somehow different. For some reason special.

Because we do this in the Western World in 2007 A.D. we attribute this specialness to the Christian God. If we were a few thousand miles further East, we could vehemently insist that it's actually the Jewish God we have to thank. A few hundred miles in any direction from there and we'd be thanking Allah. Change demographics to time and 1000 years ago...well, we probably wouldn't be doing that, but if we were we'd be thanking those three Gods but also Odin, Ataguchu, or maybe even Amateras-Ohmikami. A thousand year earlier and you'd only have one of those three gods, but you'd also have Jupiter, Mithras, etc. A few more thousand years, you'd have none of the three original gods, but you would have Isis, Zeus, and a myriad of others.

Of all the gods that have ever existed to console us as we live and die, almost all of them have been dismissed as fable and written off as myth (some thanks they get for what they did for all of us). But for some reason we only give credence to those that we worship right now.

What (arguably) makes us different is consciousness. Yes, it is a mystery, but considering that 150 years ago DNA was literally unheard of and that 50 years before that we attributed disease to God's wrath, I don't think it's too much to ask that we give scientific advances a little more time before we judge science incapable of telling us what makes us human.

So no, we are not "no different" from the other matter of the universe. We are different because we are conscious, but that does not make us inherently special. Yes, we are comprised of the same bits, but that shouldn't be a surprise. We should be ok with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
I assume atheists, therefore, are monists
I cannot speak for all Atheists, but I don't subscribe to dualism. I can't imagine that other Atheist do either, but I won't presume too much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
But what about the mind? Can this be measured and predicted and fully understood? Is there a belief by atheists that by studying the brain exhaustively using powerful computers etc., the human mind could essentially be predicted and understood in full?
I think that answer to all these question is "yes, someday, but probably not right now". Why is this a bad thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
So what is life to an atheist?
The same thing as it is to a theist without the need to assign things to external sources.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
Something similar to a burning match that eventually gets blown out?
Cold, but apt. We all die. This is a fact of life. Some people take comfort in the idea that there will be another, eternal life after this one, but isn't that sometimes an excuse for inaction in this one? If you instead you knew that this was the only one you had, would you work in a job that you hate or spend every night getting drunk with the same 3 guys (easy, Jae ). Wouldn't this realization give your life more meaning?

In ancient times, things were rough. A minor infection was life-threatening. Average life expectancy for a man was 20 years. Some cultures didn't name their children until they survived their first winter. War, famine, disease. Warlord comes through and enslaves all your people. I imagine that the idea of an eternal, blissful afterlife seemed like a life-preserver to those without modern science, medicine, or criminal justice systems. The fact that these stories were important to them and passed down to future generation is no surprise at all. The fact that so many people, due to enculturation, still believe them (and believe them passionately) today is not a surprise either. However modern religiosity is not a testament to the truth of those stories, but rather the power of enculturation.

I do not believe that religion is the root of all evil, but if you put on your atheist hat for just a minute and take a look at all the religiously-inspired war, genocide, and general strife that is going on in the world TODAY, I think that the experience would be consciousness-raising. If that experience did raise your consciousness it would be very difficult for you to view religion the same way again.

Yes, there are some very beautiful, wonderful things that also happen in this world and some of them even take place under the pretense of religion. But religion is not required. Those good things can and do happen without it. The good feeling you get for helping an old lady across the street doesn't go away or diminish, in fact, I'd say it becomes more rewarding because you know you did it because it was right and not because God expects you to. The flip side is that doing stupid things is also twice the "doh" because you no longer have Satan to blame it on (i.e. more incentive to behave morally).

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
I know atheists ascribe morality as something that can be derived through deductive reasoning and empathy, so I assume value is placed on life because it is an ordered system of high-complexity that's impossible for us to recreate?
There are several scientific studies that show how ethical and moral behavior gives animals competitive advantage and can be naturally selected through evolutionary process. If you would be interested in learning more about them, I'd be happy to share some resources, but I'm way too tired to try to type it all out right now.

But to summarize, yes, there is strong scientific evidence for morality outside of religion. This is probably more philosophical than scientific, but it might be a good start.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
I look at physicists searching for the fundamental thing that all the universe is comprised of. I wonder how many of them think of the universe as unliving and how many of them think of it as Brahman?
I think it's very telling that 93% of the members of National Academy of Science are atheists, yet most scientist will tell you that they do their work because they find it fascinating, wonderful, and magical. Giving up one very narrow world-view can open you up to much larger experiences.

*steps off soapbox*

Thanks for reading. I hope I provided some value to the discussion.
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Old 03-14-2007, 09:23 AM   #16
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Quote:
I think that referring to women as "spoils" and "plunder" is a pretty clear indication of what transpires. It may be that I've read too many histories of the Norse, but it would seem that the translation is universal.
And I would beg to differ. I'll explain why, but first we need to establish this:

Let's go back to that Deuteronomy passage, Deuteronomy 21:10-14.

Quote:
My (limited) understanding of Biblical language understands this to be a reference to a specific act (trying to keep it PG-13, Mods). My (limited) understanding is that this is a common euphemism.
And I certainly wouldn't disagree. But the passage SPECIFICALLY states that the man must wait a month before the marriage is established before "going in to her". That is certainly not rape. But like I said, I'm not denying that the Old Testament seems to indicate that society is completely male dominated. It's no different from the arranged marriages of the past, which have lasted centuries upon centuries as an institution in ALL religions.

Regardless, there is no rape involved.

Now, that being said, we may make the assumption that taking women as "spoils" (as is described just one chapter before Deuteronomy 21) does NOT entail rape, as it would in many different cultures. How do we know this? Because just after women of the enemy are called "spoils" it is demanded that they "not be mistreated" and not "gone into" until married!

Clearly, in the biblical context the "spoils of war" mean differently than they do today.

In regards to judges 21:10-24...

Quote:
I think forceably abducting women to "take them as wives" is what is says it is.
I think you need to read it again, the entire chapter (that's actually usually helpful- reading specific verses will cause you to totally miss the context). It is about the Israelites trying to find wives for the survivors of a tribe they wrongfully destroyed.

Quote:
Verse 24 specifically states that both the man and the woman should be killed if she is raped. She should die because she did not scream for help and the man because he violated another man's wife. I suppose that I could concede the point that by not screaming for help the act was consensual, however the implication that she should have screamed makes me think that it is not.
I'm not sure I get it. You just made my point- the book is saying that if it wasn't consentual and she didn't enjoy it, she would have screamed. Since she didn't it's obvious that she's guilty of adultery.

Quote:
Furthermore, the man is punished, not for raping a woman, but for befouling another man's property.
He's punished for "violating another man's wife". It's called adultery...

Quote:
In conclusion, I feel that my argument stands. Before you go through too much effort to refute my position further, I want to let you know that for the sake of this discussion, I am completely willing to concede every one of your points in the interest of moving on to slavery or murder. In these cases, the need to rely on euphemisms for context is considerably reduced.
I think your arguments are just misunderstanding of the passages, which I don't blame you for, because reading the whole Bible and paying attention to context is certainly a pain, and websites with references to offensive VERSES are much easier. But in the future (whether you concede these points or not), I would advise you to read the entire passage, and look up on wikipedia the background information on them as well.

Anyways, I have to go to school so the slavery/murder thing will have to wait. In the meantime though, I certainly concede that many people were killed by the Israelites and God in the Old Testament (like I said before, I'll get to the "why" when I get home at 9PM tonight), and I will also concede that slavery is not condemned and is in fact considered normal in the Old Testament. On the latter, though, note that the Israelite definition of slavery and the American ones are QUITE different. But that's for later.

In the meantime, school beckons.


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Old 03-14-2007, 10:27 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
I think it's way too early in the race to discount life, intelligent or no, elsewhere in the universe.
What I take from this paragraph is that you believe there is something that distinguishes life from non-life.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
What seems like a rather...peculiar... choice to me would be to spend all that extra bandwidth on trying to divine the nature of an invisible man that lives in the sky. Whether or not I'm doing the things he wants me to do.
I tried to distinctly steer you away from your arguments against personal, theistic religions. The points you make against them often seem valid. However, when it comes to a non-personal pantheistic or panentheistic view, you are using the personal God ("the guy in the clouds") as a straw man.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Yes, current theories in biochemistry and other branches of science are giving us good scientific reason to think that we are "nothing more" than a special concoction of chemical processes that are obeying the laws of thermodynamics. Is that really so terrible?
The consequence of this is that it blurs the line between life and non-life. What makes us different than the pile of dirt? We're both made of carbon after all.

<snip theistic critique...>

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Of all the gods that have ever existed to console us as we live and die, almost all of them have been dismissed as fable and written off as myth (some thanks they get for what they did for all of us). But for some reason we only give credence to those that we worship right now.
Aside: your critiques of the transitory popularity of theistic gods does not apply to religions that consider the universe, everything in it, and what lies beyond to be the Source. Those religions are all the same though they may take different names. The "All" is what is revered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
What (arguably) makes us different is consciousness. Yes, it is a mystery... I don't think it's too much to ask that we give scientific advances a little more time before we judge science incapable of telling us what makes us human.
So you do believe that consciousness is capable of being described in full by science. And that it is a derived from chemical and electrical processes no doubt. So that blurs the line between things with consciousness and things without. The farther we go with this, the more we appear alike.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
I cannot speak for all Atheists, but I don't subscribe to dualism. I can't imagine that other Atheist do either, but I won't presume too much.
That's fair. And it is consistent with what you've described so far. You believe in materialism, and that life if a organized matter (though it may be somewhat arbitrary what we describe as life and non-life), and though consciousness is not easily described at this time, that is only due to our limitations in science. Eventually, if I may, it is your belief that the same science that determined life is organized matter, may discover consciousness is organized energy or some such.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
The same thing as it is to a theist without the need to assign things to external sources.
A panentheist does not believe anything is external. All things are woven from the same thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Cold, but apt. We all die. This is a fact of life. Some people take comfort in the idea that there will be another, eternal life after this one, but isn't that sometimes an excuse for inaction in this one? If you instead you knew that this was the only one you had...wouldn't this realization give your life more meaning?
Some take comfort in both things at the same time. Truly this life is unique, and it is the only one in which my consciousness as I know it will see the world. When I die, my Self will return and dissolve back into the Source. Both living and dying have meaning.

But to summarize, yes, there is strong scientific evidence for morality outside of religion. This is probably more philosophical than scientific, but it might be a good start.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
I think it's very telling that 93% of the members of National Academy of Science are atheists, yet most scientist will tell you that they do their work because they find it fascinating, wonderful, and magical. Giving up one very narrow world-view can open you up to much larger experiences.
That was what I understood as well. Seeking the source of the infinite without is as challenging as seeking the source within. May they find what they seek.
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Old 03-14-2007, 12:43 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
But the passage SPECIFICALLY states that the man must wait a month before the marriage is established before "going in to her". That is certainly not rape.
I think you may be operating on the assumption that there's some sort of time limit in effect. At no point does the Bible mention consent.

After the man has gone to her "as a husband" he can set he free, but only if he is unhappy with her. She can ask to go free, but only if he is unhappy with her.

The Bible could tell him to wait a year, but so long as it's not consensual, it's rape. Doesn't even matter if she puts up a fight, it's rape.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
Now, that being said, we may make the assumption that taking women as "spoils" (as is described just one chapter before Deuteronomy 21) does NOT entail rape, as it would in many different cultures. How do we know this? Because just after women of the enemy are called "spoils" it is demanded that they "not be mistreated" and not "gone into" until married!
I'd like to point out that this appears to contain the special pleading fallacy and begging the question fallacy.

You may be right that in the one specific passage where we are told that they are not to be mistreated, the phrase might be taken to mean "don't rape them". However it might also mean, "make sure they are fed, don't make them sleep in the rain, make sure you give them clean clothes" (which again, I believe is the common biblical context for "not mistreating" people. Not an expert. Could be wrong).

Even conceding that point, it doesn't help the other cases where no mention of "not mistreating" women taken captive is made.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
I think you need to read it again, the entire chapter (that's actually usually helpful- reading specific verses will cause you to totally miss the context). It is about the Israelites trying to find wives for the survivors of a tribe they wrongfully destroyed.
I did read the chapter The point is that kidnapping women for sex is kidnapping women for sex, in my mind. It appears that you want to make a case for special pleading, but even I am willing to admit that killing in self-defense is still murder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
I'm not sure I get it. You just made my point- the book is saying that if it wasn't consentual and she didn't enjoy it, she would have screamed. Since she didn't it's obvious that she's guilty of adultery.
The part you quoted was my attempt to see things from your perspective. The part you snipped would help explain my point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
He's punished for "violating another man's wife". It's called adultery...
Assuming that it's not rape, you're correct. Assuming that it is, I consider it abhorent that the man isn't being punished for traumatizing a woman, rather soiling another man's property.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
I think your arguments are just misunderstanding of the passages, which I don't blame you for, because reading the whole Bible and paying attention to context is certainly a pain, and websites with references to offensive VERSES are much easier.
I appreciate your opinion, however I believe that it's based on some false assumptions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
In the meantime though, I certainly concede that many people were killed by the Israelites and God in the Old Testament (like I said before, I'll get to the "why" when I get home at 9PM tonight)
I look foward to reading it. I would caution you to take care around special pleading though.

Have fun at school

PS: My earlier offer to concede your points was to allow you to avoid having to respond. Since you opted to respond, I assumed that you wanted to continue the dialog, hence my reply here.
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Old 03-14-2007, 02:45 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
I think JediMaster12 was referring to things in the Bible such as 'Love your neighbor as yourself' and not the oft-quoted-by-atheists 'marry your rapist!'
That was my intention. All I am trying to say is that atheists are people like you and me and their opinions should be respected. In an academic sense, their opinion is invaluable because their motive is not based upon religious morality. Just an opinion of course.

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Old 03-14-2007, 02:51 PM   #20
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Old 03-14-2007, 02:52 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by tk102
What I take from this paragraph is that you believe there is something that distinguishes life from non-life.
Yes. Was that the thrust of your original question? If so, I completely missed that. My apologies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
I tried to distinctly steer you away from your arguments against personal, theistic religions.
My apologies for not picking up on your lead. That wasn't clear to me when I read your post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
The points you make against them often seem valid. However, when it comes to a non-personal pantheistic or panentheistic view, you are using the personal God ("the guy in the clouds") as a straw man.
Well I certainly didn't intend to do that. Could you please refocus my attention to the specific question that I dodged? I'll be happy to take another crack at it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
The consequence of this is that it blurs the line between life and non-life. What makes us different than the pile of dirt? We're both made of carbon after all.
In the spirit of reciprocity, don't you think this is a little bit of a slippery slope argument?

In fairness, I do think I know where you're going with this (please correct me if I'm wrong). Suppose that within the next 100 years, we develop the software necessary to create computers with true A.I., complete with consciousness and a capacity for happiness and suffering. Would we have a moral obligation to behave ethically toward them?

From a strictly non-theistic perspective, I cannot see a reason why we should not.

If that blurs some demarcation between life and non-life, then I would argue that we have emperical evidence for a need to reevaluate that line. I don't think that we would need to have a dialog about the suffering of all computers, but we would have to change our stance based on new evidence in regards to those computers that do exhibit consciousness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
Aside: your critiques of the transitory popularity of theistic gods does not apply to religions that consider the universe, everything in it, and what lies beyond to be the Source. Those religions are all the same though they may take different names. The "All" is what is revered.
I agree that those arguments tend not to apply. I generally give non-theistic "religions" a pass because they are, as a rule, non-dogmatic. I don't think you'll ever hear me go on a diatribe about how socially repressive Buddhism is, or how Deists are blocking advances in science and technology. If you do, please slap me

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
So you do believe that consciousness is capable of being described in full by science. And that it is a derived from chemical and electrical processes no doubt. So that blurs the line between things with consciousness and things without. The farther we go with this, the more we appear alike.
Yes, I do.
Whoa, fella. I think you're getting ahead of yourself. If you can show me emperical evidence of cosmic decision-making, you win.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
That's fair. And it is consistent with what you've described so far. You believe in materialism, and that life if a organized matter (though it may be somewhat arbitrary what we describe as life and non-life), and though consciousness is not easily described at this time, that is only due to our limitations in science. Eventually, if I may, it is your belief that the same science that determined life is organized matter, may discover consciousness is organized energy or some such.
Same as above

After science gets around to showing that consciousness is organized energy, you get to show me how the cosmos has one consciousness and maintains it in a system that spans all time and space

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
A panentheist does not believe anything is external. All things are woven from the same thread.
Perhaps this is a good time for me to ask you to expand on Panentheism a little. Your comments almost sound like you lean more towards Pantheism.

My understanding of Panentheism is that God transcends the universe and is a the source for morality. If that's the case, then I would argue that a Panentheist does believe that some things are external.

I look forward to your response.
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Old 03-14-2007, 03:02 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JediMaster12
In an academic sense, their opinion is invaluable because their motive is not based upon religious morality. Just an opinion of course.
Hi,
Your argument makes several false assumptions including, but not limited to:

religion is the sole source of morality
religion is a good source of morality
religion is required for moral behavior

Each of these assumptions is patently false. So to exclude non-theistic viewpoints from moral discussion is to commit discrimination with no rational basis.

Thanks.
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Old 03-14-2007, 03:59 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
complete with consciousness and a capacity for happiness and suffering. Would we have a moral obligation to behave ethically toward them? From a strictly non-theistic perspective, I cannot see a reason why we should not. If that blurs some demarcation between life and non-life, then I would argue that we have emperical evidence for a need to reevaluate that line. I don't think that we would need to have a dialog about the suffering of all computers, but we would have to change our stance based on new evidence in regards to those computers that do exhibit consciousness.
I felt like quoting this because I enjoyed it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
If you can show me emperical evidence of cosmic decision-making, you win... After science gets around to showing that consciousness is organized energy, you get to show me how the cosmos has one consciousness and maintains it in a system that spans all time and space
In the spirit of reciprocity, maybe we can let science progress a little farther to answer this. Quantum mechanics has broken down our notion of what matter is -- individual particles are now mere possibilities described by Heisenberg and Schrödinger equations. Yet when make observations, the possibility of different states suddenly collapse to either "yes" or "no". We cannot separate ourselves from our world of actuality. Maybe science will determine eventually what causes the collapse of the potential into the actual.

Do believe that if a tree falls in the forest with no one around... no wait let me rephrase the question. Do you believe that a tree actually exists if no one is around or does it only exist in potentiality? (variation of "Schrödinger's cat")

I believe it exists because the universe itself is aware. I'll use an analogy. This rock in my hand seems separate from me. Yet I know that the matter in this rock is really just tightly bound energy whose probabilities have given rise to the properties of solidity, shape, etc. The energies in the rock are the same as elsewhere throughout the universe, only in different proportions and configurations. So in that sense, I'm not different from that rock. Now, in the same way, my consciousness could be analogous to the rock (don't laugh at how dense I am!). So while my consciousness seems quite entrenched with boundaries drawn around it that I call my Self, it could be that the same fundamental forces that shape my consciousness are also dispersed throughout the universe. In that sense, my Self is not different from the Cosmic Self.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Perhaps this is a good time for me to ask you to expand on Panentheism a little. Your comments almost sound like you lean more towards Pantheism. My understanding of Panentheism is that God transcends the universe and is a the source for morality. If that's the case, then I would argue that a Panentheist does believe that some things are external.
You're right, I do sway between the two somewhat when I'm talking about this. Thanks for calling me on that. It is bit of a leap of faith that I adhere more towards an panentheistic view. But it follows from the same vein as my critique of being able to encapsulate "consciousness". That is, I take Gödel's Incompleteness theorem as true: "If an axiomatic system can be proven to be consistent and complete from within itself, then it is inconsistent." Such would be case in the human mind describing in full the human mind, or a computer in a universe attempting to perfectly model the universe. Because of this, I take a leap and believe that this universe transcends itself. How can things be both in a state of being and becoming? Both actual and potential? Both particle and wave? Both a singularity and a multiplicity? By assuming self-transcendence, the both-and dialectic can be embraced, and that's what rings true to me the most.

Thanks for listening.
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Old 03-14-2007, 04:13 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Achilles
Hi,
Your argument makes several false assumptions including, but not limited to:

religion is the sole source of morality
religion is a good source of morality
religion is required for moral behavior

Each of these assumptions is patently false. So to exclude non-theistic viewpoints from moral discussion is to commit discrimination with no rational basis.

Thanks.
I was not attempting to make an argument since I virtually espoused my ideas that I procured from an expert on sewing in a previous post. I was merely offering the possibility that maybe atheistic outlooks in academia are not as damning as people seem to think but rather have a good side to them. I used religious morality due to mainly that most morals are based in religion. This talk of assumptions being false is of course your point of view. Like me you have assumptions.

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Old 03-14-2007, 04:16 PM   #25
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Oh yeah, don't forget the lovely story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot, the holy man, offers his two virgin daughters to be raped by the men of the town. Is that rape?
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Old 03-14-2007, 04:41 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
In the spirit of reciprocity, maybe we can let science progress a little farther to answer this.
Absolutely. I'll happily go whereever the evidence leads. In the absense of evidence though, I'll exercise my duty to remain skeptical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
Quantum mechanics has broken down our notion of what matter is -- individual particles are now mere possibilities described by Heisenberg and Schrödinger equations. Yet when make observations, the possibility of different states suddenly collapse to either "yes" or "no". We cannot separate ourselves from our world of actuality. Maybe science will determine eventually what causes the collapse of the potential into the actual.
Show off...

I think this type of discussion speaks to a level of specificity that I generally don't concern myself with (remember, I'm just a layperson). It interests me and I think it's worthwhile, but it almost seems like a red herring in regards to atheism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
Do believe that if a tree falls in the forest with no one around... no wait let me rephrase the question. Do you believe that a tree actually exists if no one is around or does it only exist in potentiality? (variation of "Schrödinger's cat")

I believe it exists because the universe itself is aware.
I too believe that the tree is there, but for a different reason: I find no evidence to support the argument that the tree must be observed in order to exist. It's more likely that I don't find this evidence because I truthfully haven't looked for it rather than because it doesn't exist.

To use an analogy of my own, I don't compare this existence to the existence of video game characters where modules and the items within them only spawn when called. I don't believe that a transcendent player exists in a particular module when my character is not it in.

I believe that when I go to work, my apartment is still here and vice versa.

If I'm misrepresenting your argument as solipsism and introducing a strawman, I apologize.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
I'll use an analogy. This rock in my hand seems separate from me. Yet I know that the matter in this rock is really just tightly bound energy whose probabilities have given rise to the properties of solidity, shape, etc. The energies in the rock are the same as elsewhere throughout the universe, only in different proportions and configurations. So in that sense, I'm not different from that rock. Now, in the same way, my consciousness could be analogous to the rock (don't laugh at how dense I am!). So while my consciousness seems quite entrenched with boundaries drawn around it that I call my Self, it could be that the same fundamental forces that shape my consciousness are also dispersed throughout the universe. In that sense, my Self is not different from the Cosmic Self.
That's a very interesting philosophical argument. I'm not sure how we would be able to test that empirically.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that the hypothesis is patently false, but I would be "atheistic" towards that because there is no emperical evidence for it. Occam's razor still tells me that individual consciousness as a natural biproduct of complex, localized biochemical reactions is the best answer...at least for now

Quote:
Originally Posted by JediMaster12
I was merely offering the possibility that maybe atheistic outlooks in academia are not as damning as people seem to think but rather have a good side to them.
I think I misread your post. My apologies.

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Originally Posted by JediMaster12
I used religious morality due to mainly that most morals are based in religion.
I still disagree with this though
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Old 03-14-2007, 11:06 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Achilles
Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
Quantum mechanics has broken down our notion of what matter is -- individual particles are now mere possibilities described by Heisenberg and Schrödinger equations. Yet when make observations, the possibility of different states suddenly collapse to either "yes" or "no". We cannot separate ourselves from our world of actuality. Maybe science will determine eventually what causes the collapse of the potential into the actual.
Show off...

I think this type of discussion speaks to a level of specificity that I generally don't concern myself with (remember, I'm just a layperson). It interests me and I think it's worthwhile, but it almost seems like a red herring in regards to atheism.
I don't know that it's a red herring in regards to atheism--one of the questions that is unanswered by atheism is the original cause of the universe, and that very much involves physics. What locked all that potential energy into that singularity that existed just prior to the Big Bang, and where did it come from? What caused it to explode the universe into being?


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Old 03-14-2007, 11:11 PM   #28
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"Just prior," to the Big Bang, "before time," etc. To us, something that is caused always comes after what caused it - but if there's no time, then it's hard to figure out what "caused" anything, if indeed it did. Does asking a question that relies on time even make sense in this context?


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Old 03-14-2007, 11:55 PM   #29
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I'll concede Jae's point and agree with Samuel Dravis'.

Time cannot exist before it has been created, therefore the question (as it was presented) falls flat. Because we currently lack the sophistication to offer a scientific explanation is true and to be expected (it took us about 199,940 years to harness nuclear power after all).

Acknowledging this does not mean that God wins the debate by default (after all it could be the Flying Spaghetti Monster). What it does mean is that we don't know.

Some people choose to give the point to God anyway. People like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins would argue that these people are being intellectually dishonest (albeit not necessarily intentionally so). The first reason why is that there isn't any evidence and one has to purposely maneuver around this fact to get to their view. The second is that one has to ignore the fact that a creator God is undeniably more complex and therefore exponentially more improbable than the thing is believed to have created.

So even though science doesn't have the answer, logic and reasoning can tell us that the answer being some supernatural being is safely within the category of impossibility. It will remain there until some evidence shows us otherwise.
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Old 03-15-2007, 12:07 AM   #30
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I think you may be operating on the assumption that there's some sort of time limit in effect. At no point does the Bible mention consent.

After the man has gone to her "as a husband" he can set he free, but only if he is unhappy with her. She can ask to go free, but only if he is unhappy with her.

The Bible could tell him to wait a year, but so long as it's not consensual, it's rape. Doesn't even matter if she puts up a fight, it's rape.
In that case, rape has been a normal part of daily life for millenia. Arranged marriage has been a simple fact of life basically until the later 1800s, and still continues today in many countries. One of my best friends' grandparents were married in an arranged marriage (they're Indian).

In fact, the marriage of Mary and Joseph was an arranged marriage, unless I'm much mistaken.

As Americans, we tend to operate under a very different culture from that of the past millenia. I daresay that this culture has been quite the contributing factor in our outlook on things. Let's face it- if you lived about a thousand years ago, you really wouldn't have a problem with arranged marriage.

I personally don't like the idea of arranged marriage either, and fortunately neither do most people. Which is why it doesn't happen any more. I don't think God demanded that the victorious Israelites MUST marry the captive women; therefore, since we now have a more modern outlook on things, we are certainly not obliged nor obligated to marry female captives of a conquered country.

In any event, the fact is this- we are products of our time. Outlooks on women have obviously changed. You may think that arranged marriage is wrong, and in the modern world, where women are well-educated and quite capable of thinking for themselves, I would totally agree with you. Arranged marriage (very much like marrying captive women against their wills) just wouldn't work in this century. Which is why it doesn't happen anymore, save in less modern areas of the world.

In the past, however, when women were more, for lack of a better word, docile (not to mention helpless), arranged marriage could easily work. I'd argue that most women would be more than pleased to be chosen as a man's wife, because the basic fact of the matter is that in those times women could NOT function on their own. That's historical fact.

So you have to think in an Old-Testament timeframe. It's probably accurate to say that being chosen to be an Israelite's wife would be a blessing to one of these captured virgins.

Quote:
You may be right that in the one specific passage where we are told that they are not to be mistreated, the phrase might be taken to mean "don't rape them".
The book of Deuteronomy is all written by one person (Moses, I think). If you're arguing based on the continuity of the passage in regards to the rest of the Bible, I think you should rethink- would someone write "Capture and rape women to your bloody lustful heart's content" and then on the next page suggest that the captured women "not be mistreated"? Not likely.

Quote:
Even conceding that point, it doesn't help the other cases where no mention of "not mistreating" women taken captive is made.
If it's said once, why can't we assume it's a uniform law throughout?

Quote:
However it might also mean, "make sure they are fed, don't make them sleep in the rain, make sure you give them clean clothes" (which again, I believe is the common biblical context for "not mistreating" people. Not an expert. Could be wrong).
Do you honestly think the Bible is saying this: "Make sure they are fed, don't make them sleep in the rain, make sure you give them clean clothes... but sexually mistreat them all you like, I don't care."?

Quote:
Assuming that it's not rape, you're correct. Assuming that it is, I consider it abhorent that the man isn't being punished for traumatizing a woman, rather soiling another man's property.
I'm not in the Bible-writer's head, so I don't know exactly why he worded it that way, but here's my assumption. There is no "thou shalt not rape" in the Bible. Then again, there is no "Thou shalt not look down thy neighbor's wife's shirt" either. Why? Because both fall under other commandments. The first is "Thou shalt not commit adultery", and the second one is under "thou shalt not covet they neighbor's wife". It's that simple- Moses took the 10 commandments quite seriously (given that he's the one who received them), and he's just connecting the crime to the appropriate commandment.

Alrighty, now for my talk about why the Old Testament is so much more violent than the new one.

First, the Old Testament...

God made his laws. He put humans on earth and expected them to uphold his laws. They didn't. The situation spiraled out of control, and evil consumed his creation. God saw this with dismay and seriously considered destroying the world because it had all seemed to turn against him. But He loved his creation so much that in spite of all of this, He would give humanity a second chance. He loaded Noah and the animals onto a boat and flooded the earth. Now we've got a clean slate, moving on to Old Testament part 2.

Years and years later things start to stagnate again. God's followers are now slaves to the pagan Egyptians, and are cruelly mistreated. He chats with Moses, and they are led out of Egypt. The Israelites become God's people. Yet there are those who hate God's people in the world, and those who openly hate or disdain God. God begs these people to repent, but they don't listen, and with a heavy heart, God and his people are led into countless wars.

This goes on for quite awhile, and God is getting discouraged. No matter what he does, it seems humanity will not listen to Him, and he is grieved every time he must exact punishment on those who do not uphold his laws (and oftentimes this punishment was death).

God decides he's had enough of mass killings and the like. Here's where Jesus comes in.

The New Testament:

To put an end to divine retribution, God selflessly comes to Earth as Jesus. We all know the story. Stricken with grief over the seemingly endless bloodshed, Jesus preaches peace and love to the world. At the end of His life, Jesus dies for us.

Here's where my basic theory emerges. Many Christians don't know the specifics of why Jesus had to die for us, aside from vague things like "to forgive our sins". So here's where I'm speculating.

Jesus died to suffer the punishments that all of humanity to come would incur upon themselves, so did he love us. Now that Jesus has died on the cross and suffered the punishment that we earned for ourselves, we do not have to die like the evil individuals in the Old Testament do. That's why Jesus preached nonviolence and loving one's neighbors; he knew that he would soon take humanity's need for divine killings away, so he prepared them for peace.

But now the matter arises of, "ok, Jesus died for me, now I get to go to heaven."

Uh... not necessarily. Jesus' death was a gift to humanity. A gift is something freely given and freely received, it is not imposed. It is up to us to accept that gift, and we do that by living out His word (a concept quite biblically supported) and loving Him.

So that's my spiel. The New Testament is far more peaceful because Jesus already suffered out of love for us the divine retribution that we deserve.


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Old 03-15-2007, 01:54 AM   #31
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In that case, rape has been a normal part of daily life for millenia. Arranged marriage has been a simple fact of life basically until the later 1800s, and still continues today in many countries.
You're assuming that this is an arranged marriage. I am not. Your introduction of arranged marriage is a strawman in regards to this discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
So you have to think in an Old-Testament timeframe. It's probably accurate to say that being chosen to be an Israelite's wife would be a blessing to one of these captured virgins.
Well then why wouldn't they go willingly? Why stipulate that they would need 30 days to mourn? Your argument doesn't seem to hold up in the context of the passage that we are discussing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
The book of Deuteronomy is all written by one person (Moses, I think). If you're arguing based on the continuity of the passage in regards to the rest of the Bible, I think you should rethink- would someone write "Capture and rape women to your bloody lustful heart's content" and then on the next page suggest that the captured women "not be mistreated"? Not likely.
I think you've captured the significance of bible contradictions. If this document is the inerrant word of God to be taken as his covenant unto us, then it should not contain instructions for rape, abducting women against their will, murder, slavery...or contradictions.

If it is not the inerrant word of God, but rather a collection of stories and fables passed down by the wisest men of the Bronze Age, then I have to wonder what all the fuss is about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
If it's said once, why can't we assume it's a uniform law throughout?
I suppose we can, but that knife cuts both ways. Are you sure this is a tack that you want to take?

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Originally Posted by Ambrose
Do you honestly think the Bible is saying this: "Make sure they are fed, don't make them sleep in the rain, make sure you give them clean clothes... but sexually mistreat them all you like, I don't care."?
This is an Appeal to Ridicule.
Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Based on my understanding of the Old Testament time frame, it's consistent. Remember this is the same book that says that you are not to be punished for beating your slaves unless you go too far and kill them. I think you might be looking at this in modern context and not the context it was written in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
I'm not in the Bible-writer's head, so I don't know exactly why he worded it that way, but here's my assumption. There is no "thou shalt not rape" in the Bible. Then again, there is no "Thou shalt not look down thy neighbor's wife's shirt" either. Why? Because both fall under other commandments. The first is "Thou shalt not commit adultery", and the second one is under "thou shalt not covet they neighbor's wife". It's that simple- Moses took the 10 commandments quite seriously (given that he's the one who received them), and he's just connecting the crime to the appropriate commandment.
Please help me understand how "Thou shalt not commit adultery" translates into an admonishment of rape?

If he's not married and she's not married (technically, I suppose it doesn't matter if she is, under this specific commandment), then it isn't adultery. "Thou shalt not fornicate" would be much more specific to your argument, don't you think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
God decides he's had enough of mass killings and the like.
I'm assuming this was after 10 plagues? Also, why didn't God make a covenant with Egypt? Why were men allowed to worship other Gods if he had always been God and (at least some) men had knowledge of Him? Why is God so quick to punish Jews for the slightest infraction, yet he holds back on the Egyptians long enough to let them establish the most sophisticated civilization that existed up until that time?

Wow, that was a lot of questions. Sorry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
Here's where Jesus comes in.
Just so I'm clear:
In order to rectify the effects that came about because of _______'s evil (I'll have to wait for your response to my earlier question before I fill in the blank), God came to Earth in the form of a man named Jesus. He did this so that he could die to appease himself and forgive his creation for their sins, which are all the result of _______'s evil.

Am I with you so far?

EDIT: Whoops. Seem to have snipped myself. You had said, "They didn't. The situation spiraled out of control, and evil consumed his creation", to which I replied, "Who created evil?". This didn't make it over for some reason, but it was further up when I responded to it the first time

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Originally Posted by Ambrose
That's why Jesus preached nonviolence and loving one's neighbors; he knew that he would soon take humanity's need for divine killings away, so he prepared them for peace.
Quote:
Mt 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Jesus did not come to cancel out the old law.

Quote:
Mt 10:14-15 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
This doesn't seem consistent with the idea that God came down a Jesus to change his ways.

Quote:
Mt 10:20-22 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
This doesn't sound like peace.

Quote:
Mt 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
This clearly is not an appeal to peace, as you stated.

Quote:
Mt 11:21-24 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
Nor is this.

There's five, just from the first book of the NT.

The NT might be less violent than the OT (a fact I never doubted), but not every book is the Beatitudes either.

Last edited by Achilles; 03-15-2007 at 02:09 AM.
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Old 03-15-2007, 09:25 AM   #32
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You're assuming that this is an arranged marriage. I am not. Your introduction of arranged marriage is a strawman in regards to this discussion.
In arranged marriage, the daughter had no say in who she married. Very much like the circumstances here. It is therefore perfectly relevant. If your definition of rape is marriage without the woman's approval, then arranged marriage is just at much rape as captive-marrying. And therefore the points I mentioned in my above post seem valid enough.

Quote:
Well then why wouldn't they go willingly? Why stipulate that they would need 30 days to mourn? Your argument doesn't seem to hold up in the context of the passage that we are discussing.
It says that she shall: "mourn her father and mother a full month".

What are you getting at? My assumption is that, when a mother and father die in Israelite culture, there's supposed to be a month of mourning or something. Even if that's not some sort of tradition, I think Moses is speaking for her benefit. Basically, that entire passage is about her essentially becoming and Israelite ("shedding the clothes of her captivity", etc). The mourning is just part of that... if your mother and father died, a month to yourself would doubtlessly be nice.

I think you need to stop assuming that the authors of the Bible were totally and utterly malicious. The month of mourning was obviously for the woman's benefit, and I don't see how you could argue otherwise.

Quote:
I think you've captured the significance of bible contradictions. If this document is the inerrant word of God to be taken as his covenant unto us, then it should not contain instructions for rape, abducting women against their will, murder, slavery...or contradictions.

If it is not the inerrant word of God, but rather a collection of stories and fables passed down by the wisest men of the Bronze Age, then I have to wonder what all the fuss is about.
See, I as a Catholic don't believe that the Bible is the entire of God. That's why we have a Church, to have the laws that the bible doesn't specifically mention, but was passed down through oral tradition (condemnation of rape, obviously, was one of these traditions).

And adultery does cover rape, but I'll explain that when I get home.


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Old 03-15-2007, 02:17 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
In arranged marriage, the daughter had no say in who she married.
This is still a strawman. I never brought up arranged marriage, sir. You did. It seems to me that you are determined to view abduction and imprisonment (slavery) as "arranged marriage" although I've raised several points to argue to the contrary.

I think some perfectly understandable biases are going to prohibit our progress on point, so we should just agree to disagree and move on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
I think you need to stop assuming that the authors of the Bible were totally and utterly malicious.
I don't assume that at all. There are some wonderful parts of the Bible that aren't malicious.

But we cannot ignore the parts that are. And rather than subscribe to systematic "mental gymnastics" in an effort to reconcile the parts that were written by people in-tune with the brutality and barbarism of the times, we should just accept the Bible for what it appears to be rather than what it says it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
See, I as a Catholic don't believe that the Bible is the entire of God. That's why we have a Church, to have the laws that the bible doesn't specifically mention, but was passed down through oral tradition (condemnation of rape, obviously, was one of these traditions).
Did you intend to write "the entire word of God"? If so, then you do accept that the Bible is, at least, the partial word of God?

Having a committee responsible for bylaws is not a strong argument for omniscience, in my opinion.

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Originally Posted by Ambrose
And adultery does cover rape, but I'll explain that when I get home.
I look forward to reading the rest of your response to my earlier message.

Take care.
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Old 03-15-2007, 08:37 PM   #34
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This is still a strawman. I never brought up arranged marriage, sir. You did. It seems to me that you are determined to view abduction and imprisonment (slavery) as "arranged marriage" although I've raised several points to argue to the contrary.
I don't believe so. I think you simply said that marriage without consent was rape. And the woman had just as little say in an arranged marriage as she would as a captive. The line drawn between the two is perfectly clear to me.

Quote:
And rather than subscribe to systematic "mental gymnastics" in an effort to reconcile the parts that were written by people in-tune with the brutality and barbarism of the times, we should just accept the Bible for what it appears to be rather than what it says it is.
Mental gymnastics? I'm looking at it from a historical perspective, and no more. Male domination in society was considered totally moral until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There is no implication in the Bible that arranged marriages MUST be made- but it is allowed because it is what worked best with the times. Women were helpless on their own, so being married was far more of a blessing than a curse. A married woman was far better off than a captive, single woman. I don't see why you don't see a soldier's marriage to a captive as an act of mercy toward said captive.

Quote:
Did you intend to write "the entire word of God"? If so, then you do accept that the Bible is, at least, the partial word of God?
Yes I did, sorry for the typo.

Quote:
then it should not contain instructions for rape, abducting women against their will, murder, slavery
You'll find that the stance on slavery is uniform throughout the Bible. It is not condemned, but rather, occurred under quite different circumstances than it did in America. Once again we have our cultural bias which repulses us, this time on the word of "slavery".

You'll find that in most of the Bible it is insisted upon that slaves be treated well and fairly, and released after a certain time of service (6 years, if I'm not mistaken).

Quote:
I think you might be looking at this in modern context and not the context it was written in.
It seems that the feeling is mutual, lol

Quote:
Please help me understand how "Thou shalt not commit adultery" translates into an admonishment of rape?

If he's not married and she's not married (technically, I suppose it doesn't matter if she is, under this specific commandment), then it isn't adultery. "Thou shalt not fornicate" would be much more specific to your argument, don't you think?
Jesus says that one can commit adultery "in his heart" by looking at a woman with lust. Marriage is not mentioned. That said, I think that the biblical understanding of adultery is that it basically just entails extramarital sex.

Quote:
I'm assuming this was after 10 plagues?
This is right before Jesus comes to the earth.

Quote:
Also, why didn't God make a covenant with Egypt?
The Egyptians were pagans who refused to believe in Him and follow His instructions even after several miracles and plagues.

Quote:
Why were men allowed to worship other Gods if he had always been God and (at least some) men had knowledge of Him?
What do you mean why were they "allowed" to? The can because they're human and have the capability to sin. They were often punished for it by being killed.

Quote:
Why is God so quick to punish Jews for the slightest infraction, yet he holds back on the Egyptians long enough to let them establish the most sophisticated civilization that existed up until that time?
I personally don't know, but I'll put forward a theory. It could be because the Israelites were the people who believed in Him; his people, and thus they could be held to much higher scrutiny.

Quote:
"Who created evil?"
That's like asking who created darkness. Look at it that way. God created light... but the absence of light is thus present. Light is good, dark is evil. Evil is the absence of good.

Quote:
In order to rectify the effects that came about because of _______'s evil (I'll have to wait for your response to my earlier question before I fill in the blank), God came to Earth in the form of a man named Jesus. He did this so that he could die to appease himself and forgive his creation for their sins, which are all the result of _______'s evil.
Perhaps better phrased:

In order to rectify the effects that came about because of humanity's sin, God came to Earth in the form of a man named Jesus. He did this so that he could die to suffer the punishment which justly belonged to His people.

Quote:
Jesus did not come to cancel out the old law.
No, he came to take the punishments for infractions of the old law.

Quote:
This doesn't seem consistent with the idea that God came down a Jesus to change his ways.
God's not changing His ways, like I said. He's suffering the punishment due for us.

Quote:
This doesn't sound like peace.
But it's not God inflicting punishment. It's persecution being inflicted upon Jesus' followers. It's believers"taking up their cross" (Mt. 16:24, Mt 10:38)) and following Jesus' path of sacrifice for others.

Quote:
Mt 10:34
Seems to me that this entire passage is Jesus saying that just because he's here, the world isn't going to be all fine and dandy. Faith will be a trial- all who wish to attain salvation will not have an easy path. They will have to "take up their cross". (Mt 10:38).

Obviously Jesus is correctly stating that being a Christian in the years ahead of the apostles isn't going to be easy.

Quote:
Mt 11:21-24 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
He is describing what will happen to those who reject God on the day of judgment. That is very consistent with the NT and the OT. Acceptance of God and Jesus' sacrifice is said time and time again to be of utmost importance.


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Old 03-15-2007, 09:55 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
I don't believe so. I think you simply said that marriage without consent was rape. And the woman had just as little say in an arranged marriage as she would as a captive. The line drawn between the two is perfectly clear to me.
No, sir, I believe I said that sex without consent was rape. I did not intend to communicate anything other than that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
Mental gymnastics? I'm looking at it from a historical perspective, and no more. Male domination in society was considered totally moral until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There is no implication in the Bible that arranged marriages MUST be made- but it is allowed because it is what worked best with the times. Women were helpless on their own, so being married was far more of a blessing than a curse. A married woman was far better off than a captive, single woman. I don't see why you don't see a soldier's marriage to a captive as an act of mercy toward said captive.
I think your assumptions are true within the context of Western civilizations at the time. There are plenty of examples of matriarchial societies that existed prior to Judaism and Christianity. Societies in which women were equal, if not superior to men. Don't take my word for it. Research it yourself.

Slavery is slavery and rape is rape. Our attitudes may have changed over the centuries to reflect the values of the times, but the acts themselves have not changed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
Yes I did, sorry for the typo.
It's no problem. I just wanted to make sure that I had the correct context

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
You'll find that the stance on slavery is uniform throughout the Bible. It is not condemned, but rather, occurred under quite different circumstances than it did in America. Once again we have our cultural bias which repulses us, this time on the word of "slavery".

You'll find that in most of the Bible it is insisted upon that slaves be treated well and fairly, and released after a certain time of service (6 years, if I'm not mistaken).
Exodus 21:2 If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything.

These instructions are specific to Hebrew slaves, not slaves of other nations.

Unfortuanately, this same "out" isn't available to women, as shown in Exodus 21:7:

Quote:
If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do.
As for the treatment of slaves:

Quote:
If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.
Exodus 21:20-21
I'm sure you'll want to point out that this was the OT, but the NT tells us:

Quote:
That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Luke 12:47-48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
Jesus says that one can commit adultery "in his heart" by looking at a woman with lust. Marriage is not mentioned. That said, I think that the biblical understanding of adultery is that it basically just entails extramarital sex.
You've more than adequetely argued your case for adultery, however your case for rape appears untouched. Please let me know what I'm missing here.

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Originally Posted by Ambrose
This is right before Jesus comes to the earth.
I know. Just trying to provide context for your timeline

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
The Egyptians were pagans who refused to believe in Him and follow His instructions even after several miracles and plagues.
<snip>
What do you mean why were they "allowed" to? The can because they're human and have the capability to sin. They were often punished for it by being killed.
<snip>
I personally don't know, but I'll put forward a theory. It could be because the Israelites were the people who believed in Him; his people, and thus they could be held to much higher scrutiny.
So God opted not to keep the Egyptians in check even though he went to great pains to keep the Jewish tribes in line?

They aren't mentioned in the Bible, but since we're at it, how about the ancient Greeks? Japanese? Native Americans? In a world of his children, He only looked after one group? Considering that the book that argues for his existence came from this group of people doesn't seem a little suspicious to you?

This is what I meant by "mental gymnastics". All this convolution, easily explained away by, "we cannot know the mind of God", yet we can tell when he's using allegory and when he wants us to not literally interpret the text of His book. I don't think it fair or accurate to say that we can have it both ways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
That's like asking who created darkness. Look at it that way. God created light... but the absence of light is thus present. Light is good, dark is evil. Evil is the absence of good.
Ok, but who created the darkness? Who created evil? If you don't have the anwswer, that's ok. I don't expect you to. The questions are what's important.

If God transends all, then he made them. But why would he do that? And wouldn't that make Him ultimately responsible for the Fall? Why was Jesus punished so that God could forgive us for His mistake? If God didn't make them, then someone else must have. So something transcends God. Does anything else transcend that?

See where this goes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
Perhaps better phrased:

In order to rectify the effects that came about because of humanity's sin, God came to Earth in the form of a man named Jesus. He did this so that he could die to suffer the punishment which justly belonged to His people.
I suppose that is better, but who's authority are you speaking from? Not trying to be snide, just trying to point out that there is no single, clear understanding of Jesus decent to Earth or the nature of his sacrifice. This should be a problem for followers. Since you changed the context, my quotes no longer apply, therefore I won't be replying to the rest of your message.

Thank for reading.
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Old 03-29-2007, 10:44 PM   #36
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I wasn't sure if this belonged here or in the Playing God thread, but I thought it was worth sharing nonetheless:

Humorous YouTube clip
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:30 PM   #37
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Ah, Malcolm in the Middle. That was worth a chuckle, and in truth he is very close to how I think we should be, religion should be notwithstanding. Why should it matter if someone's Christian, Jew, Muslim or Atheist? Though if it did become a religion I'd be looking to make friends with those who are Jedi.
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Old 03-30-2007, 12:06 AM   #38
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That was too funny, Achilles. That kid actually made some good points, too.


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Old 03-30-2007, 04:22 PM   #39
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I've no qualm with an athiest, so long as he does not prosletize on my doorstep as to how "foolish" I am for believing in many Gods when he believes in none. For instance, the militantly athiest mother of a dying relative who threw away the makeshift altar we made at her deathbed because she was vehemently offended by its presence and damn what her dying daughter thought.

In my political life, I run across many athiests. "No Gods, Mo Masters" is a common rallying chant for anarchists and radical socialists. I remember having to explain to a couple of rather nice ladies from Perth why I was a Socialist because of my Wiccan faith, and not despite it. They were incredulous, but didn't flip me guff over it.


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Old 03-30-2007, 06:08 PM   #40
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I've been dieing to say this, Scully from the X Files was asked by Doggett if she believes in aliens. This is her reply.

"You want me to go on record? I will go on record to say this; that I have seen things that I cannot explain. I have observed phenomena that I cannot deny. And that as a scientist and a serious person it is a badge of honor not to dismiss these things because someone thinks they're B.S."

Replace aliens with religion and that pretty much sums it up, even for a lot of people who arn't nessecarily religious.
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