Unholy Trinity Tour Unscathed: Twitter apologist fails again
Looks like SJ is back for more punishment.
Before I delve into this mess, I cannot resist the urge to share with my readers: I have the pleasure to announce that Aron Ra himself has referred to me as his “Bulldog.” How wicked is that!! You might be wondering why I would get excited over such a nickname. Well, let me explain: Charles Darwin had a famous “Bulldog” named Thomas Huxley. That is the nickname that history remembers Huxley by. And like Charles Darwin, Aron Ra is a champion of science and a debunker of creationism. So from this day onward, the Godless Wolf will also be referred to as Aron Ra’s Bulldog. I’ll wear that like a badge of honor.
Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Without excuse… one of the many ways religions try to make it look like they’ve back you into a corner. “Look at the trees, the clouds, the seas… they clearly exist, so someone had to have made it.” Using Nature itself to claim as proof that their God exists. Christianity is not the only religion that can play that game. Like I said, it’s a common tactic. Just look at Islam. They don’t use Nature, they say the fact that YOU exist proves Allah. In Islam there is the Primordial Covenant, in which it claims that before you existed Allah created your soul. Before your soul entered Earth, you vowed to Allah that he is the one true God, and when you die and return you cannot claim ignorance or “excuse” yourself by claiming that you were raised by the wrong faith by your parents. Hard to argue that you don’t exist, so Islam has backed you into a corner and claimed you are without excuse to deny Allah.
Or how about something a little more modern: Scientology. Scientology is full of weird beliefs, one of which is that they ask people if they have had or have any negative emotions, stress, fears, or even the occasional bad days. This undeniably happens to everyone. And the Scientologists claim that these things are caused by thetans infesting your soul and you need to be audited. Look at that, Scientology backed you into a corner and offered your the solution.
It’s the same game, different theologies. They can’t all be right, but they can all be wrong. So when the Bible claims that you are “without excuse,” it’s dead wrong. A God that fails to provide sufficient evidence of it’s presence is without excuse. I would expect the greatest conceivable being to have that the theistic conception of god clearly does not have. I would expect the greatest conceivable being would be whose existence nobody could deny. That’s clearly not true with Yahweh.
Three well-known atheists named Aron Ra, Matt Dillahunty, and Seth Andrews visited Australia a few years back and dubbed themselves “the Unholy Trinity.” During their visit, Aron Ra presented the following arguments in support of his perspectives. Aron Ra is a well-known figure in the atheist community with aspirations to hold a seat in a Texas political office. Below and in italics, I have presented his arguments, followed by my responses.
Let’s do this!
Aron’s 11 Arguments and Christian Apologist’s Responses
1. Jewish people say we were created in God’s physical image – that of “an evolved ape.”
This statement is not terribly controversial. While I will not comment on Aron’s assertion that we have been created in the image of “an evolved ape,” I will comment that both Christians and Jews endorse Genesis 1:27, where it states “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
This passage is further highlighted in John 1:1, where it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:14 continues, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
What kind of response is this? Seriously? It doesn’t even try to refute Aron. It’s just commentary, and a simple one at that.
What is this meant to explain? What does it mean to be made in the “image of God”? Just repeating a few vague poetic verses from the New Testament doesn’t help much unless they explain exactly what that even means.
Since SJ can’t provide a decent answer, I guess it falls upon me to do the hard thinking for her. Let’s start by asking does “image of God” mean our bodies look like God? I don’t know if that is what SJ thinks, yet still the idea that our bodies bear any physical resemblance to an all-knowing all-powerful omnipresent Creator is one relative few folks seem keen to defend these days. Why? Because as our knowledge of biology and physics increased, we’ve come to appreciate that the physical form of a being is intimately connected to the specific environmental conditions it inhabits. Wings come in many shapes and sizes, but we’ve learned that those shapes and sizes are constrained by factors like drag, thrust, lift and weight. And we’ve realized that some of the mythical winged characters that humans have dreamt up over the centuries, from Icarus with his wings and wax to the Biblical six-winged Seraphim (Isaiah 6:2) would simply never get off the ground. Likewise, we now appreciate the absurdity of a vast naturally humanoid god possessing depth perceiving two forward facing eyes with nothing external to see. Stereo perceiving ears with nothing external to hear. Agile limbs with no external space through which to move. And so on. The most common view I’ve encountered from folks in posing a mythical Creator is that “it has no physical form at all”… so why do we? Expanding on those four words, why do we have a physical form that can be damaged or destroyed by other humans, predators, microbes, poisonous materials and natural disasters? The body frequently attacks itself with debilitating and deadly cancers. And the body quickly perishes without inadequate food, water and oxygen, or if it’s core temperature rises or falls by just a few degrees Fahrenheit. A form that, if it survives these hazards, can look forward to incapacitation and decay before it’s inevitable death. Why are we subjected to these sufferings by a Creator that is immune to them? When I was a Christian, I was told that human suffering was a result of being endowed with the most precious gift from Yahweh: the gift of free choice.
The reasoning went like this: Yahweh created us with free choice to do bad or good. That meant people had to be allowed to bad things, even if they ended up hurting or killing countless others. Preventing them from doing bad things would take away their free choice. In effect, they would be forced to be good against their will. So Yahweh couldn’t interfere. Either by restraining an abuser, or protecting the abusers target, the meager consolation offered to us was that all abuse would eventually be punished. N regard to the other hardships we endured (diseases, predators, natural disasters) these were all presented as extensions of the same principle. The first humans had been given a paradise to live in, but because they had disobeyed their Creator, they were expelled to the world we now live in with all of it’s dangers. So, even these forms of suffering, were all ultimately down to human free choice.
When I was a Christian, I found this reasoning persuasive for a time. It didn’t stop me from resenting the suffering we endured, but I could appreciate that the alternative of forcing everyone to be good was also extremely undesirable. In fact, the lack of freedom entailed by forcing people to be good could itself be seen as a form of suffering. Given the option of “free choice + suffering” or “no free choice + no suffering,” I could see the appeal of option 1. I later realized that I had fallen for a false dichotomy. The presentation of two alternatives as the only alternatives when in fact other exist. The clue that this was a false dichotomy was staring me in the face, all be it in a non-physical way. It was Yahweh. And this demonstrates another parallel with abusive human relationships, in that we spend so much time absolutely focused on these celestial dictators, and yet not seeing them at all. Here was supposedly a being that enjoyed the option “total free choice + no suffering.” Totally free choice with full knowledge of good and evil, but experienced no suffering. It was impossible to harm this being, in so doing would diminish it’s greatness in some way, violating it’s divine incorruptibility. So free choice and suffering were never inevitably paired. You didn’t have to either accept both or reject both, not if you were incorruptible. So why weren’t we created in this incorruptible image? Why are we down here in these bizarre fragile bodies being infected, beaten, starved, raped, tortured and murdered while this supposed Creator enjoyed free choice devoid of all suffering?
2. Because the God of air was everywhere, ancient people determined that the gods are “omnipresent.”
The underlying theme in all of Aron’s assertions is that God is an invention of men, rather than the inventor of men. One of the most common atheist arguments against monotheism is one in which attention is directed to thousands of man-made gods in the world. The argument follows that unless Christians can prove the non-existence of all man-made gods, they cannot fairly support the existence of the one Christian God. Furthermore, they assert, that they are merely ignoring 1/3000 gods, so they should not be faulted as Christians are only 1 God away from sharing their atheist beliefs that 0/3000 are real.
“The argument follows that unless Christians can prove the non-existence of all man-made gods, they cannot fairly support the existence of the one Christian God”… I’ve never put it that way. Rather, I would challenge the Christian to use a method that disproves the existence of all other gods, and I will use that same methodology to disprove the God of the Bible.
Yet such assertions miss the point. They equate to tossing 3,000 books that state humans do not dream onto the ground in front of a person who has dreams and demanding he both disprove the theories in those books while simultaneously proving with evidence the content of his own dreams.
A more accurate comparison: we throw books at people explaining the many natural complex causes of religious experiences at people who have religious experiences.
We’re not throwing books that state humans do not dream, we’re throwing books explaining HOW and WHY people dream via natural causes. Yet the book that SJ clings to is a book that answers the questions with MAGIC.
As I have mentioned in several other blogs, unlike all non-Judeo-Christian faiths in the world, which were founded by the beliefs or prophecies of one man, Christianity was founded by the beliefs of at least thirty-three men, many of whom were martyred for their beliefs.
The “martyred” part is highly debatable and doubtful, but even still martyrdom does not make a belief true (I doubt SJ is willing to give credence to Muslim martyrs or Buddhists who set themselves on fire). Either way, SJ really needs to do her homework. She has mentioned that for a time she looked into Eastern religions before boomeranging back to Christianity, yet somehow in that time she failed to count the prophecies in other religions?
With each additional author in the Bible comes additional inter-rater reliability and content validity.
Despite that, one must consider why all of the world’s mainstream religions have some distinctive commonalities. Why is the story of the ark and the great flood not distinctive to the Judeo-Christian faiths? Why do people of all religions appreciate justice and love, seeking light and shunning darkness and shadows?
Because without Justice we wouldn’t be civilized or even social animals. Fairness and cooperation have value for dealing with people repeatedly (Nowak, M. A., K. M. Page and K. Sigmund, 2000. Fairness versus reason in the ultimatum game. Science 289: 1773-1775). The emotions involved with such justice could have evolved when humans lived in small groups (Hauert, C., S. De Monte, J. Hofbauer and K. Sigmund, 2002. Volunteering as Red Queen mechanism for cooperation in public goods games. Science 296: 1129-1132).
People appreciate love because it is what maintains healthy relationships within families, neighbors, communities, partners and mates and further on. If humans appreciated hate instead of love, we would have killed each other off millenniums ago.
Humans seek light over darkness for multiple reasons. This should be easy for a child to understand. Why do you think children are scared of the dark? Because most of the time they fear “monsters”… this is basic as human survival: fear of predators. You are more likely to see a predator approaching in the day than at night. This is why such fears are ingrained in the human psyche. Even if there were no predators, at night you have a higher chance of injuring yourself by not watching your step. The night is also cold, which is why humans invented fire – which coincidentally is such a valuable tool that caused humans for millenniums to have worshiped fire as a bringer of warmth and light, and eventually for cooking and smithing.
Why do all of the world’s mainstream religions advocate the Golden Rule?
Christianity: In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. Jesus. Matthew 7:12
Unitarianism: We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we’re a part.
Sikhism: I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all. Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 1299.
Taoism: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. Lao Tzu, T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien, 213-218.
Confucianism: One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct…loving-kindness. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself. Confucius. Analects 15:23.
Buddhism: Trust not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. Buddha. Udana-Varga 518.
Hinduism: This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. Mahabharata. 5:1517.
Islam: Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself. Muhammad. Hadith.
Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Hillel. Talmud, Shabbat 31a.
Jainism: One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated. Mahavira. Sutrakritanga.
Zoroastrianism: Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself. Shayast-na-Shayast 13.29.
Thank you evolution. Much about morals can be explained by evolution. Since humans are social animals and they benefit from interactions with others, natural selection should favor behavior that allows us to better get along with others.
My answer to those questions calls attention to the source of our creation who–
Let me stop you right there! The question you should be asking is “what” and not “who.” The fact that you started the question with a “who” reveals an inner bias that presupposes the answer is some personified entity.
So before asking “who” we have to first determine that “what” to see if it is even a “who.” And frankly, when you ask what’s the source of these reasons he embrace (the golden rule, light over darkness, justice), the answer is complex but you can give a big “thank you” to evolution. All these things, from the golden rule to light over darkness is ingrained in us because they help us cooperate, which helps us survive.
–has likely had an influence on the belief systems in every faith, regardless of whether he was involved in the initiation of said faiths. It would be ethnocentric to believe that God restricts his love to the geographically fortunate.
Judaism is specifically ethnocentric belief. Not in the geographically fortunate sense, but in the tribal sense.
That said, I firmly believe that all faiths, all paths, and all doors eventually open at the feet of Jesus Christ.
Someone hasn’t tried the door called “Critical Thought.”
As for Aron’s claims on how our beliefs in God’s omnipresence came about, early people determined that God must be omnipresent because omnipresence helps to explain much of what we know. Not only has God informed us of His omnipresence, anyone who deeply and thoughtfully conceives of our Divine Creator develops an understanding of His qualities of omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience. In Christianity, omnipresence explains how God determines in advance whether we’ll be in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Revelation 1:8 states “I am the Alpha and Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
The Transcendence vs. Omiprensence Argument (“omnipresent” is defined as “the state of being simultaneously present in all locations.”)
P1) If God exists, then he is transcendent (i.e. outside of space and time)
P2) If God exists, then he is omnipresent
P3) To be transcendent, a being cannot exist anywhere in space
P4) To be omnipresent, a being must exist everywhere in space
P5) Hence, it is impossible for a transcendent being to be omnipresent (from 3 and 4).
C) Therefore it is impossible for god to exist (from 1, 2, and 5).
Syllogistically, the argument can be stated as:
P1: God is both non-physical and omnipresent (as defined above).
P2: As a non-physical being, God necessarily possesses no physical properties
P3: Location is a physical property
C1: Therefore, necessarily, God cannot have the property of location
C2: Therefore, necessarily, God is not omnipresent
C3: C2 contradicts P1
C4: Therefore, an omnipresent, non-physical God cannot exist
Due to our bounded time, however, the omnipresence concept is difficult to understand, particularly for atheists who conflate an omnipresent God with an all-controlling God. For example, atheists often suggest that if there is an omnipresent God, they must not have free will – since the Lord would have seen all of the decisions they made in their lives in advance, so they have no control to take any actions at this point as such actions may stand in contrast to God’s “plans.”
Wrong. It’s not omnipresence that negates free-will, it’s omniscience. A.k.a, “all-knowing.” If a being already knows everything, it doesn’t have to be everywhere to know what is happening everywhere because it’s all-knowing by definition.
Yet this suggestion ignores the fact that God is concurrently in our past, present and future. He both sees our lives and has seen our lives. He has seen our decisions today in advance and he has seen the decisions we will make tomorrow, next year, and in ten years. He has already made adjustments based on the decisions we will make in twenty years. That is the concept of omnipresence and it does not inhibit our free will.
First of all, you’re still confusing omnipresence with omniscience.
Secondly, How? How does this concept of OMNISCIENCE does not inhibit free will?
SJ says that her God already knows our decisions before we made them. Imagine yourself walking down the road. On your way to the destination, there is a split in the road. You can go left or right, either choice will not get you to your destination sooner then the other. If you choose to go one way that God did not see coming, then he is not omniscience. However, if you choose the way that God already saw coming before you even started your walk, then by extension that means that God knew ever decision you would make before you were born to the day you die. In other words, God already knows if you would end up in Heaven or Hell. And if he already knows that you were going to end up in Hell, yet made you anyway, then under that theology you were made for the sole purpose for this entity to torture for all eternity. How disgusting is that?
In his book Meditations (pp. 88), Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180 A.D.) explained his conception of our greater purpose and God’s omnipresence:
“The Mind of the universe is social. At all events, it has created the lower forms to serve the higher, and then linked the higher in a mutual dependence on each other. Observe how some are subjected, others are connected, each and all given their just due, and the more eminent among them are combined in mutual accord…Reflect that the story of your life is over, and our service is at an end; bethink you of all the fair sights you have seen, the pleasures and pains you have spurned, the many honors disdained, the many considerations shown to the inconsiderate. How comes it that souls of no proficiency nor learning are able to confound the adept and the sage? Ah, but what soul is truly both adept and sage? His alone, who has knowledge of the beginning and the end, and of that all-pervading Reason which orders the universe in its indeterminate cycles to the end of time.”
In summary, the gods did not “become omnipresent.” God is and always has been omnipresent and even without knowledge of the Bible, great people in our past have come to this conclusion, undoubtedly attributable to an innate knowledge of the holy within us.
“The Mind of the universe”….. hold on! What mind and where? Does the universe have a brain? If not, then we must be talking about a disembodied mind… and WTF is that? How does a disembodied mind make any sense? In neurosciences and cognitive thinking science, the word mind is synonymous with “brain.” And brains operate via synapses sending signals. So where are these synapses in the universe? How are these signals being transmitted?
Also, claiming that God was “always omnipresent” is meaningless if you haven’t proven there is a god in the first place!!! Seriously, when will SJ just skip to that part already and prove her God?
3. Only the spirit of God moved over the surface of the waters in Genesis 1. “The spirit of God is the wind of God…Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind…Yahweh was the terrifying volcano God in the OT and the air God in the NT.”
Another underlying assertion in Aron’s overall message is that ancient people suffered from intellectual and philosophical deficiencies, so they assigned divine status to all sorts of natural elements, particularly those that gave them reason for pause, fear, or awe. He points to volcanoes, the wind, and dust storms as examples of natural events to which the ancients assigned supernatural causes.
This isn’t an “assertion,” it’s a historical fact. Have you not ever heard of any of the pantheon of Greek deities?
Such assertions underscore Aron’s ethnocentrism, which is not uncommon among his peers who believe this generation has superior intellectual, scientific, and philosophical capabilities. Yes, we have achieved enormous technological and scientific advances in modern times, yet these should not be used to make the assumption that our predecessors were two bulbs short of a full circuit. In contrast, some of the most amazing minds in our history lived in ancient times.
Picking the smartest of the apples out of the bunch does not mean that the whole ancient barrel were amazing.
Plato (428 – 348 B.C.) is an example. In his book Republic (pp. 78), Plato ponders God using by nature as a metaphor:
“And suppose further, that they are dragged up a steep and rugged ascent into the presence of the sun himself, will not their sight be darkened with the excess of light? Some time will pass before they get the habit of perceiving at all; and at first they will be able to perceive only shadows and reflections in the water; then they will recognize the moon and the stars, and will at length behold the sun in his own proper place as he is. Last of all they will conclude:–This is he who gives us the year and the seasons, and is the author of all that we see. How will they rejoice in passing from darkness to light!”
As smart as Plato is, this whole piece rests on a logical fallacy of begging the question. His whole scenario of eventually gaining the eyesight to see everything properly somehow swings to give this credence to a “he… the author of all that we see.” Who said that it had to be a “he” or some personified being?
There is some truth to Aron’s assertion that God has used weather events to give glory to His divinity. As examples, He has used the four elements of astrology oftentimes in the Bible: wind, earth, water, and fire.
Genesis 8:1: “But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided.” Exodus 14:21: “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided.
Exodus 15:10: “You blew with your wind, the sea covered them; They sank like lead in the mighty waters.”
Psalm 19:10: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” Luke 3:16: “John answered them all, saying, ‘I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29: “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
What is this meant to prove? When Krishna revealed his true form, his glorious image included planets and stars. Stars are made of fire, and planets have fire, weather, and ice from comets. So Krishna has the whole shebang and more! So what does that prove?
In summary, the fact that God has used the elements of the weather to express himself in no way diminishes his glory. It merely offers us a physical form we can recognize. To atheists, who often request physical evidence of God, God’s demonstrations in the past should garner their appreciation.
Using natural elements like lightning proves what? SJ can say that it proves her God, a pagan in Iceland can say that lightning proves Thor. Do you not see the problem? Using natural forces as proof won’t help. How can you prove that the natural forces are not just…. natural forces? If you want to prove a God, then demonstrate said God.
4. Judas died in a potter’s field. Sold out before or after Passover, depending on which Gospel. “Can’t fall headlong when head is tied to a tree.”
In my rebuttal to Aron’s video “Mythical Man,” I offered the following response to his comments about Judas:
Zechariah 11:12-13 “So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’’ – the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the LORD.”
In Matthew 27:3-8, Judas’ suicide is recounted. “When Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. ‘I have sinned,’ he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood.’ ‘What is that to us?’ they replied. ‘That’s your responsibility.’ So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the coins and said, ‘It is against the law to put this money into the treasury, since it is blood money. So they decided to use the money to buy a potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day.”
Acts 1:18 – 19 continues recounting the passage. “(With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is Field of Blood.)”
Biblical scholars note that Judas’ body likely decomposed after his death by hanging, which is why his body burst open when he fell onto the ground. Only a decomposed body would burst in such a way that one’s intestines would spill out. Furthermore, Judas symbolically “bought a field,” as the silver coins he returned to the chief priests ended up being used to purchase a potter’s field.
As for the comment that Judas could not have fallen “headlong” since he had hung himself, consider the possibility that the branch upon which he hung himself broke. It’s quite possible. Other possibilities exist, such as the possibility that someone cut the rope to free Judas from his position hanging and decomposing on the tree.
And I responded to this in my previous blog.
The hypothesis that Judas’ hung himself then burst open when his corpse fell from a tree has a serious problem.
Acts shows a selfish and greedy Judas, thinking that he got away with his wickedness, God strikes him down. But in Matthew, Judas expresses guilt and remorse, both lead him to self-inflicting suicide (God exercised no wrath against Judas). No matter how you slice it, this is a contradiction. A contradiction of motives and a contradiction of God’s wrath.
As for SJ trying to rescue the contradiction about the money, she is seriously stretching the reasonable bounds. How do you “symbolically” buy a field? Acts explicitly says “Now this man [Judas] purchased a field with the reward of iniquity.” Is she suggesting that Judas gave the priests the money, they accepted it, and then the priests used it to buy a potter’s field under Judas’ name?
Here’s a response to this from Aron Ra:
“We know that Judas Iscariot died in the potter’s field. But who owned the field, and how did he die? Judas sold Jesus out to the chief priests either before Passover (Matthew 26:14–25, Mark 14:10–11, Luke 22:3–23) or after Passover (John 13:21–30). The priests paid him thirty pieces of silver, which Judas used to buy the potter’s field (Acts 1:18). But he also gave the same money back to the priests, and they used the same money to buy the same field themselves (Matthew 27:3–7). They didn’t buy it from him either, because they bought it after he died, in the version where he never bought anything. In the version where Judas threw the money back at the priests, he then went to the field that they eventually bought and hanged himself. In the alternate reality where Judas owned the field, he went there and fell “headlong,” busting his guts open. The implication is that he dove off a cliff or something similar. But however you do it, it’s really hard to fall “headlong” when your head is tied to a tree.” (Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism, Chapter 2, page 68)
5. People have made prophecies that haven’t come true. Wikipedia says the world should have ended 79 times before 1901.
The inclusion of these assertions is irrelevant to Aron’s overall message, which is to discount the divinity of God. Over the centuries, many people have prophesied. Sometimes their prophecies came true, while other times they did not. The prophecies of men over recent centuries do not discount the prophecies of those influenced by God.
There are no prophecies influenced by God, they are all prophecies of men.
There are several mundane ways in which a prediction of the future can be fulfilled:
- Retrodiction. The “prophecy” can be written or modified after the events fulfilling it have already occurred.
- Vagueness. The prophecy can be worded in such a way that people can interpret any outcome as a fulfillment. Nostradomus’s prophecies are all of this type. Vagueness works particularly well when people are religiously motivated to believe the prophecies.
- Inevitability. The prophecy can predict something that is almost sure to happen, such as the collapse of a city. Since nothing lasts forever, the city is sure to fall someday. If it has not, it can be said that according to prophecy, it will.
- Denial. One can claim that the fulfilling events occurred even if they have not. Or, more commonly, one can forget that the prophecy was ever made.
- Self-fulfillment. A person can act deliberately to satisfy a known prophecy.
There are no prophecies in the Bible that cannot easily fit into one or more of those categories.
6. “Jesus failed to meet the requirements of the Jewish Messiah. He didn’t gather Jewish people from exile and return them to Jewish temple; He didn’t bring world peace; and He didn’t bring the whole world to worship one God.” He was supposed to do all of these things before He was called the Messiah. He was supposed to be an invulnerable warlord who couldn’t be killed.”
How foolish you are, how slow you are to believe everything the prophets said! Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then to enter his glory?” And Jesus explained to them what was said about himself in all the Scriptures, beginning with the books of Moses and the writings of all the prophets…. They said to each other, “Wasn’t it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:25-27; 24:32)
The Jews for Jesus provide a list of fulfilled prophecies that may interest Aron.
How convenient that the “Jews for Jesus” never even attempt to prove that Jesus fulfilled the ACTUAL prophecies that the Messiah had to fill.
All the criteria must be fulfilled, emphasis on the All, to become the Jewish Messiah.
1) In Gathering the Jewish Exiles: The Messiah will reign as the Jewish King of Israel and gather all the Jews around the world to Israel. (Duet. 30:3; Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 30:3, 30:27; Ezekiel 11:17, 36:24) But Jesus never reigned as King, nor did he bring all the Jews to Israel.
2) Rebuilding the Holy Temple in Jerusalem:(Isaiah 2:2-3, 56:5-7, 60:7, 66:20; Ezekiel 37:26-27; Malachi 3:4; Zechariah 14:20-21) The Temple was sill standing in Jesus’ day, and destroyed 38 years after his alleged) death by crucifixion, and the temple has not yet been rebuilt.
3) Worldwide Reign of Peace and end of all war (Micah 4:1-4; Hosea 2:20; Isaiah 2:1-4, 60:18) yet since the creation of Christianity, wars have increased. Some fought in the name of Jesus.
4) Embracing of Torah Observance by all Jews: the Messiah will reign as King at a time when all the Jewish people will embrace the Torah and observe God’s commandments. (Ezekiel 37:24; Deuteronomy 30:8, 10; Jeremiah 31:32; Ezekiel 11:19-20, 36:26-27) But not all Jews follow the Torah or the Commandments.
5) Universal Knowledge of God: The Messiah will rule during a time when all the people of the world will come to knowledge and serve the “one true God” of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Zechariah 3:9, 8:23, 14:9,16; Isaiah 45:23, 66:23; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 38:23; Psalm 86:9; Zephaniah 3:9) This has not taken place.
6) From the Tribe of Judah and a Direct Descendant of King David and Solomon: (Genesis 49:10; 2 Samuel 7:12-14; 1 Chronicles 22:9-10). Genealogy in the Bible is only passed down from father to son (Numbers 1:1-18) and there is no evidence that Jesus had this pedigree. The Christian New Testament actually claims that Jesus did not have a birth father (Matthew 1:18-20) from the Tribe of Judah descending from David and Solomon.
All this criteria are found in numerous places in the Jewish Bible. Anyone can claim to be the Messiah, or any group of people can claim that a person is the Messiah. However, if that person fails to meet all the criteria found in the Torah, then he simply cannot be the Messiah. Missionaries and apologists argue that Jesus will fulfill these requirements when Jesus returns during the Second Coming in the future. It is important to understand that this doctrine of a Second Coming is an admission that Jesus did not fulfill the Messianic criteria. This rationalization for his failure provides no reason for accepting him as the Messiah today. Furthermore, the Torah does not have a Messianic installment plan where the Messiah comes, fails in his mission, and then returns thousands of years later to finally succeed.
Missionaries and apologists will claim that Jesus’ performed miracles which indicate that he was the son of God and therefore the Messiah. However we have no real evidence that Jesus performed any miracle. More significantly, even if Jesus did perform miracles, they would not prove that he was the Messiah. The Torah does not say that the Messiah will be recognized for performing miracles, the Torah actually teaches (Duet. 13:2-6) that false prophets can have the ability to perform supernatural miracles.
I have highlighted several of their entries below. For a full list, please click on the reference that follows.
The Messiah would be: Tanach Reference Fulfillment from the seed of a woman Genesis 3:15 Romans 16:20; Galatians 4:4; Rev. 12:9; Rev. 12:7 a willing sacrifice Genesis 12:3 Acts 3:24-26 a Passover lamb Exodus 12: 1-51 John 1:29; 1:36; 19:33; 1 Corinth. 5:7-8; 1 Peter 1:19 the suffering servant Isaiah 52-53 Matt 8:16-17; Mark 10:45; Luke 22:20; Acts 8:32-35 lifted up Numbers 21:6-9 John 3:14-18 called God’s Son Psalms 2:1-12 Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22; Acts 4:25-28 Resurrected Psalms 16: 8-11 Acts 2:22-32; Acts 13:35-37 foresaken and pierced, but vindicated Psalms 22:1-31 Matthew 27:39; 46; Mark 15:34; John 2:17 a righteous sufferer Psalms 69 Acts 1:20; John 2:17; John 15:25; Romans 15:1-3 greater than David Psalms 110:1-4 Matthew 22:42-45; Luke 20:41-44; Acts 2:34-36 the rejected cornerstone Psalms 118: 22-24 Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10-11; Luke 20:17-18 Acclaimed Psalms 118: 25-29 Luke 13:35; Mark 11:9-10; John 12:13; Matt. 21:9 born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14 Matt 1:22-23; Luke 1:31-35 a wonderful counselor; Mighty God; everlasting Father and Prince of Peace Isaiah 9:6-7 Luke 1:32-33; 79; Acts 10:36; John 14:27; John 6:51 perform signs of healing Isaiah 35:5-6 Matt 3:1-3; Mark 1:1-3; Luke 1:76; John 1:22-23
Going in order….
Born of a woman….. no shit. This isn’t a prophecy.
Willful sacrifice…. the messiah wasn’t supposed to be a sacrifice. He was supposed to be a Ruler.
Passover lamb…. this isn’t a prophecy. Exodus 12:46 (& Numbers 9:12) are not prophecies, they are commandments. The Israelites are told not to break the bones of the Passover lamb, and this is all it is about.
Isaiah 52-53 is not about the Messiah, it’s about Israel. https://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/articles/isaiah-53-explained/
“For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.” Psalm 22:16
Fundamentalists have always claimed that the latter part of Psalm 22:16 “They pierced my hands and my feet” (which we shall designate as Psalm 22:16b) is a direct prophecy of the crucifixion; with the “piercing” referring to the nails going through Jesus’ hands and feet. Although this is not the reading found in the Hebrew Masoretic text, support is claimed from the readings found in a Dead Sea Scroll fragment and in ancient versions of the Bible such as the Septuagint and the Vulgate.
This claim is false, for a few reasons:
The Hebrew Text Behind the King James Version
Despite the claims of its accurate rendition of the original text, the Hebrew equivalent for “they pierced” was not found in the manuscripts available to the translators of the King James Version. Indeed the word rendered in those manuscripts means “like a lion”.
The Dead Sea Scrolls
The evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls, is ambiguous at best. The word found there, kaaru, has no known meaning and may actually be meaningless.
A) Before looking at the readings of the ancient versions, it is important to know some preliminary background information about them first.
B) A careful analysis of the readings given in the ancient versions does not support “they pierced” as the correct translation. Indeed the analysis shows that there were two extant readings in the Hebrew text, one being kaari (like a lion) and the other kaaru. The very fact that translators did not translate the latter word consistently showed that even by that time, the meaning of that word was no longer known.
This “virgin birth” story clearly indicates that the Greek-speaking authors of the Gospels, while educated, didn’t fully understand Judaism. Why? Because the “virgin birth” is not a criteria for becoming the Messiah. Rather, the “virgin birth” story shoots Jesus’ credibility in the foot (which isn’t so bad considering the bullet would go through the hole in Jesus’ foot. Waka-waka!) The reason why is because the Scriptures make it clear that the Messiah is to be a descendant of King David AND King Solomon, and genealogy in the Bible is only passed down from father to son (Numbers 1:1-18). So when Jesus claims that he did not have a birth father (Matt. 1:18-20) he admits that he has broken the male-to-son genealogy that could link him to David and Solomon. Christian apologists try to claim that Mary connects Jesus to David, but this approach completely ignores the fact that tribal affiliation is patrilineal. Even if we let that slide, there’s another problem. The genealogy from Luke does not include Solomon. Matthew does mention Solomon, but also says Jesus is a descendant of King Jeconiah… whose descendants have forever been disqualified as kings of Israel (Jeremiah 22:24). However you want to slice it, Jesus failed the requirements to be the messiah. These are some of the many reasons why Jews reject Jesus as the messiah (as they should! As we all should).
If anything, this list demonstrates that the Gospel authors constructed the story of Jesus entirely on bits they read in the Old Testament. In other words, Jesus is a creation of nit-picking and sewing them all together to form a legend.
Isaiah 35 is not a prophecy of the Messiah (plus mentioning “Dragons” does not help us take it seriously). Performing healing is not a sign of the Messiah.
7. Isaiah 9:6. Doesn’t matter that Jesus was never referred to as “Immanuel.” The story is in 730 BC. Isaiah said this maiden would have a child and once the child could choose honey over curds, the king of Judah would have known he was safe before the child could reach the age of reason. He wasn’t talking about Jesus. He was talking about an “unremarkable kid who lived and died centuries before Jesus.” In Matthew 1:23, an angel recited the line from Isaiah 7:14 as if that counts as a fulfilled prophecy. When the maiden turned out not to be pregnant, Isaiah got the maiden pregnant himself. And then he forgot to name the kid Immanuel. He named him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz… Isaiah “f’d up his own prophecy.”
The passages in Isaiah 7 and Isaiah 8 refer to two different people, as distinguished by the fact that God gave them two different names, Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14) and Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (Isaiah 8:2), and the fact that Immanuel was to be conceived of a virgin, while Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz was conceived when Isaiah “made love to the prophetess.”
It’s not a “fact’ that Immanuel was to be conceived of a virgin – for the last time, the word “Almah” does not mean “virgin” it means young woman. If the Messiah was born of a virgin, then he cannot by definition be a descendant of David and Solomon (parentage is always traced through the male line).
When Matthew cites Isaiah 7:14, not only does he get the “virgin birth” wrong, he [and all Christian apologists] also misunderstands the name Immanuel. The word “Immanuel” does not mean “God has become a man and walks among us” nor does it mean “God has become flesh and is with us as a man“. Such assertions contradict Scripture. According to God, he isn’t a man, as we find in (Numbers 23:19) “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”
8. Nebuchadnezzar was supposed to wipe out Tyre. Ezekiel. God was supposed to sink the island into the deep to be lost forever – just a barren bit of rock. Some have argued that it may have taken many centuries, but it was fulfilled to the letter over time. Nebuchadnezzar failed. Ezekiel says the city would never be rebuilt. But it was. It was never lost or abandoned. The city wasn’t supposed to recover, but it did. The original island remains above water and the ruins have been found again and the site still is inhabited. Later chapters talk of people trading with Tyre. “I will make you a desolate city.” He said that Egypt would be barren and desolate. Supposed to happen during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.
In Ezekiel 26:3-6, the prophet states, “Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God: and it shall become a spoil to the nations. And her daughters which are in the fields shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the Lord.”
According to J. Kenrick, in his chapter on Phoenicia and article on Tyre in the Encyclopedia Americana 1929 (pp. 388), the shore town of Tyre was in existence in the days of Nebuchadnezzar. It was “abundantly supplied with all the implements of war” and was “capable of holding out against a numerous army.” Josephus (C. Apion, 1,20) states, “Moreover, we meet with a confirmation of what Berosus says in the archives of the Phoenicians, concerning this king Nebuchodonosor, that he conquered all Syria and Phoenicia; in which case Philostratus agrees with the others in that history in which he composed, where he mentions the siege of Tyre.” This doesn’t necessarily imply that the island was destroyed. Kenrick says this of the mainland town of Tyre, “That he (Nebuchadnezzar) took and destroyed Palae-Tyre cannot be doubted, as it remained a ruin to the time of Alexander, and no other event than the attack of Nebuchadnezzar can be alleged as the cause of its being in this state” (pp. 389).
Archaeologists have documented much evidence that has connected Nebuchadnezzar with Tyre and has documented Tyre’s dependence on Babylon (Dougherty, 1920; Olmstead, 1931). Josephus quoted the records of the Phoenicians when he said that “Nebuchodonosor besieged Tyre for 13 years in the days of Ithobal their king; after him reigned Baal ten years” (C. Apion 1,21).
Volney (1787, pp. 257), the French scholar who visited Tyre in 1783 – 1785, determined that “at the time when Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to it, Tyre was on the continent.” Thus, in all likelihood, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the mainland city as in the prophecy and the inhabitants likely fled to their citadel on the island.
“A little more than two centuries later (332), Alexander, in laying siege to proud Tyre, took the ruins of the town on the continent, and built a mole across the strait. He so obliterated any evidence of the mainland city that even the dust seems to have been carried away. This part of Tyre has never been rebuilt, and from the time of Nebuchadnezzar the preeminence of the Tyrian Empire was lost. From that time on she became, as the prophecy said, –a spoil to the nations” (Ezekiel 26:5). Built partly on the island and partly on the mole, she became willing to pay tribute to any nation” (Wood, 1941).
In conclusion, while Tyre’s name lives on, it has never regained its status as an empire and it has never regained its original mainland city location. The prophecy of Ezekiel has been fulfilled.
Ezekiel predicted (26:7-14) that Nebuchadnezzar will destroy that city of Tyre. Yet even by the prophet’s own later admission, the prophecy failed (Ezekial 29:17-20).
It specifically said that King Nebuchadnezzar would be the one who destroyed Tyre. Here is the full prophecy;
“For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people. He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee. And he shall set engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers. By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover thee: thy walls shall shake at the noise of the horsemen, and of the wheels, and of the chariots, when he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city wherein is made a breach. With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets: he shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground. And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise: and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses: and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water. And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard. And I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the LORD have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.”
In this block of text God states quite blatantly that Nebuchadnezzar would sack and destroy completely the city of Tyre. However the events given in this passage never did come to pass. After a 13 year siege Nebuchadnezzar withdrew his forces. Tyre survived quite prosperously after that for another 240 years until it was done away with by Alexander the great.
The additional prophecies Fales links to Alexander are not prophecies, rather it is something called literacy analysis, where one can connect a event with that mentioned in a text to make them seem linked. Rather, the supposed “prophecies” and Alexander are two unrelated events. Fales does not even mention where in Scripture did it prophecized the death of Alexander the Great. The death of Alexander is not a impressive prediction, since he is a mortal man and commander of an army – so he was likely to be killed in combat, or gather a large sum of enemies on his road to power.
Finally, the prophecy regarding Jesus predicting the destruction of the Temple is another example of an inevitable outcome. Given Israel’s history and growing number of enemies, the destruction of the Temple is a likely ending.
What about the obvious failed prophecies not mentioned? Ezekiel 30:10,11 said Egypt would be completely destroyed and then in verse 12 predicts the Nile River will dry up. Neither of these ever happened.
9. God only talks one on one, when you’re all alone. There are no witnesses. And he only talks to crazy people.
To label millions of Christians over the centuries who have indicated that God speaks to them through prayers or in other ways as crazy is a gross over-generalization, at best.
That doesn’t stop Christians from claiming that other religious people experiencing their gods speaking to them as “crazy.”
And for SJ to have an issue with “over-generalization” is quiet hypocritical, after all she is the same person who apparently over-generalized all atheists as depressed who therefore make bad parents. I don’t Tweet, but from what I’ve heard, SJ is quiet a character.
I am in this group of so-called crazy people and I can assure readers that I am perfectly sane, living a normal life as a wife, mother of two boys, neighbor in a family-friendly community, and colleague and professor in a mid-size southeastern university in the United States.
Being sane does not make you immune to the wonders of the human brain. You’re brain is constantly firing off synapses, and it doesn’t take much to spark a sensational experience. A number of investigations have shown that deep temporal lobe stimulation in the area around the amygdala and hippocampus of the limbic system produces feelings of intense meaningfulness, of depersonalization, of a connection with God, of cosmic connectedness, of out-of-body experiences, a feeling of not being in this world, déjà vu (a feeling that something has been experienced before), jamais vu (a feeling something is happening for the first time even though it has been experienced before), fear, and hallucinations.
Since the amygdala has wide connections to all parts of the brain, it serves as a master association area for emotionally charged memories—the fears, the pleasures, wonderful tastes and smells, the sexual pleasures and other sweet things, the evil things, the spiritual experience, the dreams, the nightmares and all other experiences that make life meaningful. Stimulation of the amygdala and hippocampus is capable of bringing all these feelings and emotions from the realm of the forgotten to the realm of the here and now. These features also make this area uniquely suitable for the production of visual and auditory spiritual and religious feelings.
In addition, the superior temporal gyrus, the hippocampus, and the surrounding ectorhinal cortex have been shown to be the site of a sense of the self in space. Aberrant functioning of this area can result in the out-of-body sensations, depersonalization and derealization so common in spiritual and mystical experiences. These spiritual experiences are seen as similar to those of ordinary experiences except that they are tagged by the limbic system as of profound importance, meaningful, immensely joyous and of providing a sense of being connected to something greater than ourselves.
The temporal lobe emotional memory system is often unable to distinguish between real, external events and non-real, internally generated non-real experiences. Thus, when these internally generated spiritual experiences occur they may be perceived as totally real. It is necessary for the rational brain to understand that one of the characteristics of the spiritual brain is to strongly believe in something and have faith in something, even when the rational brain says it is unreasonable or that it did not and could not have happened. This is the essence of faith over reason. The temporolimbic system is our spiritual brain.
That explains how our brains naturally create “spiritual” feelings, yet still findings in neurological science continue to pull back the curtain even further, such as regarding where religious moral thought come from. In a revealing study by Nicholas Eply (Eply, N. et al 2009, “Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 106), Christian volunteers were asked to report their own views, the views of their deity, and the views of others on a range of controversial issues (such as legal euthanasia) while having their brain activity scanned. Results show that thinking about divine views activated the same brain regions as thinking about their own views, indicating that when believing themselves to be consulting the divine moral compass, theists may instead be doing is doing what the rest of us do: searching their own conscience. An idea further supported by the finding that manipulating the subjects beliefs consistently influence their views about divine beliefs. As Eply put it, “Intuiting God’s beliefs…may serve as an echo chamber to validate and justify one’s own beliefs.”
Jesus called on us to go out into all the world and spread the Good News – and I take His calling very seriously. If we all did, we would achieve world peace, eternal joy, and heaven on earth.
No we wouldn’t achieve any of that. Why? History proves that Christians will never let that happen. Even when Europe was predominately Christian, it fell into the Hundred Years War, where Catholics fought and killed Protestants, and vice-versa. Even when sects of Christians escaped Europe and fled to America, one of the first things they did was persecute each other across the colonies. Thinking that if the whole world converting to Christianity will lead to peace is nothing but a fantasy. It will no more likely happen then the world converting to Islam and living under Sharia will bring world peace (screw that).
10. Exodus 17:14 God would rather you not know who Amalek is, so he indicated that he “will blot out the memory of Amalek” under heaven. How does anyone know that name today? You can’t remove someone from history by citing their name in history.”
The Amalekites were a Biblical people who descended from Amalek, a grandson of Esau. The first reference to the Amalekites can be found in Genesis 14 and the last references are found in the Book of Esther and in the reign of King Hezekiah in the 8th century, B.C. In Esther, the villain, Haman, is said to be a descendant of an Amalekite prince. Jewish tradition views the Amalekites as enemies of both God and Israel.
The fact that SJ can cite this and name Amalek, in so doing she proves that her God failed to wipe out the memory of Amalek.
But still, is SJ’s account accurate? Archaeologist and historian Hugo Winckler suggested in 1895 that there were never any such people and the Biblical stories concerning them are entirely mythological and without any connection to actual historical events. (Singer, Isidore (1901). The Jewish encyclopedia: a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (2004 reprint ed.). Cornell University Library.)
What I find extraordinary about these comments is the same person who denies the historical, extra-biblical, and archaeological support that we have for Jesus Christ and the New Testament (Aron) calls attention to the historicity of the Amalekites, a group of people whom no one outside of the Bible has recorded.
Where is the archeological evidence for Christ? Seriously, name one. Do it. Go ahead.
In other words, we have no archaeological or historical records of the Amalekites outside of the Bible. Essentially, both they and their memories have been blotted out.
There is no archeological or historical records of the Amalekites because they are completely mythical. Just as there is no archeological or historical records of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
11. No morality to be found in this compilation of fables. Honor thy father and they mother. If the preacher’s daughter turns out to be a party girl, the Bible says you can set her on fire and put her to death…God tells Moses thou shall not kill and then tells him to kill every man and his brother…God has twice scrapped his divine plan and killed everybody – except for the one guy who’s righteous enough to save in God’s eyes.
Bible skeptics often pull passages out of context from the Old and New Testaments to assert that God lacks morals. What’s interesting is that most atheists are moral relativists, which means they believe that morals are constructions of the cultures in which people were raised. They do not advocate objective morality in which one believes that we can call upon objective standards of justice, equality, and equity to judge the appropriateness and ethics of various human actions and behaviors regardless of culture or era.
But it’s believers in the Bible that DO advocate objective morality, yet re-read what Aron said!!! If there was objective morality in the Bible, there would never be anything remotely close to “thou shall not kill…. now go kill your kinsmen.”
This is the point: the hypocrisy of “objective morality” based on the Bible. This goes to show there is no “objective morality” in the Bible, let alone in theism.
The reason atheists do not adhere to objective morality is because they realize if such morality exists, a divine source is required as evolution can’t explain same.
A divine source is not required for objective morality. If anything, it makes morality subjective again. Why? Think about it: if there is a God, does God say X is wrong because he says it is, or is X wrong because it’s wrong. If X is wrong because God says it is, then morality is dictated on the whim of a being. If X is wrong because it is wrong, then a divine source is not required to account for objective morality.
That said, Aron has borrowed our Christian standards of justice to judge God’s actions.
One, no he doesn’t.
Two, Christian standards were borrowed from the pagans. As Aron has already pointed out, humanity had already figured out the golden rule all over the world before even Judaism entered the stage.
Three, Christianity is not the originator of morals, just as English is not the originator of grammar.
What Aron does not realize is because God is omniscient, He can see the potential benefits and drawbacks and destruction inherent in permitting the advancement of various populations on the planet. In 2 Chronicles 28, for example, King Ahaz demonstrated the prevalent values of those worshipping the Baals when he burned his own children in a fire as sacrifices. In response, the Lord delivered him into the hands of his enemies. Imagine if such child sacrifices were still prevalent today. The Lord, with his foresight and vision, recognizes when to permit populations to advance and when to hinder their advancement. If one considers ISIS or Boko Haram today, one might be able to draw similarities between them and the Assyrians, Chaldeans, or the Babylonians in Biblical times who are no longer in power, for good reason.
Would you as a parent create a dozen kids, and before they reach the age of 9, would you kill the ones that you figured were unworthy? Does that sound like loving parenting to anyone?
When Aron states that God has “twice scrapped his divine plan,” he is making the monumental presumptions that he is both privy to God’s divine plan and that God is not omniscient.
Pointing out that regret and omniscience is internally contradictory is not “presumptions,” it’s simple logic. If a being is omniscient, it knows what will happen according to it’s plan, and it therefore cannot regret something it already planned to do.
Because God is omniscient, God has seen both the beginning and the ending of life on this planet. The reasons he has made modifications to the Old Testament with the New Covenant is because humans needed the sorts of laws issued in the Old Testament to thrive before Christ, while they need the laws and directives of the New Covenant to thrive in times after Christ’s resurrection.
So God thought it was a good idea to command and grant us to have slaves before AND after Jesus?
If God already knew that a “sacrificial lamb” was needed in order to save humanity, why not create one right after Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden?
While human civilization has changed as it has advanced, God has neither changed nor have his plans for us changed.
P1) A perfect being is not subject to change.
P2) A perfect being knows everything.
P3) A being that knows everything always knows what time it is.
P4) A being that always knows what time it is, is subject to change.
P5) A perfect being is subject to change.
P6) A perfect being is not perfect being; Finally therefore;
C) There is no perfect being.
12. Creationism. A 600 year old man built an ark with primitive tools. Can you imagine being on an ark with one window? “We need to be a lot less tolerant of people pushing this wrong-headed dogma… They don’t have the right to deceive and manipulate other people and that’s what they’re doing. Emotionally yoking credulous innocence for monetary gain.”
Pot meet kettle.
Calling an apple and orange, are we? While Aron does collect money for his videos via Patreon, it’s barely enough for anyone to get buy. Whereas professional creationists that Aron Ra challenges are making a huge mint.
Take Ken Ham for instance, he managed to get a hold of millions of dollars to piss away on a large wooden boat to house a bunch of stuffed animals instead of housing the homeless.
In all seriousness, creationism presents dilemmas for Christians who interpret the Bible in varying ways. Some interpret Genesis in a way that suggests that the earth is around 6,000 years old. Ken Ham and the AIG group are among these sorts of Christians, known as “young earth creationists.” Others interpret Genesis as a metaphor, discounting the age of a young earth. Many Catholics fall into this group, endorsing an older earth and evolution.
The fact that there is a divide among Christians demonstrates that a “omniscient” God is a failure at communication.
Some believe the Bible is in error, while others believe in its inerrancy. I happen to be in the latter group. I firmly believe in the Bible’s inerrancy. Any time I’ve investigated and reconciled Biblical passages, as I did in a previous blog when I reconciled the four accounts of the empty tomb, I’ve discovered that the accounts of the Bible marry well together as pieces in a puzzle.
The main way she reconciled the accounts of the empty tomb was denying a lot of it and ignoring Richard Carrier pointing out that there would not be a tomb.
I believe that our interpretations of Genesis may be erroneous if we make assumptions that restrict Adam, Eve, and Noah by our natural limitations and force a literal understanding of their message.
So what does that mean? Are we to assume that Adam to Noah were like mutants from the X-Men?
We do not need to ignore geological, archaeological, and historical data that suggest an older earth to be consistent with Biblical teachings. In other words, it is not the Word that is erroneous, but man’s interpretations of the Word that may be erroneous.
Even if we take the Bible as metaphorical, it’s still a metaphor filled with falsehoods and inaccuracies. For instance, even if we assume Genesis took place over a course of billions of years instead of a week, it still says that birds existed before any land animals — and we know for a fact that the truth is exactly backwards.
As Aron pointed out, young earth creationists are a thorn in his side. Selling a literal interpretation of the Bible and a 6,000 year old earth is likely to lead many Christians astray as they are forced to reconcile what they have learned in school with what is taught by young earth creationists. It does not need to be that way.
Says the woman who is supportive of Intelligent Design. Without realizing it, she herself is just like the young-earth creationists she is letting down. Every time SJ defends Intelligent Design, she is defending a pseudoscience that will “lead many Christians astray.”
The focus is and always has been on Jesus, regardless of the way we interpret Genesis. United as Christians we stand; divided we fall.
Christians will always be divided, because the Bible itself is not a clear-cut book. And book that has no straight moral compass is a book that will only spread confusion, and that confusion leads to divisiveness and conflict.