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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Are your morals in line with the bible?

Your morality is 0% in line with that of the bible.

Damn you heathen! Your book learnin' has done warped your mind. You shall not be invited next time I sacrifice a goat.

Do You Have Biblical Morals?
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I've gotta say, I'm quite proud of that score, though I think some of the questions may have been a little biased ;)

Thanks to gotcaffeine of This Blog Contains Caffeine

29 comments:

  1. I managed to get 92%!! (apparently surgically retached penises are okay, heresy!!)

    But that's all *old* testament Alan, silly. It doesn't apply anymore.

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  2. Jot or Tittle, zayzayem, Jot or Tittle

    of course the OT still applies. *tut tut*

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  3. I agreed with zayzayem. Those were mostly from the Old Testament. Those are not applicable any more as omnipotent unchanging God Yahweh changed his mind. Oh.. wait a minute.

    Many of those were from the 10 Commandments which are still to be followed. Christians only argue that Jesus fulfilled the Sabbath, so at least stoning the disobedient kids is OK.

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  4. Oh, dang! My morality's also 0% in line with the bible. Gosh damn I feel like such a heathen.

    Regarding the Old and New Covenants: the Old Testament is there theologically to show mankind's need for God. God then bridged this gap by manifesting himself in the person of Jesus. That's the simple explanation. Christians today are not bound by the laws of the OT. Otherwise, what was even the point of Jesus? If Christians were still required to follow the OT laws to every jot and tittle, they'd be practically no different to Jews.

    The whole point of Jesus was that God shows us that he realises we can't live perfect lives, and that our imperfections are washed up in the blood of the Cross, and salvation is offered as a free gift from our Creator.

    The bible is a whole. The Old Testament paves the way for the new, and the New couldn't exist without the background of the old.

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  5. Trav,
    So Jesus did change jot and tittle of the law (or not)? Can you also tell us what the "gap" was that needed to be bridged and why was the blood on the Cross needed? Why didn't God just forgive the sins of his own creations?

    Trav said..
    "The bible is a whole. The Old Testament paves the way for the new, and the New couldn't exist without the background of the old."

    So can we extend this saying that the New Testament paved the way for the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Mormon couldn't exist without the background of the new. Surely nobody can deny the fulfillment of Samuel the Lamanite's accurate prophecy of Jesus.

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  6. Finally I have something in common with my Atheist friends. I too got 0%.

    Before we even bother looking at whether or not the OT still applies and how, I think we need to accept the fact (as Alan alluded to in the post) that the questions are biased. When Lot offered his daughter to the angry mob was he right? No. The Bible does not say he was. Does the Bible support the notion of slavery, or does it give guidance to those who live in a society where slavery already exists? Some of the other questions that alluded to punishments or sacrifices from the OT law were, compared to other religions at the time, very moderate and reflected grace. Today, if we pick out parts, out of their original context, then yep, they look repressive and sick!

    The other important thing to note is that my morals do not come from the Bible. They come from God, as do yours! I assume we will have to agree to disagree on that point!

    Peter, you are correct that a lot of Christians believe that the 10 commandments are relevant for Christians today. Some even say the Sabbath one is still relevant, and so as we have discussed before we need to be careful about what we say all Christians believe. I would challenge you, if you were a Christian, where does the Bible say the Sabbath is the only one of the commandments we do not have to keep. I do not think this is a biblical distinction.

    I am happy to try and explain how I believe the OT law relates to the NT if you would like to know, though Trav and others might not agree with me on all details. I personally do not believe that God ever expected us to be able to keep the 10 commandments, as the law increases sin. As Trav said before, the OT pointed to our need for Jesus. It proved that we could have all the rules in the world, we could be as zealous and as extreme as we wanted, but it would not change WHO we are. Jesus then took our punishment for not meeting the law so we are no longer under the law but under grace. The result is that although we do not HAVE to keep the law, we now CHOOSE to keep the law (though imperfectly until Jesus returns). This is how Jesus fulfils the law while doing away with the law. Jesus does not simply return us back to our original state before Adam and Eve rebelled by dying for us. Instead Jesus transforms us into people who know good and evil and WANT to choose good. Many Church people do not seem to understand this point, even though it is basic to the Gospel.

    What is the law? At the heart of the OT law is that we should love God and each other. Even in books like Deuteronomy you can find this essence of the law. In the NT we are told again, the new commandment is to love each other. So in one sense nothing changed. In another sense, everything changed! Confused? I apologise if I have confused things more. Peter, I know you would probably like to test this with what the Bible actually says. I can give specific verses if you like, but Paul’s letter to the Romans is a great letter that has these issues at its heart.

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  7. The other important thing to note is that my morals do not come from the Bible. They come from God, as do yours! I assume we will have to agree to disagree on that point!-dave

    But the Bible = the Word = Jesus = God
    John 1:1

    Trying to make sense of the Bible as divine work is insane. The Bible makes much more sense when you consider it written by a bunch of facist madmen trapped in the Middle East.

    Also the idea that Old Testament Jews were in someway "progressive" is one of those *everything you have ever been told is a lie* stories that only makes sense if you use the bible as your sole historical textbook(which sadly was the case throughout much of the middle ages) - and even then if you only cherrypick the less unethical bits. Look up the etymology of the modern usage of the word *shibboleth*.

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  8. Yes Dave, I (as I hope everyone else here does too) realise that the quiz was a biased joke meant to make lighthearted fun of some of the sillier aspects of the bible. I'm not surprised that you, Trav and I got the same score (and am a little worried about Zayzayem's score!).

    I totally accept that there is both good and bad within the bible and would not condemn the whole book outright. I just happen to think that the good contained within the bible is the result of human reasoning and not divine inspiration.

    I have not yet come across a single tangible good thing that is done in the name of religion that cannot be arrived at through secular means. If you have an example, I'd love to hear it.

    Also, I would like to know both Trav's and your thoughts on the 10 commandments, whether or not you agree with them all and why.

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  9. Dave,
    OK, Romans it is. Romans 1 condemns homosexuality. What do you think is the right earthly punishment for homosexuality according to you, according to Peter Jensen's article in SMH and according to the Bible?

    Dave I think you made quite a few errors in your statements. Lot was a righteous man. Jesus supported 10 commandments keeping the slavery. Paul's view toward slavery was worse that OT view.

    Dave said...
    At the heart of the OT law is that we should love God and each other
    Actually it said love God and your fellow Jewish neighbour. Remember it was OK to sell a road kill to a non-Jew (Deuteronomy 14:21) and have a non-Jew as a slave (Leviticus 25:44). Just pure tribalism which Jesus also "quoted". I think you are trying to make the Bible say what you want, not the other way around.

    BTW every time people say that OT laws do not apply I just think that God is such a relativistic guy.

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  10. @ Alan. It is a great question to ask – what good thing comes out of religion that cannot be achieved through secular means. I guess it depends on how tangible you consider freedom from guilt and shame, peace and love to be. I am guessing you might have some thoughts on these examples!

    For me, as I tried to explain very poorly before, the 10 commandments were never designed to be kept, they actually helped us to do the wrong thing. As Romans says, no law, no sin! What God has always wanted (and it is there in the OT) is that we love him. In the NT when Jesus comes along the old system is done away with and we are asked to love God and each other. So the 10 commandments can still be useful as a guide...it is a loving thing not to murder, not to steal, to honour my folks etc.

    @ Peter. Yep, Lot was a righteous man, but he was not perfect. If he had been perfect then Jesus would not have had to come and die. One of the things that interests me about the OT is the way it gives us stories and we are often left to work out who was right or wrong. The whole book of Job (very long but very thin on plot) is an example. People often do not agree on whether or not ALL of Jobs friends were guilty or not. I personally believe that if Lot had been a man about it he would have offered himself (if indeed there was no other safe way to break up the mob). I guess he needed the example of Jesus.

    With regards to the punishment for homosexuals I will go from my understanding of the Bible (not PJ’s!). I assume you want to know if I think God punishes homosexuals in this life? I don’t, nor did he punish people in Victoria with bushfires because of abortion laws. There might be some natural consequences to some of the things homosexuals do, as there are to a lot of sins I do. I find it hard to understand the question in that I do not think a homosexual is any different to me or any one else. Yes, I do not think it was a part of God’s design for us to be homosexual. Sorry if I have offended anybody, but I do not see homosexuals as different from anyone, deserving of more punishment or special treatment.

    ”Actually it said love God and your fellow Jewish neighbour. Remember it was OK to sell a road kill to a non-Jew (Deuteronomy 14:21) and have a non-Jew as a slave (Leviticus 25:44). Just pure tribalism which Jesus also "quoted". I think you are trying to make the Bible say what you want, not the other way around.”

    Nice one Peter! There is no doubt that in the OT the promises were for Israel. The OT reminds us many times that Israel was supposed to be a light to the other nations, and so they were supposed to be radically different. But, just like with the 10 commandments, God knew they would not keep the law. I think (yes, it is my personal understanding) that the aspects of the OT that are mainly being picked on here was God showing that these extremes were not going to work. They could never be his people, no matter what they were told to do, because of their hearts.

    Can you give me an example of the pure tribalism Jesus said? Or are you saying he quoted it from the OT? If so, what reference? I can certainly think of references where Jesus makes it clear they have taken the OT the wrong way.

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  11. Also Peter, please supply one reference that says Jesus and Paul were pro slavery. Look closely at it before you give it to make sure it says what you think it says!

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  12. Oh, one more thing Peter! If you could understand that the OT was a part of God's plan from the beginning, do you think you might be able to accept that the OT had its place, but God is not relativistic?

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  13. Tribalism: Jesus quoted Lev. 19:18 in Mark 12:31 affirming the OT view of love your neighbour (not everyone). Remember Jesus only came for the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 10:5-6) and as you know the Great Commission was later addition/forgery to the text (Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:19-20).

    Sorry I was not clear about homosexuality. How should people/Christians/law (not God) punish homosexuals today? Christians today seem to be vilifying/shunning/excluding/not accepting them. According to Christians nobody is without a sin yet homosexual sin excludes people (even non-practising) from positions in the church. Why is that a special sin?

    Re slavery. Jesus did not want to change the law and the tenth commandment shows slavery as part of the society. The Holy Spirit (= Jesus opinion) guided text 1 Timothy 6:2 tells slaves to respect their master. If you would go to sub-Sahara today would you tell slaves there to stay put and respect their masters? Paul also sent a slave back to Philemon, Jews would not have done that. So at least Jesus and Paul were not anti-slavery. They were conservatives, not progressive and there were plenty of anti-slavery people around and Jesus did not side with them.

    Dave said
    "If you could understand that the OT was a part of God's plan from the beginning, do you think you might be able to accept that the OT had its place, but God is not relativistic?

    Relativism (Wikipedia) is the idea that some elements or aspects of experience or culture are relative to, i.e., dependent on, other elements or aspects.

    If you change your behaviour/opinion relative to time/circumstances you are relativist. It is irrelevant if you changed your plan or not. God changed his instructions based on circumstances, so He is a relativist.

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  14. Peter, Mark 12:31 does not promote tribalism...when asked who our neighbour is Jesus made it clear that it was to include everyone...even Samaritans (Luke 10:25-37). Matthew 10:5-6 was certainly to the lost sheep of Israel, just as John the Baptist was the last of the OT prophets sent ot Israel, but when Jesus is raised from the dead the emphasis is clear that the Gospel is to out to all nations. No, I do NOT know the great commission was a later addition/forgery, in fact I do not think it was!

    I do not think Christians should be punishing homosexuals today. Why is it a special sin? I think people always like to judge others, and people in the church have been guilty of this. Perhaps for some it is seen as being more perverted than other sins, but I cannot really comment on what others think, I am just guessing.

    With regards to slavery it is important to understand the way the Gospel (Jesus) works. It is not about changing the institutions and authorities in place, but about changing the hearts of people. Philemon is a great example. Paul wants master and slave to be reconciled as brothers in Christ, not master slave, but he recognises Philemon’s legal rights by the law of the land. I think it takes a bit of an adjustment on our own thinking to come to grips with what Jesus and Paul both were trying to do. If people had loving hearts then slavery would simply become a non issue.

    ”If you change your behaviour/opinion relative to time/circumstances you are relativist. It is irrelevant if you changed your plan or not. God changed his instructions based on circumstances, so He is a relativist.”

    But God has not changed his opinion (behaviour and opinion are very different). Neither did he change his instructions based on external circumstances. He changed them because of what he did (Jesus dying on a cross). He did not change his plan, it is all a part of his plan, worked out before time!

    Sorry this is done in a bit of a hurry...hope I have given you some things to think about but get back to me if you want...Dave.

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  15. Dave,
    Paul recognized Philemon’s legal rights by the law of the land and Jesus was for the status quo. Most Christians are proud of ending the slavery and not embrace slavery laws of Roman Empire. Dave, even you are better than Jesus or Paul, you would work to overturn unjust laws, and fight to free the slaves and improve their status (and give them their God given freedom??). You would not say to sex slaves in Thailand to say put and respect their masters. You would help them out of their situation and give them a chance. You would not send a slave back to his owner, you would try smuggle him to safety. Your moral compass is better than Paul's or Jesus'.


    Dave said...
    "No, I do NOT know the great commission was a later addition/forgery, in fact I do not think it was!"
    I think you should look into the reliability of Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:19-20.

    Dave said...
    "[God] changed [his instructions] because of what he did (Jesus dying on a cross)."
    That is relativism. Look, during the OT times God asked to stone disobedient kids, but that instruction is now changed. Food laws (sins) were changed, temple offering rules were changed, circumcision rules were changed... It must have been his plan to change things i.e. being relativist. I know you would like to think your God is not a relativist, but he changed His instructions depending on a situation and it makes Him relativist, like it or not.

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  16. Hi again Peter! Jesus was not for the status quo in any way shape or form. You seem to have ignored what I just said, perhaps I did not explain it well! Jesus was literally about a new world order, where the first are last and last are first. Jesus, and Paul, and myself all believe that this involves changing peoples’ hearts. I might add that this is consistent with the OT as the prophet Ezekiel notes (Ezekiel 36:26-27). I believe that Jesus, Paul and myself do not believe that a person has the right to own another human being, but we accept that these things have happened, and continue to happen. We also understand that the true answer to the situation is NOT telling slaves to run away (this only creates another set of problems), but rather getting masters and slaves to understand the worth and value of each other.

    Now, unlike sex slaves in Thailand, Philemon was not breaking any laws or human rights expectations, nor was he (to our knowledge) sexually abusing or physically abusing Philemon. Although it is a bit hard to tell from Paul’s letter to Philemon, there is historical evidence of times when master /slave relationships grew into very strong and meaningful bonds of friendship. Why? Because they came to respect and value each other. Some times this would lead to a slave being given their freedom. Please understand, I appreciate your faith in my moral compass, and I do think slavery is a horrible thing. To overthrow slavery would be a legal/political (as well as social/human rights) issue. Jesus did not come to lead a political rebellion, but a spiritual renewal. The great thing is that the spiritual issue ultimately WILL deal with the political and the social.

    ”I think you should look into the reliability of Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:19-20.”
    Done! But even if we do not agree on this, I assume the original point was that you were suggesting Jesus did not want the Gospel to go out to all the other nations. There is other evidence for this, as Paul and Barnabas remind us in Acts 13:47 when they quote Isaiah 49:6.

    If you want to say that God’s plan was to change things makes him a relativist, then sure, call him a relativist. I am cool with that!

    It would appear that you are a late night blogger, while I am more of a morning blogger! You were up way past my bedtime!

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  17. Dave,
    My point was that Jesus was for status quo regarding slavery, he was progressive on other things. If you want to end slavery quickly change the laws, changing peoples hearts has not worked that fast over last 2000 years. Jesus knew that his method would not work for 2000 years, but his still used it and increased suffering.

    Dave said:
    "there is historical evidence of times when master /slave relationships grew into very strong and meaningful bonds of friendship. Why? Because they came to respect and value each other.
    You might want to read about conditions in which slaves lived in Roman mines, rowing boats or how Jews wanted virgin girls as sex slaves. Or which body parts were often cut of from the male prisoners of war before they were forced in to slavery. Maybe there was a case or two of happy slavery, but that is not what normally happened, but a Christian propaganda.

    Regarding tribalism. Jesus focused on Jews, his followers on gentiles. Isaiah 49:6 want people to believe in single God Yahweh. Acts 13:47 wants people to believe in Jesus/Gospel. It just shows the early-mid second century thought, just like Great Commission was a late additions to the Bible.

    My problem with Gods changing plan is that maybe his plan includes the change of the plan tomorrow. Whatever is a sin today might not be a sin tomorrow. Eating oysters was a sin a while ago, now it is not, maybe it will be sin again tomorrow. Maybe it is the same with any other sin.

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  18. Peter, changing hearts was quicker than 2000 years. In the first 6 chapters of Acts we see a massive shift in peoples’ priorities. How much does Peter change in a matter of weeks? We are told of the fellowship of believers in Acts who sold what they had so that no one went without. Why do you blame Jesus for causing more suffering? He is the one who was crucified because he tried to change the status quo, but you want to hold him responsible for increasing suffering? I’m confused!

    With regards to slaves, I am not influenced by Christian propaganda, nor am I trying to make light of slavery. I am very happy I am not in slavery. But look again at Philemon. Do you have any evidence to believe what you have described to be involved? Paul knew both master and slave as brothers in the Lord, and he thought it was appropriate, even helpful to have them reunited. All I am saying is that this is not unreasonable.

    I think your last two paragraphs are linked. I have already made it clear that God has not changed his plan, but rather had his plan worked out from the beginning. The OT clearly points to a Messiah who would change the way things were done. This happened. The only future ‘plan’ that we know of now is that Jesus will one day return and usher in the new creation. So unless this happens tomorrow I do not think you have too much to be stressed about!

    ”Regarding tribalism. Jesus focused on Jews, his followers on gentiles.”

    Yep, because Jesus came to be the messiah to Israel, BUT Israel rejected him, and salvation was offered to the gentiles. Did Jesus know he would be rejected? Yes! Did he know that salvation would be offered to the Gentiles? Yes! Did he still come to be the Messiah to Israel? Yes, otherwise they would not be able to reject him! Peter, this is simple stuff and I am having trouble working out if you are just having a go, or if you really do not grasp this! Even your statement about oysters is interesting. Heaps of the OT laws had little to do with sin, but more to do with things like personal hygiene for Israel while they were living in the wilderness. Laws like going outside the perimeter of the camp and digging a hole before you go to the toilet!! Oysters being filter feeders are not always the safest food to eat. You might be able to tell me, but does it actually label eating oysters a sin, or just say you should not eat them? I could not be bothered looking up the reference, but feel free. Personally I hate oysters and think they should be banned, so I am sure I will not be 'sinning' in relation to them!

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  19. Dave, the status of slaves did not change. If Holy Spirit (~Jesus, ~Paul) would have just written "Christians should work towards ending the slavery" to Philemon, the slavery would have ended soon. Jesus knew that Christian slave owners would cite Philemon to justify the slavery, yet He did not bother to address the issue. Jesus could have improved the lives of so many, yet improving the status on millions of slaved over thousands of years was not his priority. He should be responsible of his action like everyone else.

    I do not understand your thinking. You are anti-slavery, but think the letter to Philemon is reasonable or has some value in modern thinking. I would think if you were a 1700 century slave in Christian country, you would hate the Paul's view of slavery.

    OT points to the Messiah(s?), but according to the people who wrote it Jesus does not fit the prophecies. Mormons claim that their book fits the NT yet you deny it. Why do you dismiss Samuel the Lamanites accurate prophecy of Jesus?

    In Leviticus 11:10 God clearly says not to eat oysters. I think it is clear that if you do not follow God's instructions you are committing a sin. If you boil fresh oyster they are safe to eat, I like them fresh with sea salt. If God was worried about hygiene like you said, why didn't he tell to make soap and wash your hands with soap before eating or explain the germ theory. Maybe you are right and I just don't understand the Bible.

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  20. Perhaps we could just stick with Paul for a minute (then we can go back to Jesus if we want).

    First up, I think Paul made it clear what he thought of slavery (Romans 13:8-10, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Ephesians 5:21, 6:5-9, Colossians 3:22-4:1), but nowhere, NOWHERE does he condone it! If Christian slave owners cited Philemon, how would that justify them abusing their slaves? It doesn’t. It only justifies them treating their slaves as BROTHERS!!

    ”Jesus could have improved the lives of so many, yet improving the status on millions of slaved over thousands of years was not his priority. He should be responsible of his action like everyone else”

    It was his priority Peter, along with creating a new world with a new world order. It might not have happened in the time and the way you would have liked, but it has been his priority. The irony is that he is the only one who does not deserve to be held responsible, and yet he took the responsibility on himself.

    Jesus does fit the prophecies. Ask a Jew who they think Isaiah 52-53 is talking about. Some times they will admit that it sounds too much like Jesus so they do not even read it. Some people get so stuck in denial!

    The Book of Mormon, however, does not fit, especially in the light of what the Bible says. Scripture is self authenticating. The Book of Mormon fails the test!

    ”I think it is clear that if you do not follow God's instructions you are committing a sin.”

    And how do you know when you are following God’s instructions? Jesus was able to point out to the Pharisees many times that their zealousy (zealousness?) for the law had led them to sin! As I have already stated, the heart of the law is loving each other, not eating oysters. Then, also you have to take into account (as I have already mentioned) what Jesus has done, and then how Paul can say several times in his letters, “everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial”. God is not after blind dumb obedience. What is of greatest importance is our hearts. When we get this right then his will for us becomes much clearer (1 John 4:16-21).

    Peter, I am sure if you seek to understand the Bible you will. I do not mean that in a nasty sarcastic way. I sincerely hope you do come to understand it.

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  21. And one last thing!

    ”If Holy Spirit (~Jesus, ~Paul) would have just written "Christians should work towards ending the slavery" to Philemon, the slavery would have ended soon.”

    That would not have worked, as that does not take into account the reality that the law increases sin. Tell someone not to do something, and they go do it. It is a part of human nature. The more we tell them not to do something, and threaten and carry on, the more they want to do it (yep, this was the purpose of the OT law...see Romans!). Your answer to the situation would have simply made it worse. Jesus was going for a more complete and eternal solution. How? By changing peoples hearts so they love each other. Laws do not help people love, in fact they usually achieve the opposite.

    The obvious question is then, why has the church failed to be, on the whole, people with changed hearts? Perhaps we could deal with that when we are more on the same page.

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  22. Dave,
    First of all according to Biblical standard Isaiah was a false prophet (Isaiah 19:5, Isaiah 17:1 many others) so any honest Christians should ignore him (Matthew 7:15-23). You might also want to read Isaiah 43:11 to understand why Jesus is not the saviour and anyways Jews did not even believe Jesus was a real person (read the sentiment of Dialogue with Trypho)


    Dave said...
    "NOWHERE does he condone slavery! If Christian slave owners cited Philemon, how would that justify them abusing their slaves? It doesn’t. It only justifies them treating their slaves as BROTHERS!!
    This is why Paul (guided by Holy Spirit) is immoral. He should have condemned it as you do.

    Dave said...
    "The irony is that he is the only one who does not deserve to be held responsible, and yet he took the responsibility on himself."
    According to many Christians (and you) Jesus created the world, so he gets the all the credit and all the blame. He could have improve the lives of so many people by decided not to bother. If you see a drowning baby you'll help while Jesus is doing nothing. Dave, you have higher morals that Jesus.

    Dave said...
    "Scripture is self authenticating. The Book of Mormon fails the test!"
    This is a special pleading fallacy. You claim that your book is self authenticating, Mormons claim their book is self authenticating. Others claim comic books are self authenticating. Unfortunately hand waving does not make other holy books invalid.

    Dave said...
    "the reality that the law increases sin. Tell someone not to do something, and they go do it."
    What?? When Christians made other religions illegal punishable by death other religions disappeared. We have laws and those actually work.

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  23. Wow, I’ve done a bit to do with textual criticism, but I have never before read anything like, ” any honest Christians should ignore him [Isaiah].” I am afraid I do not understand what you think your scripture references do to back up this claim.

    One last attempt at the slavery thing before we might need to agree to disagree! You have consistently ignored parts of my argument. I will state them once again in the hope that they might sink in.

    Jesus did deal with slavery, along with every other evil in the world. Not in the time and way you think it should have been, but perhaps the creator has qualifications in this area that we do not!

    For Jesus to deal with slavery as an issue, and side with the anti slavery people of the day would be to do things the way you would. To be fair you would also expect Jesus and Paul to deal with other immoral issues you may not even think are immoral, perhaps things like abortion, homosexuality, stealing, corruption, whatever. He would have had to join the greenies and EVERY other political party that condemned something immoral.

    Instead, what Jesus did, and Paul followed up on, was changing the hearts of people, the root of the problem. If you want to know how his death did this, then we can look at that...but so far you have totally ignored this aspect of the discussion.

    Re: paragraph 3, what should Jesus be getting the blame for? You have ignored the side of the debate that suggests he has fixed the problem of slavery, but instead accused him of something he was never recorded as saying!

    ”Unfortunately hand waving does not make other holy books invalid.” Nor does it mean they are all automatically connected, as you want to pretend they are.

    ”What?? When Christians made other religions illegal punishable by death other religions disappeared. We have laws and those actually work.”

    So what works? The law or the threat of punishment. As a teacher and a parent I can vouch for the simple fact that if you tell a kid not to do something their desire to do it increases. Not only that, but adults often get better at working out what they can get away with so it is not as obvious, but it still happens. I know for me, the way someone asks me to do something makes all the difference in the world. Surely it does for you too? This is all in Romans by the way...I thought you would have read it? (the way I said that will probably not encourage you to read it at all, which backs up my point but undermines the fact I would like you to read it!!)

    As for us having laws that work...we have anti-slavery laws in Australia, right? Sorry to break the news to you, but we still have slavery in Australia. I guess the law is not working...what have you done about it? Does this make you as immoral as Jesus?

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  24. Regarding Isaiah: Did you check the verses I quoted? Isaiah prophecies that river Nile will dry up and Damascus will become a heap of ruins. Both of these prophecies never came true, so Isaiah must have just made them up. I think you must have read Isaiah and you can tell us couple of more false prophesies there. I hope we can agree that he is clearly a false prophet, just like Pat Robertson. If you believe in NT (Matthew 7:15-23) you must reject people making false prophesies in the name of God.

    Regarding slavery: I did understand your point, but I think Jesus did not do enough, he is omnipotent after all, so fixing this problem would have required no effort from him. Can we agree on that point?

    Dave said..
    To be fair you would also expect Jesus and Paul to deal with other immoral issues you may not even think are immoral, perhaps things like abortion, homosexuality, stealing, corruption, whatever.
    Yes of course. Jesus knew that his followers would not agree on these thing, but he decided to let this confusion be there. Why didn't he say that do not abort unless 2 doctors say that there is a 98% chance mother will die without an abortion or something on those lines? Why didn't he comment on euthanasia. He did have plenty of time to address the issue and now his followers are divide on Jesus opinion.

    Dave said..
    "what Jesus did, and Paul followed up on, was changing the hearts of people, the root of the problem. If you want to know how his death did this, then we can look at that...but so far you have totally ignored this aspect of the discussion"
    I don't think I ignored it, but I think they went a wrong way. I don't understand why Jesus voluntary death was important. Christianity distroyed many tolerant religions like Isis worship and made the world a lot more intolerant. Tolerant religions open people's hearts better than intolerant ones like Christianity, just look at the amount of religions and societies Christianity has distroyed.

    Dave said..
    what should Jesus be getting the blame for? You have ignored the side of the debate that suggests he has fixed the problem of slavery, but instead accused him of something he was never recorded as saying!
    Sorry I don't understand this...

    Can you please explain why the Bible is selfauthenticating and the Book of Mormon is not?

    I also don't understand your answer about the law not working. you offer examples about kids and desires, not the law. I have read the Romans and also the tale of eloquent peasant and Hammurabi Code. Laws seem to work and the idea of how you ask thing is important and way older that Romans. BTW which other holy books have you read?

    Dave said..
    "we still have slavery in Australia"
    Could you please expand what you mean by this?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Peter. Regarding Isaiah I did check the verses. There is historical evidence for Damascus (representative of Syria) being humbled as a nation. Many commentators accept this as the prophecy. The Nile annually floods providing rich fertilised country and abundant fish stocks. It is believed that the prophecy was that this would not happen.

    ” Regarding slavery: I did understand your point, but I think Jesus did not do enough, he is omnipotent after all, so fixing this problem would have required no effort from him. Can we agree on that point?”
    I guess I just want to say that he did more than enough. I think he did more than you understand he did. Perhaps we just have to let this issue go!

    ” I don't understand why Jesus voluntary death was important.”
    And I think this is very much at the heart of the issue. This, I think, is why you cannot accept Jesus as having done enough for slavery. By the way, I believe Christianity is very tolerant. The way the church has run with religion down through history has been anything but, I confess. It was not Christianity that destroyed other tolerant religions. It might have been controlling power hungry jerks who were in the church, but not Christianity. Paul in Acts enters into discussions with people from other religions/faiths/beliefs (just like I am doing with you now). He did not attempt to destroy them, he tried to persuade them. I do not seek to destroy you Peter!

    ” Can you please explain why the Bible is self authenticating and the Book of Mormon is not?”
    Mormons claim that the Bible has equal standing with the writings of Mr Smith. The problem is the book of Mormon claims things that contradict the Bible, to do with the nature of the Trinity, Adam, Jesus, the Virgin Mary etc. How can the two be equal when they contradict each other? But that does not answer the question. If you have studied any of the stuff about how the NT Canon came into acceptance (other than the Da Vinci Code!!) and how the OT came to be accepted then you will know that there is a process of using Scripture to support other Scripture being used. Hard to explain, but I think Christians need to admit that it does provide more weight to the OT than the NT (the OT canon is authenticated by NT usage, especially Jesus). The Book of Mormon does not have this, but instead contradicts the Bible in some very basic and fundamental areas.

    ” I also don't understand your answer about the law not working.”
    In that case you might have read Romans, but you have not understood what is fundamentally at the core of the letter. That is cool, most of the church has failed to understand it. My example about kids was law. For us as humans, if people tell you not to do something (usually the more authority they have the more it applies) they want to do it. This includes instructions from God. When I talk to people about this they generally understand exactly what I am talking about. We have all experienced or observed it. Romans tells us that the law was added so that sin might increase. Most people take this as meaning the more laws you have the more chance people will do the wrong thing. In actual fact God knew that when he told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree, they would! Now, until you understand why Jesus dying makes a difference you will probably not think much of a God who plays mind games like this!

    Regarding slavery in Australia...it exists! People are sold into slavery in the sex industry in Australia. It happens today, here. There was a movie released last year about it. The law has not stopped it. The problem remains the heart of man.

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  26. Regarding Isaiah Dave said..
    There is historical evidence for Damascus (representative of Syria) being humbled as a nation.
    This is the intellectual dishonesty supporters have go through:
    prophesy: "Damascus will no longer be a city"
    means: "Syria was humbled as a nation"
    Every nation in the Near East was "humbled" many times making this failed prophecy meaningless. Now let's be honest here, what does "Damascus will no longer be a city" actually mean?

    Dave said..
    It is believed that the prophecy [of Nile drying] was that this would not happen.
    What? The prophecy was that prophecy would not happen?? Is this Christian logic? Do you honestly believe in that?

    Dave said..
    By the way, I believe Christianity is very tolerant.
    You should listen what your Church leaders preach! Peter Jensen is very intolerant of non-Christians, atheists, homosexuals, Catholics, women's equality (Read his SMH articles)... Or listen to Pope who says gays are the biggest thread to the world peace. If I remember correctly 86 consequitive Christian Popes supported inquisition... How many wars and conquests were done with the idea of "convert or die" ... By nature monotheist religions are intolerant where polytheistic ones are tolerant. May I suggest you read Rodney Stark about this. And please don't start with the true Scotsman fallacy here.

    Dave said..
    It was not Christianity that destroyed other tolerant religions.
    What? Please read some history! Just accept that fanatic Jesus believers were responsible of it. Who distroyed the temples of Isis?

    Re Book of Mormon: You keep on insisting the fallacy of special pleading. According to Mormons their holy book does not contradict the Bible. What is your external test that you are right?

    Dave said..
    If you have studied any of the stuff about how the NT Canon came into acceptance ... and how the OT came to be accepted then you will know that there is a process of using Scripture to support other Scripture being used.

    I know people argued long and hard over 500 years which books should be included in NT and while they were arguing they were rewriting the theological points in the scriptures. BTW one of the books was excluded because it has so horrible that priest did not want to read in the chuch...

    Re law: You might be right. Maybe one day I will understand why Jesus needed to die, now it just doesn't make any sense to me. I also don't understand why Osiris and Krishna had to die, those seem so irrelevant to me.

    Re slavery in Australia: Laws don't get completely rid of issues. Traffic law don't stop traffic violations, making murder illegal does not get rid of all murders or making Christianity the only legal religion does not make other religions completely disappear. Laws+punishments have the effect to reduce that behaviour. Australian government/police has addressed the issues and if one informs the authorities where slavery happens they will take action. It is not like in the days of Philemon or US civil war.

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  27. I still stand by the Damascus prophecy interpretation I offered. With regards to the Nile one, it was a typo, I should have proof read it! Apologies! I should have said ” It is believed that the prophecy [of Nile drying] was that this would happen.”

    ”And please don't start with the true Scotsman fallacy here...”

    How did you know I was Presbyterian? Just joking...seriously though, if you are going to judge all Christians and what they believe by the standard of Mr Jensen, then you really do need to get out more. I am not the only Christian who does not agree with him. There are even Anglicans who do not agree with him! I have not read any Rodney Stark, but please note the difference between religion and Christianity. This is why I make the claim that true Christianity (the actual teachings of Jesus) is tolerant. We appear to disagree in the case of slavery.

    ”According to Mormons their holy book does not contradict the Bible. What is your external test that you are right?”

    Their holy book does contradict the Bible...so the logic you guys would usually apply here (Atheists that is) is that they are either deluded or liars. There are clear contradictions, I gave you some examples.

    ” I know people argued long and hard over 500 years which books should be included in NT and while they were arguing they were rewriting the theological points in the scriptures.” Not sure of where you got these facts from!

    I agree with much of your final paragraph, it is partly what I have been saying. You lose me though when you say ” Australian government/police has addressed the issues and if one informs the authorities where slavery happens they will take action. It is not like in the days of Philemon or US civil war.” Your right, it is different to the days of Philemon. Apparently then it was legal, and it happened, now it is illegal and it happens!

    I am not sure where all this is heading Peter, and perhaps you might want to wind up. I must say that I really feel that your understanding of Christianity is very influenced by the Sydney Anglican factor. There is a great book called ‘Christi-anarchy’, the author outlines not only his own personal experience of being hurt in the church, but also boldly outlines what history says about how the church has lost her way. I think it provides a much more balanced view, because through it all he discovers Jesus in a way that the church had not shown him. If you are interested I am happy to dig it out and give you the authors name.

    Dave

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  28. Dave, I think you are right that we should wind this up. Let's address the Mormonism when a Mormonism related post appears on this blog. I just don't see how people can not accept the Samuel the Lamanite's fulfilled Jesus prophecy...

    My issue with apologist is that if they accept "Damascus will no longer be a city" as fulfilled prophecy then I think they can interpret any prophecy to be fulfilled or interpret the Bible verses any way they please. I don't see them being honest and I reject their truth claims. Yet the same apologists claim that other people interpret the Bible incorrectly. Same with the open ended Nile prophecy. We know that Nile has dried up couple of times during the last 5 million years, so I guess this prophecy must come true in next million years or so, which proves the Biblical prophecy is true. I try to think critically and don't see any divine revelation here. More I talk to Christians less I see them having the truth, sorry.

    My prophecy of "please don't start with the true Scotsman fallacy" came true as "true Christianity" followed. It is a sign ;-). Looking from outside every Christian claims to be true Christian and many Church leaders and followers of Jesus are intolerant. Everyone denomination has Bible believing true Christians who believe that "Damascus is no longer a city". Rodney Stark who is not an atheist explains this well in "One true God". He offers also good points to Christian apologists so I think you will enjoy it. "For the Glory of God" explains the slavery issue, I recommend that too. Atheist and Christians often claim Stark to be biased, so maybe he is balanced... I'm always interested to read a recommended book so if you have the name of the author (Dave Andrews?) of "Christi-anarchy" I'll take a look.
    BTW my understanding of Christianity is not based on Sydney Anglicans. I haven't lived that long in Sydney and was raised in non-Anglican Christian family. If I need to get out more then please point me to the Sydney (non-)Anglican ministers, leaders or elders who publicly reject Jensen's core issues. If you don't agree with him have you publicly stated that you reject his theology/core teachings/doctrines/creeds. Where can I hear/read about it?

    Dave said
    Apparently [during the time of Paul slavery] was legal, and it happened, now it is illegal and it happens!"
    Let's put this in context. During Paul's time slaves made 30% of the population of the Roman empire. In modern day Australia it must be less that 0.01% even by your standards. Modern day runaway slaves get their freedom and owners get their punishment unlike the Roman times. I would have to conclude that laws have made the difference.

    Dave said
    Not sure of where you got these facts [that people argued long and hard over 500 years which books should be included in NT] from!
    Christians often claim that the canon was locked in 367AD by Athanasius and 393AD by the synod of Hippo (including the Apocrypha!) and Council of Carthage in 397AD. But codez Bezae circa 400AD has books not in the modern canon and Codex Fuldensis circa 545AD does not have the full modern canon either. So we have the oldest Vulgate(!) 500 years after Paul not having the modern canon. So please correct me if I got the time, dates, facts or interpretation wrong. I'm happy to learn your opinion when the modern canon was fully agreed. I assume you argue about Catholic, not Syrian/Nestorian, Ethiopian, Egyptian Coptic or Armenian canons. So come to think of it the Christian canon has never been fully agreed. If you know a good Bible study group not too far from Sydney going deep in to these issues I'm happy to learn more.

    ReplyDelete
  29. ”I try to think critically and don't see any divine revelation here. More I talk to Christians less I see them having the truth, sorry.”

    No need to apologise for being honest. There is a sense in which I do not blame you from what I have said. I find blogging a difficult media to communicate.

    ”If I need to get out more then please point me to the Sydney (non-)Anglican ministers, leaders or elders who publicly reject Jensen's core issues. If you don't agree with him have you publicly stated that you reject his theology/core teachings/doctrines/creeds. Where can I hear/read about it?”

    I guess this is where things get very sticky! I am no longer in the Anglican Church, but the denomination I am in shares many similarities with Sydney Anglicans, and so I have been very careful about what I have stated publicly. The problem I am faced with in pointing you in a more balance direction is that organised religion/denominations struggle to be balanced. Christi-Anarchy (yes, Dave Andrews!) ends with a bit of an idea as to how the ‘church’ might live out what she is supposed to be.

    ”If you know a good Bible study group not too far from Sydney going deep in to these issues I'm happy to learn more.”

    I assume by ‘these issues’ you are meaning specifically issues like how the canon came into ‘being’. I learnt about it as a part of my training, and you could always enrol in a subject that relates to this at a Bible college! I would have loved it if you had been in a lecture with me...it would have been good to see someone question what was presented! Sometimes Christians take being like sheep too seriously! Bible studies do not usually focus on this stuff (which is why Atheist usually know more about it than we do!). For me, to be honest, it is not where I am at. The real reason I do what I do is relational and spiritual. Although I find a lot of this stuff interesting, it has been seeing the Gospel change my life and the lives of others in a real and relevant way that I enjoy.

    If you ever want to contact me Google Dave Woolcott and you will find the Church I work for. You can email me through the website. I wish I could have provided you with more direction in finding out info.

    I will give Rodney Stark a look.

    Dave

    ReplyDelete

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