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« Links Mentioned on the 3/02/16 Show | Main | Atheism Isn't Simply a Lack of Belief »

March 02, 2016



You're asking our Non-Theist friends to read *whole* books such that the entirety of a singular *metanarrative* in fact defines *all* lines, terms, motion, and nuance.

That may be a bit optimistic.

Often , not always, the agendas of said friends, and their a priori X's, seem to get in the way of such an intellectually robust methodology.

Here's a thought for definitions:

Imago Dei ~~~

The whole challenge collapses on this analogy:

Uncle Tom's Cabin records episodes of slavery.

Therefore, Uncle Tom's Cabin approves of slavery.

Using this logic you could argue that Anne Frank and Stephen Spielberg want to exterminate the Jews (which would include themselves . . .) since Anne Frank's Diary and Schindler's List all record aspects of the Nazi's "Final Solution".

My wife recently found The Skeptic's Annotated Bible at our local library and it's full of snarky comments like this: Jacob had two wives, I guess the Bible isn't against polygamy after all. It's basically "Look! Tree!" "Look, another tree!" "Look, another tree!" "Why do people accuse me of missing 'the Forest'? All I see around here are trees!"

"And now, number one: the larch."

I think the article is true to some extent but its not always obvious to either the casual reader or the bible scholar which acts performed by bible characters are deity endorsed and which are not. It isn't at all as clear cut as... Uncle Tom's Cabin records episodes of slavery. Therefore, Uncle Tom's Cabin approves of slavery....and to assert that it is ,is slightly disengenuous and simply avoids the fact that there are actual scriptures that lack clarity and passages that even seasoned theologians see as morally ambiguous.

There is no lack of clarity.

The A and the Z, and therefore the whole show, is the Imago Dei vis-a-vis the contours of immutable love.

What falls outside of such is on all counts some smaller, lesser, darker unwholeness vis-a-vis the pains of privation.


The A and the Z, and therefore the whole show, is the Imago Dei vis-a-vis the contours of immutable love.

Clear as


The narrative of Man is the narrative of the creation of the Imago Dei, the image of God, Who is Himself (immutable) love. Whatever comes up short to said content or said image is, as stated, nothing more than some smaller, lesser, darker "un-whole-ness" vis-à-vis the constraints of our painful privation.

While the Non-Theist seeks to define all of our motion and nuance within Scripture by mutable and contingent lines outside of said content or said image, he will have to justify such an irrational move as he seeks to define both "reality" itself and also the "current state of affairs" from the contingent upward towards the Necessary.

The Christian metanarrative gets it right because it defines both reality and the current state of affairs on the Imago Dei, on the Image of God, Who is (immutable) love and thereby the Christian defines all motion and nuance in the exact opposite direction as the Non-Theist, for the Christian defines the current state of affairs from the Necessary downward.

If you didn't know that the Imago Dei just does reduce to God's Image, and if you didn't know that God just is love, that is okay as far as it goes. Which isn't very far.


Umm...still don't get what your trying to say.?

I am struggling to see how your comments (thankfully mostly in english) address my concerns about the apparent intellectual inconsistencies that are apparent in the scriptures .But your comments do seem to be fairly consistent with the way that apologists seek to sidestep the issue,by bombarding the reader with abstract intellectual acrobatics and philosophical faux profundity in an attempt to absolve themselves from actually having to address the shortcomings in the doctrine.

And this dishonesty is one reason why apologists are losing the battle.
If I were you I think I would try to keep it as simple as possible so that people can understand. Drop the Latin for a start. If your message is one of truth then it should also be simple.


If you think Scripture condones of, likes, prefers, or whatever, slavery, you'll have to give us evidence of that.

But you haven't done that.

If you leave out all that is in Genesis 1-3 and all that is in and after John 1-3 then you may as well just stop trying to pinpoint Scripture's definitions when it comes anything about Mankind.


That last paragraph should have read as follows:

If you leave out all that is in Genesis 1-3 and all that is in and after John 1-3 then you may as well just stop trying to pinpoint Scripture's definitions when it comes to anything about Mankind.


I would only use the issue of slavery as an example of where a sincere intelligent person could study the scriptures and yet reach a contrary position to another sincere intelligent person.

ie. the President of the confederacy Jefferson Davis said

"Let the gentleman go to Revelation to learn the decree of God - let him go to the Bible. . . . I said that slavery was sanctioned in the Bible, authorized, regulated, and recognized from Genesis to Revelation. . . . Slavery existed then in the earliest ages, and among the chosen people of God; and in Revelation we are told that it shall exist till the end of time shall come. You find it in the Old and New Testaments - in the prophecies, psalms, and the epistles of Paul; you find it recognized - sanctioned by all"

Regardless of whether he was right or wrong Davis was no dummy.He was a devout statesman who studied the same scriptures that other devout statesmen studied and yet came to polar opposite moral positions.
In this respect and on many other issues the scriptures lack clarity.


The knowledge of good and evil is not static, nor is Man's knowledge of God.

In fact, Scripture's definitions and terms predict just that sort of discord.

But, again, the case will have to be argued that God both hates and likes divorce, or slavery.

You didn't quote Davis' theological argument and you didn't show us his exegesis.

Merely his conclusion with vague references to Paul, the author of Philemon.

If your *only* claim here is the meager presentation of non-stasis where knowledge is concerned and conclusions void of arguments where slavery is concerned, then that is okay as far as it goes. Which isn't very far.


...You didn't quote Davis' theological argument and you didn't show us his exegesis....


All I am pointing to is that intelligent sincere people rightly or wrongly can read the same scriptures and come to vastly different conclusions. It is not the case that every issue is as morrally defined as many would like to think.
In the case of slavery Davis he was prepared to see a nation burn and its young men die on the strength of his interpretation of scripture.


Yes, but that premise fails to argue that God both hates and loves divorce, or slavery.

What does disagreement have to do with truth? Or with Scripture's assurance of the fragmentation thereof?

Can you clarify?

It's interesting.

The Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Many of the pains of our privation affirming the express ebbs and flows of said knowledge, said perception.

A.J. affirms a core slice of our singular metanarrative.


You claim that it's not clear when the Bible endorses some action and when it does not. You offer, as evidence for this assertion, a quote by Jefferson Davis. Your reasoning seems to be like this:

1. Jefferson Davis was a smart man.
2. Jefferson Davis thought the Bible endorsed slavery.
3. There are other smart men who think the Bible doesn't endorse slavery. (hidden premise)
4. Smart men have smart reasons for adhering to all their beliefs. (hidden premise)
5. If smart men have smart reasons for all their beliefs and disagree in their beliefs about a thing it must be because the thing itself is unclear. (hidden premise)

Premises 4 is obviously flawed. Smart men can sometimes have bad reasons for their beliefs. Human intelligence isn't all-encompassing.

So it just doesn't follow that if we can find an instance of smart men disagreeing about what the Bible says about a certain topic that the Bible must not be clear on that topic.

Now I happen to agree that the Bible isn't always clear on whether or not God approves of some action. For instance, did God approve of Paul's journey to Jerusalem in Acts 20-21? I think there are good arguments in favor of one position, but it's a debatable issue.

However, I don't think the Bible is unclear in whether or not it endorses the things that are the subject of this post.

I find it extremely helpful and illuminating when reading/studying any part of the Bible to consider how it fits into the overall narrative of the entire Bible.
For example, there are several intertwined threads or themes that run throughout the Biblical documents, such as:
(1) human beings, created in God's image, capable of good and noble actions,
(2) human beings, fallen from grace, with a propensity to sin and to do evil
(3) God's on-going plan of redemption and how it is unfolding progressively
(4) God's purposes to encourage 'good behavior' and discourage 'bad behavior'.
(5) the inability of humans to keep God's law and the need for a 'law written into the human heart' to fix problem #2

(That's not an exhaustive list, of course).

For example, in Genesis 5, we see #2 starting to take effect - Cain murders Abel, is banished and becomes a wanderer. In the narrative of Cain's descendants, we see that he built a city, his descendants invented technology and the arts, the ability to adapt and survive as nomads, etc ( that's thread #1 ). However, along comes Lamech, who commits murder, and is the first recorded instance of polgamy (that's more of thread #2 ). One can follow these 4 threads throughout the Old Testament and into the New, culminating in the final resolution of God's plan in Revelation.
In fact, whereever the Biblical narrative involves humans, those 4 threads are intertwined - most every character we meet demonstrates the image of God/fallen nature threads, when we are given a significant amount of detail about them - the only exceptions are Boaz and Jesus of Nazareth.

When you look at things from that point of view, it clarifies the narrative - we see David, a man after God's own heart, yet flawed, capable of adultery and murder by proxy, anger (that incident with Nabal and Abigail); Solomon, beloved of God, given wisdom, and yet does all of the things that Moses told kings to not do. Even Elisha, when he takes over from Elijah, curses that gang of young men who come after him. Interestingly enough, toward the end of his ministry, he and his servant/protege encounter opposition, and the servant asks Elisha if they should curse them, and Elisha says no (like Spiderman, he learned that with great power comes great responsibility).
I haven't done this analysis with the question of OT indentured service(for fellow Israelites) or more permanent slavery (for foreign prisoners of war), but I think we can see some patterns: God permitted the practice, but the Mosaic Law was designed to regulate this and ameliorate the evil side-effects. If you go forward and read the prophetic books, you find that the Israelites failed to keep even that law.

As for slavery in the Old South, I'd wager that these 'Christians' had already given into greed and avarice, and were looking to justify using slave labor from the Bible. I'd find J.A's argument marginally plausible if at Davis et al had at least adopted the same regulating principles that the Mosaic Law required.


I put "A.J." instead of "J.A." / my apologies.

Regarding the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the express pains of Privation which come in and by and through Man's ebbs and flows into and out of that "light" or "knowledge" or "perception" on all fronts:

That is a core slice of Christianity's singular metanarrative with respect to Mankind's experience.

It's all about the wider lens if one means to affirm "God loves and hates, likes and dislikes, divorce and slavery". Bertrand Russell and his appeal to the Christianized conscience emerge on the larger canopy that is the world stage -- over eons -- over inside of -- you know -- the ignorant common folk who are too stupid to know that they ought not love their enemies and so love their enemies -- cause Christ -- and the Niger -- cause Christ -- and the..... cause Christ -- because the REAL truth is just too complex for them to grasp. It's all very spooky and deep and mysterious.

And here we sit, mocking those who enjoyed a good afternoon of fun with their Roman Blood Sports.

Clueless as to how we got here.

Thoroughly convinced our mindset is immune to such ebbs and flows into and out of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

correction: it wasn't Elisha and his servant, it was Elisha and the king of Israel (2 Kings 6:8ff)

Good Book? Good Read?

As a work of literature there are many volumes of good books within the whole. In fact there's something for everyone. Most of the stories and prose put modern literature to shame. Many of our best plot-lines are borrowed from the Bible. There's adventure, excitement, intrigue, historical biography, instructions for civil order, even has a Disney happily-ever-after ending.

Think of it, almost any dilemma moral and otherwise is presented and dealt within the pages of the Bible. All those tabs are just a sample of a thick interwoven and unified masterpiece.

Another approach to revealing the painfully obvious fact that the Critic fails to read *entire* books such as to define *all* terms by its *singular* metanarrative is found here:

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval (or a good report).” (Hebrews)

The Non-Theist often attempts to use this as evidence that God approved of every act which every OT character did and of course such a move betrays the Non-Theist’s glaring lack of understanding of what and where the “good report” actually streams from – it’s means and ends – as per the singular metanarrative contained within Scripture wherein all such means and all such ends cannot sum to anything less than the immutable love of the Necessary Being.

Even worse, the Non-Theist denies, outright, that which is undeniable as he refutes Scripture’s metanarrative for he refutes that Reality As Such can, if sin (which is not a necessity there inside of Eden) manifest in some lesser something than Christ.

How’s that?

In all of our own human psychology it is undeniable that in all of our own interpersonal conflicts with each other, in order for me to truly forgive you, or you me, something in all of that pain must be truly surrendered, given up, let-go-of, and without that giving-up of what you did to me, or me to you, forgiveness simply cannot fully come to be, cannot run its full course. And we all know this of the contours of hurt, pain, and forgiveness. While in church the author Brene’ Brown, who has decades of research in our own human interactions, heard that in fact “….in order for forgiveness to happen, something has to die…” and such cohered perfectly with the entire anthology of research inside of said arena.

And yet this undeniable fact vis-à-vis the motions within “I Forgive You” the Non-Theist expressly denies for he denies the many and varied vectors which seamlessly converge in Christ and Cross.


Indeed, such reaches into, pours into, and fills all that is Reality to the bitter ends of Time and Physicality. That is what forgiveness looks like should such stream from the contours of Being Itself.

There’s more of course, but the question of “Why the Cross?” reveals (at the very least) misguided thinking in and of the those necessary modes within Being Itself vis-à-vis all contingent affairs such as Time and Physicality, and in and of those modes within the motions inherent within “I Forgive You”.

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