MIT Physicist Ian Hutchinson Calls Gnu Atheists “Militant” and Wants Greater “Respect” Directed Toward Religion and Faith

At BioLogos, MIT physicist Ian Hutchinson has a theory as to why the gnu atheism, since 9-11, has gained some traction in the culture: the gnu atheists do not offer religion and faith respect:

That’s perhaps part of their attraction to a certain segment of the population—that is, that’s what makes it a new kind of phenomenon in that it basically shows no respect for religion whatsoever, because militant atheists think that religion is basically a bad thing and needs to be condemned.

I don’t like Hutchinson’s phrase “militant atheist”—it’s a cheap shot and is itself disrespectful—but his larger observation is well taken: the thing that distinguishes an atheist like Albert Camus in the 1950s from an atheist like, say, Jerry Coyne in the 21st century, is that Coyne declines the polite public deference usually accorded religion and faith.

And this comes as a shock.

It really is an emperor has no clothes moment. Gnu atheists are asking theists for good and clear reasons—including evidence—for their beliefs, and when these go wanting, the gnu atheists are not quiet about noticing. It’s the puncturing of a bubble of rectitude.

But what’s happened to religionists in this decade happened to liberals (of which I am one) in the 1990s: as talk radio, Fox News, and the Internet picked up steam, there was simply no way to maintain a liberal consensus around public policy and the parameters of civil and “thinkable” debate. The ABC-NBC-CBS monopoly on how most Americans got their news was broken. Today the religion monopoly has also been broken: big religion, like big media, no longer gets a deferential pass. Atheists, once closeted or easily ignored, have set themselves up in the new media environment and have to be dealt with.

The gnu atheist position—when the blue pipe smoke of accusations about incivility and “militancy” clears—is a more than reasonable one, and that’s the genuine problem for theists (not contemporary atheism’s rhetorical tone). It really is an open question as to whether religion and faith (as opposed to critical thinking and doubt) are good things and deserve praise. And so, like a Saturday Night Live “Coffee Talk” segment with Linda Richman (Mike Myers), gnu atheists have brought the following unsettling thesis out from behind closed doors and into the full and unclouded public sunshine:

Religion is basically a bad thing and needs to be condemned.

Discuss. This is all that the gnu atheists are really doing. That’s not miltancy, but freedom of speech and honesty. It’s Harry Truman telling the truth as he sees it, and others calling it hell.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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70 Responses to MIT Physicist Ian Hutchinson Calls Gnu Atheists “Militant” and Wants Greater “Respect” Directed Toward Religion and Faith

  1. peddiebill says:

    It seems to me that the main problem is this term “religion” which in practice includes culture, tradition, nationalism and exclusivism as well as the fine idealism like concepts of forgiveness, kindness, an awe and respect for creation and more recently outgrowths like the Charter of Compassion. Where religion is shown to be harmful it maybe that the cultural and exclusivist notions have come to dominate, and where fundamentalism is allowed to hold sway religion even becomes silly at best and dangerous at worst. Yet when we see the best that religion has been able to do – eg reconciliation in South Africa, the abolition of slavery, setting up the hospital system the education system, and developing wise laws there is no need to condemn religion per se. There is even the hope that the Charter of Compassion may even yet act for great good. Where Richard Dawkins is able to get real traction is allowing fundamentalists to speak for all followers of religion which gives him an extraordinarily easy target.
    http:billpeddie.wordpress.com

    • santitafarella says:

      Bill,

      It’s not obvious to me that your list of historic accomplishments for religion holds up under scrutiny. Slavery (for example) was endorsed by the apostle Paul. And might all these things have happened without religion, and within a similar time frame? You can’t run history again (obviously), but you may have offered a list of correlation-causation fallacies.

      And, really, arguing about the past may conceal a trickier question for religion generally: what positive role, looking into the future, can religion really play when its characteristic epistemological moves (appeals to faith, tradition, religious experience, miracles, authority, and scripture) are so obviously inadequate?

      What can a contemporary clergy person ever really say about the human condition that can’t be said as well (or better) by a secular literature professor or philosopher?

      —Santi

      • TomH says:

        Actually, Paul didn’t endorse slavery. Any statement that Paul endorsed slavery shows mistakes reading Paul’s writings. He encouraged slaves to become free if possible and encouraged masters to treat their slaves well.

        I guess your appeals to quack psychology and quack science are so much better, epistemically speaking.

        Miracles are inadequate? I guess empirical evidence is inadequate, then, since the appeal to miracles is based on empirical evidence. What was it that Locke wrote about again????

        Marx had a lot to say about the human condition. There’s that Enlightenment thing again for ya.

      • santitafarella says:

        Tom,

        Kindly interpret Paul’s exhortation to wives to obey their husbands and slaves to obey their masters. Should a slave have ever loved his or her master, embracing the role of slave as if it were obedience unto the Lord?

        And do you imagine Southerners in the 1800s not reaching for such scriptural passages as justification for slavery?

        Wouldn’t have been nice if Jesus had declared the liberation of slaves in his Sermon on the Mount—and made it as evil to keep a slave as to look on a woman with lust?

        —Santi

      • TomH says:

        Santi,

        So you think that when Paul wrote to slaves–that they were to obey their masters–that he was endorsing slavery? I’ve already shown where Paul wrote for slaves to seek their freedom. So, the most that you can say is that Paul was conflicted about slavery–not that he endorsed it. The reason why Paul wrote to slaves to obey their masters is in the context that you ignore–so that the pagan perception of Christ might not be negatively influenced. This is hardly an endorsement of slavery.

        As regards wives, Paul referred to them as despots of the home. In public, they were to defer to their husbands, but in the home they were in charge. This generally accords with Paul’s views about spheres of dominance. That’s how my wife and I work out our marriage–and that was without any theological discussion. It just seemed quite practical. I spend most of my time at home, so guess who wears the pants most of the time?

        Pro-slavery arguments in the U.S. tended to rely on OT passages, but they also ignored some limitations put on Hebrew slavery. They are hardly representative of the OT or NT position.

        It might have been nice from a 20th century, Enlightenment, puerile, idealistic position for Jesus to have prohibited slavery, but he also said that there were many things that he had to say that even his disciples couldn’t bear. Do you tell your little children all the details of your finances or that they will someday have to grow up and go to work for years, which may be drudgery?

    • TomH says:

      peddiebill,

      All systems are exclusivistic, including “inclusivistic” systems. Inclusivistic systems by definition exclude all exclusivistic systems. It’s like the Liar’s Paradox.

      Santi,

      Rather than evidence for the resurrection going wanting, it tends rather to be ignored.

      If the same standards for experimental research were applied to the resurrection, all researchers would be Christians.

      You don’t seem to understand that the atheists are begging the question. How can they say that anything is bad? On what basis is something bad? Show me the compelling ethical system!!!!! If the atheists are using western culture, western culture is heavily imbued with Christian ethics, so how can they rely on western culture? Their argument is no stronger than the ethical system that they are attacking.

      • @Tom

        How do you figure that evidence for the resurrection is ignored? The only evidence is the biblical record, which is not really evidence at all. It is not even testimony, only heresay. We have stronger “testimony” from UFO sightings from highly respected sources – 2 presidents and numerous high ranking military officers. Yet that is not enough to convince everyone of UFOs. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. From a resurrection side, we have no credible evidence.

        Yes, western civilization is highly imbued with Christian values. And Christian values are highly imbued with the value systems that were in place before Judaism and Christianity existed. Do you pay the same respect to the polytheistic system and Hammurabi’s code that you expect atheists to pay to Judaism and Christianity? To claim that attacks on the innumerable atrocities and banes of religion are an attack on western values is absurd. When you condemn the old pagan religions, do you see that as an attack on Christianity? After all, much of Judaism and Christianity was adopted from the polytheistic systems they supplanted. Why is it that your view of protecting systems seems to stop at Christianity? Christianity does not even have as long a run as the polytheistic religions which existed for far more than 2000 – yet you have no problem ignoring them.

      • conservative Scott says:

        Jared Rodriguez,

        You are using the same old biased arguments against the resurrection. You say “the only evidence is biblical, and that’s no evidence at all”. Really?🙂 Then you’re very ignorant of the fact that the Bible is very accurate as far as history, especially the history of the ancient Jews and the ancient Christians, in the early times of the Church. Even skeptical publications like Newsweek published articles in the 1990s citing examples of archaeological evidence that confirms the existence of many biblical characters.

        You ever heard of Sir William Ramsay? He was an English archaeologist who set out to show that the Gospel of Luke was forgery. He went to the Middle East, to Israel and to other locations mentioned in the Book of Acts. He ended up becoming a Christian believer.🙂 He wrote: “Luke is one of the greatest and most accurate historians”. I’m sure “open minded” atheists like you would reject the evidence he found.🙂

        The book “Evidence that demands a verdict” by Josh McDowell could be helpful.

        That article you mentioned about similarities between Jesus Christ and other deities, is using the same old clichees and anti-Christian revisionism. In order to evaluate and draw conclusions about a historical work or writing, you must do so in its proper context. The context was ancient Israel, the authors were ancient Israelites who were the earliest Christians.

        That article that you’re so enthusiastic about totally ignores this. It ignores the religious and cultural context in which the books of the New Testament were written. To imagine that the disciples of Christ who were devout monotheistic Jews would copy pagan myths and incorporate them into their faith, is the silliest and most stupid theory anyone could come up with. The whole thing is ridiculous. It goes against their cultural mindest and context. Saturn, a god that the Romans worshiped, the same Romans who were ruling over the Israelites, would become a role model for Jewish fishermen.🙂 Lol

        It’s irrelevant when Jesus was born, in the winter or summer.

        You said that Judaism and Christianity borrowed from other pagan systems. what was there to borrow, child sacrifice?
        That other cultures had some moral standards, yes. After all, they were also humans created by the same God and had something called “conscience”. The apostle Paul acknowledged this in the Epistle to the Romans when he said the pagans who are without Law, do the things of the Law according to their conscience.

        The best evidence for the Resurection, there are many arguments. I would be glad to give you some, but only if you are willing to consider them with an open mind and heart.
        There’s one argument I can give you now. Thomas, who doubted that Jesus was raised from the dead. He didn’t believe it unless he saw Him. It’s in the Gospel of John, chapter 20. Thomas is the best example that God is not against skepticism and asking questions. Thomas went on to preach the Gospel as far as India. He wouldn’t have never done that, especially after being skeptical at first and considering all the risks associated with it, had he not been convinced that Jesus Christ was raised and he was the real Messiah, God the Son.

  2. No one deserves respect. Respect must be earned. The same is even more true for ideologies.

    But if someone wants to make sweeping generalizations about “all religions” then they have to be able to back it up. That never actually happens, though. What happens instead is a crude process of overgeneralization that reveals a clear eurocentric bias on the part of the New Atheists, who assume that other religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, couldn’t possibly be any more rational than the predominant religion of Europeans (Christianity).

    • santitafarella says:

      Well, Apuleius, then please share what epistemic methods you endorse (that are traditionally associated with religion).

      When seeking the truth of a matter, do you praise (as opposed to condemn) appeals to faith, tradition, religious experience, miracles, authority, or scripture?

      What positive role do you see for religion going into the human future?

      I’m all for Buddhist meditation (for example), and have practiced it (and continue to), but it’s not obvious to me that you can get all that far epistemically sitting on your zafu. And the central Buddhist insight—everything is in flux—is something Heraclitus arrived at without meditation.

      As for Hinduism’s rationality, once it strays from the conservative insights derived from meditation generally, it seems rather improbable. For example, I certainly don’t see any reason to believe that the monkey-god Hanuman actually exists. Do you?

      —Santi

      • jjj says:

        “santi”

        You don’t seem to know what you are talking about.

        The central Buddhist insight is NOT that everything is a flux, it is that all perception is a flux, and it is not real. Meditation has a ridiculously large effect on the brain, (depending on how you meditate) from converting white matter to grey matter, to rebooting your cerebral cortex, etc.

        If practicing “Buddhist meditation” has not given you the slightest intuitive hint that divinity might exist, then you might just be wasting your time. There are books on how to do it the right way.

        As for Hinduism, you don’t seem to understand how their theology works. The monkey-god Hanuman is not actually a real monkey god running around in some celestial realm. He is a representation of The Source (the one god most people believe in) the unmanifest god head who created everything, etc. Most Hindus see Jesus Christ as an incarnation of god as much as Christians do.

        Now in reality, religion works. Most wars are being fought over religion, but if man never invented religion, we would have self destructed a while ago if it was not for good people like Jesus and Buddha who showed people the way.

        “I don’t like Hutchinson’s phrase “militant atheist”—it’s a cheap shot and is itself disrespectful”

        Honey militant atheism is alive and well. Ever been to Germany? Wear a cross on your neck there, and people will stare you down.

      • santitafarella says:

        JJJ:

        Did you know that between Sri Lanka and the Indian continent, fundamentalist Hindus believe that the monkey god Hanuman built a (now underwater) bridge with an army of monkeys?

        Google it and see how that belief has played out in Indian politics.

        As for Buddhism, it’s you who are confused: Buddhist anatman doctrine recognizes no stable entities—that’s Hinduism that promotes an unchanging Atman behind all things. But if you think you have a book that will set me straight, feel free to share the title: I like discovering new books.

        —Santi
        —Santi

  3. Scott says:

    hey Tom H,

    Very good point about Western civilization being based on Christian biblical values. 🙂

    The liberal elites hate that and so they have been rewriting history. They attempt to secularize all Christians who were authors and artists. CS Lewis is a good example, whenever they write about him, they intentionally ignore the connection between his Christian faith and his work, especially “The Chronicles of Narnia”. Even in the movie “Shadowlands” starring Anthony Hopkins as Lewis, they make his character say that the imagery in Chronicles of Narnia is not Christian. 🙂 There’s a line in the movie where he says the imagery or symbolism is not Christian, “it’s just magic”. It’s ridiculous. That’s the the usual revisionist stuff.

    The other thing, about slavery. Don’t be surprised that they always use that vicious argument to associate Christianity with slavery. It’s ironic that they never use that argument about Islam, since the Quran strongly encourages Muslims to subdue other people and make them slaves. Well, Islam gets all the respect in the world from the same people who attack Christianity and the Bible.

    If there’s a religion that should offend liberals, it is Islam. Its treatment of women, its discrimination of religious minorities, and its fanatical doctrines, everything is anti-freedom. Yet, in their hatred of Christians and Christianity, liberals side with a horrible religion like this.

    You don’t hear any of them bemoaning the barbarism and the persecution against people of other faiths in Islamic countries, but they always scream about tolerance and they even favor giving Muslims in Western countries special rights.

    Well, many ignorant and brainwashed progressive liberals would be surprised to find out that they have been manipulated to think like this, that our entire culture has been poisoned with rabid left wing political correctness for several decades.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8630135369495797236#

    Watch this short documentary and you’ll see what I’m talking about. You too, Santi.

    Tom, I just realized after watching this, that the hypocrisy and the ignorance in the political discourse of politically correct Liberals are the result of decades of indoctrination. Many of them don’t even realize this. It was an indoctrination promoted not just by the media, but also by the government education system and the film industry. When certain thought patterns and clichees are repeated over and over, they become culturally acceptable and most people think it’s normal and good to think like that. It’s a very sad reality.

    The slavery issue was directly related to human sin. Jesus knew that very well, and so did all the other Christian leaders after his ascension. Slavery was a symptom of a more serious disease. It was a result of sin, a pagan culture poisoned by sin.
    That’s why Christ said: “Whatsoever you would want people to do unto you, so do unto them also”.

    He was indirectly saying to people who owned slaves, “If you want others to let you live free and not sell you or buy you like objects, then do the same to your slaves; let them be free”. It’s as simple as that. He didn’t have to attack slavery or Roman expansionism directly. He attacked the cause of these things. Attacking slavery or something else without addressing the problem of human spiritual corruption, is like treating the symptoms instead of the disease. That’s the bankruptcy of all religions. Even Christianity does this to some extent. They give people some strict rules to follow without realizing that it’s absurd to expect them to do things that come into conflict with their corrupt nature. They can’t even fix or transform that corrupt nature, because nothing can do this, only Jesus Christ through the power of God the Holy Spirit can. They just try to fix the symptoms instead of the cause. The Son of God went directly for the cause, he struck the monster of sin and killed it/him.
    It killed Him too in the process, but He won and God raised Jesus back to life.
    It’s awesome.

    “He bore our sins in his body on the tree”.

    That’s the victory that Jesus the Christ won at Calvary for us.

    • TomH says:

      Scott,

      Even John Locke, in his phenomenal treatise about empiricism, couldn’t help borrowing from Christian influences in English culture. For example, the apostles, when questioned by the Sanhedrin (Acts 4), answered by saying, “…we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” How much more empirical can you get?! Locke was raised in a devout Christian household and, while he wasn’t devout at this point in his life, likely couldn’t help remembering what he had been taught about the empirical ideas from the Bible. There’s also 1 John 1:1-3. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20John%201&version=NASB

      I’ve seen the “progress” which the liberals laud. Increased divorce rates. Increased public drunkenness. Increased loan sharking (I include Visa and Mastercard here). Increased pawn shops. Increased gambling addiction. Increased STDs. Many of these started massively increasing in the ’60s contemporaneously with the rise of the progressive control of the media and the modern interpretation of separation of church and state. I’ve never seen liberals have an answer for this except to try to raise some red herring. Empirical evidence sucks if you’re a liberal.

      • And every single Christian cannot help but borrow from the polytheistic religions that came before. Christ was born in the summer, when the roman census was typically conducted. Yet all of you Christians actually celebrate Saturnalia (yes, the God Saturn) for the birth of Christ. the Christian mythos drew from numerous other mythologies that came before. Here is a summary of just a few of the borrowings.

        http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/rmsbrg11.htm

        As for the “progress” of liberal policies, perhaps you are not familiar with correlation and causation. It is humorous to hear you talk about “Empirical evidence” as if you have cited any in either your assertion of liberal progress or your belief in the Christian mythology. If Empirical evidence sucks for liberals, it is the bane of existence for Christians. You assert that you know the answer to the biggest question ever asked .. yet you have not a tiny little shred of Empirical Evidence. You express the most wicked double standards in almost every post.

      • conservative Scott says:

        That’s very interesting about Locke.

        You observed something very important, that it started in the ’60s. That’s what it shows in that documentary.
        They used the women’s lib, the anti-war students, hippies and other liberal movements to do for them, what they could not have not accomplished by themselves, ever. If you watch that documentary that I posted yesterday, you’ll see that.

  4. andrewclunn says:

    Like the article, but wow, a lot of comments. Gonna have to read through them later.

  5. conservative Scott says:

    hey Tom H,

    You made a very good point about the Christian influence in Western civilization.🙂

    The liberal elites hate that and so they have been rewriting history. They attempt to secularize all Christian authors and artists. CS Lewis is a good example, as I said. Bach would be another example.

    That short documentary that I gave the link to, shows how they destroyed the foundations of Western civilization by attacking everything traditional. And how they used many ignorant and brainwashed progressive liberals to do it. Many of them don’t even realize this.

    It was an indoctrination promoted by elites of rabid left wingers in the media, the academic world, the film industry.

    That’s what they did, they repeated certain clichees and phrases over and over, until they became culturally acceptable and most people think it’s normal and good to think like that. It’s a very sad reality.

    • The liberal elites are rewriting history? How so? And did you bother to read my post about how Christians think that history starts with Christ? Your religion has its roots in paganism. While the western world is highly influenced by Christianity, Christianity is highly influenced by Paganism. Most of the Jesus myth is adopted from similar myths that came before. Even Christmas is actually the celebration of Saturnalia and NOT the birth of Christ (which was in the summer).

      Slavery, murder and theft are rampant in the bible. Even in the NT, your claims that Christ is against slavery is something you are entirely making up and NOT in line with the actual texts of the bible. Here are a few snippets:

      Ephesians 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.

      Timothy 6:1 Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.

      Luke12:47 The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.”

      Sure, none of these outright say that owning slaves is OK. Yet agreement is implicit in the instructing of slaves on how to be slaves.

      I love how Christians try to claim that the current state of the west is somehow WORSE than it was 70 years ago and that this is the fault of moving away from Christianity. First off, you would have to prove that life now is “worse.” Secondly, you would have to prove causation .. NOT CORRELATION, which is the common fallacy of the idiots making these claims. Lastly, you would have to look back further than 75 years. Evaluate life through all the lovely phases of Christian dominance. You know, the good ole days like the crusades, the inquisitions, killing of “pagans” through Europe, the N Ireland conflict. Those strong Christan values sure created some awesome times in world history.

      • TomH says:

        Jared,

        Let’s see…. On one hand you say that the “Jesus myth” has its origins in paganism (for which you have provided absolutely no evidence) and on the other hand you dismiss the notion that many modern social ills were aggravated by the adoption of secularism as the national religion by the Supreme Court in the ’60s (for which there is much correlated evidence, which is as strong as it gets for this type of mushy social or economic topic). If anything predates Jesus, this does

        (Genesis 3:15)

        Eve comments on her understanding of this section: “I have gotten a man, the Lord.” (Genesis 4:1)

        The psalmist discusses the resurrection:

        (Psalm 16:9-10)

        So, if there are any pagan myths about Christ and the resurrection, they likely had their origins in Genesis and Psalms.

        You obviously are unable to read the Bible without a jaundiced eye (i.e., you have some degree of illiteracy wrt the Bible). That speaks poorly for you. Perhaps you have some axe to grind?

        Here’s a link to some discussion of the Jesus myth theory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_myth_theory .

        I’ve discussed before the epistemology of the New Testament as regards witnesses. The Jesus myth theory ignores this smoking gun. Even the atheist and NT textual expert Bart Ehrman considers the Jesus myth theory to be absurd. From the previous link: “Although virtually all biblical scholars agree that Jesus did exist….”

        Seriously…

      • If you are looking for ideas on the origin of the Abrahamic religions and their basis in paganism, try reading some of the well known scholars in this area like Karen Artmstrong and Robert Alter. They discuss the origin of Yewah as a Babylonian war deity, and drive into the Abrahamic religions.

        http://www.amazon.com/History-God-000-Year-Judaism-Christianity/dp/0345384563
        http://www.amazon.com/Five-Books-Moses-Translation-Commentary/dp/0393019551

        You seem to ignore the numerous pagan aspects of Christianity – consuming of flesh and blood, crucification, etc. Do some googling, these aspects of Christianity were part and parcel of the pagan religions long before Christianity existed. Perhaps you should broaden your horizons to reading about our vast and interesting history BEFORE Christianity and Judaism. It is humorous to see you citing the Bible when talking about the earliest human history, seeing as civilization existed for 1000s of years before even the OT was a dream. In fact, you are ignoring almost all of human history by only looking at the time since the OT and only looking at the Christian mythos.

        At least you are now saying that what you consider the decline of society from the 60s as correlation. Although you ignore similar correlations to other parts of history where Christianity was not so friendly. I guess that the N Ireland conflict was an improvement as well? Maybe the high quality of life during the inquisitions? You are fighting a losing battle in trying to say that Christianity has always led to a better world.

        When I refer to the Jesus mythos, I am not saying that Jesus was not a real person. I am saying that the idea of Jesus as supernatural is a myth. The bible is a “smoking gun” for resurrection? How so? As I have now pointed out multiple times, even if it were not heresay, it is pretty damn far from a smoking gun. It would not even qualify as testimony, since there was no impartial mediator and skeptical examiner. If you consider the bible a smoking gun, then you must view UFO sightings and abductions as indisputable. We actually have REAL testimony to those things.

        I am wondering, why do you think the Bible is concrete, yet never answer the question of your belief in UFOs and abductions? Again, you are filled with double standards. Christianity goes in one bucket and everything else seems to go in another for you.

      • TomH says:

        Jared,

        Karen Armstrong is a scholar? Seriously… Read some reviews critical of her works sometime. She’s about as reliable as New Age authors.

        How does Robert Alter’s translation of the Torah say anything about the origins of monotheism?

        What is the substance of the arguments that Judaism/Christianity originated with earlier religions? Could it be fantasy and a desire by some unscrupulous people to make a buck off of what they know to be fantasies?

        In these other religions are there a succession of miracles like the cloud by day and the fire by night that all Israel could see for forty years? The manna from heaven? How about the plagues of Egypt that everyone could see? Etc. Emphasis on historical events and scrutinized, corroborated eyewitness evidence?

        And what about the Commandment to not bear false witness against your neighbor? Making stuff up and attributing it to God is bearing false witness. Don’t you think that maybe one of the priests, rabbis, etc. might have had a little problem with changes to the text of the Torah? And how did the annual Jewish family practice of remembering the Passover get instituted if it was emended into the Torah? Might not some Jews have noticed the emendation? And would there not have been considerable controversy about such a thing if it had occurred?

        Being as there were many copies of the Torah to be maintained, how did the various hypothetical jewish emendists make their changes to all Torah manuscripts in a geographical area stretching from Gaul to Persia? And how is it that there’s no record anywhere of controversy about the proposed additions? How would such a thing be accomplished?

        Where are the works from the period of the alleged emendations that state that the emendations were proposed and accepted?

        Did you know that the prophets and priests were generally political enemies so that the prophets had to hide out in deserted areas? Do you realize that they would have had to each have their own copies of the Torah? Do you realize that some of the prophets created schools where the students were called the “sons of the prophets?” This would have necessitated a few copies of the Torah just for all the students. How did the emendists change all these various copies?

        Has someone questioned the UFO abductees carefully and obtained corroborated testimony?

        Lots of questions about a whole lotta lack of evidence for your theses.

      • You talk about miracles and the plagues of Egypt, for which the ONLY source is the OT / Bible. Again, no testimony at all, no corroborating witnesses, no interviews of by skeptical sources, nothing. You then go on to assert that these are “testimony” and true because of the commandments – as if that would surely stop holy men from lying. Perhaps you are unaware of even our most recent group of evil holy men that populate the Catholic church. It seems the 10 commandments did little stop them from committing pedophilia and then the higher ups covering it up and lying to authorities and parishioners. The pope himself, as a bishop, moved around and protected a pedophile that then went on to rape about 100 handicap children. To claim that the 10 commandments ensures the veracity of the words of holy men is ludicrous and provably false in the evil acts clearly visible by the “holiest” of men today. A simply walk back through the history of the Catholic Church demonstrates the falsehood of your assertion.

        You then go on to question the UFO testimony for corroborating testimony. Do you really not see that you use one set of criteria to measure the bible and a different set for everything else?

        My assertion that Christianity copied Pagan beliefs is clearly visible in numerous aspects of Christianity. You seem to ignore them. Baptism, the Sacrament, Crucification, holy days .. all correspond to earlier pagan traditions.

        http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa1.htm
        http://www.seiyaku.com/customs/pagan-symbols.html
        http://godkind.org/pagan-holidays.html
        http://www.religioustolerance.org/easter1.htm

        Not that I expect you to acknowledge the indisputable truth that Christianity has its roots in paganism. Just because you share rituals, holy days and symbolism .. that must be sheer coincidence, right? The fact that one of your most holy holidays, Easter is named after a pagan goddess .. more coincidence. It is no surprise that the 10 commandments does not bind Christian followers any more than it does Christian holy men. Disregarding facts that show your assertions to be false, yet continuing to make your assertions makes them lies. This behavior is part and parcel of Christianity.

      • conservative Josh says:

        There is that same approach again. You ignore the historical and cultural context in which the Gospels were written.

        You keep saying that the Israelites who were the early Christians copied from the myths of other cultures. That the Jewish disciples of Jesus Christ borrowed from the myths about Krishna, a Hindu god they probably never even heard of. You don’t even realize how ridiculous and unrealistic that is.🙂

        You don’t have any solid basis for your theory except the revisionist theories invented by some atheists in the 19th and 20th centuries. They ignore history, culture, human nature, everything. I say human nature because it goes against human nature to write a book about your own people, to present them as chosen by God to make Him known in the world, and then to openly mention all their corruption and hypocrisy in those sacred texts. All the authors of the books of the Bible, do that. They don’t hide the sins of Israel and the sins and weaknesses of the disciples, Peter denying Jesus Christ and Thomas doubting the resurrection.

        If the Bible would have been written by some corrupt or very pious priests who were out of touch with reality, be sure that such events would have not been mentioned. Yet, they are there.

        The argument used by most ignorant people, especially college students is that the Bible was written by a group of priests who made up the whole thing in order to scare people and control them. 🙂 This is the most ignorant argument they use. They heard it in some history class or in some movie, and they think it’s accurate. Anyone who has some knowledge of history, knows that the Bible was written in several historical stages and by several authors. It took about 1500 years. But you wouldn’t know that from some revisionist fiction book written by authors like Dan Brown.

        You ask how the liberal elites are writting history. Don’t pretend you don’t know that. Just look at your arguments, how you always say negative things about Christianity, that’s the result of having been inoculated with a revisionist and false view of history.

        “You know, the good ole days like the crusades, the inquisitions, killing of “pagans” through Europe, the N Ireland conflict.”

        That’s all you know about Christianity?… Crusades and inquistion?

        How about the positive influence that Christians like Livingstone and Wilberforce had? They fought to end slavery in Britain. David Livingstone and his team during their expeditions in Africa, even freed slaves from caravans. Those caravans were run by Muslim slave traders. I guess the politically correct historians, many of them good Marxists, didn’t tell you that.

        http://www.nutritionhighway.com/sudan.html – it’s the Muslims who still practice slavery in Africa, not the Christians. Look at the pictures and read the facts on this site.

        It’s an American Conservative Christian, actor Dean Jones who is helping those people in Africa, not your left wing Liberals. How come it’s Conservatives who blow the whistle on this and try to help those people?

        Did you know that through his ministry in India starting in the late 1700s, William Carey founded the first schools for women and untouchables?

        He even influenced the British to pass legislation that stopped the superstitious and pagan practice of killing infants born with disabilities, in India. He taught Indian people the technology of the printing press. He helped them both spiritually and earthly.

        Why don’t see these examples of Christian charity and the contributions of Christians to civilization?

        If you were honest with yourself, you would acknowledge these things.

  6. conservative Scott says:

    The slavery issue was directly related to human sin. Jesus knew that very well, and so did all the other Christian leaders after his ascension. Slavery was a symptom of a more serious disease. It was a result of sin, a pagan culture poisoned by sin.
    That’s why Christ said: “Whatsoever you would want people to do unto you, so do unto them also”.

    He was indirectly saying to people who owned slaves, “If you want others to let you live free and not sell you or buy you like objects, then do the same to your slaves; let them be free”. It’s as simple as that. He didn’t have to attack slavery or Roman expansionism directly. He attacked the cause of these things. Attacking slavery or something else without addressing the problem of human spiritual corruption, is like treating the symptoms instead of the disease. That’s the bankruptcy of all religions. Even Christianity does this to some extent. They give people some strict rules to follow without realizing that it’s absurd to expect them to do things that come into conflict with their corrupt nature. They can’t even fix or transform that corrupt nature, because nothing can do this, only Jesus Christ through the power of God the Holy Spirit can. They just try to fix the symptoms instead of the cause. The Son of God went directly for the cause, he struck the monster of sin and killed it/him.
    It killed Him too in the process, but He won and God raised Jesus back to life.
    It’s awesome.

    “He bore our sins in his body on the tree”.

    That’s the victory that Jesus the Christ won at Calvary for us.

  7. conservative Scott says:

    I posted that part about slavery again, because I wanted it to be separate from the other things. It’s not a duplicate post. I hope you don’t mind, Santi.

  8. conservative Scott says:

    Santi,

    In your post about the Tea Party, and others posts, you want people to draw the conclusion that there is somehow a connection between the political tract written by that guy Herder about two hundred years ago and any patriotic, religious conservative people at this time in history.

    You said that “Herder wanted a return to the Middle Ages”. I don’t know if that’s what he wanted, honestly I haven’t even heard of him until now. I can’t say what his intentions were, but I assure you that I for one, don’t want to go back to the Middle Ages. Conservatives today including Christians, don’t want to go back to the Middle Ages. I wouldn’t want to live in a society where a priest or pastor knocks on my door accompanied by a cop and asks me why I missed church on Sunday.🙂 LOL By the way, in Islamic countries that’s a normal thing. They have what’s called a “religious police”. So just because Conservatives want to regain traditional values that ensured the sanity and prosperity of our country and Western countries in general, that doesn’t mean we want to go back to the Middle Ages.

    Conservatives want to keep what’s good and normal, things that made life more enjoyable and normal. Take strong families, for example. There were no kids committing serious crimes in the 1930s or 1950s. That was the result of strong families, with strong traditional values, where men took their roles as fathers seriously, and women did the same as mothers. That is pretty much vanishing today.

    Both parents work, the children stay with a stranger who looks after them, then they go to school where they are taught that morality is not important, they are indoctrinated with socialist “humanist” stuff, and they hang out with kids that have no moral values of their own, so it’s no surprise that many of them become violent and unstable individuals. The social planners have transformed most boys into a bunch of immature and infantile men. Their role models are celebrities who are on drugs or are divorced the third time. They play computer games and read “Maxim” magazine in their late 20s or 30s. I have to admit I used to play computer games even a couple of years ago, so it seems I was also negatively influenced by the culture.🙂 Lol I mean overall, many if not most guys who are in their 30s today, don’t have a male role model like their father, they don’t have a defined purpose in life other than buying the next tech gadget or sleeping with the next attractive female they meet. This is what cultural marxism has done, as a phenomenon. It destroyed nearly everything.
    I forgot to mention, many of the guys who are like that, also think the government has the answers to all life’s problems.

    You should watch that short documentary I was telling Tom H about. After you watch it you’ll see that it’s not Herderian influence but rather Marxist influence that poisons our country and the entire Western world. You should be more concerned about that, because the evidence is all there and you can see the consequences for yourself.

  9. conservative Scott says:

    There’s another thing. I said atheists use the vicious argument about slavery to associate it with Christians. I wasn’t saying you are vicious, Santi. I’m sorry if I gave you that impression. The argument is vicious. You use it just because you heard other agnostics and atheists around you are using it.

    • It is not an argument. it is not even up for debate. Your holy book condones slavery, murder, and theft. I wonder how many consecutive pages of the OT can be read in any section without running into one of these things.

  10. colinhutton says:

    Santi :
    Last year (October 19) you strongly endorsed Damon Linker’s criticisms of the ‘New Atheists’, stirring me into lengthy comment. I see that *this* time you appear to be on the side of the angels (metaphorically speaking, of course) and have stirred up the god-fearing christians. Question is whether you are engaged in a perilous balancing act or have seen the light?

    Colin

  11. Pingback: The Coexist Bumper Sticker v. The Fiction Bumper Sticker | Prometheus Unbound

  12. conservative Scott says:

    The fact is that Western civilization is based on Christian biblical values and that’s what made it good and prosperous. People came to America from all over the world over the last two centuries because they knew it was better economically and better when it came to individual freedom.

    • You seem to be missing the point that these “Christian biblical values” existed as values of society long before Christianity was even a dream. Why is it that so many Christians fail to look at the massive amount of history that occurred prior to 2000 years ago? Why is it that you fail to look at the world picture? Most of the people and prosperous societies that have ever existed had no ties to Christianity.

      • conservative Josh says:

        I said this already, that other cultures had some good moral values as well because they were human beings created in the image of God, so they had a conscience. Even some of the writers of the New Testament acknowledged this, one of them said that the pagans who are without the law of God, do the things of the Law because of their conscience.

        That example you used, when Jesus said that the servant who did not know his master’s will and did not obey it, will not be punished so severly, that was a parable, using something from real life. It’s a spiritual lesson, it doesn’t have anything to do with either condoning or condemning slavery. He used that as a parable to warn people who are believers that they can’t play games with God.

      • Other cultures/religions not only had “some good moral values” they defined morality that was later adopted by Christianity. Do you think that Christian morality was any better than pagan morality? You should try reading some REAL history, not the lies and half-truths you seem to believe and be spreading.

        That video was amusing as hell. Assault on the family, western culture, indoctrinating children. It sounds like you are a victim of typical Christian indoctrination. What you spout about history (even recent American history) all comes from your religious teachings rather than from a real study of history. Maybe spend some time educating yourself from sources other than those whose purpose is propagating Christianity. You talk of “afraid of discovering some ugly facts” which is particularly amusing. I grew up Christian until my 20s. I know what the indoctrination and dogma says. the people afraid to look at the ugly facts and truth are those who look at the world and at history through only the lens of Christianity. Most of history, most of the world and most of the people that ever lived have never even heard of Christ. Yet you use it as the gauge for all. Amazing how your infinite god was unable to have his story known in any way shape or form to the vast majority of people that ever lived.

      • conservative Josh says:

        The fact that the English Puritan view of colonizing was different from the Spaniard view, is something you overlook. Whether you do it intentionally or unintentionally, I don’t know. The way you talk about Christianity, shows me that in your mind “Christianity” is something that you always associate with imperialism and tyranny. You have no clue about the huge differences between the way some Christians saw evangelism and how the Catholic church did. You lump everyone who is spiritual or religious into one category. I just gave one example, the way the Puritans saw evangelism was influenced by their interpretation of a text from Isaiah, that telling other people about Christ was through “planting vineyards”. They believed in sending families of believers who had a decent and disciplined life, to colonize other continents such as America, rather than sending armies like the Spaniards did. That doesn’t mean the British monarchy shared their beliefs, in fact the monarchy did not like them, it called them “separatists”.

        You say you were a Christian until your 20s. Sure, the kind of “Christian” that most Westerners are today. Like Clinton, he still claims to be a Christian. You probably just went through the motions, you perceived “religion” as a set of rituals and doctrines, not a real living relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. I’m not surprised you have this deep-seated hostility and contempt toward Christianity. Many people who grew up in Catholicism or formal legalistic Protestantism, end up this way. They evaluate Christianity through the history and apathy of their denomination, for the most part.

        I’m not an indoctrinated man. I know why I believe, what I believe. I didn’t grow up reading the Bible and being told that it’s the absolute truth. You don’t even know me, but that doesn’t stop you to see me based on your stereotypes.

        How about the examples of Willberforce, Livingstone, and Carey, who was a missionary to India? You ignore them, because they prove the opposite of your anti-Christian theories and rants. You call the facts that I give you, “lies”. You know, there’s a name for that. If you look it up in a psychology book you’ll find it. It’s called “projection”. You’re projecting your own hate and lies on other people.

        The documentary that you find so amusing was not even made by Christians. What’s so amusing about it? The fact that left wingers have a lot of influence in the academic world and blatantly promote their ideology in universities and colleges? Those Italian Communists brought their toxic ideology to America. It’s all in the documentary. Those are facts, you can’t deny them. You’re the one who should try doing some research from sources other than MSNBC or PBS.

      • conservative Josh says:

        The laws and customs in the Bible are different in many respects from those of pagan polytheistic cultures. There are some similarities, but to claim that “Christianity built upon an existing system of morality from pagan religions and cultures” is ignorance and revisionism.

        “You shall not gather the grapes that fall and remain after the harvest in your vineyard, leave them for the poor and the stranger.” Leviticus 19:10

        “You shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, neither shall you cheat and deceive one another” Leviticus 19:11

        “You shall not swear by My Name falsely.” Leviticus 19:12 -as opposed to Islam where you can swear falsely and lie; the Quran allows it, as long as you advance the cause of the religion

        “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him” Leviticus 19:13

        “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.” 19:15

        “The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning.”

        “You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind.” Leviticus 19

        “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets.” Gospel of Matthew 6:1, 2

        Which ones of these teachings and commandments are taken from other religions and cultures?…

        Monogamy is probably the best example of positive Christian influence in the world. Before Christianity, many cultures practiced polygamy, including the ancient Jews. In Israel today they have monogamy, that shows the Christian influence in the country.

        But even that is under attack from the evil forces on the Left and their Islamic buddies. In 2006, in Scotland, the police stopped a Muslim who was driving like a madman, he exceeded the speed limit by a lot. They suspended his license and he appealed the decision. He told the judge that he has two wives, one in Motherwell and one in Glasgow, and he must “perform his marital duties” for both of them, that’s why he was going so fast. The judge thought it was an amusing but realistic excuse, and gave him his license back! This is a clear example of a civil servant in a supposed democracy, giving preferential treatment to the Islamic religion and to one of its doctrines.

        The show “Sister Wives” on cable-TV is pushing polygamy in a subtle way. It’s presenting it as something funny and interesting. “Ligthen up! It’s just a comedy” say the brainwashed yuppies whose senses have been dulled by political correctness and “multiculturalism”. No, it’s not just a comedy. It’s a cultural means of promoting a political agenda.

      • @Josh – LOL, your a nut. Here is the bottom line: there is no credible evidence for belief in God or believing what is written in the bible.

        Like Tom, you cannot even admit the indisputable truth of the deep connection between Christianity and its pagan predecessors.
        http://www.seiyaku.com/customs/pagan-symbols.html

        And somehow you think the basis of america is Christianity. Odd that our founding fathers totally missed this though. I guess the fact that they left God and Christ out of our constitution and even the Declaration of Independence is meaningless. And I guess that the Treaty of Tripoli, where it states that America was not founded as a Christian nation, is just an oversight.

      • TomH says:

        Jared,

        The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is overwhelming. Only a hatred of God prevents the evidence from being compelling.

        Are things that appear very similar necessarily deeply connected in any direct fashion? Is there a direct connection between the Ford F150 pickup and the Chevy Silverado? Did one come from the other? I don’t dispute that there may be indirect connections between Christianity and pagan religions. After all, the messianic prophecies in the Old Testament have been around a long time and may have been incorporated into pagan religions. One of the messianic prophecies goes back to the Garden of Eden. Messianic prophecies are certainly directly connected to Christianity–that is indisputable. In your Christian days, did you fail to hear about them?

        It is indisputable that the Pilgrims helped to found America. It is also indisputable that they incorporated Christianity into their colony in many modes: family, church, and govt. It is indisputable that Christianity played a major role in the life of early Americans. It is indisputable that a preference for Christianity was incorporated into the govts. of many states. It is indisputable that Congress passed a law authorizing the funding of the printing of New Testaments to be given to Indians or that that law was signed by Thomas Jefferson.

        Otoh, it is indisputable that there was some Deist thought and terminology published by the Founders. I think that it’s clear that Thomas Paine was a Deist and that Thomas Jefferson was no orthodox Christian. I’m not sure about Ben Franklin; he seemed to have changed his views during his life, which is hardly unexpected behavior. He was a member of a church as an adult, but that’s not necessarily evidence of his Christianity. Washington was assuredly a Christian from his time as Commander of the Army on.

        Regarding your assertion that God was left out of the Declaration of Independence–“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights….”

        The notion that rights come from God was certainly a primary, implicit assumption of the Constitution. The Declaration was not abrogated by the Constitution, but was part of its legal context.

        You stated, “…Treaty of Tripoli, where it states that America was not founded as a Christian nation….” You need to brush up on your reading skills. Article 11 in the Treaty of Tripoli made no such claim. Rather, it states that the “Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion….” The part is not the whole. Furthermore, the text should be interpreted by the context, which is to promote the notion that there need be no religious conflict between the govt. of the U.S. and the govt. of Tripoli. Certainly, it is indisputable that the govt. of the U.S. passed laws to encourage the spread of Christianity, so the Article 11 statement is patently false in a broad context.

      • @TomH

        How on earth can you call the evidence for the resurrection of Christ overwhelming and yet doubt the sciences such as geology and evolution? That is mind-boggling. What can be tested in a lab and for what there is tangible evidence, you dispute. But a second or third hand account of stories wild tales from 1000s of years ago you think is overwhelming. The geological and evolutionary evidence cannot be faked and can be tested .. but stories told by people are faked every day, all the time and there is not a single possible way to test them for accuracy. The truly sad part is that you see no discrepancy in this view.

        Amazing how the founders were so smart, but used the generic term “creator” instead of listing Christ, Jesus, or even God in the declaration. What an astounding oversight. And even “creator” is conspicuously absent from the constitution.

        So, the Treaty of Tripoli was read aloud on the senate floor and unanimously approved, but the wording did not REALLY reflect what they meant? They just wanted to avoid a war with Tripoli – who posed no material threat to us as a sovereign nation. The brave founders fought and bled against the British, but sacrificed their beliefs to avoid a confrontation with Tripoli? Please, any reference in legislation by our founding fathers that America was founded as a Christian nation will do. Any at all?

      • TomH says:

        Jared,

        Who says that I blanketly deny all geology and evolution?

        Why do you think that anything has been tested in a lab or that there is tangible evidence? I’m not being solipsistic here–I’m trying to find out how you gather evidence and why you believe things.

        “The geological and evolutionary evidence cannot be faked…” Actually, it can and has (e.g., Piltdown Man). We know that some fakes have been caught. (How do we know this?) We know that the fakes have been successful for decades. We know that the fakes that have been caught are a minimum count of all fakes. We don’t know if there are fakes that haven’t been caught yet or if they will ever be caught.

        “…but stories told by people are faked every day, all the time and there is not a single possible way to test them for accuracy.”

        This is absurd. Many stories have been tested for accuracy. Didn’t you just refer Josh to snopes? How about all the urban legends that have been exposed? So your broad attack fails, in part because of your own efforts.

        So let’s look at your narrow claim that the testimony on which the NT documents were based was lacking scrutiny. I’ve already described the reasons to believe that the church practiced scrutiny through a church court (Acts denotest that apostles were designated so by Christ because they were eyewitnesses who had experience with Christ throughout his ministry and that the apostles gave their formal testimony in a church court as well as before the Samaritans).

        I’m not sure what you mean by “third hand” and “second hand” or why thousands of years should make a difference as to the reliability of the documents. Do you discount evidence based on its age?

        “Creator” was a term for God that was uncontroversial among the founders. The basis of rights in the Declaration carries through to the Constitution. It did not need to be repeated. This is uncontroversial in law.

        The Treaty of Tripoli reflected what the founders meant, but it doesn’t reflect what you want it to mean.

        “They just wanted to avoid a war with Tripoli – who posed no material threat to us as a sovereign nation.”

        You don’t understand the history. We had a number of wars with the Barbary Coast over their piracy. The Barbary Treaties were an attempt to put an end to the piracy.

        “Please, any reference in legislation by our founding fathers that America was founded as a Christian nation will do.”

        Well, I’ll accept any reference in a newspaper as proof that you didn’t beat your dog. LOL The point is that your limitation of evidence is irrational and absurd.

      • @TomH

        I guess the context was lost on you. Snopes can be used to validate stories because the facts can actually be tested by interviewing numerous people and sources. The stories of the NT and OT have no such validations. Several times on this forum, you use the NT as the validation of the NT and refer to the writings of Luke. That would be like snopes attempting to verify if an email was true or not by asking the author if his story was true. In short, meaning that there is no validation.

        Yes, the term creator was used because it was uncontroversial for even deists and non-Christians. Among Christians, the use of God and Jehovah are as uncontroversial as creator. Yet that was not used so as to not tie America to Christianity. The writings of Jefferson say as much as he was a deist.

        You continue to ignore the point on the Treaty of Tripoli – that the founders would not have written and approved what they did not mean simply to appease the pirates of the Barbary coast. As for your newspaper concept, you again circumvent the point because it counters your belief. There is no federal document or legislation that places Christianity as the basis for America or America as a Christian nation. The only mention from the founders is to the contrary.

      • TomH says:

        Jared,

        I don’t think that I misunderstood the context at all. I just think that you’re very confused and I was trying to help you sort out your confusion.

        Since you won’t work with me in teasing out why you think that it’s reasonable to rely on labs and empirical evidence, I’ll try to cover that subject later.

        Again, with respect to snopes, you limit the validation to suit your needs. This seems to be a common pattern with you. You reject a reasonable method of validation simply because you don’t like the result.

        You make the error again of assuming that the part is the whole. The NT is composed of the writings of many different authors. Surely you realize that they can be cross-checked? Furthermore, some of these documents (i.e., the gospel accounts) are likely based on earlier documents that were subject to cross-checking in creating the gospel accounts. Those earlier documents would have been based on hearings where eyewitnesses gave testimony under scrutiny. So, your claim about the claims of the NT not having been scrutinized is absurd.

        Now, we have a situation where we have good reason to believe that the eyewitnesses have been questioned and their testimony scrutinized. At this point, their testimony is beyond scrutiny. There is a link of authority in the chain, where we have to rely on a supposition that the authority has been diligent and skilled in scrutinizing the testimony. However, this is not unusual for any claims of knowledge.

        Researchers rely on journal articles all the time. The authority in that context is the journal publisher. But someone might say that the results can be checked. In theory, that is often possible. Of course, often the checking is prohibitively expensive for someone not in the field. Sometimes the claim involves an unreproducible, unique observation. There are reasons that checking claims empirically isn’t usually possible for most people, including researchers not in the field. Sometimes you accept claims just because someone said so and you have confidence in their veracity.

        Of course, with respect to the resurrection, we can do some validation by cross-checking the multiple accounts.

        With respect to the use of “Creator,” would you agree that the founders were theists? And if Jefferson was a deist, why did he create his own version of the NT and why did he advocate for the federal printing of NTs to be given to the natives? Those seem to be strange things for a deist to do. At most, I think you can say uncontroversially that he was at least an aberrant Christian.

        As regards the Treaty of Tripoli, you have offered nothing new.

    • @Tom

      Actually, we are not sure how many sources were used for the synoptic gospels and it is generally viewed that the sources were not eye witness accounts of all events. And even if it were 3 sources, that is far from an unquestionable account. Even Austine questioned the sources and order of writing. You think that somehow we have gained more clarity on authorship than was had in the 4th century? We certainly have not unearthed any originals, wholes or even earlier works.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synoptic_Gospels
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustinian_hypothesis

      We also have no reason at all to believe that the written accounts were scrutinized or validated by other eye witness testimony. The clergy then as today, was far from unimpeachable.

      And there in lies the crux of it. Authorship is questionable and belief of interrogation of what was authored is questionable. What evidence do you have of either of these things? Again, accounts from he bible are cannot be used as validation of the bible. Your claims that these things are “beyond scrutiny” is absolutely absurd.

      Jefferson created a version of the NT minus any and all “miraculous” events. But even he is only one of the founders, so it does not matter that much. All of the founders neglected to get Christ, Jesus, God or Jehovah mentioned in any official documents. Do you just consider this an oversight?

  13. conservative Josh says:

    It’s me Scott. I’m just letting you all know, so there’s no confusion.

  14. conservative Josh says:

    hey Tom H,

    That’s very interesting about the Torah and later the Gospel. You’re right, it would have been impossible to add and embelish things in the texts without stirring up sentiments among the religious people. I mean if they followed a certain pattern and tradition for a few centuries, how could they just accept changes based on some new things that were supposedly added to the texts?

  15. conservative Josh says:

    It’s those things about the positive contributions of Christians that secular liberals leave out of history books. They just mention the negative parts, in order to manipulate students. To destroy Western culture, they had to rewrite history and destroy its foundations. They’ve been doing it for decades.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8630135369495797236#

    Watch this short documentary and you’ll see how they did it. That is, if you’re not afraid of discovering some ugly facts about this.

  16. conservative Josh says:

    The positive influence of Christianity in American culture can’t be underestimated.
    The notion of charity and helping poor people, is a biblical one. God delegated the responsibility to help widows and orphans, to people who have and can help, and especially to the people who believe in Him and who represent Him. Charity is a personal thing, not a public bureaucracy.

    The problem is that many people, including many Christians have delegated this responsibility to the government. We have been indoctrinated with the idea that it’s not our personal responsibility to help other people. That we just have to pay more taxes and the government will do it with our money. The results are, even more poverty, irresponsibility, people who cheat the system and wasted money.

    American Christians and Conservatives in general, have to go back to being charitable on their own, through churches and private initiatives, if we want to see positive results. Americans should understand that this is a first important step toward limited government and more freedom and prosperity.

  17. conservative Josh says:

    I would like to share something with you all. Tom, Andrew, Jared, Santi, jjj, please read this. I think you’ll find it very interesting.

    Here’s a piece of American history totally ignored by the history curriculum in public schools.

    The Puritan Christians got along well with the Indians, generally speaking. John Eliot, a Protestant Puritan preacher nicknamed “Apostle to the Indians”, had a kind and peaceful attitude toward them. He made God and Jesus Christ known to them, but he did not use any coercive or manipulation methods, so often employed by the Spaniard conquistadors and their clergy in South America. Eliot learned the tongue of the Indians. He talked to them in their own language, and developed a phonetically-based text that he used to teach the Indians to read and write in their own languate.

    He translated the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments and explained to them what it means to be a Christian, to live and serve God’s kingdom above all other the kingdoms and dominions. Many Indians interpreted his preaching the wrong way. They thought that in order to know and serve God, they had to become English. The native American Indians began placing their children on the doorstepts on English homes, assuming that those families should take them in and teach them to become English. When that happened, Eliot taught them that Indian parents are supposed to raise their own children in the ways of the Lord. He made it clear to them that becoming believers and followers of Jesus Christ, did not mean becoming English nor becoming the subjects of a European monarch across the ocean. Eliot taught them to organize themselves into civilized self-governed communities.

    In 1651, he and some of his Indian converts planted the first such town in Natick, Massachusets. Similar to the model of the English Christian colonists, the Indians organized themselves into a type of self-government by choosing representatives from among their own people.

    They entered into a covenant with the Lord and Eliot recorded their remarkable words:

    “We do give ourselves and our children unto God to be his people, He shall rule us in our affairs, not only in our religion, and affaris of the church but also in all our works and affairs in this world, God shall rule over us.” They quoted from Isaiah 33:22 “The Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King, He shall save us”.

    It’s interesting to note that they wanted God and His principles to rule over them “not only in our religion, and affaris of the church” but also in the affairs of this world. That right there shows you that they did not practice “separation of church and state”, in the sense that they did not separate God and the godly moral principles from the way they did business and other earthly things. The separation between the religious institutions and civil government is a very good principle, as long as it’s only understood as not establishing an official religion for the country. It guarded the country against religious wars like those in Europe. However, when God’s principles in things like business ethics, such as the Protestant work ethic, a decisive factor in the prosperity enjoyed by American capitalism, are thrown out, the unavoidable result is bankruptcy, moral, economic, social and spiritual.

    So getting back to the Indians and John Eliot. An independent Indian settlement was founded on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusets in 1652. The Christian missionary Thomas Mayhew wrote that “they generally came in by families, bringing also their children with them”. They too, made a covenant in which they said they wanted the Lord to be their God and Jesus Messiah, their Savior and Mediator. By 1674, there were about four thousand Indian Christians whose properties and settlements became known as “praying towns”.

    This is something that history textbooks in public schools don’t tell you. Documentaries on PBS and the History Channel don’t tell you either.

    How come they didn’t tell us these things in school?

    All they teach about the Indians is that the Europeans came here killed them. But that was after 1800.

    It wasn’t the devout European Christians who did that, it was the materialistic ones who came to America later. The Puritan period in America’s history was different from the 1800s.

    In the history courses taught in high school and college, this period of American history is totally ignored. You don’t learn anything about the period between 1607-1620 and 1776. They tell you a little bit about why the Pilgrims came here and that’s it. They jump right to the Declaration of Independence. They intentionally don’t teach that period of history, because that’s where you learn about the foundations of our American freedoms, our property rights, hard work and economic prosperity, just about everything. There were some exceptional governing documents drafted by the Protestant colonists in the 1600s. In 1641, the government of Massachusetts Bay adopted a “Body of Liberties”, based in part on an earlier draft written by preacher John Cotton from Boston. Cotton’s “Judicials”, as he called it, divided the civil government into three branches, based on Isaiah 33:22, with God as having three roles as Judge, Lawgiver and King. There was also The Laws and Liberties of Massachusetts enacted in 1648 and John Cotton’s “Binding societal relations in the form of covenants”.

    The Founders of the Constitution knew those things, and they built upon that heritage.

    Patrick Henry said it best. “It cannot be emphasized too strongly, nor too often that the United States of America is a nation founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

  18. Andrew Furst says:

    The story of John Eliot and his Native American Christian friends is a nice one. It speaks to how in community we are capable of peace.
    But in the thread of your argument, you cherry pick this rather unique example of short-lived Native American/European utopia as representative of the relationship between Europeans and Indians in the 17th century. If these were the prevailing social circumstances, what happened? They do not survive today. John Eliot’s society or anything like it is nowhere to be found.
    Contrary to your claim that “They intentionally don’t teach that period of history “, I learned much about this era in history from grammar school through College. One of the major historical events of the era was King Phillips War. The circumstances that led to it are more characteristic of the Puritan era as well as much of history. Not just because it supports the thesis “that the Europeans came here and killed” the Indians, but because it is a story which has a familiar ring to it, a characteristic of accurate history.
    The war was a result of political and economic pressures brought on by the European colonization. Mundane and familiar issues like trade deficits, property and resource disputes, and competing national interests were what fueled this and other historically significant events of the time.
    Claims that utopian Christian enclaves were the foundation for our current society are unfamiliar, inconsistent with what our society looks like now, and out of context with the majority of the historical record. Accurate history, like science, is characterized by story lines consistent with our experience. In our lifetimes, history has been unfolding every day in newspapers, television, and in our homes. The truth is particularly mundane, frustrating, and consistent.
    In our experience do we find that the American social fabric in any way resembles the story line of John Eliot’s utopia? On the other hand do we see evidence that trade deficits, property disputes and national interests lead to conflict and shape our future? The latter seems true from every angle.
    History of the period tells us that this war formed the basis for the national identity that would ultimately congeal us as a new nation. These are the circumstances in which our Puritan ancestors formed the economic and governing structures that led to our nation’s founding.
    Religious ideals, while important, did not hold as much sway in forming our nation. Otherwise, we would be living in a Christian monarchy where accepting Jesus as the only Lord and Savior would be a requirement for citizenship.
    Remarks like “They intentionally don’t teach that period of history…” smack of conspiracy theory. Who are “they”? They also take an assumption that we are incapable of educating ourselves, and are hapless victims of the liberal elite. Any conservative worth their salt would decry this kind of talk as liberal cry baby talk!
    The evidence is before you. You can shape it as you like. But to characterize the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the foundation of our nation is inflating the importance of religion in our nation’s history. Our legal and economic system bears no resemblance to the Kingdom of God which Christ preached and foretold. This nation has been forged through competition, self-preservation, and the will of a people determined to provide for their families and succeed.
    The people of this nation have succeeded as Christians, Atheists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and otherwise. Christian faith can support an American in success as well as Judaism or the conviction that reason does not bear out the existence of a God.
    Divisiveness sewn by religious conflict is the danger the founders sought to prevent. Claiming a sectarian national religious history and a conspiracy to suppress it is divisive.

    • conservative Josh says:

      It’s true that the Puritans had a degree of intolerance. They even banished one of their own from the settlement, Roger Williams. But you can’t judge their entire history as intolerant based on one or two incidents. I’m not saying you said they were intolerant, but many people think that way about them.
      The only thing most people know about the Puritans is the witches trial.🙂 Almost nothing else. I find that strange. It’s like asking somebody about Hindus, and the only thing they could tell you is that Hindus don’t care about the untouchables.

      “I learned much about this era in history from grammar school through College.”

      I didn’t learn about this, and I went to public school! They just mentioned the Puritans as the Pilgrims who came here for religious freedom because in England they were discriminated by the official Anglican establishment. They also mention Thanksgiving. That’s about it.

      I’m not saying that everything was wonderful in the 1600s here in America. I said that there are certain events and documents ignored or omitted by the government education system and the media. They were events and documents with positive implications. The documents that I quoted are not “lies from biased sources” as others say. They existed prior to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

      You keep saying “John Eliot’s utopian society”. Excuse me, what was so utopian about it?!

      The fact that the Indians freely and by their own will entered into a covenant with the God of the Scriptures and chose to live according to biblical principles?

      The fact that they remained Indians even after becoming Christians?

      The laws they had protecting their properties and families?

      If there’s anything utopian, it’s the postmodern society we’re living in. It’s the socialist mindset that many people have without even realizing. Their blind support of big government, strikes, labor unions (controlled by union bosses who are millionaires), “wealth redistribution”, “hate crime legislation” and other absurd totalitarian stuff, is beyond ignorance.

      Just to give you one example of ignorance. Many who favor a bigger public sector don’t realize that a bigger public sector means more taxes paid by people, not by corporations. It’s ironic, because the same people scream against big corporations. They don’t realize that if they wanted corporations to pick up the tab on taxes, a bigger private sector would accomplish that. The private sector would pay a larger share of the taxes than individual taxpayers.

      And what you said about our current situation that it does not resemble the “utopian” society that existed here during the 1600s.

      “On the other hand do we see evidence that trade deficits, property disputes and national interests lead to conflict and shape our future?

      And what are trade deficits caused by? Not by unwise spending, unwise economic decisions and by corruption in the government? How is this better than the “utopian” society that you seem to ridicule?…

      “Religious ideals, while important, did not hold as much sway in forming our nation.”

      I’m sorry but that’s not true. That’s what the mainstream view of history and media wants you to believe. If you could just free your mind of the usual stereotype that makes many people associate religion with the inquisition and indoctrination, then maybe you could think objectively. I’d like to remind you that “religious ideals” include respect for other human beings and their dignity as taught by Christ, protection of property against stealing, honoring your marriage vows, caring for your children and providing for them, and other things that made America a great country.

      Since you insist there’s no revisionist history favored and promoted by the liberal Establishment, let me give you the perfect example.

      In 2010, Time magazine published their “100 events that changed the world” almanac, with its bright colored covers. It provides a shocking example of anti-American revisionism.

      On page 56, when they discuss the American War of Independence, here’s what the historians and journalists at Time say: “The phrase used in the Declaration of Independence, ‘They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ became the rallying cry and inspiration of the French revolutionaries, of Gandhi, of dissidents during Soviet rule. And of V.I. Lenin, Che Guevarra, HoChi Min and Mao Zedong”.

      They mean to tell us that Lenin, Guevarra, HoChi Min and Mao Zedong, all of them Communist murderers, believed in the same principles like the Founding Fathers of America?!! That’s exactly right. That’s what TIME is saying.

      That’s not all. It gets worse. When they talk about the Chinese civil war between the Nationalist government and the Communist factions they say this: “The people hated the Nationalist government for its corruption and greed, but they were impressed by the humility and modesty of Mao’s guards, which Mao himself enforced”.

      It makes you wonder what kind of historians and journalists does Time hire to write this far Left stuff… Haven’t they heard of something called The Cultural Revolution in China? Mao and the Communists burned all the books and works from universal literature of any kind, including Shakespeare, the Bible, the music of Bach, Mozart, everything. They considered all that as part of an old-fashioned capitalist society and that’s why they destroyed it.

      It’s the same blind hatred for “bourgeoisie society” that has poisoned many Westerners, and influenced them to be hateful toward Jesus Christ, free market capitalism, traditional America and a few other things.

      “Otherwise, we would be living in a Christian monarchy where accepting Jesus as the only Lord and Savior would be a requirement for citizenship.”

      You just don’t get it. That’s the big DIFFERENCE between the 17th and 18th century English-American Protestants and the Spaniard Catholic monarchy. The separatist Protestants and later the Christian American colonists, did not believe that following Jesus Christ and believing in God were supposed to be imposed by royal decree.

      Here’s an example. In 1611, the House of Commons in England voted on legislation that halted the king’s attempt to impose taxation without representation. Interestingly enough, 1611 was the year when the King James Bible was published. All of king James’ attempts to justify his decisions by “divine right” were dismissed by the Puritans in the House as unbiblical. The Puritan Christians of 17th century England knew the Bible well. That helped them a lot in arguing against the king’s appeal to divine right. Today unfortunately, many Americans don’t know either the Bible or the Constitution, which makes them easy prey to state tyranny disguised as government regulation. The Puritan Christians argued that any monarch who claims it’s his divine right to secure absolute power over his subjects, is a tyrant and goes against the principles of Christian government. They even compared their king’s claim to divine right to that of the Spanish tyranny in that century, where the church and government were claiming the same divine right.

      That’s why later the Founding Fathers created a form of government that kept the balance between the religious and secular. They didn’t want either one to control the other. That’s the unique and great thing about America. But that doesn’t mean removing all religious influence, especially Christian influence from the public place.

      “Our legal and economic system bears no resemblance to the Kingdom of God which Christ preached and foretold.”

      Yes, it does, more than you think. God is not against competition. Competition in economic terms, existed in biblical society.
      The monopolists and the big government Socialists are against competition.

      The form of American government as defined by the Constitution does not call for a complete secularization of politics and society.

      You should try reading “Separation of Church and State: What the Founders meant” by David Barton. It shows with documented evidence that separation of church and state does not mean what the progressive propaganda says. Here’s a comment from amazon.com, about the book.

      “The common acceptance of the current popular belief that there is a constitutional mandate prohibiting any ties between government and religion is an example of the propaganda principle of “telling a big lie, repeat it over and over, and it will be accepted as truth”. At this point in history, there is still such a huge wealth of factual information in opposition to this idea that even a brief review of the salient points, such as is provided in this little book, is enough to show the bad faith and ill will of those who propagate it. One can only believe this total misrepresentation of the truth deliberately or through ignorance. The latter can be quickly cured by reading this book. I highly recommend it.”

      It all depends on your definition of religion or spirituality.

  19. conservative Josh says:

    The fact that the English Puritan view of colonizing was different from the Spaniard view, is something you overlook. Whether you do it intentionally or unintentionally, I don’t know. The way you talk about Christianity, shows me that in your mind “Christianity” is something that you always associate with imperialism and tyranny. You have no clue about the huge differences between the way some Christians saw evangelism and how the Catholic church did. You lump everyone who is spiritual or religious into one category. I just gave one example, the way the Puritans saw evangelism was influenced by their interpretation of a text from Isaiah, that telling other people about Christ was through “planting vineyards”. They believed in sending families of believers who had a decent and disciplined life, to colonize other continents such as America, rather than sending armies like the Spaniards did. That doesn’t mean the British monarchy shared their beliefs, in fact the monarchy did not like them, it called them “separatists”.

    You say you were a Christian until your 20s. Sure, the kind of “Christian” that most Westerners are today. Like Clinton, he still claims to be a Christian. You probably just went through the motions, you perceived “religion” as a set of rituals and doctrines, not a real living relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. I’m not surprised you have this deep-seated hostility and contempt toward Christianity. Many people who grew up in Catholicism or formal legalistic Protestantism, end up this way. They evaluate Christianity through the history and apathy of their denomination, for the most part.

    I’m not an indoctrinated man. I know why I believe, what I believe. I didn’t grow up reading the Bible and being told that it’s the absolute truth. You don’t even know me, but that doesn’t stop you to see me based on your stereotypes.

    How about the examples of Willberforce, Livingstone, and Carey, who was a missionary to India? You ignore them, because they prove the opposite of your anti-Christian theories and rants. You call the facts that I give you, “lies”. You know, there’s a name for that. If you look it up in a psychology book you’ll find it. It’s called “projection”. You’re projecting your own hate and lies on other people.

    The documentary that you find so amusing was not even made by Christians. What’s so amusing about it? The fact that left wingers have a lot of influence in the academic world and blatantly promote their ideology in universities and colleges? Those Italian Communists brought their toxic ideology to America. It’s all in the documentary. Those are facts, you can’t deny them. You’re the one who should try doing some research from sources other than MSNBC or PBS.

    • conservative Josh says:

      Andrew, this message was not for you. The reply I posted to your message is a separate message.

    • conservative Josh says:

      I didn’t mean to insult you. I’m sorry if I did.

      Look, I am just as disgusted as you are, by the hypocrisy among Christians. But I know that there are many Christians who are not hypocrites and who do a lot of good, and God doesn’t cease to be who He is, because of some degenerate pedophile priests.

      You said to Tom H that the Tea Party is supported by “the arm of fundamentalist Christianity”.  Even the way you use the word “fundamentalist” in connection to Christianity, shows that you use words which you don’t even understand. You are using this word because you heard it up in media commentaries made by ignorant left wing idiots and propaganda activists.

      The word “fundamentalist” comes from fundamentals or foundations. Any religion or philosophy or political or economic system, has certain foundations.

      I’ll show you now how left wing liberals contradict themselves, how stupid they are when they use the word “fundamentalist”.

      The politically correct left wing liberals claim that the foundations of Islam are good and moral. They say that it’s only a few fanatics who “hijacked” Islam. If that’s true, then the terrorists are not fundamentalists. If the fundamentals of Islam are good, then those who “pervert” those fundamental doctrines, are not “fundamentalists”. They are “liberals”. 

      But the foundations of Islam are not good and peaceful. The fundamental doctrines of Islam are violent, supremacist, unmerciful and chauvinistic.

      In Christianity, the foundations are definitely good. Jesus Christ gave commandments and laws that teach people to regard each other as fellow human beings, created by God and who have access to the same grace and forgiveness. When He saved the woman caught in adultery from being killed, Jesus showed impartiality and justice. This incident is in the Gospel of John, chapter 8. The scribes and Pharisees brought only the woman to Him. According to the law of Moses, they were supposed to bring both the woman and the man. Jesus knew they were corrupt and that they had double standards.

      In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about things that are universally relevant. Those laws and teachings don’t apply only to Jews or Christians, they apply to any society. He spoke about faith, love, peace, hate, murder, adultery, impartiality, God, forgiveness, things that people in every culture deal with.

      I can give you at least three examples from the Bible that show Christ and the early Christians did not believe in or practice violent conversion of other people.

      Matthew 10:14

      Matthew 13:24-30

      Luke 9:51-56

    • conservative Josh says:

      I didn’t mean to insult you. I’m sorry if I did.

      Look, I am just as disgusted as you are, by the hypocrisy among Christians. But I know that there are many Christians who are not hypocrites and who do a lot of good, and God doesn’t cease to be who He is, because of some degenerate pedophile priests.

      You said to Tom H that the Tea Party is supported by “the arm of fundamentalist Christianity”.🙂 Even the way you use the word “fundamentalist” in connection to Christianity, shows that you use words which you don’t even understand. You are using this word because you heard it from media commentaries made by ignorant left wing idiots and propaganda activists.

      The word “fundamentalist” comes from fundamentals or foundations. Any religion or philosophy or political or economic system, has certain foundations.

      I’ll show you now how left wing liberals contradict themselves, how stupid they are when they use the word “fundamentalist”.

      The politically correct left wing liberals claim that the foundations of Islam are good and moral. They say that it’s only a few fanatics who “hijacked” Islam. If that’s true, then the terrorists are not fundamentalists. If the fundamentals of Islam are good, then those who “pervert” those fundamental doctrines, are not “fundamentalists”. They are “liberals”.

      But the foundations of Islam are not good and peaceful. The fundamental doctrines of Islam are violent, supremacist, unmerciful and chauvinistic.

      In Christianity, the foundations are definitely good. Jesus Christ gave commandments and laws that teach people to regard each other as fellow human beings, created by God and who have access to the same grace and forgiveness. When He saved the woman caught in adultery from being killed, Jesus showed impartiality and justice. This incident is in the Gospel of John, chapter 8. The scribes and Pharisees brought only the woman to Him. According to the law of Moses, they were supposed to bring both the woman and the man. Jesus knew they were corrupt and that they had double standards.

      In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about things that are universally relevant. Those laws and teachings don’t apply only to Jews or Christians, they apply to any society. He spoke about faith, love, peace, hate, murder, adultery, impartiality, God, forgiveness, things that people in every culture deal with.

      I can give you at least three examples from the Bible that show Christ and the early Christians did not believe in or practice violent conversion of other people.

      Matthew 10:14

      Matthew 13:24-30

      Luke 9:51-56

  20. conservative josh says:

    santi,

    It’s inaccurate to associate slavery only with religion. Secular governments had slavery, as recently as the last century. Nazi Germany had slave labor camps. Modern slavery existed in the 20th century in the Soviet Union, other European countries under Communist occupation, and in Asia, North Korea and Cambodia, and China still practices this. Millions of people died in slave labor camps. They were owned and controlled by the State. That’s slavery right there.

  21. conservative Josh says:

    James Madison said that a nation with just and moral foundations has no need for a clergy to lead it. That’s such a true and intelligent saying!… The liberal left wingers immediately use this quote to give the false impression that Madison was against religion, especially against the Christian faith. They miss the point entirely. Madison knew that in order for a nation to function properly and to secure freedom for its people, it needed just and moral foundations. There’s no need for the clergy to lead the government, because people individually practiced moral spiritual principles by their own free will. That’s also because the clergy can be corrupt too. If people and public servants acted upon those moral principles and teachings, every facet of society would benefit. That’s what Madison meant. But he also knew that the justice and morality for those foundations could only come from a higher moral law and a Divine Being. The same one or One that the Founding Fathers appealed to when they said “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights”.

    They didn’t say those rights come from the federal government or the Supreme Court. They didn’t believe the State was the ultimate authority, like the Democrat statists of today. The American colonists called their protest against British rule “An appeal to Heaven”. They didn’t say it was an appeal to some international organization or other monarchy. They even spoke of “Nature’s laws and nature’s God”. The laws of nature are the laws of the Lord God. Both the physical laws and the moral laws. You can’t have a moral and free society without some absolute moral foundations. As Christ said: “Without Me, you can do nothing”.

    James Madison also said: “If men were angels, there would be no need for government”. That statement shows you what he believed about human nature.
    He believed human nature was corrupt, that’s a Christian belief. Madison didn’t believe in the silly utopian humanist theory that liberals today believe in, that humans are all-good and wonderful, and they can built a perfect society under a perfect State. The brainwashed progressive liberal voters of today are ready to give politicians as much power as they ask for, in return for a false sense of security and a monthly welfare check.

    There’s your utopian society that you should be concerned about, Andrew.

    The Founding Fathers distrusted human nature, that’s why they didn’t invest any branch of government with too much power. They came up with checks and balances, to limit the government. These are basic facts about the founding of America, anybody should know this.

  22. conservative says:

    James White apologetics http://www.aomin.org

  23. conservative Josh says:

    Here’s an excellent article about the destruction of manhood in America http://www.visionforumministries.org/issues/news_and_reports/will_the_legacy_of_american_ma.aspx

  24. conservative Josh says:

    In this discussion, someone said Paul told women to obey their husbands as slaves obeyed their masters.

    The Bible also says that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her, in Ephesians 5:25, 29, 30.

    • santitafarella says:

      Josh,

      So should slaves love their masters as Christ loved the church?

      —Santi

      • ER 13065 says:

        Santi santi, you are so prejudiced against Christianity that you use every trick in the book to criticize it. The Bible endorsing slavery??? VERY BAD EXEGESIS AND VERY BAD THEOLOGY!!! Let me disabuse you of such nonsense.

        Mt 19:3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
        4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’
        5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?
        6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
        7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
        8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.
        9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

        Key is “Moses PERMITTED…” God was working with people in the context of their history and their very flawed ways. God permitted divorce, but did not endorse it. For as Jesus explicitly said, “But it was not this way from the beginning.”

        Slavery is in the same category. Scriptures show the different cultures and customs that God’s people found themselves in and how God worked with them in the context of their culture. God worked His good will in the context of a culture that practiced slavery. But He did not ENDORSE it.

        Slavery “was not this way from the beginning.”

        So please do not repeat the same ignorance that militant atheists are promoting.

      • @ER 13065 – What a ludicrous explanation you give. The examples in the OT of dictating rules for buying slaves (Leviticus & Exodus) the rules for selling your daughters to slavery (Exodus) .. none of these are real endorsements of slavery? I guess the NT Timothy 6:1 – explaining how slaves should act is not an endorsement of slavery either.

        I wonder, if you see a book on how a pedophile should treat his victim, would you not consider that book an endorsement of pedophilia? It is not militant atheists making stuff up or twisting the words of he Bible. You are the one adding in your own words and concepts with the idea that what is written is not really what is meant. Unable to face the unambiguous and unedited verbage of the bible, you violate your own faith and become a bold faced liar.

  25. ER 13065 says:

    Whoa!

    “Unable to face the unambiguous and unedited verbage of the bible, you violate your own faith and become a bold faced liar.”

    Jared you seem to completely fail to understand the worldview that is inherent in the history of the Scriptures. The Scriptures covers the following metanarratives —
    > Creation
    > The Fall (this is where the error of slavery entered the human experience)
    > Redemption (the story of the call of Abraham, down thru Israel and culminating in the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ)
    >Restoration (the eschatological promise that all wrong will be righted, justice to triumph, all evil judged and overcome, and the entire cosmos is rebirthed into the New Creation)

    Slavery Jared is as Jesus said of divorce,

    4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator…

    Notice Jesus brings everything to the BEGINNING BEFORE the Fall. This is the standard of Faith, of God’s ultimate will and purpose.

    And again as Jesus said of divorce,

    8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.”

    Let me read that in light of the slavery issue in the Bible, Moses permitted slavery because people’s hearts were hard. And here’s the clincher,

    “But it was not this way from the beginning.”

    Jared, slavery was not set up by God “from the beginning.” Slavery is a human error that God had to deal with in the community of His people. This was not in the plan of God from the beginning.

    You see God did not design Adam and Eve to have slaves.

    And so Jared in the BEGINNING there was no slavery, and in the RESTORATION of all things there will be no slavery. That is the story that the Bible itself tells. Slavery is a human error caused by humanity’s Fall into sin. It was not and never will be the will of God.

    Your reading of the Bible is very wrongheaded and misinformed.

    Please pick up Paul Coppan’s book IS GOD A MORAL MONSTER? So you can be rightly informed of the historical and cultural near-eastern context of these passages that you allude to.

  26. What you are doing is the typical response of those who want to ignore all the evils posed by the bible. You assign them to man then add your own context – not written anywhere in the bible BTW – that explains this attribution to man.

    If all that you wrote were actually the intent of god and the bible, then you should easily be able to point me to numerous places in the bible where it talks about slavery being immoral. What’s that? Can’t find any? So, to recap, the Bible talks about how slaves should act, selling your kids into slavery, and how masters should treat slaves numerous times .. but not ONCE does the bible say that people should not own slaves and that it is immoral. Does that not sound utterly absurd to you and debunk your entire made up explanation?

    Your god is not a moral monster. Quite the opposite in fact. Christians do a lot of circular reasoning and addendum to the Bible to try and hide this fact.

  27. ER 13065 says:

    Why do you continue to impose your pick and chose reading of the Bible and not follow the Bible’s own storyline? Jesus came to reveal God’s ultimate will for mankind (John 14:6, I am the way, truth and life), and His Gospel declares this

    Gal. 3:25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
    26 You are ALL SONS OF GOD through faith in Christ Jesus,
    27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
    28 There is NEITHER Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for YOU ARE ALL ONE in Christ Jesus.
    29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    In Jesus Christ, the ultimate Word of God (John 1:1-4; Hebrews 1:1-3), all become Abraham’s seed, the very children of God, and heirs of all of God’s promise for redemption and restoration! In short–everyone stands equal under the cross of Christ, no slave, no free, Jew or Gentile. This is the will of God!

    Why is it that you can’t understand that God did not intend slavery to be His will and purpose but just had to deal with it as an historical-cultural phenomenon that His people found themselves in? You can’t because you WONT! You insist on cherry-picking from Scripture to pick on the Scriptures and those who believe it.

    Tell me Jared, do you actually think that the Bible teaches that God planned slavery from the very beginning (Genesis before the Fall) and that He intends it to continue until the restoration of all things (eschatological Kingdom as in Revelation 20-22)??? If so can you please show me that in the Bible??? If you can show that the Bible actually says that God created humanity from the beginning to be divided into slaves and non slaves (akin to the Hindu caste system) and intends for it to last for eternity then i will concede. But if you can’t then please rethink your bias.

    Again get a copy of Coppan’s book Is God A Moral Monster? that specifically addresses the Old Testament Scriptures you have in our mind.

  28. From reading the bible, it is pretty clear that slavery was condoned. You do not give instruction on something and tell your followers that it is OK to sell your children into slavery unless you approve of slavery. It is not like the bible just blithely accepts things Christians consider immoral – homosexuality, false worship, murder, etc – it calls out these things as immoral explicitly. There is no question that the bible seeks to function as a guide to morality. Yet this guide does NOT call out slavery as immoral and does talk about rules for slavery.

    Do you think the bible intents to function as a moral guide?
    If it is a moral guide, why does it instruct on the proper things in slavery?
    Why does it NOT declare slavery as immoral when it declares so many other things as immoral?
    If someone wrote a book on how pedophiles should treat their victims, would you think that book condoned pedophilia?

    You are applying inconsistent logic – some of the bible is explicit and some is not, some morality is called out and some is not. You also apply different evaluation criteria to the bible than you would to anything else (a book on pedophilia). There is no question at all that the bible condones slavery – what you are doing is trying to come up with a creative way to pretend it does not.

  29. conservative says:

    The Bible doesn’t directly condemn polygamy either, it doesn’t mean God intended it and approves of it. Your example with pedophilia, those who condone pedophilia and protect it under the disguise of “tolerance”, are the gay and political correct activists with their fanatical propaganda. To them, any sexual deviation or perversion must be protected from criticism and not be challenged. Those who callenge it, are immediately labeled as bigots, nazis, narrow minded and so on. There were some things in the cultural context of the time when the books of the Bible were written, that were acceptable to most people. However, that doesn’t mean God considered them acceptable. Suppose He would have told Moses to eliminate polygamy and slavery. They would have had a civil war, guaranteed. Let’s not forget the fact that the Israelites just came out of Egypt, a culture that approved of slavery and other things. In fact, most cultures in those regions at that time approved of slavery and polygamy. It was bad enough that the Israelites rebelled and did not like other restrictive rules that did not allow them to do as the nations around them. God knows human nature better, so He knows that some things can’t be changed or ended right away. To associate slavery with Christianity is an arrogant rewriting of history. Slavery existed in pagan polytheist societies, more than in ancient Israelite-Christian societies. Some of the greatest champions of the anti-slavery movements in the 18th and 19th centuries, were Christians. David Livingstone and William Wilberforce were two of them. They were attacked and criticized for their position, but surprisingly, atheists and liberals won’t give them any credit for what they did. It’s not suprising, because the history that’s promoted in government schools and on television is to a great extent distorted and it usually omits the positive contributions of Christians.

  30. ruth1940 says:

    The bible conflicts with the records. I heard a talk at a synagogue several years ago by a Jewish retired history professor on whether the Tanakh is actually a history of the Hebrew people. He concluded that it is not, for three primary reasons: 1) The Egyptians kept detailed records, even how much grain was in each bin, but there iwas nothing about the Israelites coming, becoming a problem, or leaving, 2) If that many people really had been in the desert for 40 years, there should be some sign of it, but none has been found, and 3) Some of the cities in the stories weren’t there at the time, according to the archeological records.

    Would that the Christians would evaluate their stories in a similar manner.

    It’s absurd to think that murder and stealing were considered good before Moses! All the great religions incorporate the rules that work for society and pretent they invented them: http://www.religioustolerance.org/reciproc.htm

    Believing silly stories from the Bronze Age (when the earth was flat) does not make for better people, just more confused children in our modern world.

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