Sunday, October 23, 2005

Starlight and the Age of the Universe

"The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church" -- Ferdinand Magellan


Some of my readers believe that the Universe is only a few thousand years old. I've made the following argument informally on some of their blogs, but have never received a satisfactory answer. I would like to know the specific point at which they believe the argument fails.

This argument is not an attempt to refute the day in Genesis = era argument, just a literal, 6000 year-old Universe. Here goes:


Assumptions:

a) The speed of light hasn't changed drastically in the last 6000 years. By this I mean that it did not suddenly decelerate by a factor of 1000 or more in the last 6000 years. (The speed of light in a vacuum is actually a constant.)
b) The Universe was not created with photons placed exactly where they would have been had the Universe been way older.

(Assuming a drastically changing speed of light or a purposefully deceptive Creator would be an ad hoc hypothesis.)



The argument:

1) The Andromeda Galaxy is 2.9 million light-years away.
2) We can see the Andromeda Galaxy.
3) Therefore, the light from Andromeda has been travelling for 2.9 million years minus a little bit for the amount Andromeda has moved away since the light left.
4) Therefore, Andromeda must have existed as it now appears to us at least 2 million years ago.
5) Therefore, the Universe must be older than 2 million years.
6) Therefore, the Universe must be WAY older than 6000 years.

Please note that Andromeda is a close galaxy. I picked it because it is the farthest galaxy visible to the naked eye. The Hubble telescope has seen galaxies believed to be up to 13 billion light-years away.

Andromeda:

63 comments:

CyberKitten said...

Not a bad argument..... It'll be dismissed of course....

dbackdad said...

Personally, I don't even know how one could argue against this. But I agree with cyberkitten that someone will try. You'd probably have to begin by completely disregarding the laws of physics.

Speaking of physics, have you read Universe in a Nutshell, JA? I'm not a complete moron and have taken quite a few college level physics courses, but I can get my noodle twisted pretty good trying to understand string theory. But I love trying anyway.

NG said...

JA, I agree with you, but the theists will just argue that god created light traveling toward earth and made it appear to be coming from Andromeda, just like the same god created dinosaur bones and hid them as fossils in layers of rock. For what purpose? You know, to test us.

On the face of it, this would tend to violate your first assumption, but hey, since when is setting logical rules and holding to them part of the game?

CyberKitten said...

If fossils exist to test our faith... Guess what?

It sure worked with me.....

JC Masterpiece said...

You decide what rules are to be used to prove what you want proven? Who says that your logical rules are the rules? Even if they are the rules than who says that they can't change or that God didn't change them when He chose.

Your assumption is that without the celestial bodies, light cannot and did not exist. In the Biblical account of creation God created light on the first day. He than did not create the sun, moon, and stars until the fourth day at which time He instructed them to rule over (govern, have dominion over, etc) the day and night. Thus the heavenly bodies gave them instruction and direction creating the rules or laws. Thus the present rules were not in existance until after light had been in existance for three days (or if you want to use the era argument, three eras). This goes against your assumptions and presupposition.

Assuming a drastically changing speed of light or a purposefully deceptive Creator would be an ad hoc hypothesis.

Actually, neither of these are ad-hoc by the definition given as it has always been accepted that God has these abilities and this has not been added since. After all the God who created the universe would have no problem controlling, changing, and adjusting His universe. If you want ad-hoc, just look at how the theories of gravity and such have changed over the centuries just to compensate for changes in anomolies.

You assume that natural law is stronger than the one who created the natural law because you cannot change it and you don't have the ability to see how it can change. Which are also assumptions and much more ad-hoc than what has been proposed.

Laura said...

Who says that your logical rules are the rules?

I have to agree with JC here - but not because I disagree with your argument JA, just because I've always maintained that truth and fact depend on how you look at them. If someone insists on believing that there was or wasn't some creator, that is their truth and they'll always find evidence to defend it. Of course, this evidence is only valid for those who share that particular version of truth... thus the conundrum.

Stacey said...

Science does not lie. Science all the way.

CyberKitten said...

Told you that the argument would be dismissed. It's been trumped by the 'God did It' card.

I think we are wasted our combined breaths here............

Jewish Atheist said...

Your assumption is that without the celestial bodies, light cannot and did not exist.

Not precisely. Light could have existed as a result of the Big Bang, for example. However, assuming that light existed in the exact shape of the not-yet-existent Andromeda Galaxy seems pretty silly. I can't disprove it, of course, but it strikes me as absurd.

Speaking of physics, have you read Universe in a Nutshell, JA?

No, the only major lay-physics books I've read are The Elegant Universe and A Brief History of Time.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

What I think is absurd is debating fundamentalists on basic understandings of our world and how we study it.

The fact is that if you don't think the Bible is authoritative then there is no way you would see the world as it is (with modern tools) and come to anywhere near the same conclusions as it does.

The Bible doesn't prove itself, it needs apologeticists to prove for it. That it even _needs_ apologetics to explain it is a major weakness.

Sadie Lou said...

Stacey said...
Science does not lie. Science all the way.

Science, perhaps, doesn't lie--but it changes all the time. What you thought was fact 10 years ago might be debunked by a new "truth". How can one pin truth to one that is susceptable to change?

JA--sorry to disappoint but I'm not very well versed in these kinds of arguements. Not because I don't understand how to process them but because I haven't tried. You have piqued my interest in this argument and I'm going to research it out to my own satisfaction. If this debate hasn't petered out by the time I have an answer, I'll post my findings. I like what JCM said here and also Laura--the rest of these comments were just kind of cheeky.

Jewish Atheist said...

You have piqued my interest in this argument and I'm going to research it out to my own satisfaction.

That's great. :) All I can ask for.

Sometimes when trying to nail down an argument, I make it seem more complicated than it really is. Here's my argument in a nutshell:

We can see stars that are more than 2 million light-years away. Therefore, the Universe must be older than 2 million years.

(A light-year is the distance that light travels in a year, approximately 5,869,000,000,000 miles. By definition, the light from an object that is one light-year away reaches us in one year.)

CyberKitten said...

Sadie Lou said: Science, perhaps, doesn't lie--but it changes all the time. What you thought was fact 10 years ago might be debunked by a new "truth". How can one pin truth to one that is susceptable to change?


That is actualy a great strength of science. Science recognises that knowledge is imperfect and that our understand of the universe evolves as we discover more about it. Such 'shifting sand' can upset some people. Personally I find it exciting.

Question: How can you pin your faith on a 'truth' that stubbonly refuses to change in the face on contradictory evidence?

Stacey said...

Sadie Lou: "How can one pin truth to one that is susceptable to change?"

As fas as I'm concerned, it is much easier to pin truth to those concepts measurable through scientific, provable methods than to take a quantity at face value because it happens to be written in a morality book.

Other than the example JA provided, sophisticated carbon-dating methods have shown for some time now that life has certainly been around much longer than it has been recorded.

I welcome the advances and changes in science because each of those take us a step closer to unlocking the mysteries in our universe.

Sadie Lou said...

cyberkitten--
Then your truth is subjective and not to be trusted. You could go your whole life thinking something was concrete and then die before your concrete belief gets totally thrown out with a new scientific theory. You believed in a guess. Which is fine, since you find that exciting.
I take comfort in the fact that my God never changes and people have been reading the same words of the bible for thousands of years. If all you get out of the bible is that it's a "morality book" then you haven't gotten it at all.
Stacey--
Carbon dating? Please.
Sophisticated? Okay, how do we know the age of a fossil?
By dating the dirt layer it was sitting in. How do we date the dirt it's sitting in?
By the age of the fossils that are in it.
Sounds pretty sophisticated.

CyberKitten said...

Sadie Lou said: Then your truth is subjective and not to be trusted. You could go your whole life thinking something was concrete and then die before your concrete belief gets totally thrown out with a new scientific theory. You believed in a guess. Which is fine, since you find that exciting.

..and your point is?

What we know is indeed our best 'guess', but that's as good as it gets I'm afraid. If you want certainty in your life - don't look to science to provide it. Science just doesn't work that way. Uncertainty I can deal with. Certainty I have a problem with.

Jewish Atheist said...

Carbon dating? Please.
Sophisticated? Okay, how do we know the age of a fossil?
By dating the dirt layer it was sitting in. How do we date the dirt it's sitting in?
By the age of the fossils that are in it.
Sounds pretty sophisticated.


Sadie Lou, I'm trying to be as honest as possible. Carbon dating is real. It's not some wacky atheist myth any more than is the roundness of the Earth. You can read up on it at wikipedia and many other sources both online and off.

The only people disputing carbon dating are Biblical literalists who wrap themselves in the cloak of science. You will find if you look into it that these people flat out lie. They continue to claim things like "Red blood cells and hemoglobin have been found in some (unfossilized!) dinosaur bone" and "Radioactive decay releases helium into the atmosphere, but not much is escaping" despite these statements being not only false, but provably false. If you look at all the Creationist websites which talk about science, they all use the same 4 or 5 arguments, including the ones I mentioned. They really are trying to mislead you.

Sadie Lou said...

cyberkitten--
You made my point for me. I look for certainty and I have found it in the God of the bible.

JA--
I went to a non christian website (www.esd.ornl.gov/projects/qen/nerc.html)
and they said several times that carbon dating is not reliable:
Most information on the past 30,000 years or so is from sites or specimens that have been dated using radiocarbon (14C). However, the radiocarbon age scale that would be calculated from first principles (based on the decay rate of the 14C isotope, assuming that 14C was at the same level of abundance as it is at present) is not always reliable, because there have been fluctuations in the rate of production in 14C at the top of the atmosphere. The problems are particularly great at about 10,000 14C y.a., when a large influx of 14C-depleted carbon from the oceans, combined with a decrease in the rate of 14C production at the top of the atmosphere, gives an 'age plateau' such that the same 14C age covers a wide span of real time, about 1,000 years. Other dating methods (e.g. U/Th) can be used to attempt to check the 'true' age of specimens or sediment layers dated by 14C, although these all have substantial error margins of their own. The most convincing way to check the 14C age scale is through biological or sedimentological features which build up annual layers over long periods of time (e.g. tree rings, and annual layers of sediment building up on lake beds); counting back the annual layers will reveal the true number of years before the present, and comparing the 14C age of each tree ring or sediment layer will give an age scale for how 14C age can be converted into 'real' age. However, even this method is not completely reliable; 'false' double rings can sometimes appear, and occasionally a year may not appear in the record. Because of these problems, individual ring or layer-counting studies often suggest 'real' ages differing from one another by several percent, though they all suggest that the 'real' age is older than the 14C age before about 3,000 years ago. The most recent working consensus (adopted by papers in leading Quaternary journals e.g. Dahl & Nesje 1996) 14C-to-real age conversion scale is given below, but because it is possible that opinions on the appropriate age conversion will change as more data come in, the time slices of the maps are presently described according to a 14C age scale. ...
...It is necessary to bear in mind that quite apart from all the problems of calibration, a significant proportion of radiocarbon dates are not reliable for any purposes, because they have been contaminated with older or younger carbon that changes the apparent age of the sample. Many radiocarbon-dating specialists still refer to their field as 'more an art than as science'! Published radiocarbon dates from sites and layers of fossils and sediments are quite often rescinded, when the materials are found to have been naturally contaminated. Most often the contamination is from older (less 14C-rich) calcium carbonate, coal or charcoal washed in from other layers, making a sample or layer seem older than it actually is. Although radiocarbon dating is a very useful tool for the Quaternary palaeoecologist, it must always be interpreted with caution.

CyberKitten said...

Sadie Lou said: You made my point for me. I look for certainty and I have found it in the God of the bible.

I'm happy for you. But I don't work that way.

Jewish Atheist said...

Sadie Lou: They're not talking about the same kind of unreliable that you are. They mean the measurements can sometimes be off by up to 1000 years, not that the whole thing is so erroneous that the world could be 6000 years old.

Sadie Lou said...

Well, I did some research, mostly doing reads on material that suggested the world is much older than 6000 years so that I could better understand your arguement.
The best answer I can come up with is that the Lord created a mature galaxy and then created earth. It's the only answer I can come up with right now because you can't disprove it. :)
Everything else here on earth is disputed because of conlicting scientific data: all of our dating techniques have flaws. God's word, in my opinion, is flawless--so as far as distant starlight goes--the answer is in God's will to create a mature galaxy.

Jewish Atheist said...

It's the only answer I can come up with right now because you can't disprove it. :)

Is that really the only standard you want to hold your beliefs to? :)

Stacey said...

Existence is not dictated merely because something can't be disproved.

And JA is correct about carbon dating and its margins of error.

Sadie Lou said...

JA--
Now you're just being catty. *sticking my tongue out at you*
You know that's not a standard I hold my beliefs up to--I was being coy.
It's a dang good answer and the fact that you don't have some dime store website to conjure up to refute it, makes me happy for time being.
I shouldn't have been so careless with my humor--next time I'll throw up a smiley face like you did, so you know when I'm being cheeky.
Like now. :)

Jack's Shack said...

I believe in G-d and have no problem with the scientific age of the universe. I don't think of the days in the creation story as being literal 24 hour days in length.

It works for me.

Sadie Lou said...

G-d?

Jewish Atheist said...

Now you're just being catty.

Hey, I used a smiley, too. :)

I can't pull up a "dime store" website to refute your theory because it is not falsifiable. God could have created the Universe 3 minutes ago and I couldn't disprove that. The question is, why would I believe it, when there are so many more plausible scenarios? Is it really just because the Bible says so? How do you know it's being literal? Do you think that a donkey really talked? And the snake? That God actually stopped the sun in the sky for Abraham (or whoever it was?)

G-d?

It's a Jewish thing. Lots of Jews don't spell out "God" because of the prohibition on using God's name.

Sadie Lou said...

Lots of Jews don't spell out "God" because of the prohibition on using God's name.

Oh. Where did they get that information on the prohibition?

...and in response, yes--I take the Bible at it's word. Question:
Couldn't God have created earth in a mature universe? I mean, isn't that a satisfactory answer? I don't see what is so fantasticly absurd about that? It's not like I suggested he created everything 3 minutes ago...

CyberKitten said...

Sadie Lou said: I take the Bible at it's word.

Do you mean that you think the Bible contains no errors or contradictions?

Jewish Atheist said...

Oh. Where did they get that information on the prohibition?

I suppose it's their interpretation of Exodus 20:7. "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain"

Couldn't God have created earth in a mature universe? I mean, isn't that a satisfactory answer?

He could have, sure. But why make it look older? If we're going to assume that God is willing to make appearances deceptive on that scale, then we can't believe anything we see or measure. When I see something that is obviously old, I assume it is old, not that someone is trying to make me believe it's old when it's really not. In my opinion, your answer is akin to the answer that God planted the dinosaur bones in the Earth even though there were never live dinosaurs. I can't disprove it, but it seems pretty silly.

CyberKitten said...

JA said: In my opinion, your answer is akin to the answer that God planted the dinosaur bones in the Earth even though there were never live dinosaurs. I can't disprove it, but it seems pretty silly.

It's also a very handy way of getting out of any difficult argument. Whatever counter argument you come up with there's always the fallback of 'God did it' or 'God made it that way to test the faithful'

At which point I normally smile politely & leave....

Sadie Lou said...

I never said God planted dinosaur bones to deceive us--that's a stupid idea.

and yes, error free no contradictions.

CyberKitten said...

Sadie Lou said: and yes, error free no contradictions.

Wow... that's impressive.

Colour me Impressed.....

Stacey said...

I could write a book about the contradictions both in the Torah and in what is referred to as the New Testament but I am at work and just don't have the time.

I don't mean disrespect, Sadie Lou, but the contradictions are everywhere.

Jack's Shack said...

Sadie Lou,

Don't mean to be a jerk, but I am curious. Are you able to read the bible in any language other than English?

Sadie Lou said...

I don't mean disrespect, Sadie Lou, but the contradictions are everywhere.

When you've got the time, I'd love to see them. It's not like I'm gonna read any of them and get all defensive--I'm genuinely curious.
If it's gonna be a list like this:
God good to some or few?
The sins of the father?
Eye for an eye?

or differences in the four gospels--I'm not interested. I've heard enough apologetics debates to be totally bored with them. I want to hear something freah and original. Not something I can so easily defend or something that only believers truly get.

Sadie Lou said...

Sadie Lou,

Don't mean to be a jerk, but I am curious. Are you able to read the bible in any language other than English?


My husband and I use a Hebrew & Greek translation guide whenever we are doing a Bible study or topical study but as far as being fluent in any other language--no. I also don't translate the Bible all by myself all the time: I have several sources that I use as a "checks and balances" of sorts.
Why?

Anonymous said...

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/5599/hpq/hpq.html

Eric said...

oops, didn't mean to be anonymous. I'm not gonna debate the issue, but Sadie did ask for a list of adequately challenging questions, and these might server her well.

The questionare:
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/5599/hpq/hpq.html

Stacey said...

The bible is laden with contradictions. Frankly, I don't see how you can so easily discount them.


Is it folly to be wise or not?

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

1 Cor.1:19: "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."


Who is the father of Joseph?

Jacob, according to Matthew, or Heli, according to Luke? That Jesus had two paternal grandfathers suggests that gay marriage is older than anyone thought.

MAT 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

LUK 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.


Did Jesus come to bring peace?

According to John, he came to give us peace; according to Matthew, he came to give us war.

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you."

Matthew 10:34 "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."


What did Jesus say about family values? Does what Jesus said agree with the OT?

Luke 14:26 "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."

Exodus 20:12 "Honour thy father and thy mother."

Sadie Lou said...

Stacey, I don't have time for things being taken out of context to make a contradiction. The only valid one you have there is the age old question of Joesph's father which is easily explained by Luke being concerned with actual geneology and Matthew being more concerned with showing Jesus to be from the lineage of David. There were many cases in which sons were "adopted" and treated as sons when a widow permitted it and the man of a household requested it.
You have taken the word "peace" totally out of context. Peace as in war time "I bring you peace" or peace as in "I give you peace?"
those are not in contradiction as they have separate contextual meanings and audience. Same with wisdom. Same with your example of family values.
Jesus is showing that your parents might advise you to not follow Christ, in which case, you'd have to "hate" your family.
Honoring thy mother and father in obedience is not the same thing when it concerns your very salvation.

Jack's Shack said...

Sadie Lou,

The reason I asked was really based on my own curiosity. Because if you cannot understand the original tongue of the bible you are forced to rely on someone elses translation which may not always be accurate.

Problems with translation are part of how Michelangelo sculpted Moses with horns and why The Reed Sea was translated as the Red Sea.

Stacey said...

You mention that one of the contradictions is "valid". However minor that one contradiction may be, "Perfect", "Inspired" books, by definition, should not have even the smallest defect. In this particular case, the lineage of Jesus is critical to his messianic claims. One would think that the genealogy of the "Savior of the World" would be one of the best documented, well established facts in all history, particularly in a "Perfect" book.

As one digs deeper into Matthew 1's genealogy, one discovers more disturbing facts: all 3 women mentioned were prostitutes according to the OT, and several generations were skipped (Joash, Amaziah, Azariah, and Jehoiakim) as detailed in 1st Chronicles 3:11-15, among other places. Matthew was trying to preserve his numerological scheme of 3 groups of 14 generations (3 times 14 = 42 generations in all), as he himself writes in Matthew 1:17, EVEN THOUGH he only gives 41 generation in the list from verses 1-16. To summarize, this creates two more errors: 41 vs. 42, and 4 generations skipped, all in the name of Matthew's willful omissions or honest mistakes. Small defects, but perfect books should have NO defects, large or small. You said so yourself.

Notice also that this is not "out of context" in that it considers the Old Testament lists as well as Luke's lists as well as Matthew's own erroneous statement about his own erroneous list.

Even Paul, in 1 Timothy, doubted this:

1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

Paul seems here to credit faith in God, rather than an idolatrous reverence for an obviously flawed book, as the core of the faith.

This ought to be more than enough to squash the notion that the Bible is somehow "perfect". Only God is perfect. But let's consider the other contradictions in a bit more detail to see if they have any significance to modern believers.

Secondly, the family values quotes are hardly taken out of context: the choice is between honoring one's parents by adhering to the family faith, or hating and abandoning them to follow Jesus. The context is huge: in over two dozen places in the Gospels, Jesus shows his contempt for biological families, and NEVER does he give his approval to any biological ties. In fact, Jesus teaches family hatred a lot more times than he mentioned salvation. His only "kinfolk" were those who believed in him, NOT those who were related to him. Jesus never told his mom "I love you" - at the beginning of the Gospel of John he responds to her with irritation during the wedding at Cana, and as he died on the cross he assigned care of his mother to John, NOT the male and female relatives of his mother who were standing nearby.

This is no trivial issue, especially considering the spread of "Family Values" churches throughout the land. However nice and sweet such places might be, they are totally bereft of any of Jesus' teachings regarding the value of one's relatives.

Thirdly, trying to reconcile the "Prince of Peace" with the "sword" is an exercise in futility, and it does not surprise me that a true believer would duck the question rather than engage it honestly. What is the point of bringing personal peace if everyone is fighting personal wars? Here is the larger passage from Matthew, which speaks BOTH to family values and personal peace:

10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

10:36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Just to be clear: a man at variance with his father is NOT honoring his father, and a daughter at variance against her mother is NOT honoring her Mother. And neither will have much peace at all.

Now, the excuse about "intended for separate audiences" is more than just silly - it is blasphemous, in that it assumes that God would tell different things to different groups of people and different times. The messages from an eternal, changeless God should be consistent throughout all time and space - but they CAN'T be if the bible is correct. The idea that god would say "honor your parents" to one generation of Jews, and "HATE your parents" to a different generation of Jews, is just downright Satanic: one expects such tricks, traps and temptations from demons, not the divine.

Fourthly, the status of knowledge, wisdom and education is greatly honored in Judaism (OT), and completely dismissed as dangerous folly in the NT. This is hardly a trivial point - apparently, we are told to abandon reason in order to follow Jesus. Given many large and critical errors and contradictions in the NT, this loss of reason may be the ONLY way religions based on the NT can survive critical inquiry - by rejecting it.

Believers "don't have time" for critical thought. They have "secret understandings" that nonbelievers "cannot comprehend". These and other lame excuses become barriers to reason and a willful blindness to the facts of the bible and the real world.

In the novel 1984, Orwell termed the ability to hold two contradictory thoughts as both true as "Doublethink", a critical skill for anyone who wanted to survive the lies told to support a totalitarian state. Here's a simple example - like Jonas in the great fish (Old Testament) or Jonas in the whale (New Testament), Jesus said he would spend 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb before the resurrection. Crucified on Friday Afternoon, Jesus was buried Friday evening and arose Sunday Morning at or before dawn. That is about 36 hours - one 24 hour day and a half, compared to the 72 hours it takes for 3 days and 3 nights to pass. 3 days and nights after Friday evening is Monday evening, NOT Sunday at dawn. Another simple error, unthinkable to someone who has the wits to realize that 36 is not equal to 72. Yet, a believer "doesn't have time" to think about simple mistakes like this one.

JC Masterpiece said...

Wow, i'm out of contact for the most part for a couple of days and everything gets really out of hand! Well i guess i had better just jump right in.

all 3 women mentioned were prostitutes according to the OT

Oh my goodness, you are so right! One of the 4 women mentioned was a prostitute by trade! Another acted as a prostitute to extend her husband's family because her father in law wouldn't do the right thing. One was a woman of Moab and by no means a prostitute. And one was the wife of one man who's king called her to his bed and since she did not have much of a choice was required to sleep with him. What a revelation! You must be so proud! Yes Rahab was a prostitute which shows that not even prostitutes are beyond redemption. That God can use the just and the unjust.

several generations were skipped
That would be correct. In Matthew Henrey's Commentary of the Bible he states this:
"In the pedigree of the kings of Judah, between Joram and Ozias (Mat 1:8), there are three left out, namely, Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah; and therefore when it is said, Joram begat Ozias, it is meant, according to the usage of the Hebrew tongue, that Ozias was lineally descended from him, as it is said to Hezekiah that the sons which he should beget should be carried to Babylon, whereas they were removed several generations from him. It was not through mistake or forgetfulness that these three were omitted, but, probably, they were omitted in the genealogical tables that the evangelist consulted, which yet were admitted as authentic. Some give this reason for it: - It being Matthew's design, for the sake of memory, to reduce the number of Christ's ancestors to three fourteens, it was requisite that in this period three should be left out, and none more fit than they who were the immediate progeny of cursed Athaliah, who introduced the idolatry of Ahab into the house of David, for which this brand is set upon the family and the iniquity thus visited to the third and fourth generation. Two of these three were apostates; and such God commonly sets a mark of his displeasure upon in this world: they all three had their heads brought to the grave with blood."

Also, as for the 3 14's, Matthew never said that it was 42 generations. He states 3 generations of 14. David is listed as the last in the generations from Abraham to David and first in the generations listed from David to the end of the reign of the kings. The listings of 3 14's are used as a memory tool to help people remember and keep track of this geneology not as some sort of proof. David's importance was what gave him the distinct honor of being in two lists.

Notice also that this is not "out of context" in that it considers the Old Testament lists as well as Luke's lists as well as Matthew's own erroneous statement about his own erroneous list
As for the difference in Matthew's and Luke's lists, it has long been accepted (since the first or second century if i remember correctly) that Matthew's list refers to the geneology of Joseph while Luke's list refers to the geneology of Mary, who being not of the same father has a geneology that while is parallel in many ways is not exactly the same as Joseph's.

1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
Paul criticizes genealogies for the sake of genealogies or the building up of one man over another. However the genealogies in Matthew and Luke are put into place to show the fulfillment of prophecy. That Jesus is a son of Abraham as well as of the line of David. They are not ministering questions rather they are godly edifying and building the faith.

JC Masterpiece said...

I decided to make this two comments so as to make the length a bit more bearable. So here's the second part.

Jesus shows his contempt for biological families
...that place the family ties over Himself. Our relationship with Him is more important than our relationships with our families. Just ask any former Muslim that has come to the saving knowledge of Christ at the cost of rejection from his family and society. Those who reject Christ for the sake of their families are still lost.

Jesus never told his mom "I love you"
Just because it is not mentioned in the gospels does not mean that it did not happen.
Also the culture then is extremely different than our great and grand screwed up culture of today. For all we know it may not have been proper for a son to make such comments to his mother.

he responds to her with irritation during the wedding at Cana
Correct, because it was not yet time for Him to present Himself to the world and she was putting Him in a position to do that.

and as he died on the cross he assigned care of his mother to John, NOT the male and female relatives of his mother who were standing nearby.
Yes because He was putting her in the care of one man He knew He could trust.

He is the Prince of Peace and yet He has come to bring the sword. By the way, as a way of clarification the passages you are using in this section are in Matthew. You did not specify that so i thought it might be good to. Matthew 10:34-37 is a passage that comes in the middle of Christ referring to trusting in God and that He cares for us and not to fear those who would kill the body, and that those who follow Him are to take up their crosses and follow Him.

Christ talks quite a bit about peace as well.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 16:33 I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.
Also, in numerous places He tells people to go in peace, to have peace, and to be at peace. He gives personal peace thus He is the Prince of Peace. At the same time as you have noted in Matthew 10:34 He says "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." He came to bring the sword to the earth, but peace to man.

In Matthew 10 Christ sends his disciples out to cast out unclean spirits. In verse 16 He talks about sending them out as sheep to wolves. Ephesians 6 talks about our warfare being supernatural. Thus we are soldiers fighting a battle yet He gives us peace. Matthew 10 is probably the best chapter to look at convergence of these two concepts. He comes to bring the sword, yet He gives peace. Thus reconciliating these two concepts is rather simple and not an exercise in futility as stacey seems to want us to believe.

God calls us to honor our father's and mothers and this is portrayed numerous times in Christ's life, one example as stacey has mentioned before, Christ honored His mother by putting her into the care of a man that He trusted far above most others. However if a man places his family before Him, than that man is placing the god of family above Christ thus rejecting the first and most important commandment. There will be times when a family rejects a member due to their acceptance of Christ. In that case Christ brings division and it must be so.

As for wisdom and understanding, there is wisdom from God, and the wisdom of the world. The wisdom of the world would say money, power, and security are most important seek those. The wisdom of God says give to the poor and needy and seek My will. The wisdom of God is folly to the wisdom of the world. Those of the world could never understand the wisdom of God. Solomon in the OT sought the wisdom of God. What he wrote in Proverbs and Ecclesiasties was God sought wisdom and understanding. There is no conflict between the OT and NT here. The wisdom of man seeks to puff himself up. The wisdom of God seeks something more than the self and selfish pride. The wisdom of God is and always will be folly to the wisdom of the world.

In the novel 1984, Orwell termed the ability to hold two contradictory thoughts as both true as "Doublethink", a critical skill for anyone who wanted to survive the lies told to support a totalitarian state.
And what those in todays society call eastern philosophy or relative truth. Thank you for that comment. It is only too true. Unfortunately it does not fit your argument as has rather easily been proven.

Sadie Lou said...

Those were excellent responses JC Masterpiece. I'm curious as to the opposition's rebuttle.

Stacey said...

The prostitutes in the lineage of Jesus. We appear to agree that Rahab (Rachab in Matthew) was a prostitute, and that Tamar (Thamar) “pretended” to be one – she dressed as one, had sex like one, and got paid for her trouble. Given that “getting paid or being sold in exchange for sex” is one definition of “prostitute”, I’d say that made Tamar a whore – a one-time whore, perhaps, but still technically a whore, regardless of her motivation, justification or righteousness – and Genesis 38:24 calls her a harlot and a whore, as do I:

Genesis 38:24 And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.

That makes two whores, Rahab and Tamar. But what about Ruth? She seduced Boaz (Booz) and was paid 6 measures of barley for her trouble. (Ruth Chapter 3). Later, Boaz purchases her as a wife. (Chapter 4). In both cases, Ruth was either paid for sex, or was sold for sex – so, she was a whore as well. Marrying does not nullify her status as a prostitute; whores marry their johns all the time, and besides, Ruth and Boaz were not married the first time he banged her.

So that makes three whores. The unnamed 4th woman mentioned in Matthew’s lineage of Jesus is “her that had been the wife of Urias” – most likely Bathsheba. Although there is no record of Bathsheba being as prostitute, she was hardly a virtuous woman - she bathed naked in front of David and committed adultery with David. Her faithlessness led to the murder of Urias her husband, the death of her newborn, and a series of rapes of innocent women. And, as YOU say, just because the bible doesn’t say something doesn’t mean it is not true – Bathsheba might well have been a whore as well, given that her character was hardly sterling

Final score: three named, documented whores and one unnamed, documented vile adulteress (and possible whore). Hardly a ringing endorsement of family values.

There were other documented whores in Jesus’ lineage, but since they are not mentioned directly or indirectly in Matthew, they are beyond the purview of my original claim.

Now, it is nice that even whores can be forgiven, but how does that deter whoredom? I mean, isn’t it a moral error to laud sinners – even penitent ones? Infinite forgiveness legalizes all crimes and all sins, and so represents grave moral error. Only unavoidable punishment has any hope of deterring sin.

Re: the skipped and miscounted generations. Perfect books do not skip details; nor do they double-count an entry (David) to fudge their totals. Imprecision is imperfection: it doesn’t matter if we can explain the error; an explained error is still an error. If Matthew was working from a flawed source, then he produced a flawed result: an imperfection in a bible touted as perfect. That just doesn’t wash, and the “perfect” claim is demolished.

The “accepted” explanation that Luke’s genealogy is that of Mary (and not Joseph) quite conveniently ignores the fact that the genealogy of Luke 3:23-38 does not mention Mary at all, but rather, Joseph! In other words, it is “accepted” that Luke’s genealogy is flawed! A flaw in the bible means the bible is not perfect, and again, the “perfect” claim is demolished.

As for Athaliah and her omitted progeny. First, add Athaliah to the list of dubious women in Jesus’ lineage – five so far, and I know of a lot more. Second, According to 2 Kings 12, Joash (Jehoash) “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord” during his 40 year reign, and his son Amaziah “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord” (14:3) during his 29 year reign. So, to recap: Good Kings Joash and Amaziah were OMITTED despite their 69 years of righteous rule.

“I love you, Mom.” If the supposed God of Love can’t even show his love for his own mom, something seems rather amiss. Or, that it might have somehow been unseemly in that culture to express such feelings (even though Naomi and Ruth “cleaved” together in Ruth 1:14-17 [became one flesh] like a married hetero couple, and Jonathan and David loved each other more than they loved women [2 Samuel 1:26]). I mean, when those depicted in the bible expressed same-sex love so openly, it strains belief that expressing love of one’s mom would be forbidden.

To be a follower of Jesus, one had to sell all one had, and give it to the poor. Thus, when Jesus gave his mother to John, not only did he disrespect biological family ties, but also, he condemned her to starve and die in penury.

Quite simply, Jesus said “hate and abandon your family, and follow me”. This is zero-tolerance for families: He did not allow even a single backward glance at the loved ones left behind. Consider Luke 9:61-62: And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

The many wisdoms. The idea that the wisdom and understanding of man is totally different from the wisdom and understanding of god is just silly. If God hated power, then why is he all-powerful? Money is just another form of power, after all – is your claim that God is poor? Is God not secure in his power? Power, money, and security – God has it all, and doesn’t seem ready to abandon any of it. If God really does hate power, money, and security, then God should toss it all away and become weak, poor, and victimized. On the other hand, humans give generously to the poor, even when that giving costs the givers power, money, and security.

Doublethink is quite different from relative truth, but it is bedtime for me so I won't get into that now.

JC Masterpiece said...

Wow, for having such a pretty picture to identify yourself, you seem to be a pretty bitter person.

As a quick start:
she dressed as one, had sex like one, and got paid for her trouble.

She was paid not with money or anything of any real value to anyone but her father in law. Even her father in law recognized that she had done the right thing. What you states, as many of the things you have, takes the concept directly out of context.

Jack's Shack said...

Wow, for having such a pretty picture to identify yourself, you seem to be a pretty bitter person.

That doesn't have anything to do with the discussion, does it. Or are you running out of excuses.

Stacey said...

I am not bitter at all - merely thorough and uncompromising in reviewing those parts of the "perfect" bible that have factual error, internal
contradictions, logical error, scientific absurdities, and moral
failure.

Besides, why are you worried about my attitude? By persecuting you, I
am rewarding you with no less than the kingdom of heaven and a great
reward, according to Matthew 5:10-12:

"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before
you."

You should be dancing for joy at my punishing refutation of your
erroneous beliefs, since you will reap a great reward for it. Only if I FAILED to persecute you, denying you your great reward, should you grow depressed.

Now, I'm not really following the "falsely" part, in that I strive to be scrupulously honest, truthful, and factually sound in all my writings.

For the most part my arguments are nothing more than the plain language of the scriptures themselves. When I offer non-scriptural speculation,
I say that clearly, unlike you, since you have never admitted that the genealogy of Luke says "Joseph" instead of "Mary".

As for the whore Tamar: Tamar asked for compensation (Genesis 38:16) and was promised a baby goat (kid) (38:17) for the act, and was given collateral in the form of a signet (ring), bracelets, and a staff
(38:18). That she bargained for sex made her a whore, even if the
promised payment failed for whatever reason. A modern whore who asks for money for sex from an undercover policeman will be arrested as a prostitute immediately, before and regardless of whether the sex or a
payment occurs. Tamar became a true whore the moment she asked for
payment.

Stacey said...

Some more thoughts on this thread…

Items on earth are most reliably dated with radioactive decay/isotope measurements. Radioactive Carbon 14 dating is just one example of this.

A recent breakthrough (http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20010825/note14.asp) using the ratio of hafnium 177 to hafnium 176 in crystals of zircon indicates that the Earth’s crust formed about 4.3 billion years ago. That is 4,299,993,991 years older than the 6009 years of the bible.

Proponents of “Young Earth” (6000 years or so) have generally been reduced to saying that God faked the evidence in the physical universe to test our faith, or whatever. At the same time, they claim that God hates falsehoods and that the Bible is 100% accurate.

So, in other words, God’s deception in the observable universe about the age of the universe is so vast that he must have created billions of years of false starlight, fossils, and radioactive decay evidence in order to mislead and fool scientists and serious thinkers – and yet, we hear, that God never lies?

This makes no cognitive sense in the real world.

Now, why should we trust scientific evidence instead of religious dogma?

First, there is the question of honesty. In the scientific world, testing and verification is paramount, and understanding is allowed to change, grow, and deepen as new information becomes available. In the religious world, testing and verification is forbidden, error is never admitted despite overwhelming evidence, and change in the face of new information is glacially slow. It took the Catholics 360 years (until 1992) to apologize to Galileo for punishing him for his ideas about the Earth NOT being stationary at the center of the universe. One cannot trust religious teachings simply because religions cannot admit their own errors. One can trust that science is more current and accurate in its understanding than religion, and that science continues to review and improve its findings.

Second, there is the question of integrity as it is expressed in self-regulation when malfeasance occurs. Occasionally, a dishonest scientist is detected by the scientific community. Immediately, that scientist is disfellowshiped from the scientific community, and his life work is painstakingly reviewed and discarded piece-by-piece if found false. On the other hand, a child-molesting minister or priest is shielded by the church for decades while his crimes continue. Thus, the scientific review process has a much higher integrity than that of religion.

Third, there is the question of Authority: general scientific authority is universal, whereas religious authority is fractured across thousands of warring sects. There is no “Jewish Science” or “Catholic Science” – scientific truth is true for all, whereas religious dogma is “true” only for credulous believers who accept an unproven version of it without question.

Fourth, there is the question of God: what is God? No coherent explanation of God exists, because no one can agree on what the term “God” really means. Science does not deal in incoherence and imaginary beings, only that which can be observed, studied, explained, and tested.

Fifth, there is the question of reliable predictions. During the 17th and 18th centuries, lightning strikes were believed to come from God, so during thunderstorms, bell-ringers rang church bells so that God would know not to strike the steeples. Of course, hundreds of bell-ringers perished from lightning strikes, because tall structures like steeples are the most likely places for lightning to strike. Once science explained lightning as an electrical discharge and lightning rods were installed on churches, bell-ringers stopped getting electrocuted.

Likewise, when the church in the Middle Ages taught that cats were in league with the devil, millions of cats were slaughtered across Europe. This allowed rats carrying fleas carrying the black plague to spread across Europe, and 2/3 of the human population perished. Science, not religion, figured this out, and devised medicines that heal millions more than prayer can – and those cats turned out to be not so bad after all.

Sixth – the modern church, in its teachings, seems to have little or no interest in the actual teachings in the Bible. Here are some examples:

A – Persecution - Despite being the dominant religion, the modern church whines and moans all the time that it is “under attack / persecution”. Just last year Christians were whining that the inclusive phrase “Happy Holidays” was a slap against Christians. But, as I said before, Jesus taught that suffering persecution was a blessing and would be rewarded – so, why all the whining? I can only conclude that modern Christians have rejected that teaching of Jesus.

B. – Family Values - Jesus hated families, and yet, “family values” is the modern-day selling point of Christianity. I can only conclude that modern Christians have rejected that teaching of Jesus.

C. – Public Prayer – Jesus hated public prayer and called people who pray in public hypocrites. He also told his followers to pray in private. Modern Christians, on the other hand, go nuts in their efforts to enforce public prayer in schools, athletic contests, government meetings, Pledges of Allegiance, and even currency – just like the hypocrites that Jesus so detested. I can only conclude that modern Christians have rejected that teaching of Jesus.

D - Health care – Jesus healed people right and left, saint and sinner alike, yet modern Christians oppose all forms of public healthcare, including health insurance and treatment for gay people and poor women, as well as health research using stem cells and other promising treatments. I can only conclude that modern Christians have rejected that teaching of Jesus.

E. - Salvation of Women – In only one place in the bible does it say that women are eligible for salvation. 1 Timothy 2:15 says that women are saved through childbearing, if those children turn out to be good. And yet, the modern church teaches that women are coequal to men in terms of salvation, and that they need not give birth to be saved. I can only conclude that modern Christians have rejected that teaching of the Bible.

F. - Speaking in church, braided hair and wearing gold. - 1 Timothy 2:9-11 forbids women to wear gold, braid their hair, or speak in church, and yet, go into any church today and almost every woman will be breaking one or more of these rules. I can only conclude that modern Christians have rejected that teaching of the Bible.

Until Modern Christians start adhering to their own “perfect” teachings and taking them seriously, they should not expect doubters to take them seriously, either.

JC Masterpiece said...

Genesis 38:24 calls her a harlot and a whore, as do I
In Genesis 38:24 she is accused of being a whore. Two verses later Genesis 38:26 says "And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She has been more righteous than I have, because I did not give her to my son Shelah. And he never knew her again."

Ruth was either paid for sex, or was sold for sex
Ruth 3:4-6 "And when he lies down, you mark the place where he lies, and you shall go in and uncover his feet and lie down. And he will tell you what you shall do.
And she said to her, All that you say, I will do.
And she went down to the grain floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law had told her."
Nowhere is it even implied that she seduced and had sex with him. Any semblence that this text says anything of the sort is not as you say when you say my arguments are nothing more than the plain language of the scriptures themselves. When I offer non-scriptural speculation,
I say that clearly


Sorry i can't finish this rebuttal now, screaming kids and other family emergencies take precidence.

karen l. said...

To the person who claimed that she believes the Bible is literal and exactly the truth,
I think her name is Sara Lou,

If the Bible is literal, then how did Noah manage to get the animals from Australia and Antactica into the Ark? It would have taken him more than 40 days and 40 nights to get there and back to get all thos critters on board.

JC Masterpiece said...

Well, i'm back, at least for a short bit. I really need to get to sleep at a decent hour so i won't be able to deal with every problem posed, but i will try to start back at the top.

Given that “getting paid or being sold in exchange for sex” is one definition of “prostitute”, I’d say that made Tamar a whore
She was obviously not interested in payment for payment sake. As you mentioned later she asked what she would get for payment. When he offered a kid she asked for a pledge. After the act she did not wait around for the real payment as she had not done what she had done for the payment, but rather she had done it to extend the line of her husband as was necessary.
When her father in law recognized this he did not criticise her, treat her as an outcast, or have her killed as he rightfully would have done if she had been a prostitute. Instead he acknowledged that she had been more righteous than he, hardly a statement to be made of a prostitute in that day in age.

Ruth was either paid for sex, or was sold for sex
Ruth and Boaz were not married the first time he banged her.

First, as was mentioned above, there is not even a hint that she had sex with Boaz in the text. Any attempt to make that the case is beyond mere speculation.
Second, since when is marriage merely being sold for sex? If that were the case she would have been considered a concubine and not a wife as Boaz states in Ruth 4:10 "And also Ruth of Moab, the wife of Mahlon, I have purchased to be my wife"

she bathed naked in front of David and committed adultery with David.
II Samuel 11:2 "And it happened one evening, David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house.
A woman decides to take a bath in the evening, out on the privacy of her own roof, after bedtime. This was not some woman taking a bath in the middle of the day for everyone to see. She was taking her bath in the evening when most people had gone to bed. David, who was supposed to be out to war with the other men, was instead at home being a peeping tom. He commands that this woman be brought to him. He, as the king whose orders are law, lay with her.
No where in the text is she ever criticised for her actions. Never is she punished, nor is it ever apparent anywhere that God places any guilt of the sin on her. Yet you do, and quite venimently at that. Why is that?

Every one of your "speculations" about these women, besides Rahab of course, either takes the scripture completely out of context, or is pure speculation that is easily and logically argued away. Yet you say "For the most part my arguments are nothing more than the plain language of the scriptures themselves. When I offer non-scriptural speculation, I say that clearly"

Well, that's it for now. I have to get to bed. The 6 month old and 2 year old will be up first thing and they are alarm clocks that i can't ignore, turn off, or hit the snooze. So i will have to deal with the rest of this later.

JC Masterpiece said...

Perfect books do not skip details; nor do they double-count an entry (David) to fudge their totals.

You assume that Matthew was intending to make a "perfect" geneology. That does not appear to be the case. It seems that he was attempting to break the geneologies down to create an easily remembered system. Every Jewish child would have been expected to have known the Torah and the lineage of Israel through the kings. Thus any missing links in the geneology would have been seen and understood by the origional intended readers. Thus the system was more likely intended as a memory device so that the readers could understand how it all falls into place.

The “accepted” explanation that Luke’s genealogy is that of Mary (and not Joseph) quite conveniently ignores the fact that the genealogy of Luke 3:23-38 does not mention Mary at all, but rather, Joseph! In other words, it is “accepted” that Luke’s genealogy is flawed!
Every commentator that i have read on this passage seem to all agree on a couple of things.
1) As a rule, women's names were not a part of the listed generations in a geneology. The generations were listed through the man's name. Obviously, Matthew is one example of an exception to that rule, but even he only lists certain significant women and only as a descriptor of the generation and not the representative of that generation.
Thus it was to be expected that Joseph's name would take the place of Mary's.
2) Heli, Mary's father adopted Joseph thus he became his son, thus he can be considered Heli's son even though the geneology is, and has been considered since the first century to be Mary's geneology.

If the supposed God of Love can’t even show his love for his own mom
In talking to you, i often feel this sense of deja vu. I do believe that i have mentioned before that one very obvious way that Christ shows His love for His mother is that when He died, He left His care for her in the hands of one of His most trusted disciples. First of all, He cares enough about His mother that He makes it a point to make sure that she is cared for, and secondly He doesn't leave her in the care of just anyone, but rather in the care of one of the people that He trusted more than anyone else. But evidently, you don't see this as love.
Also, these gospels were not written for the purpose of explaining how Christ loved His mother. Since that was not a focus, it isn't obviously expressed.

Or, that it might have somehow been unseemly in that culture to express such feelings (even though Naomi and Ruth “cleaved” together in Ruth 1:14-17 [became one flesh] like a married hetero couple
Stacey, at times it seems like you actually do some research and do have some understanding (albeit a very distorted understanding) of the Bible, but then others (such as here) it is pretty obvious that you are pulling things out of thin air.
I believe it is Ruth 1:14 that you are referring to since it is the only verse in this passage that could even be misconstrued this way. The verse (in the KJV as it is the version that uses cleaved) says;
"And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth cleaved unto her."
The word for cleaved in this verse as explained in the Strongs Concordance is:
H1692 דּבק - dâbaq - daw-bak'
A primitive root; properly to impinge, that is, cling or adhere; figuratively to catch by pursuit: - abide, fast, cleave (fast together), follow close (hard, after), be joined (together), keep (fast), overtake, pursue hard, stick, take.

There is no sexual connotation even implied here. To state that this shows that Ruth and Naomi had sexual relations would be parallel to saying the a scared child that runs to and clings to their parent's legs in the presence of a stranger is actually having sexual relations with that parent. It is simply and entirely absurd and shows a complete lack of understanding or even semblance of correct representation of the text. It is quite simply rediculous.

Does anyone besides stacey see a need for me to continue this debate with her? I have no problem with finishing countering the arguments set forth thus far, but at this point it seems to me to be absolutely pointless. Stacey has set her view and her way and has decided that she will misrepresent the Bible however she can to make it "prove" her point.

Jack's Shack said...

Does anyone besides stacey see a need for me to continue this debate with her? I have no problem with finishing countering the arguments set forth thus far, but at this point it seems to me to be absolutely pointless. Stacey has set her view and her way and has decided that she will misrepresent the Bible however she can to make it "prove" her point.

Declaring yourself victor doesn't mean that you are.

JC Masterpiece said...

Declaring yourself victor doesn't mean that you are.
Actually, i never declared myself a winner. I stated that it is pointless arguing with stacey as she will continue to misrepresent the Bible while claiming that she has some sort of real understanding.

If there are any specific arguments that have not been addressed that you would like to address, just point them out. I just don't want to be wasting my time arguing something that i don't need to.

Stacey said...

JCM, it is YOUR argumentation that both strains credulity and breaches context. Furthermore, you leave the most important points of this argument unaddressed. I suppose this is because you have no way to refute them, even spuriously, or, even worse, that you have turned your back to the plough to tend to your family, in violation of Luke 9:61-62.

The text of Luke’s genealogy says Joseph was the son of Heli – not the adopted son, not the son-in-law, but the son.

But enough of this minutia – let’s get into the really fun stuff of Doublethink versus Relative Truth versus Eastern Philosophy versus Situational Ethics.

“Doublethink” involves holding two mutually contradictory statements as being True, as JCM believes of the two fathers of Joseph. This can also be called a “willful delusion” – JCM cannot concede the obvious contradiction here without shattering the notion of a “perfect” bible.

“Relative Truth” is an epithet used by defenders of “Revealed Truth / Absolute Truth” to castigate those who recognize that knowledge and understanding grow as more information becomes available. Relative truth means that some evaluations of the truth of a given situation might depend of the context of the issue or even the taste of person making the evaluation.

Interestingly, the story of Tamar we’ve been arguing about reveals that JCM is a huge fan of “Relative Truth,” at least as far as biblical exegesis goes. Here’s why:

Like a harlot, Tamar bargained and sold herself for money. For me, that ends the matter: the absolute truth is that Tamar was a whore, whatever her motivations or excuses might be.

JCM, however, cuts Tamar a break because she was frustrated in her attempts to get pregnant by her husband Er (killed by God for being evil), her brother-in-law Onan (who was killed by God since he ejaculated on the ground rather than impregnate Tamar), and her other brother-in-law young Shelah (whom Judah failed to give her to).

Finally, in desperation, Tamar dresses up as a harlot, deceives Judah, and negotiates to have sex with him for payment. When he discovers her lie, Judah first wants to burn her and her unborn child alive, but when he realizes he is the father of her child, he spares her life.

My absolute truth – Tamar was a deceiver and a whore; no lame excuses justify her wrongs.

JSM’s relative truth – Judah was wrong to deny Tamar, and since two wrongs make a right, Tamar was actually somehow righteous for being a deceiver and a whore.

One can also describe this case as “situational ethics”. Ethically, Tamar was wrong, but in this particular situation, JCM relaxes the restrictions of absolute ethics to give Tamar a freebee night as a whore.

Now, nominally, JCM hates “relative truth”, even though he has adopted it whole-heartedly in this case to excuse Tamar’s whoring. If JCM had a desperate, widowed daughter-in-law who impregnated herself with JCM’s seed (from a used condom, for example), you can bet JCM would be outraged, because that would be a “different situation”.

Eastern philosophy introduces a new logical value, called “mu” or “indeterminate”, to indicate a situation in which one cannot tell with certainty whether a proposition is ”true” or “false”. JCM confuses this with doublethink, relative truth and situational ethics, because it also calls into question his Manichean worldview of black/white, right/wrong.

Here is how to tell these four ways of evaluating truth apart.

Consider the contradiction regarding the two fathers of Joseph versus the perfect bible.

Doublethink: The bible is perfect and both men were the father of Joseph.

Relative Truth: Since both men cannot be the father of Joseph, the bible must be in error on this point.

Situational Ethics: We need to investigate the situation further to see if we can explain this apparent error, but it is hard to escape the conclusion that there is some sort of error here, however minor.

Eastern Philosophy: With the information given, these questions are “mu” or “indeterminate”, neither true nor false.

Now, as for Ruth and Naomi: the word in the KJV is not “cleaved”, but rather “clave”, and furthermore, in context, the passage reads like a wedding vow. Indeed, verses 16-17 are often read aloud at hetero wedding ceremonies. Where do you think “until death do us part” comes from, anyway?

JC Masterpiece said...

Ha, ha, ha, ha! This is such an amusing read! What makes this especially funny is that most of the arguments you posted have already been properly refuted.

The text of Luke’s genealogy says Joseph was the son of Heli – not the adopted son
Actually, almost nowhere in any of the texts are adopted sons referred to as anything but sons. Once they are adopted they are considered legally as actual sons. Thus there is no conflict here except what you are making in order to cause conflict for the sake of conflict.

Tamar bargained and sold herself for money. For me that ends the matter.
Actually she did no such thing. She bargained true, but she took no money. All she took was the proof that she needed to show that she hadn't played the harlot but was in fact fulfilling her duty as the childless widdow, which in turn her father-in-law ended up agreeing with. The text does not condemn her as such, except when one or two people assumed that they knew what was true when they did not. But, as has already been stated, even the one with the most right to accuse stated that she was righteous and did not condemn her as a harlot. Which brings me back to the question i asked earlier, if the text and facts acknowledge and state that she is not, why do you continue to insist that she is?

Eastern philosophy introduces a new logical value, called “mu” or “indeterminate”, to indicate a situation in which one cannot tell with certainty whether a proposition is ”true” or “false”. JCM confuses this with doublethink, relative truth and situational ethics, because it also calls into question his Manichean worldview of black/white, right/wrong.
This is especially amusing to me!
First, you state that you are right and i am wrong (wouldn't that fit with the "Manichean worldview of black/white, right/wrong"?).
Then you accuse me of "doublethink" and state that what i argue is relative truth.
Then finally you turn around and state that i have a "Manichean worldview of black/white, right/wrong".
Let me know when you've decided what you're going to accuse me of because apparently you can't seem to make up your mind.

Now, as for Ruth and Naomi: the word in the KJV is not “cleaved”, but rather “clave”
Taken directly from my computer Bible program (the numbers refer to the Strong's Hebrew Dictionary number):
Ruth 1:14 And they lifted up5375 their voice,6963 and wept1058 again:5750 and Orpah6204 kissed5401 her mother-in-law;2545 but Ruth7327 cleaved1692 unto her.
I don't know? Maybe your KJV uses the word clave and not cleaved.

furthermore, in context, the passage reads like a wedding vow. Indeed, verses 16-17 are often read aloud at hetero wedding ceremonies. Where do you think “until death do us part” comes from, anyway?
Yes, that parallel exists. However, it exists because this is a vow of loyalty. It is a promise that Naomi is more important to Ruth than her own people, past family, and gods. Its parallel has become an aspect of the wedding ceremony to show a promise of loyalty. To say that this is proof of a matrimonial style union is, to borrow the euphomism, to place the cart before the horse. In logic this would be to say if A than B does not equal if B than A (if "a trout" than "a fish" does not equal if "a fish" than "a trout").
This passage does not in any way refer to a sexual relationship of any kind. To imply or, as you have done, to state that this sexual union occured is nowhere even hinted at in the text and attempting to make it say this is to deceptively reinterpret the Bible to fit your view then to state that because you have done so the Bible proves you right.

Stacey said...

Well, I am pleased that you are still capable of being amused, JCM,
given that you are not worthy of the kingdom of heaven since you have
not abandoned your family to follow J to the exclusion of all else. May
your good humor keep you cool against the flames of eternity that surely
await your soul.

Regarding Joseph's two dads - all this extra-biblical speculation by JCM
about Joseph's purported adoption got me wondering - was adoption a
Jewish practice in biblical times? If so, how was adoption reflected in
genealogies?

The words "adopt", "adopted", and "adoption" do not seem to appear in
the KJV of the OT. "Adoption" appears twice in the NT, but in neither
case does it refer to a case of a human man adopting a human son, and
even if it did, this would mean that adoption became a practice AFTER
Joseph's two dads gave birth to him.

As an infant, Moses was taken in by Pharaoh's daughter and "he became
her son". BUT, in this case, the adopter was NOT Jewish, and no adult
male adoptive "father", Jewish or not, was mentioned.

Likewise, the orphan Hadassah (Esther) was taken in as a daughter by her
cousin Mordecai, but this was under Persian law, not Israeli law, and
deals with an adopted daughter, not a son.

Are there ANY examples of a Jewish or Israeli man adopting a son in the
bible? Not according to Baker's Evangelical Dictionary, which declares
that the Israelites did not practice legal adoption at all. See this
link:
http://bible.crosswalk.com/Dictionaries/BakersEvangelicalDictionary/bed.
cgi?number=T17

Busted! Sorry, JCM. It looks like you are a stone-cold loser on this
issue: Joseph could not have been an adopted Jewish son if there were no
such thing as Jewish adoption - as even Evangelicals' appear to concede.


JCM, making up lies about adoption to explain away biblical error will
only get you deeper and deeper into your tangled web of deceit. I
suggest you declare a phony victory (again), then cut and run for good
before more of your obfuscations and sputtering falsehoods are
discovered.

I guess I can chuckle now.

Now, regarding your waffling - what I was and am accusing you of is ALL
of these: doublethink regarding Joseph's two fathers, relative truth and
situational ethics regarding Tamar the whore who gets a free pass
anyway, and a Manichean worldview in general. You practice the sins of
logic you hate, and I have to jump around to bust you on that. If you
stop jumping all over the map, I'll stop trying to make sense of your
tortuous rhetoric.

I'm chuckling louder now.

By the way, a Manichean worldview is quite different from a case or two
wherein I bust you for your factual or logical errors. Unlike a
Manichean, I can concede that in some cases, you might be somewhat
correct, or mostly correct, or even absolutely correct, compared to my
statements. For example, I mentioned that all 3 women (named) in the
lineage of J were whores, and you pointed out that there were 4 such
women, (although the 4th is not mentioned by name In Matthew, and was
merely an adulteress instead of a proven whore).

As for Ruth - Ruth and Naomi were quite intimate and their beautiful
"loyalty vow" would certainly qualify them as "life partners" in modern
parlance, since their vow was that they will live and die as one. Were
they sexually intimate as well? Just as you speculated that Joseph was
"adopted" despite the fact that Israeli law and culture didn't have
legal adoption, so I speculate that life partners with sex drives might
share a sex life as well. I'd guess that my speculation here is a bit
more probable than yours.

And to be sure - I'm not laughing with you, I'm laughing AT you.

JC Masterpiece said...

Are there ANY examples of a Jewish or Israeli man adopting a son in the bible? Not according to Baker's Evangelical Dictionary, which declares that the Israelites did not practice legal adoption at all.

I believe that where i am made the mistake was in using the word "legally" and the quote should rather read "Once they are adopted they are considered as actual sons."

As you have said, the words "adopt", "adopted", and "adoption" do not seem to appear in the KJV of the OT. Correct. Those words do not appear. However, that does not mean that the concept and principle are not there. As the article that you cite states;
God declares that he is the Father of the nation Israel, whom he loves as his child (Isa 1:2; Hosea 11:1). He tells Pharaoh, "Israel is my firstborn son" (Exod 4:22). More specifically, he says to David (and the Messiah), "You are my son; today I have become your Father" (Psalm 2:7); and of David's descendant, "I will be his father, and he will be my son" (2 Sa 7:14). Although not precisely adoption passages, the instances of declared sonship in the Old Testament provide a theological foundation for Israel's designation as the children of God.
Thus being adopted and taking in adoption, while not necessarily a legal protocol, was a concept familiar to and accepted by the Israelite people. Just because the word "adopt" is not used does not mean that the practice did not exist as you seem to assume.

In fact, in John 19:26-27 John states "Then when Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, Woman, behold your son!
Then He said to the disciple, Behold your mother! And from that hour that disciple took her into his own home." Christ, when He was on the cross, basically gave to His mother, John the apostle, as a son and gave Mary to John as a mother. Thus Jesus did exactly what you state did not occur.

Now, going back to your logic. Using your logic, because the word "sex" does not occur in the Old or New Testaments (even though the principle was understood and accepted by the people), it therefore did not occur, and no argument can convince you otherwise.

Ruth and Naomi were quite intimate and their beautiful
"loyalty vow" would certainly qualify them as "life partners" in modern parlance, since their vow was that they will live and die as one.

Now that is rich! Since you have nowhere near proven anything even similar to intimacy occured outside of a promise of loyalty.
You talk about modern parlance as if it was similar to ancient Bible times, and a promise of loyalty as if it is a promise of a sexual relationship.
Time and time again you take our sexually obsessed society and attempt to imply that it is the Biblical norm.
You puposely lie about the meaning of the word cleaved/clave in an attempt to state that Ruth and Naomi were in a sexual relationship.
And yet i, who am agreeing with just about every major historical Biblical commentator including Henry and Wesley, am the one making up a load of lies.

If you stop jumping all over the map, I'll stop trying to make sense of your tortuous rhetoric.
I appologise if i appear to be taking your lead. I am merely arguing what you began arguing with Sadie Lou.

By the way, a Manichean worldview is quite different from a case or two wherein I bust you for your factual or logical errors. Unlike a Manichean, I can concede that in some cases, you might be somewhat correct, or mostly correct, or even absolutely correct, compared to my
statements.

Um, just because you concede that another person's point is correct does not mean that you don't have a right vs. wrong mentality. It just means that you acknowledge that you are wrong. You still accept that there is a right and wrong.

Stacey said...

The "legal" aspect of adoption is more than just a detail you
overlooked. Here's why.

The whole point of including the genealogies in the Gospels was to
further the legal case for the claim that Jesus was the Messiah. The
open question of the real father of Joseph is a technical but still
fatal defect to the legal case. It proves that at least one of the
conflicting genealogies was a forgery, which also demolishes the
"literally true" claim about the bible. The bible might be figuratively
accurate, more or less, but it cannot be literally true.

Consider further your claim that God "adopts": when God speaks, do his
words become literally true, or are they merely figurative as well?

As I understand your position, when God says "fiat lux" ("let there be
light"), he is actually creating light, not just flipping on a light
bulb. In other words, I understand your position is that God's commands
are literal - they change the actual nature of the universe.

Thus, when God says, "X is my son", God is not using a figure of speech
to describe his feelings for X, but rather, with those words, God has
changed the universe so that X really is a son of God. No human can so
alter reality, and so, the human concept of "adoption" (making someone a
figurative legal offspring) cannot be found in the fiat power of God
(which would create a literal legal offspring).

Likewise, if J is god, then when he declared his mom and John to be
mother and son, their DNA must have been altered, and the timeline
changed retroactively, so that John actually was J's mom's literal and
biological son.

But let's set aside literalism for a moment, and say for the sake of
argument that the Jews grasped both figurative language and the "concept
and principle" of divine "adoption".

Even if the Jews understood that God can adopt, it does not necessarily
follow that the Jews would approve of a human adopting someone. Jewish
law recognized that some things were exclusive to God (vengeance, for
example) and/or forbidden to humans (the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge,
for example). 613 commandments are recognized in Jewish law, covering
everything from murder to food preparation to ritual cleanliness to
aborting the children of adulteresses to illegal fabrics (blends). If
the Jews did grasp the idea of adoption, then why was Jewish law silent
on the matter?

Certain fatherless sons are mentioned in Deuteronomy 2:23 - "A bastard
shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth
generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD." And
yet, JCM contends that the Jews looked favorably on the adoption of such
children? That seems to be quite a stretch.

When a term like "adoption" or "sex" is absent from the bible, one must
look deeper to see if there is any evidence that "adoption" or "sex" is
actually there. A husband cleaving to his wife, or a wife clave to her
wife, is evidence that sex has occurred. Onan spilling his seed on the
ground, and the birth of children, provide additional evidence that
something of a sexual nature was going on. Since I see the bible in
figurative terms, I can conclude that biblical figures probably had sex.
In literal terms, though, a literalist would be forced to conclude that
there was no sex in the bible - yet another reason why the literalists'
claims are nonsense.

A Manichean worldview admits right and wrong and nothing else. I admit
right, wrong, and a whole range of values in between.

Symbolically, if "right" is 1 and "wrong" is 0, a Manichean sees only 1
and 0. I see 1, 0, 0.1, 0.9, 0.5, 0.0000000001, 0.999999999, and so on.
My overlap with the Manicheans does not make me one any more than your
monotheism makes you a follower of Islam.

A literalist Manichean contends that the bible is a 1, and that if it
has even one error, then it is a 0.

I contend that if the bible has an error, then it might be 0.9999, or
0.5, or 0.03, or 0.

My actual assessment, based on random sampling, is that the bible is
about 3% true, 80% false, and 17% unclear.

Vic de Jesus said...

Magellan quote a fabrication

“The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church.” Ferdinand Magellan

The quote is a fabrication of Robert Green Ingersoll. It is found in his essay “Individuality.” This may be accessed at http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/robert_ingersoll/individuality.html
It’s in the fourth paragraph of his essay:

It is a blessed thing that in every age some one has had individuality enough and courage enough to stand by his own convictions, -- some one who had the grandeur to say his say. I believe it was Magellan who said, "The church says the earth is flat; but I have seen its shadow on the moon, and I have more confidence even in a shadow than in the church." On the prow of his ship were disobedience, defiance, scorn, and success.

This was first pointed out, as far as I know, by Dr. Tom Gorski in his website “Knowing What Ain’t So” at http://www.churchoffreethought.org/cgi-bin/contray/contray.cgi?DATA=&ID=000011010&GROUP=048. Dr. Gorski is one of four founders of the The North Texas Church of Freethought.

To the credit of Wikiquote it clearly points out the quote is disputed and attributes it to Ingersoll http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:Ferdinand_Magellan

At http://www.animalliberationfront.com/Philosophy/Religion/Atheist%20Quotes.htm it immediately corrected the attribution: "The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church."
..........Robert Green Ingersoll (not Ferdinand Magellan)

At http://www.iidb.org/vbb/archive/index.php/t-63650.html they already were able to determine that it was Ingersoll who in fact said the words he attributes to Magellan. “Regarding a flat earth, please note that Ingersoll used a quote attributed to Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521), the Portuguese and Spanish explorer: ‘The Church says that the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the Church.’ Ingersoll uses this quote to make a point: ‘The trouble with most people is, they bow to what is called authority.’ Ingersoll's thrust in this article is that ‘It is the duty of each and every one to maintain his individuality’ and ‘There can be nothing more utterly subversive of all that is really valuable than the suppression of honest thought--No man, worthy of the form he bears, will at the command of church or state solemnly repeat a creed his reason scorns.’ I agree with Ingersoll. If you do not, that is certainly your privilege.” The author assumes Ingersoll got it from an authentic source. But I have read the primary sources on Magellan—eyewitness accounts by Antonio Pigafetta, Gines de Mafra, Francisco Albo, The Genoese Pilot, Martinho de Aiamonte, Sebastian Elcano—nowhere is there such a statement from Magellan. Ingersoll most definitely cites no authority.

Vicente Calibo de Jesus
ginesdemafra@gmail.com