Author Topic: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man  (Read 213480 times)

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Offline Stadler

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2240 on: March 01, 2021, 08:20:13 AM »
Why?  YOU'RE not perfect, so why should you assume that?  I'm not digging on you personally, I mean "you" as in mankind.  We are, if you believe the scripture, made imperfectly in God's image.  Again, if you believe, the error here is not in God, or the perfection of his message, but in YOU.  I think an argument can be made that the teacher isn't meant to make something less ambiguous, but to remove your humanity from the equation.

See, this reasoning seems fundamentally flawed to me.

I don't understand why I would need a human teacher in order to remove my humanity from the equation.  A human teacher asserts humanity into the equation.  It seems to me that if I wanted to remove my humanity from the equation, I would need to turn away from humanity and just focus on the book.  The book is perfect, after all, and humanity fundamentally isn't. 

A perfect God has left perfect instructions which I can only understand by relying on other imperfect people.  And in that way, it seems to me that I am being expected to place more trust in the imperfect people than in the perfect message. 


(Of course, that does rely on my own ability to understand the perfect message.  Which leads back to the question at the top of your post. Perhaps I am mistaken to trust in my own faculty for rational thought and reasoning, but I don't know how to operate on the opposite assumption.  If I am to dismiss my own capacity for rational thought and reasoning, then anything could be true.  Maybe the Greek Pantheon is real.  Maybe J.K. Rowling is a divine being and Harry Potter is literal cosmic truth.  I reject those conclusions because they don't make any sense to me, but if I'm going to assume that my own ability to determine what makes sense is fundamentally unreliable, then all bets are off.  And since madness lies in that direction, I do my best to work with what makes sense to me.)

Look, you're right; it's a potentially logically invalid proposition I'm putting forward.  I know that.  And I also know, as I said above, that I'm probably out of line in this discussion, since I'm coming at this from a very different place than Jammin' is*.   I just feel like this point of view should be out there, because I know in reading "philosophers" (in quotes not because I disagree that he's a philosopher, just that I don't know what he would call himself) like Hitchens, I find deep, fundamental flaws in his reasoning and his assumptions.

I also know that the distinction between "religion" and "spirituality" is often blurred beyond recognition.  I am very explicitly NOT talking about Jammindude here (he and I have talked about this a bit) but I have a latent distrust of laypeople who purport to "know" the word of God.  The sort of traditional "trope" of the wise, knowledgeable rabbi who is above it all doesn't resonate with me at all.  He (or she) has an agenda as much as the next person, even if that agenda is to garner the trust of his flock. In that way, I see them to be more politicians than anything else.

To steal Dave's references for a moment, I'm just sort of equating spiritual enlightenment with scientific enlightenment.   I don't just sit down and solve the unified theory of relativity, and even if conceptually I can formulate what it might look like, I still need to be able to put it into terms that others can understand and communicate.  I don't know that the teacher's humanness is a burden; they don't need to make any intellectual leaps as much as just give us the terminology to move forward.

* It's just one of my favorite conversations of all; I've spent more time in my life working through this stuff than almost anything else.   I remember being at university, and taking a time out from the engineering, the drinking and everything else, and just spending an hour or two a week with a very forgiving priest at the local parish (who, incidentally, might be like the rabbi's I mentioned above, but also might not.  He seemed rather pragmatic about being a priest in a parish situated on the campus of what was at the time one of Playboy's Top Five Party Schools (No. 5 if memory serves; MTV came one year.)  :))

Offline Jaffa

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2241 on: March 01, 2021, 08:47:37 AM »
To steal Dave's references for a moment, I'm just sort of equating spiritual enlightenment with scientific enlightenment.   I don't just sit down and solve the unified theory of relativity, and even if conceptually I can formulate what it might look like, I still need to be able to put it into terms that others can understand and communicate.  I don't know that the teacher's humanness is a burden; they don't need to make any intellectual leaps as much as just give us the terminology to move forward.

For what it's worth, my question about teachers was not meant to apply unilaterally to all religions or ideas.  I meant to ask it in the specific context of a framework where the Bible is the literal perfect word of God.  In a framework where God exists and flawed humans wrote the Bible in an effort to understand Him, my question goes out the window, because then we're all just learning together as best as we can.  My point is that if we do have a source of literal perfect truth, filtering that through a lens of imperfect human teaching seems to inherently muddy the waters of that truth.

As for the general parallel between spiritual enlightenment and scientific enlightenment, I don't object.  My only caveat is that it should only apply to frameworks where truth is discoverable.  In the Christian framework (or at least the fundamentalist framework), truth and moral goodness are both intrinsically connected to God, and cannot be achieved or discovered without Him.  In that sense, I think a distinction should be drawn from science, where it is possible to replicate the results of an experiment without knowing anything about any other scientists. 
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Offline Stadler

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2242 on: March 01, 2021, 08:49:44 AM »
What happened that made the life spans drop so drastically after the flood? I have absolutely no idea.

But what allows us to unearth scientific truth is that the laws of physics that exist today are the exact same laws that existed billions of years ago. Were it otherwise we would not have come to a point where last week we parked a helicopter on the surface of Mars. It's a common point but it's always worth re-stating:  if tomorrow we were to burn every copy of the Bible, the Bible will not come back a thousand years from now, but if we burn every copy of the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, it will come back in the exact same form one day in the future. Because its truth is immutable, eternal and discoverable by every culture and society. The Jesus story is not. Were it not for violent imperialism we would not even know of it today.

Respectfully, are you blurring historical fact and the moral aspect of the Bible?  I'm a little confused why you wrote "legal and historical" in there.  Those can be gathered from extant, independent sources, regardless, and aren't ambiguous as "the word of God", but are subject to the way that all history is viewed through the current perspective of the viewer.  But if those facts are wiped they are lost, just as the existence of Thomas Jefferson would be wiped if the sources and accounts of his life were lost.   

The Bible isn't analogous to a mathematical theorem.   There ARE other recurring iterations of the moral aspect of the Bible, and I think there's probably a likelihood that in a 1,000 years that aspect of the book WOULD come back.  How do you account for the fact that countless civilizations, mutually exclusive of each other in time and space, have consistently arrived at similar if not identical constructs for moral and philosophical truth? 

Offline jammindude

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2243 on: March 01, 2021, 09:26:25 AM »
Just a point of clarification to something that Stadler said earlier.

I do believe that God is the author of the Bible. That doesn’t mean that I necessarily think that he wrote it down himself by his own hand as he did the stone tablets with Moses.

“For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were moved by holy spirit.” 2 Pet 1:21

Think of it like a secretary penning an official letter from the head of a corporation. He may dictate and outline the letter, he may even tell her to add certain details at her own discretion, but it is submitted to him for final approval, and when he signs it, the letter is considered to have come from him...not the secretary.

Just felt that what I actually believe had been slightly miscast and I wanted to make sure that is clear.

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Online Ben_Jamin

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2244 on: March 01, 2021, 10:06:50 AM »
Just a point of clarification to something that Stadler said earlier.

I do believe that God is the author of the Bible. That doesn’t mean that I necessarily think that he wrote it down himself by his own hand as he did the stone tablets with Moses.

“For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were moved by holy spirit.” 2 Pet 1:21

Think of it like a secretary penning an official letter from the head of a corporation. He may dictate and outline the letter, he may even tell her to add certain details at her own discretion, but it is submitted to him for final approval, and when he signs it, the letter is considered to have come from him...not the secretary.

Just felt that what I actually believe had been slightly miscast and I wanted to make sure that is clear.

Like how Demons can influence people to do things, some see Alcohol as this and why they termed it Spirits. So can God influence people to do things. You know where people suddenly get this spark of purpose and end up creating something really beneficial for humanity, could be seen as being influenced by God.


I like this quote from The Prophecy, I heard this in Milliontoen by Frost*

"Did you ever notice how in the Bible, whenever God needed to punish someone, or make an example, or whenever God needed a killing, he sent an angel?...Would you ever really want to see an angel?"
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2245 on: March 01, 2021, 12:50:17 PM »
I don't believe the Bible is literally the unadulterated, unaltered word of God direct from his hand, independent of the world in which we live.  I believe it's a compendium, an anthology, transcribed and assembled by various men, and so itself flawed.
I agree with this, as far as it goes.

In fact, not only do I not think the Bible is direct from God's hand; I don't think he had anything to do with the writing down of it, at all.  I think it is the written record of the response to God from the ancient Jewish community as well as the early Christian community, 100% written (and sometimes re-written) by natural born people.
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Offline Dave_Manchester

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2246 on: March 01, 2021, 01:57:13 PM »
If 'God' has made us imperfectly and with a propensity to misunderstand then it becomes even more important to be clear in his message, especially when seeking to promulgate eternal moral laws. When almost immediately after the events at Sinai Moses is dispatching his army to slaughter the 'profane' we can assume that even he wasn't sure about the whole 'thou shalt not kill' part of the message he'd just received (forgiveably, given all the bloodbaths God had a habit of either ordering or carrying out himself). Human fallibility is not the reason for the ambiguity of the Bible. At our best we are an astonishingly brilliant species, capable of uncovering remarkable truths through mathematics, science, literature and general inquisitiveness. At our worst we use our preferred interpretations of desert tribe fairy tales to justify our bigotry of choice. If some of the most profoundly intelligent men and women of history from Hume to Nietszche to Hawking have read the Bible and found it to be anything other than a roadmap to 'God', the problem is not 'our' imperfection. We're a species that is capable of solving the inconceivably complex Prime Number Theorem, splitting the atom and mapping out the human genome. If God can't coherently communicate to a species like that then it's entirely his own fault.

I should probably stay out of this, because one's base assumptions play such a huge role in the discussion.  I believe in (a) God, and yet, I believe that any spirituality and science has to align.   So I come from a different point of assumption than Jammin is.   I don't believe the Bible is literally the unadulterated, unaltered word of God direct from his hand, independent of the world in which we live.  I believe it's a compendium, an anthology, transcribed and assembled by various men, and so itself flawed.

I also don't believe we - the human species - are capable of handling all information at one time.  I don't think that is a controversial statement; one look around the world over the past 100 years - hell, we can limit it just to the 21st century - can tell you that.  Just like the body evolves to protect itself over time, so the brain.  It's not - to me - a sign of any personification of "him" that (a) god has opted to mete out information in a way we can handle it.  I still think there is as much likelihood that this discussion is about the limitations of man as opposed to either the limitations or non-existance of (a) god.

I don't disagree with any of that, but my posts were specifically about the claims that 1) the Bible is unambiguous and 2) IF someone perceives ambiguity within the Bible it's a result of human fallibility rather than the book itself being a garbled mess that was not meant to be taken seriously by people of our era, I mean a post-Enlightenment civilisation that doesn't so readily accept the fantastical as factual. If you have a grounding in anthropology, biology, geology, take your pick, you know Methuselah did not live to 969 years old. Saying (as Jammin did) that times were just magically different back then is literally impossible to argue with, because it is not an argument. The nonsensical aspects of the Bible can't and shouldn't be explained away with just yet more baseless conjecture about how the ecology was so different after 'The Flood' that it shaved 900 years from our lifespan. God illustrated his fresh start with humanity by tweaking the atmosphere and having us die off 10 times quicker? Rainbows are nice but I still call that a raw deal.

"Thou shalt not kill"
"Ok, got it"
"Now go commit rape, murder, human sacrifice and genocide on my orders"
"Huh?"

^^ That kind of thing is not an example of the limitations of human understanding, it's the result of a group of religious and political hustlers cobbling together a set of self-serving laws and treaties designed to scare, manipulate and control primitive people and to provide justification for their wars (similar to today when your American presidents suggest God is rooting for you guys in your various wars). I have read some complex books in my time. The Bible is not one of them. Its relative simplicity is what makes it so easily dismissable as "the perfectly coherent word of God". 

What you are talking about is a different thing entirely, you're talking not about the Bible and its God but about a kind of personal God that has no connection to any of the organised religions. You're talking about the knowability of 'God', the apprehension of him, in the mind of man, which I'll get to in my reply to your other post.
"As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts' desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron" - H.L.Mencken, 26th July 1920.

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Offline jammindude

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2247 on: March 01, 2021, 02:16:23 PM »
Come on Dave.  I usually count on you to be the voice of reason in the room.   But even you must know nothing in the Bible comes remotely close to saying that.   

While the King James version does say "Thou shalt not kill"....ANY commentator will tell you that the context and oldest manuscripts distinctly frame this as the taking of an innocent life, which is why many translations render it, "You must not murder."   

People did rape, God punished it in his law (which some people take issue with, but he certainly DID NOT command it which is what you're implying)

Human sacrifice was right out and actually one of the reasons he allowed Jerusalem to be destroyed by Babylon, because they began to engage in the practice and he detested it. 

You may not agree with many of the finer points, but don't act like anything you just claimed the Bible said is factual. 
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Offline Dave_Manchester

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2248 on: March 01, 2021, 03:29:54 PM »
What happened that made the life spans drop so drastically after the flood? I have absolutely no idea.

But what allows us to unearth scientific truth is that the laws of physics that exist today are the exact same laws that existed billions of years ago. Were it otherwise we would not have come to a point where last week we parked a helicopter on the surface of Mars. It's a common point but it's always worth re-stating:  if tomorrow we were to burn every copy of the Bible, the Bible will not come back a thousand years from now, but if we burn every copy of the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, it will come back in the exact same form one day in the future. Because its truth is immutable, eternal and discoverable by every culture and society. The Jesus story is not. Were it not for violent imperialism we would not even know of it today.

Respectfully, are you blurring historical fact and the moral aspect of the Bible?  I'm a little confused why you wrote "legal and historical" in there.  Those can be gathered from extant, independent sources, regardless, and aren't ambiguous as "the word of God", but are subject to the way that all history is viewed through the current perspective of the viewer.  But if those facts are wiped they are lost, just as the existence of Thomas Jefferson would be wiped if the sources and accounts of his life were lost.   

The Bible isn't analogous to a mathematical theorem.   There ARE other recurring iterations of the moral aspect of the Bible, and I think there's probably a likelihood that in a 1,000 years that aspect of the book WOULD come back.  How do you account for the fact that countless civilizations, mutually exclusive of each other in time and space, have consistently arrived at similar if not identical constructs for moral and philosophical truth?

To be honest I don't really understand your first paragraph and I'll need you to elaborate. I didn't mention "legal and historical" in the post you've quoted, that was part of a separate point about defining ambiguity (in other words why historical events happen is a matter of interpretation, as is why certain laws are enacted, whereas the number 969 is not a debatable thing, there's no need for interpretation here. The dude was said to be 969, end of story). I was giving an example of a 'fact' in the Bible that is not open to interpretation, by way of rejecting the "it's not the Bible's fault if it appears to be talking nonsense" theory.

As for the 2nd paragraph, of course other religions and origin stories share a basic morality (in amongst the disclaimers of who can be killed). Any society or culture that promotes theft and murder as virtues would not survive long enough to even have their own versions of the 'dying-and-rising-deity' story (of which there are maaaaany many many) recorded for posterity. This isn't 'God', this is simple anthopology and sociology. Humans have a vested interest in structuring their societies along certain 'moral' and 'legal' lines if they hope to survive. That's why one of the first things the desert tribe religions seek to do is subjugate women and chain them to an animal cycle of reproduction; to first and foremost ensure the survival of the tribe. Executing homosexuals has the same rationale. Again, this is just evolution. Have you read Matt Ridley's book The Origin of Virue? Do so if not, it's informative on this subject. The question "Did God create man or did man create many Gods" has a clear answer to me, and it's no mystery why those 'many Gods' share so many characteristics, both humane and inhumane. Man himself is a mixture of compassion and savagery and it's reflected in the Gods we create.       

None is which is to say I think there is no God. I have no idea if there is or isn't. I think it's unlikely but I'm hoping to be proven wrong because I like to think there are other places and other chances to comprehend creation. One lifetime is not enough. I'm also not above vulnerability and so I hope to in some form encounter my loved ones again, or at least to know they haven't been extinguished and are around for someone else to encounter in some other realm and create happiness there for them as they did here for me. But people are arrogant and they like to assume that the dominant religion of their exact time and their exact place just so happens to be the correct one. The Muslims think it in Saudi Arabia, the Jews think it in Israel, the Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists think it in India, the Catholics think it in Rome, the Protestants think it in England. Just a complete lack of historical perspective and an understanding of imperialism.

To pontificate: IF a God exists I tend to think art is how it can be revealed and known. I feel closest to a spiritual state when listening to, for example, Beethoven's 9th symphony or reading King Lear. I've been fortunate to know a few profoundly 'holy' people in my life. None of them were 'religious'. They just had a depth of compassion and moral wisdom that seemed to be from a different kind of place. And I know one person who claims to have personally witnessed a miracle, and it happens to be the one person who I trust more than anyone else in the world in her judgement: my wife. So I have no idea and I'm agnostic on that subject.
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Offline Dave_Manchester

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2249 on: March 01, 2021, 03:50:29 PM »
Come on Dave.  I usually count on you to be the voice of reason in the room.   But even you must know nothing in the Bible comes remotely close to saying that.   

While the King James version does say "Thou shalt not kill"....ANY commentator will tell you that the context and oldest manuscripts distinctly frame this as the taking of an innocent life, which is why many translations render it, "You must not murder."   

You may not agree with many of the finer points, but don't act like anything you just claimed the Bible said is factual.

You begin by saying "Nothing in the Bible comes remotely close to saying that" and your very next sentence tells me that the actual words I am looking at in the actual Bible that is currently open before my actual eyes (it says "thou shalt not kill") have to be changed to different words and then interpreted through the vague definition of "innocent" people (not one soul in Canaan was innocent?). It's incredibly easy to justify murder if you have a laundry list of who is considered "innocent" and who is considered "guilty". God-sanctioned genocide doesn't become noble because we've decided they were guilty of some petty transgression. That's some ISIS-level shit.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2021, 06:25:35 PM by Dave_Manchester »
"As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts' desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron" - H.L.Mencken, 26th July 1920.

"China has total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump's very very large brain" - American President Donald Trump, 26th September 2018.

Offline El Barto

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2250 on: March 01, 2021, 03:54:51 PM »
Come on Dave.  I usually count on you to be the voice of reason in the room.   But even you must know nothing in the Bible comes remotely close to saying that.   

While the King James version does say "Thou shalt not kill"....ANY commentator will tell you that the context and oldest manuscripts distinctly frame this as the taking of an innocent life, which is why many translations render it, "You must not murder."   

People did rape, God punished it in his law (which some people take issue with, but he certainly DID NOT command it which is what you're implying)

Human sacrifice was right out and actually one of the reasons he allowed Jerusalem to be destroyed by Babylon, because they began to engage in the practice and he detested it. 

You may not agree with many of the finer points, but don't act like anything you just claimed the Bible said is factual.
I've been staying out of this discussion for the most part. Not because I'm disinterested, but rather because other people are making my points for me. Dave has hit on a few of them, but in all honesty, you're making my case (and Dave's) better than either of us can. When you take something as plain, as clear cut, as concrete and absolute as "thou shalt not kill," and say "oh, we all know that's not what God really meant," there's not really anything I feel I can add to the discussion to better make my point.
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Offline jammindude

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2251 on: March 01, 2021, 05:52:13 PM »
Come on Dave.  I usually count on you to be the voice of reason in the room.   But even you must know nothing in the Bible comes remotely close to saying that.   

While the King James version does say "Thou shalt not kill"....ANY commentator will tell you that the context and oldest manuscripts distinctly frame this as the taking of an innocent life, which is why many translations render it, "You must not murder."   

People did rape, God punished it in his law (which some people take issue with, but he certainly DID NOT command it which is what you're implying)

Human sacrifice was right out and actually one of the reasons he allowed Jerusalem to be destroyed by Babylon, because they began to engage in the practice and he detested it. 

You may not agree with many of the finer points, but don't act like anything you just claimed the Bible said is factual.
I've been staying out of this discussion for the most part. Not because I'm disinterested, but rather because other people are making my points for me. Dave has hit on a few of them, but in all honesty, you're making my case (and Dave's) better than either of us can. When you take something as plain, as clear cut, as concrete and absolute as "thou shalt not kill," and say "oh, we all know that's not what God really meant," there's not really anything I feel I can add to the discussion to better make my point.

You’re both talking about an English “version” that is 4 centuries old.

This is exactly the mistake that is made so often. Parrot what religion says and use it as an excuse to discredit the source.

This is like saying that because they stormed the capital, the constitution is a roll of toilet paper. That is literally the leap you’re both making.

Here’s a novel concept...we actually have MORE resources today than we did in the dark ages (not sure why people think otherwise) That means Bible translation is actually making MORE accurate bible’s than existed in 1611.

Although I would also argue that I sometimes feel like people are becoming less understanding as time goes on. Those who could read a Bible in 1611 were capable of inferring from context that “thou shalt kill” ....which then carried the death penalty for violating....by itself... lent to the idea that any reasonable man could conclude.

People are just grasping at straws because of bias instead of being reasonable.

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Than the pride that divides when a colorful rag is unfurled." - Neil Peart

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Offline jammindude

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2252 on: March 01, 2021, 06:10:36 PM »
Also, at Genesis 15:16, God told Abraham that the reason he was going to wait 400 years was because the society of the Amorites (the dominant group of Canaan in Abraham’s time) had not degraded badly enough to warrant the death penalty.

But then the mosaic law at Leviticus chapter 18 goes down a very long laundry list of depraved practices that the Israelites were to eliminate entirely....the chapter ends by saying that it is because the Canaanites were engaging in all of the above that they were being wiped out.
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Offline Dave_Manchester

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2253 on: March 01, 2021, 06:15:28 PM »
the chapter ends by saying that it is because the Canaanites were engaging in all of the above that they were being wiped out.

Those poor children.
"As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts' desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron" - H.L.Mencken, 26th July 1920.

"China has total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump's very very large brain" - American President Donald Trump, 26th September 2018.

Offline Stadler

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2254 on: March 02, 2021, 08:04:32 AM »
Respectfully, are you blurring historical fact and the moral aspect of the Bible?  I'm a little confused why you wrote "legal and historical" in there.  Those can be gathered from extant, independent sources, regardless, and aren't ambiguous as "the word of God", but are subject to the way that all history is viewed through the current perspective of the viewer.  But if those facts are wiped they are lost, just as the existence of Thomas Jefferson would be wiped if the sources and accounts of his life were lost.   

The Bible isn't analogous to a mathematical theorem.   There ARE other recurring iterations of the moral aspect of the Bible, and I think there's probably a likelihood that in a 1,000 years that aspect of the book WOULD come back.  How do you account for the fact that countless civilizations, mutually exclusive of each other in time and space, have consistently arrived at similar if not identical constructs for moral and philosophical truth?

To be honest I don't really understand your first paragraph and I'll need you to elaborate. I didn't mention "legal and historical" in the post you've quoted, that was part of a separate point about defining ambiguity (in other words why historical events happen is a matter of interpretation, as is why certain laws are enacted, whereas the number 969 is not a debatable thing, there's no need for interpretation here. The dude was said to be 969, end of story). I was giving an example of a 'fact' in the Bible that is not open to interpretation, by way of rejecting the "it's not the Bible's fault if it appears to be talking nonsense" theory.

I was referring to this line in your post #2230:  "And to follow up on Jaffa's post there, we're talking only about parts of the Bible that invite interpretation, in other words the moral, legal and historical aspects." and I was asking about including the legal and historical aspects.  You've explained part of it - the "whys" are up for interpretation - but the facts of the legalities and historical events aren't really.  They either happened or they didn't, and it's not "interpretation" per se that gets us to a conclusion, it's just an incomplete set of facts.   Like a math theorem that needs a prior proof to be completed.

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As for the 2nd paragraph, of course other religions and origin stories share a basic morality (in amongst the disclaimers of who can be killed). Any society or culture that promotes theft and murder as virtues would not survive long enough to even have their own versions of the 'dying-and-rising-deity' story (of which there are maaaaany many many) recorded for posterity. This isn't 'God', this is simple anthopology and sociology. Humans have a vested interest in structuring their societies along certain 'moral' and 'legal' lines if they hope to survive. That's why one of the first things the desert tribe religions seek to do is subjugate women and chain them to an animal cycle of reproduction; to first and foremost ensure the survival of the tribe. Executing homosexuals has the same rationale. Again, this is just evolution. Have you read Matt Ridley's book The Origin of Virue? Do so if not, it's informative on this subject. The question "Did God create man or did man create many Gods" has a clear answer to me, and it's no mystery why those 'many Gods' share so many characteristics, both humane and inhumane. Man himself is a mixture of compassion and savagery and it's reflected in the Gods we create.     

I have to read that book; I'm not familiar with it, unfortunately.   But need the answer be binary and mutually exclusive?    Things like this cloud the issue immeasurably in my mind; I can't speak of other times and other cultures, but with the commonality of "gods", so the commonality of fearing things that threaten us or that we don't understand.   So the commonality of finding answers to that which we can't readily explain.   I know you're not really interested in "feelings" in this context - and neither am I, frankly - but it's just as likely, in my opinion, that the answer to "did God create man or did man create many Gods" is "yes".  I've always taken the approach that we, humans, will fill our understanding to "100", and that "100" is comprised of some percentage of "god/spirituality" and some percentage of "science".  At varying times in our existence, the ratio changed; as our scientific know-how increases, our "god/spirituality" decreases.  The $64,000 question for me is and always has been, "does god/spirituality go to zero?".   I don't know the answer to that, so technically I'm agnostic, though I believe the answer is "no". 

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None is which is to say I think there is no God. I have no idea if there is or isn't. I think it's unlikely but I'm hoping to be proven wrong because I like to think there are other places and other chances to comprehend creation. One lifetime is not enough. I'm also not above vulnerability and so I hope to in some form encounter my loved ones again, or at least to know they haven't been extinguished and are around for someone else to encounter in some other realm and create happiness there for them as they did here for me. But people are arrogant and they like to assume that the dominant religion of their exact time and their exact place just so happens to be the correct one. The Muslims think it in Saudi Arabia, the Jews think it in Israel, the Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists think it in India, the Catholics think it in Rome, the Protestants think it in England. Just a complete lack of historical perspective and an understanding of imperialism.

I'm not really going to comment on such a personal statement (suffice to say we would be clinking glasses at the first part), but to the last part, I think we have fundamentally different take on humanity; I don't get the sense there's any sympathy or kindness - in the psychology sense of the word - to your viewpoint.  No judgement, observation.  I'm kinder, in that up until oppression and death, I'm more reluctant to judge for that superiority.  How is that any different than any other level of "superiority" that humans feel for their political beliefs, their health beliefs, their social beliefs...  Most of us to some degree believe that our way of looking at the world is the "right" or "only" way. 

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To pontificate: IF a God exists I tend to think art is how it can be revealed and known. I feel closest to a spiritual state when listening to, for example, Beethoven's 9th symphony or reading King Lear. I've been fortunate to know a few profoundly 'holy' people in my life. None of them were 'religious'. They just had a depth of compassion and moral wisdom that seemed to be from a different kind of place. And I know one person who claims to have personally witnessed a miracle, and it happens to be the one person who I trust more than anyone else in the world in her judgement: my wife. So I have no idea and I'm agnostic on that subject.

It's an interesting thing, isn't it?   I'm pretty quick to dismiss people on TV, or people who make it their job to "spread the word", but, although I'm more vocal about what I THINK is up, I also admit that I have no idea, and I truly am open to whatever answer science arrives at.   Unless I'm misunderstanding, I think we have similar points of view on this.

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2255 on: March 02, 2021, 09:49:19 AM »
How do you account for the fact that countless civilizations, mutually exclusive of each other in time and space, have consistently arrived at similar if not identical constructs for moral and philosophical truth?

Dave already touched on this, but I have two quick(ish) thoughts to add.

1. If you're going to raise this question, it seems prudent to address the other side of the coin.  If God and His divine truth are responsible for the relative consistency of moral codes throughout history, how do we account for the inconsistencies?  It seems questionable to give God credit for our common ground without addressing our differences. 

2. I think there's a fairly strong argument to be made that social contracts are a necessary component of societies, and that certain laws (read: moral codes) are fundamentally necessary for the success of social contracts.  The Golden Rule, for example, essentially involves taking the consideration that we naturally extend to ourselves and our family units, and expanding its scope to include those around us.  This seems like a fairly natural step in the process of transitioning from individuals and packs to tribes and civilizations.  You can't thrive as a society if the members of your society are freely allowed to kill each other, so most societies are going to have laws about killing people.  It's worth noting that the actual details of those laws do vary pretty significantly, with the definition of 'murder' being treated differently depending on societal factors like interdependence and power structure.  It's easy to illustrate this by looking at how many cultures have treated human sacrifice as different from murder - that distinction wouldn't hold up by most modern standards, but it made perfect sense in early Egypt when serving the Pharaoh in the afterlife was considered an honor.  Which suggests to me that the moral codes we take for granted depend on pragmatic considerations rather than divine ones. 
Sincerely,
Jaffa

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2256 on: March 02, 2021, 10:27:26 AM »
To Jaffa’s post

1. The rebellion in Eden.

God gave our original parents a perfect conscience. But they rebelled against that, and we’ve all been born with a flawed compass ever since. It would be unreasonable to conclude that everything would suddenly all go to the opposite extreme. But it was a clear break from God having the right to decide good and bad for his creation, and man saying “forget it. I want to decide for myself what is good and bad.” There is still that basis of the original intent of the conscience...but the inconsistency lies in inherited  imperfection (that is, original sin).

Once man became a god to himself, it set off a chain reaction that gave us every injustice and evil that has ever taken place.
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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2257 on: March 02, 2021, 10:32:57 AM »
That's a fair answer. 

My larger point was that a higher power is not strictly necessary for the development of moral principles.  Our moral codes seem to have developed according to our surroundings based on what we think is best for ourselves.  That doesn't rule out the possibility that there might be a higher truth we are ignoring, but it doesn't depend on that higher truth, either. 
Sincerely,
Jaffa

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2258 on: March 02, 2021, 11:12:12 AM »
That's a fair answer. 

My larger point was that a higher power is not strictly necessary for the development of moral principles.  Our moral codes seem to have developed according to our surroundings based on what we think is best for ourselves.  That doesn't rule out the possibility that there might be a higher truth we are ignoring, but it doesn't depend on that higher truth, either.
I've already admitted I waded too far into the kiddie pool, since the questions I'm asking assume there are multiple answers for the base assumptions, and I think Dave and Jammin have been talking about something far more specific, namely the "perfection" of the Bible.

FOR ME, I separate "religion", "spirituality" and "god/creator".   They get lumped in, becuase they are related, but I don't see a necessary requirement for all three.   For me, I acknowledge science.  I don't need people living 900 years, or to ignore carbon dating data to get where I want to go intellectually.   Whether (a) god just set the whole top spinning, or there's no god, or there's a god that delves deeply into our day to day affairs, I don't know, but what we say about that CAN BE as much an insight into our own belief systems as it is any cosmic truth.  I think some take that as "proof" one way or another, but I don't.   I don't see a causal relationship between "is there a god" and "are there moral principles", unless and until you start introducing assumptions that require that.

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2259 on: March 02, 2021, 11:45:16 AM »
That's a fair answer. 

My larger point was that a higher power is not strictly necessary for the development of moral principles.  Our moral codes seem to have developed according to our surroundings based on what we think is best for ourselves.  That doesn't rule out the possibility that there might be a higher truth we are ignoring, but it doesn't depend on that higher truth, either.
I've already admitted I waded too far into the kiddie pool, since the questions I'm asking assume there are multiple answers for the base assumptions, and I think Dave and Jammin have been talking about something far more specific, namely the "perfection" of the Bible.

FOR ME, I separate "religion", "spirituality" and "god/creator".   They get lumped in, becuase they are related, but I don't see a necessary requirement for all three.   For me, I acknowledge science.  I don't need people living 900 years, or to ignore carbon dating data to get where I want to go intellectually.   Whether (a) god just set the whole top spinning, or there's no god, or there's a god that delves deeply into our day to day affairs, I don't know, but what we say about that CAN BE as much an insight into our own belief systems as it is any cosmic truth.  I think some take that as "proof" one way or another, but I don't.   I don't see a causal relationship between "is there a god" and "are there moral principles", unless and until you start introducing assumptions that require that.

Funny thing about Science is 900 years from now, they could find that carbon dating isn't right, and it's actually older or younger than what was thought, putting all our current knowledge out the window. Science proving things, is why I don't really put faith or belief in it all that much, because someone could prove a theory that makes another all known and well followed theory in the gutter. Science is proving the bible unintentionally. Some are using Science to say that's what the bible says.

All three of those things, could be considered the Holy Trinity, The Son(religion), The Father(God), The Holy Spirit(Spirtuality).

To Jaffa’s post

1. The rebellion in Eden.

God gave our original parents a perfect conscience. But they rebelled against that, and we’ve all been born with a flawed compass ever since. It would be unreasonable to conclude that everything would suddenly all go to the opposite extreme. But it was a clear break from God having the right to decide good and bad for his creation, and man saying “forget it. I want to decide for myself what is good and bad.” There is still that basis of the original intent of the conscience...but the inconsistency lies in inherited  imperfection (that is, original sin).

Once man became a god to himself, it set off a chain reaction that gave us every injustice and evil that has ever taken place.

I take that to mean, that once you separate that You(The Man) are in fact a man, and therefore think of yourself as better than all life, better than "The Man", and consider yourself a God, that is the rebellion against God himself. Isn't that what Lucifer/Satan did to God?
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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2260 on: March 02, 2021, 12:00:15 PM »
I’m not entirely certain I understand your question. but our original parents followed Satan‘s lead. Satan convinced them that they were better off deciding for themselves what was right and wrong....or good and bad.

The tree of the knowledge of good and bad was in fact a real tree, but it symbolized mankind’s submission to God. That ultimately, the authority to decide what was good and bad belonged to God and not to man. Satan managed to convince the first man that God was withholding something good from him. By eating from the tree, he took a mantle upon himself that was not his. The authority to decide for himself what was good and bad independent of God. and by choosing himself over God, he followed Satan‘s lead.

In doing this, he severed his relationship with the creator. The result is the world around us. Every Manson, Hitler, Gacy... all of it. It’s all a cascade effect from our original parents following the first lie.


EDIT - CORRECTION!!! Satan convinced the first woman. This was actually pretty smart because he knew he had a better chance that would work if he use the woman as leverage. A frontal attack on Adam himself may have been met with rejection. But by convincing the wife, and then the wife using her relationship with Adam as an emotional leverage...

Let’s just say that Satan is evil but he’s no dummy
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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2261 on: March 02, 2021, 12:16:50 PM »
People are just grasping at straws because of bias instead of being reasonable.
Couldn't have said it better, myself.
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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2262 on: March 02, 2021, 12:25:02 PM »
Meh... there’s a moment in scripture I absolutely love.  It’s when God himself actually speaks to his son from heaven, in response to his son’s request...in the ears of everyone.


.....and there was a big debate over whether or not it had thundered.  :\ :|

But it’s this brilliant moment when you realize that God could actually speak clearly from heaven, and it STILL wouldn’t convince some. The fault is their own.
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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2263 on: March 02, 2021, 12:49:26 PM »
Jammin, I have one question regarding this topic. You say that you believe that the words in the Bible are the words of God. How do you reconcile that with the fact that what is considered biblical canon was decided by the catholic church? It is my understanding that there are several other texts that have been presented as the word of God but but it was decided that those were not truly the word of God. It is also my understanding that the canon was modified as "recently" as 1870. How can you be so sure that the book we have today is accurate when so many different people over the years have decided what "truly" is the word of God and what isn't? How can men, who are so imperfect as to sometimes not recognize the word of good be trusted to decided what is and what isn't his word?
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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2264 on: March 02, 2021, 01:04:56 PM »
Spirituality and storytelling are powerful things, and can be a force for good in this world I truly believe that... as long as we understand that’s we’re talking about.  The story of jesus will continue to be passed down because it is a powerful story from which many good lessons can be learned. 

All of this to say this whole conversation is thousands of miles apart from any notion of religion or spirituality I adhere to.

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2265 on: March 02, 2021, 01:27:00 PM »
Spirituality and storytelling are powerful things, and can be a force for good in this world I truly believe that... as long as we understand that’s we’re talking about.  The story of jesus will continue to be passed down because it is a powerful story from which many good lessons can be learned. 
I actually agree with that. And personally I'd be thrilled to death if the story of Jesus were passed down as an example of what we can be. The problem is when it's passed down as a justification of all manner of fucked up things, which seems to be the way people want to use it. Jesus isn't a paragon, whose standard we should all strive to uphold. He's a loophole by which people can rationalize behaving completely contrary to his own ideals. Until people learn to separate the really swell guy from the escape clause, his story will probably do more harm than good.
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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2266 on: March 02, 2021, 01:32:22 PM »
I hear you.  But that's like saying, "A good burrito is a mighty fine thing.  But look at the obesity problem in America!  So let's face it--burritos do more harm than good."  We don't throw the...er, burrito out with the bathwater just because some people are idiots.
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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2267 on: March 02, 2021, 01:49:13 PM »
I hear you.  But that's like saying, "A good burrito is a mighty fine thing.  But look at the obesity problem in America!  So let's face it--burritos do more harm than good."  We don't throw the...er, burrito out with the bathwater just because some people are idiots.
If only we could convince people that putting rice in a burrito is blasphemous, maybe we could all live like Jesus intended us to.

I never suggested that we should do away with Jesus. I wholeheartedly endorse him as a role model. The problem is that once he was canonized his teachings, quite ironically, become meaningless. While I support Jesus, I actually do think Christianity does far more harm than good, for that reason. You're singling out the burrito and Jesus, while I'm pointing a castigating finger at the people who exploit him as an easy out, or the people who suggest Taco Bell is a substitute for a well balanced diet.
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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2268 on: March 02, 2021, 02:00:44 PM »
I hear you.  But that's like saying, "A good burrito is a mighty fine thing.  But look at the obesity problem in America!  So let's face it--burritos do more harm than good."  We don't throw the...er, burrito out with the bathwater just because some people are idiots.

Not sure that is even close to what EB is saying.  We definitely should not be throwing the burrito out.  But we should probably not be marketing the burritos as being made fresh by God himself.  The burritos are made by minimum wage workers and should be eaten in moderation.  If you think the burrito is divine, and eat several of them daily, there are a few more idiots than just the consumer, and several people using consumers for financial gain..

He is saying (I think) that the story of Jesus is a great story with many lessons.  No need to screw it up with claims it is perfect, divine, or the direct word of god.  That is what concerns me about Christianity...all the absolutely unnecessary hoops.
-Why punish innocent newborns with sin?
-Why Jesus is even necessary to forgive sin.
-What was Jesus' sacrifice?  He rose 3 days later.
Just to name a few.  Just doesn't make sense to me, nor does it resonate in my "soul" in any positive way whatsoever.
And I've tried looking for God to bring in my life.  But my BS meter goes off the chart every time I try.
If there is a God that created me in his/her image, then I was created with my heart/soul/brain that questions religion, and is incapable of making the leap of faith required to believe.  If there is a God, God made me this way....and I'm cool with it.
Make no mistake, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have that fulfilling feeling that might come from believing.  But I simply cant.  I know there must be millions that feel the same way....it just doesn't pass the smell test that God, the omnipotent and involved being he is portrayed as, cant just fax a memo to clear shit up.
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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2269 on: March 02, 2021, 02:04:07 PM »
Jammin, I have one question regarding this topic. You say that you believe that the words in the Bible are the words of God. How do you reconcile that with the fact that what is considered biblical canon was decided by the catholic church? It is my understanding that there are several other texts that have been presented as the word of God but but it was decided that those were not truly the word of God. It is also my understanding that the canon was modified as "recently" as 1870. How can you be so sure that the book we have today is accurate when so many different people over the years have decided what "truly" is the word of God and what isn't? How can men, who are so imperfect as to sometimes not recognize the word of good be trusted to decided what is and what isn't his word?

I got deep into this years ago, so I’m going a bit from memory here. (I actually thank you, because this encourages me to go back for a refresher)

But my recollection is that even when the Latin Vulgate was first put together, notations were made by Jerome that he was including some additional writings that were not authenticated and were questionable as to their origins. Whereas the 66 books most commonly found in most bibles today were far more reliable as to their origins and historicity in all respects. So even 16 centuries ago, they were considered far more reputable than the additional texts.
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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2270 on: March 02, 2021, 02:09:24 PM »
Jammin, I have one question regarding this topic. You say that you believe that the words in the Bible are the words of God. How do you reconcile that with the fact that what is considered biblical canon was decided by the catholic church? It is my understanding that there are several other texts that have been presented as the word of God but but it was decided that those were not truly the word of God. It is also my understanding that the canon was modified as "recently" as 1870. How can you be so sure that the book we have today is accurate when so many different people over the years have decided what "truly" is the word of God and what isn't? How can men, who are so imperfect as to sometimes not recognize the word of good be trusted to decided what is and what isn't his word?

I got deep into this years ago, so I’m going a bit from memory here. (I actually thank you, because this encourages me to go back for a refresher)

But my recollection is that even when the Latin Vulgate was first put together, notations were made by Jerome that he was including some additional writings that were not authenticated and were questionable as to their origins. Whereas the 66 books most commonly found in most bibles today were far more reliable as to their origins and historicity in all respects. So even 16 centuries ago, they were considered far more reputable than the additional texts.

So mortals decided what mortal written books stay in the Bible, using Mortal reasoning and judgement.  Cant you see how that looks to some?  Cant you understand why that appears as BS, and not anything divine, to someone like me?  With all due respect JD (Seriously), I appreciate and respect your views for yourself, but what I see here are answers that only work for someone who is already a believer.
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2271 on: March 02, 2021, 02:14:09 PM »
By request from Dave, I’ve been asked to give explanation why I believe that Jesus was impaled and not crucified.

The short version is the definition of the original Greek word “stauros” which is often translated “cross”. Several scholars concur that the original definition of this term (especially in the first century, the time the gospels were written) was a single piece of timber. The same word one might use for a fence post. It did not carry any connotation of two pieces of timber put together in any way.

This does not mean I believe that Jesus was impaled through his body (an idea that never even entered my mind until someone introduced that grotesque interpretation to me just a few years ago) but “impaling” just meant the nailing of the hands (which description included the wrists) above the head on a single piece of wood.

This also fulfilled prophecy at Deuteronomy 21:23 which is pointed out at Galatians 3:13 which says “cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” [not a cross]

Yes, there are theologians out there who attempt to shoehorn and backpedal all this, but I don’t put a lot of weight into the words of men. I believe that what is written in the Bible is the accurate account of what happened to Jesus.
I just wanted to get back to this.

Stauros could mean any number of things.  In Jesus's time, and since it is obvious that he was put to death by the Romans, one of the things that the word meant is crucify, i.e. nailed to a cross, not just a single pole.  There is simply no reason whatsoever for this fact to be gainsaid in any way.  The crucifixion of Jesus is the central historical point of the entire history of the Christian faith.  And the Gospels refer to the wounds in his feet, so he wasn't just nailed by the hands.

Also, crucifixion isn't only known from the Gospels.  We know plenty about crucifixion from other historical Roman records.  There was certainly a variety, but hanging/nailing from a cross or T-shaped structure was certainly a wide share, and this is what has come down to us from the earliest witnesses.  I just don't understand what the point is of claiming that it happened some other way.  I know there isn't a ton of descriptive detail in the New Testament about, but everyone in that day and time knew what was meant by "and they crucified him", because they had seen plenty of other crucifixions themselves.
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Offline jammindude

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2272 on: March 02, 2021, 02:49:47 PM »
In all my studies I’ve never seen anything credible beyond revisionist history established by Constantine (and others) several hundred years after the fact. The oldest records (closer to the source) refer to a single piece of timber. And I never said that he didn’t have his feet nailed as well, so I’m not sure where that even came from.

And even if it had been a cross (and the evidence says otherwise) the fact that people venerate the death instrument of our lord and king is not only unscriptural...but fairly morbid.

“My brother was killed with a knife, so I found the murder weapon and hung it up on a wall in my house.”

Seriously....what the crap?
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Offline bosk1

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2273 on: March 02, 2021, 02:55:04 PM »
I hear you.  But that's like saying, "A good burrito is a mighty fine thing.  But look at the obesity problem in America!  So let's face it--burritos do more harm than good."  We don't throw the...er, burrito out with the bathwater just because some people are idiots.
If only we could convince people that putting rice in a burrito is blasphemous, maybe we could all live like Jesus intended us to.

I never suggested that we should do away with Jesus. I wholeheartedly endorse him as a role model. The problem is that once he was canonized his teachings, quite ironically, become meaningless. While I support Jesus, I actually do think Christianity does far more harm than good, for that reason. You're singling out the burrito and Jesus, while I'm pointing a castigating finger at the people who exploit him as an easy out, or the people who suggest Taco Bell is a substitute for a well balanced diet.

I get it.  I'm just saying, burritos don't kill people.  People kill people.
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Offline eric42434224

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Re: P/R side chat thread, v. I am not a number I am a free man
« Reply #2274 on: March 02, 2021, 02:59:01 PM »
I hear you.  But that's like saying, "A good burrito is a mighty fine thing.  But look at the obesity problem in America!  So let's face it--burritos do more harm than good."  We don't throw the...er, burrito out with the bathwater just because some people are idiots.
If only we could convince people that putting rice in a burrito is blasphemous, maybe we could all live like Jesus intended us to.

I never suggested that we should do away with Jesus. I wholeheartedly endorse him as a role model. The problem is that once he was canonized his teachings, quite ironically, become meaningless. While I support Jesus, I actually do think Christianity does far more harm than good, for that reason. You're singling out the burrito and Jesus, while I'm pointing a castigating finger at the people who exploit him as an easy out, or the people who suggest Taco Bell is a substitute for a well balanced diet.

I get it.  I'm just saying, burritos don't kill people.  People kill people.

Normal burritos by themselves, I guess not.  Just don't order the Burrito Value Meal that comes with the Kool-Aid.

Oh shit, you're right!

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