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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Just a note on the Darwin debate before the new series

God has made it plain to everyone by the wondrous and amazing complexity and beauty of His material world in which we live that there is a Creator God and that belief has caused men all over the planet to seek truth and seek to find this Creator God and know Him.   This is one reason I dialogue with Darwinists, because although I know their scientific arguments are about 99 per cent talk and one per cent substance there is hope that one or two of them will keep studying and in the process of trying to destroy my assertions will find themselves confronted with Truth.   The primary reason is to help uncertain Christians find their way to information that agrees with their faith.   Yes, the evidence for creation by God is more and more obvious to those who view that evidence without presuppositions in my opinion.

Despite much sound and fury signifying nothing from the other side, I believe that I have presented compelling evidence to any normal intelligent person's satisfaction that living organisms have been designed and intricately so at that.   Our studies of genetics and reproduction and animal behavior indicate that not only does reproduction prove design but so does behavior.   Living beings are a combination of hardware and software, and not just operating systems but also applications.   Computer technology is man making an attempt to produce a version of something God has done far more elegantly and spectacularly billions upon trillions of times over again.   Many commenters make accusations but they just use jargon and boilerplate answers while dodging the actual issues.   There is NO explanation for information in organisms and there have not been any transitional forms found and there is no recorded incident of observed macroevolution.  Virtually every Darwinist assumption about how DNA works has been blown to bits by recent findings.

I promise you all that fifty years from now Darwinism will seem as silly as an investment in buggy whips would be today.   Science will be unable to help itself, the evidence is shouting at the top of its lungs that life is designed and no matter the worldview Darwinists will have to find another -ist or simply give up and admit to themselves that all things are designed and therefore there is a Designer.   They will probably spend another fifty years trying to find a substitute Designer and move the Anything But God mindset into the castle position with all their attack pieces having been taken from them.  That is, unless you think hopeful monsters and punctuated equilibrium and backs of crystals and...well...hmmm, Lamarck is out the door already, right?  And Weasel was exposed for being formal and therefore not applicable.  Darwinists keep trying to write programs that will evolve and can't even get that to happen, as if that would actually be applicable to the material world anyway. 

A fine DVD called "Is Christianity Good For The World" is a documentary of sorts of a tour of debates between noted Atheist Christopher Hitchens and Pastor Douglas Wilson.  The movie doesn't focus simply on the debates but also the interaction between the two men and others around them during the debate tour.   Oddly enough, at the end, although Hitchens has often declared he would like to wipe Christianity from the face of the Earth, he repents just a bit when considering a world in which Christianity has been eliminated and decides he would like to conserve at least one.   Perhaps in his heart he could not stand the idea of Wilson and his family being wiped off the planet or perhaps he thought of Christians as a rare animal that might be caged and kept to view and inspect?

I have no such compunctions.  I do not wish to kill any Atheists but if we could eliminate Atheisim then we would also put an end to Darwinism and Socialism and all sorts of assorted societal ills.  Racism would no longer have any so-called rational basis (not that I consider it rational) but Atheisim brought us Communism and Socialism and Darwinism and Eugenics and Racism as a logical conclusion if Darwinism is believed.  Eugenics is Darwinism applied (hey Hitler, how is that worldview working out for you so far?) and it is Atheism that brought us Abortion on demand and Euthanasia by government fiat is on the way.  It will start with health care rationing after socialized medicine is begun, but hey, you will not need me to tell you that because in a few years it may be your life that is determined to be not worth saving, cost-effective wise.

Atheism doesn't work because it is, like Gertrude Stein said about her childhood home in Oakland, there is no there there.   Atheism has no absolutes.   There is no moral authority.  There is nothing that an Atheist can point to and say, "Here is the foundation for truth and morality."   There is no Atheist Ten Commandments equivalent because anything an Atheist points to as their creed is something that they thought up themselves or someone else thought up for them.  No matter how smart the Atheist, he is still a fallible man.

The Bible comes from God and God claims to be the author of the words via men who were "inspired by the Holy Spirit."  66 books written over thousands of years by several different authors and yet all cohesively one unit.  God has a good case for existence, as He has written a Bible that continues to be the most influential tome ever written and upon which Western Civilization was founded.  Because I believe God created and gave man the ability to reason and to choose, I know the things I do have repercussions.  I understand that all people have intrinsic value because God made them so. 

Suppose that there is no God and that all things did happen by chance.  Gee, what great news.  No purpose to life and no certainty that you even make decisions.  What if you are evolved into what you are?   What if you have no more choice over what you say or do than salmon do when they are compelled to find the same little stream from whence they were spawned?  How is this possibly good news?  In fact, how can you trust your own intellect?

Darwinists try to point to transitional forms that are not and to use short-term observations of processes to proclaim long ages but do you notice how they run away from genetics?  Yep.

88 comments:

Jon Woolf said...

I promise you all that fifty years from now Darwinism will seem as silly as an investment in buggy whips would be today.

Channeling Price again, I see. He also thought that his writings would destroy evolutionary theory ... almost a century ago. Hasn't happened yet.

There is NO explanation for information in organisms and there have not been any transitional forms found and there is no recorded incident of observed macroevolution. Virtually every Darwinist assumption about how DNA works has been blown to bits by recent findings.

Argumentum ad assertion alopecium again.

66 books written over thousands of years by several different authors and yet all cohesively one unit.

... if, that is, you overlook all the contradictions large and small, from the two versions of the Creation in Genesis to the complete inconsistency between the sadistic, jealous, vindictive God of the Old Testament and the "just and loving" God of the New.

Darwinists try to point to transitional forms that are not and to use short-term observations of processes to proclaim long ages but do you notice how they run away from genetics?

Oh, you mean like the way you ran away from all previous comments from me, Creeper, Canucklehead, and others on the details of geology, radiometric dating, genetics, anatomy, astronomy, fluid physics, mathematics...

Radar, you're becoming an outright joke. No one finds your copypasta and shotgunning persuasive, except those who already agree with you.

creeper said...

Yet another new series? With yet another "special pleading" introduction?

Does this mean you're aborting the dating methods series? Like the Genesis series before it, and the ice core layers series before that? And let's not forget... a long time ago... the "Darwin is Dead" Carnival?

Let me guess: will you claim next that you completed that dating methods series?

"God has made it plain to everyone by the wondrous and amazing complexity and beauty of His material world in which we live that there is a Creator God and that belief has caused men all over the planet to seek truth and seek to find this Creator God and know Him."

Quite possibly. But that is a matter of faith.

Hard evidence indicates an old Earth and organisms evolving over long periods, whether you believe in God or not.

"Many commenters make accusations but they just use jargon and boilerplate answers while dodging the actual issues."

Au contraire. The so-called "jargon and boilerplate answers" contain the counterarguments you run away from, either because you don't understand them or don't like the conclusions they lead to.

"There is NO explanation for information in organisms and there have not been any transitional forms found and there is no recorded incident of observed macroevolution."

Explanation for information in organisms: natural selection. A discussion we've attempted to have many times, but always failed because you wouldn't provide an appropriate definition of information as you understood it in this context.

Transitional forms found: Jon has repeatedly listed a few for you. You put your fingers in your ears and whine about "jargon and boilerplate". This is an issue you're simply unable to discuss without using a strawman definition of "transitional forms", courtesy of disinformation spread by creationist propaganda.

Recorded incident of observed macroevolution: the fossil record is full of them. We can start with the whale as a good example.

"Yes, the evidence for creation by God is more and more obvious to those who view that evidence without presuppositions in my opinion."

Your opinion, perhaps, but the facts contradict you here. The ranks of all creationists consist almost entirely of those who presuppose the existence of the God of the Bible - NOT "those who view the evidence without presuppositions". Come on, Radar - you of all people denying the importance of worldview in creationism?

I hope you're not trying to deny that YOU have an insurmountable presupposition: that God exists. Do you have the means to look at the evidence WITHOUT that presupposition?

And it doesn't take a presupposition that God doesn't exist to accept an old Earth and/or the theory of evolution. Plenty of Christians and other deists/theists have no problem understanding and accepting the theory of evolution and an old Earth.

Whereas science doesn't proceed from the presupposition that God doesn't exist; it simply doesn't have a presupposition one way or the other. As we've discussed numerous times on this blog (though you did not acknowledge the discussion), including such presuppositions would make science impossible.

"do you notice how they run away from genetics"

If memory serves, it was Jon who has on several occasions tried to engage you in a discussion about genetics beyond what you pasted from elsewhere, and you who ran away from that potential discussion.

Indeed, you can't on the one hand claim that we "run away from discussion" and on the other hand dismiss our arguments as "jargon and boilerplate" without addressing them. That right there is you running away from the discussion.

-- creeper

Jon Woolf said...

Creeper: "Does this mean you're aborting the dating methods series? Like the Genesis series before it, and the ice core layers series before that?"

Seems like it. And the genetics series, and the "humbug" series, and...

highboy said...

"... if, that is, you overlook all the contradictions large and small, from the two versions of the Creation in Genesis to the complete inconsistency between the sadistic, jealous, vindictive God of the Old Testament and the "just and loving" God of the New."

Just a few points to this ridiculousness:

1. You tried to point out contradictions in the Bible in the past and failed. When that failure is pointed out to you via explanation, you assert that there should be no explaining because in your mind an infallible Word of God shouldn't need one. Be that as it may, God can decide for Himself how His Word should look and the burden of proof is on you in this regard. Feel free again to try and point out these contradictions.

2. Your remark about God's seemingly different personalities from one testament to the next is just absurd on the face of it. If you simply read the Bible in its entirety, than this difference is nonexistent, much like the contradictions you speak of. But to claim that the God of the Old Testament is cruel or vindictive, means He's under some moral obligation to act different. I'd love to see what moral authority you're appealing to here that God must abide by.

creeper said...

"1. You tried to point out contradictions in the Bible in the past and failed."

IIRC, we pointed out a few. Your rebuttals were addressed, last time I checked. No failure there.

"When that failure is pointed out to you via explanation, you assert that there should be no explaining because in your mind an infallible Word of God shouldn't need one."

I don't remember Jon making that assertion. But in any case, the word of an infallible God needing to be treated at the level of normal people of the time means it is entirely compatible with the explanation that it was written by human beings of that time, and not authored or inspired by a divine being.

What would be a clear indication of divine authorship, on the other hand, would be a clear indication of something that was not on a par with human knowledge of the time, for example, pi correct to a hundred digits. But there are no such examples in the bible. It's exactly as if the thing were written by human beings. It's uncanny.

"Be that as it may, God can decide for Himself how His Word should look and the burden of proof is on you in this regard."

Burden to prove what exactly? We've listed some contradictions. As I understand your argument, you're claiming that that's how God intended it. That's something that you can not support and we can not refute. All we can do is note that it's not compatible with authorship by a being with a trait of "infallible".

"Feel free again to try and point out these contradictions."

Why bother? They're still there in the last discussion.

"2. Your remark about God's seemingly different personalities from one testament to the next is just absurd on the face of it. If you simply read the Bible in its entirety, than this difference is nonexistent, much like the contradictions you speak of."

The God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are clearly different. The claim then is that God, this eternal being, changed, a rather human thing to do. Fine. But then what makes such a fickle being an "absolute moral law-giver"?

"But to claim that the God of the Old Testament is cruel or vindictive, means He's under some moral obligation to act different. I'd love to see what moral authority you're appealing to here that God must abide by."

We can start with simple consistency. What good is "absolute" morality if it is so gosh darn flexible? And why couldn't God decree back in Jesus's day that slavery was bad?

We've discussed divine command theory (the Euthyphro Dilemma) several times on this blog already, and you've made your views on this clear. If God commanded you to rape a child and bash its brains out, you would do it. I wouldn't, and I can think of plenty of Christians who I strongly suspect wouldn't do it either.

How do you figure such blind obedience to a (possibly hypothetical) divine being is a superior moral stance?

And when slavery was finally abolished, was that because God finally decreed that it was so?

-- creeper

Chaos Engineer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chaos Engineer said...

Eugenics is Darwinism applied

*Sigh*.

We had Eugenics long before we had Darwinism. Eugenics just the idea that you can take the principles of animal husbandry and apply them to humans. You can see it in the ancient ideas of "royal blood" and "common blood".

Animal husbandry is in the Bible, at Genesis 30:25-43

That said, even if the story of Jacob and Laban inspired Hitler, that doesn't mean that it's solely responsible for his crimes. The science of animal husbandry is valid, but that doesn't mean it's ethical to apply it to humans.

The other interesting think about that Bible passage is that it explodes the Mendel Myth. Mendel had this bizarre idea that children only inherit characteristics from their ancestors, even though the Bible clearly says that they inherit characteristics from their environment: See verses 37-38...If plain cattle breed next to striped sticks, then their offspring will have stripes.

According to Mendel, that won't happen. I wonder why he made up such a ridiculous story.

highboy said...

"IIRC, we pointed out a few. Your rebuttals were addressed, last time I checked. No failure there."

You addressed the explanations, you did not refute them. The explanations stand. The contradictions don't.

"I don't remember Jon making that assertion. But in any case, the word of an infallible God needing to be treated at the level of normal people of the time means it is entirely compatible with the explanation that it was written by human beings of that time, and not authored or inspired by a divine being."

He stated very clearly that an infallible Word would need no explanations. As for your theory, that is all it is: theory and an assumption.

"What would be a clear indication of divine authorship, on the other hand, would be a clear indication of something that was not on a par with human knowledge of the time, for example, pi correct to a hundred digits. But there are no such examples in the bible. It's exactly as if the thing were written by human beings. It's uncanny."

Nobody said humans didn't write it. We said it was inspired by God, not written by Him. Your argument in regards to pi had been explained quite thoroughly by actual experts on the subject as I've already posted links to two. If you stick your fingers in your ears and refuse to acknowledge it.....

"Burden to prove what exactly? We've listed some contradictions. As I understand your argument, you're claiming that that's how God intended it. That's something that you can not support and we can not refute. All we can do is note that it's not compatible with authorship by a being with a trait of "infallible"."

This is just absurd. First, I didn't claim that God intended there to be contradictions. I stated that there were no contradictions and gave very clear and supported explanations. It is also laughable that your perspective of the Bible in your mind is not compatible with "infallible", yet you have yet to prove how the Word in question is "fallible". That's the proof required.

"The God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are clearly different. The claim then is that God, this eternal being, changed, a rather human thing to do. Fine. But then what makes such a fickle being an "absolute moral law-giver"?"

How are they different? God forgives and punishes in both Testaments, and even if we pretend He's different, what makes Him an absolute moral law-giver is the fact that He's the absolute power. What He says is. The fact that it doesn't fit in with humanist morality is hardly relevant.

"We can start with simple consistency. What good is "absolute" morality if it is so gosh darn flexible? And why couldn't God decree back in Jesus's day that slavery was bad?"

Who said it was flexible? And what does slavery have anything to do with this discussion at all? Who says slavery is bad?

"If God commanded you to rape a child and bash its brains out, you would do it."

How do you figure such blind obedience to a (possibly hypothetical) divine being is a superior moral stance?"

Appeal to emotion much? You can strongly suspect all you like, but the fact is what God says goes. Simply because a human like you doesn't like that arrangement, it hardly makes it untrue. The fact is however, that God does NOT command me to do such things, which is one of many many reasons why I worship Him. It is simply my response to lame and childish hypotheticals skeptics use in these debates. Your "what if" arguments aren't compelling cases against God's morality at all in any way. So once again, if God exists, what moral obligation does He have to behave in one fashion or the other? Or are you saying that even if God exists, the human, not God, should be the measuring stick of what should/shouldn't be considered moral?

creeper said...

"You addressed the explanations, you did not refute them. The explanations stand. The contradictions don't."

Well isn't that awfully convenient? I guess you told me, huh?

When I look back at that discussion, there are many detailed rebuttals that you never replied to - screen after screen - and you just want to ignore them with a dictatorial "The explanations stand. The contradictions don't"? Leaving aside for the moment that your "rebuttal" of the Genesis contradiction wasn't even a rebuttal, just a statement of fact - that one of the accounts is in random order - there are many points there to which you appear to have no reply whatsoever.

Which means that right now the contradictions and rebuttals stand, not your "explanations".

"He stated very clearly that an infallible Word would need no explanations."

Fine, I don't really care one way or the other.

"As for your theory, that is all it is: theory and an assumption."

It's a hypothesis that is completely compatible with the facts at hand.

Creeper: "What would be a clear indication of divine authorship, on the other hand, would be a clear indication of something that was not on a par with human knowledge of the time, for example, pi correct to a hundred digits. But there are no such examples in the bible. It's exactly as if the thing were written by human beings. It's uncanny."

Highboy: "Nobody said humans didn't write it. We said it was inspired by God, not written by Him."


So the Bible can contain mistakes then?

And God didn't "inspire" the authors of the Bible with knowledge beyond their time or level of knowledge, right?

"Your argument in regards to pi had been explained quite thoroughly by actual experts on the subject as I've already posted links to two. If you stick your fingers in your ears and refuse to acknowledge it....."

See, this is a golden opportunity for you to demonstrate those legendary reading comprehension skills that you always like to lord over other commenters. Instead of a knee-jerk reaction to an older argument, try to glean the meaning of what I actually wrote.

"First, I didn't claim that God intended there to be contradictions."

Fine, glad we got that straightened out.

"I stated that there were no contradictions and gave very clear and supported explanations."

From what I remember re. the Genesis contradiction, not much of an explanation provided, and no support whatsoever - all you did was state the obvious fact that one account was in a different order and then, apropos of nothing and supported by nothing, claimed it should be read in a different order. Way to address that contradiction...

"It is also laughable that your perspective of the Bible in your mind is not compatible with "infallible", yet you have yet to prove how the Word in question is "fallible". That's the proof required."

Which is what the contradictions are.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"How are they different? God forgives and punishes in both Testaments,"

Wow, quite a generalization. He - dare I say it - evolves quite a bit between Deuteronomy 20:10-17 and Matthew 5:38-42 / Luke 6:27-31.

""and even if we pretend He's different,"

No pretending needed. Where are the calls for mass murder and conquest in the New Testament?

"what makes Him an absolute moral law-giver is the fact that He's the absolute power. What He says is."

An unproven hypothesis, but if it makes you happy as a basis for morality, why not.

"The fact that it doesn't fit in with humanist morality is hardly relevant."

Careful there. Humanism isn't restricted to secular humanism.

"Who said it was flexible?"

I just did, based on the fact that it has changed over time.

"And what does slavery have anything to do with this discussion at all? Who says slavery is bad?"

Excellent question, Highboy, now you're getting somewhere: Who says slavery is bad? Was it the Bible? Was it God?

Slavery is just about universally deemed to be morally wrong in today's world. Did God command it to be thus? If not, where did this moral judgement come from?

Creeper: "If God commanded you to rape a child and bash its brains out, you would do it. [...] How do you figure such blind obedience to a (possibly hypothetical) divine being is a superior moral stance?"

Highboy: "Appeal to emotion much?"


The point could not be made without naming something morally repugnant. Pledging blind obedience, no matter what, to a deity that has in the past commanded mass murder and slavery does not strike me as an easily defensible position.

"You can strongly suspect all you like,"

Well, I do strongly suspect that most people I know would not follow such a command. I don't know if there are any polls on the subject.

"but the fact is what God says goes."

Incorrect use of the word "fact" here. It's an article of faith.

"Simply because a human like you doesn't like that arrangement, it hardly makes it untrue."

I don't dislike the arrangement; I happen to think there is no such arrangement, and that God is an unproven hypothesis. Big difference.

"The fact is however, that God does NOT command me to do such things, which is one of many many reasons why I worship Him."

It's not even certain that God is commanding you to do anything at all.

"It is simply my response to lame and childish hypotheticals skeptics use in these debates."

It's a pretty obvious hypothetical to pose. You're stuck with a response that I suspect most would find heinous.

"Your "what if" arguments aren't compelling cases against God's morality at all in any way."

They were actually intended as arguments against your morality. And I'm glad that you're (at least apparently) repulsed by the hypothetical.

"So once again, if God exists, what moral obligation does He have to behave in one fashion or the other?"

If God existed, he'd have no obligation to act one way or another. Unless he wants to be perceived as some kind of absolute moral law-giver - then he shouldn't act worse than he expects of his creations.

"Or are you saying that even if God exists, the human, not God, should be the measuring stick of what should/shouldn't be considered moral?"

Well that's my point about slavery.

-- creeper

creeper said...

BTW, Chaos Engineer, thank you for that lovely Bible passage about animal husbandry, a true gem - so much for the Bible being a science textbook, eh?

-- creeper

Jon Woolf said...

Highboy wrote: So once again, if God exists, what moral obligation does He have to behave in one fashion or the other?

What do you call a parent who takes illegal drugs while telling his kids to stay clean? One applicable term is hypocrite.

What do you call a ruler who demands that citizens obey the law, but doesn't obey the law himself? One applicable word is tyrant.

A God who is a hypocrite and a tyrant does not seem particularly worship-worthy to me.

Chaos Engineer, I second Creeper's thanks for the cite on animal husbandry. I didn't know the Hebrew God was a Lamarckist.

Oh, and Highboy: if you ever produced an explanation for the two contradictory versions of the Creation, I never saw it. Kindly repost it.

highboy said...

"So the Bible can contain mistakes then?"

Not if its divinely inspired not to have any. Since it doesn't....

"And God didn't "inspire" the authors of the Bible with knowledge beyond their time or level of knowledge, right?"

So because God had ancient Hebrews write His Word in standard ancient Hebrew form that is somehow evidence in your mind that its not fallible? Weird.

"From what I remember re. the Genesis contradiction, not much of an explanation provided, and no support whatsoever - all you did was state the obvious fact that one account was in a different order and then, apropos of nothing and supported by nothing, claimed it should be read in a different order. Way to address that contradiction..."

The explanation was actually that one account was a sequence of events while another count was a more detailed story of what happened as opposed to when. Hardly a contradiction.

"See, this is a golden opportunity for you to demonstrate those legendary reading comprehension skills that you always like to lord over other commenters."

The discussion is there for all to see. You kept asserting that the passage got "pi" wrong and after posting two different links to two commentaries by experts in both ancient Hebrew literature and math you still insisted they were wrong.

"Wow, quite a generalization. He - dare I say it - evolves quite a bit between Deuteronomy 20:10-17 and Matthew 5:38-42 / Luke 6:27-31."

Um, where is the contradiction? See, a contradiction would be if God said "thou shalt not commit adultery" and then commanded everyone commit adultery.

"An unproven hypothesis, but if it makes you happy as a basis for morality, why not."

Genius, its a response to your hypothetical situation. God would have to exist first in order to command me to do something right? So if He exists, the infinite power, creator of all, what He says, literally is.

"Excellent question, Highboy, now you're getting somewhere: Who says slavery is bad? Was it the Bible? Was it God?"

Neither said it was bad.

"Slavery is just about universally deemed to be morally wrong in today's world. Did God command it to be thus? If not, where did this moral judgement come from?"

Slavery in the Bible was hardly immoral, as far as ancient Hebrew culture. Slaves were property for a period of time, received pay, etc. If you're trying to equate African slavery with what is discussed in ancient Hebrew culture, you're misrepresenting the argument. Either way, God commanded slaves be treated well.

"Pledging blind obedience, no matter what, to a deity that has in the past commanded mass murder and slavery does not strike me as an easily defensible position."

If God exists and revealed Himself to me in a real way, it wouldn't be blind obedience, not to mention once again for the illiterate all these stupid "its an unproven hypothesis" of yours stem from my responses to a HYPOTHETICAL situation you've laid out. God has to exist in order to command something you deem immoral.

"I don't dislike the arrangement; I happen to think there is no such arrangement, and that God is an unproven hypothesis. Big difference."

Bullshit. In your hypothetical, God exists, and orders me to kill my kid. You said you wouldn't do it because its immoral, though if God exists, you have no moral authority to appeal to, no principle greater than He to appeal to that obligates Him to act differently.

"It's not even certain that God is commanding you to do anything at all."

So in your hypothetical, is God ordering me to kill someone or are you not certain? I can't keep up with you constantly moving the goal posts of this discussion.

" then he shouldn't act worse than he expects of his creations."

What principle would you be appealing to that obligates God to act "worse than he expects of his creations"?

highboy said...

"What do you call a parent who takes illegal drugs while telling his kids to stay clean? One applicable term is hypocrite. "

That would make sense save for the fact that your using a humanist code of morality for a baseline, using two examples of humans in your scenario, and then completely ignoring the fact that God is not human. Not to mention neither you nor creeper have given a source for the authority or principle that God is suppose to subject Himself to.

So lets try this again for umpteenth time: if God exists, what moral obligation does He have to behave a certain way toward what He Himself created? I'm looking for the authority or principle that is higher than God in this scenario that dictates what His actions should or should not be toward what He created.

creeper said...

Creeper: "So the Bible can contain mistakes then?"

Highboy: "Not if its divinely inspired not to have any. Since it doesn't...."


Since it does, it can clearly not be divinely inspired not to have any. Maybe it was divinely inspired in some other mysterious way.

Creeper: "And God didn't "inspire" the authors of the Bible with knowledge beyond their time or level of knowledge, right?"

Highboy: "So because God had ancient Hebrews write His Word in standard ancient Hebrew form that is somehow evidence in your mind that its not fallible? Weird."


Did you mean to say "that it is fallible" instead of "that it's not fallible"? Then the sentence would make sense. But no, as a plain reading of what I wrote earlier would clearly indicate, it makes the interpretation that it was written by humans without divine inspiration quite plausible and fully supported by the evidence. It's not evidence that God did not have anything to do with it, though the application of Occam's Razor would indicate that God did not.

"The explanation was actually that one account was a sequence of events while another count was a more detailed story of what happened as opposed to when. Hardly a contradiction."

Since both are presented as sequential narratives, but in different order, they do contradict each other. All you've done is provide an ad hoc explanation with no support whatsoever.

Creeper: "See, this is a golden opportunity for you to demonstrate those legendary reading comprehension skills that you always like to lord over other commenters."

Highboy: "The discussion is there for all to see. You kept asserting that the passage got "pi" wrong and after posting two different links to two commentaries by experts in both ancient Hebrew literature and math you still insisted they were wrong."


See, even after specifically drawing your attention to it, you simply double down on the earlier knee-jerk reaction to an older argument (to which I responded in the earlier discussion, and you can respond to those points there) instead of taking a closer look at what I actually wrote:

"What would be a clear indication of divine authorship, on the other hand, would be a clear indication of something that was not on a par with human knowledge of the time, for example, pi correct to a hundred digits. But there are no such examples in the bible. It's exactly as if the thing were written by human beings. It's uncanny."

It's nothing to do with the Bible getting the ratio we know as pi wrong; it's a completely different point. Maybe you should lay off on those "reading comprehension" cracks; your own isn't all that hot.

Creeper: "Wow, quite a generalization. He - dare I say it - evolves quite a bit between Deuteronomy 20:10-17 and Matthew 5:38-42 / Luke 6:27-31."

Highboy: "Um, where is the contradiction? See, a contradiction would be if God said "thou shalt not commit adultery" and then commanded everyone commit adultery."


Or saying "go out and slaughter your enemies en masse" and then saying "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. [...] Do to others as you would have them do to you."

If you don't see a contradiction or change here, then it appears to me you're just being willfully obtuse.

-- creeper

creeper said...

Creeper: "An unproven hypothesis, but if it makes you happy as a basis for morality, why not."

Highboy: "Genius, its a response to your hypothetical situation. God would have to exist first in order to command me to do something right? So if He exists, the infinite power, creator of all, what He says, literally is."


Except it wasn't a response to the hypothetical situation; it was a response to the God of the OT and the God of the NT being different. You should be more economical with the sarcastic "Genius" stuff; you're not as slick as you think you are.

Creeper: "Excellent question, Highboy, now you're getting somewhere: Who says slavery is bad? Was it the Bible? Was it God?"

Highboy: "Neither said it was bad."


My point exactly.

"Creeper: "Slavery is just about universally deemed to be morally wrong in today's world. Did God command it to be thus? If not, where did this moral judgement come from?"

Highboy: "Slavery in the Bible was hardly immoral, as far as ancient Hebrew culture. Slaves were property for a period of time, received pay, etc. If you're trying to equate African slavery with what is discussed in ancient Hebrew culture, you're misrepresenting the argument. Either way, God commanded slaves be treated well."


So in your frame of reference, it would be okay if we reinstated slavery as long as they are not treated badly? If so, why, and if not, why not?

Creeper: "Pledging blind obedience, no matter what, to a deity that has in the past commanded mass murder and slavery does not strike me as an easily defensible position."

Highboy: "If God exists and revealed Himself to me in a real way, it wouldn't be blind obedience,"


It would if you follow any command unquestioningly.

"not to mention once again for the illiterate all these stupid "its an unproven hypothesis" of yours stem from my responses to a HYPOTHETICAL situation you've laid out."

It would have to be for the illiterate (though I wonder how they would be able to read your comment), since anyone who can read can see that the first of my two "unproven hypothesis" remarks was not in relation to the hypothetical situation; it was about a remark about the God of the OT vs. the God of the NT. And since it is a true statement, it's hardly "stupid".

"God has to exist in order to command something you deem immoral."

Not necessarily. It's possible for people to believe in God even if he doesn't exist. And it is possible for believers to interpret the words of the Bible to commit acts we deem immoral. See Inquisition, both medieval and Spanish.

-- creeper

creeper said...

Creeper: "I don't dislike the arrangement; I happen to think there is no such arrangement, and that God is an unproven hypothesis. Big difference."

Highboy: "Bullshit. In your hypothetical, God exists, and orders me to kill my kid. You said you wouldn't do it because its immoral, though if God exists, you have no moral authority to appeal to, no principle greater than He to appeal to that obligates Him to act differently."


That's the crux of the argument though, isn't it, and the whole point of the Euthyphro dilemma. Your claim is that there is no greater principle.

Creeper: "It's not even certain that God is commanding you to do anything at all."

Highboy: "So in your hypothetical, is God ordering me to kill someone or are you not certain? I can't keep up with you constantly moving the goal posts of this discussion."


No moving of goalposts intended. This was not meant to be within the hypothetical. My apologies if this was confusing. As a statement on its own, it happens to be true; it's not certain that God is commanding you to do anything at all.

Highboy: "What principle would you be appealing to that obligates God to act "worse than he expects of his creations"?"

"Mass murder is wrong," for example. Today this is a pretty much universally held principle.

It seems that your entire argument revolves around your insisting that there has to be a personified entity that is all-powerful and that dictates moral laws, even in a relativistic way, as opposed to humanity having evolved morally over time, a perspective that seems more supported by the evidence at hand. The argument over slavery is an example of that.

-- creeper

Jon Woolf said...

Wow. 17 comments in this thread so far, and 3/4ths of them are on one subject alone. Everything else in Radar's post, and Creeper's and my first replies, forgotten.

It is to laugh, really, isn't it? Creationists won't address the details of any scientific subject whatsoever, won't bother to learn its intricacies, won't deign to consider its subtle ramifications, won't even look twice at whether or not they've understood its implications aright. Yet let somebody question their God or their Bible, and instantly they become Adept-class semanticists, able to parse words and chop logic with the best, building phenomenally intricate semantic constructs and going to astounding lengths to wring a consistent meaning out of seemingly-inconsistent original text.

Most revealing.

highboy said...

"Since it does, it can clearly not be divinely inspired not to have any. Maybe it was divinely inspired in some other mysterious way."

You keep saying it contains mistakes but every mistake you've pointed out has been explained.

" it makes the interpretation that it was written by humans without divine inspiration quite plausible and fully supported by the evidence."

There is no evidence to support what you're saying. You're assuming based on your own belief of what an infallible word should look like that because the literature was written in standard form that its somehow evidence against a divine inspiration, when in reality it doesn't have one thing to do with the other whatsoever.

"Or saying "go out and slaughter your enemies en masse" and then saying "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. [...] Do to others as you would have them do to you."

Okay, explain exactly how this is a contradiction? Do you understand the difference between an "Old Covenant" and a "New Covenant"? That's not a contradiction, that is an OLD covenant and a NEW covenant.

"Except it wasn't a response to the hypothetical situation; it was a response to the God of the OT and the God of the NT being different."

You brought up the hypothetical scenario of God ordering me to kill my kid and it is exactly that remark that I responded to.

"My point exactly."

What point is that? That neither said slavery was bad proves...what exactly?

"So in your frame of reference, it would be okay if we reinstated slavery as long as they are not treated badly? If so, why, and if not, why not?"

The slavery in ancient Hebrew culture? Sure, why not? Its not that different from normal employment now. Slaves weren't forced into slavery in that culture against their will. They signed on for a number of years in exchange for land, marriage, wages, or simply to work off a debt.

"It would if you follow any command unquestioningly."

Who would I question? God? What authority or law would I refer to when questioning His divine commands? And who says Christians don't question God to begin with?

"It would have to be for the illiterate (though I wonder how they would be able to read your comment), since anyone who can read can see that the first of my two "unproven hypothesis" remarks was not in relation to the hypothetical situation"

Other than you posting them in response to rebuttals I posted in answer to a hypothetical scenario you're right.

"Not necessarily. It's possible for people to believe in God even if he doesn't exist"

Irrelevant. In order for God to order me to do something, like in your hypothetical, He has to exist. Period. Stop dancing. If He exists, like in your scenario, there is no higher principle than Him.

"Mass murder is wrong," for example. Today this is a pretty much universally held principle."

Murder is defined as wrongful killing and nowhere in the Bible does God order that.

"That's the crux of the argument though, isn't it, and the whole point of the Euthyphro dilemma. Your claim is that there is no greater principle."

Of course it is. If He literally is the master of this universe, its creator, the creator of literally everything, than a higher principle doesn't exist.

"It seems that your entire argument revolves around your insisting that there has to be a personified entity that is all-powerful and that dictates moral laws, even in a relativistic way, as opposed to humanity having evolved morally over time, a perspective that seems more supported by the evidence at hand."

I don't believe there has to be an absolute moral authority, I simply believe there is. Not to mention belief that morality has evolved or gotten better is totally subjective.

highboy said...

"It is to laugh, really, isn't it? Creationists won't address the details of any scientific subject whatsoever, won't bother to learn its intricacies, won't deign to consider its subtle ramifications, won't even look twice at whether or not they've understood its implications aright. Yet let somebody question their God or their Bible, and instantly they become Adept-class semanticists, able to parse words and chop logic with the best, building phenomenally intricate semantic constructs and going to astounding lengths to wring a consistent meaning out of seemingly-inconsistent original text."

If this is directed at me, all I can say is that I usually don't respond or address the science you refer to frankly because I have no clue what I'm talking about in that regard. I'm educated in the Bible, so I can only speak to the unsubstantiated claims about supposed contradictions and inconsistencies that don't exist in the Word.

highboy said...

Btw, lets get back to where either of you skeptics has a source for the obligation or moral law that God must subject Himself to if He exists. You've dodged that request enough now.

Jon Woolf said...

if God exists, what moral obligation does He have to behave a certain way toward what He Himself created?

The question is the answer. If he doesn't play by his rules, why should I? Because he'll punish me if I don't? "Do as I say, not as I do" is the attitude of a master toward his slaves, or a tyrant toward his subjects. I thought Christians rejected the concept that "might makes right."

all I can say is that I usually don't respond or address the science you refer to frankly because I have no clue what I'm talking about in that regard.

Right, so what makes you so sure creationism is right and evolution is wrong?

highboy said...

"The question is the answer. If he doesn't play by his rules, why should I? Because he'll punish me if I don't? "Do as I say, not as I do" is the attitude of a master toward his slaves, or a tyrant toward his subjects. I thought Christians rejected the concept that "might makes right."

In this case its a matter of "mightiest makes right". Its like you're deliberately not getting it. His rules are rules for humans, not gods. Now you're saying He's obligated to do what He orders us to do, but once again, you're not giving the source of the principle that you're appealing to. Give the source already.

"Right, so what makes you so sure creationism is right and evolution is wrong?"

What are you talking about? If you're talking about yec I never said I ascribe to it, nor have I ever flat out rejected evolution. I see no scientific evidence that refutes a God-created universe in either evolution theory or yec so I fail to see the relevance.

Jon Woolf said...

Now you're saying He's obligated to do what He orders us to do, but once again, you're not giving the source of the principle that you're appealing to. Give the source already.

I did. Twice. But, if you really need it stated in words a grade-schooler can understand, here:

It sets a good example for others (as in, us) to follow.

highboy said...

"I did. Twice. But, if you really need it stated in words a grade-schooler can understand, here:

It sets a good example for others (as in, us) to follow."

You're either being dishonest or you're seriously that incompetent which will make it hard to take anything you say seriously from this point on. Why is God morally obligated to set a good example for others to follow? You're still not giving a source for God's moral obligation. Nothing. None. Zip.

Jon Woolf said...

[laughing] "What we got here ... is a failure to communicate."

Why is God morally obligated to set a good example for others to follow?

Why not?

Christian, Muslim, Hindu, pagan, atheist, none-of-the-above, we all do what we do for the same reason: because it seemed like a good idea at the time. A god would not lose anything by following the rules he sets down, and he would gain the benefit of setting a good example for those who choose to follow him. So we come back to ... why not?

Anonymous said...

Btw, lets get back to where either of you skeptics has a source for the obligation or moral law that God must subject Himself to if He exists. You've dodged that request enough now.

The source is God. God divinely inspired me to write it down.

Prove me wrong.


lava

highboy said...

"Why not?"

Not a valid answer. In order for God's actions/commands to be immoral as you repeatedly have implied, He has to be morally obligated first.

highboy said...

"The source is God. God divinely inspired me to write it down.

Prove me wrong."

That was probably the dumbest post I've ever read, obviously meant to prove a point that is completely irrelevant. But since you brought it up, explain to me how God Himself is the higher principle that obligates Himself to act a certain way.

Chaos Engineer said...

It seems weird to talk about morality in a vacuum. If you're all alone on a desert island, then it doesn't make sense to talk about your choices being "moral" or "immoral".

Morality can only exist in the context of a larger society. Saying, "X is moral" basically means "We've agreed that doing X will help to maintain the sort of society that we'd like to live in, and that we'd like our families and neighbors to be able to live in."

Since moral laws only exist within society, the penalties for breaking moral laws can only exist within society.

That applies to God as much as humans. For example, there's one particular image of God as a sort of hypersensitive busybody who's obsessed with keeping track of who's sleeping with who and who goes into frothing hysteria at the thought of gay people getting married. (Also for some reason He doesn't want people to get more health care than they can pay for.)

If such a God were to exist, we couldn't put Him in jail for stalking, but He could still be socially sanctioned. He'd be kept out of the public schools, and wouldn't be welcome at the best sort of parties. If His name came up in conversation, people would roll their eyes and try to change the subject.

That God would soon find that decent people wanted nothing to do with Him, and he'd see that His only friends were mean-spirited gossips, con-artists, lickspittles, or the sort of people who fly airplanes into buildings.

Of course there are other images of God. There's the "Universalist" sort of God, who basically says, "You guys ought to be nicer to each other, but I think you'd understand that better if I just stand off to one side and let you figure it out for yourselves." If that God existed, He'd be viewed as maybe a little irresponsible, but most decent people would be willing to forgive Him.

Other than that, Fred Clark at Slacktivist has been doing an interesting series of essays on Biblical Morality. Part1 - Part 2

highboy said...

"That applies to God as much as humans"

No, it really doesn't, and your just repeating what these guys keep repeating over and over again with no rational explanation of why. We can't penalize God for anything whatsoever if He exists. We don't exist without Him.

Jon Woolf said...

Not a valid answer.

In your opinion. Mine is somewhat different.

highboy said...

"In your opinion. Mine is somewhat different."

Meaning you have no answer. Because answering the question asking why God is obligated to act a certain way with another question like "why not?" is just a throwaway and doesn't state at all the source of the obligation. That's not a matter of opinion, just fact.

scohen said...

"The slavery in ancient Hebrew culture? Sure, why not? Its not that different from normal employment now."

Actually, that's not even slightly true. For example, no employer one can get away with beating an employee within an inch of their life in any civilized country.

"Slaves weren't forced into slavery in that culture against their will."

Again, that's wholly false. Prisoners of war did not voluntarily became slaves.

In addition, slavery under Roman rule was very much like slavery in the United States, yet Jesus never condemned it. Not a word uttered about the inherent injustice of the institution. Nada.

You talk about Freedom a lot, but it seems in every instance you only mean economic freedom. Why doesn't Liberty or Justice enter in to it for you?

Slavery is a denial of Liberty, it is constant and ever present injustice. It is appalling and immoral regardless how you treat a slave, as you're denying them basic human rights.

Your repeated defense of slavery alone shows the paucity of your 'absolute morality' argument.

Jon Woolf said...

Meaning you have no answer.

Oh, I gave you an answer. It just wasn't the answer you expected or the answer you wanted. There's a difference.

highboy said...

Scohen, the link you provided didn't invalidate anything I said about slavery in the Hebrew culture. Jesus didn't condemn Roman slavery no. He also said nothing of a whole slew of other sins as well. Your appeal to emotion is a very weak argument. Besides, what neither John nor creeper nor you seem to be able to accomplish is give a source for God's obligation to have it any other way. You've also entered a new concept, the concept of basic human rights, but if God exists and created humans what right to you have to even exist, let alone be treated a certain way? Or is God obligated once He creates you to behave in humanist fashion? What principle in this case would be higher than the Creator Of All that you're appealing to to condemn any action or non-action God may take? These are all questions NONE of you have even remotely began to answer.

As for you Jon, you're being ridiculously childish. If I ask why God is morally obligated to act a certain way and what source that obligation stems from, "why not" is the most non-answer you can give. But point of fact, it IS the answer I expected.

Jon Woolf said...

As for you Jon, you're being ridiculously childish.

And this discredits my answer because...?

Sometimes, a child's eyes see Right and Wrong much more clearly than any adult's.

highboy said...

"And this discredits my answer because...?

Sometimes, a child's eyes see Right and Wrong much more clearly than any adult's."

what discredits your answer is that its not an answer, at least not a coherent one. Your answer to my question about God's obligation is the equivalent of this scenario:

highboy: "what's 2+2?

Jon: "Jello".

scohen said...

"Scohen, the link you provided didn't invalidate anything I said about slavery"

Actually, it did. You said this:

"Slaves were property for a period of time, received pay"

The link shows that slaves were property for their entire lives as were their children. They did not receive pay (unless you equivocate by saying a period of time is eternity and pay is food).

"God commanded slaves be treated well."

The link shows that you were indeed permitted to beat your slaves. Which is counter to being treated "well".

you said:
"Slaves weren't forced into slavery in that culture against their will"

While the link shows that prisoners of war were forced to be slaves.

I don't know, seems the link actually does refute all of your previous points.

"He also said nothing of a whole slew of other sins"

Ahh, *but* Jesus did speak on the topic of slavery. He spoke of how you were supposed to treat them well, all the while omitting (forgetting?) that the institution itself was corrupt. That's a giant omission for someone who you consider infallible.

"Your appeal to emotion is a very weak argument"

I appealed to the principles of Justice and Liberty, not emotion. Justice and Liberty are cornerstones of our society, no? If they're not, you might want to take an eraser to the preamble of the constitution.

"Besides, what neither John nor creeper nor you seem to be able to accomplish is give a source for God's obligation"

Why would I care about the above? It's not my argument that our morality comes from God. My argument is the opposite, that it's continually re-defined by society. An if your unchanging morality is indeed superior to morality as defined by society, then why does it make someone like you *defend slavery*.

Seriously, step back for a second and think about what you're doing. You're defending slavery. Your position would be humorous if it weren't so tragic.

Jon Woolf said...

what discredits your answer is that its not an answer, at least not a coherent one.

To you, no. To me, yes. That's because you expect a straightforward answer based on some unimpeachable authority. An answer that requires you to think for yourself is something you aren't equipped to deal with.

Highboy, you need to spend some time studying Zen. It's an extremely powerful tool for understanding the non-physical aspects of reality. The child's mind -- or more precisely, the beginner's mind -- is an essential part of it. The adult's mind is so clogged with ideas on what s/he wants to be true, that s/he can't see what actually is true.

On topics regarding morality, you have an adult mind. I don't. That's why what I say on the subject makes no sense to you.

loboinok said...

The link shows that slaves were property for their entire lives as were their children. They did not receive pay (unless you equivocate by saying a period of time is eternity and pay is food).

The Bible refers to various types of slaves. Some were voluntary slaves (indentured servants) found in Exodus 21:2-6 and Deut. 15:12-18. were those who couldn't pay their debts and needed help or protection, sold themselves into slavery until the debt was paid or 6 years had passed.
Many of America's early settlers became indentured servants to pay their passage and other debts.

If an indentured servant decided they would rather remain a permanent slave (Ex. 21:2-6; Deut. 15:16-17), they would have their ear pierced to show that permanent subjection.

If a criminal was poor and unable to make restitution, they were sold (Ex. 22:1,3) into slavery until restitution was made.

Involuntary servitude was not Biblical, was considered kidnapping and as such was punishable by death (Ex. 21:16), also applied to Israelites - Deuteronomy 24:7 states: “If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countrymen of the sons of Israel, and he deals with him violently, or sells him, then that thief shall die; so you shall purge the evil from among you.”

The link shows that you were indeed permitted to beat your slaves. Which is counter to being treated "well".

Treatment of slaves was to be fair and excessive punishments were forbidden. Ex. 21:20-21; Ex. 21:26-27; Lev. 24:17; Col. 4:1. Deuteronomy 23:15-16 states:
You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall live with you in your midst, in the place which he shall choose in one of your towns where it pleases him; you shall not mistreat him.

highboy said...

Lobo: thanks for the well written explanation.

scohen: if you don't care about the question of God's moral obligation, nothing you've said is relevant. If God exists, you would have to be appealing to a higher principle than God to say what He does or condones is wrong. But if He exists, there isn't one. You can keep appealing to emotion all you want but all you've offered is a subjective opinion about human slavery. But since you seem so noble about the subject, I just want to be clear: are you saying that humans using force to impose their will on another human being is universally wrong? Think carefully before answering.

Jon: your answer is a cop out. You've implied repeatedly that the God of the Bible is immoral even if He exists, yet you are unable to explain why, and instead answer the question with a question.

scohen said...

"question of God's moral obligation, nothing you've said is relevant."

I don't see how that follows. My take is that there isn't a moral obligation for anyone. Society has punishment, and if you're willing to accept the punishment, you're free to be just as evil as you want to be.

"I just want to be clear: are you saying that humans using force to impose their will on another human being is universally wrong?"

Again, how does that follow at all? All I'm saying is that slavery, in every instance and incarnation is morally reprehensible.

Would you agree with the above statement? If not, why not?

"all you've offered is a subjective opinion about human slavery"

It's now subjective to say that slavery denies Liberty and Justice? You have interesting thought processes to say the least. How does owning someone not decrease their Liberty?

Appeals to Justice and Liberty are also decidedly not emotional. Nor is arguing against slavery "noble" in any way --it's normative, something that until now, I thought every human in the civilized world agreed with.

Lobo:
I had a long post up here, but it looks like it didn't take.

Tim made several points that slaves in biblical times were:
1. Always voluntary (which is untrue --see prisoners of war)
2. Treated well (you were allowed to beat them. Hardly treating someone well).
3. Not much different than modern employment. (The other two points refute this)

Your links fall well short of showing any blanket condemnation of the institution of slavery, and it seems that there are several sets of laws. One for Israelites, one for foreigners, one for debt slavery and one for slaves you purchased. Even the best treatment, saved for Israelite debt slaves is still a denial of Liberty.

If memory serves, we've been over this before and you and I both know that an unambiguous condemnation of slavery does not exist in either the old or new testaments.

highboy said...

scohen: if you're implying that no one is morally obligated, than "morally reprehensible" doesn't exist. For me to act morally wrong, I have to be morally obligated to begin with. As for slavery in and of itself, liberty and justice are not subjective, but your opinion about what is moral and what is not most certainly is. If you're suggesting that me willingly allowing myself to be "owned" is morally reprehensible, than you must think our entire military service is morally reprehensible as well.

scohen said...

"As for slavery in and of itself, liberty and justice are not subjective, but your opinion about what is moral and what is not most certainly is"

So it's an opinion that denying a slave justice *and* liberty is immoral?

You brought up the military, are they not paid? It's common in military circles to say you're 'owned' by the government, but that's not actually accurate, is it? You *can* leave and take that 'lead role in a cage' if you want out. Slavery has no such clause.
Incidentally, while our military restricts some liberty (it's required for military service) but not justice.

I have no idea what you're trying to get at with your term of moral obligation, or what your point in the general disagreement is. You seem to be conflating being morally obligated with being required to act morally.

Jon made an excellent point above about what we call people who lay out rules and don't follow them. They have an obligation to follow the rules to set an example, but they aren't compelled to do so. That said, there are consequences to not following your own rules.

My only point here is to show that a very large bit of morality (the wholesale rejection of slavery) came not from the bible, but from years and years of society's evolution.

Come to think of it, what does morality have to do with the theory of evolution or creationism?

highboy said...

"So it's an opinion that denying a slave justice *and* liberty is immoral?"

No, its an opinion that slavery actually denies justice or liberty. You keep trying to present slavery as one type of incarnation and that's factually incorrect.

"You brought up the military, are they not paid? It's common in military circles to say you're 'owned' by the government, but that's not actually accurate, is it? You *can* leave and take that 'lead role in a cage' if you want out. Slavery has no such clause.
Incidentally, while our military restricts some liberty (it's required for military service) but not justice."

1. slaves in Hebrew culture could receive pay.
2. slaves in Hebrew culture could agree on their own time of enslavement.

http://www.gotquestions.org/bible-slavery.html

From the link:

"The Bible does not specifically condemn the practice of slavery. It gives instructions on how slaves should be treated (Deuteronomy 15:12-15; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1), but does not outlaw slavery altogether. Many see this as the Bible condoning all forms of slavery. What many fail to understand is that slavery in biblical times was very different from the slavery that was practiced in the past few centuries in many parts of the world. The slavery in the Bible was not based exclusively on race. People were not enslaved because of their nationality or the color of their skin. In Bible times, slavery was more a matter of social status. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or provide for their families. In New Testament times, sometimes doctors, lawyers, and even politicians were slaves of someone else. Some people actually chose to be slaves so as to have all their needs provided for by their masters."

"I have no idea what you're trying to get at with your term of moral obligation, or what your point in the general disagreement is. You seem to be conflating being morally obligated with being required to act morally.

Jon made an excellent point above about what we call people who lay out rules and don't follow them. They have an obligation to follow the rules to set an example, but they aren't compelled to do so. That said, there are consequences to not following your own rules."

You can't use words like "immoral" or "moral" without having some type of moral obligation or moral responsibility. Pointing out that there are consequences we impose on people who don't act the way we feel is right does not show a moral obligation. What the argument here is, and why your repeated comments on the subject are irrelevant, is why God (repeat: God) is morally obligated to act a certain way toward the humanity He created if He exists. That is what has is being discussed throughout this thread, not "where did morality come from". If God's actions are to be considered immoral, He would have to be morally obligated. I'm asking for the source of that obligation, what principle.

"My only point here is to show that a very large bit of morality (the wholesale rejection of slavery) came not from the bible, but from years and years of society's evolution."

First of all, to say morality has "evolved" implies it has progressed, which is an absolute joke. You may think its great we don't allow slaves in America for example, but we also allow abortion. Morality on the whole may have changed over time, but that doesn't mean its "progressed".

scohen said...

"First of all, to say morality has "evolved" implies it has progressed"

Evolved simply means changed over time --nothing more. But yes, I'd argue that our morality is better than it was 2000 years ago.

"No, its an opinion that slavery actually denies justice or liberty."

What an odd thing to say. Let's say I'm a biblical chattel slave and my owner beats me. Where do I get Justice? Let's say I want to leave. Where's my liberty?

"You keep trying to present slavery as one type of incarnation and that's factually incorrect."

I actually have repeatedly said that there were multiple kinds of slavery in biblical times --you know that. The counterexample of course is that you're only presenting one. You say this, but it's not true:

"In Bible times, slavery was more a matter of social status."

Being a prisoner (or more accurately, a spoil) of war is independent from social status. You must know that the israelites took entire cities as slaves, right? You have to as you know the bible much better than I do. You know that non-israelite slaves and their progeny are the property of their owner in perpetuity and were inheritable.

"In New Testament times, sometimes doctors, lawyers, and even politicians were slaves"

But that proves nothing. In roman times, there were also slaves that were conquered people or children of slaves who had no debt, and no recourse.

I've been thinking about the moral obligation of God argument, and will admit it's interesting. But, the way that we figure out a Human's moral obligation is to examine the society and the circumstances of how that society formed. From this, I'd argue that we don't have enough (any, really) information to make any comment on a hypothetical God's moral obligation.

highboy said...

"Evolved simply means changed over time --nothing more. But yes, I'd argue that our morality is better than it was 2000 years ago."

Are less people being murdered? Are less people being raped? Are less people being tortured? The only changes are what we accept/reject as moral behavior, and I fail to see how we have progressed. Some things have gotten better to be sure, while some have gotten worse. But I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

"What an odd thing to say. Let's say I'm a biblical chattel slave and my owner beats me. Where do I get Justice? Let's say I want to leave. Where's my liberty?"

You are assuming that slavery in ancient Hebrew culture ever had such a form of slavery. Here is another well written article on the subject: http://bibleapologetics.wordpress.com/slavery-in-the-bible-15/

However seeing my words repeated back to me it does appear an odd thing to say.

"Being a prisoner (or more accurately, a spoil) of war is independent from social status. You must know that the israelites took entire cities as slaves, right? You have to as you know the bible much better than I do. You know that non-israelite slaves and their progeny are the property of their owner in perpetuity and were inheritable."

If this sort of imperialism is appalling to you, I suggest you visit the nearest Indian reservation and hand over the keys to all of your belongings to any resident you see there.

"But that proves nothing. In roman times, there were also slaves that were conquered people or children of slaves who had no debt, and no recourse."

This hangup you have over Roman slavery has nothing to do with what slavery the Bible condones. Your only hangup is that Jesus didn't outright condemn it, but that's okay, because the Roman Empire as a whole was pretty much condemned throughout the whole NT. There were all sorts of injustices done by the Romans that weren't mentioned specifically, but the Romans were certainly considered an immoral empire on the whole.

"I've been thinking about the moral obligation of God argument, and will admit it's interesting. But, the way that we figure out a Human's moral obligation is to examine the society and the circumstances of how that society formed. From this, I'd argue that we don't have enough (any, really) information to make any comment on a hypothetical God's moral obligation."

But that is what is happening by some I'm discussing this with. The assertion is that the Biblical God, even if He exists, is some immoral tyrant who treats humanity like so much toilet paper. Whereas most Christians try lamely to justify each action/non-action of God in the OT, I simply ask why He's obligated to act in any way whatsoever toward humanity? That's why we who believe in God don't flinch at some of the harder stories of the Bible, because in order to believe in an eternally omniscient, omnipotent, infinite being, we have to believe that He's far enough above us that not everything He says/does is going to make sense or fit into our little heads. Does this arbitrary rule mean God is capable of all sorts of horror against us with no consequence to Himself? Sure does. But the results don't happen that way, which is why we worship Him.

scohen said...

"Are less people being murdered? Are less people being raped?"

Less as in a percentage? I'd bet yes, actually, but less as a total number? Almost certainly not. But we're not talking about crime, are we? We're talking about morality, which is a different thing. The question is a ways back, could certain people *get away* with rape/murder, etc?

"You are assuming that slavery in ancient Hebrew culture ever had such a form of slavery"

Assuming that's just a typo, yes, I'm assuming that chattel slavery existed in ancient times. Your link backs me up.

From your link:
Various forms of servitude existed in the Ancient Near East, all of which are described in the Bible and most of which are commonly translated ‘slavery’ (largely inaccurately).

and then we have:
* Chattel slavery: A dehumanising form of servitude which was identical to that practiced on the plantations

So yes, I assume that chattel slavery existed in biblical times much like it did up until the 1860s. And your link confirms that. Thanks!

Also:
"Chattel slavery was always involuntary, coercive, and terminal (the individual was a slave until death, with no means of obtaining liberty)."

So slavery means no liberty.

"Your only hangup is that Jesus didn't outright condemn it"

Yes, that's right. He talked about it, but never said it was wrong.

"but that's okay, because the Roman Empire as a whole was pretty much condemned throughout the whole NT"

Not enough. Slavery was more than a tool of Roman oppression and being omniscient, Jesus clearly should have known this. Speaking out against a great injustice would have been pretty forward thinking and so much more moral than taking the small steps of treating slaves well. Wouldn't it be neat if Christians were able to say that Jesus was the first human being to say clearly and without ambiguity that slavery in any form was wrong.

"I simply ask why He's obligated to act in any way whatsoever toward humanity?"

Ok, but isn't that a bit sloppy? Before you were asking about *moral obligation*, and now you're asking about obligation in *action*.
I could just as well counter that the god of the bible is subject to free will and the question is answered. Human societies have a complex set of morals, yet members of the societies don't always follow them.

I think then Jon's point becomes rather weighty.

highboy said...

"So yes, I assume that chattel slavery existed in biblical times much like it did up until the 1860s. And your link confirms that. Thanks!"

Um, no. Nice try. The link said such slavery existed in the near east but did not say that it was a form of ancient Hebrew culture, condoned by the Bible. Thanks!

"Not enough. Slavery was more than a tool of Roman oppression and being omniscient, Jesus clearly should have known this. Speaking out against a great injustice would have been pretty forward thinking and so much more moral than taking the small steps of treating slaves well. Wouldn't it be neat if Christians were able to say that Jesus was the first human being to say clearly and without ambiguity that slavery in any form was wrong."

So once again, we're back to your subjective opinion, which caries little weight and is hardly supported by anything other than your emotions. Because YOU are audacious enough to suggest what the Son Of God should/shouldn't do its going to be hard to take this stance seriously though. The entire Roman empire was condemned throughout the NT. Just because Christ didn't list all of its sins in order of scohen's greatest to least doesn't mean He in any way condoned Roman slavery. That's simply absurd.

"Ok, but isn't that a bit sloppy? Before you were asking about *moral obligation*, and now you're asking about obligation in *action*.
I could just as well counter that the god of the bible is subject to free will and the question is answered. Human societies have a complex set of morals, yet members of the societies don't always follow them.

I think then Jon's point becomes rather weighty."

Jon's point makes no sense whatsoever and neither does the above. For God to be obligated or "subject" to anything, there would have to be some principle greater than He. But if He exists, there isn't one.

scohen said...

". The link said such slavery existed in the near east"

Where do you think the bible took place?

If you think that it wasn't condoned by the bible, how do you explain this:

"However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way".

Leviticus 25:44-46

Hey, lookee there, the bible absolutely condones chattel slavery, just not for israelites.

"So once again, we're back to your subjective opinion"

Erm... no.

"Because YOU are audacious enough to suggest what the Son Of God"

Remember, I don't believe he was the son of god --that's your religion, not mine. I for one am willing to have my core beliefs questioned.

"The entire Roman empire was condemned throughout the NT"

And slavery as an institution was sacrosanct. Got it.

"Just because Christ didn't list all of its sins in order of scohen's greatest to least doesn't mean He in any way condoned Roman slavery"

Didn't someone say once that injustice anywhere was a threat to justice everywhere? Slavery is probably the greatest injustice that man can visit upon man and it's a glaring omission for the son of god to make.

"Jon's point makes no sense whatsoever and neither does the above"

I think I see the problem here, maybe you need to think about it a little more. Think of the meaning of what being 'subject' to morality means.Does being 'subject' to morality limit your actions or not? Is morality created by something larger than you by fiat or is it created by something in which you take part?

The distinction makes all the difference in understanding the above.

highboy said...

"Where do you think the bible took place?"

Try again scohen. Ancient Hebrew culture does not epitomize the entire near east.

"Remember, I don't believe he was the son of god --that's your religion, not mine. I for one am willing to have my core beliefs questioned."

Yes I know you don't believe He was the Son of God, but your answer implies it wouldn't make a difference. You see Him as condoning slavery simply because He didn't come right out and specifically address it. That again, is absurd.

"Slavery is probably the greatest injustice that man can visit upon man and it's a glaring omission for the son of god to make."

Your answer, once again, is just subjective opinion. YOU may think slavery is the greatest injustice upon man, but that doesn't mean it is. I personally think a multi-billion dollar industry of the wholesale slaughter of babies is the worst, but that's just my opinion. The fact that you think Son Of God should have addressed something that you personally find more appalling than anything else carries little weight in this discussion. If your only evidence that Roman slavery was condoned was simply Jesus not addressing it the way you would your argument is pretty weak.

As for God, I'm not sure why this is so hard for people to wrap their heads around. For God to be immoral/moral, or anything He does to be immoral/moral, He has to be obligated to act morally. If He's not, morality doesn't even enter the equation. But for Him to be moral, some principle or authority has to be higher than Him that obligates Him. But if He exists, there isn't one.

scohen said...

"Try again scohen. Ancient Hebrew culture does not epitomize the entire near east."

Try again? Why bother? The quote I provided comes directly from the bible and it destroys any logical argument you can make about 'ancient hebrew culture' not condoning slavery. To say that chattel slavery didn't exist that biblical times is not supported by evidence.
Even more entertaining is that the link you sent me directly contradicts the point you were trying to make. You just have to admit that you're, umm... wrong on this one.

"For God to be immoral/moral, or anything He does to be immoral/moral, He has to be obligated to act morally."

You're not quite there yet and now seem to be arguing for an amoral God. Keep thinking.

"some principle or authority has to be higher than Him"

That's what's hanging you up. Is morality brought by an external authority? Can ethics exist on, say an island with a sole inhabitant?

highboy said...

http://www.christian-thinktank.com/qnoslave.html

"So, [NS:ECA:4:1190] point this out: "New World slavery was a unique conjuntion of features. Its use of slaves was strikingly specialized as unfree labor-producing commodities, such as cotton and sugar, for a world market." and Britannica: "By 1850 nearly two-thirds of the plantation slaves were engaged in the production of cotton...the South was totally transformed by the presences of slavery. Slavery generated profits comparable to those from other investments and was only ended as a consequence of the War Between the States." (s.v. "Slavery") In the ANE (and OT), this was NOT the case. The dominant (statistically) motivation was economic relief of poverty (i.e., 'slavery' was initiated by the slave--NOT by the owner--and the primary uses were purely domestic (except in cases of State slavery, where individuals were used for building projects). The definitive work on ANE law today is the 2 volume work [HI:HANEL] (History of Ancient Near Eastern Law). This work (by 22 scholars) surveys every legal document from the ANE (by period) and includes sections on slavery. A smattering of quotes will indicate this for-the-poor instead of for-the-rich purpose for most of ANE slavery: §"Most slaves owned by Assyrians in Assur and in Anatolia seem to have been (originally) debt slaves--free persons sold into slavery by a parent, a husband, an elder sister, or by themselves." (1.449)
§"Sales of wives, children, relatives, or oneself, due to financial duress, are a recurrent feature of the Nuzi socio-economic scene…A somewhat different case is that of male and female foreigners, called hapiru (immigrants) who gave themselves in slavery to private individuals or the palace administration. Poverty was the cause of these agreements…" (1.585)
§"Most of the recorded cases of entry of free persons into slavery [in Emar] are by reason of debt or famine or both…A common practice was for a financier to pay off the various creditors in return for the debtor becoming his slave." (1.664f) §"On the other hand, mention is made of free people who are sold into slavery as a result of the famine conditions and the critical economic situation of the populations [Canaan]. Sons and daughters are sold for provisions…" (1.741)§"The most frequently mentioned method of enslavement [Neo-Sumerian, UR III] was sale of children by their parents. Most are women, evidently widows, selling a daughter; in one instance a mother and grandmother sell a boy…There are also examples of self sale. All these case clearly arose from poverty; it is not stated, however, whether debt was specifically at issue." (1.199)

highboy said...

More: "Entry: Slavery was overwhelmingly involuntary. Humans were captured by force and sold via slave-traders. This was true both for the Islamic slave trade and the European trade. So, Britannica:"Slaves have been owned in black Africa throughout recorded history. In many areas there were large-scale slave societies, while in others there were slave-owning societies. Slavery was practiced everywhere even before the rise of Islam, and black slaves exported from Africa were widely traded throughout the Islamic world. Approximately 18,000,000 Africans were delivered into the Islamic trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean slave trades between 650 and 1905. In the second half of the 15th century Europeans began to trade along the west coast of Africa, and by 1867 between 7,000,000 and 10,000,000 Africans had been shipped as slaves to the New World.... The relationship between African and New World slavery was highly complementary. African slave owners demanded primarily women and children for labour and lineage incorporation and tended to kill males because they were troublesome and likely to flee. The transatlantic trade, on the other hand, demanded primarily adult males for labour and thus saved from certain death many adult males who otherwise would have been slaughtered outright by their African captors." In the ANE (and especially the OT), the opposite was the case. This should be obvious from the MOTIVE aspect--these were choices by the impoverished to enter this dependency state, in return for economic security and protection. Some slavery contracts actually emphasized this voluntary aspect!: "A person would either enter into slavery or be sold by a parent or relative. Persons sold their wives, grandchildren, brother (with his wife and child), sister, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, nephews and niece…Many of the documents emphasize that the transaction is voluntary. This applies not only to self-sale but also to those who are the object of sale, although their consent must sometimes have been fictional, as in the case of a nursing infant." [HI:HANEL:1.665]"

highboy said...

The issue was never did the Bible condone slavery, but what kind scohen. Yes, I realise you stated you hate all forms, even voluntary, and don't believe people have a right to decide these things for themselves, but to suggest that the Bible condoned the type of slavery you have painted in your head is just false, or at the very least, isn't supported enough for such a concrete stance as you have taken. This is especially true of your position that Christ condoned Roman slavery simply because He didn't come right out state His opposition to that one singular issue to your liking. Absurd. What I find most interesting about this though is that you've stated earlier that slavery violates basic human rights. I'm curious though in an amoral universe why you feel any organism has a "right" to anything.

"You're not quite there yet and now seem to be arguing for an amoral God. Keep thinking."

That was the craziest thing I've ever read. I simply am stating a fact. God has to be obligated to act morally, say for example, if one were to say He should have condemned slavery, there would have to be some authority or principle higher than He obligating Him to do what He "should". But there's not, and God is the highest principle, what He says quite literally, is.

Jon Woolf said...

Somewhere above, highboy wrote: "Jon: your answer is a cop out. You've implied repeatedly that the God of the Bible is immoral even if He exists, yet you are unable to explain why, and instead answer the question with a question."

Because that's the best way I know of to answer such questions. On questions of philosophy, the answer that ones finds for oneself is always more convincing than an answer imposed from outside. However, since you seem inexplicably incapable of following the lines of thought I suggest, I'll give a different sort of answer.

Consider the God that you've defined. He gives rules to his creations and then enforces them rigidly, condemning any rule-breakers to punishment in Purgatory or Hell, as the case may be, even when their actions serve a greater good, or when they have no choice. He himself does not obey those same rules. To the question "why should I obey the rules God set down?" the only answer you can give is "because God said so, and he has the power to punish you if you don't." But God can do anything he likes, because there's no one with the ability to punish him. In other words, your whole moral/ethical system boils down to "might makes right."

Now do you really think that's an admirable way to behave? Even for a god?

highboy said...

Jon, couple of points on your last response:

1. The "greater good" you describe in your scenario is God. So doing something He said not to can't be for the greater good. That "good" would have to be greater than God, and if He exists, there is no greater good. (this is all based on His existence of course)
2. The fact that God can impose punishment on me for not doing what He says is no different than humanity doing the same thing. In either case, for God to act immorally toward us as humans, He would first have to be obligated to act morally toward us. But for that to happen, there would have to be a greater power or principle above Him and there isn't one if He exists. Like you said, He can do whatever He wants. But also, for Him to act immorally toward us, it implies our existence is a moral issue to begin with, meaning God would somehow have to be morally obligated to create us in the first place.
3. My ethical system doesn't boil down to "might makes right", but rather "mightiest makes right". If He created all, He defines right and He defines wrong. Nothing exists apart from Him. He is the beginning and the end.
4. What's the difference between God as a moral tyrant or a human majority as a moral tyrant? Nothing whatsoever, except humanity is horribly inconsistent and constantly changing its mind. Even if your earlier assertions about God's seeming inconsistency were true, it would only validate my point further.
5. You keep asserting that because God doesn't follow His own rules He laid out for humanity to coexist that it somehow makes Him less "admirable" or some immoral tyrant, which makes no sense whatsoever. First, His rules are for us to coexist with one another as finite human beings. The whole idea is that its God's world and He decides what goes not humanity. So to say He doesn't follow His own rules is just ridiculous, and actually factually incorrect. He doesn't murder (wrongful killing) He doesn't rape, He doesn't steal, lie, cheat, or anything else. So your hypocrite accusation fails.

scohen said...

"The issue was never did the Bible condone slavery, but what kind scohen."

The quotation from Leviticus makes that perfectly clear, Tim. It clearly spells out that you are allowed to:
a. Purchase slaves
b. keep them and their descendants forever as *inheritable property*.

i.e. chattel slavery.

How does anything you've posted contradict that? Indeed, nothing you can or will ever post will change the meaning of that passage I pasted above.

Why do you embarrass yourself by claiming the opposite of what is evident in a short bible verse?

"That was the craziest thing I've ever read."

lol. You are so hyperbolic. If that's truly the case, you should read more.

"But there's not, and God is the highest principle"

Still not thinking about the problem, eh? Oh well, I tried.

highboy said...

Wow there seems to be a pattern here with this whole "moral obligation" discussion among you guys. Apparently you're all very passionate until your argument is blown up and then the answers become more and more vague and dismissive.

"How does anything you've posted contradict that? Indeed, nothing you can or will ever post will change the meaning of that passage I pasted above."

that's funny because nothing I've read on chattel slavery says anything about voluntary slavery, which everything I've posted clearly does. No one was captured from their homeland and forced into slavery in ancient Hebrew culture, not even POWs as you originally asserted and what I posted also refutes. Its you that are embarrassing yourself by constantly trying to paint Hebrew slavery as some cruel concept in the realm of African slavery in America when all the research shows just the opposite.

scohen said...

"that's funny because nothing I've read on chattel slavery says anything about voluntary slavery, which everything I've posted clearly does."

Does that sentence make sense to you? --because I've read it ten times and I still can't parse it. Leviticus is rife with references to both kinds of slavery. What you've posted indicates that there were several types of slavery in biblical times. This is something I've never argued against other than saying they're all immoral.

"no one was captured from their homeland and forced into slavery in ancient Hebrew culture"

Moving the goalposts again? So now that I've shown that the bible condones chattel slavery, I now have to prove that people were captured and forced into slavery as POWs?

Well, according to the laws of war in Deuteronomy 20, they were. I guess all those foreign israelite slaves from other lands mentioned above don't count.

"you're all very passionate until your argument is blown up"

Or we realize we're not going to get anywhere.

Good night, Tim.

highboy said...

"Well, according to the laws of war in Deuteronomy 20, they were. I guess all those foreign israelite slaves from other lands mentioned above don't count."

that's a flat out false-hood that was demonstrated in that link I posted that you obviously didn't read. yeah, we're not going to get anywhere with you sticking your fingers in your ears.

highboy said...

Its also worth noting your own blatant hypocrisy in talking about liberty and freedom while describing the idea of volunteering myself for slavery so my family won't starve to be appalling and immoral. Nice speech about basic human rights scohen. I almost believed it.

scohen said...

"flat out false-hood that was demonstrated in that link"

That link was 14,000 words and your summaries had nothing to do with biblical slavery. If you want to demonstrate where Deutoronomy 20 is false, post a summary. Don't gish gallop away with a monster link.
Do what I did above with my links and summarize the *relevant* pieces.

"Its also worth noting your own blatant hypocrisy in talking about liberty and freedom while describing the idea of volunteering myself for slavery"

Where did you mention this? Are you talking about the military or what?
Why don't you get a job if your family is starving? Work harder, as you are so fond of saying.

When writing on the internet you should, above all, try to be coherent. I mean, read the above and try to wrap your head around calling called hypocritical for valuing liberty and decrying slavery (even voluntary).

Thanks, I can honestly say without hyperbole that your comment was actually the funniest thing I've read all day!

highboy said...

"That link was 14,000 words and your summaries had nothing to do with biblical slavery"

Then you simply can't read. Its that simple. Or you're being dishonest. Maybe you want to try reading what I quoted the whole way through and get back to me. Or just continue to be wrong.

"If you want to demonstrate where Deutoronomy 20 is false, post a summary. Don't gish gallop away with a monster link.
Do what I did above with my links and summarize the *relevant* pieces."

Its not false, you simply can't do an ounce of research for yourself when it comes to interpreting what is written, or ancient Hebrew culture. From the link you won't read:

"For example, even in wars on foreign soil (e.g., Deut 20.10,10), if a city surrendered, it became a vassal state to Israel, with the population becoming serfs (mas), not slaves (ebed, amah). They would have performed what is called 'corvee' (draft-type, special labor projects, and often on a rotation basis--as Israelites later did as masim under Solomon, 1 Kings 5.27). This was analogous to ANE praxis, in which war captives were not enslaved, but converted into vassal groups: "The nations subjected by the Israelites were considered slaves. They were, however, not slaves in the proper meaning of the term, although they were obliged to pay royal taxes and perform public works." [ABD, s.v. "Slavery, Old Testament"] And since most slavery was done through self-sale or family-sale, it was likewise voluntary (at least as voluntary as poverty allows), cf. Lev 25.44 in which the verbs are of 'acquisition' and not 'take' or 'conquer' etc."

Nuff said.

"Where did you mention this? Are you talking about the military or what?
Why don't you get a job if your family is starving? Work harder, as you are so fond of saying."

Are you deliberately being stupid because you ran out of argument? Genius, volunteering myself for slavery to feed my family is about as hard working as it gets. You really should try and leave sarcasm to those better equipped for it. As the research posted shows, economic crisis was the dominant factor in Hebrew culture when it came to voluntary slavery, based on legal documentation from that time period. Nothing shows any form of involuntary slavery, and the only thing that comes close is the treatment of war enemies, which clearly also shows it wasn't slavery, but closer to the serf concept.

loboinok said...

If memory serves, we've been over this before and you and I both know that an unambiguous condemnation of slavery does not exist in either the old or new testaments.

Yes, we have but it was quite some time ago.

Your main concerns seem to be with the denial of liberty that slavery represents as well as God's seeming lack of condemnation of it.

Slavery had already been established by the time God gave Moses the law and the law thus recognized slavery and set out guidelines and parameters for the treatment of slaves. Those laws show God's desire to redeem men and nations.
That's not to say He liked slavery anymore than He liked divorce as both were the product and result of sin.

If you understand why the law was given, then you wouldn't consider His treatment of slavery as ambiguous.

Hating slavery is a good thing and is what Christ's message is all about; living a life, free from the bondage of sin.
John 14:6
I am the way, and the truth, and the life...
John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free

Jon made an excellent point above about what we call people who lay out rules and don't follow them. They have an obligation to follow the rules to set an example, but they aren't compelled to do so. That said, there are consequences to not following your own rules.

When you sin there is condemnation and consequences. When I sin there is consequences and if God sinned, that sin would no longer be a sin. He is the standard.

scohen said...

Tim,
The summaries you posted were about slavery in the new world:

"So, [NS:ECA:4:1190] point this out: "New World slavery was a unique conjuntion of features"

"...By 1850..."

Furthermore, the next sentence says this:

"In the ANE (and OT), this was NOT the case. The dominant
(statistically) motivation was economic relief of poverty "

So, you see while debt slavery might be dominant it isn't the only form. And thus, your whole line of argument crumbles.

I read your summaries, they just don't say what you want them to say.

"Genius, volunteering myself for slavery to feed my family is about as hard working as it gets."

How do you volunteer for slavery if the institution doesn't exist? You're arguing like slavery is a necessary condition for humanity. You're arguing that it's moral and right and you're totally out to lunch.

"You really should try and leave sarcasm to those better equipped for it"

Well, since there was no sarcasm in my post, maybe you should leave detecting sarcasm to someone better equipped for it.

You're so angry that your argument suffers --not that it was that strong to start out with.

"Nothing shows any form of involuntary slavery,"

Except, of course, the bible.

"but closer to the serf concept."

Which is totally moral and dripping with Liberty and Justice.

LOL

highboy said...

"The summaries you posted were about slavery in the new world:"

to compare with slavery in the ANE, which if you keep reading, shows clearly the relevance, and apparently you did keep reading this time, which is why this whole post makes almost no sense. You stated previously that nothing I posted from the link was relevant yet in this post you assert the same thing while requoting the relevant pieces. Odd.

"So, you see while debt slavery might be dominant it isn't the only form. And thus, your whole line of argument crumbles."

Never said it was the only form. I said it was voluntary, and for various reasons. I get that you're dishonest and are bold face lying about what the link says despite everyone can read that it contradicts you, but stating my argument "crumbles" when you've done nothing to refute it is just ridiculous.

"How do you volunteer for slavery if the institution doesn't exist? You're arguing like slavery is a necessary condition for humanity. You're arguing that it's moral and right and you're totally out to lunch."

No one said it didn't exist. I've stated all along it existed, just not in the form you tried to portray it, and NOTHING you've posted confirms your accusation, and EVERYTHING I've posted backs me up. Keep appealing to emotion all you want, but you are the one saying its immoral to decide for myself what to volunteer myself for in order to feed my family in that scenario. YOU are trampling on liberty with your argument.

"Except, of course, the bible."

except of course, you've just been proven wrong...again.

"Which is totally moral and dripping with Liberty and Justice."

So in other words you concede that your original assertion about prisoners and slavery in the Bible was flat out wrong. Thanks. But you're right, making our prisoners perform community service acts like building projects is totally immoral. Its not like we don't do that here in the U.S. (get the sarcasm?) I guess in your world we should just feed them, clothe them, set them free, and apologise for any injuries they might have sustained. LOL.

scohen said...

Lobo,

"Your main concerns seem to be with the denial of liberty"

Yes, that's a concern.

"Slavery had already been established by the time God gave Moses the law"

Yes, but God being God couldn't God have forbade the Jews from owning slaves? People were already eating shellfish, and God put a stop to that. The Jews were slaves under pharoh in Egypt, so wouldn't it be consistent to forbid those who were under bondage to act just as pharoh did? There were circumstances where slaves could be freed under the law, but wouldn't it have been more just if everyone was freed and Jews (who were protected by God) worked to end the evil regime under which they suffered?

Surely you see what I'm getting at.

"Hating slavery is a good thing"

Well *I* agree with that. Tim, not so much.

"if God sinned, that sin would no longer be a sin"

I think that's the crux of the point that Jon was making. That belief can make some pretty repugnant things acceptable. I also think that maybe there's more nuance than you're letting on. God destroyed the world, but surely that would be a sin, right?

The consequences I was mentioning were that people would be less likely to worship/follow/obey a tyrannical God, not that God would be punished by a greater force.

scohen said...

". I said it was voluntary, and for various reasons."

Jeebus, this is so wrong.
Chattel slavery is not voluntary.

Such a simple concept, yet it eludes you completely.

scohen said...

"So in other words you concede that your original assertion about prisoners and slavery in the Bible was flat out wrong"

Umm, no, where did you get that?
Let me sum up:

You said chattel slavery didn't exist in the bible:

It does, it was condoned and there were rules for it.

Yet you call me wrong? Huh?

You post a link that compares slavery in the Bible with slavery in the Americas and use this to bolster your above *wrong* statement, while eliding the words *dominant* and *many*.

And you criticize my reading comprehension (as you do with pretty much everyone). Huh?


"making our prisoners perform community service acts like building projects is totally immoral."

Seriously, do you know anything about anything? Comparing prisoners to serfs is Not even wrong.

Second sentence from wikipedia's entry on serfdom:

"It was a condition of bondage or modified slavery which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe."

Next time, before you hit submit, read what you write and see if it makes any sense at all.

highboy said...

"Chattel slavery is not voluntary."

No shit genius, which is why it isn't found in the Bible anywhere.

"Yet you call me wrong? Huh?"

No, the research does.

"You post a link that compares slavery in the Bible with slavery in the Americas and use this to bolster your above *wrong* statement, while eliding the words *dominant* and *many*."

I posted a link to research that had links to more research showing that all the legal documents from the time period show that slavery was voluntary (therefore not chattel) and clearly showed what the Hebrew equivelants of the word "slave" was in nearly every context and what it actually meant, as opposed to your assertions based on absolutely no facts whatsoever. That's why you're wrong.

"Seriously, do you know anything about anything? Comparing prisoners to serfs is Not even wrong."

You claimed prisoners of war were taken by israel and forced into cruel slavery. you were wrong. Its amazing how you've shown nothing to back up your accusation and everything posted proves you wrong yet you just can't give up the ghost. You're amusing that's for sure.

scohen said...

"No shit genius, which is why it isn't found in the Bible anywhere."

heh. love the insults.

Except the rules in leviticus, quoted above, clearly lay out how chattel slavery should be undertaken. Only a fool would argue that there is a rule regarding something that never existed.
Can you name a single other hypothetical rule in the bible?

"No, the research does."

No, the research says 'dominant' and 'most'. It doesn't say 'only' and 'every'. Simple words whose meanings are utterly and totally lost on you.

"You claimed prisoners of war were taken by israel and forced into cruel slavery."

Slavery by definition is cruel, and there's a law in Deuteronomy for it, unless again you're claiming that a law exists for something that never happened.

"Its amazing how you've shown nothing to back up your accusation"

Except relevant bible quotes, pointing out information in your own links that support what I'm saying and just about everything else short of taking you back in a time machine and showing you the practice yourself.

Which you'd still probably deny.

To be clear, you're saying that chattel slavery never existed in biblical times and that no israelite *ever* practiced it?

That's an idiotic statement supported by *no* evidence.

Even if we onlny take the second part that no israelite ever practiced chattel slavery, which is very charitable considering all the things you've said in this discussion: How do you explain rules regarding how to conduct chattel appearing in the bible.
Is God just making up rules for hypothetical situations?

Give me a break.

Think before you post highboy

highboy said...

"Except the rules in leviticus, quoted above, clearly lay out how chattel slavery should be undertaken. Only a fool would argue that there is a rule regarding something that never existed.
Can you name a single other hypothetical rule in the bible? "

Chattel slavery is involuntary as you said. There is no discussion of involuntary slavery in Leviticus nor any other verse in the Bible.

"No, the research says 'dominant' and 'most'. It doesn't say 'only' and 'every'. Simple words whose meanings are utterly and totally lost on you."

...while not finding one legal document or example of involuntary slavery taking part in ANE in any of the research. Try showing some then get back to me.

"Slavery by definition is cruel, and there's a law in Deuteronomy for it, unless again you're claiming that a law exists for something that never happened."

Slavery is not cruel by definition. If someone volunteers for slavery its not cruel. I realise you don't truly believe in basic liberty but try and get the concept. As for Deuteronomy and POWs, the research posted has already proven what it actually entailed. You stated they were forced into slavery and it clearly shows they weren't forced into slavery. If you actually read like you say you did, the term in Deut. was mas (serfs) not ebed, amah. (slaves)

"To be clear, you're saying that chattel slavery never existed in biblical times and that no israelite *ever* practiced it?

That's an idiotic statement supported by *no* evidence."

Just like saying God doesn't exist. You're asking me to prove a negative now? There are no examples of chattel slavery in ANE that you've presented, and the research into ANE and Biblical interpretation doesn't show it either. So yes, until I see evidence, my claims stand on their own. You have yet to prove yours.

"Even if we onlny take the second part that no israelite ever practiced chattel slavery, which is very charitable considering all the things you've said in this discussion: How do you explain rules regarding how to conduct chattel appearing in the bible."

Simple: they don't appear in the Bible. Rules for slavery in the Bible coupled with research that shows what slavery actually entailed in ANE shows anyone with common sense that chattel slavery (not voluntary) was not practiced.

"Except relevant bible quotes"

...that say nothing about forcing people into slavery against their will...

"information in your own links that support what I'm saying and just about everything else short of taking you back in a time machine and showing you the practice yourself."

...without actually taking anything from my own links and outright admitting you wouldn't read them. LOL.

highboy said...

Just to show everyone how dishonest you are, here is the entire Leviticus passage:

39'(A)If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave's service.

40'He shall be with you as a hired man, as (B)if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee.

41'He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers.

42'For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale.

43'(C)You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.

44'As for your male and female slaves whom you may have--you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.

45'Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession.

46'You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. (D)But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.
Of Redeeming a Poor Man

47'Now if the means of a stranger or of a sojourner with you becomes sufficient, and a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to him as to sell himself to a stranger who is sojourning with you, or to the descendants of a stranger's family,

48then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him,

49or his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or one of his blood relatives from his family may redeem him; or (E)if he prospers, he may redeem himself.

50'He then with his purchaser shall calculate from the year when he sold himself to him up to the year of jubilee; and the price of his sale shall correspond to the number of years. It is like the days of a hired man that he shall be with him.

51'If there are still many years, (F)he shall refund part of his purchase price in proportion to them for his own redemption;

52and if few years remain until the year of jubilee, he shall so calculate with him. In proportion to his years he is to refund the amount for his redemption.

53'Like a man hired year by year he shall be with him; (G)he shall not rule over him with severity in your sight.

54'Even if he is not redeemed by these means, (H)he shall still go out in the year of jubilee, he and his sons with him.

55'For the sons of Israel are My servants; they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

Funny I don't see anything about involuntary chattel slavery in there.

scohen said...

That's because you didn't understand this part:


45'Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession.

46'You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves.


Clear as freaking day.

scohen said...

Instead of showing everyone how dishonest you think I am, you showed everyone how thick you are, and how you're incapable of separating out separate concepts in one passage.

Look at that, there are several types of slaves! Oh, and they're treated differently! That sounds exactly like what I've been saying all along!

You can gain acquisition (that means buy) of resident aliens, and they're your possession (that means property) indefinitely (that's forever) and they're inheritable (like property).

And look at what chattel means:
chattel: Personal as opposed to real property; any tangible movable property (furniture or domestic animals or a car etc)

So, you have a class of bound people (slaves), which are inheritable property (chattel). Now if we take the words in parenthesis which are synonyms to the words that precede them, we get chattel slaves.
Let's do the word math:

The bible allows:

1. Slaves who are your inheritable possession.

2. Slaves who are your property (an inheritable possession is your property)

3. Slaves who are your chattel (same as property)

...and slaves who are your chattel are:

4. Chattel slaves


So, the bible allows chattel slaves.
Q.E.D.

And you say I'm being dishonest? Really?
Point out the step above that's dishonest.
There, I've spelled out so simply a four year old could understand it.

Let's see if you do.

I know you're capable of startling honesty, your comments to radar in the other political post show this, why not here.

Anonymous said...

Wow highboy, what a sad corner you've painted yourself into. Defending slavery, tsk tsk. It'll be hard to live this one down.

Just out of curiosity, do you expect this to reflect well on your defense of "absolute morality"?

highboy said...

scohen: you've said repeatedly that chattel slavery wasn't voluntary yet everything we've posted in the way of research shows that ANE slavery was not involuntary, and well written research about what the Bible actually meant in each context of the word "slave". The verse (one verse out of the whole passage I might add) that you keep quoting speaks of resident alien slaves that can be bought and are inheritable yes, but under contract, as the research shows. The verbs used are "acquired" not "take". No resident aliens, or prisoners were taken as slaves. (I realise the wd yet you keep ignoring every ounce of research posted that shows what the bible clearly meant by the word "slave" in each context. I can't make it any clearer than that. Resident aliens were aloud to be bought and inherited and prisoners of war were not forced into slavery. (though the whole serf-esque thing is not exactly appealing to you either, but still)

anonymous: what does that remark even mean? Because I'm defending people volunteering themselves on their own free will for slavery in order to work and be fed and have shelter and to gain economic stability, this somehow weakens an argument for absolute morality? Please.

scohen said...

"scohen: you've said repeatedly that chattel slavery wasn't voluntary"

Well, considering that children born to chattel slaves were automatically slaves *forever*, it wasn't voluntary. There is no evidence anywhere that people voluntarily gave themselves (and their children and their grandchildren) up for this kind of slavery. This is not debt slavery.

"The verse (one verse out of the whole passage I might add)"

What's the significance of it being one verse (actually, it's three verses) out of many? Those verses lay out the rules regarding chattel slavery --each is just as important as the last.

"The verbs used are "acquired""

I know, that's why I pointed it out. This also implies that it wasn't voluntary. You paid *for* them, you don't pay them. You bought them from someone else whether they liked it or not, much like any type of property. Property doesn't get a say in who buys it.

"Resident aliens were aloud(sic) to be bought and inherited and prisoners of war were not forced into slavery"

The children of slaves were clearly forced into slavery. They had no choice who their parents were.

"(though the whole serf-esque thing is not exactly appealing to you either, but still)"

*ahem* I should hope serfdom isn't appealing to anyone living today. It's just slavery by a different name.

"and to gain economic stability"

How does a chattel slave ever gain economic stability? They're never paid, and they can never leave. Furthermore, they're subject to beatings, etc.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an amazing load of crap from Tim. You are the king of semantic arguments, as are most "Theologians" I suppose.

OK so your positions are that abortion is wrong but placing newborns involuntarily into slavery is not. Got it.

Oh yeah, and slavery in general isn't a bad thing. That pretty much cover things HB? Always the good little christian aren't you?

You look so incredibly foolish in this thread Tim. Better hope your buddy Radar buries this post ASAP.

- Canucklehead.

AmericanVet said...

It will soon be necessary to deal with some of these Bible questions. Naturally some of you have not studied the culture of the honor/shame based Asiatics/Semites/Arabs of the Mediterranean regions in the times long before Roman rule. Cultural mores were entirely different.

In fact, taking people in as slaves was a kindness in some situations in those times. Also, in some cultures the honor of a man is attached to his ruler and his fate is also attached.

Furthermore, often very outrageous language was and is used in conversations between enemies in the place of actual combat. Terribly explicit scenarios would be sketched verbally and never carried through.

We are a guilt-based culture rather than a shame-based culture. Oh man, this is going to take an entire series just to go through. Suffice it to say that most of you who have not extensively studied Biblical culture and history are not in possession of all the facts.

In some cultures, showing the bottom of your feet to someone is a serious offense and casting a shoe at them is a great assault. In some cultures using your left hand to eat or handle anything clean is abhorrent. In some cultures, pulling a scam on someone is treasured and highly valued. In some cultures making someone your friend and then murdering him is a sign of greatness.

We will have to discuss the cultural mores of the people of the Old Testament before their actions and words and the Words of God can be comprehended.

scohen said...

"In fact, taking people in as slaves was a kindness in some situations in those times"

Not in the situations I've highlighted above.

You know what I'd love? For one of you 'absolute morality' people to unequivocally condemn slavery. That'd make my day.

loboinok said...

Oh man, this is going to take an entire series just to go through. Suffice it to say that most of you who have not extensively studied Biblical culture and history are not in possession of all the facts.

A realization that caused me to quit the conversation when I did.

In the cases of voluntary servitude Tim was basically describing the modern welfare state, albeit, individually based rather than state based.

I don't recall ever encountering a liberal that was opposed to helping the less fortunate.

Made me wonder how they will handle it when they come to the realization (if they can) that they are slaves arguing against slavery, yet vigorously persuing it.

loboinok said...

You know what I'd love? For one of you 'absolute morality' people to unequivocally condemn slavery. That'd make my day.

We have. Unfortunately, you have misunderstood it and insist on remaining a slave.

scohen said...

Actually lobo, you came the closest.

"I don't recall ever encountering a liberal that was opposed to helping the less fortunate"

and you haven't, unless you mean to tell me that the only way to help them is to enslave them. This is the time when you'd hope that the omniscient, omnipotent deity would nudge people into a more humane way to help.

No such luck though, and you still have to admit that involuntary non-debt based slavery was still permitted.

loboinok said...

...unless you mean to tell me that the only way to help them is to enslave them.

Man enslaved himself. Christ, through His grace and blood, redeemed man from that bondage. I accepted that sacrifice and was freed. I then surrendered that freedom to serve Christ. Others choose to reject it and remain slaves (to sin).

When the state goes broke... what will it offer your slaves?

This is the time when you'd hope that the omniscient, omnipotent deity would nudge people into a more humane way to help.

Maybe He is, scohen. Perhaps He is taking away the 'security blanket' and forcing man to stand on his own two feet. He might even give people a nudge to spark a greater hope in scohen.

...and you still have to admit that involuntary non-debt based slavery was still permitted.

I'll admit that there were cases of unjust slavery as with Joseph and various other Christians. Other than that... how does one enslave slaves?

scohen said...

"Man enslaved himself..."

You're clearly using a different definition of 'enslaved' and 'slavery' here.

"When the state goes broke... what will it offer your slaves?"

I'm not on board with your usage of the term 'slave' in this context. Please stop --it trivializes the word to fit with your political leanings.

Who are my slaves again? Sins? This is confusing --see what happens when you mix meanings?

"I'll admit that there were cases of unjust slavery as with Joseph and various other Christians"

That's a good start. I'd continue to say that every instance of slavery is, due to its nature, unjust.

"how does one enslave slaves?"

Well, one enslaves slaves in the sense that one meaning of the term is 'a person who is owned by someone' and the other is, in your terms 'someone who sins'. If you are consistent and use one definition, it's much more clear:

How does a sinner enslave someone?

Simple, they purchase them.

Furthermore, unless you're arguing that the rules set out in leviticus are in themselves *sins*, I don't see how the sin argument enters into it at all. Wasn't the point of those rules a way to behave without committing sin?

"He might even give people a nudge to spark a greater hope in scohen."

Thank you for the kind words, but I think you're assuming a lot about me that probably isn't true.