Nathan Bond's TART Remarks

Religion: Respect? Ridicule!

TART Remarks

with 34 comments

The influence of religion, the consumer product of theology, continues to embrown our world. I think that the supreme challenge facing theology in the 21st century is to create awe and wonderment in the here and now – the kind of awe and wonderment that binds together; not the awe and wonderment that delivers eternal life in a “hereafter” to a select few subscribing infallibly to a particular and specific creed.

Said Albert Camus, “If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.”

Novelist Douglas Adams writes in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.”

Carl Sagan, whom once remarked on humankind, “… star stuff contemplating star stuff…”, is quoted in A tribute to Carl Sagan, by Dan Lewandowski and John Stear, “We live on a hunk of rock and metal that circles a humdrum star that is one of 400 billion other stars that make up the Milky Way Galaxy which is one of billions of other galaxies which make up a universe which may be one of a very large number, perhaps an infinite number, of other universes. That is a perspective on human life and our culture that is well worth pondering.”

What arrant arrogance drives us to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that the Universe exists for us, that we are somehow immortal, created in the image of some ideogenous cosmic manipulator?!

Awe and wonderment is necessary. But awe and wonderment must be rescued from those perceived Gods of the holy books.

“For Nietzsche”, says Nicholas Rosenbaum Professor of Law at the University of Colorado, Pierre Schlag, “the death of God meant not only that the Judeo-Christian God was dead, but that the entire metaphysics implicated in his reign died as well. Hence, once God died, so did all the other God-substitutes (reason, law, morality) that might have been or might yet be enshrined in his metaphysical place. We are living this cultural predicament.”

The “TART” in the title of this online journal stands for Theological Antiretroviral Therapy and is evocative of Richard Dawkins‘ statement that religion is a virus of the mind.

Antiretroviral drugs inhibit the reproduction of retroviruses. Antiretroviral agents are virustatic agents which block steps in the replication of the virus. The drugs are not curative; however continued use of drugs, particularly in multi-drug regimens, significantly slows disease progression.

“Tart” obviously also infers harshness – indicative of the nature of the journal.

In the Afrikaans language, “tart” means to defy, to challenge, to provoke… considering the nature of public religious comment, such as Godsdiens Aktueel in Beeld, and nowadays also in Die Burger, and having first hand experience of the quality, or lack thereof, of Internet forum religious banter and argument, and hearing and viewing religious statements and acts on news bulletins and actuality programs, nothing less than defiance and provocation is called for.

Although we can hardly hope for a society in which formal organized religion is rejected, we can at least stop behaving as if religion is worthy of our collective respect. (With acknowledgement to A.N. Wilson, Against Religion.)

In the words of George Bernard Shaw: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

Please. Please just think about it.

Written by Nathan Bond

August 3, 2008 at 11:12

34 Responses

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  1. “The Bible was compiled of many different little books. Hence the name Bible which comes from the word biblia. Many of the books were written long before Jesus was born. The books of the Bible were written by about 40 different people. Most of them did not personally know the other writers and did not live at the same time. The writers came from all walks of life. From Kings to shepperds to nippers of figs. Luke was a doctor and Matthew a tax collector. There is no such thing as the gospel of Mary Magdalene. At least not from a spiritual sense. The books of the Bible were written over a 1600 year period.” – Yahoo

    “Conservative scholars estimate that the New Testament was written between 45 A.D. and 95 A.D. Liberal scholars believe it was written between 80 A.D. and 150 A.D. (which the evidence doesn’t support).” – Yahoo answers

    “ALL scripture is given by inspiration (God-breathed) of God…”
    2Timothy 3:16
    “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”
    2Peter 1:21

    God used several men to write the words you see penned in the 66 books of the Bible (27 I think). But no matter what kind of answers you receive to your question, it will always come down to a matter of real faith in God. Without it, it is impossible to know God or please Him (see Hebrews 11:6). With it, the Holy Spirit comes into your life and makes you spiritually alive (Ephesians 2:1-9), then guides you into the Truth.

    The first five books of the Old Testament (known as the Pentateuch or Torah) was written by Moses during the forty years that the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness (1450 – 1410 B.C.). The twelve historical books of the Old Testament continue to record the history of the people of Israel under the leadership of Joshua, through the period of the Judges and the reign of the kings of Israel. The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther record the history of Israel following its period of captivity under Babylonian rule. The historical books span the history of Israel from 1050 – 465 B.C.

    The books of Job, the Psalms, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon are considered the poetical books of the Old Testament. Scholars have been unable to determine with any specificity when Job was written. Based upon the manners and customs recorded in the text, many believe that the book was written during the time of the Patriarchs of the faith. The individual Psalms, comprising the entire collection, were written from the days of Israel’s Exodus to its restoration after the Babylonian captivity. Many of the Psalms were written by King David during his reign over Israel. The entire book was compiled between 1000 – 300 B.C.

    King David’s son, Solomon is credited with writing Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon, during his reign (971 – 931 B.C.). The seventeen Prophetical books of the major and minor prophets span Israel’s history from 700 – 450 B.C. For 400 years after the writing of the Book of Malachi, the Lord was silent and the Old Testament was closed.

    It is generally agreed that the Book of Mark was the first Gospel written and that it was written between A.D. 50 and 75. Of the four Gospel’s, John’s is considered to have been the last one written, around A.D. 85. The Book of Acts, a historical account of the establishment of the early Christian church, is believed to have been written by one of the Apostle Paul’s associates, around A.D. 62 (near the end of Paul’s imprisonment in Rome).

    The Pauline Epistles (the Apostle Paul’s letters to the early church) were authored between A.D. 50 – 67. The author of Hebrews is unknown, but the book is commonly thought to have been written around A.D. 70. The epistles of the other Apostles were written between A.D. 48 – 90.

    The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is believed to have been penned by the Apostle John between A.D. 70 – 95.” – allabouttruth.org

    soois

    May 25, 2011 at 14:45

  2. “The Bible was written over a period of 1400 to 1800 years by more than 40 different authors. The Bible is a compilation of 66 separate books, divided into two primary divisions: the Old Testament (containing 39 books) and the New Testament (containing 27 books). It is believed that all of the books of the Bible were written under inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

    The first five books of the Old Testament (known as the Pentateuch or Torah) was written by Moses during the forty years that the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness (1450 – 1410 B.C.). The twelve historical books of the Old Testament continue to record the history of the people of Israel under the leadership of Joshua, through the period of the Judges and the reign of the kings of Israel. The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther record the history of Israel following its period of captivity under Babylonian rule. The historical books span the history of Israel from 1050 – 465 B.C.

    The books of Job, the Psalms, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon are considered the poetical books of the Old Testament. Scholars have been unable to determine with any specificity when Job was written. Based upon the manners and customs recorded in the text, many believe that the book was written during the time of the Patriarchs of the faith. The individual Psalms, comprising the entire collection, were written from the days of Israel’s Exodus to its restoration after the Babylonian captivity. Many of the Psalms were written by King David during his reign over Israel. The entire book was compiled between 1000 – 300 B.C.

    King David’s son, Solomon is credited with writing Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon, during his reign (971 – 931 B.C.). The seventeen Prophetical books of the major and minor prophets span Israel’s history from 700 – 450 B.C. For 400 years after the writing of the Book of Malachi, the Lord was silent and the Old Testament was closed.

    It is generally agreed that the Book of Mark was the first Gospel written and that it was written between A.D. 50 and 75. Of the four Gospel’s, John’s is considered to have been the last one written, around A.D. 85. The Book of Acts, a historical account of the establishment of the early Christian church, is believed to have been written by one of the Apostle Paul’s associates, around A.D. 62 (near the end of Paul’s imprisonment in Rome).

    The Pauline Epistles (the Apostle Paul’s letters to the early church) were authored between A.D. 50 – 67. The author of Hebrews is unknown, but the book is commonly thought to have been written around A.D. 70. The epistles of the other Apostles were written between A.D. 48 – 90.

    The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is believed to have been penned by the Apostle John between A.D. 70 – 95.” – allabouttruth.org

    soois

    May 25, 2011 at 14:28

  3. Bewildebeest,

    “My research tells me that there is not a single word. Can you tell me what was written about Jesus in the years around 0 to 33AD”. I will give you one example. When the rich man asked Abraham to send Lasarus back to warn his brothers, Abraham responded by telling him that his brothers have the scriptures and the commandments of Moses to warn them. What scriptures are mentioned if none were written by that time?

    soois

    May 25, 2011 at 14:16

  4. Yes, Daan! Thomas is blykbaar in ongeveer 130 CE geskryf (en is, soos meeste van die “boeke” heel waarskynlik maar net een ou se gedagtes – en nie die ou wie se naam die boek bevat nie!). Dieselfde met Petrus s’n ‘in the second half of the 2nd century’ en Meraai s’n “an apocryphal book discovered in 1896 in a 5th-century papyrus codex”. Sover ek weet is daar genuine nie n enkele woord oor Jesus geskryf terwyl hy – soos beweer word – gelewe het. (Alles van wikipedia, ne). So die JONGSTE skrif is gelyk aan ek en jy wat nou begin skryf oor ons oupa-grootjie wat 100jr gelede dood is – net met BAIE minder “handicaps” soos “bewys” en “evidence” en sulke twak.

    bewilderbeast

    May 23, 2011 at 17:38

  5. Bewilderbeast!!! Dagsê.

    Ek stem saam dat nie die vier evangelies of Paulus se briewe voor 50nC geskryf is nie.

    Maar wat van die gnostiese evangelies? Dink jy nie die evangelies van Thomas, Petrus en Maria Magdalena is tydens Jesus se lewe, of dan net kort na sy dood geskryf nie?

    Daan Van der Merwe

    May 23, 2011 at 15:22

  6. @soois: Your “answer” to my contention that not a single word exists about Jesus that was written while he was alive is positively biblical (“many things were written while He was alive”). My research tells me that there is not a single word. Can you tell me what was written about Jesus in the years around 0 to 33AD? Or is yours the biblical “It just is so. Have faith”.

    bewilderbeast

    May 23, 2011 at 13:31

  7. Heh-heh, you just can’t help yourself, eh soois?

    Yes, I can see how you “renounced comms with [me] … to correct [my] grammar.” I can also see, as can everyone else, the pitiful semantic conjuring tricks you’re trying to pull that would only convince a slippery and delusional retard like yourself, and, if you’re really lucky, that fictional hero of yours, Jeeeeeebussssst!. You wish now to deny that you wrote both (a) “I did not grow up religious” and (b) “I grew up without it [religion]”, and then (c) blatantly contradicted (May 22, 2011 at 20:30) at least one of these two statements, yes?

    Oh, while on the subject of grammar, it’s “fuck’s sake” with an apostrophe, being a possessive, and singular. And it’s “…as I had thought,” not “have”. Also, it’s always “English” with a capital “E”. Are you perhaps not as well-versed as you think you are?

    Please feel free to respond at any time with more fabrications of the same kind of transparently self-serving stupidity. It’s such fun to watch you dive headlong into the holes of your own making.

    Con-Tester

    May 23, 2011 at 12:23

  8. 1. I did not grow up religious.
    2. I did not grow up with religion.

    For fuck sakes, two different meanings, or are you not as well versed in the english language as I have thought.

    Don’t bother responding, I have renounced comms with you, but was drawn in to correct your grammar.

    soois

    May 23, 2011 at 11:53

  9. Balanced Truths wrote (May 22, 2011 at 21:15):

    … I am … addressing a theistic premise.

    Fair enough, but that was hardly clear from what you wrote.

    Balanced Truths wrote (May 22, 2011 at 21:15):

    … many have benefited from [faith].

    Yes, that is an argument often put forward by apologists of various stripes. Unfortunately, it’s a profoundly kak one. The question that immediately arises is, “Benefited compared to what, exactly!?” How can anyone judge this? On what basis? Personal testimonials won’t quite cut it because there’s no objective comparison to be drawn: the witness rarely has adequate knowledge of radically different alternatives, and, even if s/he does, is hardly likely to assess them dispassionately. On what verifiable principle and/or measure can we then say that faith has “benefited” someone? I can see none. How do we know that the person would not have flourished even more verdantly in the absence of any faith-based ethos? These issues become even more pressing when one considers that faith, by its very nature, is fundamentally inimical to progress, whether personal or collective. (Again, I hope that you can see why.)

    Balanced Truths wrote (May 22, 2011 at 21:15):

    Clearly nobody has the qualifications necessary to comprehend [the basis of faith’s content].

    In which case it should be challenged until either it becomes understood to be redundant for being ineffable, or until we can begin to make some kind of rigorous sense of it. Simply to let it go is to abrogate our critical faculties.

    Con-Tester

    May 22, 2011 at 22:32

  10. soois wrote (May 22, 2011 at 20:30):

    Believe me, as a boy forced by the system (school, parents and church) of the time, religion was the first thing I left after school…

    You really should try to remember the lies you tell just six weeks before (“Japan 20110311” thread, April 8, 2011 at 13:16): “… I did not grow up religious … I grew up without [religion] and then embraced it.

    Doing so could do wonders for your credibility. Must be that “bearing false witness” thingy your psychopathic, imagined, virgin-raping skydaddy supposedly imposed on you, only to recant it by implication in respect of his demented, sacrificial progeny, sonny-boy Jeeeeeebussssst!

    Con-Tester

    May 22, 2011 at 22:31

  11. soois wrote (May 22, 2011 at 20:30):

    Believe me, as a boy forced by the system (school, parents and church) of the time, religion was the first thing I left after school…

    You really should try to remember the lies you tell just six weeks before (“Japan 20110311” thread, April 8, 2011 at 13:16): “… I did not grow up religious … I grew up without [religion] and then embraced it.

    Doing so could do wonders for your credibility. Must be that “bearing false witness” thingy your psychopathic, imagined, virgin-raping skydaddy supposedly imposed on you, only to recant it by implication in respect of his demented, sacrificial progeny, sonny-boy <abbr title="Oh god, it’s a man on a stick!"Jeeeeeebussssst!

    Con-Tester

    May 22, 2011 at 22:29

  12. Con-Tester, you are quite correct, but you must bear in mind that I am not arguing with the basic atheistic conclusion here but addressing a theistic premise. However, in response to the rest, I’m not advocating faith in small probabilities or some scientific necessity to investigate data that are inherently unverifiable and impossible to define clearly, I am not saying faith should be tolerated because although it does have some adverse effects, many have benefited from it. Clearly nobody has the qualifications necessary to comprehend it.
    Psychological fallacies aside, it is not my intention to argue that in philosophising about a God-personality a relevant basis for the existence of said God-personality is substantiated. It is not my intention to use an Apophatic description of God to claim a God-personality eludes definition by definition.

    It’s the sophistry that nourishes the sophist’s illusion that s/he’s avoiding more conventional bouts of casuistry. Its self-accorded purported sophistication is ontologically only slightly less disagreeable. I hope you can see why.

    Brilliantly said, as usual, my response: “Ouch! Eina, fokkit man”

    Balanced Truths

    May 22, 2011 at 21:15

  13. Balanced Truths,

    “Jesus was by no means a friend to the church, or to religion, in fact, he was crucified because he opposed the inherent corruption of the many and diverse political organisations that constitutes ‘the church’.” Spot on. He was definitely not a friend of the church of the time. He did not keep the sabbath (although the SDA wants us to believe that) and he always chose the presence of sinners, instead of the pharisees (preachers of the time).

    No, religion should not be forced. Believe me, as a boy forced by the system (school, parents and church) of the time, religion was the first thing I left after school, or rather after I joined the Air Force permanently and became an officer who could decide whether I needed to go to church or not (except the odd compulsory “church parade” etc). It was only after I discovered Jesus myself, that I eturned to “Christianity” (I do not like the word “religion” as I see religion as any belief that binds, like the Old Testament type of religion etc. Christianity does not bind, but frees as Jesus died so that we would not be bound by our own weaknesses.

    Thanks for your post. Your logic gave me something to ponder alittle longer.

    soois

    May 22, 2011 at 20:30

  14. I’m afraid you have it all back-to-front. First, you know quite well on whom the evidentiary burden rests in the case of positive existence claims. Second, you admirably advocate keeping one’s faith a private matter — and then proceed to violate your own advocacy, furthermore completely glossing over the obvious fact that atheism is a conclusion (and as such, provisional and subject to possible revision, pending appropriate evidence), not a premiss like any number of religious tenets. Third, this blog (and many other websites like it) exists in response to the endless bleatings of religiots who are incapable of keeping their ill-founded notions to themselves (and out of children’s heads) and who have had a free ride for far too long over humanity’s history. It does not exist, as you put it, for “proselytizing the absence of such a God,” but to balance the unbridled flow of manipulative foolishness from religious quarters. Fourth, if you’re going to laud the methods of science, at least be coherent about it and conduct yourself as if an unproven hypothesis is false instead of trying to force an accommodationist quasi-deism that leaves all the open space that theism needs to thrive. The last doesn’t mean you can’t contemplate such things or examine them; it only means that you may not promote them as true until the evidence warrants doing so.

    The upshot of your position is that the existence of Russell’s teapot becomes a matter of private opinion rather than one of objective reality, a stance that is plainly absurd. The alleged supernatural and omni-whatever character of this “god” of yours adds no weight to your misguided argument because all you’ve done is “supported” conjecture with more unverified speculation. It’s hardly more than special pleading of a rather insidious kind, which has no place in any rational, empirically-based epistemology. As Christopher Hitchens once put it (more or less), “Even if we accept that a ‘god’ necessarily exists as first cause, you still have all your work ahead of you in getting from there to a theistic personal deity as set forth in various ‘holy’ texts.”

    Apropos to your reply (May 22, 2011 at 16:02 & 16:30): Okay, I’m going to disregard the special pleading inherent in the views you espouse there and propose that you examine apophatic theology if you’re not already familiar with it. It’s having your cake and eating it, too. It’s the sophistry that nourishes the sophist’s illusion that s/he’s avoiding more conventional bouts of casuistry. Its self-accorded purported sophistication is ontologically only slightly less disagreeable. I hope you can see why.

    Con-Tester

    May 22, 2011 at 16:52

  15. Con-Tester, if I have to seriously argue that certain individuals have experienced miracles in their lives, then I would argue that their miracles have been carefully orchestrated by the God-personality to have meaning to them. I would also argue that few, if any, outsiders would have witnessed the event and that any attempt at explaining or sharing of the event would be designed by the God-personality to fail. In this case I would have to argue either that I do not fully understand human suffering in the broader God-personality-like scheme of things, or that the God-personality is cruel in the extreme, the latter based on my own value system and the God-personality’s inability to prioritise the available miracles to protect the little children, so to speak. I do argue that such a God-personality would be accountable for both the good and bad and that we do not have all the facts and cannot form the complete picture and cannot make judgement with the little information we have at our disposal.

    Balanced Truths

    May 22, 2011 at 16:30

  16. Con-Tester May 22, 2011 at 15:01
    “So do you mean to suggest that miracles do in fact occur (and perhaps even do so as a matter of course) but it’s simply beyond our limited means to verify/validate and/or account for them?
    (A suggestion: It would be good if you spoke your meaning clearly.)”

    No, not quite, I do not suggest that they do or do not occur, I do not suggest that I have any knowledge on the subject, I certainly have no experience in any such events that have violated the laws of physics, but, I suggest that such events cannot be absolutely ruled out, no matter how small the probability is. If they do exist, and occur in our time and space, then I would argue that we would be able to validate and account for them in time, but probably not now, I would also argue that the personality involved in making them happen is a vastly un-understood personality, one that makes little sense to me, hence, I would love to heed your suggestion but I wager that I lack the capacity.

    Balanced Truths

    May 22, 2011 at 16:02

  17. I would add to this my personal opinion, in as much as it may or may not matter to others, it is meant for your attention Francois.

    Jesus was by no means a friend to the church, or to religion, in fact, he was crucified because he opposed the inherent corruption of the many and diverse political organisations that constitutes ‘the church’.

    Jesus’ example, as recorded in the texts we all know, the little that is available to us, does make for an extraordinary historical example to humanity. I, for one, appreciate that, but I see little value in arguing whether he was a man or a God-like extension of the Creator of all things. Whether he has been romanticised to near super hero status while he was merely an extremely dedicated and principled man or whether he was the one and only example of God’s endorsed ‘interference’ in the natural order of things. It makes little difference to a figurative and symbolic interpretation of the religious texts.

    The notion of the fundamental interpretations we observe in the Young Earth Creationists’ circles, and those that adhere to a more literal interpretation of the Bible, is obviously flawed to the extreme.

    Belief in God is a personal matter that should never be forced on others and never proselytized as each of us would have vastly different interpretations, no matter how much you or I would like to claim that God exists or no matter how much we might want to open others eyes to the scientific principles indicating how small the chances are that God does exist, these are simply heart felt beliefs. Without any proof our opinions, no matter how well argued or reasoned, have no real substance and they remain beliefs.

    I, for one, cannot believe in a God that requires me to turn a blind eye to verifiable facts, like Evolution, I do not, however, agree with the notion that I can force a omnipotent personality to adhere to the principles of science as they are perceived in my observable corner of the Multi-verse. Although lex parsimoniae is reason enough for me to restrain myself from stepping off of cliffs to test my faith or to pray to my perception of God in order to up the chances of my favourite rugby or soccer team’s victory, it does not altogether, to me, justify proselytizing the absence of such a God.

    Balanced Truths

    May 22, 2011 at 15:41

  18. Most critical historians agree that Jesus was a Jew who was regarded as a teacher and healer, that he was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Roman Prefect of Judaea, Pontius Pilate, on the charge of sedition against the Roman Empire. Critical Biblical scholars and historians have offered competing descriptions of Jesus as a self-described Messiah, as the leader of an apocalyptic movement, as an itinerant sage, as a charismatic healer, and as the founder of an independent religious movement. Most contemporary scholars of the Historical Jesus consider him to have been an independent, charismatic founder of a Jewish restoration movement, anticipating a future apocalypse. Progressive scholars, however, contend that Jesus’ “Kingdom of God” meant radical personal and social transformation instead of a future apocalypse.

    Wiki

    Balanced Truths

    May 22, 2011 at 15:21

  19. So do you mean to suggest that miracles do in fact occur (and perhaps even do so as a matter of course) but it’s simply beyond our limited means to verify/validate and/or account for them?

    (A suggestion: It would be good if you spoke your meaning clearly.)

    Con-Tester

    May 22, 2011 at 15:01

  20. ‘That no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavours to establish….’
    From David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, L. A. Selby Bigge, ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1902), pp. 114-16.

    Con-Tester makes the more scientific point in which the proposed argument is justified, as with the principles of empirical science, Occam’s Razor or lex parsimoniae is the law of economy where we select the hypothesis that makes the fewest assumptions. None of us have witnessed any miracles, moreover, none have been recorded in the history we have verifiably recorded in our existence, hence, we cannot reasonably expect miracles to be accounted for in our average walk of day-to-day life.

    Balanced Truths

    May 22, 2011 at 14:40

  21. Nope my friend,
    many things were written while He was alive and a whole lot before He was born. If you want to make statements, do your homework first.

    soois

    May 21, 2011 at 16:13

  22. @Balanced Truths: “Jesus is witnessed in about 35 Miracles”. Except they aren’t actually, y’know, WITNESSED. Everything about this person “Jesus” was written many, many years after his supposed death. NOT ONE WORD about Jesus was written while he was still alive. NOT ONE. Think about that. In an era when man had learnt to write and eagerly wrote about all sorts of important and humdrum things, not one word was written about an oke who could change water into wine. Unimaginable. (Never mind his pattering across the surface of the sea in his sandals not even making the gossip columns).

    bewilderbeast

    May 21, 2011 at 13:55

  23. Yes, you very much can argue with that. I’ll quote David Hume in relation to Jeeeeeebussssss!’s alleged virgin birth. It is up to the reader whether s/he can see Hume’s wider point, and understand the conditions under which belief in an alleged miracle is justified (i.e., when it would be even more miraculous if it hadn’t occurred):

    “Which is more likely: that the whole natural order of things should be suspended, or that a Jewish minx should tell a lie?”

    But instead of applying such critical balance-of-probability analyses, we’d much rather perpetuate comforting myths written up in an old book by smoked-up Bronze Age goatherds with a pathological paternalistic streak. It would be ridiculously funny if the implications weren’t so grave.

    Con-Tester

    May 21, 2011 at 10:08

  24. Cannot argue with that.

    soois

    May 21, 2011 at 07:58

  25. Almost 40 distinct miracles performed by Jesus, it seams reasonable that God performed such Miracles for precise reasons. Seems to take care of circumstantial evidence that Jesus was empowered by God, defined as an underlying creative and sustaining force in the universe. In the Old Testament, about 55 Miracles are witnessed. Jesus is witnessed in about 35 Miracles.

    It is easy to envision an event which runs counter to the observed processes of nature. We have a limited understanding of nature in which there are micro and macro scales of laws which remain unknown as yet. Arguably irrational disruptions of the patterns of nature is not an absolute must. Miracles do not need to be complete violations of the laws of physics.

    When a strong wind raises a Ocean Liner from the ocean and deposits it inland, the law of gravity is neither on hold nor violated but made ineffectual by a stronger force. One could argue that such an unobserved force could explain how Christ walked on water, or it could be seen figuratively, imagine Jesus, having a better understanding of the forces involved, had calmly navigated the turbulent waters of the storm, saving a man who had panicked, and was consequently described as having walked on water. That the universe is not necessarily left to the mercy of random physical forces, but that a personality could be directing all physical causes is possible. Effecting purpose through patterns of causes, slow or immediate. The Old Testament is mostly a symbolic representation which we are not required to see in a literal light.

    The New Testament requires your belief in supernatural phenomena you cannot prove, understand or reproduce, but you must follow and adhere to, it requires you to step away from reality and take a leap of faith to where only Gods can survive.

    Balanced Truths

    May 21, 2011 at 07:51

  26. There is eternal Hell, Matthew 13:41-42, Matthew 18:8-9, Matthew 22:13, Matthew 25:41, 46, Mark 9:43-48, Luke 16:22-24, John 5:28-29, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, Revelation 14:10-11, Revelation 20:10, Revelation 20:14-15 ) Cure of two blind men Matt 9:27-31, the piece of money in the fish’s mouth Matt 17:24-27, the deaf and dumb man Mark 7:31-37, the blind man of Bethsaida Mark 8:22-26, Jesus passes unseen through the crowd Luke 4:28-30, the miraculous draught of fishes Luke 5:4-11, the raising of the widow’s son at Nain Luke 7:11-18, the woman with the spirit of infirmity Luke 13:11-17, the man with the dropsy Luke 14:1-6, the ten lepers Luke 17:11-19, the healing of Malchus Luke 22:50, 51, water made wine John 2:1-11, the cure of the nobleman’s son, Capernaum John 4:46-54, the impotent man at Bethsaida cured John 5:1-9, the man born blind cured John 9:1-7, Lazarus raised from the dead John 11:38-44, draught of fishes John 21:1-14, Syrophoenician woman’s daughter cured Matt 15:28 Mark 7:24, four thousand fed Matt 15:32 Mark 8:1, the fig tree blasted Matt 21:18 Mark 11:12 , the Centurion’s servant healed Matt 8:5 Luke 7:1, the blind and dumb demoniac cured Matt 12:22 Luke 11:14, the demoniac cured in synagogue at Capernaum Mark 1:23 Luke 4:33, Peter’s wife’s mother cured Matt 8:14 Mark 1:30 Luke 4:38, the tempest stilled Matt 8:23 Mark 4:37 Luke 8:22, the demoniacs of Gadara cured Matt 8:28 Mark 5:1 Luke 8:26, the leper healed Matt 8:2 Mark 1:40 Luke 5:12, Jairus’s daughter raised Matt 9:23 Mark 5:23 Luke 8:41, Woman’s issue of blood cured Matt 9:20 Mark 5:25 Luke 8:43, the man sick of the palsy cured Matt 9:2 Mark 2:3 Luke 5:18, the man’s withered hand cured Matt 12:10 Mark 3:1 Luke 6:6, a lunatic child cured Matt 17:14 Mark 9:14 Luke 9:37, two blind men cured Matt 20:29 Mark 10:46 Luke 18:35, Jesus walks on the sea Matt 14:25 Mark 6:48 John 6:15, Jesus feeds 5,000 “in a desert place” Matt 14:15 Mark 6:30 Luke 9:10 John 6:1-14, the conception by the Holy Ghost Luke 1:35, the transfiguration Matt 17:1-8, the resurrection John 21:1-14, and the ascension Luke 2:42-51.

    Balanced Truths

    May 21, 2011 at 07:31

  27. Yes Hanswors, that’s what you say. But you haven’t discovered the profound meaning of Mickey Mouse yet.

    Or logic.

    Con-Tester

    April 5, 2011 at 21:14

  28. Con-Tester, not really as the O T is more symbolic than literal. You appear to be the dim, wanton “droll” when the Bible is the subject of discussion and that makes perfect sense.

    Hans Matthysen

    April 5, 2011 at 20:43

  29. Aha, so all that omniscience, supreme benevolence and omnipotence did this god no good at all and he fucked it up royally — divinely, even — the first time around. Then he had to beguile and cuckold a virgin so he could make a fleshly son with his “spiritual” (what the fuck is that, anyway!?) seed whom he would later sacrifice on a stick, only to resurrect him three days later, all because he’s a paranoid schizophrenic with authority and ego issues befitting his station as creator of all.

    Makes perfect sense … if you’re a dim, wanton doos.

    Con-Tester

    April 5, 2011 at 19:02

  30. “If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal.” So very true, and because GOD saw this and realised this, HE gave man salvation, by sending HIS own Son, Jesus, to pay the ultimate price for our criminal behaviour.

    “If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he would be insane.” I do not agree and will repeat Hans’s question: “Why would one be insane following the teachings of the New Testament?

    soois

    April 5, 2011 at 15:28

  31. Balanced Truths, why would one be insane following the teachings of the New Testament?

    Hans Matthysen

    February 15, 2011 at 22:17

  32. “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

    Anybody who has been seriously engaged is scientific work of any kind realizes that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: ‘Ye must have faith.’
    A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
    Max Planck

    Balanced Truths

    February 13, 2011 at 09:55

  33. “Although we can hardly hope for a society in which formal organized religion is rejected, we can at least stop behaving as if religion is worthy of our collective respect.”

    If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he would be insane. Ingersoll

    Balanced Truths

    February 13, 2011 at 09:52

  34. “…nothing less than defiance and provocation is called for.”

    To provoke an angry reaction is an experiment in revenge, in the words of Francis Bacon, it keeps one’s own wounds green. Intolerance is the enemy of understanding and lacks good sense.

    The novice reasons with his heart while the scholar calculates with his mind through observation, experience and extrapolation. The master knows no difference.

    To ridicule makes one seem witty but it diminishes the self, it does more harm than the original injury.

    Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. Aristotle

    Balanced Truths

    February 13, 2011 at 09:44


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