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December 15, 2011

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blaspheming Him as a God of death through their actions.

Not being an inerrantist, I feel no obligation to defend or explain all of the horrors of the Old Testament.

But one would have thought that supposing such horrors were true, describing God as a god of death is pretty accurate. God orders the ritual slaughter of animals; instead of regenerating the hearts of humanity, God kills them all in a flood, save Noah and his family; God describes himself as a warrior (Ex. 15:3) in the book where he is depicted as killing all of the firstborn of Egypt due to Pharaoh's stubbornness, for which God is partially responsible; as a punishment for Canaanite sins, such as child sacrifice, God orders the Israelites to invade Canaan and kill everyone, including all of the Canaanite children; God kills Lot's wife for catching a disobedient glimpse at a city he was in the process of wiping out; God kills a man who touched the ark, apparently in order to keep it from falling; as a punishment for David's sin and despite David's begging, God kills his son; God prescribes the death penalty for a great many things, including such moral horrors as breaking the Sabbath; God's wrath is even depicted poetically at times, as in the following excerpt from Isaiah 13:

The LORD Almighty is mustering an army for war. They come from faraway lands, from the ends of the heavens— the LORD and the weapons of his wrath— to destroy the whole country. Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Because of this, all hands will go limp, every heart will melt with fear. Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame. See, the day of the LORD is coming —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger— to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. I will make people scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the day of his burning anger. Like a hunted gazelle, like sheep without a shepherd, they will all return to their own people, they will flee to their native land. Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives violated.

To anyone familiar with the Old Testament, that sounds about right. And of course this is nothing compared to the alleged wrath that God, in the service of his glory, will freely pour out on the backs of non-believers for all eternity in the hereafter.

If we would like to think ourselves fortunate for believing that God is not a god of death, we should have the moral and theological courage to actually adopt that belief, and we should stop merely giving lip-service to it while defending the mountains of corpses we feel compelled by our dogmas to attribute to God.

Does anyone else think genocide days at STR are pretty gloomy? Evolution days and same-sex marriage days are happier by far than genocide days, even if they are rather repetitive. I guess genocide days are less gloomy than hell days, though. So at least there's that.

"First, it was God's judgment against the Canaanites"

Even the children? Why did they have to be murdered?
Just so the culture wouldn't spread? Its sounds so sick and archaic. Not at all like the divine command of a holy God.

Hi Josh,
I thought this wasn't you, the atheist who was just going to go from thread to thread complaining.
Don't you have bigger fish to fry?

Well, I don't know who you thought I was or who you think I am now. So, let me introduce myself. I was a christian for a very long time. My father was a pastor and so was my wife's father. They are very smart men and they taught me traditional Christianity diligently. Ever since I was 10 I was very interested in apologetics. I've read everything from Schaffer and Lewis to Giesler and William lane Craig. (since my deconversion I have ventured into Brian Mclaren and Greg Boyd)I renounced my faith two years ago but I still go to church and I still enjoy Hymns and worship music. I don't take communion though because I feel that would be akin to lying to my former brothers and sisters. I tune in to the STR podcast every week. Sometimes I am only able to listen to an hour at a time but I always finish before the next sunday. I read the bible daily (not just the troublesome passages) and pray on occasion. I view myself as atheist/agnostic who happens to still be steeped in Christianity. The good and the bad. I love so many things about it but I still take major issue with most of the key doctrines. I know almost all of the traditional arguments front and back and from both sides.

Truthfully Daron, when I bring up controversial issues which may seem petty or of the saber rattling variety. Please know I am not arguing for the sake of causing trouble. I like the conversation. I like the debate. I still have questions that I feel have not been answered to my satisfaction. I love truth. Whenever I can help anyone else find it I feel deeply satisfied. I am not afraid of being wrong. I will not guard turf for the sake of turf.

Do I have bigger fish to fry? I don't even know what that means. I just like fishing. So, grab a pole if you want to join.

Josh, is it your view that a holy God should let a culture that's burning children in fires and committing all sorts of other atrocities continue on and on?

Of course not. Amy, do you think the young children and infants in those towns deserved death?

Thanks for that introduction, Josh.

You said your biggest beef with Christianity is the doctrine of the Atonement.
At that time I had said:

So again, you have stated nothing but an opinion and, really, what was the point? You guys might as well just stamp your bottom line on every post ( in your case "I don't believe in God") and then go about your business.

So, is your question over the Atonement answered to your satisfaction? The issue seemed to run its course and then drop, so I am not sure whether you felt you had made your case or not.

If it has been answered, this biggest beef, why just move on to another objection?
If it has not been answered to your satisfaction, then this posting of yours is irrelevant because whatever the answer here, you still have your biggest beef.
As I said, you might as well be posting "I'm an atheist" and just leave it at that.

But here you tell us that you just like fishing. So then we are clear, you are doing this because you like it . That makes answering your questions rather pointless, don't you think?

Since you already know all the arguments backward and forward (so what's the point of "debating"?) you aren't really asking questions (as your punctuation in your first comment would indicate) but, rather, are again stating your opinion.
Like I said, you might as well just stamp every post with your bottom line.


What part of

"I still have questions that I feel have not been answered to my satisfaction."

"I love truth."

"I am not afraid of being wrong. I will not guard turf for the sake of turf."

Did you not understand?


I do my honest best to have an open mind. I felt like the atonement issue had been resolved as far as it could go in this format however. I thought I made that clear.

Also, I did qualify most of my statements with words like "almost" and "Mostly" when you say things like

"Since you already know all the arguments backward and forward" and quote mine me I feel like you are misunderstanding me on purpose.

"What part of ...

Did you not understand?"


Love it.
Who says I don't understand? I think my comment demonstrates my understanding.
See, I love truth as well. And when I see someone who might be a real seeker I like to put him on to that truth.

I do my honest best to have an open mind. I felt like the atonement issue had been resolved as far as it could go in this format however. I thought I made that clear.
But how has it been resolved? Either resolution leads to the irrelevancy of your commenting on this post as you have, (with Biblically inaccurate language and questions that are answered by the Bible) does it not?


"Who says I don't understand?"

I say so. And I suggested you did it purposefully. Because you clearly omitted qualifiers in my statements when you recounted what I said. I was merely trying to communicate that you needn't take it easy on me or explain thing from the beginning. I have been there a thousand times before.

Also, this statement is not true.

"If it has not been answered to your satisfaction, then this posting of yours is irrelevant because whatever the answer here, you still have your biggest beef."

Even if I have a problem with the way the US government handles foreign policy, that doesn't mean I have to resolve that issue before I bring up something like job creation. Even if the first issue is my biggest problem with the entire government. Especially if I feel that the message board I'm on is not the best place to address it. I did offer my email if you remember to discuss it fully in a better venue. No one took me up on that btw.

"Either resolution leads to the irrelevancy of your commenting on this post as you have"

Uh.. yeah. not seeing that. Because I could be shown that I'm wrong or misguided on this issue regardless of how the other pans out. I may still not accept Christianity but that's taken one step at a time.

Uh.. yeah. not seeing that. Because I could be shown that I'm wrong or misguided on this issue regardless of how the other pans out. I may still not accept Christianity but that's taken one step at a time.
So what if you are wrong or misguided on this issue? I've seen atheists (and Christians) shown wrong and misguided on issue after issue and it doesn't matter - the issues aren't really the concern. Who cares about this issue outside of the greater issue about the truth or not of Christianity?

One step at a time, you say. I like it. Do you think this is actually he step, then? Dealing with the one of the hardest issues of the Bible, that's the step?
No answer, either way, is going to bring an atheist to Christianity or deconvert a Christian.

I really hope to continue this when I return this evening. Here are a few thoughts.

If this issue really bothers you and you really are a seeker and really have explored it then you know there are answers, right? They abound. You've found them on WLC's site, Tektonics, this website, in Copan's work, etc.
You know about the sin of the Canaanites, the Holiness of God, His purpose for Israel, His demands on them, etc.

So why are those answers not good enough for you and what do you hope to discover in this combox that you have found neither there nor in the Bible?

Second, if you want to go step by step, here are some better steps, I think.
Does the existence of the universe make better sense on a theistic or atheistic worldview?
How about the intelligibility of the universe?
Or logic itself?

Does it seem like there is something wrong with our situation and the way people behave?
Do we seem capable of perfect goodness (if that word means anything) and should we not be?
Does it matter if we are not capable? Does it matter if we are not perfectly good?
Does it matter whether we try or even care about goodness?

What do you do with your guilt?

"So what if you are wrong or misguided on this issue? I've seen atheists (and Christians) shown wrong and misguided on issue after issue and it doesn't matter - the issues aren't really the concern. Who cares about this issue outside of the greater issue about the truth or not of Christianity? "

I do. Because if I am a christian then it shapes my theology towards truth. And if I'm an atheist then it shapes what kind of God I am arguing against.
If I'm wrong then that argument is done. Another one bites the dust.

"One step at a time, you say. I like it. Do you think this is actually he step, then?"

It is a step. Yes.

"Dealing with the one of the hardest issues of the Bible, that's the step?"

Um. A Step. Yes!

"No answer, either way, is going to bring an atheist to Christianity or deconvert a Christian."

I disagree. I am living proof.

"I really hope to continue this when I return this evening."

Me too.

"So why are those answers not good enough for you"

Why those answers are not good enough would have to be brought up one step at a time. I will not jump into a task that big without knowing specifics. This is after all, a combox.

"and what do you hope to discover in this combox that you have found

I hope you and especially Amy will answer my questions/objections. Or admit you don't have one.

"Second, if you want to go step by step, here are some better steps, I think."

I feel like you are just avoiding the original issue now. But yes, I think atheism makes more sense in light of the world that we observe.

"Does it seem like there is something wrong with our situation and the way people behave?"

Wrong with what situation? what ever do you mean?

"Do we seem capable of perfect goodness (if that word means anything) and should we not be?"

Many of us seem capable and are consistent a great amount of the time in being good to our fellow inhabitants on earth. Should? If we want to continue doing our best as a species and promoting growth and life then.. yes? The question seems to suppose things are going on behind the scenes that I don't. Hmm...

"Does it matter if we are not capable? Does it matter if we are not perfectly good?"

Same issue here but, yes? If we want certain things out of this like life, happiness and the health and well being of conscious creatures?

"Does it matter whether we try or even care about goodness?"

It certainly would have an effect on the world as we know it. In a way that would have negative effects on us humans. Yes.

"What do you do with your guilt?"

Most of it comes from beliefs that I once held but now think are unfounded. So, I try and asses what is good for me and will motivate me to change my behavior to benefit others and myself. Differentiating of course from what is merely in my head making me feel bad in ways that don't matter tangibly.

Daron,
I think I may have been so concerned about touching on all your questions individually that I may have missed the general idea behind them.

I think that people need to be held accountable for the truth claims they make in this big world of ideas. (Christian and atheist alike!) I also think that if I am giving a critique of something as big and old and diverse as Christianity then it's more than alright to deal with specific smaller details that can bring light to the bigger picture. Baby steps you know? I didn't lose the faith in day. I also didn't become a knowledgeable christian by sticking with studying the truthfulness of Christianity alone. A lot hinges on an issue like this. Even if it not the faith itself. It can bring about breakthroughs in a persons theology. I changed as a believer and as a skeptic from examining issues like this as honestly as I could. I think that makes it worth the while for a chatbox.

Finally,

"No answer, either way, is going to bring an atheist to Christianity or deconvert a Christian."

Maybe not with this specifically all by itself. But its a step in the process. A clue in the case for truth. I really don't think any issue on its own can prove or disprove an idea as big Christianity. Even the resurrection of Jesus. But that's a conversation for another day.
I feel like I'm wandering to far here so I'll stop. I hope that we can get back to the issue I brought up at some point though.

BTW,
The list I gave off the top of my head is not meant to get your agreement, but demonstrates that the Christian has reasons to believe in God and His goodness. You don't have to agree, and I don't expect you to, but sets the stage.
It also goes to why I was talking about first steps.
It is really counter-productive to jump to an issue like the conquest of Canaan ahead of these. If the reasons are convincing then Canaan has to fit in. If you look at the above and remain an atheist then, honestly, how can Canaan have any relevance?

Although you claim otherwise in your own history, I do not believe for a second that a person is going to deny that list on the basis of Canaan, nor is he going to assent to it if he is satisfied on why God commanded the death of the children.

It looks again like my comment did not go through.
Here it is broken in two. The 7:50 comment is meant to follow these (if they go through...)

Hi Josh,
I started my usual point-by-point response but have abandoned it because it doesn't really seem to advance things at all.

Theism provides by far the better explanation for :
being itself
the requirement of the first cause and initial mover
the existence of the universe
the fine-tuning of the universe
the habitability of the earth/moon/solar system system
life on earth
the intelligibility of the universe
logic and reason
the earth as a platform for that intelligibility
the observed teleology of the universe
the observed design in biology
morality and justice
the human predicament
the facts of Jesus' life, death, Crucifixion and post-mortem appearances
the existence of the Church
immortality
my experience of God.
(I know you will deny many of these points, and you will say you have good answers for many of them, but note that on atheism all the answers are ad hoc and usually unrelated and strung together, one problem at a time. On theism, they are all inter-connected and are made sense of by the One.)

Given that theism is far more likely, on reason alone, than atheism, the explanation of Jesus' Resurrection appearances is far more likely to be that He was Resurrected. Even the Jewish (non-Christian) scholar Lapide aggrees with this. His Resurrection vindicates His ministry and demonstrates the veracity of the New Testament.
And Jesus treats the Old Testament as inspired and, thus, the God, His Father, of the Old Testament as perfectly good, loving , patient, just, righteous, holy, etc..

Therefore, God is good and His precepts are good.
You are fond of asking "what would convince you that God is not good?"
I don't know. The question makes no sense because God is, by definition, good (He is actually goodness itself). He is worthy of worship and the ground of all being so He is, logically, necessarily good.

Given that God is good, that the Bible is His word (validated by His Son), there must be some reason that His precepts are always good - even when I don't know how or why. Humility demands that I do not elevate my fallen and marred reason or morality over God's Word. I don't get to decide if He is right or wrong, and I don't get to throw away whatever parts of the Bible don't appeal to me.
So, you claim that I am avoiding the original issue.
But what was that original issue? The OP makes the issue the punishment of the Israelites for NOT fulfilling God's commands. God makes demands of us that He knows we will not fulfill, but holds us responsible anyway (Love the LORD your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength). Though they ought to have obeyed Him He knew they would not.

But you decided to make your personal feelings and indignation an issue, as you did when you stated that you don't like the theory of the Atonement.
You, not the, original issue is your personal, subjective, feeling that God's commands sound sick and archaic. So?
That is a fact about your feelings, not about anything else. What's your argument? What is your case? What do you want me to respond to and how do you think you have a defeater for Christianity here?

You say you read the Bible and all kinds of apologists so, once again, show us what is wrong with the Biblical explanations. Don;t ask us to make your case AND refute it.

Given your intelligence and background you also know that God does not owe life to anybody. He determines our days and He is the sustainer of our lives. In Him we live and move and have our being. If Canaan is a defeater for Christianity then so is death in general. But death is not a defeater. In fact, Christianity has the answer for death (logically speaking, and metaphysically speaking). It is up to God when we die and how we die. You tacked on words like "murder", which elicit appropriate emotional responses, but they are not appropriate to this case. The word "murder" means something, and it does not apply to God. So whether He uses cancer, heart failure, floods, or Israel, it is His good prerogative to determine the length of our days.
Again, if the death of the Canaanites is evidence against His existence then so is death at all. I am sure you think it is, but theists have always known about death and believed in God. So this Canaanite issue offers no defeater other than the personal moral outrage you've expressed.

Aside from following the STR links, here is Copan.
http://www.thedivineconspiracy.org/Z5230Z.pdf

William Lane Craig
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5767

Josh,
As an atheist I wonder if you read our contributors (anti-STR commenters) like Malebranche, above.
If so, can you comment on how compelling you find a case for Christianity that merely disavows any Biblical passages the proponent finds uncomfortable?

You sound a lot like my father Daron. But you're better communicator. That's a compliment btw. I haven't read all your posts because I'm on my phone and it's annoying when my screen jumps around. I'll be home in a few hours and I'll see what I can do to try and make you see my point of view.

"If it has not been answered to your satisfaction, then this posting of yours is irrelevant because whatever the answer here, you still have your biggest beef."

Even if I have a problem with the way the US government handles foreign policy, that doesn't mean I have to resolve that issue before I bring up something like job creation.


This analogy is not apt. You can (theoretically) do something about job creation without better handling of foreign policy. You cannot make Christianity believable by solving the Canaanite problem if you still have your biggest beef.
Similarly, you can admit that Jesus was Crucified under Pontius Pilate and was thought by His Disciples to have appeared to them without your believing in Christianity - even though this is often stated to be a big problem by some atheists. In the same manner, you can have the Canaanite problem solved for you and be no closer to salvation.

"Theism provides by far the better explanation for :
being itself
the requirement of the first cause and initial mover
the existence of the universe
the fine-tuning of the universe
the habitability of the earth/moon/solar system system
life on earth
the intelligibility of the universe
logic and reason
the earth as a platform for that intelligibility
the observed teleology of the universe
the observed design in biology
morality and justice
the human predicament
the facts of Jesus' life, death, Crucifixion and post-mortem appearances
the existence of the Church
immortality
my experience of God."

Great list, Daron. I copied it and will be making use of it. Thank you.

Thanks, Bruce. To clarify one point, I was referring to the earth/moon system. Then I threw in the solar system - which accounts for the "system system". Feel free to use better grammar than mine. :)

I'm still having trouble getting comments to stick.
I'll break this one in two:
Yesterday I posed a series of quick questions to demonstrate the more important things a person has to deal with regarding faith rather than picking out so-called atrocities in the OT.
I didn't really expect answers, but Josh supplied some. Some very predictable and some helpful.

"Does it seem like there is something wrong with our situation and the way people behave?"

Wrong with what situation? what ever do you mean?

"Do we seem capable of perfect goodness (if that word means anything) and should we not be?"


Here Josh has said that the universe looks more compatible with atheism than Christianity.
Then he seems incredulous that one could suggest something is "wrong" with our situation.
Notice that this answer was predicted by the implication in the follow-up question, "is there even goodness, right and wrong, under atheism?"
So atheism falls on its face right out of the gate. Our observation is that there really is right and wrong, good and bad and real justice. Josh knows this as he even appeals to real justice when discussing the Atonement. But atheism cannot account for this observation, thus the coy answer "whatever do you mean?"
People actually do know what this means. Man is not good. Why does he murder, rape, abuse, exploit, steal, cheat ...? Why do the best of us harbour ill thoughts? Why me, Lord, why me? we suffer, we hurt, we die. We all know this is not how things ought to be and we shake our fist at the cosmos when things go wrong and seem unfair.
Sometimes we set our jaw and say "well, who said it was supposed to be fair?" or, "what do you expect, we evolved from selfish, murdering, raping, stealing lower primates...?"
So, under atheism we are all deluded to think in terms of real morality, real justice, and a way things ought to be.
Calling such a universal observation a delusion does not better explain the universe.

Should? If we want to continue doing our best as a species and promoting growth and life then.. yes?
And "should" we want this? Not on atheism. Extinction is the norm (according to evolution) so there is not reason we ought to want our species to grow and live. In God's universe existence itself is good. In the atheist's it is an anomaly.
Same issue here but, yes? If we want certain things out of this like life, happiness and the health and well being of conscious creatures?
This answer hides the false premise that we know that we can get life, happiness and health by being "good". As if. Every man sins and pursues his life, happiness and health by not being good, at least sometimes, at least some ways. And since there is not reason we ought to want these things, especially the well-being of other creatures, there is no reason we ought to be good or that we ought to care one way or another.

"What do you do with your guilt?"

An interesting thing occurs when I ask people, “What do you do with your guilt?” I don’t ask what the person is going to do about his or her guilt feelings. My question has to do with his or her guilt. However, almost everyone to whom I pose this question tends to respond concerning his or her guilt feelings. At that point, I stop the discussion to make a careful distinction between guilt and guilt feelings.

...
What is guilt? In the first place, we have to say that guilt is not subjective but objective because it corresponds to an objective standard or reality. That leads me to the simplest definition of guilt that I can compose:

Guilt is that which a person incurs when he violates a law.

...

We are all endowed with a conscience, a sense of right and wrong. Even non-Christian philosophers have recognized this; Immanuel Kant said we all have a sense of “oughtness,” an inkling that we have a moral duty that ought to be fulfilled.

Sinful men will do all they can to assuage their guilt for not living up to this God-given sense of duty. But justifying sin or making light of it does not remove the objective reality of our guilt. Therefore, “What do I do with my guilt before the perfect law of God?” is the most important question each of us will ever ask.

R.C. Sproul

In Doug Wilson's CT article marking the death of Chris Hitchens he touches on the question I asked Josh about believers who are all-too-willing to pick and choose.
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/decemberweb-only/christopher-hitchens-obituary.html?start=1

Hi Josh,
I know there is a ton of stuff here and I am basically an open spigot right now. You don't have to respond to everything, and I wouldn't know what to do with your responses if you did. But we've opened the door a few times to the greater issue, and I was in the mood to talk about it.

BTW
http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2011/12/is-the-cruicifixion-immoral.html?cid=6a00d83451d2ba69e20162fde3dae5970d#comment-6a00d83451d2ba69e20162fde3dae5970d

"Hi Josh,
I know there is a ton of stuff here and I am basically an open spigot right now. You don't have to respond to everything, and I wouldn't know what to do with your responses if you did. But we've opened the door a few times to the greater issue, and I was in the mood to talk about it."

Thanks, since you have gone on a preaching rampage more than once. I am going to think twice before I engage you in conversation on these issues. I wish you could have kept on topic or at least close to the issue. I don't blame you entirely. These things are very complex and sometimes we have to dig deeper. Maybe dealing with ethical systems and the truth of certain christian doctrines only when they became the next step instead of jumping the gun. If you want to start over in making a case for Christianity feel free to email me anytime. Feel free to copy and paste things you have said here as well. And I'll do my best to get those stones out of my shoe. ;)

[email protected]

Otherwise, I think your mind is to big for a chatbox on a blog.

Hi Josh,
You say:

I wish you could have kept on topic or at least close to the issue.


I said:


So, you claim that I am avoiding the original issue.
But what was that original issue? The OP makes the issue the punishment of the Israelites for NOT fulfilling God's commands. God makes demands of us that He knows we will not fulfill, but holds us responsible anyway (Love the LORD your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength). Though they ought to have obeyed Him He knew they would not.

But you decided to make your personal feelings and indignation an issue, as you did when you stated that you don't like the theory of the Atonement.
You[r issue], not the original issue is your personal, subjective, feeling that God's commands sound sick and archaic.


You say you read the Bible and all kinds of apologists so, once again, show us what is wrong with the Biblical explanations. Don't ask us to make your case AND refute it.

Given your intelligence and background you also know that God does not owe life to anybody. He determines our days and He is the sustainer of our lives. In Him we live and move and have our being.

Aside from following the STR links, here is Copan.
http://www.thedivineconspiracy.org/Z5230Z.pdf

William Lane Craig
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5767

How can I refute your argument? For all I know you are 100% accurate in your statement about how you feel about the accounts. But telling us that takes me back to my original points to you on the previous thread.

Thank you, Daron, for your cogent, intelligent postings here! You put a lot of heart into your responses!

:)
Thanks so much, Carolyn. There are several commenters here that I really admire and learn from. I know my style isn't for everyone, but after many years of this I have grown tired of arguing the same theoretical issue time and again. I've come to feel it is much more about the person than the objection so, although I try to answer the concerns, I prefer to focus on the human soul.
Of course, it's very easy for this to look like sheer ad hominem.

Plus, I am a terrible typist, so I apologize to all for my writing and formatting errors.
Thanks again for seeing past all that. I get the feeling you and I see much of this the same way.

Daron, you are very long-suffering with many here and I can learn a lot about patience from you. Though new to this forum, I almost immediately became irritated with the pointless (in my opinion) conversations with nay-sayers who simply seemed to want to bait posters with unreasonable demands for "proof". But I have altered my opinions on these things upon realizing that, although some of the individuals posting may simply want to stir the pot, others reading these posts may learn something from the responses given from both sides, myself included! Your careful responses and determination to be accurate are a continual reminder to me that the Word of God is to be handled with great care--and your obvious tenacity with each posting reveals the underlying concern you have for each person's soul. Such loving concern can move mountains.

"So, you claim that I am avoiding the original issue.
But what was that original issue?"

The issue that I took issue with. In response, you challenged my motives and brought up previous discussions even though were not presently related. When I responded you jumped the podium and preached a freaking sermon that I couldn't and (shouldn't have) respond to. You then act as if indignation isn't the proper response?!

"How can I refute your argument?"

I never got to make it. I asked a few questions and then gave my personal feelings. I didn't give you any argument for ethics or theology. I just asked questions and then we got spun out of orbit. Amy didn't have to get all trollish in order to respond to me and I don't see why you did. Until I get some respect and a gracious response from you then this is over. I will continue to provide input on other threads but if you continue to question my intentions and deliberately misquote me in order to make me sound disingenuous then we are done. You could learn something from the other ambassadors here in these departments.

I have given you the benefit of the doubt with your intentions and your intellectual integrity. Be so kind as to do the same for the unbeliever. It will get you heard more.

Hi Josh,
So many words, so little substance.
If I'd know it was a pity-party I'd have worn my good shoes.

I never got to make it.
Oh, I know. If I weren't the boss of the entire world-wide-web I'd probably be fined for the way I hired the Internet Gestapo to go stop you from making an argument. It was funny how I learned to go back in time, though, to do this even before your very first posting. And then I talked so much you just never could get a word in edge-wise.
I never got to make it. I asked a few questions and then gave my personal feelings.
You asked no questions. Your question marks do not make your pontifications questions. "Even the children?" is not a question. You know it was even the children and that was your statement. A statement that you were continuing with "Its sounds so sick and archaic."

I didn't give you any argument for ethics or theology.

So?
If you want an answer to the baby question (which I doubt) then you need to hear about theology. You don't get to make a charge and then define how it will be answered. Again, this is what you tried to do with the Atonement - take it outside of Christianity to question it. Sorry, you had no grounds to do so from the outside, and, once on the inside, you have to deal with the Christian answers.


"So, you claim that I am avoiding the original issue.
But what was that original issue?"

The issue that I took issue with.

That wasn't the original issue - as pointed out twice now. You twisted the issue because it better fit your need to vent your indignation.

I'll just quote me, quoting me:

So, you claim that I am avoiding the original issue.

But what was that original issue? The OP makes the issue the punishment of the Israelites for NOT fulfilling God's commands.
...
You[r issue], not the original issue is your personal, subjective, feeling that God's commands sound sick and archaic. So?
Like I said, you might be right about how you feel. Until you give an argument there's not much anyone can say about your feelings.

-----

In response, you challenged my motives and brought up previous discussions even though were not presently related.
But they are related. You guys (people who sit and snipe at blogs ) act as though one thread is unrelated to the last and you just get a restart. You don't. You are who you are and you make certain claims that have to follow you. You said you weren't some angry atheist who was going to sit and snipe at a Christian blog. The evidence, after many threads have gone by, says otherwise. This "even the children-issue" is a classic example.
To paraphrase you (this is not a quote, and, thus, not a quote-mine) I also like truth and want to help people see the truth. Often the truth can be seen by comparing your words to your actions. As we've seen countless times, the so-called issue is not the issue; the person is. I tend to address the person, but I am not averse to clearing the road of these stumbling-blocks presented as so-called issues.
I gave you several resources on the Canaanite issue (resources someone with your both-sides-of -the -argument attitude has no doubt seen before anyway). I saw no response to these.

When I responded you jumped the podium and preached a freaking sermon that I couldn't and (shouldn't have) respond to. You then act as if indignation isn't the proper response?!

Nope. When I talk about your (posture of) indignation I'm talking of your first comment - your pretense about the supposed OT atrocities.
Coming days later, this new demonstration of your pique is news to me. It wasn't on my radar when I made those comments.


Let's pretend that you didn't spend the better part of the past week trying to find a defence for your indignation and some way to pose an actual query, and I will show you, again, my answer to what I presume a questioner would be seeking:
We have very good reasons to believe God exists and that the Bible is His inerrant revelation to us.
We have very good reason to believe He is all-good, all-just, does no wrong, shows no favouritism, etc.
It follows, then that the Conquest of Canaan happened, and, from God's perspective (that of ultimate reality) it is all good.
Finding the good in it demands taking the Bible seriously, and claims that it is necessarily bad must do so from within the Biblical framework.
And, quoting me again:

you also know that God does not owe life to anybody. He determines our days and He is the sustainer of our lives. In Him we live and move and have our being. If Canaan is a defeater for Christianity then so is death in general. But death is not a defeater. In fact, Christianity has the answer for death (logically speaking, and metaphysically speaking). It is up to God when we die and how we die. You tacked on words like "murder", which elicit ... emotional responses, but they are not appropriate to this case. The word "murder" means something, and it does not apply to God. So whether He uses cancer, heart failure, floods, or Israel, it is His good prerogative to determine the length of our days.

Give me a reason to doubt any of my claims. Or just emote. It's your choice.


I couldn't and (shouldn't have) respond to.
I already graciously said that:
I know there is a ton of stuff here and I am basically an open spigot right now. You don't have to respond to everything, and I wouldn't know what to do with your responses if you did.

---
You could learn something from the other ambassadors here in these departments.
Yep, I already graciously said that as well. The people here are brilliant and more gracious than I am. My hat is off to so many of them that I can't name them all. Amy, Wisdom Lover, Brad B, Louis, SteveK, Sam, etc., come immediately to mind. I know I am missing many. I'm sure Carolyn is going to show me up in no time, as well. Thank God for all of them.

I have given you the benefit of the doubt with your intentions and your intellectual integrity.
I don't think you have. This random rant of yours is evidence against this claim. I perfectly summed the issue up on the 17th, put the question before you once again, and showed the fallacy of your charge. You have not answered it, only fizzed-over, claiming I wouldn't even let you answer it. In fact, you thanked me and supposedly left this thread prior to my factually, and with no malice, summing up our discussion on "the issue", refuting your claim that I was off-topic. Somehow that pure refutation has given you the vapors.

Regarding this so-called benefit of the doubt ... case in point, look at the mileage you are trying to get with this supposed "quote-mine" and "intentional misquote" you are alleging.

First, you bragged up how much you knew about Christianity:

I tune in to the STR podcast every week. Sometimes I am only able to listen to an hour at a time but I always finish before the next sunday. I read the bible daily (not just the troublesome passages) and pray on occasion. I view myself as atheist/agnostic who happens to still be steeped in Christianity. The good and the bad. I love so many things about it but I still take major issue with most of the key doctrines. I know almost all of the traditional arguments front and back and from both sides.

Not only do you do all the work necessary, and know all the arguments (oops....ALMOST all the arguments) backward and forward, you have such integrity to have studied them from both sides.

So when I referred to this statement, and did not quote (thus, did not quote mine you, and did not misquote you, deliberately or not), and did so in relation to the whole comment:

Since you already know all the arguments backward and forward (so what's the point of "debating"?) you aren't really asking questions (as your punctuation in your first comment would indicate) but, rather, are again stating your opinion.
Like I said, you might as well just stamp every post with your bottom line.
I did so legitimately.
And I made a legitimate point against your claims. If you've done all the work you say you have then you know what our answers to this issue are. So you are not asking questions, but are just getting in digs. The thing you say you don't do.

You've further evidenced that you are just getting in digs because a week in, and with many invitations to do so, you have never bothered to present an argument. All you've done is vent.

So I'm out of here and offline for the next week.
I'll bookmark the thread in case there is something needing a response when I return.

Merry Christmas, one and all!

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