Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Biblical bombshell

I don't normally argue with evangelists any more, but there's a group that works the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica for whom I will occasionally make an exception. These people are really a piece of work. They cart in an entire audio-visual setup: big-screen projection TV, laptop PC running Power Point, video cameras, microphones, and a PA system. They set up one microphone for the audience to ask questions. The result is usually a pretty good show, and they always gather a crowd. They are so obnoxious that even Christians will stop to argue with them, which doesn't seem to faze them at all.

A few weeks ago one of them was preaching about moral relativism: if we don't have an authoritative source of revealed morality, how do we decide what is right and wrong? (Never mind that there's actually a Biblical answer to this: we know Right from Wrong because Eve ate from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. But I digress.) Imagine you meet up with a cannibal who wants to eat you. Is that OK? He thinks it is. Who are you to dispute him?

That was an opening I couldnt' resist. I stepped up to the microphone and asked, "Is it OK to eat someone who has died of natural causes? And if not, where in the Bible does it say that?"

The guy didn't miss a beat. (He never does. He's very, very good.) "No, it's not OK. There's a story in Isaiah about some women who are in a besieged city who conspire to murder and eat their sons, and God clearly condemns this action."

"But wait," I responded, "that's not on point at all. Obviously if they have to kill their sons before they can eat them that's wrong because murder is wrong. But that wasn't my question. I asked about eating someone who has died of natural causes."

He sputtered for a moment, said something along the lines of, "It's in there somewhere -- go look for it," and shut the microphone off. (I always count that as a victory.)

Not being the sort to shirk a homework assignment I decided to try to find the story the guy was referring to. So I finally got myself an on-line copy of the Bible (can you believe it's taken me this long?) and started grepping (that's searching for you non-computer-geeks out there) for the word "flesh." I wasn't able to find the story the guy was referring to (I suspect he was blowing smoke, though he does know his Bible pretty well). But I did find this:

Jer19:9 And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them.

That's God speaking. Is it possible that God did not actually follow through on this threat? No. If he did not follow through then God will have spoken falsely. One can quibble over whether or not an omnipotent God is theoretically capable of lying, but it doesn't matter. If he actually did lie then that undermines the entire foundation of fundamentalist Christianity, which is that the Bible is True irrespective of the abstract theoretical issue. So because God said that he would "cause [people] to eat the flesh of their sons" we have no choice but to conclude that He actually did it. So it is not possible that Cannibalism is a sin, because God, being perfectly good, would never force anyone to sin. Such a thing would clearly be abhorrent to His nature.

So the Bible is clear: cannibalism is unambiguously not a sin.

It's actually much worse than that. Not only is cannibalism not a sin, it is in fact endorsed (and inflicted!) by God Himself as a punishment for sin! (The people who are being forced by God to chow down on their children are sinners, of course.) According to the Bible, cannibalism is a Good Thing! It's unpleasant to be sure, but it's for your own good (kind of like stoning).

Can't wait to hear what the Third Street gang has to say about this.

42 comments:

quantamos said...

google is so much more powerful than grep...
http://www.rationalchristianity.net/cannibal.html
(i didn't bother reading the commentary there, but it provides several references)

as for the jeremiah passage, doesn't your intuition suggest that the conclusion you came to was too easy?

Ron said...

I didn't bother reading the commentary there

I did. I see nothing there that challenges my conclusion.

doesn't your intuition suggest that the conclusion you came to was too easy?

Don't you think that a wise and compassionate God would make His Word straightforward and easy to understand?

quantamos said...

It's not for no reason that (most) Christians go to church once a week, possibly attend weekly "Bible studies", are highly encouraged to study the Bible on their own on a daily basis e.g. "devotions", and many Christians choose to go to Christian colleges instead of cheaper public schools. :-)

You might be assuming that just because some of the most important parts are simply understood that the rest of it is necessarily accessible to a passing glance...

Larry Clapp said...

This sort of aggressively literal and caricaturish assumptions about what Christians believe, and what the Bible says, gives atheists a bad name. You should not quote their books out of context any more than you'd want them to quote your books out of context.

"Is it possible that God did not actually follow through on this threat? No."

Yes. First of all Jer 19:9, in context, is obviously a threat with the intent of whipping the kingdom of Judah into shape. Second, read the same book one chapter previously, specifically Jer 18:7-10, where God basically says "I reserve the right to change my mind, depending on what humans do."

So because God said that he would "cause [people] to eat the flesh of their sons" we have no choice but to conclude that He actually did it. So it is not possible that Cannibalism is a sin, because God, being perfectly good, would never force anyone to sin. Such a thing would clearly be abhorrent to His nature.

So the Bible is clear: cannibalism is unambiguously not a sin.


So "we have no choice but to conclude that He actually did it" is false, so your conclusion that "cannibalism is unambiguously not a sin" does not follow.

And, just by the way, I disagree with "God, being perfectly good, would never force anyone to sin", too. I think the Bible makes it clear that God reserves the right to punish people by inflicting terrible things upon them. Even more than that, God reserves the right to threaten to inflict terrible things upon people to make them change.

Ron said...

You might be assuming that just because some of the most important parts are simply understood that the rest of it is necessarily accessible to a passing glance...

Not at all. I am keenly aware that many parts of the Bible are difficult to understand. The passage in question, however, doesn't seem to me to be one of them.

But I don't understand where you're going with these comments. You seem to be hinting that there's some problem with my conclusion without actually coming out and saying so. Why are you being so cagey?

Ron said...

This sort of aggressively literal and caricaturish assumptions about what Christians believe, and what the Bible says, gives atheists a bad name

I have made no assumptions about what the Bible says. Jerimiah says what it says and that's that. I did make two assumptions about Christian doctrine: 1) that if God says he's going to do something then he'll actually do it (which it turns out is probably wrong -- see below) and 2) that God will not force people to commit sins. These assumptions may be wrong, but I think it's unfair to call them caricatures.

So "we have no choice but to conclude that He actually did it" is false

Fair enough. But my conclusion still stands. Even the possibility that God might force someone to do something proves that it cannot be a sin, because God would never force someone to sin.

And, just by the way, I disagree with "God, being perfectly good, would never force anyone to sin", too. I think the Bible makes it clear that God reserves the right to punish people by inflicting terrible things upon them.

Just because something is terrible doesn't necessarily make it a sin.

One of the pillars of Christian doctrine that the source of all sin is man's free will and his separation from God. If God forced people to sin then that pillar would collapse. How can I know if I'm sinning of my own free will, or if my sin is being forced on my by God as a bizarre Kafkaeque punishment for some other sin? It just makes no sense at all.

Larry Clapp said...

But my conclusion still stands. Even the possibility that God might force someone to do something proves that it cannot be a sin, because God would never force someone to sin.

That's an interesting point. Please report back on what the Third Street gang think of it.

quantamos said...

First of all, I just want to clarify that I don't actually know if canabalism is a sin or not. Murder is, obviously, but that doesn't necessarily preclude all possibilities of eating someone. I think it is important for me to state that I don't have any problem with anybody (atheists, Christians, the devil, etc) pointing out misconceptions that I might have about what the Bible says.

This comment is along the lines of "don't give a man a fish, teach him how to fish". Sorry if my tone comes out pedantic, I hope my points are understood anyway. It's just easier to pick a mode of writing and then stick with it.

On the other hand... this issue seems (to me at least...) so trivial relative to other issues that I've never spent any time thinking about it. I have come to no conclusions on this topic. That means that you (Ron) really do have plenty of leeway to actually point out things that I've never thought about before. If you recall, I had very little to say about some of the questions you asked me back in February. However, Christians all know that the Bible is (I think) the most studied book on the planet, and that there is no reason for anybody to draw conclusions "out of the void" as it were. In particular, the Bible was not written in English, was not written to Americans, was not written by Americans, was not immediately compiled the way it is today, was written over the course of many years, etc. But people have dealt with these issues, and Christians have ways of handling these "problems" when we read the Bible: tools.

There is absolutely no reason not to use the tools that are available today when reading the Bible. For example, to deal with the difficulties involved in translations between Hebrew/Greek and English, we have Strong's numbers. Every Hebrew and Greek word is assigned a number, which you can use as a lexicon. I'd highly recommend this (free) software:
http://www.e-sword.net/

There are also quite a few commentaries on the Bible. The e-sword project is excellent because quite a few translations and commentaries are available as modules.

At the very least, you can compare different English translations. Quite a few Christians are becoming more excited about the "English Standard Version" because it is easier to understand and seems to do a better job at translating than NIV, King James, etc. This website has them all:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/

There are probably other tools, but I don't know how many free ones there are. Google is certainly a good first approximation, but "google is to Christian theology like wikipedia is to scientific knowledge".

********

Ok, why am I spelling all that out? In your post, you make a point about a Biblical passage. Fine, I have no problem with that. Furthermore, like I mentioned above, I am willing even to learn something from the effort you put in. BUT... If I am going to take what you say seriously, ESPECIALLY if you come to a conclusion that seems unintuitive, then you need to do your homework.

In this example, some of the general questions I might want to know are:
1) what do other English translations say?
2) are there other passages in the Bible that make similar points?
3) to what degree does the conclusion hinge upon one particular translation of a hebrew word?
4) what do the commentaries say?
5) what's in the context (both textual and historical)?
6) what axiomatic principles can be applied to rule out possible interpretations? (this requires Biblical references)

Apparently the first rule of hermeneutics is that you let the Bible say what it's trying to say, and then interpret it.

Incidentally, I'd highly recommend this book by Don Knuth (yes, that Knuth) called "3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated" in which he actually takes the time to systematically understand parts of the Bible. Personally, it's quite inspirational because I honestly believe that computer scientists can say very interesting things about the Bible; if they only put in the effort. The world of Biblical criticism is full of (I am told) people who like to apply statistical studies, but have *no idea* how to be honest with their statistics.

Ok, I think I've said enough... I think in summary, my main reaction was simply to the problem that it felt like the conclusion you came to was arrived at "too easily". I'm not saying it was wrong, I'm just saying I'm not convinced.

Ron said...

Christians have ways of handling these "problems"

No doubt, but that is not actually the point I am trying to make here. (Amos, you know me, so you know I don't take gratuitous pot-shots at people's faith. Give me a little benefit of the doubt here.)

What interests me is not so much how this "problem" is handled, but what it is that makes you think that there is a problem to begin with. I don't see why the conclusion that cannibalism is not a sin should be considered a "problem" that needs to be "handled". Would you please explain why you think it is?

quantamos said...

I've come to suspect that the Bible isn't as explicit on modern issues as many people would have you believe, so by "problem" I'm referring to the task of "applied theology". By "problem" I think I mean "question" (definition #2 http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/problem )

Perhaps it might help you to understand my perspective if I mention that a major realization of mine recently is that when it comes to science and research, I don't care what the answers are as much as I care about problem solving. I mentioned this to my advisor recently -- I like "method development" not "applications".

I realized about half way through that long post that my arrow was going to fly very wide. Your analysis wasn't bad, but I think I could have summed up that entire post by saying that there were ways you could have augmented it. I was kindof hoping that the target might move! :-)

tmansnclar said...

I feel obligated to respond tothis blog entry, as I was so influential in an earlier post several weeks ago. Without any justification, or documentation to back up my comments; WHAT????

Here is my interpretation of this string of thought, just because God does something, doesn't make it right. For the record, God murdered thousands of people when He caused the great flood (Noah). Since God created humans in His image, if humans are capable of sin, then He is too.

But what defines that sin? If I invent a game, I get to make up the rules. If I then break one of the rules, it doesn't matter because it's my game.

So is cannibalism wrong? Depends on your definition. Jesus teaches us to eat His flesh and drink His blood, which we do ceremoniously through representative bread and wine. Only by partaking in the flesh of the Son of Man can we be saved. What then prevents us from eating the flesh of non-divine humans? It is perhaps the nagging, back of your mind conscience that says, this can't be right.

Can you do it? Yes. Should you do it? No. Can I justify that argument? Maybe.

Ron said...

Since God created humans in His image, if humans are capable of sin, then He is too.

That's news to me. I always thought that man became capable of sinning only after Eve ate the Fruit.

tmansnclar said...

The sin was eating the fruit that Adam and Eve had been forbidden from eating. The capacity for sin has always been there, it is simply a matter of whether humans choose right or wrong. Your definition of right and wrong may vary, but there is no denying some things have a greater "wrong" feeling than others.

Ross said...

If not everything that God does is right, then God is not an entity worthy of human worship.

Modern monotheists (Jew/Christian/Muslim) attribute only positive attributes to their description of God. But the old testament describes a jealous, embittered, destructive, and easily manipulated being at least as prone to errors in judgement as any man.

Which has been my assertion all along: God either can't exist (because of contradictions in the description) or may possibly exist but isn't worthy of worship.

Ross

tmansnclar said...

There is an old phrase that "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." What and who humnas choose to worship depends greatly on ancestry and experiences. Whether or not God is infallible, or can choose to destry what He created is not our decision. Because we were created by Him, how he chooses to deal with us is entirely up to Him. To put it another way, if you have children, when they misbehave, chances are you don't take them to Wal-Mart to be disciplined by a panhandler in the parking lot. You discipline them yourself. It is your right and duty to teach them right form wrong. Do they always follow the rules you set out for them? Probably not, but you also don't give up. You change your discipline methods as the children grow and mature. Once your children are adults, you advise and comment on their lives, but otherwise stay out. Humanity is at a mature stage in its development. We have progressed in the past 150 to 300 years far beyond the previous thousands of years together. Has the progress been successful? If everyone on the planet took seriously the commandment,"Thou shalt not kill.", then the world would be asignificantly safer and less violent place. That's only one rule. Out of thousands of rules humans have created, God gave ten, and Jesus gave two. How well have we been able to follow these? If you had just ten rules for your child to follow, wouldn't your expectation be for good behavior?

Ross said...

tmansnclar, I find it very interesting that your entire post revolves around the father/child metaphor. When I matured, my relationship with my parents changed to a peer relationship. But your God would have all of us, adults and children alike, in a permanent child role, one that we can never, apparently, escape from.

The rest of my post will deal with the last sentence of your paragraph, which seems to discuss the ten commandments.

If I had to come up with moral advice for adults (not children) to follow, I wouldn't come up with a list of rules that would be 80% irrelevant in a different culture in 100 years. Instead, it would be something more like:

Step 1: decide what are the important goals in your life.
Step 2: when things are relaxed, think about how specific choices can make those goals more or less likely.
Step 3: when faced with a choice, do your best to keep your goals in mind.
Step 4: when a decision turns out to be a mistake, learn from it and don't beat yourself up too hard.

Simple rules are great for keeping eight year olds mostly safe and cleaning up their rooms. But adults living in the very complex reality of the real world are going to need better moral tools than a short list of hard and fast rules.

Ultimately, not only do atheists have morals, but Humanist moral frameworks are better than Christian moral frameworks. And let me clarify my use of the word "better". Humanist morality is to Christian morality as a full size sedan is to a Big Wheel. They're both vehicles of a sort, but one isn't really getting you anywhere.

Ross

tmansnclar said...

Why shouldn't a parent child relationship work as an analogy? Most parents I know of still offer advice to their children regardless of age. If one was to assume that humans were "peers" with God then this entire argument would be moot. Assuming God is omniscient and omnipresent, then the effects of His actions is known to Him before the action is taken. Humans possessing this ability conceivably would be less likely to break the rules knowing the consequences before they happened. As regards your comment that the Ten Commandments are no longer relevant, I simply mentioned one, "Thou shalt not kill." Humans kill each other for sport in many countries around the world. I don't need to be a Christian to be aware of this fact. If common respect for human life cannot be attained, what hope is there for any other rules?

Ross said...

So, "Thou shall not kill" is a commandment, but old testament armies depopulated cities all the time at God's request (or God did it himself). Um, yeah.

Even more salient: if an intruder is in my home threatening my children and I have the means to kill him, I will do so and I will not feel guilty about that action for even a moment. Barring some extremely strange conditions, I will not be charged or found guilty of any crime in that event.

The commandment against killing, along with almost all of rest of the commandments, is pretty darned stupid and useless for making real decisions in the real world. The only one that makes any sense is "Thou shall not commit adultery" and even then, only if you ignore Jesus "clarification" that ogling a woman's legs on the street is a form of adultery.

A short list of unexplained rules is a piss-poor way to teach morality. So if that's your God's best shot at defining right and wrong, I'm not impressed with His judgement or powers of explanation. Human beings do a far better job of figuring out right and wrong without that kind of "help".

Issachar said...

"Even the possibility that God might force someone to do something proves that it cannot be a sin, because God would never force someone to sin."

God didn't FORCE them to sin, he just put them in a situation where it would be difficult to choose not to. Those people didn't lack free will; they could have chosen to starve.

Ron said...

God didn't FORCE them to sin

That's true, but only because cannibalism is not a sin according to the Bible.

he just put them in a situation where it would be difficult to choose not to.

Sorry, but that's not what the Bible says. "I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons," is pretty unambiguous, and it does not mean the same thing as, "I will put them in a situation where is will be difficult for them to choose not to eat the flesh of their sons."

914 said...

cannibalism is not a sin according to the Bible.is that for real?? i believe that it is really a sin.

Hi said...

Many people know about the Bible, but few truly knows how to read the Bible.

For people truly interested in the Bible, you may want to look at "First Principles of Bible Study": http://www.familyradio.com/graphical/literature/study/study_contents.html

The Bible says "Thou shalt do no murder", so killing people for cannibalism is definitely a sin.

Also, God's Holy Bible has proclaimed that 5/21/2011 is the last day of salvation, when all those Jesus Christ has elected to save will have been saved and caught up to heaven on that day; simultaneously, judgement day begins, until 10/21/2011, when this universe will be completed destroyed. You can find out for yourself: http://www.familyradio.com/graphical/literature/judgment/judgment.html, http://www.ebiblefellowship.com/may21/index.html

Ron said...

> killing people for cannibalism is definitely a sin

Yes, yes, that is not in dispute. But throwing Granny's body in the stew pot after she dies from natural causes seems to be perfectly fine.

> 5/21/2011 is the last day of salvation

I'll be sure to mark my calendar.

Hi said...

> throwing Granny's body in the stew pot after she dies from natural causes seems to be perfectly fine.

Here are some examples from the Bible from which we can understand that dead body is not to be dealt with arbitrarily. For example, sometimes God allows very shameful things to happen to carcass to shame wicked individuals (e.g. read about Jezebel).

Also, see Jeremiah 16:3-4:"For thus saith the LORD concerning the sons and concerning the daughters that are born in this place, and concerning their mothers that bare them, and concerning their fathers that begat them in this land; They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth."

A sound person would want to escape this. But sadly this will happen to vast majority of the people during Judgement Day.

If one is sincerely interested in biblical subjects, one needs to read the Bible very carefully, according to the Principles of Bible study. Otherwise, one is really outside the Kingdom of Christ. www.searchgodsword.org is a very helpful website for Bible study: you can do search, and check the bible in its original languages, cross reference, etc.

You may want to be aware that not everyone speaking in the name of God are true believers: there are wheat and tares. Also, see Matthew 7:22-23. They used to be mixed together in the churches during church age (33 A.D. - 1988 A.D.), but these days true believes have been called out of churches according to the Bible, see: The End of Church Age and After.... Salvation is happening outside the churches during this time of final harvest of souls.

Hi said...

> Don't you think that a wise and compassionate God would make His Word straightforward and easy to understand?

Consider these:
    Isaiah 44:18 They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.
    2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:


Surely the God of the Bible is wise, and shows compassion (the Bible says so). But the rest of your belief appears to be contrary to what the Bible says...We human can NOT assume how God speaks/acts:
    Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

> So the Bible is clear: cannibalism is unambiguously not a sin.
>I am keenly aware that many parts of the Bible are difficult to understand. The passage in question, however, doesn't seem to me to be one of them.

Consider these:
    2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
    1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.


You appear to be interpreting the Bible yourself (private interpretation), without comparing scripture with scripture, thus violating the 1 Corinthians 2:13.

From the little bit I know of the Bible, Jer19:9 is not easy to understand at all (In fact, I don't think there is a single verse in the Bible that is easy to understand, because every verse has to be understood in the context of the entire bible). For example, have you done a study on the word "cause" throughout the scripture to see what it means according to biblical interpretation? How can you assume "cause" means "force"? Do you know the whole Bible is a parable and that "eat the flesh" maybe should be correctly understood parabolically only? Do you know what the biblical meaning of "devouring" someone? etc, etc...

You may be interested in calling Mr. Harold Camping (http://www.familyradio.com/english/connect/bio/bio_haroldcamping.html) in his Open Forum program (http://www.familyradio.com/english/connect/audio_archive/forum/), Mon-Fri 5:30-7pm PST, 1-800-322-5385. He may be able to direct you to the relevant bible verses that address your questions and help you in your own bible study.

> "It's in there somewhere -- go look for it," and shut the microphone off. (I always count that as a victory.)

victory? Have you considered these:

    Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
    Revelation 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
    Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.


The Bible is the infinite Word of God, it's impossible for anyone to know everything in it, even if you devote all your life studying it. If you are really interested in knowing what the Bible says about anything, do your own homework, it takes a lot...

5/21/2011 shall be the day when Christ is glorified (Biblical proclamation). Victory over death, victory over the devil, victory over this world...All (still living at the time) will see.

Read your Bible!!
We Are Almost There!
To God Be the Glory

Ron said...

> Read your Bible!!

What makes you think I haven't? One of the reasons I'm not a Christian is that I *have* read the Bible. I have not only read the Bible, I have read *about* the Bible, so I know how it came to be written and translated. And the result of all that reading was, for me, the inescapable conclusion that the Bible is a work of man and not the word of an all-powerful all-knowing all-loving god. So you can cite the Bible at me all day long, but you're not likely to persuade me of anything that way.

> Jer19:9 is not easy to understand at all

Jeremiah 19:9 is very easy to understand. It might not be very easy to *accept* but that is another matter altogether.

Hi said...

> One of the reasons I'm not a Christian is that I *have* read the Bible.

You have *MIS-READ* the Bible.

It's pretty clear you are not a Christian, at least not now. I don't intend to persuade you (or anyone), because I know God/Jesus alone is the Savior, human has no part in saving himself/herself, or saving any other human being. That's why I say "Read your Bible!!", because it is the environment in which GOD SAVES:

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17),
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:" (Ephesians 2:8)

> Jeremiah 19:9 is very easy to understand. It might not be very easy to *accept* but that is another matter altogether.

You are not following what the Bible says about how to read the Bible ("comparing spiritual things with spiritual"). So anything you say about the Bible has no credibility.

Ron said...

> You have *MIS-READ* the Bible.

Says you. Are you infallible?

> It's pretty clear you are not a Christian, at least not now.

That depends on your definition of "Christian."

> You are not following what the Bible says about how to read the Bible

Are you familiar with the concept of circular reasoning?

Hi said...

> Are you familiar with the concept of circular reasoning?

Yes. It is a device from men's mind/heart, where men have attempted to use as a reason to judge God and to deny God's ultimate authority -- a mark of men's rebellion, pride and arrogance. Yet it has no relevance in the realm of Holy Scripture and its interpretations.

> That depends on your definition of "Christian."

Since you are a self-professed "not a Christian", I am not disagreeing with your profession. Regarding the definition of "Christian", I have no personal definition, but rather, Christian is defined according to the Bible -- a true Christian is a follower of Christ, that means, he/she is obedient to anything and everything in the Bible, and the Bible alone in its entirety. Anything/everything in the Bible includes the first and great commandment, the second commandment, the commandment on how to read/interpret the Bible, etc, etc...

> Are you infallible?

This is not the issue here. The Bible is the infallible Word of God, and the Bible gives instruction on how to read the Bible. So anyone who violates what the Bible says about how to read the Bible, he/she is *not* reading the Bible, but rather, *MIS-READING* the Bible.

By *mis-reading*, no wonder men come up with men's conclusions of the Bible, which has nothing to do with the Bible.

Ron said...

> > Are you infallible?
> This is not the issue here.

Of course it is, because *you* are the one telling me that:

> The Bible is the infallible Word of God

The Bible actually does not say this of itself. It could not possibly say this of itself because the Bible is not a single coherent work (like, for example, the Quran or the Book of Mormon). It is a collection of disparate works written over a period of thousands of years. The Bible canon was not finalized until the Council of Trent in 1545, and even today there are two different versions. The only reason I have to believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God is because you are telling me that it is. So the question of your fallibility is very much at issue.

Let me advance an alternate theory: the Bible is not the word of God, but is in fact the work of Loki, the trickster. Loki carefully crafted the Bible to appear to be the word of God, but since Loki is not all-knowing (and by nature mischievous) the Bible is full of clues as to its true nature. These clues are discernible to those who apply logic and reasoning, but not to those who fall for Loki's mischief. On this theory it makes perfect sense that:

> the Bible gives instruction on how to read the Bible

Of course it does. But those instructions are wrong. They are part of the trick that Loki is playing on humanity.

So now we have theories of the nature of the Bible, yours and mine. How do we decide who is correct?

Hi said...

>So now we have theories of the nature of the Bible, yours and mine. How do we decide who is correct?

The problem is that much of your faith is based on your wrong understanding of what the Bible says. For example,

1) cause != force. Check the definition of "cause" on searchgodsword.org, KJV bible. Then harmonizing with the entire Bible. This is entirely not easy to understand. "cause" means to "to go out, come out, exit, go forth". In other parts of the Bible, we know that sometimes God put His Spirit on someone or an organization (e.g. the churches between 33-1988 A.D), but then God could abandon them (exit), then people/organization are left to their own sin. So God is not forcing at all, but rather, simply withdraws His Spirit, then people will end up sin in their own ways, not God's "forcing" as you see it.

2) There is nowhere in the Bible that says "eat flesh" is to be understood literally. Consider:
John 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
Is Jesus telling people to eat his flesh literally? Absolutely NOT!

If one does not read the Bible according to what the Bible says how to read the Bible, one will come out with conclusions as to what the Bible says, where the Bible has not say. The churches have done that, and I see you have done the same thing.

Ron said...

> 1) cause != force. Check the definition of "cause" on searchgodsword.org, KJV bible.

I can do you one better: I can go back to the original Hebrew. I'm a native Hebrew speaker. And you can go look at multiple English translations here:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2019:9&version=GW

You will see that numerous versions translate the verse as "I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters," which pretty unambiguous, and as a native Hebrew speaker I can confirm is an accurate translation.

Why are you so resistant to the idea that eating human flesh is not a sin when the Bible is so clear and unambiguous on this point? Are you perhaps giving more weight to your own hopelessly flawed moral intuitions than to the plain and unambiguous meaning of what you believe to be God's Word? Can you not hear Loki laughing at you?

> If one does not read the Bible according to what the Bible says how to read the Bible, one will come out with conclusions as to what the Bible says, where the Bible has not say.

But if the Bible was written by Loki and not by God, then by reading the Bible according to the Bible's instructions you are just falling into Loki's trap. You are acting according to the will of Loki and not the will of God.

So I ask you again: are you infallible? And if you are not infallible, then why should I believe what you say?

Hi said...

>I can do you one better: I can go back to the original Hebrew.

Knowing original Hebrew could helps: every word in the Bible in its original language comes from the mouth of God. The translations are not without error.

However, knowing original language is not sufficient. One still needs to read the Bible according to what the Bible says how to read the Bible.

> You are acting according to the will of Loki and not the will of God.

The Bible in its entirety is the Word of God. Loki is the imagination of your/someone own mind, not mine. And yes, the unbelievers often laugh at the true believers. Judgement Day/Rapture is almost here, on 5/21/2011:

http://www.familyradio.com/graphical/literature/judgment/judgment.html

5/21/2011 is according to the proclamation from the Holy Bible, God's Word.

Ron said...

> The Bible in its entirety is the Word of God.

Says you, not the Bible. And so we have come full circle. Unless you have something new to say I'm not going to publish any more of your comments.

Hi said...

> Says you, not the Bible. And so we have come full circle.

The Bible claims that it is from God. For example, in II Samuel 23:2 David, who wrote many of the psalms, stated that what he wrote came from God. Jeremiah stated the same thing (Jeremiah 1:4), as did the Apostle Paul (I Thessalonians 2:13). Peter says Paul's writings are "scripture" (II Peter 3:16). Jesus Himself makes many statements about the Bible's trustworthy character (Luke 16:17, 24:44, John 17:17). For example, Jesus routinely considered all Old Testament stories to be trustworthy accounts (Luke 11:51, 17:26-33).

In Jeremiah 36:1-4 God gives an example of how the Bible was written:

And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin. Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which He had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book [the roll of the book is the Bible].

(excerpts from publications on www.familyradio.com)

Ron said...

> And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken

But it doesn't say that the words he wrote are the Bible. Even if you accept the circular argument that Jeremiah 36:1-4 is true because Jeremiah 36:1-4 says it is, how do we know that what we read today as the book of Jeremiah are the actual words that God spoke to Jeremiah?

Compare this state of affairs with, say, the Book of Mormon, which states unequivocally, right at the beginning, in unequivocal terms and on the testimony of eleven named witnesses (plus, of course, Joseph Smith himself) that the entire text is the Word of God. Or the Koran, which says "This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear God." The Bible contains no such unifying claims. It cannot because it is not a unified work. It is, as I have pointed out before, a loose collection of dozens of books by dozens of authors written and compiled over the span of thousands of years, and not assembled into the form we know today until long after the last of its texts was written. It is a logical impossibility for the Bible to say of itself that it is the Word of God -- or anything else for that matter -- because the Bible did not come into existence until long after the words that comprise it had been written!

The mark of Loki's handiwork could not be clearer. Except of course to those who will not see.

Hi said...

> The mark of Loki's handiwork could not be clearer. Except of course to those who will not see.

Bible was written over a period of more than 1,500 years, from Moses' time (before 1400 B.C.) to the time of the Apostle John (about A.D. 100). The total number of human authors is at least forty. And yet, even though all these different men wrote at different times, the message they wrote is always the same, without any contradiction in any details. The reason is that God is the author, who used men to set down what He wanted to say. The human writers lived and died at different times, but the same God Who lives forever told each man what to write. For that reason, we are able to compare different parts of the Bible and find that they agree with, support, and clarify each other (I Corinthians 2:13). We can go to any part of the Bible and know it is consistently trustworthy.

Only Jesus saves, and opens people's understanding to the Holy Scripture according to the Bible. So the unsaved could not see the Truth according to the Bible:

Luke 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

Many books have been written about the Bible, or are regarded as additions to the Bible, like the Koran or the Book of Mormon. But however old or prestigious or well- accepted as a holy book they may be, no book other than the Bible is written by God Himself, and is Holy as the Bible is Holy. God warns in Revelation 22:18:

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

These verses absolutely assure us that after the Bible was completed about 95 A.D. no other words could ever be added to the Bible.

No book other than the Bible gives us the advanced warning of 5/21/2011.

(contains excerpts from publication @ www.familyradio.com)

Ron said...

> the message they wrote is always the same, without any contradiction in any details

That would be funny if it weren't such a tired old joke. There are hundreds of contradictions in the Bible. Here's a short list to get you started:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html

Many of these are arguable, but this one isn't: Exodus 20:13 versus Joshua 10:8-11.

> These verses absolutely assure us that after the Bible was completed about 95 A.D. no other words could ever be added to the Bible.

Yes, Loki is very clever.

> No book other than the Bible gives us the advanced warning of 5/21/2011.

And what will you say on 5/22/2011? Will you say, wow, I was wrong about that, maybe I was wrong about everything? I predict that you will not. I predict that you will rationalize and make lame-ass excuses and say that when you *really* interpret it correctly it turns out that the *actual* date is in 2023. People have been playing the Jesus-is-coming-Real-Soon-Now game for 2000 years. (Jesus himself was the one who got the ball rolling: Matthew 16:28.) I also predict that my own prophetic abilities -- which will be proven to you beyond all doubt on 5/22/2011 -- will have no affect on you whatsoever. Because you, my anonymous interlocutor, have entirely lost your grip on reality.

You can put your fingers in your ears and say LA LA LA all day long. But Loki will still be laughing at you.

Hi said...

> there are hundreds of contradictions in the Bible.

They are apparent contradictions: The Bible is the living Word that requires the Holy Spirit to open the spiritual understanding of the person reading or hearing the words of the Bible. So unless God open's people's spiritual understanding, people could see apparent contradictions, when the Bible actually completely harmonizes itself.

One has to read the Bible with a humble and contrite heart; otherwise, they can be "snared", and remain in unbelief:

Jeremiah 50:24 I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the LORD.

> People have been playing the Jesus-is-coming-Real-Soon-Now game for 2000 years.

That is true. But the church age is over, and things are different now:

No one except God knows the time of the end of the world. How does anyone dare to teach that the Rapture and the Day of Judgment will occur on May 21, 2011? Doesn’t the Bible say very plainly that no one can know the day or the hour of Christ’s return? Indeed the Bible did teach that.

...we learn that during the church age there would be a great curiosity concerning the time of the end, but believers were not to be at all preoccupied with this question. They were to concentrate and focus all of their attention on the task of bringing the Gospel to the whole world.

Therefore, regardless of how brilliant or how learned a theologian or Bible student might have been, or how diligently they studied the Bible or faithfully served Christ, it was impossible to learn from the Bible the timetable for the end of the world. Anyone who claimed he knew the time of the end was always wrong.

True believers have been in existence since the beginning of time. But the timeline of history as it is revealed in the Bible was never revealed to the hearts of the true believers...However, about 35 years ago God began to open the true believers’ understanding of the timeline of history. Thus it was discovered that the Bible teaches that when the events of the past are coordinated with our modern calendar, we can learn dates of history such as Creation (11,013 B.C.), the flood of Noah’s day (4990 B.C.), the exodus of Israel from Egypt (1447 B.C.) and the death of Solomon (93l B.C.)*

However, it was not until a very few years ago that the accurate knowledge of the entire timeline of history was revealed to true believers by God from the Bible. This timeline extends all the way to the end of time. During these past several years God has been revealing a great many truths, which have been completely hidden in the Bible until this time when we are so near the end of the world.

...We had learned that May 21, 1988 was the last day of the church age and was also the first day of the 23-year period of Great Tribulation, during which Satan has been employed by God to officially rule all of the churches as well as the whole world. During the first 2,300 days of this 8,400-day period the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from all of the churches as well as the entire world. This produced silence in Heaven. This sad situation is to continue in the churches until the end of the 23-year Great Tribulation period. However, beginning 2,300 days after May 21, 1988 (the end of the church age), the Holy Spirit was again poured out, producing what the Bible calls the “latter rain” (Zechariah 10:1; James 5:7) throughout the world (but not in any church), and God began a final great harvest of salvation, bringing great joy in Heaven. This salvation is not occurring in any church, but will continue outside of the churches to the end of the Great Tribulation, on May 21, 2011.

(excerpts from http://www.familyradio.com/graphical/literature/nomanknows/nomanknows.html)

Ron said...

> They are apparent contradictions

Indeed. Saying "thou shalt not murder" and then leading a genocide is a pretty apparent contradiction.

> One has to read the Bible with a humble and contrite heart; otherwise, they can be "snared", and remain in unbelief

One has to read the Bible with a critical mind, otherwise they can be snared into false belief.

You see, I can keep this up all day. What are you hoping to accomplish?

Hi said...

> What are you hoping to accomplish?

We are living in a time of history like no other. We are living right at the end of time. We are that last generation.

With absolute certainty, God is warning the entire human race that the true believers of God/Jesus Christ(those who died in faith in the past and those who are living today) will be caughte up (raptured) into Heaven on May 21, 2011, because God has great mercy from them. That will be followed by what the Bible calls the Day of Judgement after which, on October 21, 2011, God Himself will destroy this entire cosmos.

True believers/followers of Jesus Christ are to warn as many people as possible about this Biblical fact. As your fellow Ph.D/Scientist/Engineer, I stumbled on your blog recently. From your blog, you appeared to have some interest in what the Bible has to say. For busy people, here is a short video on this Biblical proclamation/warning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQHfDzN7hWk

Maybe God will show mercy to those who take heed to this warning with a humble and contrite heart.

(This is likely my last post here. I understand this is your blog site, so thank you for posting my comments.)

Ron said...

> I understand this is your blog site, so thank you for posting my comments.

You're welcome. You can return the favor by contacting me on May 22, 2011 when nothing special happens on May 21.