There Is More Than One Interpretation of the Bible


So why do so many people assume there is only one?

Whenever I make any post on the Bible, I inevitably get a ton of responses telling me that I don’t understand and I’m misinterpreting what the Bible says. I even get this from atheists. To a certain degree, this is amusing, but mostly it’s just annoying.

Yes, I understand that Christians are taught one interpretation, and they are taught that theirs is the only true interpretation, but they still need to understand that others disagree with them. As to you atheists out there who react the same way the Christians do: why do you think that yours is the proper interpretation? You may want to think about this before you cry “you don’t understand.”

I say this as a historian. The Bible was written thousands of years ago. We are able to get a basic understanding of the Bible, and we can determine it’s relevance in the modern world, but it has been translated so many times and into so many languages that even scholars who study the Bible debate proper translation and meaning of various parts of the Bible. I’m not saying that I know exactly what the Bible is saying, and I’m not saying that my version is right, but I am saying that these attacks of “you don’t understand” are misplaced and show there own level of misunderstanding. I’m not a Biblical scholar, and I don’t trust my own knowledge of the Bible to criticise it without help, so I got help in that area. Thus why I add sources when I discuss the Bible: I want to know that people who have looked deeper into the Bible than I have are asking similar questions.

I’d also like to point out that, while I do look to others to double check my issues, I’m also reading the Bible for myself without anybody telling me how to interpret one thing or another. I double check my criticism to make sure that I’m not completely off base, but my criticism is also based on what the Bible means to me. Again, this will not be perfect, but I am putting in the effort. So instead of attacking me and making assumptions about my understanding, my knowledge, or my intentions, do you think that you could actual read what I’m saying, take my words at face value, think about them for a day, and then tell me why you disagree rather than simply telling me I’m wrong or accusing me of things? That would be much appreciated.

Advertisements

88 responses to “There Is More Than One Interpretation of the Bible

  • tfhurst

    Thank you for this post! Although I am just beginning my journey through the bible, and writing about, I am still waiting for someone to tell me that what I am taking from it is wrong. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m sure it will! I, too, am trying to find other sources for clarification when I’m not sure of the meaning of something. The problem I am finding while doing this, is that everyone seems to have a different opinion of the meanings.

    Like

  • Ros

    In response to clubschadenfreude:

    ‘All I have seen is that you don’t like someone showing that your religion is wrong.’

    Then you need glasses 😉 There was absolutely nothing in Hessian’s post that I hadn’t heard before and it did absolutely nothing to convince me that my personal beliefs are wrong.

    ‘Why do you demand that the author say something that he/she doesn’t mean when you wish them to say “I don’t agree with this” rather than say that something is a lie?’

    As I made abundantly clear in my last comment, it was not a demand, it was a suggestion. It was made in response to Hessian’s last paragraph in her post above. Since Hessian thinks that it is reasonable to request others to say that they disagree with her, rather than tell her outright that she is wrong, then I think it is reasonable to suggest to her that she treat them with the same level of respect. The word ‘lie’ implies intentions that may not be there. Hence I would consider it to be unnecessarily inflammatory. It’s perfectly possible to present evidence that a claim is wrong without implying that it is a deliberate lie. And I think (though you may disagree) that people are much more likely to listen if given that respect.

    ‘Why do you think that Ehrman’s and others work is any support to your myth at all since it shows that nothing happened like the essential stories in the bible, but other events did happen?’

    The evidence we have is strongly suggestive of the fact that there was an itinerant rabbi named Jesus who was put to death by the Jews/Romans. Beyond that, it is a matter of interpretation. Ehrman has his interpretation. E P Sanders has his. N T Wright has his. Others have theirs.

    For myself, I think the most convincing piece of evidence against the resurrection (which is what we are really talking about here) is and always has been that ‘people who are dead don’t come back to life.’ I know they don’t. You know they don’t. We all know they don’t. And if we come to the NT with that as an a priori assumption that cannot be questioned, then we will draw the same or similar conclusions as Ehrman and others.

    However, I think what is frequently forgotten in our day and age is that the first Christians knew that too. The story of Thomas provides ample evidence of the prevailing attitude at the time. The whole point, as far as they were concerned, is that something completely out of the ordinary had happened. And I don’t mean magic, either. For them, it was something way, way more significant than that. Paul’s letters, in particular, suggest that we are talking about something more on the scale of the Big Bang.

    Now I’m quite prepared to accept that the story the first Christians told was and is ‘beyond belief’. Hence whether we believe it is up to us. However, the NT record certainly allows for the possibility that the followers of Jesus heard, saw and touched Jesus after his death. That is a perfectly plausible interpretation of the text – even taking into account all the disagreements between the Gospels. The best evidence that stands in the way of such an interpretation is, as I have said, that ‘dead people don’t come back to life’.

    Like

    • hessianwithteeth

      Well that and the fact that just because a text says something happens holds no particular importance about the truth of that claim. The bible may make claims about certain things that are consistent within the bible, but that alone bears nothing in regard to the truth of those claims.

      From there you need to take into consideration about the historical reliance, and credibility of a text, and while I’m a plant biologist and not a biblical scholar of any sort. The consensus (minus a minority of Christan Scholars) I’ve hear is that the bible is not a reliable source for history. Though as a biologist I can more confidently say that the bible is certainty not consistent with the sciences.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ros

        ‘Well that and the fact that just because a text says something happens holds no particular importance about the truth of that claim.’

        The truth of the claim that a text makes may not be verifiable, but that on its own does not make the claim false. And that was my point. CSF tried to say that my beliefs had been shown to be wrong and hence that I was running scared. I’m saying that CSF is wrong on both counts.

        ‘The consensus (minus a minority of Christan Scholars) I’ve hear is that the bible is not a reliable source for history.’

        The problem I have with that statement is that it depends hugely on what part of the Bible you are talking about. The New Testament writings are not historical texts in the sense that they provide, or were ever intended to provide, an accurate description of all the events happening at the time. However, they are historical in the sense that they are 1900+ years old and provide a window into certain events (including the life, death and supposed resurrection of Jesus) from the perspective of the earliest Christians. The fact that they were written by Christians gives them a certain bias, but their having such a bias doesn’t necessarily mean that nothing within them can be relied upon.

        Let me tell you a story by way of illustration. During WW2, my great grandmother shared an air raid shelter with some of her neighbours. One day, she had some kind of experience (I don’t know the details) that led her to believe that the air raid shelter should not be used that night. The conviction was so strong that she broke her usual reserve and decided to tell her neighbours. That night, the shelter received a direct hit and the lives of those who chose not to use it were saved.

        Now what do we do with that story? Clearly, there is no ordinary way that my great grandmother could have known what would happen. So was it simply coincidence that the shelter was hit? Or is this a story that has been made up – either by me or by my mother (who told me)? Or did something happen that day that science can’t explain? Each of us will have a different interpretation, but not one of us can produce evidence that will 100% verify our interpretation, especially 70+ years after the most verifiable event in the story (WW2) took place.

        The same is true of the events described in the Gospels. As I have said, the scholarly consensus is that a man called Jesus not only existed, but travelled around the region of Galilee/Judea preaching and teaching until he was put to death by the Romans round about 30 AD. So that’s a positive in terms of historical accuracy. Scholarly consensus also casts doubt on the accuracy of certain elements of the Nativity stories (e.g. the census). (My own take on Matthew’s Nativity story is that it’s an allegorical summary of Jesus’s mission and purpose that Matthew is using to introduce his gospel). So that’s a negative in terms of historical accuracy. For most of the rest of the Jesus story, it is largely a matter of interpretation. And the a priori assumptions we bring to the text will have a significant influence on the interpretation(s) that we choose.

        Like

        • clubschadenfreude

          The bible is not a reliable source of history. That is indeed a fact just like the myths of Greece are not a reliable source of history. Unless you wish to claim they are? If so, explain why. You wish to try to claim that it makes a difference depending on what part of the bible you look at. However, your parts that you wish to be true are different from those of others, and again there is no reason to trust your interpretation method any more than anyone else’s. This disagreement also supports the idea that none of you are right, because none of you can get evidence to support your versions.

          You wish to claim that the NT writings weren’t meant to be histories. However, in ages past, that’s exactly what TrueChristians claimed that they were. But since there is no evidence for the claims of the bible, modern Chrsitians now claim that they have to be metaphors or some such thing. The NT do not provide a window into certain events, it makes claims that certain events happened, again with no evidence. You are correct in that the bible can be a way to look at people who were around in that time and what they believed, just like other myths. You seem to again wish to believe that since the bible mentions a few real things, then they should be considered true. If that’s so, then Marvel movies are true.

          Your story about WWII is nothing more than confirmation bias. I’ve had many of what feel like premonitions. How many people felt that they were safe but were taken out by Nazi bombs in their beds? If there is some god guiding people, it sure is slap-dash and just as effective as prayer, not at all. Your story could be made up by you or your mom. The stories that make these types of claims (glurge) are all over the internet, and unsurprisingly a lot of them aren’t true.

          You are correct, anyone can come up with an interpretation to suit them. However, not anyone can provide evidence that there is a god. It was once believed that various diseases were from imbalanced humors. No one could produce these humors; but people certainly could produce the images of the tiny bacteria that do cause disease. To try to claim that everyone’s interpretation is equally valid is nonsense, only attempted by someone who has no evidence at all for his claims.

          Again, you seem to ignore the fact that the Jesus that “the scholarly consensus” has decreed isn’t the being in your religion. What they have said is that it is plausible that he existed, because even this Jesus has no evidence to support a certain man at a certain time. If this “consensus” casts doubt on all of the essential events in the bible, those magic events like the virgin birth, the census, the massacre of the innocents, the appearance of a precocious child at the temple, the unnoticed repeated massing of men outside of Jerusalem, and the events of the crucifixion, your religion is hollowed out. The scholarly consensus also says that there was no Adam and Eve, and thus eliminates any need for Jesus Christ. The Noah flood that this Jesus supposedly believed in is also agreed that it didn’t happen.

          You say that your “take” on the matthew nativity is that its allegorical. One could say the exact same thing about the crucifixion, that it was nothing more than the hero’s transfiguration at the heart of many myths. Atheists who are familiar with the bible know that Christians all have their own interpretations. We do bring to the bible the a priori assumptions we have, and those assumptions should be discarded if they do not jibe with reality. In that Christianity has no evidence for it, the assumption that its god is worthless.

          Like

    • clubschadenfreude

      Ros, I know you won’t believe anything about your religion other than the baseless claims you repeat. That does not make Hessian’s points any less right or any less true.

      You indicated that you were sure that Hessian’s style would lead to dire consequences. That certainly doesn’t sound like a suggestion to me. I don’t think Hessian would care if someone told her she was wrong *and* provided evidence. Could you point out where Hessian said that people should say they disagree with her instead of saying she was wrong?

      The word lie means an intentionally told falsehood. If someone make baseless claim after baseless claim, and have been shown the evidence otherwise, and keep making those claims there is no other word *but* liar to use. Again, why do you suggest that someone say something that they do not mean when you wish them to say “I don’t agree with this” rather than say something is a lie? Again, this only seems like an attempt to allow some wiggle room for Christians, by trying to make the atheist’s position only a subjective opinion, not the facts laden argument it is. It is not respect to not tell a Christian that his religion is nonsense or not to call him out on his intentionally told falsehoods, aka lies. That is being dishonest to myself. I have no interest in treating adult Christians like children who can’t handle facts about their beloved stories, but must be told that they could be right and that they aren’t lying when they are.

      The evidence for a historical Christ is that there could have been a man who was a rabbi, who thought he was the messiah (and quite a few were around at the rough time period) and he may have been killed. That’s it. There is no evidence of Jesus Christ the son of god. I know you don’t worship the dead rabbi. You worship something that has nothing to support its existence at all.
      Ancient peoples believed in many things we don’t believe in now. You claim that the early Christians knew that people didn’t raise from the dead. That may describe some of them. However that world was full of magic and characters cheating death. There is no evidence at all that Thomas’ attitude was prevailing at all, what seems to have been happening is what happens now, each faith sure that they were true and the others weren’t, despite all sides having ridiculous stories that cannot happen in reality.

      There is no evidence that the vast majority of humans at the rough time that JC was supposed to have existed (again, Christians can’t agree on that) thought that something “on the scale of the Big Bang” happened. No one noticed the crucifixion or resurrection or earthquake or sky darkening, despite claims of hundreds of people seeing Jesus and that Jesus was evidently a heck of a lot busier after he was dead running around on the earth than he was when he was alive. No one noted a date this happened.

      Paul’s letters are nothing special, a man talking to various groups of Christians, scolding them, claiming that his version is the only True Christianity, him attempting to curse anyone who disagrees with him, making claims he cannot support, etc. A new religion gets converts, especially if it says that everyone doesn’t have to die in a world where mortality was high. There were plenty of people who decided that Christianity was nonsense, like everyone else. They had no problem in not believing in Jesus Christ, in spite of lots of them living in the area. They saw nothing out of the ordinary nor did they feel that there was some “big bang” in religion. I’m sure that the Heaven’s Gate people were sure that there was something out of the ordinary happening. That fervent belief didn’t make reality match, and again it doesn’t make Christianity true either.

      The NT offers stories about the followers of JC doing certain things. The stories of the Greek gods also offers stories about believers and their interaction with the gods. They contain morality messages, just like Christianity. Would you agree that these myths also offer just as much possibility that Athena and Poseidon contested for the honor of having the city that would become Athens after them? Since there is no evidence for your claims as there is for theirs, you both have equal chances of being right: not much. The stories in the bible are not perfectly plausible as a way to describe reality since reality does not support those stories at all; no evidence.

      Liked by 1 person

  • There Is More Than One Interpretation of the Bible | Christians Anonymous

    […] Source: There Is More Than One Interpretation of the Bible […]

    Liked by 1 person

  • Carol Lyle

    Have you ever considered reading the Bible as a personal LOVE Letter from God to you ? It’s a change of perspective that may bring revelation of who He really is, and bring you into a new place in your search for Him.

    Like

  • The False Prophet

    Not only more than one interpretation, it also consists of stories that were more or less just put together from different kinds of stories. There are, for example, three different stories in the bible of the creation of man, two of which can be found in Genesis.
    Keep on blogging in a free world, and don’t forget to answer my ten questions and collect that award: https://thefalseprophetblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/that-liebster-thing/

    Liked by 1 person

  • Michelle Anneliese

    I always find interesting how literally people take what the read in the bible. Instead of it being a story to learn a lesson from, others read it as completely literal

    Liked by 1 person

  • The Brain in the Jar

    What you describe is exactly what makes the Bible such an exciting thing to learn about, even if you’re non-religious. I hope you agree with me there’s a lot of content and unique ideas here. It’s actually the people who say “You don’t understand” who hinder the discussion of ideas that the Bible can produce.

    I just bought a King James Version. I can’t wait to read it all, in the same way I’ll read other ancient texts like Egyptian Book of the Dead. It’s too be exposed to new and ancient ideas.

    Liked by 2 people

  • monochromejunkie

    First of all, I’d like to say, “Great to meet you both.” 🙂 Secondly, I too am a senior in college (psych. major) and congratz to you both for hanging in there and chipping away at the collective (academic) iceberg. Now on to the debate!

    I think each of us need to interpret our own meanings (pertaining to the Bible and every other matter) as individuals, as they pertain to “who we are” (again, “individually”) and our personal schemas; it’s subjective, you know?

    Also, there are two sides to interpreting the Bible, academically speaking. There is the reader’s personal interpretation, which will change from person to person, and there is the scholarly, factual, concrete Hebrew and Greek primitive root words and their meanings. Now we’re getting somewhere. 🙂

    I do have and use an Exhaustive Strong’s concordance, because I’m a researcher; there’s only so many ideals we can have, etc. and then we have to be able to back up what we’re saying with actual FACTS, eh?

    So, I use the Strong’s concordance (and have for 30+ years) to dig up root words in the Bible (both Hebrew- Old Testament and Greek- New Testament). Let’s use this passage for example:

    Song of Solomon 1:5-6
    5) I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.

    6) Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.

    Sounds mystical, and, undoubtedly metaphorical. But what does it mean? Well, this is in actual reference to a prophecy- one that Jesus Himself “would be saying”- 2 thousand years before He was here on earth. Jesus came down through Solomon’s lineage, and back then, all of these guys had “the gift of prophecy”. It was “standard” back in the day! We only see this stuff in movies and on TV, etc. but you know, this WAS their reality. So, you kind of have to put it into that perspective.

    Solomon was prophecying here. He made a reference to Jesus saying, “I am black.” Naturally, millions of people use this and try to say “Jesus was a black man, it says it right here!” No. No no no. The word black here comes from the primitive root word (Shaw-kar) which means “the idea of duskiness or early dawn”. Well now this brings new meaning to the word black! Because dusk is a very quiet time. It’s hard to see items and things while its dusk- things are sort of “cloaked” and hidden and it’s hard to make out their shapes and such. So now I understand that Jesus, calling himself “black” was actually making a reference to being a “quiet, hidden- hard to see/understand” sort of man. This gives me an idea of Jesus’ actual personality and mannerism- as a man, not just the Son of God, but an actual “man on earth”.

    Imagine what we could learn if we took the entire Bible apart, word for word- and connected the dots on a grand scale. But, anyway, we each must interpret our OWN meaning from what we read. We can’t make others see what we see. We can “share” and hope that others understand what we’re trying to say, but as far as the Bible goes- it’ll always be that way. I love the Bible because there are (hidden) jewels throughout that you could never “get” from simply reading its passages. You have to dig and dig, using a Strong’s Concordance or something similar.

    So yes, to sum it all up: interpreting the Bible will always be a subjective experience. For the ignorant people who say, “you don’t understand!” Tell ’em to stuff a sock in it and hand ’em a Concordance. 😉 x

    Liked by 1 person

  • The Storyteller

    I agree that people just need to take some time to think that their opinion isn’t the only one that counts. I consider myself an atheist but I have family and friends who are Christian and I respect their views.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Ros

    For what it’s worth, I my problem with your last post on “Atheism and the Bible” was twofold.

    Firstly, I think many people see the Bible as some kind of whole, whether they are Christians who believe in its divine inspiration or whether they are atheists on a mission to debunk it. However, in order to seriously consider its historicity I think that understanding needs to be questioned. The Bible is made up of many texts, each of which needs to be considered in isolation as well as in relation to those around it. In many cases, those texts are also thought to contain many revisions. This being so, talking about ‘the historicity of the Bible’ is rather like talking about the historicity of any other ancient library of books. You cannot judge the contents of any one of those texts simply by the fact that they were found in a certain library. Each needs to be taken on its own merits.

    This immediately produces a barrier between any serious historian and the people at whom I assume some of your comments were aimed. “Read your Bibles before you criticise my interpretation!” I heard you saying. But, often, the people who criticise you *are* reading the Bible. They just aren’t reading it in the way a historian is going to read it. They are reading it as the Word of God – which puts a whole new level of authority on it that you cannot accept. This is a fundamental difference in approach. And it’s not one that is going to be solved through a post like yours because you will end up talking past one another.

    As I see it, the only way that Christians and atheists can even attempt to have meaningful conversations about the Bible is for both sides to lay aside the idea that the Bible is some kind of whole that needs to be accepted or debunked in the next ten minutes or so and instead to take the time to consider each individual text on its own merits. For example, you claimed in your post that,

    ‘According to Matthew 1:20, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” This sounds like Joseph and Mary got married and had sex…’

    Also:

    ‘I also hear that the Jesus story is historically accurate… However, I can guarantee that it is a lie.’

    Regarding the first of those claims, I would say that perhaps it does look like that at first glance, however a closer reading of Matthew shows us that, as far as the author was concerned, no intercourse took place (v. 18 and 25). So no inconsistency there between Matthew and Luke.

    Regarding the second of those claims, I’d be among the first to accept that the historicity of the Jesus story cannot be guaranteed down to every last detail recorded in the Gospels. However in the very lengthy Wikipedia article that you linked to, it says, among other things, that ‘Almost all historical critics agree, however, that a historical figure named Jesus taught throughout the Galilean countryside c. 30 CE, was believed by his followers to have performed supernatural acts, and was sentenced to death by the Romans, possibly for insurrection.’ This looks to me like a much better starting point when engaging with Christians than ‘It’s a lie’. Yet there was no mention of it anywhere in your post.

    And this brings me to my second problem with your post – and the reason why I chose not to respond to it. I found it incredibly alienating. Whilst purporting to present a historical view of the Bible, it gradually developed into what sounded to me like a rant against those stupid Christians who don’t even read their Bibles properly – which was unfortunate in view of the mistake you made with Matthew’s account. The post came across as being written by an atheist for an atheist audience that was likely to agree with the findings – which would have been fine except that ‘Christians’ (type unspecified) ended up being on the receiving end of several of your pleas.

    Now it may be that you have been hurt by Christians or that they have angered or frustrated you? If that’s the case, I can understand some of the frustration that is apparent in your own posts, including this one. However, if you really, seriously, want to engage with Christians, then I would suggest that perhaps you need to work a bit harder at not adding to the problem by alienating them further. By all means look at historical claims, but take them one at a time, checking your facts and presenting views you don’t hold with a little more tact and empathy. ‘This is a lie’ is not a way to begin a conversation. It’s a way to end one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ros

      PS Apologies if this sounds unduly critical. I don’t mean it to. I have a great deal of respect for you and for your thinking and I know you mean well. However, in view of what you say here, I just felt that it was better that you should know how alienating I found your last post, rather than just letting it pass.

      Liked by 1 person

    • clubschadenfreude

      Ros, it seems that many Christians like yourself wish to assume that the only reason that a atheist is an atheist is that they were somehow “hurt” by Christians and that’s the only reason why we find religions and Christianity no more than any other myth, That’s a false assumption and seems an attempt to ignore our actual reasons which include no evidence at all for the essential events in the bible, the fact that Christians insist that their and only their version is the correct with again no evidence, etc

      What I have encountered is that many Christians regard *any* questioning of their myths to be alienating or “rude” or “insulting”. They are shocked if anyone asks them for evidence for their claims and this seems to be due to the fact that religion has largely been given a pass in being required to do this.

      I would also personally attribute this reaction to fear, because most Christians haven’t read the bible, but rely on their pastors, priests and magazines like Guidepost and daily prayer booklets to tell them what parts of the bible they need to know. They have no idea what their bible really says and they don’t want to know, especially if an atheist is the bearer of bad news. My parents are some of those Christians. They come to me, their atheist, formerly Christian daughter, to ask questions about the bible, because they know I read it as a believer and as not. They do not go to my sister-in-law, the daughter of a Christian pastor. I have tried my best to encourage them to read it themselves. They read a fair amount, but they have not yet read the bible themselves, and they are in their 70s.

      I would ask you how you would write the posts that you mention. Tell us what manner you would recommend in how one would not “alienate” the people you claim we alienate.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ros

        In response to clubshadenfreude:

        Firstly, I don’t ‘assume that the only reason that an atheist is an atheist is that they were somehow “hurt” by Christians’. That isn’t what I said and it isn’t what I think. One of my daughters is an atheist and the last thing she would think of saying was that she had been hurt by Christians. What I said was that I could understand why Hessian might show some frustration in her posts *if* Christians have done or said things which have hurt or annoyed her. And since she admits to finding certain behaviours ‘annoying’, I don’t think that comment was entirely out of place.

        Secondly, I take your point about some Christians reacting negatively to any kind of criticism of the Bible, but I don’t think that should be used as an excuse for alienating those (like me) who don’t think that way.

        Thirdly, in answer to your question about how I would write the post in question:

        Firstly, in the same way as I would try to avoid making some of the assumptions you mention about atheists, I would try not to make assumptions about the Christians reading the post. Just because ‘many’ Christians do or don’t do X, Y or Z, doesn’t mean that the Christian(s) reading the post fall into that category. In the same way as Hessian gets fed up with Christians getting her wrong, I get fed up with non-Christians assuming that I think the same way as US Bible Belt fundamentalists or even the ‘many’ Christians who don’t read their Bibles. As Hessian rightly says, it’s about respect. Directing the post at one specific group of Christians as if they are the only ones that matter simply serves to alienate the rest.

        Secondly, I would try not to make categorical statements about the opposing viewpoint along the lines of ‘this is a lie’. I might say, ‘I don’t agree with this’ and say why I don’t agree with it. But I wouldn’t call it a lie. That seems to me to be unnecessarily inflammatory.

        Thirdly, I wouldn’t even attempt to debunk the whole Bible in one post any more than I would attempt to defend the whole Bible in one post. I might say (if I were an atheist) that I didn’t consider it to have divine authority. I might say that I had found that evidence was lacking for some of its claims. I might say that the historicity of many of the events described was disputed. I might say that I found some of what it says to be disturbing. I might say that I found some of what it says to be totally contradictory. Having said all those things, I might then go on to say that this was why I didn’t consider the Bible to be satisfactory evidence for either the existence of God or for God being as many Christians claim. However, I wouldn’t attempt to discuss specific texts, except through individual posts devoted to each one. That way, I could be sure that I was presenting the evidence for a text’s historicity or non-historicity fairly and it would be much clearer to readers what the conversation was to be about.

        As it was, it was hard to know what Hessian’s post was really about. Was it about challenging the assumptions (some) Christians make about what atheists believe about God? Was it about the need for a definition of God? Was it about how atheists approach the Bible? Was it about the historicity of certain texts within the Bible? Was it about telling (some) Christians that they shouldn’t tell atheists to read the Bible if they don’t read it themselves? Was it about telling (some) Christians that they should show more respect for atheists? I would suggest that it was about all those things, which made it very difficult to respond to in any meaningful way. Hence most of the responses boiled down to ‘Hear! Hear!’ or ‘I think you are making some unfair assumptions about your Christian readers’ or ‘you have totally misrepresented the Bible (i.e. Matthew 1) so I’m off’. In view of what she actually wrote, I’d consider all those responses to be fair, but not really all that helpful in terms of having a meaningful conversation about atheist approaches to the Bible or indeed the historicity and/or interpretation of certain texts within it.

        Like

        • clubschadenfreude

          Ros,

          It certainly seemed that you do think that atheists can only be atheist if they were somehow hurt by theists. When you say something like this “Now it may be that you have been hurt by Christians or that they have angered or frustrated you…” You come off as just one more theist who wants to pretend that atheists can’t possibly have come to conclusions based on reason, that they must be whiny rebellious children who only dislike your god. If you don’t really feel this way, then you should consider that atheists hear this nonsense all of the time. You might want to ask your daughter what she thinks of your post.

          I re-read your post that I responded to and note that you think that starting with the claim that Jesus was a historical figure would be the best way. However, there is a problem with this. The claim of a historical Jesus is possible, but it is not the Jesus Christ that Christians worship. The introduction to a Christian of a possible historical jesus is worthless; it is not your Jesus. In my experience, most Christians haven’t read Ehrman or any other historical Jesus of Nazareth supporter and are sure that Dr. Ehrman is supporting the magical Jesus, which isn’t true.

          If you find being told and shown you are wrong “alienating”, I can understand why. Christians don’t like anyone to tell them that their religion is wrong and that their version is just like every other Christians, something made up. It’s hard for anyone to hear that they are wrong. I didn’t like it either when I found evidence that the bible was nonsense when I was a Christian. However, I followed the facts. I didn’t cling to an a priori belief that was unsupportable. The problem is when you want to tell people to not present those facts as strongly as they wish to since you find it uncomfortable.

          I know that theists do not often read their bible. As I have said, they read it piecemeal, having no idea of context; they hear it from their pastor/priest, or they get told by some other Christian that a certain piece is metaphor and another is literal, and accept it without question. This is a fact and it was supported by the post’s author with the link presented. Most have no idea just what is in their bible. The post wasn’t just for you, Ros, so the author is not responsible to make you and only you happy. Each Christian is sure that they are the true ones and don’t want to be compared to those “others”.

          Respect is earned, not demanded. If you are wrong, then you are wrong. I will never respect baseless claims, no matter how important they are to someone. If you find being told you are wrong and being shown you are wrong to be “disrespectful”, then there it appears that you refuse to acknowledge anything that might do so no matter how true it might be.

          Often Christians wish to demand that the author say something that he/she doesn’t mean when you wish them to say “I don’t agree with this” rather than say that something is a lie. I can understand that such direct comments to make Christians uncomfortable and again it seems because religion has had such deferential treatment given to it that Christians don’t know how to deal with direct challenges. Present evidence of your claims, acknowledge that there is evidence, both positive and negative against the claims of the bible, and then one might not have to use the term lie, an intentional falsehood that is told and repeated.

          There is no need to have individual posts about each bible book, one can address the historicity in a post about multiple verses and books quite fairly, citing what the evidence for and against is or providing links. I’ve done that style and have done multiple posts about one book, Exodus, and shown it to be false in its claims. Either style presents facts that Christians do not like. I do find this a weak argument and it strikes me as delaying the inevitable.

          It was hard to know what Hessian’s post was really about? (I’m assuming you mean the one about atheism and the bible) It was a general post about how Christians assume many things about the bible and how they misunderstand what at least some, if not many or most, atheist know about the bible. All of the questions you mentioned are related and one paragraph flowed to another to make a whole. Why you are assuming that a post can’t be this way, I am not sure. This is how most non-fiction writing works. I do feel that you would have no problem with the writing style if it were about anything but your religion.

          If you find you can’t respond in any “meaningful” way, I think that is your problem, not the authors. I cannot speak for Hessian but I would tell you that if it were one of my posts that you complained about, you can take a piece of it and address that if you feel you are unable to handle the whole. I have no idea why you would find responses like “‘I think you are making some unfair assumptions about your Christian readers”unhelpful, unless of course you didn’t present any evidence supporting your claims. You need to show that your claims are historical, and you then need to show that the evidence we have that such things did not happen is wrong. Indeed, if you’d like to do any of these things, one bit at a time, I offer my blog as a place to come and discuss things with me.

          Like

          • Ros

            ‘The post wasn’t just for you, Ros…’ No it wasn’t, which means Hessian is welcome to accept or reject my criticism as she sees fit. If her main purpose was to challenge the assumptions that some Christians make about atheists, then she mostly did a fine job. If it was to encourage discussion, then *perhaps* there are things she might have done better, including making the post shorter. But that is for her to decide. It’s her blog.

            As for the rest of your post, it seems that you have totally misunderstood the reasons why I felt alienated. The reasons you give are not mine. They are ones that you have chosen, for whatever reason, to assign to me. Therefore, I see no point in continuing to discuss them.

            However, I will comment on this:

            ‘The introduction to a Christian of a possible historical jesus is worthless…’ In your opinion. Which is precisely why it’s a point of discussion. Not everyone would agree with you. And the voices of those who don’t agree have as much right to be heard as do Dr. Ehrman’s and yours. Or do you not think so?

            Like

          • clubschadenfreude

            There is no reason to make a post shorter, if all of it is pertinent. I often hear this complaint made about my posts, which are indeed long. What the complaintant seems to have a problem with is that there is too much evidence against their religion and they don’t like seeing it in one place. That is, of course, my opinion.

            It is not an author’s duty to salve the feelings of the audience that he/she is addressing if the facts are true. It is true that most self-professed Christians have no idea what is in the bible. Some do indeed know it very well. The fact is that most Christians do not agree what the message of the bible is, do not know what is claimed in it, and have no idea that there is plenty of evidence against its claims. Their religion has made them afraid asking questions, demanding unquestioning obedience or consigning them to eternal torture. Atheists, and even other theists, have excellent reason to point out a Christian’s ignorance of something that they claim is some magical truth that all humans should follow and depend on.

            You may offer your reasons for feeling alienated. All I have seen is that you don’t like someone showing that your religion is wrong and being blunt about and now that it is too long. You can, of course, ignore anything you wish. It does not surprise me at all.

            You ask me a question. “However, I will comment on this:‘The introduction to a Christian of a possible historical jesus is worthless…’ In your opinion. Which is precisely why it’s a point of discussion. Not everyone would agree with you. And the voices of those who don’t agree have as much right to be heard as do Dr. Ehrman’s and yours. Or do you not think so?”
            As long as you can present evidence of your claims, you have plenty of right to be heard. If you do not, and your claims cause harm as religions can be demonstrated to do because of their core claims, then your voices are just baseless opinions to be countered with reality at every point. You can say whatever you would like and I would defend your right to do so, but you cannot insist that this countering not happen or try to dictate how someone “should” question your religion and demonstrate your religion to be false. I’ve heard the term “concern tolling” to describe a Christian trying to claim concern about how the atheist “might” be seen, crocodile tears which are only meant to shut down criticism.

            Now, I would like some answers to my questions, that do not have to do with your “alienation”.
            “Why do you demand that the author say something that he/she doesn’t mean when you wish them to say “I don’t agree with this” rather than say that something is a lie?”

            Do you worship a possible itinerate rabbi who claimed he was the messiah and then was murdered in some fashion by either the Jews or Romans and stayed dead or do you believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God? If the second, why do you think that Ehrman’s and others work is any support to your myth at all since it shows that nothing happened like the essential stories in the bible, but other events did happen?

            Liked by 2 people

          • Ros

            CSF, I’ll put my response at the end of the thread, so that it’s easier for folks to read.

            Like

  • Paine in the Butt

    It is exactly this that tells me that the bible cannot be the inerrant and infallible word of an omni-god. We can’t even agree what the Constitution “really” means and we know exactly who wrote it and have some of their writings of what they meant. Out of the whole bible we have only identified one person (Paul) as an actual biblical author, everyone else is guess work.

    And then they will say that you need the Holy Spirit to interpret the book correctly. But who has the spirit? Many have claimed to have, and yet their interpretations vary just as much as anyone elses.

    I personally find it amazing that anyone can claim to “study” the bible and not be totally put off by the inconsistencies, repetitions and bad editing that it suffers from. If the bible was designed, it was designed to be contradictory.

    Liked by 3 people

  • vinasraksti

    I took a course in college that looked at the New Testament as literature. It was an excellent class! Of course there were a few who took it with the notion that it was a religious course, and therefore were upset and offended most of the time. I highly recommend Stephen Harris’ book, ‘Understanding the Bible’; it was onne of the text books I kept past college and still refer to. It is subjective and nonreligious.

    Liked by 1 person

  • equippedcat

    What’s particularly annoying is that not all Christians have the same interpretation. And in some cases, they are mostly taught some interpretations which are not supported by the Bible (did Eve change the Word of God? We can’t say since the Bible does not specify who told her what, but they tried to force that on us in my new Christian class).

    Liked by 1 person

  • Arkenaten

    I prefer to stick to the major biblical themes and see how archaeology simply trashes them.

    Like

    • equippedcat

      Does archaeology really “trash” them? Lack of evidence does not “trash” them; widely supported evidence AGAINST would trash them.

      Like

      • Arkenaten

        Are you suggesting that there may be hint of evidence for the Exodus, perhaps?
        Or Noah’s flood?
        Or maybe dinosaurs and humans coexisting?

        When so many theists make humongous, sweeping claims for the bible I think ”trash” is an excellent description – personally.
        But that’s just me , of course.
        I believe after 2000 plus years of theological trash talk it’s about time normal people got the opportunity to do a bit of trashing themselves!
        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • equippedcat

          Nope, I suggest nothing of the sort. As far as I know, neither reliable evidence for or against have been found. Speaking of Exodus, one group claims to have found the exact path followed across the sea and thereafter (they provided video). Another group claimed to have dived beside the ridge in the sea and found Egyptian artifacts, I’ve never seen any verification of either of these. On the other hand, there have been a few who have claimed that there is “no evidence” that Israel ever existed in Egypt. I’ve not heard of verification of this either, and even if “everybody” agreed there was “no evidence”, this does not seem reliable evidence that it did not occur.

          Like

          • Arkenaten

            Are you aware of the Settlement pattern as it relates to the Exodus story?
            Archaeological evidence demonstrates that the numbers claimed in the bible could not possibly have arrived en masse. There is no evidence whatsoever for this massive amount of people.
            So, yes, there is positive evidence that refutes the biblical claim of Exodus.
            There no recognised secular archaeologists
            that give any credence whatsoever to the biblical Exodus.
            It really is a closed book, and has been for generations.

            Liked by 1 person

          • hessianwithteeth

            Hehe af the flood there is 0 evidence fr it and it contradicts with most available geological evidence.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Arkenaten

            I find it astounding in this day and age that such displays of willful ignorance are constantly demonstrated by people who say things like ”Well I’ve not heard or seen” like it’s a personal affront …. as if Finkelstein & co. would send personal emails to every doubting Thomas.
            Sheesh!

            Liked by 1 person

          • hessianwithteeth

            And then there are flat earthers and geocentrists. I think a major problem is most people don’t understand the first thing about what a reasoned argument looks like, or how to construct one.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Arkenaten

            The (religious) issue of the Exodus seems to have always focused around evidence disappearing in the dessert.
            Of course, this is possible, but if they had traversed they would have left a huge impression when they turned upon on Canaan’s doorstep.
            ”Cooee! We’re here!”
            And of course the Settlement Pattern shows nothing of the sort.
            Imagine the evidence if 2 million people had suddenly arrived en masse on the border of a few villages anywhere on the planet?

            Besides, the entire region was under Egyptian control.
            What dd they do, sneak in after dark?

            ”Sssh, Berkowitz, you shlemiel. If you don’t keep your donkey quiet you are so going to get it, do you hear!’
            ”Sorry Josh.”

            Liked by 1 person

          • equippedcat

            I don’t remember who it was, but I was directed to one “expert”. What it boiled down to is “there is no evidence that ‘X’ happened, therefore it did not happen”. Sorry, that is not a valid argument, so that source could be disregarded. They may have been right, or they may have been wrong; without real evidence, they were no more reliable than flipping a coin.

            I would hope that if real evidence existed, that enough people would be motivated to disseminate it widely enough that a majority would be exposed to it (and other “experts” weigh in on it) and could thus usefully re-evaluate. Since that has not happened, one wonders if “Finklestein & co” is really that valid, or are just another case of someone pushing their beliefs in the guise of Science.

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            Well okay, but if there should be evidence for an event, and there lacks any then that’s evidence against it happening. “A mereorite crashed in my back yard!”

            “But there is no crater?”

            “Well there’s no evidence a crate didn’t land here either so you can say it didn’t.”

            Now I don’t know the context but I keep seeing you pull out the. “No evidence does not mean it didn’t happen.” card. And yes this is true, but when this is paired with an expectation, and there is no evidence to support an expectation that’s a good clue that your hypothesis is wrong. And then one need to be careful about untestable claims.

            Not saying your wrong so much as I’m not sure if your correctly using your argument.

            Like

          • equippedcat

            A thwarted expectation or desire for evidence is not in itself evidence. If the expectation is valid enough, it may LEAD to evidence. The older the event or the less impact the event has, the less valid the expectation.

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            Well one don’t be confusing an expectation with a desire. Though to be even clearer what I mnt by expectation is that, for a given hypothesis there will be some kind of expectation in the out come. If that expecation is not met that is in fact evidence that your hypothesis is on some level wrong.

            This isn’t to say it is completely wrong, but it is not able to correctly predict certain out comes.

            So if you still disagree that that is evidence then we have a very real problem. And do remember I’m not saying it’s definitive, but I shouldn’t have to say that because that is not how evidence works (because induction works via probabilities, so you need some amount of corroboration to determine if evidence is relevant, and if it’s relevant in the manner you think it is).

            Now that said, I was ready it agree agree with this statement up until the comma. “The older the event or the less impact the event has, the less valid the expectation.”

            Why? Because the validness of an expectation is only tangentially related to the age of a site, but sorry, but nothing about this is so strait forward, but because something is old doesn’t mean it’s harder or easier to measure in princable.

            Sure as a rule of thumb older things and the farther you get into the past the harder on average it is to learn things about them, but when we start looking at particular cases that rule of thumb can be a detriment.

            What I’ve described here is a form of evidence, and does not merely lead to evidence. I have made it clear what strength of evidence it is (because it varies case to case) and I’m conformable in the amount of conditions I’ve included to not over state it’s important or relevance.

            So to use further clarification, do not confuse an absence of evidence with a lack of evidence. That is do not confuse no evidence for a lack of evidence. Because if your lacking evidence, you need to explain why your evidence isn’t where you think it would be.

            Like

          • equippedcat

            We’re kind of close, possibly only differing use of terms.. I use the term “indicative” to imply that it is questionable, while you use the term “evidence” more widely.

            The reasons that expectations have to be reduced as something is older or of less impact is that generally less evidence is likely to be produced, or over time the evidence disintegrates or is deliberately modified or becomes less accessible.

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            Alright I will grant you that but that does not say much about the chances of finding a significant evidence. Though it is the case that some claims. Become impossible to test after a given amount of time, while other are limited to only partial evidence or statistical comparisons.

            I agree we are close in opinion but using the terms differently. In my experience evidence is a wide catigory, and from the body of evidence you make your conclusions. While that can mean you have key peices of evidence, it’s often the case you only get a clear picture from a wide array of diffrent types of evidence. This is generally done in academia by comparing where they agree and contrast and then how they contend with current hypothesis (if they do at all).

            Like

          • equippedcat

            There is another concept. It seems obvious, and highly annoying, that if God exists, as described, He is really big on “belief/faith”. As such, there is the possibility that He actually “suppressed” evidence which would have been adequate to “eliminate” the need for belief/faith.

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            Also I agree that taxes in the stats shouldn’t be high since well your federal and often your state governments are so corrupt it’s outlandish, most notably in how bribery is legal.

            So I realized that I failed to mention that when I say I’m happy with taxes starting at around 30-40% this assume things like free health care, subsidized child care, and other perks many European socialist countries (Canada only has the free healthcare).

            Second, you don’t necessary have to give people money directly, you can provide free housing, and create a system like food stamps (though the less nonsense surrounding it the better).

            Though you have a strong idea that the poor and homeless would use that money effectively, and your right to some degree, but this story of the homeless taking money and going to buy a drink, well duh, they probably need one. But really it’s much cheaper for society to keep everyone roofed and with ready access to food to the the lowered cost that not doing it imposes on law enforcement, and especially health care.

            Not only is it the community minded this to do to keep people off the streets and with food in their stomachs, but it has massive positive repercussions for said community.

            At the end of the day I like these ideas because they are both nice and well natured,but they also offer pragmatic solutions. Also you need to legalize drugs to a large extent, taking away the power of criminal gangs, and better control peoples useage. Although that’s real bare bones and you have to do more.

            OR more basically, you need to look at what the US government is doing and make sure your not doing the same. I hope this doesn’t persist long into the future but right now the policies being used in the USA as spelling it’s own downfall.

            Like

          • equippedcat

            I’m not so sure that lack of food or housing is a major impetus to crime. Do poor people perform a disproportional percentage of the crime? Probably, but lack of food and housing do not appear to be the primary causes. Perhaps it is more the perceived lacks rather than the actual ones. Perhaps it is a derivation from being given stuff, but not given everything desired. Perhaps it is just behaving in the way they feel they are perceived as behaving.

            In any case, we have free/cheap housing – mostly they devolve into horrendous ghettos. We have food stamps which help some, and are misused by some. Providing these things is certainly one step better than just handing out cash. The problem is, giving food/shelter to people does not solve the problem. There is a reason (or several) why they don’t have food or shelter, and it that is not addressed, things are not likely to get better for them, and often will get worse.

            The more a person needs a drink, the less they should be supported in getting one, and the more likely it is that it will worsen their condition.

            Yep, it seems like the U.S. has a long history of adopting policies which will eventually lead to its downfall.

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            Well yes this isn’t a solution to every problem, it does take a huge burden off the Healthcare system, and it stops law enforcement from having to deal with the homeless and some evictions. Crime wasn’t what I was getting at, that tends to arrive from lack of opportunity, and cultures born out of a systemic lack of opportunity. One partial solution is to make sure people don’t need to struggle to survive.

            Though I would ask you to indicate how many people really abuse food stamps I’ve hear a lot about people abusing welfair with out any real substantiation. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but I haven’t seen any indication that the is rampant abuse.

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            Though thinking about it again, I suspect it’s because you coming at this from the deductive side of the logic while I’m coming from the inductive scientific side.

            You would absolutely be right If I was stating an absence of evidence is proof of absence, but I’m not I’ve proven anything. I’m only saying it’s evidence of absence.

            Like

          • equippedcat

            I keep using that card because people keep trying to use lack of evidence as evidence.

            Like

          • skinbark

            Actually, a worldwide flood as Biblically described would give adequate groundwork for current geological record worldwide including sedimentary layers, volcanoes under the ocean, etc. it would also account for fossil finds which appear to cross layers of earth thought to have been formed thousands of years from each other. Only a violent worldwide flood would be able to cause layers to be formed rapidly enough for one individual fossil to be formed bleeding into multiple layers.

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            No it would not, I have never heard a geologist from the leading university make any claim supporting the bilbical flood. Besides a massive flood can not account for the sort of sedmetary layers your claiing it can. some of which would taker far longer to form then can be accouned for, and one massive flood would only be capable of producing a single sedimentary layer (I think there are a couple ways this could be over come to explain a couple of layers, but not dozens or hundreds.

            As for fossil bleeding between one layer to another, are you considering the possibility that certain kinds of organism may have persisted through several geological eras?

            Now I don’t mean to be rude when I tell you this, but the suggest you’ve posed are hogwash which has be disproven countless times before although they are regularly cycle through by creationist organization who have no regard for science of honesty and will gladly ignore and dismiss all evidence except that which they think supports their own arguments. This in no way comports poorly on you if you do not make up part of the sorts of higher up producing this anti-scientific nonsense, only that you have been mislead as to what the facts are.

            Though the biggest problem with a global flood is there is simply not enough water on this planet to cover all it’s landmasses. There is not font of water over our heads, and that the massive surge of fresh water mixing with salt would kill nearly every sea creature alive currently.

            That and a violent flood still would not be able to deposit or change how rock layers are deposited. I truly suggest you think hard about the mechanics involved.

            Be wary of ad hoc explanation which quickly give an answer, but fail to consider the how that “solution” factors in to the previous propositions. Also be wary of false experts. Have you been getting your information by train geologists or from people with unrelated expertise and experience?

            And because I do not like to leave you with out resources.

            While these are not technically about the flood in particularity these fine folks are Christians and pro science and discuss related issues. Not saying that I agree with them 100%, but they are likely to be more palatable to your sensibilities then the next person.

            http://www.godofevolution.com/

            Next we have Wildwood Claire. Yes she’s an our spoken atheist, and has disdain for the young earth creationist movement, but she is a geologist, and she makes informative video’s, and she talks about the flood.

            I’d stick with the play list I’m giving you here before moving on to some of her other works, such as dim bulb of the week is not for everyone.

            Like

          • skinbark

            One organism …. lasting through millions of years of layers? I take it you misunderstood. Picture the tail of an organism in one layer, the body in another, the head in another. That’s what I mean.

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            Do you have an example handy?

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            Well That’s an artical claiming several things expect all show any “evidence” for is picture of a Polystrate fossil.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polystrate_fossil

            And is cites Mr. Kent Hovind who is a convicted fraud and a renowned lair.

            He’s Claire on this very subject, and as mentioned before unlike me, (or Kent) Clarie is a geologist.

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            Yes it’s has citations, but how about you take all look though the names of the publications and see why I’m skeptical about them.

            Like

          • skinbark

            On the contrary! I consider the fact that you are merely “skeptical” versus full fledged denial in the first post I responded to to be a win for me. 🙂 as for fudging science to make a point, can we say “the settled science of climate change propagandists? My point there being that scientists, believe it or not, have selfish agendas like everyone else in the world. What I hope from you is a little more of that skepticism all around.

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            I am a scientist for all intent and purposes, perhaps not in all regards, but I understand the systems which sround scienceand people in general. I understand the problems which exist in the science community. That said, I would bet my life on evolutions and the whole of my personal savings on Climate change being largely caused by human activities.

            The level of evidence for evolution via natural selection is so tight it’s functionally impossible to disprove it at this point. Though even if you could that would not prove creation for anything in the bible.

            And if you don’t beilieve in climate change, well I don’t care. Your kids or grand kids will when New york is flooded and California is a dust bowl (although I will grant that California does that regardless if the geological record tell us anything). My hope is that enough people realize that we are critically harming our ecosystems and soon enough, so that denialists can keep on living in blissful ignorance.

            A couple questions I have for you is are you skeptical of creationist claims, and how do you challenge your biases?

            Like

          • skinbark

            You always have so much for me to respond to in each of your responses. Let me pick out some goodies. 1. Evolution via natural selection is in no way the issue nor was it ever as far as I can tell. Those are changes that occur within the gene pool of a species. Inter species evolution is another issue entirely. Show me repeatable observable scientific data proving a. That a gene mutation has ever been beneficial to an organism and b. of one species inheriting characteristics outside their gene pool. I would hazard a guess that you cannot tout the tightness as you can with natural selection.
            2. I want to suggest a wordpress blog called evolutionisntscience which I ask you not to judge by its title but by its content. It states some fudging and inconsistencies of evolutionary scientists that I think you should know about as well as a list of many mainstream scientists who find serious fault with much evolutionary science and theory.
            3. As far as global warming, I can’t believe your rhetoric and the use of “deniers.” That’s simply sensationalism and goading haughty language used to bully those who think differently and I had thought it beneath you. 17 years since any statistically significant increase in temp. Maybe those of you doing something about climate change have already succeeded, however statistically insignificant your changes have been.
            4. I challenge my thinking on Biblical and scientific matters on a weekly if not daily basis. New knowledge pours in constantly and must be sifted critically

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            As for Number 3. While I’m not a climatologist a constant rise in golabal tempature has been strongly corrilated with the rise of Co2 and methant for decades. Decades. I’ve been exposed to a great deal of research by actual enviromental scientists inh class. There are marked rises in ocean pH. The ice sheets are fucking melting in significant quantities. The gulf stream has been slowing down or the last decade and had been growing worse.

            If you honestly think there is not significant data then I don’t know where your getting information from because it’s not from the over 90% of scientists studying the topic. While it may not be completely definitive. There is more than enough evidence to act on.

            Genuinely I will come back and answer some of your demands for evidence later, but currently I’m working on a paper about the modifications of biosynthesis pathways of lignin and that is what I need to research right now and not arguing with you about basic scientific facts.

            I’ll take a look at this blog later tonight, when I’m sick of reading research papers. Till then.

            Withteeth

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            Also technically evolution isn’t science it’s a fact, the the title alone while it imply anti-evolution bent it’s could be something else, though I will see.

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            Okay I allowed myself to look through a few posts, and not only does it start off with a misquote of Darwin which is pulled right out of context, but the author of those articles can tell the difference between an evolutionary scientist and artist who do depictions of scientific phenomenon. Another thing he seem to forget to mention is that these “frauds” (some of them are actually frauds some are bad science and some hardly qualify as anything more then artistic interpretations) But who discovered the frauds, it was biologists. Experts in their field would realized that the fraud didn’t actually fit what our model predicts or that there age or shape where falsified.

            Yes I know of many of these event and how this blog misrepresent the history. That and his references are largely defunct new articles that I can’t even look at anymore since they don’t exist.

            The articles show a fundemntal misunderstand of how science works and self corrects itself over time. As though finding that fraud exists is some how worse then having never found them.

            I’ll refer you to Aron Ra’s you tube page and a particular video, as he is specilized in study evolutionary theory.

            https://www.youtube.com/user/AronRa/videos

            And in this video he discusses many of the topic laid out in the blog you linked me too.

            Though he is far more knowledgeable then I on the specifics.

            Also I’d like to introduce you to Project Steve: http://ncse.com/taking-action/project-steve

            Other then that I really need to work on my paper so hopefully that’s enough for you to look at for a while. I’ll come back to this later when I have the time.

            Like

          • skinbark

            Let me narrow us down a bit. The flood. You said it couldn’t account for the layers, but it can as can be attested by the all knowing Wikipedia site you directed me to. Then there’s the year ion that, whenever I ask it, is ignored. Where’s all this proof of inter species evolution. You’d think for settled fact you could just throw out some obvious scientific studies on beneficial mutations adding genetic information to a species’ gene pool. Please send these to me if you would be so kind. Remember now … measurable repeatable science.

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            The year ion? What?

            “Remember now … measurable repeatable science.” if it isn’t measurable or repeatable it isn’t science.

            And yes when I get around too it. Though do remeber I’m the only one that actually doing any research. So far the best you could do was send me to sites based on tabloid and click bait news articles, or on creationist journals with no peer review process.

            May of which have shown a gross misunderstanding of what the science actually is.

            Also “inter species evolution.” That not a real term what your looking for is called speciation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation (there are some examples in there, though you can go ahead and ignore the hybrid example)

            And you should also understand there is more then one way to prove something with out actually being there. If there wasn’t the criminal justice system wouldn’t work at all.

            For example do you know anything about phylogeny?

            And finally not that I expect you to take my word on this, but how do explain why evolutionary theory is able to make accurate predication if evolution by natural selection is false. And even if you could prove evolution false how do you thing you could prove creation? It’s not like there a dichotomy, it’s not one or the other. There exists more then two possibilities.

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            A few more questions for you as well.

            What do you think “Theory” means in the scientific use of word?

            Do you know what a hypothesis is?

            Do you know how thing two things relate with one another as well as with facts.

            These questions are to help me gauge your science literacy. If you don’t understand them that fine, many people don’t as it’s not something people generally learn unless they take university level science. I don’t know your education back ground so I shouldn’t assume we are using the same language.

            Have you watched or read anything I’ve sent you to look into. and if so have to done more then read a few line and stopped?

            I’ve been in many conversations where people will demand evidence and never even bother looking at it, so before I go any further…

            Are you honestly looking for answers to these difficult questions or are you going to waste my time that I could otherwise using to spend researching or writing something else?

            If you are fine I’m willing to spend time with you on this topics, and I’m willing to expose you to a lot of information, but only if your willing to do the work to consider that information thoughtfully.

            Like

          • skinbark

            Speciation, unfortunately, is too broad a term and does not adequately define, in my opinion, the type of species created. It also does not include any specific examples of what I am looking for. Speciation is a term, yes, but my mere description of “inter species evolution” was meant to convey a more specific thought. I apologize for using my made up term without explaining it. Let me try to explain now. Every specific example of speciation given in the Wikipedia link you sent me falls under what I think of as specialization or division of a gene pool. Everything that I read dealt with started with the most genetic information at the top which narrowed as it split into what I can only think of as subspecies. I consider all that to be a part of natural selection, which I have no qualms with so far as it can be observed scientifically. It is the adding of new genetic information or even positive genetic mutations which I see no actually scientific literature or not enough to support such general statements as “Evolution is a fact.” I do not see examples of an organism acquiring new genetic information (information that was not present in the ancestral gene pool). For “evolution” to be a true fact explaining the origin of and increasing complexity of life these things must be observable and repeatable. It is true that the scientific method cannot always be employed. There are certain things we have not been able to objectively evaluate due to a variety of difficulties. In these cases, extrapolation of data are suggested and hypotheses are conjured to provide educated guesses. I understand all that. What I do not understand, or rather what I do not like, are people (mainly scientists) who are self-righteously dogmatic about their POV in areas where I see MUCH yet to learn and be understood. When people use language like “denier” and “settled science” I cringe, because I believe it is the place of responsible human beings to question and I do not believe science is ever truly settled.

            Like

          • equippedcat

            Is the climate changing? Certainly/provably. Is this primarily because of man’s actions? Probably not; the Earth has a long history of changing climate. Does man’s actions have some impact on it? Probably, but how much is unclear, and I have not heard of any practical things we can do about it. Most of the suggestions would be massively costly and minimally effective. Any real solutions would be intolerable to most people and even then it is not clear the trend would be reduced..

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            Based on what equipped cat? When else in history has climate change this degree in such a short period of time. We can look back about 60’000 years with great accuracy and nothing like this has happened in the period of time and we had an a significant ice age.

            You can’t get around the fact that Co2 and methane have radically increased in our atmosphere in the last two hundred years, and those two gasses are very important to regulating the temperature of our atmosphere.

            The evidence does not agree with those saying climate change has nothing to do with humanity, and I still have yet to hear compelling evidence to that effect.

            Like

          • equippedcat

            I’m not convinced that all the data is valid, as some of it has been proven to be a deliberate hoax and some at least not up to scientific standards.

            But let us postulate that CO2 and methane is killing us, or more accurately, the Earth (which will eventually kill us). What do we do?

            What causes methane? People and cows. How do we limit people and mostly eliminate cows (eliminate meat cows and only allow dairy cows)?

            What causes CO2? People and other animals, cars, soda and possibly other things. Perhaps the least objectionable solution would be to outlaw soda, and what are the odds of that happening? Everything else would face even greater opposition.

            What “undoes” CO2? Plants. Which we continue to eradicate to build more buildings and grow more cows.

            Are we, at least to some degree, at fault for the change in climate? Probably. Is there anything we can do about it? Probably not, as even some of those for whom Climate Change is an immediate threat which is completely due to human actions tend to not live a lifestyle which significantly reduces their impact on the climate. And everybody else won’t give up anything they have become accustomed to.

            .

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            Well first it’s not “killing the planet” Persay. The planet is a sphere of mostly molten rock nickle and iron revolving around the sun. We are not going to hurt the hot run in space. We are altering the thin biosphere, the atmosphere which we actually live in.

            You want to tell me about these hoaxes coming out of the scientific community got some particular examples to draw upon? I’m not say none haven’t happened, but who are they coming from, and how does this discredit other claims? Science isn’t some monolithic beast you can shoot in the heart and kill each piece of research must stand on it’s own to some extent, and while science builds upon itself it is compartmentalized. So you can’t just call into question a couple things and call it a day you need to show how the whole subject is compromised and how we can not trust what the vast majority of climate scientists have to say.

            Climate scientists in my experience which is not insubstantial have provided compelling evidence for human caused climate change (Since the 70’s I might add), and climate change itself is effectively irrefutable. I say effectively becuase while many groups have tried to disprove such world wide climate changes they have failed to provide counter evidence sufficient to challenge the consensus and there has been no shortage of well funded research groups trying to forge the magic bullet to kill climate change.

            As for Methane and CO2 your painting a silly strawman position you’re rending the complex as absurd and futile.

            The largest producer of Co2 is with out question humans. We produce millions of metric tons, and even if we count all forest fire as natural that doesn’t change the fact we are extracting huge amount of carbon that was sequestered underground as coal, oil, and natural gas burning it and releasing it largely as carbon dioxide.

            Not to forget clear cutting which still goes on today and release a great deal of CO2 indirectly but by the wood being processed and some of it burned, but also the lost CO2 sequestering those trees where doing.

            Will reducing our CO2 foot print be difficult yes, but renewable nergy is such that we can already hypothetically produce enough wind and solar to cover our energy needs, and thorium nucear reactors also provide a promising aid.

            There are some pressing problems such as power storage. However there are many people working on those problems. Perhaps if we in North America where not so keen on give tax cuts to some of the most profitable business in the world and instead focused a faction of those lost resources into research we’d already have all the sloutions we need, but the thing is they’re not far off and quality of life doesn’t need to dramtically change over night. There are thousands of this we can do that will help without taking away soda, cars and cows, but we can make them more expensive and reduce demand artificially. Chickens produce a hell of a lot less methane and CO2 then cows or pigs.

            Like

          • equippedcat

            Sorry, “killing the planet” was poetic license. 🙂 Modifying it to be less human favorable would be the accurate description.

            I don’t say that the whole concept is a hoax; I personally can attest that Illinois winters and Arizona summers have changed markedly during my lifetime, and it is ludicrous to claim that every single person involved is a crook or a crazy.. Where I have questions is when people claim that humanity will die off in a few years unless we do “x”, where “x” would massively screw with the life of a majority of the people. In some cases, these people are looking to profit from their claims, and in others, they are (based on other activities) likely wackjobs. Some might simply be mislead by the first two groups. It is the people who approach the subject with reason and intelligence who need to have attention paid to them.

            When searching for the data falsification article, I found most of the “hoax” articles are about as sensational against Climate Change as the worst articles for it are. Here is one which appears to have some support for its claim.

            http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/55939

            Ah, here is the sort of thing I was looking for:

            http://www.prisonplanet.com/ipcc-scientists-caught-producing-false-data-to-push-global-warming.html

            http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/15624-cooking-climate-consensus-data-97-of-scientists-affirm-agw-debunked

            Is the climate changing? Definitely. Is it going to be disastrous for humans? Maybe. Is there anything we can do which will significantly lessen the impact? Even if there was some action or set of actions which could have significant impact, economics, politics and human nature practically guarantee that those actions will not be attempted. And the same three “actors” will likely ensure that any steps which ARE taken will be relatively ineffective, and profit a few at the cost of many.

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            I’ll grab you the argument that if we don’t have significant parties around the world make stride to reduce CO2 then the change will be largely insignificant, but fortunately the policy in the US and Canada do not reflect that through the whole world.

            Now reading briefly through those three articles a few problems, one many of the news paper article they cite no longer exist. There of then seem to be this sensationalized article which seem to float around untethered to anything and difficult to verify. As well many cite none experts as sources which is not a good sign.

            However, http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/15624-cooking-climate-consensus-data-97-of-scientists-affirm-agw-debunked is actually a pretty good article.

            following up on some of the citation briefly the story is largely this.

            John Cook an climate change activist not a train scientist base on what I can determine, and certainty not a statistician (important training if you want to do complex statistical analysis) release a book.

            This book was about Cooks statistical analysis which while gobbled up by the media, shortly after was lambasted once the science community got a hold of it.

            The key thing here is we had some with with no apparent training doing a complex statistical study looking at papers which related to some marginal degree climate science, and from that concocted at 97% stat from that.

            He then published the book (i.e. not going through any scientific peer review). Later an actual statistician tore it apart point out he has a non-sense methodology and several other scientists concurred with there own analysis.

            People love to tie these kinds of hoaxes in with the actual science, and while occasionally there is an actual fraud. Often what happens is some crack pot pretends to do science publishes a book or magazine article, the media talks about it like it’s real science, and later on when either a science journalist or an actual scientists publishes findings that show the work be be incorrect or fraudulent. Somehow people assume it was the science at fault all along. It’s often like claiming a detective is at fault for a crime they solved.

            Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            This may seem like I’m moving the goal post on you, but science has high standards to meet before you can participate, and there are reasons why creationist a force to make their own publications and fail to be accredited. It’s not a giant conspiracy to “hide the truth” it’s that nothing they publish can actually stand up against rigorous appraisal.

            I’ve great some creationist science papers and most of them bol down to the following argument.

            “This event of piece of evidence goes against this hypothesis. Therefore god did it.”

            It doesn’t matter if they have to fudge results or misrepresent a hypothesis or theory to do it. So long as it sound credible to an uninformed audience.

            And it’s not a simple task to be informed about science at large let alone the the particulars about different fields of scientific study. IF you need help with that I suggest Crash Course video’s

            Like

          • equippedcat

            I’ve never heard of the “Settlement pattern”. Who could not have arrived “en masse” where?

            Like

      • clubschadenfreude

        EC, there is no evidence t all for any of the essential events of the bible. We also have evidence for things that happened instead of what the bible claims. So we do have positive and negative evidence against the claims of the bible and of Christians. The claims of finding artifacts in the Red Sea are baseless claims by Ron Wyatt, someone with no training in archaeology, who has never once been able to provide these artifacts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Wyatt

        All you have presented is claims that have already been falsified. There were no hundreds of thousands to millions of Israelites in Egypts at any time. There were no hundreds of thousands to millions of people wandering around for 40 years in an area half the size of my home state, Pennsylvania.

        Your question “Does archaeology really “trash” them? Lack of evidence does not “trash” them; widely supported evidence AGAINST would trash them.” speaks of a ignorance of actual archaeology. You should study it rather than passing along false claims.

        Liked by 2 people

        • equippedcat

          CSF, I say again, lack of evidence is not evidence. It may be indicative, but it is NOT evidence. On the other hand, contradictory evidence IS evidence. Any valid contradictory evidence needs to be considered.

          Look again, I’m NOT making any claims. I do not claim Exodus happened exactly as described, or differently than described. I do not claim that archeology has any valid support for OR against Exodus. The only claim I am making is that *I* am not aware of any, and the only links I have been exposed to so far are people who do make claims, based not on evidence but lack of evidence, and such reasoning predisposes me to reject what they claim without spending a lot of time on it.

          Like

          • clubschadenfreude

            We have positive evidence too. We have that there was never any magical world-wide flood and nothing more happened than the usual geological processes. We have evidence in our genetics that we never came from one human man and woman; we do have evidence that human populations have occasionally bottlenecked.

            You are making claims, EC, when you try to cast doubt on the facts we do have. This “Does archaeology really “trash” them? Lack of evidence does not “trash” them; widely supported evidence AGAINST would trash them.” strikes me as nothing more than the “teach the controversy” nonsense that plays pretend that creationists, and bible literalists have any evidence at all, and that what they have is in any way commensurate with what geologists, archaeologists, physicists, chemists, biologists have.

            You have touted claims of there being artifacts under the Red Sea. There aren’t any. You don’t have to claim that archaeology has valid support or against Exodus. Your claims mean nothing when we know that there is not any evidence of the supposed events of Exodus, and we have plenty of evidence that life in Egypt when on its merry way, no matter what time you want to fantasize that the exodus happened. This is the same for the nonsense about adam and eve, the flood, the supposed wisest man ever and his huge palaces, the tower of babel, the battles between hundreds of thousands of men, the magical birth of a god/man, its miracles that no one noticed, and its suppoed death that caused the dead to walk, an earthquake so strong it could tear hanging cloth, and the darkening of theh sky.

            You seem to end up with an argument from personal ignorance, and this personal ignorance seems something you have no interest in ameliorating. You do seem intent on passing along claims that are not true, which is at best a careless act and at worst an intentionally malicious one. I find that sad but nothing special coming from a theist.

            Liked by 1 person

          • equippedcat

            SInce it appears you don’t actually read what I write, why should I bother?

            Like

          • clubschadenfreude

            Since I have read what you have written, have address specific claims you have made, and can point to the instances of both, like your claims about artifacts under the red sea and your own words that describe your own ignorance “The only claim I am making is that *I* am not aware of any, and the only links I have been exposed to so far are people who do make claims, based not on evidence but lack of evidence, and such reasoning predisposes me to reject what they claim without spending a lot of time on it.”, I find your claim that I “don’t actually read what I (you) write” to be simply untrue and it appears to be an attempt to avoid answering my questions.

            Why should you bother doing what? If you mean why should you bother researching the facts? Well, one would hope that you value facts and reality. I am sure you do in some situations but it seems that when it comes to your religion, you don’t and prefer to remain ignorant and to make false claims that we do not have positive evidence that other things have happened that preclude the essential events in your bible. That makes you a hypocrite. Both ignorance and hypocrisy can be cured.

            Liked by 1 person

          • equippedcat

            Look closely. I did not claim that there are Egyptian artifacts at the bottom of the Red sea, nor did I claim that such were found. I mentioned, in passing, that I heard that someone did claim to find such, but that no support for that claim was found. Because you claim that I made a claim about this is why I claim you don’t really read what I write.

            I also didn’t claim that there is no evidence contradictory to what I believe, just that I have not yet encountered any such which appears valid, and the few times some has been indicated, have not passed my scrutiny. Not that is was wrong, just that it was presented in a way, or used reasoning, which did not seem to validate it.

            What other “claims” do you think I have made? Perhaps some have slipped through, although it is my intention that I don’t make any claims which don’t have real, “universally” acceptable, evidence.

            What appears to be a waste of my time is when I attempt to generate answers to your questions, and your responses give the appearance that you didn’t really pay attention to what I said, just looked for key words to “go off on”.

            Like

          • clubschadenfreude

            I know exactly what you said, EC. “Nope, I suggest nothing of the sort. As far as I know, neither reliable evidence for or against have been found. Speaking of Exodus, one group claims to have found the exact path followed across the sea and thereafter (they provided video). Another group claimed to have dived beside the ridge in the sea and found Egyptian artifacts, I’ve never seen any verification of either of these. On the other hand, there have been a few who have claimed that there is “no evidence” that Israel ever existed in Egypt. I’ve not heard of verification of this either, and even if “everybody” agreed there was “no evidence”, this does not seem reliable evidence that it did not occur.”

            This was in response to Ark’s asking you if you thought there was a “hint” of evidence for the exodus, et al. Above, you try to equate those that claim to have evidence of the exodus, to those who say that there is no evidence of such a thing and who have evidence to show that something else happened other than hundreds of thousands of Israelites up and left Egypt after magical events. They are not the same and it again seems that you are trying to appeal to personal ignorance and the nonsense of “teach the controversy” to make it seem like they are equivalent. They are not. The claims of finding artifacts to support the exodus are lies because they are false and they are intentionally repeated. Whenever you pass them along as valid or even possibly valid, you are intentionally spreading false claims because you don’t bother learning about the truth.

            I do indeed read what you write. You claim “groups” of people support the supposed evidence for the exodus, and then you try to claim only a “few” people who have “claimed” no evidence, when it is a fact that there is no evidence. It certainly seems to me that you are intentionally choosing your words. You may not be, but that is not how it seems.

            As it stands, you seem to be intentionally keeping yourself ignorant. You dismiss evidence because you don’t find it “valid” but your excuses why it is not valid seems to be limited to your own personal ignorance. To disregard a fact on how it was “presented” seems to be no more than another excuse.

            Liked by 1 person

  • Bill

    You are saying a lot of what I usually am thinking. I had a blog on the Bible I stopped due to lack of interest. At least you are getting criticism. 🙂
    But more importantly I learned that with all things Internet, there will be critics and mockers. Believe in what you are doing and, as I have seen, you can help a few readers. I am one of those people who likes to think big, but for me big just doesn’t seem meant to be. I can live with that.

    Liked by 2 people

  • chicagoja

    You are entitled to your opinion, just as the atheists and the fundamentalists are. The only difference is that they are convinced that they are right. That’s the problem with ideology – it blinds the believer.

    Liked by 2 people

    • hessianwithteeth

      It’s not a matter of opinion. There are more and less likely interpretations, and it is worth discussing. Dismissing someone’s interpretation as “just their opinion” or “clearly wrong” is neither helpful nor is it worth while.

      Liked by 1 person

Tell us what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: