Wesley R. Elsberry posted Entry 1696 on November 20, 2005 04:43 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1691

The Clergy Project letter now has 9,919 signatures, and their goal is to collect 10,000 signatures. This is a letter signed by clergy in the USA that asserts that religion and science are compatible, and further that evolutionary biology should be taught: “To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children.”

So, if you are a member of the clergy, or if you know of a member of the clergy who has not yet signed, this is the final call for signatures. Instructions are on this page.

Update: The Clergy Project was at 10,002 signatures as of November 23rd, 2005. Congratulations to Michael Zimmerman, and thanks to the participating clergy.

The complete text of the Clergy Project letter:

An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science

Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.

We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.

(Most comments will be moved to the AE AtBC thread)

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Comment #59023

Posted by MAJeff on November 20, 2005 7:28 PM (e)

Just sent this link to my sister–an ordained Methodist minister who ADORED (along with her clergy friends in the Twin Cities) the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Comment #59024

Posted by vhutchison on November 20, 2005 7:29 PM (e)

I have had several members of the ‘pro-evolution’ clergy, who have signed the project, ask if we could get a list of those who have signed from each state or if a search function could be added for that purpose. I have e-mailed the originator of this valuable effort and made this suggestion, but have hadm no response. I hope others will make the same suggestion.

The clergy members who have asked for such a list wish to enlist members into the anti-ID efforts.

Searching through 10,000 names is a major task.

Comment #59037

Posted by carol clouser on November 20, 2005 9:25 PM (e)

One, to not read the bible literally is to not take it seriously. For if words do not mean what they say, anyone can read anything into it. You cannot have it both ways.

Two, this sounds like the apologetics of folks who fear contradiction by science and have invented the great excuse for all such possible contradictions in the future. The Bible meant something else! These clerics truly lack faith. Let them just give it up and be done with it!

Three, with a little knowledge and discernment these faithless clerics would come to appreciate that the Bible CAN BE READ LITERALLY and still NOT CONFLICT WITH SCIENCE. As Judah Landa amply demonstrates in his IN THE BEGINNING OF, the original Hebrew Bible, when correctly and accurately translated, simply does not lead to any conflict with science. No word games, no twisted meanings, just correct translation. That’s all it takes.

Comment #59039

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 20, 2005 9:33 PM (e)

As Judah Landa amply demonstrates in his IN THE BEGINNING OF

Just for the new folks who showed up only recently and who may not have seen Carol’s posts before, she works for the publisher of Judah’s book, and is just here shilling it.

Comment #59040

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on November 20, 2005 9:35 PM (e)

And where is Carol’s evidence that any of the clerics associated with the Clergy Project is “faithless”? I have no problem taking Matthew 7:1 literally. Most of the antievolution flamers act like it isn’t even there.

Comment #59041

Posted by Swoosh on November 20, 2005 9:38 PM (e)

Has the DI enlisted any more “scientists” to sign their “evolution skeptics” propaganda document?

I poked around on their website, but the only reference to the so-called “growing number of scientists” I could find was in their FAQ. They don’t link to the document, but state a number around 300. Which is actually about 100 less than I remember reported earlier this year, so perhaps they are also attempting to redefine “growing”.

Comment #59043

Posted by Bobby Stapp on November 20, 2005 9:39 PM (e)

Hey Wesley, do you believe in God? I’m a theistic evolutionist. Where’s the thread by Henry?

Comment #59045

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on November 20, 2005 9:45 PM (e)

Since Henry’s comment and the reply did not follow the topic here, I moved them over to the After the Bar Closes thread for this post.

I express my ideas of classifying stances, and my position, in this essay, which has been up for about a decade, IIRC.

Comment #59046

Posted by k.e. on November 20, 2005 9:49 PM (e)

Bobby define God

Comment #59047

Posted by jim on November 20, 2005 9:49 PM (e)

Carol,

9919 religious leaders and scholars representing every *mainstream* religion in the United States either support the teaching of Evolution or do not find any conflict between teaching Science / Evolution and their religion.

Since you feel differently it could be because of one of these three reasons:
1) You don’t belong to a mainstream religion. For more information read:
http://www.uwosh.edu/colleges/cols/religion_science_collaboration.htm
2) You misunderstand your religion’s position regarding Science. For more information read:
http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/5025_statements_from_religious_orga_12_19_2002.asp
3) You misunderstand Science’s position regarding religion / a creator. For more information read:
http://talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-qa.html
http://talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-god.html
http://talkorigins.org/faqs/interpretations.html

This boils down to either you belong to a fringe believe OR you’re ignorant. In either case, this hardly supports the proposition that your ideas should be taught in school.

FYI, there are TWO creation stories in Genesis. If we are to read the Bible literally, then one of these must be wrong. Care to tell me which part of the Bible is wrong?

Comment #59054

Posted by k.e. on November 20, 2005 11:10 PM (e)

Carol
Science can’t define faith.
Your faith is different to my faith and yours and my faith’s are probably different to everyone else around here.
Faith is a totally personal experience it is your relationship with God and that is the point of the Open letter.
If you read the letter literally it is as plain as day they are not denying the existence of God. By literally I mean in a technical manner, it is an instruction on how to do something.

The Bible is a timeless and repeating tale that each generation can find meaning in, from ancient to modern. How timeless is that?
A story that will never wear out even if scientists are able to find a gene for God or a group of neurons for God
because it is the way we are. The story keeps repeating with each generation.

Do you read poetry ?
You should, because the bible is poetry of the highest order, it includes imagery ,allusion, metaphor and the meaning is not always obvious but once you get it it makes the heart sing.

Think of it this way suppose you took a technical book on how to build a 747 airplane; a book that must be read literally no allusion no allegory no metaphor back to the ancient biblical scribes and gave it to them and said this is how our modern world works, this is what we do. They would be fascinated I’m sure but it would not say one word to them about how we treat each other, what the love of life is, how to manage fear and doubt. But if you took back a story about you or a movie that that you think helped you or poetry that really sings to you or a modern Hymn.
Do you think they would understand that?

Why?

Remember timeless truths Carol, not nuts and bolts.

You sound like the Med. student who came home to her boyfriend and said “I found out today love is just a bunch of neurons firing in my head” and he said “See! I told it was real”

Comment #59056

Posted by The Rev. Schmitt. on November 20, 2005 11:29 PM (e)

One, to not read the bible literally is to not take it seriously. For if words do not mean what they say, anyone can read anything into it. You cannot have it both ways.

Wow…the tortured faces of two thousand years of authors just flashed before my eyes.

People like you should not be allowed near TS Eliot or Kafka. I am filled with horror at the thought of ‘literalists’ trying to be get anything out of either.

-The Rev. Schmitt.

Comment #59058

Posted by k.e. on November 20, 2005 11:31 PM (e)

Good point The Rev. Schmitt
I’d personally like to thank the DI for renewing MY culture William Blake suddenly Makes sense.

Comment #59061

Posted by Brian SPitzer on November 20, 2005 11:50 PM (e)

[T]o not read the bible literally is to not take it seriously. For if words do not mean what they say, anyone can read anything into it. You cannot have it both ways.

–Carol Clouser

It seems to me that this attitude toward the Bible is the ultimate surrender to a “scientistic” worldview. For 95% of recorded human history, there was not a clear distinction between literal historical truth and the truth conveyed by nonliteral stories. If anything, human beings recognized that stories more powerfully communicated meaningful truths about existence than did a recitation of facts. It’s only quite recently that we have begun to belittle “mere stories”.

Jesus clearly understood this. Are his parables at all meaningful if read as simple, literal facts?

Of course words don’t mean what they say. They mean a great deal more. To amputate that greater meaning for the certainty that a literal reading supposedly gives is a sad surrender to the modern idea that only facts– not meanings– matter.

Comment #59062

Posted by limpidense on November 21, 2005 12:03 AM (e)

Carol got her three swings but they didn’t come anywhere near the ball. She’s out.

She might try to open her eyes during here next at bat, but she sure comes across like a bench-polisher with maximum experience in the lumber business.

Comment #59063

Posted by k.e. on November 21, 2005 12:26 AM (e)

Brian
You have pointed out something I have long thought about the fundamentalism. Their purely mechanical and materialistic view of the world with no gaps at all for imagination.

It would seem their own inadequacy of understanding that there is more to life than material things and no value in art or creativity of the mind is projected onto scientists who they actually see as some sort of priestly caste in society. Thinking science is doing gods work with the simple task of finding a material god.

There seems to them a purity in seeking truth that is not available to them but is clearly available to science.

This seems like arrested development and they have postponed seeking truth. It is almost as though they are locked into a chasm between adolescence and adulthood. Controlled puerile and guilt ridden sexuality, no freedom of thought and most of all they won’t forgive Jesus for dying.

One noticeable feature is the complete dichotomy of truth and Truth and word and Word- That is nothing more than schizophrenia.

Comment #59065

Posted by Steve on November 21, 2005 1:08 AM (e)

“To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children.”

Well…technically it is just one theory among others…It also happens to be the best damn theory amongst all the others.

Just a minor nit-pick.

Comment #59066

Posted by k.e. on November 21, 2005 1:12 AM (e)

Steve:-Just a minor nit-pick
Scaring fish is not an option for them.

Comment #59069

Posted by carol clouser on November 21, 2005 2:20 AM (e)

It seems quite clear to me that the by declaring anything in the Bible to be amenable to the suggestion that it is not to be taken literally, these clerics have eviscerated the Bible of any value as a guide to proper and ethical living. After all, if Genesis does not mean what it says, perhaps the ban on homosexuality or the ten commandments or anything else also does not mean what it says? Where does it end?

Is it not clear that these clerics are acting out of fear that the Bible has been, and may repeatedly again be in the future, disproven by science or other forms of persuasive evidence, thereby cutting out the legs from under the foundation of various religions?

This is why the fundamentalists are fundamentalists. And I cannot blame them. Give them credit for honesty and real faith. The error they make is in not adequately questioning and probing into just what the original Bible really says, based on an honest application of the rules of literal translation of ancient Hebrew. The book I recommend (that is “recommend”, Lenny, not “shill”) is one of a few that could be of great assistance in this endeavor.

Comment #59070

Posted by carol clouser on November 21, 2005 2:24 AM (e)

And Jim, there is only one creation story in Genesis. Read IN THE BEGINNING OF, among others and get an education.

Comment #59072

Posted by k.e. on November 21, 2005 3:03 AM (e)

Carol said

It seems quite clear to me that the by declaring anything in the Bible to be amenable to the suggestion that it is not to be taken literally, these clerics have eviscerated the Bible of any value as a guide to proper and ethical living. After all, if Genesis does not mean what it says, perhaps the ban on homosexuality or the ten commandments or anything else also does not mean what it says? Where does it end?

Now here this everyone:

What Carol want to do is move our basis for laws and courts from Ancient Rome to Jerusalem:-

RENDER UNTO GOD WHAT IS CAESAR’S and
RENDER UNTO CAESAR’S WHAT IS GOD’S

That is the fundamentalist “Cris de Corps Mourants” (Cry of Dying Bodies)
The living Mantra of the Fundamentalist
The Killer blow to life as we know it
The Death of Science, Art and Theology.

Has it happened before ?

You bet- 1100 AD When the Islamic Sunna cracked down on 500 years of world leadership in science and medicine.They decided The Word of God in the Koran was the only source and vehicle of truth. Scientific thought led to the “loss of belief in the origin of the world and the Creator” science and medicine died for them and Islam has never really recovered.

Carol I’m afraid the whole world is on to you.

Die

Comment #59076

Posted by LtL on November 21, 2005 4:11 AM (e)

Looks like Carol cant stop shilling even when its pointed out to everyone. The shamelessness of these fundies never ceases to amaze me.

Comment #59077

Posted by speck on November 21, 2005 4:35 AM (e)

Carol said,

“Is it not clear that these clerics are acting out of fear that the Bible has been, and may repeatedly again be in the future, disproven by science or other forms of persuasive evidence, thereby cutting out the legs from under the foundation of various religions?”

Carol, the bible is full of nooks and crannies within which you may place your individual bias and prejudice.

You obviously do not take the whole bible literally (if you did, the inflicted psychosis would prevent you from functioning well enough to operate a computer), you only read as literal those parts which contain your bias. For example, I don’t need to know your viewpoint regarding the rapture in order to assure you that no matter what it is, there are many other christians with a viewpoint that is completely opposite and equally valid. That is because they have placed their bias in other nooks and crannies.

The bible is not meant to be taken literally.

Although I do agree, the “persuasive evidence” favoring science is pretty overwhelming.

Comment #59078

Posted by Corkscrew on November 21, 2005 5:14 AM (e)

carol wrote:

It seems quite clear to me that the by declaring anything in the Bible to be amenable to the suggestion that it is not to be taken literally, these clerics have eviscerated the Bible of any value as a guide to proper and ethical living.

Personally, I think the parable of the Good Samaritan is a wonderful guide to proper and ethical living, despite being self-evidently a work of fiction on the part of Jesus.

And… the Old Testament has never been a particularly good guide to ethical living IMO. Just read the book of Joshua - it makes it sound like the Israelites mercilessly slaughtered, pillaged and raped about half the continent. Given that this is certainly not considered acceptable practice these days, I fail to see how not taking another book of the OT literally harms its moral credibility further.

Comment #59079

Posted by Butterfingers on November 21, 2005 7:09 AM (e)

::sigh:: I love the ignorance…

Carol:
…the original Hebrew Bible, when correctly and accurately translated, simply does not lead to any conflict with science. No word games, no twisted meanings, just correct translation. That’s all it takes.

No. Now, see - I speak Hebrew. It’s my mother tongue. I’ve been speaking it since I was 10 months old. And I am very sorry to tell you that even in the Holy Tongue there still are contradictions in the bible. The whole “double creation story” still holds in Hebrew, as well as Jehova’s ridiculous zoological rant in Job.

Oh, speaking of “literal reading” - I take it you don’t wear mixed wools and linens? ‘cause that is literally forbidden in the Old Testament, and while many take Jesus’ permission to eat non-kosher food to cover that as well…well, he doesn’t literally say that shatnez is OK.

So?

Comment #59080

Posted by steve s on November 21, 2005 7:09 AM (e)

Posted by jim on November 20, 2005 09:49 PM (e) (s)

Carol,


This boils down to either you belong to a fringe believe OR you’re ignorant. In either case, this hardly supports the proposition that your ideas should be taught in school.

Please to note: this is not an Exclusive OR.

Comment #59082

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on November 21, 2005 7:23 AM (e)

You had better make up your minds at T/O. One, someone obviously wishes all churches and all humanity to abandon Intelligent Design. That would make the Clergy all become atheists. Two, someone else wishes to enlist the Clergy’s support for teaching Evolution - exactly which of the many ideas about evolution is not stipulated - thus drumming up moral support. Moral support for….. exactly what? Either there is a designer, and clergy can therefore offer legitimate support, or the clergy have all got there heads in pickle jars, and there is only a negative result in enlisting their support. (Reading history, enlisting the support of clergy in general regarding technical matters can be a real can of worms.) So, T/O has suddenly become pro- Design, because it places some credence in the Clergy. Or is this page yet another error?

Two technical questions: 1) Did the “Rev. Doctor” remember to sign; 2) Would an Alka-Setza assist anyone?

The good clergy will recognize the quote, “Many bore false witness against him; but their witness agreed not together”. Chances are, your correspondent might well have been one of those bearing false witness. If he wasn’t, it would only be by the grace of God.

Comment #59083

Posted by k.e. on November 21, 2005 7:35 AM (e)

OT/

Why would someone put a link to non existant web page on a Ukraine Telecom website ??
_christmas.seavenue.net_

82.207.80.94 RTT: 515ms TTL: 32 (evp.sf.ukrtel.net fraudulent rDNS)
82.207.80.2 RTT: 509ms TTL: 36 (www.seavenue.net ok)
OT/

Comment #59084

Posted by Ron Okimoto on November 21, 2005 7:50 AM (e)

Someone should find the mealy mouthed propaganda piece that the Discovery Institute got their 400 “scientists” to sign and compare it to the straight forward presentation of what the 9000 clergy have signed. It will be very apparent that the Discovery Institute is dishonest about what they are pushing.

Comment #59085

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 21, 2005 7:55 AM (e)

It seems quite clear to me that the by declaring anything in the Bible to be amenable to the suggestion that it is not to be taken literally, these clerics have eviscerated the Bible of any value as a guide to proper and ethical living.

Says you. (shrug)

Thanks for sharing your religious opinion with us. Why is it any more authotiative than anyone else’s? Why should anyhone pay any more attention to your religious opinions than they should to mine, my next door neighbor’s my car mechanic’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas?

The book I recommend (that is “recommend”, Lenny, not “shill”) is one of a few that could be of great assistance in this endeavor.

“Shilling” is “shilling”, Carol. Were you honest, you would admit up front that you work for the publisher of Judah’s book, and therefore have, at least idnirectly, financial interest in “recommending” it.

But you’re NOT honest.

Comment #59086

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 21, 2005 7:59 AM (e)

You had better make up your minds at T/O. One, someone obviously wishes all churches and all humanity to abandon Intelligent Design. That would make the Clergy all become atheists.

Says you. (shrug)

In case you haven’t noticed, most churches ALREADY think that the fundamentalists are a lunatic fringe, who do nothing but harm to Christianity by making it look silly, stupid, medieval, backwards, and pig-ignorant.

Now answer the question I asked of you, Heywood. What makes your religious opinion any more authoritative than anyone else’s? WHy should anyone pay any more attentinon to your religious opinions than they should to mine, my next door naighbor’s, my car mechanic’s, or the kid who delviers my pizzas? Other than your say-so?

Comment #59088

Posted by k.e. on November 21, 2005 8:03 AM (e)

Aaah yes the creator of the

“Heddle Constant Controversy… (42)…. The Answer to the meaning of Life the Universe and everything “

someone obviously wishes all churches and all humanity to abandon Intelligent Design

someone ??? Yes of course dear it’s a conspiracy.

and note the secret code ID not id

The Harry potter of the world of Physics.

Heddle must contend with being mysteriously selected to compete in the prestigious Triwizard Tournament, a thrilling competition that pits him against older and more experienced students from Hogwarts and two rival wizarding schools. Meanwhile, supporters of Heddle’s nemesis, the evil Lord Voldemort, send a shockwave of fear throughout the wizard community when their Dark Mark scorches the sky at the Quidditch World Cup, signaling Voldemort’s return to power. But for Heddle, this is not the only harrowing news causing him anxiety – he still has yet to find a date for Hogwarts’ Yule Ball dance.

For those interested in decoding myth here is a site I can recommend.

http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/harry_potter_goblet.htm

Comment #59089

Posted by speck on November 21, 2005 8:03 AM (e)

Where’s Penn Jillette when you need him?

Comment #59092

Posted by Peter Henderson on November 21, 2005 8:16 AM (e)

I just wish that the 10,000 clergy that have signed this letter would be more vocal especially in evangelical circles. Maybe they could form some sort of an organisation and try to gain access to some of the christian broadcasting stations like TBN, or UCB in this country and promote their message to other Christians in the same way that the many YEC’s have done. This I feel is the only way to get their message across to the wider church. I’m sure that most evangelicals will not even have heard of this letter although something is bound to turn up on the AIG website over the next few days, once they get to hear of it, with the opening Lines “Sadly many christian ministers”.

All I seem to hear in the evangelical church and christian broadcasting stations these days is young earth creationism. I’ve yet to listen to an evangelical who is a theistic evolutionist for example, put across their point of view about origins.

Re Carol; There are many verses in the bible that if taken literally are clearly wrong. For instance in Leviticus it states “The bat is an unclean fowl” when of course we now know that it is a mammal. Another good one, which in my opinion contradicts, young earther’s insistence on a global flood is the use of the phrase all of the Earth. e.g In Chronicles it states that “All the kings of the Earth sought the wisdom of Solomon” Just think about it Carol. Does this mean that several thousand years ago there were North American Indian chiefs or Australian Aborigines in Jerusalem !Surely not. The words “All the Earth” can therefore be interpreted to mean just the local region (i.e. the middle east which was the known world at the time). The bible is littered with examples like this but I just wish that more Christians would point this out. It’s not a case of reading meanings into things but pure common sense. Science has moved on a lot from 3,000 years ago ! I think that YEC’s are just as good at selectively taking things literally or figuratively as everyone else.

Comment #59094

Posted by k.e. on November 21, 2005 8:20 AM (e)

ooops
Mr Heddle I owe you an apology.(mmmmmph).
My Last comment was directed to Philip Bruce Heywood

PBH do you like Monty Python ?

Comment #59095

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 21, 2005 8:22 AM (e)

“Many bore false witness against him; but their witness agreed not together”.

Good point.

Why can’t IDers agree on how old the earth is?

Why can’t IDers agree on whether or not humans evolved from primates?

Why can’t IDers agree on a scientific theory of ID?

Comment #59096

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 21, 2005 8:47 AM (e)

Posted by steve s on November 21, 2005 07:09 AM (e) (s)

Posted by jim on November 20, 2005 09:49 PM (e) (s)

Carol,


This boils down to either you belong to a fringe believe OR you’re ignorant. In either case, this hardly supports the proposition that your ideas should be taught in school.

Please to note: this is not an Exclusive OR.

ROFL,
I really like that bit I made bold.

Comment #59097

Posted by ben on November 21, 2005 9:13 AM (e)

Just for the new folks who showed up only recently and who may not have seen Carol’s posts before, she works for the publisher of Judah’s book, and is just here shilling it.

A spectacular success I am sure. I suspect Carol spends the rest of her time over at Inuitforum.net flogging Frigidaires.

Comment #59098

Posted by steve s on November 21, 2005 9:17 AM (e)

thanks Steve ;-)

Comment #59099

Posted by Julie on November 21, 2005 9:37 AM (e)

Peter Henderson wrote:

All I seem to hear in the evangelical church and christian broadcasting stations these days is young earth creationism. I’ve yet to listen to an evangelical who is a theistic evolutionist for example, put across their point of view about origins.

Unfortunately, there’s probably a lot more money going into these places than into the churches that are really out there doing the real work of supporting their members and their communities. If you walk into just about any major-denomination church, you’ll find information available about organizing everything from peace vigils to community food pantries. These places aren’t collecting huge amounts of money to buy airtime and rant over the radio and TV about creeping secular humanism. More likely, they’re collecting donations of clothing for the local homeless shelter.

Incidentally, I’m a Unitarian Universalist who considers religious scriptures to be allegorical, and I’m not a regular churchgoer. However, I come from a New England Catholic family (some relatives observant, some not), my in-laws are devout Midwestern Protestants, and my experience in attending their churches is that they’re full of caring people who, like Wesley, have no problem taking Matthew 7:1 seriously (and perhaps literally). But, given our celebrity culture and the amount of political money behind the diversions of the theatrical religious right, these aren’t the people who are getting on TV. And, because most of them aren’t full of themselves, they probably have little desire to do so.

Comment #59100

Posted by Ed Darrell on November 21, 2005 9:44 AM (e)

From the totals, it looks as though the clergy signatures project will get their 10,000th signature sometime today, November 21. If your pastor-rabbi-imam-sensei-clergy hasn’t signed yet, send them a note now!

Comment #59101

Posted by Flint on November 21, 2005 9:52 AM (e)

I find Heywood’s comments fascinating.

One, someone obviously wishes all churches and all humanity to abandon Intelligent Design.

This is so clearly NOT the goal that it’s puzzling. The point of the statement is to show that Intelligent Design is religion, not science.

That would make the Clergy all become atheists.

Distinguishing between mutable scientific explanations and immutable religious doctrine is atheistic? I should hope not! The Clergy (in this case) are acting to protect religion by properly identifying it, and insisting that religion is NOT merely “bad science.” Good science cannot comfortably co-exist with bad science; it CAN comfortably exist with religious faith. It is possible to be both a capable scientist and a devout follower of a religious faith.

Two, someone else wishes to enlist the Clergy’s support for teaching Evolution

No, the clergy do not wish to have religious doctrine taught as “scientific truth”, something very different. But I suppose it’s true that the clergy don’t wish to keep children in ignorance where scientific knowledge conflicts with any religious doctrine based on flat demonstrably incorrect statements. The goal is to CORRECT error, not preserve it.

- exactly which of the many ideas about evolution is not stipulated - thus drumming up moral support. Moral support for….. exactly what?

Uh, we’re talking here about evidentiary support, not moral support. Evolutionary theory is, just like any other scientific theory, the “best fit” explanation for all the known evidence. There is only ONE idea here - that conclusions in science be based on evidence, rather than be declared Truth a priori.

Either there is a designer, and clergy can therefore offer legitimate support, or the clergy have all got there heads in pickle jars, and there is only a negative result in enlisting their support.

What does “legitimate support” mean in this case? Let’s presume there IS a designer. Let’s also presume that the evidence is as observed, and the designer is not trying to trick us by playing games with our heads. Is it possible that both of these be true at the same time - a supernatural designer, and reality being real? The “legitimate support” for this position is that reality itself is what the Designer designed; that we are investigating His handiwork. No problem there, as far as these clergy are concerned. Their god is NOT trying to bamboozle the yokels into falling for a practical joke embedded in every molecule as a matter of Divine Humor.

Intelligent Design, as (more or less; nearly every attempt I’ve seen to define it is met with “you don’t really understand it” by its proponents, who proceed to produce YET ANOTHER description, incompatible with some prior descriptions) generally understood, amounts to a denial of evidence as required to sustain a selectively simplistic reading of certain old myths. But for these clergy, their God lives in what is known, rather than in what remains to be discovered. Their “legitimate support” is to say “look at the universe around you. THERE is God. The more science learns, the better we know Him.”

Those who protest this, who insist that reality is fake as required to fit beliefs incompatible with it, truly DO have their heads in pickle jars.

Comment #59102

Posted by Ed Darrell on November 21, 2005 9:53 AM (e)

Mr. Henderson, for all their blather about freedom of speech and censorship, the owners of the broadcast outlets who cater to nominally Christian interests do not allow access to the airwaves to evangelicals who understand evolution and do not reject it.

Anti-science stuff flourishes among the fundamentalists for the same reasons non-affiliated congregations do: Standards bother them. Having to do the hard academic work to fathom faith is something they prefer to avoid, particularly if they can make more money with a guy with a guitar asking everybody to raise their hands and sing.

I love singing, but I don’t confuse the benefits of singing with what is necessary to understand physics, chemistry and biology, and I never confuse an hour with a guitar for the many hours of observation necessary to, say, understand how the ivy twines.*

* One of Darwin’s more interesting monographs was on how vines actually climb. To figure it out, he grew vines in his lab, and spent hours literally watching them to see how the tendrils “figured out” how and where to attach themselves. It’s a brilliant case of Darwin’s having done the hard work to see how plants simulate design by application of simple algorithms. I have yet to meet a creationist who is familiar with the paper.

Comment #59104

Posted by jim on November 21, 2005 9:56 AM (e)

Carol said:

(quote)And Jim, there is only one creation story in Genesis. Read IN THE BEGINNING OF, among others and get an education.(/quote)

Carol,

There are TWO creation stories in Genesis. Trying reading the BIBLE and get an education.

Comment #59105

Posted by Renier on November 21, 2005 10:11 AM (e)

Carol

Jim is right, there are two creation stories in Genesis. Proper educated theologians will also tell you that the creation stories came from the Babylonians, and that Moses never wrote Genesis.

Comment #59106

Posted by jim on November 21, 2005 10:18 AM (e)

Posted by steve s on November 21, 2005 07:09 AM (e) (s)

Posted by jim on November 20, 2005 09:49 PM (e) (s)

Carol,


This boils down to either you belong to a fringe believe OR you’re
ignorant. In either case, this hardly supports the proposition that
your ideas should be taught in school.

Please to note: this is not an Exclusive OR.

Thanks Steve,

Your clarification is very illuminating!

Comment #59107

Posted by jonboy on November 21, 2005 10:38 AM (e)

look at it any way you want,no Adam and Eve, no original sin,no original sin,no need for Jesus

Comment #59109

Posted by Carol Clouser on November 21, 2005 10:59 AM (e)

Jim and Renier,

Some scholars think they see two creation stories in Genesis based on stylistic and other spurious considerations. But these folks must assume that the Bible was composed by different people at different times and is therefore highly unlikely to be the word of God. A careful reading of the original Hebrew however reveals that it is just as sensible to see one creation story. Besides Judah Landa’s IN THE BEGINNING OF you may also wish to read Robert Alter’s THE FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES, and others. Since the perceived conflict with science is only meaningful if the Bible is considered to be the word of God, it is with that in mind that my comments were motivated.

Peter Henderson,

The pertinent phrase in the Bible regarding the flood is (in Hebrew), “kol ha-aretz”, which does not generally mean “all the earth” but “all the land”. Which land? the one being discussed, in context. In the case of the flood it refers to where the previous stories in Genesis were located - generally assumed to be Mesapotamia or Sumeria. The Bible delineates where it is by four rivers, we just don’t know where those are probably because the rivers have changed course over time or don’t exist anymore. A similar phrase is used at the plague of darkness to strike Egypt - kol ha-aretz - all the land (of Egypt) became dark, not all the earth. All this is LITERAL and just another example of common sloppy translations of the Hebrew original.

As far as bats being fowl or mammal, surely you know the Bible does not need to follow scientific classifications but goes by human everyday observations. As the rule in the Talmud states - the Bible was written in the language of ordinary, everyday conversation.

Lenny,

To insinuate that I may somehow profit indirectly from my company’s possible sales on this misreable blog is a sick joke.

Butterfingers,

You do realize that observant Jews today do observe “shatnez” regulations, that is, they do not mix wool and linen in their garments. What I personally do is not pertinent to this conversation. I would only caution you not to jump to conclusions about my religious beliefs, of which you know not a whit.

Comment #59110

Posted by Renier on November 21, 2005 11:02 AM (e)

Heywood wrote : That would make the Clergy all become atheists.

Is it just me, or is there perhaps a bit of revelation in the above statement by Mr. Heywood? Could it be that he just gave us the reason why the fundies are fighting (frightened of) Evolution? It would appear that Mr. Heywood cannot accept Evolution, for in doing so, he would have to abandon his faith and become an Atheist? It must be a shame to live in a little world where you cannot accept evidence, all for fear of hell (loosing faith). Believe as a child, or do not believe at all?

The Bible is not a scientific book. You do not have to prove it to be a scientific book in order to have faith. Get over it and move on.

Comment #59111

Posted by Rupert on November 21, 2005 11:03 AM (e)

I don’t mind people claiming inerrancy for the Bible - after all, people can believe what they like. Likewise, if others want to claim inerrancy for the Quran they’re at liberty so to do. Like people who dress up as Klingons to see Star Trek movies, such a public stance helps save time when I’m trying to decide how assiduously I wish to seek their acquaintance.

But before either try to convince me of their position, they ought to realise that no matter how flexible one’s logic is there is no way that two mutually contradictory books can both be inerrant. (I’m talking about Bible vs Quran here, rather than TNG vs TOS, but there are parallels.)

It would be doing everyone a great service if the various inerrantists sorted out this major problem between themselves before they started to bother us with their childish claims. Out here in the real world, where inerrancy is as likely as a decent alcohol-free malt whisky, it just makes them look even sillier.

And as for the ‘if you don’t believe it absolutely, it’s worthless’ stance - honestly. Isn’t that up to me? Are my critical faculties _so_ useless that I cannot make value judgements on each part of a book based on experience, logic and intelligence? Why did God/Allah/Roddenberry bother giving them to us, then?

So much ridiculousness, and for what - a frail shell of certainty that breaks up and flies away like dandelion seed at the first gentle zephyr of enquiry. No wonder fundies spend so much time trying to prevent criticism being heard rather than answering it.

R

Comment #59112

Posted by Renier on November 21, 2005 11:04 AM (e)

Heywood wrote : That would make the Clergy all become atheists.

Is it just me, or is there perhaps a bit of revelation in the above statement by Mr. Heywood? Could it be that he just gave us the reason why the fundies are fighting (frightened of) Evolution? It would appear that Mr. Heywood cannot accept Evolution, for in doing so, he would have to abandon his faith and become an Atheist? It must be a shame to live in a little world where you cannot accept evidence, all for fear of hell (loosing faith). Believe as a child, or do not believe at all?

The Bible is not a scientific book. You do not have to prove it to be a scientific book in order to have faith. Get over it and move on.

Comment #59115

Posted by LTL on November 21, 2005 11:18 AM (e)

Is there any way to find out how many of the 10,000 clergy are named Steve?

Comment #59116

Posted by Apesnake on November 21, 2005 11:23 AM (e)

Carol wrote:

You do realize that observant Jews today do observe “shatnez” regulations, that is, they do not mix wool and linen in their garments. What I personally do is not pertinent to this conversation.

In this conversation you said that the Bible must be taken literally or it looses all meaning but you refuse to answer whether you observe - or attempt to observe, or even acknowledge all its regulations literally. How is it not hypocrisy to pick and choose which verses are literal? What about the rules about stoning disobedient children?

Carol wrote:

Lenny,

To insinuate that I may somehow profit indirectly from my company’s possible sales on this misreable blog is a sick joke.

I see nothing sick or humorous in pointing out an important fact. If you do not work for the company which will profit from the sale of the book, thus at the very least improving your job security, why do you not say so? You are recommending the book in the hopes that creationist trolls will see you posts and buy it. An honest attempt to enlighten people would have included this disclosure.

Comment #59117

Posted by Peter Henderson on November 21, 2005 11:24 AM (e)

Carol:This is exactly why the bible, in my opinion, should not be viewed as a science book or even as the literal history of the world. Even as recently as 150 years ago, for example, most people probably saw naturally occurring events such as earthquakes etc. as “Acts of God”. We now know of course that they (earthquakes) are caused by plate tectonics, something that was discovered only relatively recently in modern science.

Comment #59118

Posted by David Heddle on November 21, 2005 11:24 AM (e)

Carol,

You are correct, there are not two creation accounts in Genesis. Pretty soon someone will dig up Adam’s first wife Lilith.

The old canard that Genesis 1 and 2 are in conflict has been rigorously refuted for so long (as in millennia) that I am amazed that anyone still brings it up. It would be like coming to PT and stating “what good is half an eye?” in a manner that suggested the very question was a knockout punch.

And one someone writes

Proper educated theologians will also tell you that the creation stories came from the Babylonians, and that Moses never wrote Genesis.

it of course means: a select set of liberal theologians with whom I agree say that…

Having said all that, I would respectfully suggest that your statement “to not read the bible literally is to not take it seriously” would be better expressed as “to not read the bible as inerrant is to not take it seriously.”

Inerrancy and literality are two different things. An obvious example is that we don’t take it literally when Christ says “I am the vine.”

Wesley:

I have no problem taking Matthew 7:1 literally. Most of the antievolution flamers act like it isn’t even there.

I’m glad you take it literally but I wonder if you take it in context? For it does not mean: never ever make any sort judgment about other people. It is about forgiveness. A few verses later, Jesus tells us not to give what is holy to dogs and not to cast pearls before swine. That is hard advice to follow if there is a universal prohibition against judging–for how then can we decide who are dogs and who are swine? (In Matt. 7:16 Jesus gives the basis for the discernment.)

Comment #59119

Posted by Ed Darrell on November 21, 2005 11:33 AM (e)

So, jonboy, other than sex, you think there’s not enough sin in the world to merit salvation from Jesus?

I suppose that’s another real difference between the students of evolution on one side and creationists on the other: We who study evolution get in the habit of seeing things as they are, and we see plenty of evil and sin that needs correction, quite apart from sex.

The notion that there is no sin without Adam is silly, bizarre, not Christian in theology, and unworthy of discussion.

Comment #59120

Posted by Wislu Plethora on November 21, 2005 11:34 AM (e)

Heddle wrote:

The old canard that Genesis 1 and 2 are in conflict has been rigorously refuted for so long (as in millennia) that I am amazed that anyone still brings it up.

And when Heddle writes this, of course he means,

Heddle wrote:

a select set of…theologians with whom I agree say that…

Comment #59121

Posted by David Heddle on November 21, 2005 11:36 AM (e)

Wislu:

touché!

Comment #59122

Posted by Renier on November 21, 2005 11:37 AM (e)

To Carol

Fine, I will play your little game. You want to take the Bible in the most literal way, have it your way.

“And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God…” (Deuteronomy 13: 5)

So Carol, how many scientists have you killed lately, since it seems clear that you think scientists are all just dishonest liers, to turn people away from your God?

“If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;” “Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.” (Deuteronomy 13: 6-9)

Carol, I hope there are no Humanists, Evolutionary scientists, Atheists, pagans, Hindus, Buddhists in your family, because your Bible is clear on what to do, and the law is not going to like it.

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” (I Samuel 15:2-3)

I hope you don’t mind killing children, ESPECIALLY children of scientists.

“The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance. He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.” (Psalms 58:10)

Sounds like you Carol?

“And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.” (Leviticus 21:9)

Go and find a prostitute with a pastor for a father, and do your deed.

“And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” (Luke 12:47)

Find a slave… Oh wait, your country is against that. And you?

“But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” (Luke 19:27)

If you say that literal translations is not appropriate for some of these verses, or tell me that it is “out of context” then your whole argument on the literal reading has fallen.
This is literal.

“therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jerobo’am, and will cut off from Jerobo’am him that pisseth against the wall…” (I Kings 14:10)

Thank your lucky stars you are a woman!!! I am in real trouble here…

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

Are you taking this as literal Carol? Is it mistranslated, out of context, not understood in the way that YOU would like it understood? Sure…of course it is dear… When it suits YOU.

Comment #59123

Posted by Ed Darrell on November 21, 2005 11:42 AM (e)

David Heddle said:

Having said all that, I would respectfully suggest that your statement “to not read the bible literally is to not take it seriously” would be better expressed as “to not read the bible as inerrant is to not take it seriously.”

Inerrancy and literality are two different things. An obvious example is that we don’t take it literally when Christ says “I am the vine.”

All the same, David, I prefer the traditional Christian interpretations of “inerrancy” – and the traditional Christian interpretations of the various different creation stories of the Bible – to the sub-modern/postmodern claim that the Bible is absolutely correct and opposes science.

The value of most stories is in the moral to be gotten. The value of good history is, likewise, the learnings to be taken away from the story.

Most of us Christians understand that the message of the creation stories of the Bible has nothign at all to do with denying evolution, and not much to do with the origins of sin.

Comment #59124

Posted by Arden Chatfield on November 21, 2005 11:44 AM (e)

Carol said:

It seems quite clear to me that the by declaring anything in the Bible to be amenable to the suggestion that it is not to be taken literally, these clerics have eviscerated the Bible of any value as a guide to proper and ethical living.

Millions of Christians disagree with you here. Are they all wrong?

Comment #59126

Posted by AR on November 21, 2005 11:59 AM (e)

How many times needs Carol be told that her ceaseless shilling for Landa’s absurd book is annoying? Likewise, Heddle’s endless posts wherein he stubbornly tries to impose his beliefs on PT visitors are boring and annoying. Can’t you take your screeds to some other site where they will be welcome?

Comment #59127

Posted by David Heddle on November 21, 2005 12:01 PM (e)

Ed:

All the same, David, I prefer the traditional Christian interpretations of “inerrancy” — and the traditional Christian interpretations of the various different creation stories of the Bible — to the sub-modern/postmodern claim that the Bible is absolutely correct and opposes science.

Maybe someone on here has said that, I haven’t read all the comments. But my position is very different from what you labeled “sub-modern”/postmodern.” My position is: the Bible is absolutely correct and supports science.

Most of us Christians understand that the message of the creation stories of the Bible has nothign at all to do with denying evolution, and not much to do with the origins of sin.

I would quibble with how you justify the claim “Most of us Christians.” And I understand how you claim the bible does not dispute evolution. But I think you step beyond the pale of orthodoxy if you think the creation account has little to do with the origins of sin. Do you think Paul, in Rom. 5:12, was a) misquoted, b) misinformed, c) lying, or d) something else?

Comment #59128

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on November 21, 2005 12:02 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

’m glad you take it literally but I wonder if you take it in context? For it does not mean: never ever make any sort judgment about other people. It is about forgiveness. A few verses later, Jesus tells us not to give what is holy to dogs and not to cast pearls before swine. That is hard advice to follow if there is a universal prohibition against judging—for how then can we decide who are dogs and who are swine? (In Matt. 7:16 Jesus gives the basis for the discernment.)

So, in David’s interpretation, Matthew 7:1 is not applicable to Carol Clouser’s blanket dismissal of nearly 10,000 US clergy as “faithless”, without the slightest bit of substantiation.

1”Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

I think it rather obviously applies.

Even when we look at what David says tells us that we can “discern” things, Carol’s case is not improved:

15”Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Does Carol know anything about the “fruits” of any of the people she dismissed as “faithless”? It certainly was not evident in anything she said.

Comment #59129

Posted by jonboy on November 21, 2005 12:12 PM (e)

The point I was tying to make is not my own,this is the argument I receive from Fundies when talking about why they have a hard time accepting evolution,it seem to refute their basic doctrines
Who said sex is a sin?

Comment #59130

Posted by k.e. on November 21, 2005 12:13 PM (e)

Heddle said
My position is: the Bible is absolutely correct and supports science

Really ?

Well then… What was Adams last name?

And before you answer consider this.

You may have grown up in an apartment and your parents kept the bedroom door shut real tight. Which would be the only explanation if you opted for a miracle. But out on the farm the animals just get on with it.
So lets have an explanation for your literal reading of Gen1. Gen2.

Comment #59132

Posted by Derwood on November 21, 2005 12:36 PM (e)

Good God, fundies are a hoot! You all probably still think Moses actually wrote the Pentateuch. REAL biblical scholars, ones who study, meet and discuss this stuff with other scholars, like Richard Friedman, know that there ARE two of MANY of the stories in Genesis. And they also know that their were probably separate texts, one from the Kingdom of Judah and one from Israel that were threaded back together into ONE text at some point after the fall of the northern kingdom.

Keep drinkin’ the kool-aid, fundies!

Comment #59133

Posted by k.e. on November 21, 2005 12:37 PM (e)

Jonboy said

The point I was tying to make is not my own,this is the argument I receive from Fundies when talking about why they have a hard time accepting evolution,it seem to refute their basic doctrines
Who said sex is a sin?

Yes…. that’s part of the problem.
clip from…
http://www.counterpunch.org/davis01082005.html

The Psychology of Christian Fundamentalism

Sexuality has been transformed into the festering wound out of which resentment is born. For every time desire rises up one experiences again one’s powerlessness to break the strangle-hold the super-ego has over one’s sexuality. A jaundiced eye then casts its gaze on all who have succeeded where one failed Envy rises up, offering one the only exit from inner conflict–hatred of the sexual and an unending war upon it

Another real problem is most of them are too rational for their own good.
They don’t do nuance everything is black and white their radical indoctrination of indigestible ideology kicks up in late adolescence which actually makes them insufferable suffering adults. (Dembski flourish there sorry)

And the constant projecting

Carol
Two, this sounds like the apologetics of folks who fear contradiction by science and have invented the great excuse for all such possible contradictions in the future. The Bible meant something else! These clerics truly lack faith. Let them just give it up and be done with it!

Carol you know, atheiem won’t kill you maybe you should give it a try.

Comment #59137

Posted by James Taylor on November 21, 2005 12:53 PM (e)

Renier wrote:

“And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” (Luke 12:47)

Find a slave… Oh wait, your country is against that. And you?

Renier, slavery is one of Carol’s favorite topics. She believes that slavery is noble (since it is mentioned in the Bible) and can be ethical if managed by Old Testament principles. She believes that bankrupcy laws could benefit by re-adopting slavery. She opposes the fourteenth amendment along with the Establishment Clause.

Carol’s Opinion on Slavery

Comment #59138

Posted by Carol Clouser on November 21, 2005 1:01 PM (e)

Wesley,

I was clearly referring to what I discerned as a lack of faith in the Bible’s ability to stand the test of time. And I derived that lack of faith on the part of the clerics from their blanket statement that “the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally”. I see that as a built-in excuse to save the Bible from any possible conflict with the evidence. I was not accusing them of a lack of faith in God or in their religious principles or in having produced no “fruits”.

Besides, by publicly issuing that statement they invite public comment and discussion. And by your posting that letter here you too invite such discussion. It makes no sense for you to then accuse me of being judgemental when you don’t find my comments to your liking.

Many folks here would actually descibe my “accusation” as a compliment paid to the clerics. That they “see the light” and to once and for all save the Bible from any present or future conflicts with science they take the only effective course available - render its words meaningless by turning them into flying targets.

My additional point was that all this fear of science is so unnecessary. And the clerics ought to know better.

I stand by my comments.

Comment #59139

Posted by Arden Chatfield on November 21, 2005 1:09 PM (e)

Renier, slavery is one of Carol’s favorite topics. She believes that slavery is noble (since it is mentioned in the Bible) and can be ethical if managed by Old Testament principles. She believes that bankrupcy laws could benefit by re-adopting slavery. She opposes the fourteenth amendment along with the Establishment Clause.

It’s not all that hard to find fundies who defend slavery on OT principles. (This is a basic staple of ‘Neo-Confederate’ types as well.) What’s funny is that they’re never the ones volunteering to be slaves.

Also, ironically, it’s always Christians who try and make this argument, and not Jews, even tho it’s rationalized by Jewish scriptures.

Comment #59140

Posted by k.e. on November 21, 2005 1:13 PM (e)

The serpent is an interesting Mythical archetype.

In the west the serpent is depicted in creation stories and has some bad PR in the East the snake represents the gaining of knowledge- on going renewal during life, the death and rebirth of Ego as one matures.
look up serpent Mythology.
http://www.mystae.com/restricted/streams/scripts/serpent.html

Comment #59141

Posted by Carol Clouser on November 21, 2005 1:19 PM (e)

Derwood,

I read and studied extensively Richard Friedman’s works and those of others with similar views and have found them VERY wanting.

James Taylor,

Shame on you! How dare you so grotesquely distort my views and put words into my mouth?

Comment #59144

Posted by k.e. on November 21, 2005 1:45 PM (e)

One last tip Heddle and Carol
Fundamenatlist don’t like Evolution/Science/Darwin for the one simple dichotomy.

Which came first the Chicken or the Egg, Man or God?

Hint:
There’s a cartoon in an old Playboy of a chicken and an egg lying on a bed together with the chicken smoking a cigarette.
The caption reads

“Well that settles that question”

Or maybe RENÉ MAGRITTE

“If the spectator finds that my paintings are a kind of defiance of ‘common sense’, he realises something obvious. I want nevertheless to add that for me the world is a defiance of common sense.” René Magritte.

have a look at ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’

http://www.articons.co.uk/magritte.htm

Comment #59170

Posted by carol clouser on November 21, 2005 3:04 PM (e)

David Heddle,

I see your distinction between inerrancy and literalism. I find it somewhat difficult to put words together in these posts with the same degree of precision as I would in other formats.

But the twin concepts are also inter-related. For how can you know what exactly to be certain about if the words are pliable enough to fit anyone’s whim?

I do not support extreme or childish literalism. Phrases like “the eyes of God” or “the outstretched arm of God” are obviously meant to be interpreted liberally. Such departures from strict literalism are self understood by all and therefore are acceptable. “An eye for an eye” has traditionally been interpreted by the ancient Jewish sages (the greatest experts in Biblical interpretation, bar none) to mean “the value of an eye for an eye”. But that does not bestow license for anyone to read anything they see fit into the words of the Bible. There are reasonable rules.

Comment #59173

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on November 21, 2005 3:24 PM (e)

I cannot but wonder… reasonable according to whom?

Comment #59175

Posted by Flint on November 21, 2005 3:27 PM (e)

For how can you know what exactly to be certain about if the words are pliable enough to fit anyone’s whim?…that does not bestow license for anyone to read anything they see fit into the words of the Bible. There are reasonable rules.

I don’t see anyone saying otherwise. Consider Aesop’s fables. Clearly, they aren’t meant to be taken literally. But this hardly means they can be taken any way anyone damn pleases. If this were the case, why did Aesop write so MANY of them? After all, he could write a single one and we could all make up any meaning we wanted, right?

Perhaps your complaint is that different people can derive different meanings from the same material? But this is commonly the case. I suppose the best rule to go by is, what point was the author of any given tale trying to make? What was his purpose, his context, his audience?

Finally, I suppose some parts of the bible WERE intended to be taken literally, or were based on commonly-accepted observations subsequently shown to have been misunderstandings. This happens.

Nobody is claiming the bible is either “childishly literal” or meaningless, pick one. The fact is, we can’t question the authors to learn their intent or their perspective. I would never consider “the eyes of God” to be taken literally; it seems obvious to me that this phrase was intended to indicate an unbiased and impersonal perspective.

I guess the point is, when the bible says something clearly in error if taken literally, then we must either abandon the bible as being ALL bathwater, or find some morally useful way(s) of interpreting the material. But if you are trying to say that in *requiring* the bible to be inerrant, one must stretch some biblical material beyond all recognition, I agree. We surely need to be able to point to parts of the bible and say “this author, as it happens, didn’t know what he was talking about. What he wrote was simply wrong.”

Comment #59176

Posted by Russell on November 21, 2005 3:27 PM (e)

There are reasonable rules

which, of course, everyone makes up for him/herself.

Comment #59181

Posted by Apesnake on November 21, 2005 3:37 PM (e)

Carol, I did not notice where you addressed those questions about whether you gave equal literal weight to all the parts of the bible - the stoning of disobedient kids and such.

I reread the comments but I just could not find your response. Could you try posting again or include the comment # where you address that? Thanks.

You claim that calling these 10,000 clergy “faithless” is not an accusation but a compliment because you leave in the chance that they may see the light. If someone called you senseless (hypothetically) but said that it was not too late for you to educate yourself, would you feel complimented?

I think your comments on slavery speak for themselves but I did notice that when you were making them you were also putting in a plug for IN THE BEGINNING OF. Do you ever not plug that book when you post?

Comment #59185

Posted by David Heddle on November 21, 2005 3:52 PM (e)

Russell,

which, of course, everyone makes up for him/herself.

That is simply an argument ad absurdum. There are in fact rules. Dispensationalism employs a highly literalistic hermeneutic. They take apocalyptic text literally and spiritualize timelines (e.g., “this generation”). Covenantal theology tends to do the reverse. This leads to very different conclusions about the end times, but general agreement on the “essentials” of the faith. Both views affirm biblical inerrancy; and both views acknowledge that their interpretations are fallible. Yes, there are differences that result from different hermeneutics, but that is hardly “every man for himself.” Nobody permits extreme violence to the text. For example, if the current cosmology was still steady-state, there would be no way to reconcile cosmology with the bible without extreme violence to the text, because the bible irrefutably and clearly teaches of a beginning to time and space. Of course, we no longer have that problem since the bible was proved correct.

Comment #59186

Posted by Arden Chatfield on November 21, 2005 3:58 PM (e)

Of course, we no longer have that problem since the bible was proved correct.

I must have missed that. Can you give me the reference as to when this happened?

Comment #59187

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on November 21, 2005 3:59 PM (e)

Mr. Heddle,

you choose to read the Bible one way. Carol chooses to read it another way. I choose to read it in yet another way.

Doesn’t this tell you anything?

Don’t you realize that every one of us chooses how to read the Bible, regardless of how many categories one makes up?

Comment #59191

Posted by David Heddle on November 21, 2005 4:14 PM (e)

Aureola,

Do you assume the bible is inerrant? For those who do not, there truly are no rules, you can just pick the parts you like and ignore the rest. So please clarify. By contrast, I suggest that while Carol and I probably disagree on many things, most Christians who affirm inerrancy would have theological views that are either fall into the same camp to which Carol belongs, or into the camp to which I belong, or into Roman Catholicism. That is not “every man for himself.”

Arden,

Let’s see, hard to give a precise date but I would choose 1978 when Penzias and Wilson won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the cosmic background radiation, the best proof of the big bang and the death of the steady-state model (which contradicted the bible.)

I’ll leave you with Penzias’s words:

“The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, and the Bible as a whole.”

Comment #59192

Posted by Arden Chatfield on November 21, 2005 4:19 PM (e)

Let’s see, hard to give a precise date but I would choose 1978 when Penzias and Wilson won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the cosmic background radiation, the best proof of the big bang and the death of the steady-state model (which contradicted the bible.)

Ah, so you’re just referring to the steady state controversy and not saying (here at least) that the whole Bible was ‘proved correct’ scientifically?

Comment #59195

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on November 21, 2005 4:23 PM (e)

Mr. Heddle,

fine, let’s confine ourselves to the three categories you have arbitrarily (here we go again!) defined:

Individual 1 chooses to side with Side 1; Individual 2 with Side 2; Individual 3 with Side 3;… Individual n with Side 1; Individual n+1 with Side 3; Individual n+2 with Side 2;…

Would you mind explaining me how this is not every individual choosing his flavour of inerrancy?

Comment #59198

Posted by Flint on November 21, 2005 4:29 PM (e)

Ah, so you’re just referring to the steady state controversy and not saying (here at least) that the whole Bible was ‘proved correct’ scientifically?

I think he’s saying something very different. Let’s suppose that, a few years down the road and with some clever satellite-based tools and a dollop of dumb luck, we find some completely different interpretation of the available evidence (as required by the discovery of something completely unanticipated). And let’s say that the NEW “best-fit” explanation requires a more-or-less steady state universe.

Now, do you suppose Heddle (who wrote “there would be no way to reconcile cosmology with the bible without extreme violence to the text, because the bible irrefutably and clearly teaches of a beginning to time and space”) would REJECT the bible as being false? Or would he instead find that the bible is STILL inerrant, if we just look at it the right way?

Heddle doesn’t “find” that the bible is inerrant, he STATES that it’s inerrant. The question is, which should we reinterpret, the evidence or the scripture?

Comment #59201

Posted by David Heddle on November 21, 2005 4:35 PM (e)

Aureola,

In that sense I agree. There are a small number of theological schools that affirm inerrancy for which virtually all Christians (who affirm inerrancy) would belong. If that is your point, then we are in agreement. My original comment in this subthread was in reply to Russell who wrote “which, of course, everyone makes up for him/herself.” I took this to mean that he was arguing that everyone or even nearly everyone would essentially create their own theology. If I misinterpreted, then I apologize.

Flint

We’ll just have to wait and see if your hypothetical situation materializes. Happily I don’t have to worry about that at the moment.

Comment #59204

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on November 21, 2005 4:38 PM (e)

Actually, Mr. Heddle, since Christians belong to way, way more than the three sides you identified, I think that it is a safe bet that one can self-identify as a Christian and choose practically any combination of literal/inerrant/allegorical/whatnot reading of the Bible.

And none of them can demonstrate the superiority of their choice over those of anybody else, as the Rev. Dr. never fails to remind you.

Comment #59209

Posted by Henry J on November 21, 2005 4:48 PM (e)

Re “To figure it out, he grew vines in his lab, and spent hours literally watching them to see how the tendrils “figured out” how and where to attach themselves.”

Sounds a bit like watching grass grow. :)

Comment #59210

Posted by Arden Chatfield on November 21, 2005 4:49 PM (e)

I think he’s saying something very different. Let’s suppose that, a few years down the road and with some clever satellite-based tools and a dollop of dumb luck, we find some completely different interpretation of the available evidence (as required by the discovery of something completely unanticipated). And let’s say that the NEW “best-fit” explanation requires a more-or-less steady state universe.

Now, do you suppose Heddle (who wrote “there would be no way to reconcile cosmology with the bible without extreme violence to the text, because the bible irrefutably and clearly teaches of a beginning to time and space”) would REJECT the bible as being false? Or would he instead find that the bible is STILL inerrant, if we just look at it the right way?

Heddle doesn’t “find” that the bible is inerrant, he STATES that it’s inerrant. The question is, which should we reinterpret, the evidence or the scripture?

You’re very likely right. Heddle’s concept of Biblical rigidity is more than flexible enough to absorb anything. But I have a hard time getting too emotionally vested in this, since I think the ideas that a) the bible is inerrant, b) there is only one way to interpret the bible, and c) anyone not interpreting the bible ‘this one way’ is not really a Christian, are so ludicrous that they disprove themselves. But I doubt that arguing with Heddle will ever get anyone anywhere.

Comment #59215

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 21, 2005 5:04 PM (e)

Seems to be up to 9,945 signatures now.
There also apears to be a listing by state.

Comment #59216

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 21, 2005 5:08 PM (e)

The “by state” list deals in numbers only.

Comment #59220

Posted by jonboy on November 21, 2005 5:28 PM (e)

If anyone has any doubts about bible errancy, go to Dennis McKinseys site Members.aol.com/ckbloomfld/index.ktml his work is outstanding and he has debated(and won)with the best.

Comment #59221

Posted by Rupert on November 21, 2005 5:33 PM (e)

Do you assume the bible is inerrant? For those who do not, there truly are no rules, you can just pick the parts you like and ignore the rest.

I was fed this line when I was about 10, and it didn’t ring true then either. Do I believe the Bible is inerrant? No. Do I believe ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ is a good rule? Yes. So where does this ‘no rules’ come from? I don’t intend to abdicate responsibility for my actions just because I don’t believe Methuselah lived for 969 years, and I regard with suspicion people who don’t trust themselves enough to decouple their morality from what unknown people wrote in unknown circumstances thousands of years ago. Especially when they then feel compelled to lie in order to discount scientific thought, which is only ‘in error’ through their particular reading of some Babylonian myth! One has to ask, what on earth would convince these people that they were wrong.

Exactly the same arguments are also used by people with beards and guns to impose Sharia law. I don’t like that either, and I can’t differentiate between the two sets of inerrantists.

R

Comment #59224

Posted by carol clouser on November 21, 2005 6:00 PM (e)

Apesnake,

I have not responded to that nonsense about the stoning of the “disobedient” child and the rest of that post by Renier. I generally choose not to respond to folks who deliberately persist in distorting my words or not reading them carefully, as your most recent post (#59181, third paragraph) has once again demonstrated. If that means you and your ilk remain in your ignorance, so be it.

If you don’t know Hebrew, you do not know the Bible. You may know OF the Bible, or ABOUT the Bible, but you do not know THE Bible (referring to the so called old testament).

Comment #59225

Posted by David Heddle on November 21, 2005 6:01 PM (e)

Rupert,

You made my point. How can you argue that what I said: “For those who do not (accept inerrancy), there truly are no rules, you can just pick the parts you like and ignore the rest” is untrue and then immediately:

1) Deny inerrancy
2) Accept what you like (the Golden Rule)
3) Deny what you don’t like (Methuselah’s age)

You provided a perfect example of what I claimed.

And then the gratuitous likening to the Taliban. Man, you’re good.

Comment #59236

Posted by Arden Chatfield on November 21, 2005 7:03 PM (e)

1) Deny inerrancy
2) Accept what you like (the Golden Rule)
3) Deny what you don’t like (Methuselah’s age)

You provided a perfect example of what I claimed.

And then the gratuitous likening to the Taliban. Man, you’re good.

So what’s your point? Do you believe that Methuselah made 969 years old? Yes or no answer, no weasel words, please.

Comment #59239

Posted by David Heddle on November 21, 2005 7:07 PM (e)

Yes

Comment #59240

Posted by Arden Chatfield on November 21, 2005 7:09 PM (e)

And then the gratuitous likening to the Taliban. Man, you’re good.

Please, you’re starting to sound like Josh Bozeman. I trust your’re at least smarter than him.

Comment #59249

Posted by Arden Chatfield on November 21, 2005 7:25 PM (e)

Yes.

You believe that Methuselah really did live to be 969 years old. Literally.

The fact that no one lives to be an eighth of that age anymore doesn’t bother you.

Okaaaaay, all I needed to know.

So, um, are you afraid that something bad will happen to you if you don’t believe that?

Comment #59255

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 21, 2005 7:31 PM (e)

Posted by David Heddle on November 21, 2005 06:01 PM (e) (s)

Rupert,

You made my point. How can you argue that what I said: “For those who do not (accept inerrancy), there truly are no rules, you can just pick the parts you like and ignore the rest” is untrue and then immediately:

1) Deny inerrancy
2) Accept what you like (the Golden Rule)
3) Deny what you don’t like (Methuselah’s age)

You provided a perfect example of what I claimed.

And then the gratuitous likening to the Taliban. Man, you’re good.

Why put so much faith into the Old Testament?
The Gospels alone (and a bit of Acts) would do for me.

Comment #59259

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 21, 2005 7:36 PM (e)

Methinks this is appropriate for this thread, too:

Gee, whenever I ask an IDer to tell me what the scientific theory of ID is, all I get is thundering silence. But give them chance to tell us all about their religious opinions, and the IDers can’t seem to shut up.

Odd, if ID isn’t really about religion.

Unless, of course, IDers are simply lying to us about that.

But hey, Heddle, Donald, and everyone else who wants to regale us with your religious opinions —- I have a simple question for you. Why, exactly, are your particular religious opinions any better than anyoen else’s? Why should anyone pay any more attention to your particualr religious opinions than they should to, say, mine or my next door neighbor’s or my car mechanic’s or my veterinarian’s or the kid who delivers my pizzas? Other than your say-so?

(Note: this question doesn’t really apply to Carol, since she’s just here to shill for her employer’s book.)

Comment #59261

Posted by Russell on November 21, 2005 7:38 PM (e)

Just out of idle curiosity, if Carol Clouser is still following this, would reading The (i.e. Hebrew) Bible lead us to conclude that Methuselah’s life spanned 969 revolutions of the earth around the sun? And do I infer correctly that you are only speaking of the Jewish bible - not what Christians call the New Testament?

Comment #59262

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 21, 2005 7:39 PM (e)

Do you assume the bible is inerrant? For those who do not, there truly are no rules, you can just pick the parts you like and ignore the rest.

So Heddle thinks that not only is the Bible inerrant and infallible, but HIS INTERPRETATIONS of it are ALSO inerrant and infallible.

Sorry, Heddle, but I don’t believe that you are infallible. (shrug)

Would you mind demonstrating why I *should* think you are infallible?

Comment #59267

Posted by David Heddle on November 21, 2005 7:47 PM (e)

Lenny,

I’ll answer your questions (again) when I see evidence that you have some integrity. What I am looking for is consistency. Wesley has given his exegesis of Matthew 7. I am waiting for you to pose your question to him, in the same manner.

Comment #59272

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on November 21, 2005 8:03 PM (e)

A few comments,if anyone is still about. (The sun is up here - it may have sunk where you are). Science is in a spot of bother just now, and T/O is one of the few science or religion publications actually fostering public free speech! That’s rather sobering for the 21st Century, but humanity doesn’t change much. I am a part of humanity.
Most contributors/viewers probably know the following, but some of the positive input above suggests to me that some contributors to this page may find some value in the following;
1). Technology has ended the debate. It is now possible to (dimly)discern the events involved in species actuation. (Various people are in denial mode, but technology has spoken, and is speaking louder every day.) To get the latest, you could press my link, or discern it yourself from the latest research.
2). These technological advances enable the teaching and reasearch of Origins Science without imposing on the average man’s credulity or beliefs. If information technology is a major factor in species actuation, the source of the information may be left to the beliefs of the individual. (YEC is TECHNICALLY -NOT PERSONALLY- both unscientific and unscriptural.) Richard Dawkins saw information as a product of random processes; on the other hand, we may rest assured that information technology in nature is not contrary to most world religions. It also happens to make parts of the Bible much clearer, ONLY in a TECHNOLOGICAL sense.
3). Here lies the root of this matter. You see from this page, many of us struggle to divide technological fact from personal religion. Neo-Darwinism failed in this and the technical advances show that only remnants of it can be salvaged. We must not repeat those mistakes - for the sake of Democracy, we must get it right. It’s up to people like you. Sincerely, P.H. (WWW.CREATIONTHEORY.COM ,on behalf of mainstream science.)

Comment #59275

Posted by Wayne Francis on November 21, 2005 8:17 PM (e)

Carol, I would like to ask how you can reconcile 6 day creation with science that clearly shows that this is false from a scientific stand point. Some say that “yom” in the original texts does not mean a 24 hour day and I’m just wondering what your standpoint is on this issue. To be candid I’m just starting at the beginning of the bible where I see conflicts if you have a literal reading of the bible.

Looking forward to your answer where I probably will pose another simple question to you.

Comment #59282

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on November 21, 2005 8:42 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

Lenny,

I’ll answer your questions (again) when I see evidence that you have some integrity. What I am looking for is consistency. Wesley has given his exegesis of Matthew 7. I am waiting for you to pose your question to him, in the same manner.

I would argue that my view is reasonable, but not that everybody else has to adopt it, which seems to be what other people do who attract Lenny’s attention with the questions. So, just to answer Lenny’s favorite question ahead of time, no, my views on theology don’t carry any special privilege or authority. I certainly don’t see that my religious views would have any business being taught as if they were science. And I will argue strenuously that neither should others get to import antievolution religion into the science class as if it were science.

I attended an evangelical church in my first semester at college, complete with segregation of the genders during services and Thursday-night bible study. I’d been going to about a month-and-a-half of both Sunday and Thursday meetings when at the Thursday night meeting, we were told that we had a special leader for our bible study, the assistant pastor of the church. He came in with a bible that had about half a dozen bookmarks. He started off with one bible passage, then would shift to the next. Forward, backward, crossing chapters, books, and testaments. At the end of visiting those passages, he solemnly closed his bible and intoned, “Therefore, anyone who has not been baptized by total immersion in water is going to hell.” I didn’t say anything then, and I don’t think I was paying much attention to the rest of the session, but that was the last association I ever had with that church. They didn’t get me back the next Sunday, nor any following that.

As to paying attention to my religious views, I’d say that assessment should take into account Lenny’s perception of whether the way I live my life is a positive thing, and if I avoid such obvious off-putting behaviors as the sort of intolerance shown by Carol in previous posts or the fanaticism displayed by the assistant pastor at that bible study. So I think that Lenny, in choosing who to listen to, can figure out a lot with a little personal experience of each speaker. It’s probably a bit easier for Lenny to come to a conclusion about me, since we’ve corresponded for well over a decade now.

I look forward to seeing David’s response to Lenny’s question, now that I’ve provided mine.

Comment #59287

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 21, 2005 9:11 PM (e)

I’ll answer your questions (again) when I see evidence that you have some integrity.

No you won’t.

Coward.

Comment #59288

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 21, 2005 9:14 PM (e)

I would argue that my view is reasonable, but not that everybody else has to adopt it, which seems to be what other people do who attract Lenny’s attention with the questions. So, just to answer Lenny’s favorite question ahead of time, no, my views on theology don’t carry any special privilege or authority.

And, once again, I will post *my* views on my religious opinions:

*ahem*

My religious opinions are just that, my opinions. They are no more holy or divine or infallible or authoritative than anyone else’s religious opinions. No one is obligated in any way, shape, or form to follow my religious opinions, to accept them, or even to pay any attention at all to them. My religious opinions are right for *me*. Whether they are right for *you or anyone else*, I neither know nor care.

OK, Heddle. Your turn. Can YOU choke those words past your lips?

I’m betting not.

Comment #59290

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 21, 2005 9:16 PM (e)

What on earth is Heywood yammering about ……?

Comment #59295

Posted by David Heddle on November 21, 2005 9:35 PM (e)

Wesley,

Fair enough! (Although, as you know, I wanted to see if Lenny would ask–but you preempted that–very clever!)

1) Why, exactly, are your particular religious opinions any better than anyone else’s?

In a sense, I think this is not a serious question, but I’ll try to answer. It’s a bit like asking why you think your political views are better than anyone else’s. Well, if you didn’t think so, you’d change them–it’s a sort of genetic algorithm. Anyway, I was an agnostic who really started thinking about God from some early forms of fine-tuning arguments I heard in College. I tried Roman Catholicism. Then I was in a fundamentalist, dispensationalist church for a while. Finally I ended up in a Reformed Presbyterian (PCA) church. PCA churches are big on education–the sermons are like college lectures at times. I loved it. I learned a great deal of theology and was convinced by the writings of Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, and others that Reformed theology was biblically sound. So I think my opinions are better because I’ve studied a great deal. Having said that, I recognize that there are dispensationalists and Catholics and many others who would give the same reason for why they think their opinion are better. Again, isn’t this question sort of self-evident, and doesn’t it apply to anyone, including you, Lenny?

2) Why should anyone pay any more attention to your particular religious opinions than they should to, say, mine or my next door neighbor’s or my car mechanic’s or my veterinarian’s or the kid who delivers my pizzas? Other than your say-so?

They shouldn’t. If they have an interest in theology, they should study the bible and the major theologians and reach their own conclusions.

Comment #59296

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on November 21, 2005 9:41 PM (e)

Len, you’re the life of the party. Cheers. P.H..

Comment #59299

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 21, 2005 10:01 PM (e)

In a sense, I think this is not a serious question, but I’ll try to answer. It’s a bit like asking why you think your political views are better than anyone else’s.

Heddle, the question wasn’t “why do YOU think your religious opinions are better than anyone else’s”. The question is why ANYONE ELSE should think your religious opinions are better than anyone else’s.

Why should anyone pay any more attention to your particular religious opinions than they should to, say, mine or my next door neighbor’s or my car mechanic’s or my veterinarian’s or the kid who delivers my pizzas? Other than your say-so?

They shouldn’t.

Because ….

Come on, Heddle. You can say it. It won’t kill you. Honest, it won’t ….

If they have an interest in theology, they should study the bible and the major theologians and reach their own conclusions.

So … what, again, do they need YOU for …. . ?

Comment #59300

Posted by Paul Flocken on November 21, 2005 10:11 PM (e)

James Taylor,
Some time ago you asked for a reference from AR concerning old testament accuracy. A book you may wish to read is:
The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts

At Amazon here,
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0684869136/104-1550619-1113547?v=glance&n=283155
New York Times Book Review,
http://www.nytimes.com/books/01/02/04/reviews/010204.04triblet.html
The first chapter,
http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/f/finkelstein-bible.html

The reviews at Amazon were sprinkled with the usual ‘it’s all liberal lies’ type comments but I think it is pertinent that both authors are Jews, one of whom actually lives in Israel. Fundies living in the US might not like their conclusions but I doubt any fundie living in this country is competent to do such work themselves. I very much enjoyed the book.

Please forgive the OT post.

Sincerely, Paul

Comment #59310

Posted by Apesnake on November 21, 2005 11:14 PM (e)

Carol wrote:

I generally choose not to respond to folks who deliberately persist in distorting my words or not reading them carefully, as your most recent post (#59181, third paragraph) has once again demonstrated.

Said paragraph: You claim that calling these 10,000 clergy “faithless” is not an accusation but a compliment because you leave in the chance that they may see the light. If someone called you senseless (hypothetically) but said that it was not too late for you to educate yourself, would you feel complimented?

Oh, my. This is embarrassing. I did say that you called them “faithless” when what you really said was that “These clerics truly lack faith” which is so very different that I must apologize. I’m sure that being told you truly lack faith is much more complimentary to these clergy than being told that they are faithless.

I only hope that my twisting of your words can, in time, be forgiven.

If it is true that the Hebrew Bible is a completely different book from what has been translated into the Greek, Latin, and English then you really have a problem don’t you. It seems that at some point in the middle ages, when people were clamoring to have the Bible made available in the vernacular tongues of the day, the church put them off by writing a bogus book with prescriptions on stoning children and a God that demands war tribute and capital punishment for just about everything.

God wrote:

Exodus 31:14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

31:15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

God wrote:

Deuteronomy 21:18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

21:19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;

21:20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

21:21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

I would love to know what the Hebrew actually says but do you Hebrew speaking Christians know that we are being told by the publishers that this is what the Bible says? Why are you not demanding that this fraud we call the Bible be taken off the shelves? Rather than wasting your time on this discussion don’t you think you should be using your Hebrew language skills to type out a proper translation for us? I mean, really! How can you Christians blame us non-Christians for not accepting the Bible when you are hiding the real thing from us?

Carol, is it possible that you only think people are twisting your words because you are having trouble believing them yourself when you hear them repeated to you?

Comment #59311

Posted by carol clouser on November 21, 2005 11:17 PM (e)

Russel,

The Hebrew term employed in the case of methusela is “shana” which must mean “year”. The only way I see for a reasonable human being to accept those ultra long life spans is that it was a miracle. There is of course nothing in science to preclude the intervention of the creator of the universe and the laws of nature to effectuate some alteration in His handiwork for some divine purpose. Whether one believes this or not depends on one’s overall view of God, religion, the universe and the Bible and their relationship to each other. But to interpret these verses in the Bible in a manner that excludes the plain meaning of the words is, it appears to me, dishonest. It is an attempt at having it every which way - preserving the Bible as the word of God yet not accepting the possibility of miracles.

When I speak of the original Hebrew Bible I refer to what most people call the “old testament”, an appelation I and most Jews avoid. For it implies the existence of a “new testament”, a proposition we do not accept.

Wayne Francis,

The translation of the Hebrew “yom” is of course, as you indicate, only the tip of the iceberg. Which is why books have been written on this subject. Hebrew is particularly difficult to translate accurately because it consists of few words, many with multiple and borrowed meanings. But the short answer to your question is this: yom is used hundreds of times in the Bible. About ten percent of these it refers to an “era”, a period of time characterized by some development or feature. Other times it refers to a period of daylight and yet other times it refers to a 24 hour cycle of day and night. We cannot take a vote here and follow the majority because it may very well be that the Bible had no need to talk about eras as frequently as ordinary days. It helps if the context leads us to one translation or another. And in the story of Genesis there are quite a few “yoms”, besides the first seven at the beginning, that MUST refer to eras. Landa also cites other considerations that point in this direction. So the preponderance of the evidence leads to the yom in creation as era.

There was some discussion above, between Heddle and others, about the rules of interpretation of Biblical verses. In addition to the obvious rules of grammar and linguistics, an important role must be played by how we find words and phrases used in other areas of the Bible. Is there a trend? Can we compare certain phrases to others? Such tools are indispensable with an ancient language that has evolved over time and is no longer spoken today in quite the same way as it used to be.

Looking forward to any other pertinent issues you may wish to raise.

Heddle,

The reason Lenny purposely excludes me from his favorite question (#59259) is that I actually made the effort to answer him on a different thread. After turning the tables on him he realized that the underlying premise of the question has been utterly demolished. Yet he has no shame in repeating the question, hoping others will not remember or notice its demonstrated vacuity.

Comment #59315

Posted by carol clouser on November 21, 2005 11:40 PM (e)

Apesnake,

Go ahead now and compare your paragraph to my posts. Of course you will HAVE TO READ to do so. When you recognize the three substantive distortions you have perpetrated (none of which involve the trivial stuff you mention), describe them and explain why you ordained to commit them, apologize, repent and beg forgiveness, then perhaps we can renew out conversation.

In Judaism, unlike Christianity, offenses perpetrated against fellow human beings are forgiveable by God only after the victim has been made whole again, has been apologized to contritely and sincerely and has provided his genuine forgiveness. In other words, one is reponsible for one’s actions. Somebody else’s death two thousand years ago does provide automatic relief.

Comment #59316

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on November 21, 2005 11:44 PM (e)

Is Carol referring to this comment?

If so, that (and Carol’s further comments in the thread) doesn’t look like anything that invalidates the question being asked itself. Therefore, Carol has got to be referring to some other comment(s), right?

Comment #59317

Posted by Apesnake on November 21, 2005 11:45 PM (e)

Carol,
Oh I see what you mean about not reading what you say carefully.

I just discovered the paragraph in question.

Many folks here would actually describe my “accusation” as a compliment paid to the clerics. blah blah blah

I guess that I was confused by your ability to completely minimize your dismissal of the sincere faith of 10,000 clergy simply to make a point about what people here might think.

My apologies. I will now freely admit that you did not intend to compliment these clergy members in anyway. You honestly meant to insult them by questioning their faith, their sincerity to their belief, and their integrity simply because they do not follow your expert, literate, Hebrew enhanced reading of the Bible. I guess I just gave your post a more charitable reading than it deserved. My Bad.

Comment #59318

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on November 21, 2005 11:50 PM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

In Judaism, unlike Christianity, offenses perpetrated against fellow human beings are forgiveable by God only after the victim has been made whole again, has been apologized to contritely and sincerely and has provided his genuine forgiveness. In other words, one is reponsible for one’s actions.

Good, good.

I’m looking forward to Carol’s contrite, sincere apology to all those clergy – of whom she knows nothing personally – whom she slurred with the calumny that they “lack faith”. Does anyone want to start a pool as to when I might see it? Oh, and consider “when heck freezes over” to be out of bounds.

Comment #59319

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on November 21, 2005 11:58 PM (e)

I think that the clergy who signed on to the Clergy Project letter demonstrate courage, as it has become apparent that those holding to “evolutionary creationism” or “theistic evolution” are going to be denigrated rudely by those who have liked getting away with telling the fiction that there must be an irreducible conflict between science and religion over evolutionary biology. Anyone who dares tell the truth, that faith and science can co-exist, becomes a target of those antievolutionists who like to play on the fears of believers. Plus, apparently, people who have a (profitable?) axe to grind.

Comment #59320

Posted by Apesnake on November 22, 2005 12:17 AM (e)

Generally Carol, when someone feels they have been misread or purposefully distorted they will be specific about it so that the person they accuse will not need to sort through over one hundred posts to find there error. Luckily for me, the Computer wizes have that search function but it still is kind of annoying to have the “well if you don’t know what you said, I’m not going to tell you” treatment from someone I am not married to.

By the time you read this you will have read the part where I apologize for mis interpreting your statement. As far as repenting, begging forgiveness, slaying a lamb or anointing my head with ashes and such, I think I will just consider it a mistake and move on if you don’t mind. It seems a lot more… sane.

As far as the other two distortions you will need to clue me in because I seem mainly to have only asked questions:

Is it not true that you work for the company which profits from the sale of the book which you keep mentioning in various threads?

Is it not, despite what you say relevant that you would be asked whether you see all the words of God (And I am not talking about the “arms of God” lines that you say are obviously meant to be metaphorical but the direct declaratives of God) as literal?

If the Bible on the shelves is substantively different than the Hebrew scriptures is that not a problem. If the vernacular version is making God look like a nut why should people be blamed for not taking it literally?

Comment #59327

Posted by carol clouser on November 22, 2005 1:19 AM (e)

Apesnake,

You consider adding insult to injury an apology?

Why don’t you also inspect what you said I said about the clerics “seeing the light” and what I actually said about that.

You still don’t get it.

Wesley,

I would gladly apologize, right here and right now, if I were guilty of offending anyone. But for the apology to be meaningful I need to understand the offense. At the risk of beating a dead horse, let us recapitulate. I stated that the clerics demonstrated a lack of faith in the ability of the Bible to stand the test of time (present and future conflicts with science, for example). That is why they prefer a malleable Bible that need not be taken at its word. Now, since when is lacking such faith a slur on panda’s thumb? I dare say most folks prowling the corridors of this blog take pride in their lack of such faith. They actually consider it “enlightened” (“seeing the light”, Apesnake, get it?) to be lacking such faith.

I think your baseless accusations and hints of accusations are leading you to the point where you will owe me an apology.

Comment #59329

Posted by k.e. on November 22, 2005 1:39 AM (e)

So that was an apology ???

……nchttt I get it

Fundamenatlist Apologetics!

Carol Who was Adam’s daddy?

Comment #59332

Posted by Renier on November 22, 2005 3:36 AM (e)

Carol wrote :
I have not responded to that nonsense about the stoning of the “disobedient” child and the rest of that post by Renier. I generally choose not to respond to folks who deliberately persist in distorting my words or not reading them carefully

You accuse me of distorting your words?

Carol wrote
One, to not read the bible literally is to not take it seriously. For if words do not mean what they say, anyone can read anything into it. You cannot have it both ways.

Then I responded with my post (#59122). I fail to see how I distorted your words and have a strong suspicion that you are employing ostrich tactics. You have yet to respond to the above mentioned post. You are dishonest. With one sweep you call a lot of Christians that do not agree with you as lacking faith, mercilessly insulting them because they dared to differ from you, and then goes on and call it a compliment. Your excuse? You have superior knowledge of Hebrew! Wow Carol, I stand in holy awe….NOT! Argument from authority, and that authority being yourself! Just in case you have not noticed, but you are the laughing stock of this blog.

Read the four resurrection stories in Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. Then tell me how many angels were at the resurrection? Then tell me, were they inside the tomb or outside? Then tell me who saw Jesus first, after the resurrection? Then come back here and tell us that the Bible is inerrant and always to be read in a literal way.

As for Heddle, you make a statement that science proves the Bible. Any comment on the text that a bat is a bird? The Bible is after all “inerrant”. Is science wrong when it does not agree with the Bible? After all Heddle, in your little world, a Bat is a bird…

The Bible is not a scientific textbook. Deal with it!

Comment #59333

Posted by limpidense on November 22, 2005 3:49 AM (e)

Plenty of evidence that attempts to read the “Bible” literally lead only to bad ends. When someone introduces their “religion” w/o cause into the conversation, I balance myself on the balls of my feet, since however harmless most crazy people are, it’s best not to take chances.

(While DH is simply an obscene bore, CC should really wipe the foam off her mouth. It really is a dead giveaway. Why would any “God” want believers like them?)

Comment #59334

Posted by iskndarbey on November 22, 2005 4:18 AM (e)

I know the initiator and director of the Clergy Letter Project, Dr. Michael Zimmerman, well, and have been peripherally involved with the effort to collect signatures. I would like to thank Wesley for his kind post and all the commenters for engaging in a vigorous and fascinating discussion. We are progressing rapidly toward our goal, and need only about 15 signatures to reach 10,000. Anything you can do to get the word out to American Christian clergy members would of course be much appreciated.

In response to vhutchison (comment number 59024) who asked for a search-by-state function on our website, we do have a page set up at http://www.uwosh.edu/colleges/cols/rel_clergy_by_state.htm which shows the breakdown by state. We have signatures from every state and the District of Columbia; our largest state is unsurprisingly California with 763 signatures while our smallest is Nevada with 13. At this time we do not have the capability to run an automated search for individual pastors by state or denomination, although this is something we may implement in the future. This whole process has, of course, been very time consuming and we have had to expend most of our energy towards gathering the signatures.

Comment #59336

Posted by David Heddle on November 22, 2005 5:05 AM (e)

Renier,

As for Heddle, you make a statement that science proves the Bible. Any comment on the text that a bat is a bird? The Bible is after all “inerrant”. Is science wrong when it does not agree with the Bible? After all Heddle, in your little world, a Bat is a bird…

Oh, gosh, you have shattered my faith!

Really now, what’s next—will it be the rabbit chewing cud or pi equal to 3? Apart from explanations (just Google you’ll find them) it is really dumb to bring this up for many reasons. Here are a couple:

1) It’s like coming on PT and asking “what good is half and eye?” (Do you really think something so unoriginal and something that has been asked and answered a gazillion times is going to be a knockout punch?) If you’d like some biblical questions that are real conundrums for biblical inerrancy, I’ll provide you some—then at least you won’t look so silly.

2) The “bats as birds” is particularly dumb. For the bible to be consistent with science, it does not mean that the classification scheme of the ancient Jews has to agree with modern classification schemes, schemes which, even today, are not absolute laws of nature, not even close. If the ancients classified bats and owls and falcons as birds (flying things) it would reflect their classification scheme, such as it was, and it is not a violation of science. If the bible stated that the earth was the center of the cosmos, that would be a violation of science.

The Bible is not a scientific textbook. Deal with it!

Can you point out where I claimed it was? Of course it is not a science textbook. Nobody said it was a science textbook. It actually says very little about science. But if it is inerrant, then what it contains in its original form cannot be inconsistent with science.

Comment #59337

Posted by Butterfingers on November 22, 2005 5:13 AM (e)

Carol:If you don’t know Hebrew, you do not know the Bible. You may know OF the Bible, or ABOUT the Bible, but you do not know THE Bible (referring to the so called old testament).

Carol, cut the bull####. I read Hebrew, and everything Mr. Heddle says holds true in tha language as well. I don’t think this interface will support Hebrew fonts, or I’d match his translated quotes with the original ones and show where and if the translation is missing something…and it really doesn’t miss - certainly it doesn’t change the meaning of all those stoning and burning instructions.

If someone can tell me how to post images here, I’ll put in JPGs of the Hebrew quotes for the delectation of Hebrew readers - and Carol.

Comment #59339

Posted by k.e. on November 22, 2005 5:34 AM (e)

Heddle:said
But if it is inerrant, then what it contains in its original form cannot be inconsistent with science.

Really ?

Well then… What was Adams last name?

I’m really curious, just who were his Mom, and Pop?

And before you answer consider this.

You may have grown up in an apartment and your parents kept the bedroom door shut real tight. Which would be the only explanation if you opted for a miracle. But out on the farm the animals just get on with it.
So lets have an explanation for your literal reading of Gen1. Gen2.

Comment #59342

Posted by David Heddle on November 22, 2005 6:11 AM (e)

k.e.,

I’m trying to understand the point of the “Adam’s last name” question. You do realize, of course, that even if Adam and Eve popped out of the vacuum at God’s command (that’s not my view, but let’s go to the extreme to make a point) that it would not be a violation of science?

Miracles (there are about ~100 of them in the bible) are by definition excluded. If miracles could be explained by science, they wouldn’t be miracles. That is why even Renier, above, did not bring up Jesus walking on water or feeding the 5000. Most people understand that, even if they don’t believe the miracles, they have to be exempt from this argument. If you take out the miracles–it would be maybe 15 or so pages in the typical bible, there is still plenty of text left to hunt for scientific error. (Oh, and when it talks about the sun rising and setting, that doesn’t mean it is claiming the sun rotates around the earth.)

As for Genesis 2, it does not give the creation order. It does not teach that God created the animals and then brought them to Adam. It merely says that God brought them to Adam, and reminds us that he created them. You can google for more complete explanations–as I understand it, it is even clearer in the Hebrew–maybe Carol can comment.

Comment #59343

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on November 22, 2005 6:39 AM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

Wesley,

I would gladly apologize, right here and right now, if I were guilty of offending anyone. But for the apology to be meaningful I need to understand the offense. At the risk of beating a dead horse, let us recapitulate. I stated that the clerics demonstrated a lack of faith in the ability of the Bible to stand the test of time (present and future conflicts with science, for example). That is why they prefer a malleable Bible that need not be taken at its word. Now, since when is lacking such faith a slur on panda’s thumb? I dare say most folks prowling the corridors of this blog take pride in their lack of such faith. They actually consider it “enlightened” (”seeing the light”, Apesnake, get it?) to be lacking such faith.

I think your baseless accusations and hints of accusations are leading you to the point where you will owe me an apology.

No, I suppose that Carol will not understand after all. She apparently has lost that capacity, if she ever had a conscience. The utter brazenness with which Carol dismisses the idea that she has caused harm – obvious and intentional – is breathtaking. Let’s recap the original:

Carol Clouser wrote:

Two, this sounds like the apologetics of folks who fear contradiction by science and have invented the great excuse for all such possible contradictions in the future. The Bible meant something else! These clerics truly lack faith. Let them just give it up and be done with it!

Now, since when is lacking such faith a slur on panda’s thumb?” This isn’t about “Panda’s Thumb”. No, Carol, this is about the nearly 10,000 clergy whose lives of faith you baselessly denigrated and cowardly fail to even recognize that you have done so. It would not change the fact that Carol was insulting those clergy if PT’s community were entirely comprised of atheists (which it is not), the accusation Carol made remains odious in form, and unsubstantiated in content. That PT provides the ability to comment to atheists who disparage faith makes no difference to the offense that Carol has offered those who have associated with the Clergy Project. How could that make any difference? Carol’s digression in that regard is premised upon moral relativism, nothing else: to an atheist, it wouldn’t be an insult. Hello? The clergy of the Clergy Project are not atheists. Carol’s only basis given for her attack on those clergy has been her prejudice, shrilly asserted. Nor does it stop with the limitation Carol asserts in her latest mealy-mouthed non-apology: “Let them just give it up and be done with it!” Carol was saying then that those nearly 10,000 clergy could all simply give up their faith and it would make no difference. In the words of Judge John E. Jones III, “Don’t insult my intelligence.”

But the incident does underscore the intolerance with which certain segments of the faith community greet those of us who fall into the categories of “evolutionary creationists” or “theistic evolutionists”.

Comment #59344

Posted by Wayne Francis on November 22, 2005 6:40 AM (e)

Carol, so you say that you believe the days of creation in Genesis refer to era? Do I understand you correctly? How do you reconcile this with the fact that Genesis 1:5-1:23 constantly use “veyhe erev” “veyhe voker” near yom indicating that it is talking about a 24 hour cycle by refering to morning and evening?

Comment #59346

Posted by Renier on November 22, 2005 7:05 AM (e)

To Heddle

In your previous post, you had a wonderful explanation with the dilemma I had with the Bat/Fowl thing. Thank you for it. Even after the explanation though, I still am not convinced that a Bat is a Bird.

Heddle wrote:
My position is: the Bible is absolutely correct and supports science.

From the above, it appeared to me as if you supported the Bible as a scientifically correct book. My apologies are in order then if I was mistaken.

Heddle wrote:
Of course it is not a science textbook. Nobody said it was a science textbook. It actually says very little about science.

Well, I must agree with you on this comment. It would be nice if you cleared this up with the Creationists, because they seem to lack the revelation that the Bible is not to be used for scientific purposes.

Heddle wrote:
If the bible stated that the earth was the centre of the cosmos, that would be a violation of science.

We know the above was the belief of every Christian for many years, at one stage, and that is was an interpretation from the Bible, until science came along. The truth is, if it was not for science, you, and everyone else here, would still have held to that belief. We would also still believe the earth was flat (four corners). Hang on here, the Bible does say the Earth has four corners.

Yet, and I know you claim this has been refuted, there is a very strange verse about 4 footed insects (Lev.11:20-21 (KJV)). This of course is fine, as long as you hold to the belief that the Bible contains very little (or none, perhaps?) science in it. I mean, it would be absurd to regard statements like in the next verse “which have legs above their feet” as any type of scientific value. For I am sure, finding a foot with no leg above it would indeed freak me out (perhaps a nasty car accident!). Unless of course the ID people think there is an intelligent designer that could attempt a foot, I mean, a feat like this.

Heddle wrote:Really now, what’s next—will it be the rabbit chewing cud

Eh, yes, if you don’t mind, I don’t understand that little problem either. I will predict that you will explain away the error in an “inerrant” book by stating mistranslation, out of context, misunderstood (my English is not all that good, I know) or some fantastic explanation that it actually means something else. Or of course, it could be symbolic…for…eh…what?

Heddle wrote :
If you’d like some biblical questions that are real conundrums for biblical inerrancy, I’ll provide you some—then at least you won’t look so silly.

I looked silly? By asking what a silly statement like what “a Bat is a bird” is doing in an “inerrant” book? If that’s a silly question and the answer was not obvious to me (should it have been?), then it’s a good thing you are not a teacher.

It’s a good thing the Bible was written for super duper almighty perceived intellectuals like you, because I with my little simplistic mind cannot understand its scientific value, but then of course, you agree with this, since you stated “Of course it is not a science textbook. Nobody said it was a science textbook. It actually says very little about science”

Comment #59349

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 22, 2005 8:05 AM (e)

The reason Lenny purposely excludes me from his favorite question (#59259) is that I actually made the effort to answer him on a different thread.

No you didn’t. You told me all about Judah’s wonderful scholarly credentials. I pointed out that other scholars with equally wonderful credentuials think Judah is full of crap. I then asked why Judah’s credentials are better than theirs.

You never answered.

But then, you’re just here to shill for Judah, not to answer any questions.

Comment #59351

Posted by David Heddle on November 22, 2005 8:16 AM (e)

Renier,

We know the above was the belief (earth at the center of the cosmos)of every Christian for many years, at one stage, and that is was an interpretation from the Bible

Actually, in that case I don’t think you can attribute it to a faulty interpretation. It was a faulty assumption. The faulty assumption was that, as the pinnacle of God’s creation, surely He would place us at the center of the cosmos. It is representative of a family of theological errors of the general form: Well, if I were God, then I’d…

Yes you looked silly. Another mistake you made, a common one, was the “ancients were idiots” fallacy. If the ancients wanted to call bats “birds” (flying things, actually) well, that’s how they classified them. Is it not clear to you that, if we assume for the sake of argument, that the Hebrews had one classification for animals that flew, and they called them birds, this is not a scientific error? Not only that, but it would be an entirely reasonable and defensible schema?

then it’s a good thing you are not a teacher.

Actually I am, if college professor counts.

No, I am not going to (once again) answer the rabbit cud question, or the insects, or the pi = 3. Just google and you’ll find explanations. Or you can prefer, if you like, to maintain the fiction that the Jews were so stupid that, even though they worked the land, they never noticed an insect has six legs, and so they wrote a holy book which, while studied for millennia in the language in which it was written, was never corrected. Also, you can comfort yourself that any explanation that is in any way based upon difficulties (let alone outright errors) in translating from ancient Hebrew to English is a copout.

Comment #59355

Posted by jim on November 22, 2005 9:08 AM (e)

David,

We really would prefer to hear your explanations for these problems (pi=3, insects with 4 legs, bats are birds, two Genesis stories, et al).

Then you can back up your arguments with references to the places that you researched the topics.

No one here claimed that the ancient jews were “stupid”, we’re claiming that they were scientifically sophisticated AND therefore their religious text is likely to be scientifically invalid.

You claimed that the Bible shouldn’t be used as a scientific text. I think everyone here agrees with that. I would extend that caution to state that we shouldn’t rely on it for anything related to science and therefore we should not interpret it literally in regards to scientific topics.

Since you already agree with much of what I’ve said, you should seriously consider the last sentence of my previous paragraph.

Comment #59356

Posted by Renier on November 22, 2005 9:12 AM (e)

Heddle

I did google the rabbit cud error, eh, mistranslation thing and it came up wanting. Saying that actually the rabbits eat their own crap, and that cud could have meant crap…

David, you do realise that I might just perceive you as justifying things that appears to most people as outright errors. Has it ever occurred to you that you might be wrong? If these errors are actually errors, and not because of translation problems but because they ARE simple errors, then it could be that your PERCEPTION is wrong. Trying to get rid of these little problems, by playing with the original text, MIGHT just be a dishonest attempt (although a very sincere one) to cover up. Are you 100% sure that youre interpretation is correct, that it is beyond a doubt, not an error?

Lets then, for argument sake, accept that the rabbit cud thing is an error, a real one, not an imaginary one. Would it have any affect on your belief system?

Comment #59357

Posted by Flint on November 22, 2005 9:32 AM (e)

Nobody said it was a science textbook. It actually says very little about science. But if it is inerrant, then what it contains in its original form cannot be inconsistent with science.

The problem, as always, is that in defending the inerrancy of the bible, Heddle like everyone else finds it necessary to confect some interpretation, somehow, so that the errors can be rationalized away. Bats are birds? Well, the bible was just talking about “flying things.” Rabbits chew cuds? Depends on what we mean by “cud”. Earth at the center of the universe? Well, from a relativistic perspective, ALL locations can be considered “the center of the universe.” Black is white? No problem…

But there IS a problem with this approach: it’s completely ex post facto. Yes, after we have learned the correct explanation with great effort through science, THEN we can find some interpretation by which an apparently conflicting biblical passage is arguably consistent. If science (as happens) changes its theory as new evidence comes to light, no problem. Just find a NEW interpretation making that same passage consistent once again. But of course, we are learning nothing at all from the bible; all we’re doing is piling ever more duct tape and bubble gum onto the bible to patch it as required by reality, which we’re clarifying by entirely independent methods.

This is the approach astrology (and Sunday-supplement seers) relies on: that if statements are vague enough and their referents kept deliberately ambiguous, then *no matter what happens* we can find SOME way to extract it from our horoscope.

The question that comes to mind is, why bother? Why not regard the bible as we do Shakespeare: entertaining, plenty of insights, some beautiful language.

Comment #59359

Posted by Carol Clouser on November 22, 2005 9:53 AM (e)

Wesley,

If we had a statement signed by 10,000 evangelicals supporting intelligent design and criticizing evolution this thread would be dripping wet with ridicule, sarcasim and insults directed against those clerics much milder than what I said here and nobody, including yourself, would even have raised an eyebrow. Now that you think you have found new allies in the battle against the great enemy of intelligent design you have developed an inflated sensitivity to the feelings of the clerics issuing the statement.

I am not impressed.

Comment #59360

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on November 22, 2005 9:55 AM (e)

Because, Flint, you are disregarding a most obvious fact: humanocentrism.

Heddle said:
The faulty assumption was that, as the pinnacle of God’s creation, surely He would place us at the center of the cosmos.

He was talking of why people read geocentrism into the Bible. Of course, eventually most people accepted that geocentrism simply wasn’t true; what most people (Heddle included) seem unable to accept is that everything we’ve found points to humanocentrism not being true either.

Comment #59363

Posted by Carol Clouser on November 22, 2005 10:29 AM (e)

Wayne Francis,

Let me first ask you not to jump to conclusions about what I believe, of which I spoke not at all.

As far as the Bible’s “there was evening, there was morning” phrase and how that works for the Hebrew “yom” as “era” interpretation, we take into account that the Bible very many times employes the literary device of using the singular as an understated exageration to represent an enormous plurality. Such as the patriarch Jacob telling his brother Esau, “and I have earned an ox, and a donkey, etc.” when he was really saying that he had so many of them that he can readily afford to give many to his brother as a gift and still be left with plenty of assets. There are very many such examples. In the story of creation the Bible is trying to convey the idea that the “era” represents a huge amount of time, such that many “an evening” and many “a morning” could have elapsed during each of them.

At least that is the interpretation provided by various scholars looking into these issues, such as Landa, Alter, Aviezer, and others.

Hope this helps.

Comment #59364

Posted by Russell on November 22, 2005 10:33 AM (e)

Aureola Nominee (interesting moniker, that; wonder what its significance is? …but I digress) on “humanocentrism”:

EXACTLY. I think you hit the nail on the head. But I think “anthropocentrism” sounds better, and - while purists may complain that it mixes Latin and Greek roots - is parallel in that way to “geocentrism” and “heliocentrism”.

Russell
(doing his best to fill in for William Safire, who doesn’t seem to read Panda’s Thumb).

Comment #59368

Posted by Carol Clouser on November 22, 2005 10:47 AM (e)

David Heddle and k.e.,

Yes, David, the Hebrew is very clear. The story of creation in Genesis presents six overlapping eras of development specifically described in a manner designed not to be understood as chronological.

Besides, the entire Bible is not organized chronologically. There are hundreds of examples of this. Not to say that it is disorganized or chaotic. Just that the order is dictated by considerations other than the chronological.

Hope this helps.

Comment #59369

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on November 22, 2005 10:50 AM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

Wesley,

If we had a statement signed by 10,000 evangelicals supporting intelligent design and criticizing evolution this thread would be dripping wet with ridicule, sarcasim and insults directed against those clerics much milder than what I said here and nobody, including yourself, would even have raised an eyebrow. Now that you think you have found new allies in the battle against the great enemy of intelligent design you have developed an inflated sensitivity to the feelings of the clerics issuing the statement.

I am not impressed.

Whatever Carol’s belief system is, by her behavior in this example it is laid upon a foundation of moral relativism. This isn’t about me just as it isn’t about PT. Carol will look in vain for me impugning the faith of those who take stances opposite mine on this issue. And when I moderated the Fidonet Evolution Echo, I was assiduous in enforcing the rule there that the topic was to be on the science, neither promoting nor denigrating religion. Lenny can tell you about that. Here at PT, religious issues are not off-topic, and, yes, we have some people here who are not respectful of religious belief. As atheists, that’s not expected of them. A thought: perhaps Carol is an atheist? An atheist with an obsession to score theists on some personal prejudices concerning what faith theists ‘ought to’ have?

This, though, is about Carol and her continuing glibness in asserting that almost 10,000 clergy’s faith is such that they should “just give it up!”

Yeah, I’m not impressed, either.

As to an antievolution list, well, those things are pretty common. And certainly an evangelical or collection thereof expressing an opposition to antievolution is nothing new. But the big lie being spread about that one needs to choose between faith and evolutionary biology is directly exposed by the success of the Clergy Project. It is this that I think causes some people of faith to forget their manners entirely and fail to listen to their conscience.

Comment #59370

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on November 22, 2005 10:54 AM (e)

Russell:

I prefer humanocentrism exactly because it doesn’t mix Latin and Greek roots. See, I’ve never studied Greek, but I endured seven gruesome years of Latin, and despite my best efforts some of it stuck…

But of course anthropocentrism is fine too. “Pinnacle of Creation”, indeed!

Comment #59372

Posted by k.e. on November 22, 2005 11:24 AM (e)

Carol

I know you love Jesus, but who do you love Jesus against?

Comment #59374

Posted by Wayne Francis on November 22, 2005 11:42 AM (e)

Comment # 59363

Carol Clouser wrote:

Comment #59363
Posted by Carol Clouser on November 22, 2005 10:29 AM (e) (s)
Wayne Francis,
Let me first ask you not to jump to conclusions about what I believe, of which I spoke not at all….

Carol, I asked you a question.

Comment # 59275

Wayne Francis wrote:

Comment #59275
Posted by Wayne Francis on November 21, 2005 08:17 PM (e) (s)
Carol, I would like to ask how you can reconcile 6 day creation with science that clearly shows that this is false from a scientific stand point. Some say that “yom” in the original texts does not mean a 24 hour day and I’m just wondering what your standpoint is on this issue. To be candid I’m just starting at the beginning of the bible where I see conflicts if you have a literal reading of the bible.
Looking forward to your answer where I probably will pose another simple question to you.

Let me point out that I said I’m just wondering what your standpoint is on this issue.
to which you replied

Comment # 59311

carol clouser wrote:

Comment #59311
Posted by carol clouser on November 21, 2005 11:17 PM (e) (s)

Wayne Francis,
The translation of the Hebrew “yom” is of course, as you indicate, only the tip of the iceberg. Which is why books have been written on this subject. Hebrew is particularly difficult to translate accurately because it consists of few words, many with multiple and borrowed meanings. But the short answer to your question is this: yom is used hundreds of times in the Bible. About ten percent of these it refers to an “era”, a period of time characterized by some development or feature. Other times it refers to a period of daylight and yet other times it refers to a 24 hour cycle of day and night. We cannot take a vote here and follow the majority because it may very well be that the Bible had no need to talk about eras as frequently as ordinary days. It helps if the context leads us to one translation or another. And in the story of Genesis there are quite a few “yoms”, besides the first seven at the beginning, that MUST refer to eras. Landa also cites other considerations that point in this direction. So the preponderance of the evidence leads to the yom in creation as era….

So you either evaded answering my or I rightly took this

carol clouser wrote:

And in the story of Genesis there are quite a few “yoms”, besides the first seven at the beginning, that MUST refer to eras.

as your answer but wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt so I asked for confirmation and if it was correct posed another question

Comment # 59344

Wayne Francis wrote:

Comment #59344
Posted by Wayne Francis on November 22, 2005 06:40 AM (e) (s)
Carol, so you say that you believe the days of creation in Genesis refer to era? Do I understand you correctly? How do you reconcile this with the fact that Genesis 1:5-1:23 constantly use “veyhe erev” “veyhe voker” near yom indicating that it is talking about a 24 hour cycle by referring to morning and evening?

So I have to now assume by your statement of
Comment # 59363

Carol Clouser wrote:

Comment #59363
Posted by Carol Clouser on November 22, 2005 10:29 AM (e) (s)
Wayne Francis,
Let me first ask you not to jump to conclusions about what I believe, of which I spoke not at all….

That you indeed did evade telling me your standpoint and try to make it look like I was in the wrong for making a conclusion out of the blue.

When someone asks you a question in good faith to get a better idea of where you are coming from and you evade that question and resite other peoples points of view it is perfectly logical to assume you support those points of view. To come back and blame the person asking the initial question of putting words in your mouth only make you look bad.

I specifically asked a single direct question and you obviously have not answered such a question. This is why people here do not like engaging you because you do not go into discussion openly.

I personally can’t see how “Yom” in Gen 1:9-1:23 can mean era when right next to each use it talks about the morning and evening. They would have no need to be in there if “Yom” was to mean “Era” unless the original writers purposely wanted to confuse.

Comment #59380

Posted by k.e. on November 22, 2005 12:31 PM (e)

Carol

I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon. - Pink Floyd

Man if they get the keys we are in trouble.

Comment #59385

Posted by Carol Clouser on November 22, 2005 12:56 PM (e)

Wayne Francis,

I did not take your question as referring to my personal beliefs but rather that you were asking me, perhaps based on my experience as scholarly books editor, how the issue of the six days and the Hebrew “yom” is dealt with vis-a-vis the potential conflict with science. I am sorry for misreading your question. I meant no harm. I was trying to be helpful.

You are of course entitled to accept or reject the “an evening, a morning” interpretation I provided. Just keep in mind that it is an anomolous phrase if taken to mean one real morning and one real evening because there supposedly was no sun in existance yet (during the first few “days”). And the Bible expects that the intelligent reader will keep this in mind and operate on the assumption that the author has not lost its mind. In other words, the author expects that you might seek an alternate interpretation, other than one real evening and one real morning. I would not conclude therefore that the phrase could only come to confuse.

Comment #59386

Posted by jim on November 22, 2005 12:58 PM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

Wesley,

If we had a statement signed by 10,000 evangelicals supporting intelligent design and criticizing evolution this thread would be dripping wet with ridicule, sarcasim (sic) and insults directed against those clerics much milder than what I said here and nobody, including yourself, would even have raised an eyebrow. Now that you think you have found new allies in the battle against the great enemy of intelligent design you have developed an inflated sensitivity to the feelings of the clerics issuing the statement.

I am not impressed.

Your observation IS valid, however, your point is not.

You see the pro-Science people here are not saying your religious views should change or that you can’t believe in ID. They’re asserting that your religious views (ID) should not be taught in Science class.

You say that you *must* teach your religious views in Science class because Science violates your religious beliefs. The letter from the clergy shows that Science/Evolution does not violate *mainstream* Christian religious beliefs.

A comparable feat for you would be to get 10,000 Scientists doing research in subjects related to Evolution to support teaching ID in school.

FYI, I don’t think the whole “my signature list is bigger than yours” debate is conclusive by itself. But I think if sufficient numbers are garnered on either side it should prompt those in the opposing camp to seriously look at what those signatories are saying.

GO LOOK at the statements made by both the people that signed the statement supporting Evolution AND also look at the statements made by the leaders of many of the *mainstream* Christian religions.
http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/5025_statements_from_religious_orga_12_19_2002.asp
http://www.uwosh.edu/colleges/cols/religion_science_collaboration.htm

If you can get the 10,000 signatures from Evolutionary Scientists stating that ID is a valid scientific theory and that it should be taught in Science classrooms, I will certainly look at the statements & positions that they publish. Currently the odds of accomplishing this seem very fleeting. After all, most of the signatures from Scientists that various ID groups have collected do NOT support ID or its teaching in science classrooms.

Comment #59419

Posted by Apesnake on November 22, 2005 3:42 PM (e)

carol wrote:

Apesnake,

You consider adding insult to injury an apology?

No. You see, I was admitting my error in the spirit of honesty while using a sarcastic apology to show how much I hold your views in contempt. I should not be surprised that you need to have sarcasm explained to you. Your belief that huge numbers of committed and caring clergy are actually atheists in denial or just out right frauds is truly offensive to me. And the fact that you rationalize it by what some atheists here might think is even more disgusting.

carol wrote:

I stated that the clerics demonstrated a lack of faith in the ability of the Bible to stand the test of time

Carol you did not say that these clerics demonstrated a lack of faith in the ability of the Bible to stand the test of time. You said:

carol wrote:

These clerics truly lack faith. Let them just give it up and be done with it!

While I am an Atheist, I personally know clergy who do not take the bible as a literal textbook, and the fact that you can deny their faith even exists leaves me cold. Is the intra denominational hatred really that easy for you? Have you ever thought of moving to Northern Ireland?

carol wrote:

Why don’t you also inspect what you said I said about the clerics “seeing the light” and what I actually said about that.

You admit to have read the post where I acknowledge misreading your “seeing the light” comments (59317) and yet you still imply that I have not clued in. Did you misread my post or are you misrepresenting my words? Your exact words were:

carol wrote:

Many folks here would actually describe my “accusation” as a compliment paid to the clerics. That they “see the light” and to once and for all save the Bible from any present or future conflicts with science they take the only effective course available - render its words meaningless by turning them into flying targets.

I get it! I get it, damn it! You feel that your dismissal of these clergy is acceptable because you feel that some of us atheists are happy about what you feel they believe. Can we move on?

carol wrote:

When you recognize the three substantive distortions you have perpetrated…

Number 2 and 3 are going to be pointed out to me eventually?

And while you are at it, could you explain your policy of ignoring questions that you deem “nonsense”? The Bible, as translated says that disobedient children should be stoned but you will not respond to that. You simply state that anything you can not explain can only be understood in Hebrew. Can Hebrew not be translated into other languages? If so is it not kind of a strange choice of a language for God to speak to the world with? You said that it is a sick joke to say that you have an interest in your constant recommendation of that book. (Is it in Hebrew too?) Yet you refuse to simply state that you have no connection with any company involved with the book and call Lenny a liar in plain language rather than just implying it. Care to comment or is it all nonsense?

Is it fair to sum up that you believe the Bible must be taken as literal or else you have no faith and are faking your Christianity but that it can only be taken literally in Hebrew? And could you please explain why only a minority of people who speak Hebrew such as yourself are able to translate Hebrew correctly? I am trying to understand your belief system accurately despite the fact that the more I learn about it, the more I find it disturbing.

Comment #59426

Posted by JONBOY on November 22, 2005 4:20 PM (e)

I really feel sorry for Carol and all biblical apologists,they refuse to accept the fact that the bible has errors.Once you concede that it does ,you open Pandoras Box,how do you know what parts are true and which are false? If there is just one mistake there may as well be a thousand,it did not come from a God of truth. Quoting from a work is fruitless unless you first prove the book is valid,truthful and reliable,evidence shows the Bible fails this test,mere assertions prove nothing

Comment #59428

Posted by Flint on November 22, 2005 4:34 PM (e)

Once you concede that it does ,you open Pandoras Box,how do you know what parts are true and which are false? If there is just one mistake there may as well be a thousand,it did not come from a God of truth.

But why insist on an “all or nothing” condition? Why not apply the same critical evaluation to the bible that we might apply to, say, a book by a famous historian? Worth taking seriously, worth evaluating in detail, but probably incorrect or misguided in some ways. Of course we’ll never reach complete consensus, but we don’t anyway - that’s why tens of thousands of religious sects all use the same book.

How hard is it, really, to approach the bible with the view that it probably got some things right, probably got a lot of things wrong, and surely made a lot of statements that can’t be objectively tested but CAN be accepted or rejected as meaningful, useful, or worth believing?

Consider that Gould and Dawkins each considered the other to be in serious error in several respects. Should we therefore throw out as useless everything either of them ever said? Quoting from the bible is just like quoting from Dawkins - possibly valuable, possibly nonsense, take it for what it’s worth and where it came from. YMMV.

Comment #59432

Posted by JONBOY on November 22, 2005 4:59 PM (e)

Flint you are missing the point,you cannot apply the same critical evaluation to the Bible as you can any other books.This book was directly inspired by God through the Holy Spirit(what ever that may be)God is perfect, his works are perfect, the Bible has to be perfect or it is invalid.Gould and Dawkins are not Gods,(well not in the true sense of the term.)Let me say I would agree with your excellent fair points, but most Fundies would not

Comment #59433

Posted by David Heddle on November 22, 2005 5:10 PM (e)

Renier,

David, you do realise that I might just perceive you as justifying things that appears to most people as outright errors.

I more than realize it.

Has it ever occurred to you that you might be wrong? If these errors are actually errors, and not because of translation problems but because they ARE simple errors, then it could be that your PERCEPTION is wrong.

Yes, it has occurred to me. However, I am more nervous about the subtle conflicts. Even without investigating, I know that “bats are birds” is not a scientific error. It’s a difference between what we call birds and what the ancient Jews called birds. It is rather obvious that the bible was not intending to say: “in the taxonomy of 21st biology, nay, in the classification schema of any century, bats are birds.” I think that should be clear to anyone who looks at it objectively. You should not underestimate or shrug off the difficulties in converting a language (biblical Hebrew) to English, given the fact that is something like 10k words in biblical Hebrew vs. 200K words in modern English. (Carol, do you know more accurate numbers? Those are from my faulty memory.) The absolute hardest issue to reconcile, scientifically, if you’re interested, is the Noahic flood. The bats, rabbit cud, pi, and insects are in the noise compared to that.

Trying to get rid of these little problems, by playing with the original text, MIGHT just be a dishonest attempt (although a very sincere one) to cover up. Are you 100% sure that youre interpretation is correct, that it is beyond a doubt, not an error?

It might be. Are you certain that trivializing the translation difficulties is not too cavalier? As for my interpretation, I am never 100% sure. Then again, all I need to avoid cognitive dissonance is that plausible explanations exist. I’m not really concerned with proving them at the 100% level, which would be impossible.

Lets then, for argument sake, accept that the rabbit cud thing is an error, a real one, not an imaginary one. Would it have any affect on your belief system?

If I became convinced that the bible contained a real error—that could not be attributed to translation error, cultural misunderstanding, interpretation error, etc., it would have a devastating effect on my belief system. Because if the bible is wrong in one part, how do I know that its promise of eternal life is not also wrong?

Comment #59436

Posted by Flint on November 22, 2005 5:23 PM (e)

Because if the bible is wrong in one part, how do I know that its promise of eternal life is not also wrong?

What difference can it possibly make? I know I’m missing something important here, but I’m not sure what it is. You either live forever (in some sense not clearly defined), or you do not. You will know it’s true when the time comes, or you won’t know the difference because there will be no you to even care. So it’s really a wash. Why worry about it?

And this is surely the case whether or not there’s any bible at all, much less what it might say or whether what it says turns out to be the case. It is or it isn’t.

But then again, I suppose what I’m missing is the sense that the bible says anything really important at all. After all, many many millions of people have lived since people first evolved, and continuing today, without even having *heard* of the bible, much less read it or understood the context in which it was written. Yet these people do not perceive themselves as living any less meaningful or purposeful a life, and for good reason. The bible is ultimately irrelevant.

I just don’t understand this “devastating effect on my belief system” stuff. I don’t particularly believe in any gods now, because I don’t see any compelling evidence of their existence. But I wouldn’t be particularly put out if a few of them chose to materialize, demonstrate their bona fides to my satisfaction, and start doing whatever they might do. Certainly I’d start believing in them right away; how could I help it? And if these gods got some stuff wrong, that wouldn’t bother me either.

So what’s the big deal?

Comment #59438

Posted by Flint on November 22, 2005 5:33 PM (e)

I should add that I’d consider it dangerous to invest too much in the inerrancy of ANY book. A man should never gamble more than he can stand to lose. And when the book turns out to be the local folk tales of ancient goat herders, who were profoundly ignorant and guessed consistently wrong, I’d be obliged to protect my investment by engaging in special pleading beyond all recognition. I’d be very hard pressed not to realize this was what I was doing. And for what? Maybe I could “pull a Heddle” and *pretend* to others that my rationalizations are fully plausible, but I’d know myself that I was not playing straight with myself. Why run such a silly risk?

Comment #59440

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 22, 2005 5:47 PM (e)

Posted by Flint on November 22, 2005 05:33 PM (e) (s)

… And when the book turns out to be the local folk tales of ancient goat herders…

Just goat herders?
They managed much more than just that. They also included:
Construction workers…Pyramids etc.
Road Gang…made a (temporary) road through the Red sea.
Shipwrights…Noah and sons.
Demolition workers…just ask the citizens of Jericho.
Miners…someone must have worked in Solomons mines…

Comment #59466

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 22, 2005 7:16 PM (e)

Has it ever occurred to you that you might be wrong?

He’s a Calvinist. They’re NEVER wrong. (shrug)

Comment #59467

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 22, 2005 7:25 PM (e)

At least that is the interpretation provided by various scholars looking into these issues, such as Landa, Alter, Aviezer, and others.

Of course, their interpretation is just that — their interpretation. It’s not any more authoritative or divine or holy or infallible than anyone ELSE’s interpretation. None of these guys knows any more about god than anyone else alive does, and, like Carol, Heddle and all the others, their religious opinions aren’t any better than mine, my next door neighbor’s, my car mechanic’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas. (shrug)

In my years of evo-cre “debate”, I have noticed an itneresting trend. On the one side are those people who have no interest in pushing their religious opinions onto tohers, and no interest in converting anyone to them. On the other side are those who want nothing MORE than to push their religious opinions onto everyone else, and are interested in nothign BUT converting everyone else to their opinions.

Whenever I do the “Flanking Maneuver” by asking them why their religious opinions are any more authoritative than any other, the answers I get fall cleanly into two distinct camps, which fall EXACTLY along the “want to convert others, don’t want to convert others” line. Those who DON’T want to push their views onto others, invariably answer my question with different versions of “my opinions ARE NOT any better than anyone else’s”. On the other hand, those who DO want to push their views onto others, invariably reply with different versions of “my opinions are right because … well . . just because they ARE”. (Or, in Carol’s case, “my opinions are right because Judah Linda SAYS they are”).

I find that very interesting, and very revealing. The fundies (who invariably fall into the “wanna push my opinions onto everybody” camp) think, quite literally, that they are holier than everyone else and know more about god than anyone else and god loves them best, and their opinions are right simply because they are more godly than the rest of us adn hecne cannot possibly be wrong.

In other words, they are self-righteous prideful arrogant smug holier-than-thou (literally) pricks who think, quite literally, that they are God’s Annointed Spokesmen™©.

Comment #59469

Posted by Wayne Francis on November 22, 2005 7:53 PM (e)

Carol Clouser and David Heddle say the bible is the word of god and can’t be wrong. For this I’ll present the following information

One of the oldest version of Noah we find is from 1,100-1000BC When you read the story you can think of it as listening to the origin radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds”. Fast forward do about the 6th century BC and we have a new version of Noah. Story is still basically the same but lots of extra bits added. You can think of them as “Special Effects”. These passages don’t add to the moral of the story much but they can make the story seem more real by including “Measurements” & Facts” and people will think because of these that it is true.

For example

Text From 1,100BC wrote:

And the rain was upon the land forty days and forty nights, and the waters surged up and carried the ark, and the ark rose above the land.

became

Text From 600BC wrote:

And the flood was upon the land for 40 days. And the waters became great, and grew very, very much on the earth, and the ark was carried along on the waters. And the waters increased very greatly on the land, and the covered all the high mountains which were under all the heavens. The waters rose till they were 15 cubits above the mountain tops

according to Clouser, Heddle, JONBOY and all other fundamentalists the bible is directly inspired by God through the Holy Spirit and since God and God’s works are perfect the Bible has to be perfect. (JONBOY sorry if this isn’t your view and you are just pointing this out to others)

But with stories like Noah’s Flood we don’t have things that are simple translation errors but whole passages added to it over time.

Forgive me if I’m wrong David and Carol but how can you say that a passage being added to Noah’s flood story such as the following

Text From 600BC wrote:

And Elohim said to Noah: “The end of all flesh has come before me, because the land is filled with violence because of them, so I’m going to wipe them off the earth. Make for yourself an ark of gofer wood, with rooms shall you make it, and cover it inside and out with pitch. You are to make it this way: The ark will be 300 cubits long and 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. You will make a roof for the ark and complete it a cubit above, and you shall make a door of the ark in its side. Make it with a lower, second and third deck. And as for me, I am bringing the flood of water upon the land to destroy all flesh that has in it a living spirit under the whole heavens. Everything that is on the earth shall die.

And I will raise up my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark, you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives

Can be construed as man adding to a story? Did God not inspire the original writers enough and have to go back a few times after proofreading the drafts?

You ignore all evidence that the bible is writen by man. From the mind of man and not the mind of God. God may be perfect but God’s works are obviously not perfect for we are not perfect. I’m sure you’ll ignore or hand wave away clear evidence like this as meaning nothing. For the rest of us we can accept that the bible was writen by man and will not be perfect and it does not need to be perfect. Just as the old radio broadcast of War of the Worlds is not perfect and adding in the special effect on the latest screen version doesn’t make it more perfect….God knows that any movie with that heathen Tom Cruise can’t be perfect.

Comment #59473

Posted by David Heddle on November 22, 2005 8:13 PM (e)

Wayne,

Your claims, even if they were true (which they are not) are irrelevant. I have no doubt that the bible I read every day contains errors. (As a Protestant, I can’t even claim with absolute certainty that it contains the correct books, since we believe in sola scriptura, and the table of contents was not inspired–but that’s a separate story.) Biblical inerrancy does not guarantee that copies of manuscripts and translations are 100% accurate, it claims that the original, inspired writings were inerrant. How much faith can we have in the modern translations? Quite a bit, which you’d know if you studied the history of the bible–but again that’s another story.

Comment #59476

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 22, 2005 8:31 PM (e)

Carol Clouser and David Heddle say the bible is the word of god and can’t be wrong.

More than that — they say that THEIR INTERPRETATIONS of the Bible can’t be wrong.

Or, in the case of Carol, that JUDAH LINDA”S interpretations can’t be wrong.

Me, I simply don’t believe that Heddle or Carol or Judah are infallible. (shrug)

Comment #59477

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 22, 2005 8:32 PM (e)

it claims that the original, inspired writings were inerrant.

And where, again, can we see these …. ?

Have you read ‘em, Heddle?

Comment #59480

Posted by Ron Zeno on November 22, 2005 8:49 PM (e)

I’ve heard that the proper translation and interpretation of mythological religious texts is done with your face in a hat. It works for the Mormons. ;)

Comment #59482

Posted by Apesnake on November 22, 2005 9:21 PM (e)

it claims that the original, inspired writings were inerrant.

And where, again, can we see these … . ?

Have you read ‘em, Heddle?

You do not need to read them to take them literally. You just need to know that they are inerrant except where they are mistranslated - which is really everywhere, apparently.

Comment #59497

Posted by k.e. on November 22, 2005 11:31 PM (e)

Carol and David (If we were god for day, BOY WOULD WE FIX THINGS UP!!)

I know you love Jesus, but who do you love Jesus against ?

Comment #59498

Posted by carol clouser on November 22, 2005 11:31 PM (e)

Apesnake,

The number of your distortions of my words has grown from 3 to 12, and you have added a few fabrications to the lot.

I give up. I am done with you. Be well.

David Heddle,

It is quite problematic to count Hebrew words because words are formed in Hebrew by adding letters to other words. Much therefore depends on the rules adopted for such a count. 10K sounds too much for the number of root words in Biblical Hebrew.

One of the most difficult and uncertain translations pertain to the Hebrew names for many of the creatures enumerated in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. The Hebrew “arneves” is generally translated as “the rabbit” which in turn leads to the rabbit cud problem. But that translation is extremely uncertain.

As far as the flood is concerned, I have posted previously that the phrase “kol ha-aretz”, usually translated as “the whole earth”, is almost certainly incorrect. That phrase is used repeatedly in the Bible in other contexts to mean “all the land”, such as the land of Egypt, the land of the Israelites, and so on. In the story of the flood it almost certainly refers to the land described a few verses earlier where Adam and Eve first are located. The flood was therefore a local phenomenon in the flat plains of Sumeria (present day Iraq). To make a long story very short, this helps resolves all the discrepencies associated with the Flood.

Comment #59503

Posted by Wayne Francis on November 23, 2005 1:03 AM (e)

David, care to back up your statements
Comment # 59473

David Heddle wrote:

Comment #59473
Posted by David Heddle on November 22, 2005 08:13 PM (e) (s)
Wayne,
Your claims, even if they were true (which they are not) are irrelevant….

Boy did I read you right when I said.
Comment # 59473

David Heddle wrote:

Comment #59473

I’m sure you’ll ignore or hand wave away clear evidence like this as meaning nothing….

You say that the bible does not contain errors in one breath that any errors must be in our interpretation of the bible then in another say that the bible does have errors.

First, please show me how I’m wrong about the story of Noah. Please show my your source material pre 11th century BC that has the passages that we are familiar with.

Please tell me how you can say that I haven’t studied the bible? I know more about the bible then most of my friends that go to church every Sunday. I’ve read 3 different versions of the bible cover to cover and another handful in bits. I read papers written by biblical scholars concerning many of the old testament’s source material. I’ve studied the history of the new and old testament yet you make a blind statement that I have no clue about the history of the bible. If you actually read what I said you would see that I said between these 2 versions of Gen 6-8 had the same message. The second story clearly has passages added to it and they don’t actually add to the message of the story. My point is that there are passages that where added.

This is why so many people think you are a liar and are evasive. This is because you constantly make statement then when shown wrong move the goal post and try to say why you are still right instead of admitting your errors in logic 99% of the time.

So David, please tell me what parts of the bible you know come from the true original text and there for are inerrant? Please tell me how you have come across this information. Oh yea thats right you must have some direct line to God that makes you see what passages you can take as litteral and what ones are metaphore but you don’t wish to share this upfront with everyone. You just want to claim that I don’t understand the bible and not back your statements up. PLEASE David, show me how you know I’m wrong.

Carol can you comment on the passages that where added to Gen6-8 over the years?

Comment #59510

Posted by carol clouser on November 23, 2005 2:25 AM (e)

Wayne Francis,

I don’t want to speak for David, Wayne, but I am quite certain that he, like myself, are not persuaded with the premise upon which your question is based. You state that you have studied the history of the Bible. Well, then you certainly know that the “scholars” are all over the place with speculation and mere hunches and guesses based on flim-flam and smoke and mirrors. I don’t know for a fact that anything in particular was added or subtracted, here or there, over the years before the printing press arrived on the scene, and neither can any scholar make that claim with certainty.

What I do know is that my people have cherished a core document with their very lives for thousands of years. The dead sea scrolls of about two thousand years ago reveal a Bible remarkably identical with what we have today (in the Hebrew, of course) despite 1500 years since their creation of nothing but hand-written copies, in an atmosphere of crusades, blood libels, expulsions, inquisitions, pogroms, exile and whatever else our Christian neighbors ordained to commit in the name of the prince of peace. Can we be certain of the authenticity of every word from before the dead sea scrolls? Not if we need evidence for every word, since that evidence is not available (until the next archeological find). But I rest my case on the dedication of my people that a core is traceable all the way back to Moses. And I give every word the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

Comment #59513

Posted by k.e. on November 23, 2005 2:58 AM (e)

Carol
Do you think you could get 500 Rabbi’s to back you up on that.

Comment #59516

Posted by David Heddle on November 23, 2005 5:10 AM (e)

Wayne,

So the onus is on me to prove that you do not have access to a 3100 year old manuscript of Genesis?

Comment #59519

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 23, 2005 5:46 AM (e)

Carol,
It would appear to me that you originally stated in words to the effect;
“the clergy signing the document in favour of evolution are lacking in faith and should give up their vocation”.
Now I know they weren’t your exact words, however that is the message as I understood it.

Posted by carol clouser on November 20, 2005 09:25 PM (e) (s)

One, to not read the bible literally is to not take it seriously. For if words do not mean what they say, anyone can read anything into it. You cannot have it both ways.

Two, this sounds like the apologetics of folks who fear contradiction by science and have invented the great excuse for all such possible contradictions in the future. The Bible meant something else! These clerics truly lack faith. Let them just give it up and be done with it!

Three, with a little knowledge and discernment these faithless clerics would come to appreciate that the Bible CAN BE READ LITERALLY and still NOT CONFLICT WITH SCIENCE. As Judah Landa amply demonstrates in his IN THE BEGINNING OF, the original Hebrew Bible, when correctly and accurately translated, simply does not lead to any conflict with science. No word games, no twisted meanings, just correct translation. That’s all it takes.

But now it sounds as though you are saying there may be errors in the bible….

Posted by carol clouser on November 23, 2005 02:25 AM (e) (s)

Wayne Francis,

I don’t want to speak for David, Wayne, but I am quite certain that he, like myself, are not persuaded with the premise upon which your question is based. You state that you have studied the history of the Bible. Well, then you certainly know that the “scholars” are all over the place with speculation and mere hunches and guesses based on flim-flam and smoke and mirrors. I don’t know for a fact that anything in particular was added or subtracted, here or there, over the years before the printing press arrived on the scene, and neither can any scholar make that claim with certainty.

So my questions are:
Is the bible to be read literally?
Do those clerics lack faith and should they quit preaching?

Both yourself and David Heddle come across as intelligent, well educated people. Dodging questions makes you appear dishonest.

Comment #59523

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 23, 2005 8:05 AM (e)

So the onus is on me to prove that you do not have access to a 3100 year old manuscript of Genesis?

You mean it’s not part of those “original, inspired writings” that you think are “inerrant” …. ?

Comment #59526

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 23, 2005 8:08 AM (e)

Well, then you certainly know that the “scholars” are all over the place with speculation and mere hunches and guesses based on flim-flam and smoke and mirrors.

Yes, I know. Pick any interpretation, and you can find a scholar somewhere to support it.

Which is why I asked YOU why YOUR “scholar” is any more authoritative than any OTHER.

And got no answer.

Comment #59527

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 23, 2005 8:12 AM (e)

Both yourself and David Heddle come across as intelligent, well educated people. Dodging questions makes you appear dishonest.

They’re WORSE than dishonest —— they are INFALLIBLE.

Comment #59529

Posted by JONBOY on November 23, 2005 8:20 AM (e)

Wayne,apology accepted, I am an atheist and a active member of the
N.C.S.E,I just like to play Devils advocate.Regardlng the biblical flood myth, it was obviously copied from the Babylonian (Epic of Gilgamesh)as are so many bible stories.Check out the parallels between Jesus and Mithras.

Comment #59532

Posted by Carol Clouser on November 23, 2005 8:34 AM (e)

Lenny,

I am talking here about the history of the Bible, not about its interpretation or translation. Read carefully and stop seeking opportunities to repeat your mantra at every corner.

Stephen Elliott,

I also said that I give every word the benefit of the doubt.

I never even implied that the clerics ought to give up their avocation. My point was that they ought to either take the Bible or leave it. That is, they either take the Bible as we have it today (in its most original and authentic form, that is the Hebrew or ACCURATE translations of it) at its word and defend and support it as a document that says what it means and means what it says and can therefore be used as a meaningful guide to proper living, or they stop treating it as that very unique and special work, the handiwork of God. Instead they try to have it both ways. The Bible is this work of God yet its words can mean anything anyone wants it to mean.

All this sounds quite simple, sensible and logical to me. Why do some folks here have so much difficulty understanding this?

Comment #59536

Posted by k.e. on November 23, 2005 9:03 AM (e)

OK Carol I think I’ve got it.
A household guide to growing stuff,eating,animal husbandry,fix taps D’OH

OK I’ll have another go sorry
A village guide to running temples, collecting donations, keeping kids indoors and making sure they blow their pocket money on drugs and porn D’OH

Ok OK OK I’ll try again
The Infallible guide to living a decent life except for homosexuals, atheists, and scientists D’OH D’OH D”OH

OKOKOKOKOKOKOK

The world was created in 4 and sixty days and bless all those who sail in her.

The

Comment #59538

Posted by JONBOY on November 23, 2005 9:39 AM (e)

Carol. How can the Bible be a meaningful guide to proper living,yet its words can mean anything anyone wants it to mean?If the Bible is Gods word to us, why would God make it so ambiguous and hard to understand,is God deliberately trying to confuse us? Have you ever considered that the difficulty in understanding may be on your part.
Your arguments seem subordinate to your own personal convictions and as simple and logical it may seem to you,it does not appear that way to others

Comment #59540

Posted by Wislu Plethora on November 23, 2005 10:06 AM (e)

JONBOY wrote:

Carol. How can the Bible be a meaningful guide to proper living,yet its words can mean anything anyone wants it to mean?

Jonboy, you just don’t get it. The only interpretation that’s really meaningful and binding is the one that Clouser accepts and identifies as accurate. That interpretation is the one that should be taken literally, because Clouser, the inveterate shill, says so, and she has the “scholars” to prove it. And any clergypersons who don’t accept the Clouser Doctrine of biblical exegesis (pronounced, by the way, “Exit Jesus”) should just go do something else.

Comment #59546

Posted by Apesnake on November 23, 2005 10:45 AM (e)

carol wrote:

Apesnake,

The number of your distortions of my words has grown from 3 to 12, and you have added a few fabrications to the lot.

And yet you still do not point to them so that I can defend myself against these charges. I think I am done with you too except that I might refer you to http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=slander. Sorry it is not in hebrew.

carol wrote:

they either take the Bible as we have it today (in its most original and authentic form, that is the Hebrew or ACCURATE translations of it)…

That would be the ACCURATE translation which Carol and her friends have access to and that does not mention:

Exodus 31:14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

31:15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

Deuteronomy 21:18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

21:19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;

21:20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

21:21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

and such. Or else it mentions them but terms like “stone him with stones” are different in hebrew - more like “shower him in kisses”. Has this ACCURATE hebrew translation been made available to anyone who can translate hebrew into english? I am really dieing to see what the Bible really says.

Comment #59550

Posted by JONBOY on November 23, 2005 11:05 AM (e)

Wislu,You are right Carol is right, Ive been wrong all these years,Im off to the nearest church to get saved, see you all in heaven

Comment #59555

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 23, 2005 11:27 AM (e)

Carol,
In response to…

Posted by Carol Clouser on November 23, 2005 08:34 AM (e) (s)

Stephen Elliott,

I also said that I give every word the benefit of the doubt.

I never even implied that the clerics ought to give up their avocation. My point was that they ought to either take the Bible or leave it. That is, they either take the Bible as we have it today (in its most original and authentic form, that is the Hebrew or ACCURATE translations of it) at its word and defend and support it as a document that says what it means and means what it says and can therefore be used as a meaningful guide to proper living, or they stop treating it as that very unique and special work, the handiwork of God. Instead they try to have it both ways. The Bible is this work of God yet its words can mean anything anyone wants it to mean.

All this sounds quite simple, sensible and logical to me. Why do some folks here have so much difficulty understanding this?

OK but these are also your words from a much earlier post.

Posted by carol clouser on November 20, 2005 09:25 PM (e) (s)

One, to not read the bible literally is to not take it seriously. For if words do not mean what they say, anyone can read anything into it. You cannot have it both ways.

Two, this sounds like the apologetics of folks who fear contradiction by science and have invented the great excuse for all such possible contradictions in the future. The Bible meant something else! These clerics truly lack faith. Let them just give it up and be done with it!

Three, with a little knowledge and discernment these faithless clerics would come to appreciate that the Bible CAN BE READ LITERALLY and still NOT CONFLICT WITH SCIENCE. As Judah Landa amply demonstrates in his IN THE BEGINNING OF, the original Hebrew Bible, when correctly and accurately translated, simply does not lead to any conflict with science. No word games, no twisted meanings, just correct translation. That’s all it takes.

Can you see why I (amongst others) got the impression that you where saying: “the clergy who sign the document supporting evolution have no faith”?

Now following from that; surely a faithless cleric has no business being employed by a church. What sort of character would that indicate?

That is the reason people took exception to your comment.

Comment #59556

Posted by k.e. on November 23, 2005 11:30 AM (e)

Carol " rel="external nofollow">namaste
I sense a certain anxiety over the potential of the fundamentalist project to loose steam and thus some fulfillment of an undesirable prophesy, on your and your tribes part. Particularly since one of those prophesies was self fulfilling, and holds long term hope; The creation of the state of Israel.

On a personal note when my father, who grew up in the Republic of Ireland, was around 18yrs old “ran away” with a friend to Join the French Foreign Legion (true). They told them to get lost, so they joined the British PALESTINE POLICE FORCE and he was there in ‘46,’47. It must have been quite exiting to go to the ‘Holy Land’ for him but what he saw there turned him off all religion for good. He did have a lot of admiration for G_Meir and so on and I wish you the best in your travels.

I perceive however a lack of trust in humanity on your part that may be a projected self doubt.
I can’t help you there, sorry. Maybe someone professional ?

I can help you with making sense of poetry. Point you in the right direction so to speak.
Ever wondered how “Timeless Tales” are created in situ
Just how did those ancient scribes dream all that stuff up and why does _some_ of it make sense now?
What tricks and techniques do poets and sages use in their creative construction ?
It is a craft that can be developed and refined to a high order with very predictable results just like any other human endeavor.
And yes there is a method, a ‘science’, a technique an objective process to extract subjective meaning.
It takes training and development of skill plus time and effort.
You seem to completely miss this as everyone here equally seems to be pointing out.
Unless you are running some sort of political campaign your reasoning appears to lack an honest motive.

If you really want to learn to subjectively read meaning in the Bible and I 100% assure you that is all you can ever do no mater how much you protest. Then how you integrate that into your way of life or construct a world view is of course completely up to you.

I suggest you start with gaining an understanding of Poetry and Literature and the process of deconstruction of meaning and pray for guidance on the model you create in your mind . As I will.

Look up the meaning of these words
Synecdoche
Anteriority
mythopoetics
entelechy
irony
metonymy
hyperbole
metaphor
transumption
psychological
reactionformation
reversal
regression
repression
introjection
projection

Do you like Harold Bloom ?
Start here
http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/hopkins_guide_to_literary_theory/harold_bloom.html

Comment #59566

Posted by Carol Clouser on November 23, 2005 12:44 PM (e)

Stephen Elliott,

The statement I made about the signing clerics “not having faith” and “let them just give it up” referred to their lack of faith in the Bible’s ability to stand the test of time, that is, the challenges from science and other evidence. I proposed that they give up the Bible, as the word of God, and be done with it, rather than render the Bible meaningless in its defense. Anyone reading my statements IN CONTEXT would see it that way and I repeatedly explained this over and over again. But some folks here are as closed minded as the fundamentalists. I try to approach religious issues intellectually and dispassionately, as a scientists should. But many folks here are anything but scientific. They react viscerally and emotionally to religious matters just as the fundamentalists do. It is all rather discouraging.

Comment #59571

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 23, 2005 1:02 PM (e)

Carol,

I accept your explanation of what you meant here…

I made about the signing clerics “not having faith” and “let them just give it up” referred to their lack of faith in the Bible’s ability to stand the test of time

Do you accept that even when read in context your first post is likely to give the impression that you are questioning the faith of said clergy? I was certainly reading it that way.

Now a clergyman without faith is necessarily a charlatan (would you not agree). Your first post gave me (and many others I am sure)the idea that you were criticising the faith and character of nearly 10,000 people you had not met, or had dealings with.

Comment #59578

Posted by Ed Darrell on November 23, 2005 1:50 PM (e)

Carol Clouser said:

The statement I made about the signing clerics “not having faith” and “let them just give it up” referred to their lack of faith in the Bible’s ability to stand the test of time, that is, the challenges from science and other evidence. I proposed that they give up the Bible, as the word of God, and be done with it, rather than render the Bible meaningless in its defense. Anyone reading my statements IN CONTEXT would see it that way and I repeatedly explained this over and over again. But some folks here are as closed minded as the fundamentalists. I try to approach religious issues intellectually and dispassionately, as a scientists should. But many folks here are anything but scientific. They react viscerally and emotionally to religious matters just as the fundamentalists do. It is all rather discouraging.

So, you were referring to the fundamentalists who insist on a literal reading that ignores the findings of science, right?

Comment #59589

Posted by carol clouser on November 23, 2005 2:39 PM (e)

Stephen Elliott,

When you say “a clergyman without faith” what precisely do you mean? Faith in what? The Bible as the word of God? The existance of God? The inherent godliness of human beings? Other religious principles? I can see how a quick and non-careful reading of my original post could be misconstrued even by well intentioned individuals. But after I rephrased my thoughts and elaborated on them repeatedly (such as in #59138 and #59327), making it crystally clear that I was referring narrowly to faith in the Bible’s ability to stand up to potential conflicts, folks here still persisted in either distorting or misunderstanding what I was saying.

Is a clergyman without faith a charlatan? Depends. Is he deceiving his flock and the establishment of his religious organization (his employers)? Is he working from within to refine his organization’s views? In what sense is the word “faith” being used?

Let me turn the tables on you, if you don’t mind. Is a clergyman who preaches the Godliness of the Bible and how important a role it is to play in our lives, and then claims that the words of the Bible are pliable enough to accomodate any need, that the plain meaning of the words are not to be taken seriously, a charlatan of sorts? Does that not open the door to that clergyman’s reading his own notions into the Bible, then proclaiming those ideas to be sanctioned by God?

Perhaps I should have used “confidence in the Bible” instead of “faith in the Bible” in my original post, considering that the word “faith” is such a lightning rod, causing folks to jump up and down in delirium at the slightest whiff of an opposing opinion. But I thought I was entitled to better on a blog of supposedly thoughtful scientists. I guess I was wrong about that.

Comment #59592

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on November 23, 2005 2:47 PM (e)

Yes, Carol, many fundamentalists think that the Bible must be taken at face value or be discarded entirely.

Some fundamentalists dismiss evidence in favour of a literal reading of (their pet version of) the Bible; some other fundamentalists even try to claim that evidence does not conflict with a literal reading of (their pet version of) the Bible.

Imagine: there are fundamentalists who even discard all previous translations of the Bible and all rabbinical tradition about the Torah in order to read their specific interpretation as “the REAL™ Bible”.

And all of them think everybody else is “faithless”; some, when called on that, make up complicate excuses to pretend that “faith” is just the same as “confidence” or “trust”.

Yes, Carol, we get it.

Comment #59594

Posted by David Heddle on November 23, 2005 2:50 PM (e)

Actually, I agree with what Carol wrote, or at least what you think Carol wrote. I think these clergy lack faith, period. If their use of the designation “beloved stories” means they are denying the historicity of Adam and Eve, then what is their faith in? Jesus’ genealogy goes back to Adam. Paul also refers to Adam. They would have to conclude that the NT is also a pack of lies. So their faith, whatever it is, is in a God of their own making. Don’t like Adam and Eve, Noah, or Jonah? Don’t like what God says about homosexuality? Don’t like the part where Joshua annihilates entire nations? Well then jettison those parts. Keep the golden rule. Keep that God loves everyone. (What’s up with Esau?) Elevate science above the bible, but do it by saying it is a different “order” of truth.

But maybe they are not denying the historicity of Adam and Eve, etc., in which case I withdraw my charge. The problem is the statement is so mealy-mouthed it is hard to know exactly what they are affirming.

When they say that they don’t take the bible literally, does it only mean they deny six day creation, or does it mean they deny there was (however God created them, even if he used evolution) an historic Adam and Eve—let’s just say the first humans with souls? And are they denying than there was a Fall as a result of their disobedience? If their denial extends that far, then I say they are faithless. But who knows? The letter is nebulous.

Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation.”

How do they know what is the “only form capable of transmitting these truths?” That’s mighty presumptuous of them. And what exactly is this unique method of transmitting they are talking about? They don’t really say, now do they? Are they afraid to use the word allegory or the word fable?

And

Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth

What does that mean? Both religion and science attempt to deal in absolute, universal truths. Bleh. The statement is dung.

Comment #59598

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on November 23, 2005 2:55 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:
Actually, I agree with what Carol wrote…

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Comment #59603

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 23, 2005 3:09 PM (e)

Posted by carol clouser on November 23, 2005 02:39 PM (e) (s)

Stephen Elliott,

When you say “a clergyman without faith” what precisely do you mean? Faith in what? …

Let me turn the tables on you, if you don’t mind. Is a clergyman who preaches the Godliness of the Bible and how important a role it is to play in our lives, and then claims that the words of the Bible are pliable enough to accomodate any need, that the plain meaning of the words are not to be taken seriously, a charlatan of sorts? Does that not open the door to that clergyman’s reading his own notions into the Bible, then proclaiming those ideas to be sanctioned by God?…

For me the word faith automatically,(when used with reference to a clergyman)implies faith in God.

Hence in my mind it would infer somebody making a living from stating things that he did not believe in. (I am using him/he etc. for literary simplicity).

IMO the bible should not be taken literally. Rather read in a way to try and get the meaning/lesson the writer was trying to get across.

For example; I do not believe in the flood and all life on Earth traveling around in the Arc. I believe the bible was writen by humans and therefore open to error. Then when it starts stating about certain people deserving to be stoned to death for working on a particular day…I believe that part was put in by a very dodgy tin pot wannabe dictator.

Now let me ask you a few things; why do you believe you have access to the original documentation and or meaning?
Lets face it even if God personally took pen/stylus/charcoal to papyrus/velum/sheep-skin; the original document would have decayed by now. Assuming God didn’t write in a more permanent medium (which reminds where are the tablets of stone)? So, after Heaven knows how many re-writes; how do you know every single word was retained in it’s original form and also nothing added?

I would think that the most sensible approach to the bible is to read it and try to make out the main gist of the message.

Comment #59606

Posted by Flint on November 23, 2005 3:32 PM (e)

carol wrote:

Is a clergyman who preaches the Godliness of the Bible and how important a role it is to play in our lives, and then claims that the words of the Bible are pliable enough to accomodate any need, that the plain meaning of the words are not to be taken seriously, a charlatan of sorts? Does that not open the door to that clergyman’s reading his own notions into the Bible, then proclaiming those ideas to be sanctioned by God?

The fact that there are over 10,000 sects of Christians, all claiming the Bible says different things, would seem to undermine the notion that there is any “plain meaning of the words”. Are they ALL charlatans? Or is there some subset of sects that are non-charlatans somehow? If so, on what basis might this be determined?

Scripture has been used, by clergy, to support and defend mutually exclusive convictions in countless ways for millennia. The door to reading what meanings we wish to find before we start, seems not to be closeable no matter what. I’d go so far as to label as a charlatan, anyone who would pretend otherwise.

Comment #59626

Posted by carol clouser on November 23, 2005 5:51 PM (e)

David Heddle,

Now be careful there or Wesley is coming after you in a far bigger way than he came after me.

Stephen Elliott,

If you believe in God and think that the Bible ought not be construed literally, then by your definition you are a person of faith. And I would consent to that description of you in a very limited sense, although I am not sure most people would agree. Nor am I certain the dictionary would agree. Since I never claimed that the 10,000 clerics don’t believe in God, it follows then that I would describe them too as persons of faith in this limited sense - that they are not atheists. Whether they are making a living by lying depends on what exactly they make of their positions. But they do not have faith in the Bible, that it is the word of God and can therefore stand up to all challenges from science or other venues.

Regarding your question re how I know every single word was retained, see my post #59510.

Regarding your opinion re the Flood, see some of my previous posts in this thread in which I show that the original Hebrew states that the flood was local.

Regarding death for working on the Sabbath, a few points here. First, the sabbath in the Bible is a covenant between God and “the children of Israel”. If you are not Jewish, either by birth or legitimate conversion, you need not be concerned since it does not apply to you. The definition of “work” is limited to 39 particular tasks, such as plowing, seeding, making fire,
etc., it does not necessarily relate to doing one’s job. The death penalty for violating this decree, and this applies to all penalties of the Bible, are applicable only if two witnesses see the act, they warn the perpetrator that it is a forbidden act of rebellion against God, and the perpetrator MUST RESPOND to them that he knows that is the case and that is why he is perpetrating the act. In other words, the penalty is applicable to deliberate acts of rebellion against God, usually performed in public. All these conditions are derived from the Bible by the ancient Jewish sages.

The net result is that these panalties were applied extremely rarely. According to the Talmud, if the Sanhedrim put one person to death in 70 years it was labeled “a murderous” court. The general understanding in Judaism is that the Biblical penalties are there to indicate the severity with which God views the offense, not as a program of action to be readily applied.

Comment #59630

Posted by Steviepinhead on November 23, 2005 6:23 PM (e)

Chuck Berry has a few inspired words for our friend, Ms. Clouser:

Climb into my machine so we can cruise on out
I know a swingin’ little joint where we can jump and shout
It’s not too far back off the highway, not so long a ride
You park your car out in the open, you can walk inside
A little cutie takes your hat and you can thank her, ma’am
Every time you make the scene you find the joint is jammed

Oh Carol, don’t let him steal your heart away
I’m gonna learn to dance if it takes me all night and day

Oh, Carol!

Comment #59640

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 23, 2005 6:55 PM (e)

Posted by David Heddle on November 23, 2005 02:50 PM (e) (s)

Actually, I agree with what Carol wrote, or at least what you think Carol wrote. I think these clergy lack faith, period…

Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth

What does that mean? Both religion and science attempt to deal in absolute, universal truths. Bleh. The statement is dung.

Are you being serious?

They may both be trying to deal with universal truths; but they are hardly going about it the same way.

Do you demand hard evidence, predictability and repeatability for religious statements.

Would you accept a scientists claims on a discovery if his only evidence was just to tell you to have faith?

Comment #59645

Posted by David Heddle on November 23, 2005 7:11 PM (e)

Stephen,

Are you being serious?

They may both be trying to deal with universal truths; but they are hardly going about it the same way.

You seem to object to my statement “Both religion and science attempt to deal in absolute, universal truths” (which you placed in boldface and asked if I was serious) in a strange way. By saying “They may both be trying to deal with universal truths.”

As for the “same way” issue, I don’t recall writing they went about it the same way.

Does “religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth” simply mean “they go about it in a different way”?

That is a serious question, because as I said I don’t know what “different orders of truth” means.

If so, I’ll retract my objections to that statement.

Comment #59655

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 23, 2005 7:37 PM (e)

Posted by David Heddle on November 23, 2005 07:11 PM (e) (s)

Stephen,…

Fair enough,

I assumed in the statement “different order of truth”, “truth” as to meaning a different, type, subject, organisation etc.

Therefore I read it to mean “Science and Religion are two completely different subjects that deal with world issues in completely different ways”.

That seemed obvious to me. I suppose it could be interpreted differently.

Comment #59657

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 23, 2005 7:45 PM (e)

I try to approach religious issues intellectually and dispassionately, as a scientists should. But many folks here are anything but scientific. They react viscerally and emotionally to religious matters just as the fundamentalists do. It is all rather discouraging.

How dreadful.

Why, again, did you say that your religious opinions are any better than anyone else’s? Other than Judah Landa’s say-so?

I find it curious, by the way, that, someone mentioned, Judah’s book is dedicated to you. Since I seem to recall you saying that you were not the editor of that particular book, I find it odd that the book was *dedicated* to you. Or is there some other element that you have neglected to tell us about – some other reason why you are here shilling for Landa’s book?

Comment #59659

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 23, 2005 7:53 PM (e)

Does that not open the door to that clergyman’s reading his own notions into the Bible, then proclaiming those ideas to be sanctioned by God?

But my dear Carol, that’s what EVERYONE does. Including you and Judah Landa. And Heddle and Sal and Dembski and all the others.

There is NO SUCH THING as an “objective” interpretation of the Bible. Everyone, including you and Judah Landa, picks the interpretation that they like, and deplores all the others as wrong, mistaken, blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda.

And NO ONE has any more basis for concluding that theirs is correct and all the others are wrong, than anyone ELSE does. Other than their say-so.

We all pick our religious opinions, Carol. They do not pick *us*.

That includes you.

If you disagree, then please please pretty please with sugar on it, by all means go ahead and explain to me why YOUR religious opinions and interpretations are any more authoritative or valid than anyone ELSE’s are. And before you go blithering yet again about Judah Landa’s wonderful academic credentials, I will *once again* point out that there are gazillions of people on earth with academic credentials who think Landa’s opinions are *full of crap*. So how do HIS credentials make his opinions any better than anyone ELSE’s credentials make THEIR opinions?

Other than your say-so?

Comment #59677

Posted by carol clouser on November 23, 2005 8:57 PM (e)

Oh Lenny,

I really should not bother responding to your repetitive nonsense which is as relevant to the discussion here as last year’s weather. But other folks are reading these posts. So I am animated to clarify one key point.

The issue here is not interpretation of the Bible, nor one of religious opinion. We are discussing translation of the original Hebrew. Based on objective standards of linguistics and analytic study of language patterns in the Bible, there exist translations of Hebrew words that are extremely likely to be incorrect, there are others that are highly likely to be correct, and there are words that can technically be translated in more than one manner. In a very small number of cases there may be some dispute among scholars but generally the words have widely agreed upon meanings and uses.

Let us get something very straight. There are no translations in Landa’s work that is considered questionable or challengeable by any scholar of Hebrew in the world. Lenny, you can jump up and down and sideways, repeating ad nauseum your silly mantra, but it will not and cannot change a thing about the meaning of Hebrew words. Yes, a small but impportant set of words at issue can linguistically be translated in two or more ways. In those situations, Landa presents the options and discusses why he thinks certain approaches are more reasonable than others. At no point does he, or will I ever contenance, the twisting of a translation to accomodate some outside imperative, such as mitigating a perceived conflict with science or removing items some people find objectionable.

The conclusion Judah Landa arrives at in his IN THE BEGINNING OF is that it is reasonably possible to translate the original Bible’s story of creation (Genesis, chapters one thru eleven) such that there is no conflict with any tenet of science. I said TRANSLATE, not interpret, got that Lenny? The Bible is interpreted LITERALLY, based on the reasonable rules of such literacy, and yet there IS NO CONFLICT. Sounds surprizing and unbelievable. That is why I bring it up occassionally here. The 10,000 clerics could have signed their pro-evolution letter without casting aspersions on the meaning of the Bible’s words. That was just not necessary.

One other point, Lenny. I brought up Landa’s book in this thread once, and you followed that by bringing it up ten times. Now I am responding to your bringing it up yet again. Get this straight now for I will not repeat it again - I bring up Landa’s book when and if I think it should make a contribution to the discussion. And I shall continue doing so for as long as I please, whether or not this is to your liking. There are no other motives, financial or otherwise, despite your Mengalic approach of “a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth”.

Comment #59682

Posted by Steviepinhead on November 23, 2005 9:09 PM (e)

Oh Carol: Translate it however you want, we still have no reason to believe that the Bible represents God’s ineffable dictation beyond the say-so of whoever wrote it.

Likewise, we still have no reason to believe that that person or persons (or, if you like, entity or entities) deserves any more respect for his, her, its, or their religious beliefs than does anyone else.

(For example, Lenny’s poor overworked and undertipped Pizza Guy.)

And that’s what we’ve been discussing here.

Comment #59694

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 23, 2005 10:23 PM (e)

The issue here is not interpretation of the Bible, nor one of religious opinion.

Yes it is.

Now answer my question.

Comment #59695

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 23, 2005 10:25 PM (e)

I bring up Landa’s book when and if I think it should make a contribution to the discussion. And I shall continue doing so for as long as I please, whether or not this is to your liking.

Please do. I want everyone to know what a shill you are.

Comment #59696

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 23, 2005 10:28 PM (e)

it is reasonably possible to translate the original Bible’s story of creation (Genesis, chapters one thru eleven) such that there is no conflict with any tenet of science. I said TRANSLATE, not interpret, got that Lenny?

Carol, although I understand that you apparently have no mind of your own, I’m pretty sure that even YOU can see that “such that there is no conflict with any tenet of science” is an INTERPRETATION, NOT A TRANSLATION.

Unless, of course, you can point to the words in Genesis that are TRANSLATED AS “there is no conflict with any tenet of science” … ?

Stick to shilling, Carol. You’re much better at that.

Comment #59713

Posted by Apesnake on November 24, 2005 1:09 AM (e)

Since I do not want to buy the whole book, I am going to have to go down to the library and browse through IN THE BEGINNING just to find out what the actual literal Hebrew translation says about disobedient children and wearing two types of fabric. Great. Now I have to walk downtown just because Carrol won’t spill the beans. Its supposed to rain and or snow tomorrow too. Of course, it will not answer the question of why all the English books claiming to be translations of the Bible say “no” to the two fabrics deal and “yes” to the stoning thingy. Nor will it explain why these wildly - I mean wildly inaccurate translations are not being protested by the clued in Christians.

I especially want to see what the story with the talking donkey really says. I mean we can assume that it could not be an accurate Hebrew translation because it seems so pointless to include unless:

1) It is a myth and the author wanted everyone to know it.
or
2) God does not want smart people to believe in his word.

This ON THE BEGINNING OF, it is well indexed right? Has anyone but Carrol read this thing?

Comment #59737

Posted by Renier on November 24, 2005 5:33 AM (e)

I have been off-line for two days.

David. I actually appreciated your post (#59433). I found it sincere. I also understand your need to believe in the Bible as inerrant, since one error would question the integrity of the whole book.

David Heddle wrote :
If I became convinced that the bible contained a real error—that could not be attributed to translation error, cultural misunderstanding, interpretation error, etc., it would have a devastating effect on my belief system. Because if the bible is wrong in one part, how do I know that its promise of eternal life is not also wrong?

Now, since Carol refused to answer my question:

Read the four resurrection stories in Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. Then tell me how many angels were at the resurrection? Then tell me, were they inside the tomb or outside? Then tell me who saw Jesus first, after the resurrection?

David, would you mind explaining the discrepancies (errors) of this one account, the resurrection, in the four books I mentioned?

Was it
a) Translation error
b) Cultural misunderstanding
c) Interpretation errors?
d) ERROR
e) other

To me it is pretty clear. If one book says there was one angel, and another book says there were two angels, then one book must be wrong, because 1 = 2 is a false statement. If you have found one error, then realise PEOPLE wrote the book, and people make mistakes. It is better, even before your God, to be honest than to be right.

Comment #59745

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 24, 2005 6:44 AM (e)

Posted by Renier on November 24, 2005 05:33 AM (e) (s)

To me it is pretty clear. If one book says there was one angel, and another book says there were two angels, then one book must be wrong, because 1 = 2 is a false statement. If you have found one error, then realise PEOPLE wrote the book, and people make mistakes. It is better, even before your God, to be honest than to be right.

I will have a bash at that one.
They could all be right, but told from a different perspective.

For example if you are in a strange town and ask directions to a place, depending upon who you ask you could get several completely different sounding answers that get you to exact same place.

Comment #59746

Posted by Renier on November 24, 2005 6:52 AM (e)

I will have a bash at that one.
They could all be right, but told from a different perspective.

Yes, but that argument does not hold if you claim the Bible is the harmonious word of God, inspired by him and without any error. If perception creeps in (like I think it did), then who’s perception? God’s? It cannot be now, can it? And if perceptions (like it does) differ, then who’s perception was right?

Comment #59747

Posted by David Heddle on November 24, 2005 6:53 AM (e)

Renier,

That would be (e) other, as in: there is no conflict.

One account focuses on the angel who spoke. The other focuses on the actual number of angels present. No account says there was only one angel present. We do the same thing in modern English. Suppose there were fifty angels, but only one spoke, or one was the clear spokesman who did most of the talking. One eyewitness might say: “There was an angel (or even one angel) there, he looked dazzling, and he said…” Another person relating the same event might focus on the angels as a group, and say “There was a group of angels there, and they said…”

So this makes sense even in English. Whether it has an even lesser appearance of being a problem in Greek, I don’t know.

Are you sure you don’t want examples of the really hard ones? Then I could say “I don’t know, that does appear to be a real problem” and you could declare victory.

Comment #59750

Posted by Renier on November 24, 2005 7:54 AM (e)

I have the PERCEPTION that you are moving the goal posts. To me, it seems like clear discrepancies. Maybe God did not “focus”? What if this focus theory were applied to other texts? I also know there are loads of other discrepancies. I also know the Bible has the problem of interpolations, done by the catholic church.

What would you count as evidence that the Bible contains errors (apart from your center of the cosmos, that you already KNOW is not clearly stated there, just implied)? This evidence that you would require must also not be able to be reasoned away with the common cop-outs:
a) Translation error
b) Cultural misunderstanding
c) Interpretation errors?
d) Focus (recently added - compliments of DH)

I think that you don’t want to see any errors, therefore you wont, no matter what other people say. Heck, if there is a loud voice booming out of the clouds saying “David, chill out, it has errors” you would rebuke the Devil.

Comment #59752

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 24, 2005 8:23 AM (e)

Posted by Renier on November 24, 2005 07:54 AM (e) (s)

I have the PERCEPTION that you are moving the goal posts. To me, it seems like clear discrepancies. Maybe God did not “focus”? What if this focus theory were applied to other texts? I also know there are loads of other discrepancies. I also know the Bible has the problem of interpolations, done by the catholic church…

Fair enough,
After all everyone will have their own opinion.

I don’t claim that the bible is infallible (it was written by people after all).

But the example you gave would be more suspicious if every account said the exact same thing. Don’t believe me? Ask a police detective. When several witnesses are re-telling an event (truthfully) then you should expect slight variations in detail but general corroboration on main points. If every witness says exact same thing; put it down to corroboration (very suspicious).

The “Big Picture” sticks in peoples head, but detail is recounted after being affected by; Bias, Timing, Vantage Point, Emotional State and other personal details.

For example; in History when reading eyewitness accounts of the launch Agincourt campaign, different witnesses say Henry V had a large fleet, most give different numbers of ships from Circa600 to over 1,000. Would that be evidence against Henry V ever invading France?

Comment #59753

Posted by David Heddle on November 24, 2005 8:29 AM (e)

Renier,

Here are some examples of real problems, as far as I am concerned.

Biblical genealogies are demonstrably not accurate chronologies. X begat (or “was the father of”) Y does not always imply a one-generation relationship between the two. This both solves and creates problems. And while it is virtually meaningless in terms of the old/young earth debate, it does mean that accountings of the time since Adam roamed the earth are bound to contain errors.

On example we see is in Christ’s genealogy in Matthew, where we read:

Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah. (Matt. 1:8)

which one can compare with

11 Joram his son, Ahaziah his son, Joash his son,
12 Amaziah his son, Azariah his son, Jotham his son, (1 Chron 3:11-12)

In this geneology (Azariah is the same person as Uzziah) we see that there are three generations missing from Matthew’s account, which makes Uzziah appear to be Joram’s son rather than his great-grandson. That is all fine and dandy considering Matthew’s purpose was to explain Christ’s Davidic (legal) bloodline. Nevertheless it calls into question the precision of Matthew’s concluding:

So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the (10) deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the (11) deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations. (Matt. 1:17)

I don’t know a resolution to this issue.

For a more striking example, we read:

Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, was officer over the treasures. (1 Chron. 26:24)

Shebuel is of the time of David, and yet Gershom is a true next-generation son of Moses (Ex. 2:22) . Thus there are 400+ years between Gershom and his “son” Shebuel.

It is also well known that if genealogies are also chronologies then there are a whole host of additional problems, such as Noah not dying until Abraham was in his fifties. It is possible that the bible uses genealogies as historic flows rather than generationally precise family trees. (We all are sons of Father Abraham.) But I don’t know.

Comment #59758

Posted by Renier on November 24, 2005 8:46 AM (e)

Stephen, my whole argument (and all the ones above) was not against the view that you have, but against a literal and infallible view. Your explanation of course make sense, because you bring human nature (with all it’s errors) into the picture.

As for your argument of “slight” variation. I am only mentioning a few here, but there are others. How many variation would the police need to start saying that someone is talking BS?

Person A : “Officer, at 10:00, he had two guns and I caught him outside the house, as he was speaking to Jenny”

Person B “ Officer, at 10:00, he had one gun and was inside the house, talking to Patrick”

Person C : “Officer, at 10:00, he had one gun and was not there, talking to anyone, but was three blocks down the road talking to Santa”

Person D : “Officer, at 10:00, he had two guns and was inside the house talking to the Tooth Fairy”

Comment #59767

Posted by Renier on November 24, 2005 9:10 AM (e)

And the irony that Metusalah was the oldest man in the Bible, but died before his father.

Anyway, I used to believe in the Bible, as infallible AND literal. Now I don’t believe any of it, except that a Bat is a bird and cud could be crap ;-)

As for science, the Bible has had no contribution to science at all.

Actually, there is no evidence that Jesus ever existed. But hey, belief is required where there is a total lack of evidence.

Comment #59771

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 24, 2005 9:19 AM (e)

One account focuses on the angel who spoke. The other focuses on the actual number of angels present.

And you know that because …. .?

Decided to add that on your own holy authority, did you?

Proverbs 30:6, Heddle.

Comment #59772

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 24, 2005 9:19 AM (e)

Hey Renier… I think that there is evidence Jesus existed.
There may be no “scientific evidence Jesus was the son of God”
But I am pretty sure there is plenty of historical evidence that he lived…
To be continued.

Comment #59773

Posted by Renier on November 24, 2005 9:29 AM (e)

Stephen

Whoa there. There is the Bible that says Jesus existed. There is the Iliad that says Zeus existed. There is the Elder Edda that says Odin exists. There is Magician that says Pug exists. Apart from the Bible, what historical evidence (Bible is subjective, not objective) are you referring to? Josephus? We have historical evidence that Julius Ceaser existed, various accounts …

Comment #59777

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 24, 2005 9:38 AM (e)

Nope..not sure yet but I think that Roman records mention Jesus.
Possibly also Sanhedrin ones.
I think maybe that there is a rebuttal of Jesus by contemporary religious figures.

I still need to check, but I think there may be historical evidence for Jesus…way beyond what you’d expect for a peasant carpenters cuckolded son to a young wife.

Will take me a few days or weeks…but I will look into that.

Comment #59783

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 24, 2005 10:00 AM (e)

Nope..not sure yet but I think that Roman records mention Jesus.
Possibly also Sanhedrin ones.

I’m not aware of any.

But of course, Mohammed has extensive historical documentation. And the Koran, demonstrably, hasn’t changed a single word in its entire history.

I wonder what Christian fundies would think of its accuracy as a result … ?

Comment #59784

Posted by David Heddle on November 24, 2005 10:02 AM (e)

And the Koran mentions Jesus.

Comment #59786

Posted by Renier on November 24, 2005 10:08 AM (e)

Stephen I know of two sources that may be cited as talking about Jesus. Josephus and of course Tacitus. But reading the references by these two historians, it is a bit of a far shot to conclude that it is evidence for Jesus.

Anyway, it is hard to prove it either way. There is just not enough evidence ;-)

Remember that if you read the one side of the story, to research the rebuttals (the other side of the story). I know it is fairly detailed on both sides, so enjoy!

Oh yes, also remember that Jesus was a very common name in those days, so it will be even harder to prove that secular records mentions THE Jesus. There is also mention (in secular records) of another Jesus that was quite an upstart and caused some problems for the Romans, but a comparison will show you it was not (and could not have been) the same Jesus as the one in the Bible.

I think www.infidels.org has some transcripts of formal debates on the issue…

Comment #59788

Posted by Renier on November 24, 2005 10:12 AM (e)

Heddle wrote: And the Koran mentions Jesus

Of course David, because Mohammed came in contact with Christians, not because he was there when it is alleged that Jesus lived. But you would know that.

Comment #59823

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 24, 2005 1:28 PM (e)

And the Koran mentions Jesus.

Mohammed met the guy, did he?

Comment #59856

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 24, 2005 3:11 PM (e)

Renier, I do believe Tacitus was 1 of them.
To be continued…

However I see the clergy statement has now exceeded the 10,000 target.

BTW Renier I am no ID person, but I believe that Jesus does have some reasonable amount of proof. I am not talking about the miracle side; just the history. No Lenny I do not mean the Koran. I still need to check (TBH I am a tad drunk atm). Better order a pizza. Apparently I can go easy on the tips.

Comment #59857

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on November 24, 2005 3:18 PM (e)

Stephen,

have you read anything by the late Hyam Maccoby?

For instance, The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity, or Revolution in Judaea?

Personally, I find his reasoning quite convincing. He argues for a historical Jesus as the leader of a spiritual sect of Pharisees, fully convinced of being the Messiah and carrying his belief to the extreme consequence of being executed by the Romans for rebellion against the Empire.

Comment #59860

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 24, 2005 4:19 PM (e)

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on November 24, 2005 03:18 PM (e) (s)

Stephen,

have you read anything by the late Hyam Maccoby?

For instance, The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity, or Revolution in Judaea?

Personally, I find his reasoning quite convincing. He argues for a historical Jesus as the leader of a spiritual sect of Pharisees, fully convinced of being the Messiah and carrying his belief to the extreme consequence of being executed by the Romans for rebellion against the Empire.

To be honest I have not read that.
I am fairly sure that there is historically credible reasons to believe Jesus was real though.
I still need to check…it is fairly late evening in UK and I am a tad drunk.
Need to look when I am sober.

By memory alone…think it has something to do with letters going around the known world, also certain roman records…ie Pilate being governor etc.

Comment #59862

Posted by Henry J on November 24, 2005 4:22 PM (e)

Re “And the irony that Metusalah was the oldest man in the Bible, but died before his father.”
Really? Couldn’t have been much before, since if Methusalah didn’t drown he didn’t miss it by much. (That is, if one takes the implied timeline literally.)

Henry

Comment #59911

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 24, 2005 6:00 PM (e)

Need to look when I am sober.

Sobriety is over-rated. Wassail!!! ;> (raises bottle of homebrewed Viking Piss Porter.)

Comment #59925

Posted by carol clouser on November 24, 2005 8:54 PM (e)

Jesus is mentioned in the Talmud. Since many of the editions of the Talmud over the centuries were censored by the authorities and they did not like what the Talmudists were saying about Jesus, these statements did not appear in many printings of the Talmud. This includes the dominant version known as the Vilnius Edition. Most versions of the Talmud around today are copies of the Vilnius. But other editions exist that do contain these statements.

Josephus does mention Jesus but considering Jesus’ activities at the time it is truly amazing that Josephus would spare only one or two sentences, out of the multitude included in his extensive writings, to Jesus. Many scholars are therefore convinced that these sentences were inserted later into Josephus’ writings in order to make Jesus appear real.

Comment #59956

Posted by Renier on November 25, 2005 12:37 AM (e)

Can it be? Carol is actually being honest about something:

Many scholars are therefore convinced that these sentences were inserted later into Josephus’ writings in order to make Jesus appear real.

The Catholics also tampered with text in the Bible to strenghten their own position, and of course, to get more money.

Lenny, wassat Viking Piss? Mead?

Comment #59962

Posted by k.e. on November 25, 2005 1:59 AM (e)

Renier your inspiration prompted me to do a search on “Female Gnostic Pope”

here is what came back :)

The Roman Catholic Church has this official position on the subject of women as priests:
“The female sex is in some respects inferior to the male sex, both as regards body and soul…. If the two sexes are designed by nature for a homogeneous organic co-operation, then the leading position or a social pre-eminence must necessarily fall to one of them. Man is called by the Creator to this position of leader, as is shown by his entire bodily and intellectual make-up.”

In other words, “We’ve got the penises, so f*ck you.”

Comment #59965

Posted by Renier on November 25, 2005 4:35 AM (e)

K.E,You assumption is correct. It’s very much like that in Islam and other Christian denominations (demoninations) too, and it is a view derived from the Bible. The Bible is clear on it, in MANY places. But fret not, I am sure Heddle will convince them that it is Translation problems, or Cultural misunderstanding, or faulty Assumptions or Focus problems.

Comment #59976

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 25, 2005 9:03 AM (e)

Lenny, wassat Viking Piss? Mead?

No, Porter.

I like dark beer, and got tired of not being able to find any decent commercially-brewed porter, so I decided to brew my own. :)

I have brewed lots of mead, though. When I was in high school, a friend of mine’s father used to keep bees, so we got all the free honey we wanted. We used to mix it up with water in a plastic garbage can, drop in some baker’s yeast, cover it with a cloth to keep the bugs out, and let it sit for a week or so. Tasted awful, but it had the desired effect. :>

Comment #59999

Posted by carol clouser on November 25, 2005 1:19 PM (e)

The real role of women depicted in the real Bible is not at all as described by the twin ignaramuses
above.

Comment #60004

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on November 25, 2005 1:33 PM (e)

ignaramuses

…scratch another irony meter!

Comment #60008

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 25, 2005 1:43 PM (e)

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on November 25, 2005 09:03 AM (e) (s)

Lenny, wassat Viking Piss? Mead?

No, Porter.

I like dark beer, and got tired of not being able to find any decent commercially-brewed porter, so I decided to brew my own. :)

I have brewed lots of mead, though. When I was in high school, a friend of mine’s father used to keep bees, so we got all the free honey we wanted. We used to mix it up with water in a plastic garbage can, drop in some baker’s yeast, cover it with a cloth to keep the bugs out, and let it sit for a week or so. Tasted awful, but it had the desired effect. :>

WOW!
Now I am impressed. A yank that likes real beer!
Come over to England, we have so much; the pubs sell it.

Comment #60023

Posted by k.e. on November 25, 2005 2:48 PM (e)

Hey Carol
Harold Bloom recons Women wrote the OT
By the way womem were not allowed to go to stonings
is that right ?
Bag of gravel please.

Comment #60034

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 25, 2005 3:51 PM (e)

WOW!
Now I am impressed. A yank that likes real beer!
Come over to England, we have so much; the pubs sell it.

I don’t know who it was, but someone said that “American beer all tastes like it was brewed through a horse.”

:>

Comment #60188

Posted by JONBOY on November 26, 2005 3:16 PM (e)

No one has the slightest evidence that Jesus ever existed,no artifacts,dwellings, self written manuscripts, nothing.Not a single contemporary Roman record of his death. No eye witness accounts,all documents were authored long after Jesus alleged death,hearsay provides no good evidence.Such writtings as Pliny Tacitus Suetonius and Josephus are either vague or are in Josephus case are obvious interpolations.As far as the Talmuds evidence for Jesus,the Yesua that is mentioned actually depicts a disciple of Jehoshua Ben Perachia,at least a century before the Xtian Jesus.Considering the Palestinian Talmud derived from the 3rd to 5th century CE and the Babylonian Talmud from the 3rd to 6th century CE,it cannot serve as any evidence for the historical Jesus.Facts do not require belief,facts depend on evidence,the evidence for Jesus simple does not match the criteria

Comment #60199

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 4:02 PM (e)

No one has the slightest evidence that Jesus ever existed

Of course, there is MASSIVE contemporary evidence that Mohammed existed.

Which, of course, doesn’t make the Koran any more (or less) true than the Bible.

Comment #60206

Posted by JONBOY on November 26, 2005 4:30 PM (e)

There is no doubt that all the three major western religions have little basis in fact,relying on tradition and myth,but faith requires no evidence.The last recourse of apologist is to fall back on allegory,when confronted with the many problems in the Koran or the Bible, allegory permits one to interpret anything however one might please

Comment #60228

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 6:40 PM (e)

Indeed. Allegory works quite well for Aesop’s Fables, for example.

Comment #60398

Posted by Renier on November 28, 2005 3:17 AM (e)

Carol Wrote :
The real role of women depicted in the real Bible is not at all as described by the twin ignaramuses
above.

Carol. You do realise that this one statement from you will cause me to disregard all future statements you make. Your interpretations are meaningless, biased, utterly useless and nothing else but a misrepresentation of the texts to support YOUR view. You rape your own holy texts and distort it, to make it say what YOU want/need it to say. Please refrain from uttering such nonsense. Be honest about things Carol. It is better to be honest than to be right. Stop lying to yourself.

Comment #60399

Posted by Jim Harrison on November 28, 2005 3:37 AM (e)

Dr. Frank remarks “Of course, there is MASSIVE contemporary evidence that Mohammed existed.” Well, actually there isn’t. The Byzantines and Persians who were overrun by Arab armies didn’t leave any mention at the time of Mohammed, and the Muslim sources on the history of the earliest period of Islam were put together well after the events they narrate. While scholars have been examining Jewish and Christian scripture skeptically for something over 400 years now, serious philology on the Koran and other Muslim writings is in a much more primitive state. There are lots of unsolved problems over which a host of ill tempered academic debates are currently raging.

Perhaps people tend to credit the sacred history of Islam because it doesn’t feature very many impossibilities like the virgin birth or the ressurection, but the plausibility of a story isn’t evidence that it is true, just evidence that it isn’t false, quite a different thing. Maybe all that stuff happened in Mecca just as they wrote it down 200 years later, but my guess is that at a minimum the tale has been drastically improved after hundreds of retellings.

Comment #60400

Posted by Renier on November 28, 2005 4:06 AM (e)

How true is this…

Claiming inerrancy in the Bible is pointless unless one also claims inerrancy in one’s interpretation of it.

Thus…

To claim that a particular interpretation of any part of the Bible is inerrant is to claim that you yourself are inerrant.

Comment #60401

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 28, 2005 4:26 AM (e)

Posted by Renier on November 28, 2005 04:06 AM (e) (s)

How true is this…
Claiming inerrancy in the Bible is pointless unless one also claims inerrancy in one’s interpretation of it.

Thus…
To claim that a particular interpretation of any part of the Bible is inerrant is to claim that you yourself are inerrant.

Very true indeed (at least to some degree).

Fundamentalism/Bigotry is an ugly beast.

Comment #60402

Posted by Renier on November 28, 2005 4:29 AM (e)

Jim, I agree with your statement :

but my guess is that at a minimum the tale has been drastically improved after hundreds of retellings

The same is true for the Bible. The first new testamanet book could not have been written less than 70 years after the claimed death of Christ. People forget how much power hear-say can generate in 70 years. It also rules out the first person claims…

Comment #60409

Posted by David Heddle on November 28, 2005 7:56 AM (e)

Renier,

The first new testamanet book could not have been written less than 70 years after the claimed death of Christ

That is utter, revisionist nonsense for many reasons, including circumstantial.

For example, there is no mention (except prophetically) of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Roman legions in AD 70. This means that these Jewish writers didn’t think it important to mention, even in passing, the massacre of about a million Jews and the enslavement and relocation of 200,000 others. Not to mention the desecration and destruction of their center of worship.

This would be akin to multiple Jewish writers penning a history of the twentieth century without mentioning the Holocaust.

Comment #60411

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 28, 2005 8:04 AM (e)

This would be akin to multiple Jewish writers penning a history of the twentieth century without mentioning the Holocaust.

Or the Egyptians writing histories without mentioning the Plagues and the death of all their firstborn.

Or history writers not mentioning Herod’s Death of the Innocents.

Oh, wait a minute …..

Comment #60412

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 28, 2005 8:16 AM (e)

How true is this…

Claiming inerrancy in the Bible is pointless unless one also claims inerrancy in one’s interpretation of it.

Thus…

To claim that a particular interpretation of any part of the Bible is inerrant is to claim that you yourself are inerrant.

Indeed. I have asked Carol and Heddle and others, repeatedly, what makes their interpretation any better than anyone else’s interpretation, other than their say-so. I have also pointed out that they seem to think that not only is the Bible infallible, but their interpretations of it are also infallible. Sorry, but I simply don’t beleive that Carol or Heddle or anyone else is infallible. I’ve asked them to demonstrate why I *should* think they are.

No intelligible response, yet.

Comment #60417

Posted by David Heddle on November 28, 2005 8:44 AM (e)

Lenny,

No it wouldn’t be anything like that. Do you ever think before you post? Your “counterexamples” might (were they valid, which they are not, but let’s grant that) be reasons why one should not believe biblical accounts of Moses and the birth of Christ.

But to assume the gospels and the epistles, even if they are fiction, were written around AD 100 and didn’t bother to weave in the destruction of Jerusalem, an event known from independent accounts to be factual, is an entirely different argument. The only argument you could make is that the writers conspired thusly:

1) Let’s write a history of events from seventy (or more) years ago, so that we can have cushy ecclesiastical jobs, all that pesky persecution being little more than an annoyance.

2) Oh, let’s not mention our holocaust of AD 70 so that it will look like we wrote these before that event.

3) Oh, just for kicks, lets put fake prophecy about AD 70 into the mouth of our invention, Jesus.

4) Oh, but lets be very clever and make it vague. Not in the sense of the Oracle of Delphi, but so that in the distant future, many people will think it refers to a still future event, so that our descendants can continue to milk the same prophetic text as referring to a rapture and great tribulation.

And then you’d have to get Clement of Rome, just for another example, to insert into his writings of that era fictional references to Paul’s nonexistent letters to the Corinthians.

And of course, the failure to mention the events of AD 70 is just one reason why the late date is nonsense.

Comment #60418

Posted by k.e. on November 28, 2005 8:49 AM (e)

Carol
I think you might need to update with this latesest news…
The real reason why the Christians still owe the Jews a heap.
http://humorvault.tripod.com/moses/moses_2.html

Comment #60428

Posted by guthrie on November 28, 2005 11:06 AM (e)

WAit a minute, I thought we were talking abotu Christianity here. Why would Christians want to talk about nasty things happening to Jews, given that part of the point of christianity is that it superseded Judaism?

Comment #60433

Posted by David Heddle on November 28, 2005 11:31 AM (e)

Guthrie,

Christianity’s demarcation as a completely separate religion was not instantaneous. Early Christians still went to the Jerusalem temple. Christianity’s long and ugly period of anti-Semitism would not begin until the fourth century. Paul, Peter, James (not to mention Jesus) considered themselves (and in fact were) Jews. Now if they are all fictions, then they were portrayed as being Jews, and in-character they would have certainly commented on the 1st century holocaust—if those ghostwriters knew about it—which they would have if they were they writing after AD 70.

Comment #60441

Posted by Arden Chatfield on November 28, 2005 11:59 AM (e)

Do you ever think before you post?

Please, David, for someone who literally believes that Methuselah lived to be nine hundred years old, you could be a tad more humble…

Comment #60552

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 28, 2005 7:38 PM (e)

Your “counterexamples” might (were they valid, which they are not, but let’s grant that) be reasons why one should not believe biblical accounts of Moses and the birth of Christ.

Um, can you show me some Egyptian records for this, Heddle? I’m pretty sure they would have noticed.

1) Let’s write a history of events from seventy (or more) years ago, so that we can have cushy ecclesiastical jobs, all that pesky persecution being little more than an annoyance.

2) Oh, let’s not mention our holocaust of AD 70 so that it will look like we wrote these before that event.

3) Oh, just for kicks, lets put fake prophecy about AD 70 into the mouth of our invention, Jesus.

4) Oh, but lets be very clever and make it vague. Not in the sense of the Oracle of Delphi, but so that in the distant future, many people will think it refers to a still future event, so that our descendants can continue to milk the same prophetic text as referring to a rapture and great tribulation.

I’ve found that to be a pretty good thumbnail description of most “prophecy”, Heddle. (shrug)

Comment #60607

Posted by Renier on November 29, 2005 2:49 AM (e)

David

So you believe that the 4 gospels were written by the authors your Bible claim? Or is it possible that it was patchwork from hear-say?

If it was not written by the claimed authors, then it must have been from hear-say. This would explain the little errors found in comparison. There would have been no reason to mention the holocaust really, would there, since they were recording events PRIOR to it. They would have been really stupid if they did mention it. Unless of course, a little sneak prophecy, just to add some spice.