Moral Law

On a previous post the term Moral Law began to crop up in discussion. The capitals are important as the Moral Law derives from God(Yahweh/Jesus) according to one Christian. And I am sure most Christians believe similarly in ths respect.

However, this Moral Law was most noticeable by its lack of detail. In fact no details at all were given for what this Moral Law comprises of. Therefore to continually cite this Moral Law as the foundation for human morality without revealing specific details seems somewhat of a pointless exercise.

I am therefore, asking, any Christian or former Christian to offer full details of what this Moral Law is.

For the record, a phrase such as : ”What God tells us in the bible,” does not qualify as specific. Details are vitally important.

Ark.


112 thoughts on “Moral Law

    1. Agreed. However, what specific Moral laws are we talking about here?
      ”Thou shall not listen to Jimi Hendrix on Thursdays?”

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        1. Objective morality is what’s on the table , of course, and our Christian friend continued to cite the Moral Law.
          If this came from God/Yahweh/Jesus how was it transmitted?
          Where is it written down?
          How many distinct moral laws are there over and above what may be found among the Ten Commandments? or the other hundreds of laws in the OT? – Thou shalt not kill (commit murder) etc?

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          1. Objective morality is what’s on the table

            As best I can tell, we make it up as we go along. And then we describe it as “objective” in the hope that this makes it sound more impressive.

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  1. Yes I called his definition bollocks and couldn’t be arsed to comment anymore, I get more sense from my garage’s brick wall!
    Just checked out the definition on uncle google (as I’m sure you have already) here’s just one, the others are much the same.
    Moral law is a system of guidelines for behavior. These guidelines may or may not be part of a religion, codified in written form, or legally enforceable. For some people moral law is synonymous with the commands of a divine being. For others, moral law is a set of universal rules that should apply to everyone.
    As you see he reads only the one part the ‘may’ part.
    For me any ‘normal’ person sees the meaning as right or wrong. You do not need supernatural guidance to know what is right or wrong. Of course there are many, shall we say un-balanced people, who have a different take on things and killing, for instance, is perfectly ok. That unfortunately is life.

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    1. Af’noon, Mister B.
      I concur. But to be honest I’m not really mithered. I just want to know specifics and where they can be found.
      I am going to presume as we are talking Moral Law with a capital ’em’ our Christian friend is referring to the ultimate Law giver – Yahweh/Jesus.
      This would lead us to the bible – one would presume so, yes?
      So ‘where’ , and ‘what’ would be a good start.
      To be scrupulously honest I am not looking for rules governing my cheese and tomato roll which I am going to make for lunch once I’ve have finished typing this, but more on the lines of Killing, what animals to eat… or not… sex etc .

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      1. The obvious answer from that commentator would be, as you say, the origins lie in that ancient old story book. If I remember correctly from Sunday school a bloke called moses had some big stones apparently given to him by someone calling himself god. ‘Moral’ laws have since then been adapted to suit whoever’s in charge I guess and it annoys the valhalla out of me that Countries like mine and the States still think it’s ok to invade others with the phrase gods on our side.
        Slightly off topic but said commentator frequently mentioned the nazis as athieists. A census in 1939 showed only 1.5% to be so. Another reason to not engage the person in comments, get yer facts straight bud!
        Enjoy your lunch whilst waiting for the obvious replies.

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        1. There is a term that holds something about Nazism and Hitler being introduced into any debate /discussion. I forget what it is.
          To dismiss Hitler as a Christian because of his actions is to dismiss, Thomas of Torquemada, Martin Luther, the Crusaders, the crew of the Enola Gay and their superiors etc etc.

          They just don’t like the ”taste” of that sort of Christianity.

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    1. Hahahahaha!!! Oh, god!!! I’m DYIN” over here from laughin’ so hard! God, that guy is SOOOOOO fuckin’ funny!!! He’s REALLY gotta go into stand up comedy!!! Hahahahaha!! I’m DYIN’, I tellz ya! Dyin’!

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        1. Haven’t seen that bloke around for awhile. I know Pink did a blog just about what an ass he is and since that, I’ve not seen him. Maybe Pink scared him off. Or…perhaps he finally got locked up in the same rubber room that SoM is in.

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    2. Well, you’re Australian and so many of them come from Criminal Stock so when it comes to morality you might not want to be so cocky there …. ”sweetheart!”
      Just a cautionary warning, in case Branyan turns up to defend his case.

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  2. Just like the people claiming that the US was built on “Christian principles” I have asked for many years for lists of these things; a list of those Christian principles, a list of the tenets of Biblical morality, etc.

    I used to think that people couldn’t provide these because they didn’t exist. Now I tend to think that people started making such a list and realized that it was ludicrous and they couldn’t continue. For example, there is no such thing as democracy in the Bible, autocracy and theocracy is what is there. And once you start down the road of moral tenets, getting past the Golden Rule is difficult because of all the brutality and idiocy in Biblical “commandments.”

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      1. Him and his mate might even have the originals stashed away. You never know. Then when they get even more pissed off when asked for evidence they will finally throw open the doors of the stash room and say “There you go hell bound heathens, suck on them bisquits!” Or possibly not.

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  3. Matt 22:36 ”Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
    37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.
    39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
    40 On these two commandments hang ALL the law and the prophets.”

    But in the end we find this is a “spiritual” (needs defining) conundrum. Nobody can follow the first one so they cannot follow the second. Perhaps this is the greatest Koan by commandment in religious history. It invokes a sense of worthlessness that relegates the human condition to one of failure from the start.
    As far as “moral law” how this is done has always been completely arbitrary —often, like in the witch trials and the slaying of countless individuals, this was mostly all done out of love.

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    1. Excellent summation, Jim.
      But you’ve been there, done that and I’m sure you can think of the likely response from any of the Christians currently commenting?

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      1. I can’t really speak for anyone else, but just be grateful that nobody really believes anymore. They say they believe, but as you know Christianity is a life and death decision that’s hard for most to risk. It’s the gamblers religion. What a play! Imagine betting the whole works on red? You would draw the whole crowd to watch.

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          1. To put it another way, the only chance you have to establish your own thoughts is through unbelief or extended seclusion. There are no private thoughts. This is how the philologist knows where you lived and when. Call individual thought and writing is just a small piece of the collective thought of the day.

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  4. I haven’t read all the comments thus far so this may have been mentioned already … but in a post over at the Branyan comedy spot someone commented on his latest past using the handle “Silence of Mind.” No link so not sure if it’s one and the same as the individual many of us are familiar with. Anyone know anything?

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      1. I don’t visit either, but he left a link back on my blog to this particular post of his (he’s moderated so it won’t show) — and of course out of curiosity, I checked it out. That’s how I saw the name.

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  5. Jim, this teaching in Matthew doesn’t bring me to a sense of worthlessness at all, but to openness toward the grace of God.

    In a sense, the law is like this schoolmaster which can bring us to Christ. You’re right in our strength alone we don’t love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Many people find it difficult to actually even love and value themselves. How, then, can they love God? How many genuinely care for and value the creation? Even the best person falls to some degree short.

    We need the help of God. For me, the Christian faith is not about constricting our lives, but expanding and deepening them.

    I have to add here that if people feel like they are loving people by violently murdering them, they are certainly not resonating with the voice of Christ, who Christians affirm is the image of “the invisible God.” It doesn’t matter how religious they happen to be.

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      1. Ark, probably not in the way that you are looking at it. But, in a nutshell, if I read about some supposed command of the Lord to wipe out a whole race of people such as the ancient Cannanites, I don’t blindly assume I’m reading the unadulterated word of the Lord/ Yahweh. To my mind, there are other cultural factors at work. I mean does something like this sound like the command of Christ to love our enemies??? And, if Jesus shows us what God is like, I see a real disparity here. But, I wouldn’t just agree with Marion either. There are many streams and images of God’s love to be found in the OT. I feel like God’s revelation and our apprehension of that is progressive through time and culture. I know that for you and even for many Christians this feels like cherry picking the Scripture, but for me based in my studies and experience it seems totally sensible.

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        1. Becky, you’re simply picking out and re-interpreting scriptures so they validate your personal view of Christianity. And this is what EVERY Christian does … which is why people like Ark and others keep hammering away. There IS no unity in bible interpretation among believers. Yet they –and you– continue to try and make it so.

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          1. Nan, I understand that there’s not a unity of Bible interpretation. I’m ok with that. We don’t have all the answers together, and “see through a glass darkly.”. But, I feel like our unity is around God’s love expressed through the incarnation and resurrection of our Lord. That’s enough for me. I personally think it’s a good thing for you and Ark and for others to raise their concerns. It helps all of us to think about what we believe and why it all matters more deeply.

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          2. “That’s enough for me.”

            This is quite problematic. I just wrote a post on this actually. I wrote it because it is a serious issue amongst believers. Stopping at what makes you feel good and thinking that that is sufficient instead of taking it all as a whole as it was intended to be taken. There is a measure of dishonesty there when you ignore the parts you do not agree with. The Bible is a package deal. Like it or not, the finished version was meant to be one completed work and not a piecemeal “only eat what agrees with you” type of story.

            Look, anyone who has been a believer has done this. I know I certainly did. If we all were to take the Bible as a whole, and see the complete picture of what the Christian god is, we are not likely to believe for very long. Instead, we overlook the “icky parts” and focus on the good things that make us warm up and feel good about ourselves. The god that sanctioned the slaughter of innocent people, said slavery was okay and put women in a much lower status than men is the same god that says to love thy neighbor as yourself, feed the hungry and clothe the lepers. That god did not change simply because Jesus showed up on the scene. Jesus himself said he had not come to abolish the law. It’s the same god according to the scriptures. It just seems like different gods because of the disjointed way the writers put the story together. In fact, some apologists argue that there was more than one god, but that the Bible is still to be taken seriously as a piece of divine inspiration. No two believers are alike. They are all right and they are all wrong. That, again, is problematic.

            Take it all or leave it all. Those are the only real options. If you go with the third option where you get to create your own version of Christianity by picking and choosing, you have automatically disqualified yourself from being in an honest conversation. Cherry-picking is not a pathway to truth. Cherry-picking only leads to our own comfort. Period.

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        2. If this is the case then we are back to Cherry Picking your religion once more,
          Really, Becky, it isn’t a buffet you know?
          ”Ooh, I like the redemption and forgiveness of sins, and heaven sounds rather nice. But I’m not too keen on the stoning homosexuals part. I mean, there’s a lovely boy at the office who brings doughnuts for us on Wednesdays. He has a husband who’s a bit of a dish and you know if I wasn’t married. Oh, and if he wasn’t gay too, I suppose. But that might be a sin I suppose?
          Would that make me a fallen woman? I’d be going to Hell for that one I suppose.”

          Get the picture?

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          1. Ark, for me it’s deeper and more thoughtful than this. Can two contradictory images be equally true? If not, perhaps something else is going on. I also look at what scholars are saying and evaluate that as well. To share a related example, if the geological evidence mitigates against a worldwide flood, should I believe this story simply because I read about it in the Scripture? As I’ve shared, might I get it wrong sometimes. Absolutely. But, the bottom line is,for me, I’m trusting God. In my own life, this Scripture really speaks to me. “He who began a good work in you will complete it to the day if Jesus Christ.”

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          2. Ark, for me it’s deeper and more thoughtful than this

            Well, yes, I’m sure it is. Having naughty thoughts about the husband of the Gay Donut guy will mean you don’t get much work done for one thing.

            Re the flood. Glad we are on the same page on this one.
            So by this measure you are also in agreement with science that Adam and Eve as portrayed in the bible could not possibly have existed ( No Fall and no Original Sin) – and I presume you know why, and of course the whole Moses, Captivity, Exodus and Conquest is nothing but a geopolitical foundation myth, because this is what the archaeological evidence tells us. Right?

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          3. Ark, in thinking about Genesis…it feels like a kind of beautiful poem to me not written like a scientific treatise of the creation of the world. Can myth and symbolism convey deeper truth?

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          4. Really? I must be honest I am at a loss to see how a mythological tale that includes deception, lies, enforced shame and guilt, a life long curse of ‘sin’, incest, murder, and Genocide perpetuated by a divine monster among other such delightful bedtime tales could be viewed in any context as a ”kind of beautiful poem”?

            But then, I have to remind myself that, if I’m not mistaken you consider Jesus in his Yahweh guise to be grace, kindness, fair and just and love personified all the live long day …tra la la. Or something along those lines.

            I also have to remind myself at times …. or someone like Nan will remind me ….
            that such severe indoctrination will often result in a high degree of poisoning of the mind along with blunting the ability to exercise critical thought in this regard.

            All those who deconvert do so in their own time but I suspect the ‘Eureka’ moment is always not too far away, lurking in the background.
            How could it not be? Having to constantly perform such pretzel style mental gymnastics and remain completely sane boggles my mind, it really does.

            It is a good thing science is indifferent to such a rose-tinted, blinkered view and simply moves right along. Otherwise, I suspect it would be standing in your peripheral vision shaking it’s head sniggering behind it’s hand.

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    1. ”but to openness toward the grace of God” Why do you need grace?
      Btw, they were lovingly murdering them at the slight chance they would change their mind in the flames and be saved. Certainly it reflected the urgency of the message. First you’d talk to them, then beat them around a bit, then the rack, all in the hopes of saving some soul at the last minute. Fortunately Christianity today is a Luke warm, watered down version. But ultimately this behavior, though usually repressed, was shown just a bit at the capital building last week. Screw the law, this is that important! The best recent example of how little faith Christianity has in their god.

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      1. Jim, do you feel people are doing all these things because of their Christian faith though, or in spite of it? What about the vast numbers of Christians who are all about non-violence and respecting the rule of law?

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        1. If I may ….
          I’m not that up on US politics, however, aren’t there Christians – pastors and ministers as well – on record stating that Trump was appointed by God?

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          1. Absolutely. I do want to add Ark, that the vast majority of Trump supporters including President Trump himself do not support violence and what happened at the capital. It was a sad day for our country, a real disgrace.

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          2. I am sure most Americans are normal, for any given value of normal of course.
            I’m not too sure about Nan, as she doesn’t like my spiders.
            But if your local priest has endorsed Trump on National TV then whatever Trump says is basically given the Green Light.

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        2. Let’s answer one question at a time. Why do you need grace, if god is so loving? You are here on sufferance from the maternity ward to the crematorium. Only accepted IF, you toe the Christian line.
          I don’t think people do this in spite of their Christian faith, but because of belief itself. Seems humans are cursed and compelled to have them. It is not a virtue in itself, but a roadblock.

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        3. I’ll just barge in here, as it’s my post and all. 😉

          What about the vast numbers of Christians who are all about non-violence and respecting the rule of law?

          Such as the Pope and his minions or the late Mother Theresa, for example, yes? Violence manifests in many ways.

          Although not technically a Christian we could also include Cephas, I suppose? You’ll be familiar with the fate of Ananias and Saphira I’m sure? Killed at the command of Peter or Jesus or something divine.

          And Jesus himself, of course: “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.”

          This may be a slippery slope you have just climbed upon, I would be wary.

          As you were.

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          1. Ark, does it seem reasonable, though, that Jesus would instruct people to violate the commandment of God to honor parents and literally instruct people to hate their parents? I think He often used hyperbole to illustrate salient points as was the custom of the time and His audience would have understood this.

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          2. He also instructed followers to sell up everything and give no thought for the morrow. How responsible do you think this was?

            And Cephas killing the couple for not handing over all the booty?

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          3. Ark, I feel like when Jesus tells folks to “take no thought for tomorrow” He’s again using hyperbole to encourage people to trust God and to seek His kingdom rather than to be consumed by stress and worry. He doesn’t literally mean that it’s somehow sinful to think about what you’re cooking for dinner next Tues. 🤔. As for the folks struck dead for selling the land, I’m certainly glad that I wasn’t there. This sounds sketchy to me too. I won’t know about that one until after the parousia. Seriously, Ark, God doesn’t give it to us on a spoon. I’m sure there are just tons of verses in the Scripture that I may not fully understand. But, I’ve apprehended enough to trust Him. That’s the most important thing.

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          4. So, more Cherry Picking a la The Becky De Coder Ring.

            I’m sure there are just tons of verses in the Scripture that I may not fully understand.

            A comment we fully agree upon.
            So you trust a faulty text that you don’t understand properly.
            Does this mean your faith based trust is equally faulty?
            Can you point to three or four passages, any gospel you choose, that you are convinced are genuine and have not been tampered with?

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          5. Ark, I do want to add that I’m not just pulling this whole hyperbole thing out of my head. But, it’s also what scholars are saying. It does certainly make sense to me as well. Have to go for now. Spanish is calling.

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          6. Never read a scholar calling it hyperbole.
            Maybe you could direct me to one?
            A non-Christian goes without saying I hope? I have very little trust in Christian scholars.

            Adios for now …

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  6. I always assumed the Moral Law to refer to the specific set of rules God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. You know all the rules mentioned in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Of course, Christians will tell you that we have “done away” with these laws, while still adhering to some of them (aka cherry picking). It has never been really clear to me why some rules are still supposed to be followed by Christians and some aren’t.

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  7. Everyone is a fundamentalist atheist. 😁. What I’m sharing seems so sensible to me. I have to sleep on this and think of another way to engage. Appreciate everyone’s thoughts, a good discussion.

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  8. It all hinges on whether you believe God’s initial command was broken.

    In a world of plenty, and where every thing was very good, they were privileged to eat of EVERY fruit. EVERY. Except for one.

    Since you find this distasteful, a further comment by me is unnecessary.

    (Also, beg jz or u, to draft a post re my last offering. It’s uncomfortable I’m sure)

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      1. Nope. Just challenging Z to post the failures of Jewish cosmogony. HIS words- so prove it.

        I actually pay attention to such detail and call it out.

        And I also challenged YOU previously to do the same. Prove it.

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        1. Sorry CS, I am all at sea today. Just got two dogs from the SPCA and they are going a bit loopy at the moment. What was it exactly you wanted me to prove?

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    1. Ark, I was focusing on Genesis One. I feel like God was communicating with people in the context of their own time and culture to communicate truth, things like He made us in His own image and likeness, and that even as humanity went it’s own way, provision was still made for them, stuff like that. But, I don’t think all this is scientifically or literally true . But, even if you disagree with this, I wanted to know if you think it’s even possible that things like myth or allegory can convey deeper truth?
      Or your mind just never goes in that direction….?

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      1. Your reply is listed as In reply to Colorstorm.
        What comment of mine are you responding to? Sorry, I am a bit distracted this morning you’ll have to help me out.
        May I suggest you respond from the email notification? Make it easier for both of us.

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        1. Ark, I know. It’s confusing. But, I don’t get email notifications for some reason. And, then I’m not always able to directly respond to comments. The comment will be followed by like rather than reply, so I’ve just been attempting to reply further on down the thread. A mess. 😞

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          1. Was it this one?

            Really? I must be honest I am at a loss to see how a mythological tale that includes deception, lies, enforced shame and guilt, a life long curse of ‘sin’, incest, murder, and Genocide perpetuated by a divine monster among other such delightful bedtime tales could be viewed in any context as a ”kind of beautiful poem”?

            But then, I have to remind myself that, if I’m not mistaken you consider Jesus in his Yahweh guise to be grace, kindness, fair and just and love personified all the live long day …tra la la. Or something along those lines.

            I also have to remind myself at times …. or someone like Nan will remind me ….
            that such severe indoctrination will often result in a high degree of poisoning of the mind along with blunting the ability to exercise critical thought in this regard.

            All those who deconvert do so in their own time but I suspect the ‘Eureka’ moment is always not too far away, lurking in the background.
            How could it not be? Having to constantly perform such pretzel style mental gymnastics and remain completely sane boggles my mind, it really does.

            It is a good thing science is indifferent to such a rose-tinted, blinkered view and simply moves right along. Otherwise, I suspect it would be standing in your peripheral vision shaking it’s head sniggering behind it’s hand.

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  9. Ben, can you share what has brought you to your view of the Scripture? Are you feeling that all parts of the Bible are of equal value in informing Christian faith?

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    1. Reading up on the history of the Bible (not the alleged history in the Bible) led me to realize what a man-made collection of stories this is. There is clear evidence that the documents that make up what we call the Bible have gone through many changes through the years, some even with the handwritten notes of the scribes who made the changes. And we don’t even have the originals! The earliest copies we have may be even more different than what we have now. We just can’t know because we don’t have them to look at and investigate. But a god who wants us to know his thoughts, feelings, guiding principles, rules, etc would certainly want to preserve his word for us all to know. Instead, man has been allowed to change it as he sees fit. Meetings were convened. Votes were taken. A final product was produced. There is nothing to suggest a god had anything to do with it. Why would a god who wants us to know him not provide a reliable means to do so?

      Christians cannot even come to a consensus about doctrine. The sources they draw from have been altered. Where is God in all of this to guide us to the truth of the matter? All I see is man’s fingerprints on the Bible.

      “Are you feeling that all parts of the Bible are of equal value in informing Christian faith?”

      Yes. All parts are equally useless without evidence. It doesn’t matter if it is NT, OT or the gnostic gospels. The words in this book are no different than words in any other book. Without evidence to support the claims, they remain claims. That means that the only way to believe in these words is by faith. Faith, is not a means to find truth. It is used in place of truth. Faith is a feeling. It is trust in something without good evidence to support it. If evidence of God existed, faith would cease to.

      Let me ask you this: why would God leave man to his own devices to figure things out? Why would god leave everything vague and without a means to verify it in order for people to come to him? We don’t need every scrap of evidence to see signs of a god, but we do need something. And there just isn’t any aside from our own feelings on the matter. There simply isn’t.

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      1. Well, I suppose part of all this just depends on your expectation of God and you’re feeling concerning the role of the Bible. For me, the Scripture is like a cracked glass jar where the word of God shines through. I find it so interesting and encouraging to be able to trace through time how people grew in their understanding of the nature and purpose of God culminating in the coming of Christ. It seems beautiful to me that God used things like symbolism, and allegory to illustrate truth and to connect with people in where they were at in their time and culture. I feel like God’s Spirit was in this..But, Ben to me if the Bible was like this perfect book dropped down from Heaven, I feel like we would soon have an idolotry of the Bible. Let me further ask this, what do you feel is absolutely essential to Christian faith, the absolute hill that Christians should be willing to die on, so to speak??

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        1. what do you feel is absolutely essential to Christian faith, the absolute hill that Christians should be willing to die on, so to speak??

          If I may?
          Nothing about Christianity is worth dying for. Absolutely nothing. However, protecting people from Christianity, on the other hand. Now there’s a cause I could get behind..

          The most essential thing to Christian faith from the perspective of those who wish it to continue is to maintain the lies that are the foundations of the religion.
          Claim to preach truth and honesty while effectively doing exactly the opposite.

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          1. I was speaking metaphorically of course, Ark. Can you share with me why you feel so very strongly that people need to be protected from the Christian faith?

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          2. Would you , for example, feel strongly enough to protect your young children from someone, school teacher, pastor, acquaintance, who wished to teach them that YEC was the only right form of Christianity and if they did not follow it they were going to spend eternity being tortured in Hell by the Devil and his Demons?
            A straight answer to this one if you please.

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        2. “Well, I suppose part of all this just depends on your expectation of God and you’re feeling concerning the role of the Bible.”

          The role of the Bible? This is where you are getting all of your information from. That is the only role. So many Christians have this habit of saying that the Bible is not the ultimate authority on God and Jesus and that they’d believe in the story even without the Bible. This is absolutely false, and if I might add, impossible. All you’d be able to accomplish without the Bible is to maybe have a belief in some sort of god, but not Yahweh or his son Jesus. These stories are found in one place, your Bible. Without them, you wouldn’t know the parables, the resurrection story or any of the other things you have stated that give you inspiration and hope. Without the Bible, all of these things disappear. All of the things you have faith in would cease to exist in your life. There is no evidence of anyone being given these stories without a Bible. God does not speak these things into our ears.

          I suppose that without a Bible, the oral tradition of these stories may have continued in some fashion. However, without a written record, these stories would change even more than they already have. Sharing stories by mouth alone is a horrible way to keep the story straight. The telephone game sound familiar? Stories change dramatically just from passing words between a few people in real time. Imagine the changes over millennia. You need written words in order to have a fairly consistent story. This is why you need a Bible to keep the Christian story alive. This is why believers in god who have never seen or heard from a Bible have absolutely no idea who Jesus was. They have no concept of his resurrection or his miracles. These stories are 100% unknown to people who have never been taught them from a Bible or from stories given by people who themselves have read a Bible.

          Christians need to stop saying they’d believe in Jesus even without the Bible. Without the biblical account of Jesus, he simply does not exist. The extra-biblical accounts of a man named Yeshua from that time period do not include the stories attributed to him. At best, all we can infer is that a man named Yeshua may or may not have existed. No miracles, no powers, no lineage linking him to a god and no death that led to resurrection and ascension into Heaven. Where do you believe these stories come from? The Bible. You can pick and choose which parts you like and which you do not. You can even say that you get personal meaning from one part or another. What you can’t say is that the Bible is not the source.

          So, now that we have established that the Bible is the source of your faith and all Christians’ faith is the Bible, why do you not accept it all? Why are some parts important and others just used as “filler” to add pages to the story?

          “It seems beautiful to me that God used things like symbolism, and allegory to illustrate truth and to connect with people in where they were at in their time and culture.”

          Why was God so unclear when delivering his message to us? Which parts are to be taken literally? Which parts are symbolism? Allegory? How do you know? Are you correct? Did you know that some people claim the entire Bible is literally true? They have the same faith in Jesus that you have, but attest that the entirety of scripture is God-breathed and to be taken as literal truth. Are they right or are you right? How can we know that? When there is no evidence that any of it is true, why should we believe in any of it?

          “what do you feel is absolutely essential to Christian faith, the absolute hill that Christians should be willing to die on, so to speak?”

          I agree with Ark on this. Nothing about your faith is worth dying for. Not literally or metaphorically. Faith based on hearsay and storybooks is not worth giving up the only life we have that is actually guaranteed. When I say give up our lives, it might mean by literally dying or it could simply mean that we waste years of it praying to and following a myth. Now, dying for my family would be a worthy cause as I love them more than I love myself. I know that Christians say that they love Jesus more than themselves, but unlike Jesus, I have actual evidence that my family is real. Their love for me is real and tangible. Their existence is proven to me day after day. Jesus exists in the same way that Harry Potter exists. He exists in the same way that Oliver Twist exists. They are also characters in a story. There is no evidence to suggest that they exist outside of those pages. Therefore there is no reason to worship them, pray to them or to die for them. Your faith may have shaped your character, but there is no reason to believe that any of it actually came from a god.

          What is so telling to me when I read your comments is how many times you reference feelings. “I feel” that this is what it means or “my feeling” is that it was because of this. Feelings are not relevant to truth. Our feelings get in the way all the time. Emotions aside, how can we get to the actual truth and how can be sure that we arrived at the correct conclusions? These are important questions.

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        3. Becky, if I may … you either deliberately missed Ben’s point or you are simply too ensconced in your “faith” to understand and appreciate what he just wrote. Again and again I’ve noticed you simply “ignore” what others have said and repeatedly return to “godly platitudes.”

          This is not defending your beliefs with substance — which is all people like Ben are asking for. It’s simply rote repetition of the Christian creed.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Yes, this has been noted ….. often.
            It is a constant feature of (I’m not really spouting off ) apologetics, from not-really fundamentalists such as Becky and Mel Wild to the (I know more than you about God) types of Glen Scrivener and David Robertson to the (I will not listen to anything you say in any case types) William Lane Craigs’ of the world.

            If they can find an orifice to shove it in they will try.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Speaking from my own experiences — the constant repetition of what “Christianity” means leaves little room for critical thought … which, IMO, is why the people you mentioned are simply unable to think outside the box. Christian teachings are insidious and once accepted into one’s psyche, it’s extremely difficult to remove them. In fact, I would venture to say that for all the bluster of those who became atheists — as opposed to those who were never exposed — there is still a sliver of anxiety way, way down deep.

            Liked by 4 people

          3. In fact, I would venture to say that for all the bluster of those who became atheists — as opposed to those who were never exposed — there is still a sliver of anxiety way, way down deep.

            There’s no residual anxiety here.

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          4. Me neither, Neil. But I do think some who were deep into fundamentalism carry some residual. That particular breed of Christianity reaches VERY deep into the psyche.

            Liked by 2 people

          5. Platitudes must be the word of the day. I just used it in another response of mine to Becky before reading your comment here. I think we may be on to something. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          6. Nan, where does this anxiety come from, though? What could be the root of it?

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          7. ”Jesus is watching you and he …oops, sorry, He knows you are a very naughty girl and if you do not behave and love Jesus he will be sending you to Hell where your soul will burn for ever”.
            Okay, I’m exaggerating. After all, no parent would really tell their child this, of course.

            ”Oops … now wait just a doggone minute there, Mr. Ark …”

            And whether you want to rant and rail against this, wring your hands and cry: ”Oh, Ark, my friend, but this is not Christianity. Jesus was never like this.”
            Becky, oh, yes he f$#”&G was!

            Start by reading the Torah.

            This video – and the book it is promoting are the perfect example of just how sick is the cult that you belong to and wish to promote. At it’s heart it is the essence of Christianity.

            There is NOTHING you can say to justify your religion when it contains stuff like this.
            After all … nowhere is he lying, now is he.

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  10. Yes, I would protect them from that threat of Hell because they didn’t intellectually agree with certain teaching related to the age of the earth. Of course. It would pull them away from the love of God and instill fear. I’ve had this discussion with Gary, also, Ark. I can understand why anyone would be opposed to faith that is toxic and abusive. I am myself. Count me in.

    But, I guess what I don’t understand is how this all gets extrapolated out to any kind of faith or belief in God in general. I mean I’ve actually seen hardened criminals in prison whose lives were completely transformed through faith in Christ. The former slave trader, Newton, fell to his knees in repentance for his past life as a human trafficker and then resisted the slave trade through his faith all his life.

    What about all the good things? I mean, Ark, do you think I’m being harmed in some way?

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    1. So, lack of any sort of evidence to support YEC beliefs.
      On a similar basis, what evidence can you provide to support the claims of the raising of Lazarus and the resurrection of Jesus?
      Again, a straightforward answer will be appreciated.

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    2. “[D]o you think I’m being harmed in some way?”

      Only by deceiving yourself. I don’t believe anyone can truly “love” an immaterial entity. But people can certainly become enamoured of the idea of such a thing, and try to instil these emotions — love; fear — into others.

      Transformation through faith in Christ? Anecdotes have their charm, but we shouldn’t read too much into them. People can transform themselves sans faith in Christ, etc

      Ask yourself this: is it better to live with illusions, or without?

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      1. Chris, if I truly thought the churches witness to the resurrection of Christ was a hoax, I would walk away today. Sure, there’s an element of faith involved either way, but what sane person would want to base their life in a fairy tale.

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    3. Ark, do you think along this line that part of the reason people who are deconverted hang out together on blogs such as The Take Unfolds and other places to reinforce unbelief , speaking out against Christian faith is that they are continually attempting to deprogram themselves in a way. Deep down there is a sliver of doubt and anxiety that if they are wrong God will send them straight down to Hell. You are trying to support and help them to continue to be free and to think rationally. You are hoping to help free others from the clutches of what you’re feeling is a pernicious cult. You care for people and so this is like a calling in your life. Am I understanding?

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      1. Have no idea. You best direct such a question to one or more who have suffered because of Christian indoctrination. I never did.
        I write about it for several reasons.
        I most certainly have no allusions of ”helping free others” as I was never enslaved myself.
        I enjoy the interaction and religion fascinates me, mostly because since blogging I have become aware just how many credulous fools there are who buy into this nonsense.
        Sorry if this sounds harsh, but that’s the way I see it. The cumulative evidence against such beliefs is overwhelming. Therefore for a adult to cling to such nonsense and try to indoctrinate others with it, and also have it as a basis for certain aspects of our society is not only idiotic but in some cases criminal.
        Someone such as Ben has a million times more empathy than I will ever have for one (Christian) such as you, and he is a lot more clued up as well.
        While he can relate on the religious level, I think you are just plain silly.
        Although , being a former cigarette smoker, addicted for thirty years, I can fully understand addiction and the irrationality of defending it.
        Ask any nicotine addict. They will tell you any BS story just to justify their next ‘fix’ (cigarette).
        Eating other animals is defended in a similar way.
        And you do it with your religion –all the time.
        I’ll venture that nothing you write here, and I mean absolutely nothing at all , in it’s defence causes anyone who visits my spot to reconsider their former religious indoctrination.

        I feel tremendous sympathy for children who are poisoned with this garbage, and especially those kids who are raised by the more extreme violent sects.

        And there is the fun of learning new stuff about a topic.
        I’ll venture the average atheist (especially deconverts) knows far more about a religion than the average believer, simply because they are not restrained by doctrine.

        That went a bit sideways!
        The reason I started, as I’ve mentioned before, was because of some background research I did Moses for a fantasy novel I was wrote.
        Once I has discovered that Moses was simply a work of fiction it piqued my curiosity, and so I read the bible.
        Anyhow, that’s pretty much it, for why I continue to write about Christianity.

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  11. Friends, doesn’t the witness of the Christian church relating to Christ and the resurrection precede the Scripture?

    I’m not saying the Bible has no importance, of course not, but the truth is we could actually toss out large swaths of the NT, and still maintain this witness. Not that I’m saying that we should do this by any means. There are actually early Christian confessions/creeds embedded within the text of the NT that many scholars date to just a few years after the crucifixion. People were worshipping and following Christ as Lord long before a single page of the NT was ever penned.

    What I”m meaning to share is that I don’t think it’s necessary for someone to believe every word of Scripture is literally true, dropped down from Heaven for them to come to faith in Christ. It’s witness to Christ as well as the whole witness of the Christian church was sufficient for me.

    I care for my fundamentalist sisters and brothers. Some of them could run circles around me in terms of commitment. I’ve had good friends, quite conservative, who opened their own house to the homeless and ran a food bank out of their home. How many of us would do the same? We have unity in Christ despite our differences.

    But, I just can’t agree with their approach toward the Scripture. And, I’m much more comfortable with ambiguity and “shades of grey” in my faith.

    I know we’ve had this discussion about what constitutes evidence together. From my observation, plenty of evidence has been presented. Tons of apologetic works have been written. But, if folks are looking for something that is absolutely physically irrefutable like Jesus showing up in the bedroom tonight and levitating the sofa, it’s not happening. There’s an element of faith and choice involved regardless of whatever position someone chooses to take.

    None of us were personally standing outside the empty tomb, and then if we were, would we have even believed the evidence of our own eyes??? Many have shared here that even if it were shown that the gospel accounts were one hundred percent historically reliable, still they would not “believe.”

    Ben, I want to say again that I was speaking of a” hill to die on” metaphorically. That is awesome that you are committed to your own family. It’s little wonder there are analogies drawn in Scripture between the love of God and the love of a Father.

    Blessings.

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    1. I know that. Which is why I said:

      “Nothing about your faith is worth dying for. Not literally or metaphorically. Faith based on hearsay and storybooks is not worth giving up the only life we have that is actually guaranteed. When I say give up our lives, it might mean by literally dying or it could simply mean that we waste years of it praying to and following a myth.”

      I know you meant it metaphorically, but I addressed it two ways, both literally and metaphorically. I think maybe you missed that point.

      “It’s little wonder there are analogies drawn in Scripture between the love of God and the love of a Father.”

      There is little wonder indeed. I would absolutely expect a book written by men to have things in it that sound remarkably similar to the lives of the men who wrote it. That, in and of itself, however, is not remarkable. It is what you’d expect when men put into words what they think a god would be like.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Unverified/unsubstantiated claims from a ”book” are not evidence and not worth using as toilet paper.

      None of us were personally standing outside the empty tomb,

      What empty tomb would this be Becky?
      Any evidence?

      Many have shared here that even if it were shown that the gospel accounts were one hundred percent historically reliable, still they would not “believe.”

      Oh, I think you would find they would believe, they just wouldn’t pay such a schmo as your god, Yahweh/Jesus lip service, let alone worship such an arse.

      That is awesome that you are committed to your own family. It’s little wonder there are analogies drawn in Scripture between the love of God and the love of a Father.

      Are you suggesting that Ben is a meglomaniacal genocidal monster who would order his family to build a boat, climb aboard with the family and pets and then drown everyone in the State?
      Come to think about it … yeah, this sounds like Ben.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Appreciate your honesty, Ark. At least we agree about the wisdom of a plant-based diet. I think someday folks will view meat-eating in the same way we look at the use of tobacco today.

    If I might share a personal opinion, I just don’t think spirituality is going away anytime soon, at least for many people. It seems to me that it would be better to at least attempt to find common ground than to simply hurl these diatribes and insults back and forth toward each other. We could all explore one another’s views but then work through those areas where we do find an agreement to make a positive difference in the world. Of course, this is also the social worker in me speaking.

    My heart goes out to people who are living in any kind of bondage and fear for whatever reason. There’s a verse in the Scripture that says, “Perfect love casts out fear.” For me, that says it all in a nutshell.

    Needless to say, we have radically different views of the Christian faith, Ark, to put it mildly. 🙂 But, as I”ve shared I’m sure many other things could be found in common.

    And, I think you’re right about Ben. I sense he is a very empathic and compassionate person.

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    1. We could all explore one another’s views but then work through those areas where we do find an agreement to make a positive difference in the world.

      But you WON’T give up, or even mildly reconsider your pernicious belief, and while you are of a mind to proselytize or be part of an insidious organisation that does, where is there any agreement to be found about religion?

      “Perfect love casts out fear.”
      I don’t believe in perfection but I can appreciate the sentiment. And what about that line even hints at your religion?
      It can be applied without the stain of Christianity tainting it.
      I did notice that , once again, you deftly avoided any direct reference to indoctrinating children with religion.
      Do you realise you do this, or is it some sort of automatic reflex to avoid having to face a direct challenge?
      Let me put it directly then. I’ll make the passage bold so you realise how important it is.

      Why don’t you campaign/write/discuss in any forum you feel comfortable with to stop children being exposed to the effects of religion and allow them as adults to make an informed choice?

      Needless to say, we have radically different views of the Christian faith, Ark, to put it mildly.

      Of course we do. And as has been stated all over the place more times than I can recall every sect of Christianity (and every religion) can’t be right. However, they sure as hell can all be wrong !
      Based on the evidence they most certainly are.

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    2. I just don’t think spirituality is going away anytime soon,

      Perhaps “spirituality” may not die, but RELIGION is an entirely different matter. And the reason RELIGION needs to die is because it is the core and cause of far too much pain and damage in the world-at-large. The “love” that’s supposed to be at its core is rarely demonstrated by the large majority of believers.

      And I agree with Ark about indoctrinating (yes, that’s what it is) religious beliefs into children. I know it’s difficult to get around this in a home that “believes” because it’s so much a part of the parents’ lives.

      But instead of putting toddlers in Sunday School … and sending school-age children to church camps … and making saying “grace” at the dinner table a “rule” … and praying at bedtime … and providing age-appropriate books on Jesus and God … why don’t Christian parents just “be the example.” Kids are curious … they’re going to ask questions … but parents don’t have to temper everything with bible/God/Jesus responses. In other words … let the children make their own decisions. They’re much more capable at it than most parents think …

      Liked by 3 people

        1. I think non theists who are humanists can find tons of common ground in working with Christian believers to alleviate human suffering and work toward social justice. I definitely would agree that Christian parents should not work to blindly indoctrinate their kids or try to instill fear. It’s important that as our children grow they are encouraged to read and think for themselves. But, it doesn’t seem realistic to me to think that any parent will not share their worldview and the things that feel so important in shaping their lives whether they are non-theists or Christians. I would not have an issue with families attending church together.

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          1. I think non theists who are humanists can find tons of common ground in working with Christian believers to alleviate human suffering and work toward social justice

            Sure, why not. Providing no proselytizing went on or prayers or thanking Jesus ever two bloody minutes, or handing out prayer books or damn bibles, I’m cool with that.

            Christian parents should not work to blindly indoctrinate their kids or try to instill fear.

            Almost sidestepping the issue there, Becky. Read Nan’s comment about indoctrination …. carefully and stop pretending you might be unclear in any way or fashion what she is telling you.

            But, it doesn’t seem realistic to me to think that any parent will not share their worldview

            That’s because you are blindly indoctrinated. My mother is a devout Christian but she never foisted her beliefs on us.
            There was no grace at mealtimes, no prayers.
            I did the Sunday School thing for a short while but then left because I told my folks it was boring.

            .

            Liked by 2 people

  13. Nan, I want to add that most committed Christian people I know are very caring people. There are some who are not, and I’ve met some real doozies myself. But, Nan, when I meet folks like this, I generally assume this is not because, but in spite of Christian faith.

    Many of these challenging people tend to be very authoritarian in their temperament and may have personality disorders. There’s a lot that can go into the mix. People can have faith in Jesus Christ with tons of problems. But, in fact, they may be a lot worse apart from God’s grace in their lives.

    Healing and growing in God’s love is a process that takes time over an entire lifetime. Everyone doesn’t start with the same advantages coming from the same place. I mean I’ve worked with some newly come to faith Christian people in prison. They were definitely rough around the edges, but moving in a much, much better direction than before.

    Already know everyone does not see it in this way, but, still I wanted to share a different perspective.

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