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Are we all Atheists?

Someone posting under the moniker 1minionsopinion has said the following:

Well, I’ll jump in with a paraphrase of some philosopher dude whose name currently eludes me – we’re all atheists when it comes to Zeus and Thor and Ra and Bast and Titan and all those other classic pantheon deities. People who insist on calling themselves “Atheist” simply believe in one less god than you do.

But is that true? I don’t think so. There are implications to believing in one less deity than I do.

First, we are not made in the image of God. We are merely descendants of other primates who have evolved intelligence, and that means that there is no inherent dignity to being human. We are animals (albeit smart ones), pure and simple.

Second, there is no transcendent meaning to anything; things are as they are. Though even atheist philosophers tend to agree that there are transcendent values (called “morality”), believing in “one less god” removes the ground for these transcendent values and renders everything we see simply as it is. Nothing means anything other than what value we assign to it–we become the arbiters of morality. Morality “evolved” the way it did because it was advantageous to the species. Nothing more.

Believing in one less god represents a fundamental worldview divide, and by saying it is a simple matter trivializes this difference.

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About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on October 15, 2009, in Heresy, Morality and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 96 Comments.

  1. Greetings. I had a few comments I’d like to share.

    Firstly, as an atheist, I don’t ever use the “we’re all atheists to some god” argument because it eventually boils down to a semantics game that really goes nowhere.

    Your argument relies on a dichotomy: either you believe in some supreme being, (not necessarily your own,) or you believe in no supreme being at all. Let’s, for the sake of argument, assume that it’s factual to assert that all life has intrinsic meaning. Well, what about those that believe in a different god from your own, yet derive the same meaning of life you find from yours? In this situation, your god is no more superior than any other one. Why is your god the correct one?

    Just because it may not be comforting to you to see no inherent meaning in life doesn’t mean it’s not the case. Your argument is entirely based off of what makes you feel better, not what reality may actually reflect. We give ourselves meaning. Do you think I find my life less meaningful than you do, simply because I choose not to believe in your God? Actually, I’d go as far as to say that my life has MORE meaning than yours, because I choose what to make out of my life, rather than God’s magnificent plan.

    So, basically, I see the two implications you pointed out as being fairly accurate representations of reality.

  2. Does believing in one less god than Islam make the absolute atheist any less moral? It might actually make them more moral!

    Does believing in one less god than the ancient Jew who approved of his god commanding genocide make anyone less moral? It might make them more moral.

    Does beliving in one less god than modern Christianity make anyone less moral? In that modern Christianity forces us to believe that Christ himself commanded genocide in the OT and forces us to say that it was OK under the specific circumstances of that time, believing in one less god than modern Christianity might make us able to have a more consitent morality–but I find it never does. I’ve not yet met an atheist online who either wasn’t gay or a defender of the worst perversion. Seems to me atheists become atheists to be gay, always.

    But what about believing in one more god like the Marcionites who believed that Jesus was the son of a god alien to our universe who came to save us from the god who created this universe and his cruelty? Under such a system you can hold to the high morality of the sermon on the mount without having to excuse the genocides of the OT, for in this system the OT god is not Jesus’ Father.

    All of what you talk about: meaninglessness of life, loss of transcendance, lack of absolute morality–modern Christianity has all these problems. The doctrine of original sin makes oure lives meaningless. The schitzophrenic presentation of the one god both commanding genocide then commanding love for our enemies destroys the idea that morality is absolute. And because god is so earthly and low-brow in his morality in the OT, th transcendance is gone.

    Perhaps Christians are atheists for beleiving in one less God than in Marcionism. There you have a bad god commanding genocide and a good one opposing it. A bad god who is racist and only loves Jews and a good who loves everyone. But in modern Christianity you have one god who both is evil and good and its too confusing to base any notion of absolute morality on. After all, Cory, you yourself say that your god can do any evil thing he wants and it isn’t evil when he does it but is good when he does it. How then is morality absolute to you? It isn’t!

  3. Rey man, seriously? I’m an atheist, therefore I’m gay?

    • If you recognize that homosexuality is a perversion, you’d be the first atheist I’ve ever met who wasn’t some sort of pro homosexual activist.

      • I’m not gay, and I have absolutely no right to judge others for how they choose to live their life. But for you to insinuate that the sole purpose for becoming an atheist has to do with homosexuality, then you truly are the most foolish person I’ve ever discussed with. You’re entitled to your opinions on homosexuality (as homosexuals are entitled to the same), but don’t you dare assume that my position on religion has anything to do with it. And do you truly believe that homosexuality is the WORST perversion imaginable? If so, it’s testament to how ridiculous your morality is. I’d say genocide, discrimination, bigotry, child abduction and molestation, murder, and a plethora of other perversions rank far higher than the gender that an individual is attracted to.

  4. Above where I said ‘worst perversion’ the s dropped off the end. Atheists tend to defend a wide range of sexual perversion(s). Not that you personally do, but if you don’t you’re the exception to the rule.

    • Fair enough. However, I don’t wish to get into a debate over my stances on homosexuality and the likes, because it’s not really the point here. Atheism isn’t a stance on social issues; it’s a stance on religion and the supernatural. I- and I’d assume the vast majority of atheists- consider themselves atheists because they see a lack of evidence and logic behind religion, not because they disagree with social stances the religion takes. It’s the “Oh, you’re an atheist because you want to sin” accusation, just packaged a little differently.

      • Well, while there may be a lack of evidence for particular religions and particular ideas about what god or the gods are like, there is not a lack of evidence for the existence of at least one god. Evolution certainly doesn’t disprove the existence of a god sense no random process can produce meaningful results without a guid or a programmer to set up rules to make something meaninful out of the randomly generated results and point them in a direction. Evolution could in fact be seen as the greatest proof for the existence of a god since it requires a mind to have programmed it. It is absurd, therefore, to not at least believe that the demiurge (maker/craftsman/creator) exists or existed at some point. That’s aside from any particular religious tradition describing what he/she/it is like. For this reason I do think atheists become atheists because they want to sin. They could just as well believe in an undefined nebulous deity like a mildly committed deist and say ‘I believe there’s a god of some sort who created the universe and got evolution underway, but I don’t know anything about him much or think he ever spoke to any man. Yet I figure he would want us to good and treat each other right.’ I think the fact that atheists choose not to at least take that position (in light of the obvious fact that there is a mind of some sort behind the universe and evolution) proves they do indeed eschew the idea of a deity for antimoral reasons.

  5. Again, evolution is not RANDOM. Your claim that evolution necessitates a designer is unfounded, and not supported by any evidence. Can you provide me with some sound evidence that such a being must exist? If, for creation to occur, there must be a creator behind it, what created God? If everything we see around us is so complex that it necessitates a creator, this creator must be far more complex than the world around us. If this is true, doesn’t this god need a creator, too?

    “‘I believe there’s a god of some sort who created the universe and got evolution underway, but I don’t know anything about him much or think he ever spoke to any man. Yet I figure he would want us to good and treat each other right.'” Assuming the first part of this is true (deism), why should I assume that this supreme being cares at all about what we do? Again, you’re making an assumption that this god actually cares

    • You’ve stumbled on the ultimate paradox: the existence barrier. Logically nothing can exist without something having existed before it, therefore logically nothing should exist. But this clearly logical and rock solid rule has been broken somehow. That itself is a proof for the existence of at least one deity. A speck of dirt could not have broken the existence barrier. Only something powerful could have called its own self into existence from non-existence.

      And as to your derision of deists assuming that God cares, this proves my point on atheism. Atheism doesn’t want God to exist for fear that he might care, which means he might have moral standards.

      And there is no evidence that evolution can work without a designer. Anyone peddling that idea is only doing so because they fear the possible moral implications of there being a designer. Its obvious there must be a designer. It can’t be gotten around.

      • How do you know it’s been broken? We don’t know that, in some form or another, the universe hasn’t always existed.

        And deists don’t believe God cares. Which was my point.

        I truly urge you to learn a little bit about evolution. Clearly, you have no idea how it works, because your entire “needs a designer” bit isn’t supported by science. Maybe, in your mind, that doesn’t make sense, but you’re not a biologist Nowhere does it state in evolutionary theory that a designer is necessary. I’m sorry. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying you’re not necessarily right.

  6. The theory of evolution is that random mutations take place in an organism, and then natural selection (death) tries to kill the organism. If it survives, it passes the changes on. And over kajillions of years those random changes stack up and finally make the organism cross from being one species to a wholly new species.

    But you say “its not random; its natural.” So how are these changes ‘natural’ if they are changing the organism’s nature? If they are moving the organism away from its nature to something against its nature, they are not natural but random, right? Ok. So how do a bunch of random changes of this sort eventually stack up to make a monkey into a man? Randomly a monkey species has just as much chance over time of becoming a bear as it does a man. A randomly the human species has just as much a chance of overtime becoming fish as becoming higher silicon based humanoids. There clearly must be a guiding mechanism like a ‘program’ programmed by a dreaded ‘designer’ making the choices as to what mutations to try, or evolution is false as a whole.

  7. Random evolution (unguided) also could not work unless the number of chromosomes for all species are the same. In that case random changes to the characters in the DNA info could move species across the species barriers easily. But how does a random process decide when to add or remove a chromosome?

    You see I’ve looked into evolutionary computing before. I downloaded an example that performed mutations on a string of fixed length. You can make it work that way fairly well (with very simple guidance rules). But once you have to use strings of variable length you need much stronger and more complicated guidance. How do you make your evolutionary apparatice know when to add an extra chromosome?

    I guess the fish just thinks to itself ‘hmmm, I need legs’ and whazoo evolution slaps an extra chromosome on there to represent the characteristics. Right? Because we can’t accept that there is a guide who in person makes these decisions NOR that a ‘designer’ ‘programmed’ the ‘system’ to know when to add a chromosome! No, because then the ‘designer’ might have moral implications that tell us we shouldn’t do a certain thing in our bedroom.

  8. Wow, there’s just so much to pick through here, it’s kind of daunting. but I’ve gone through this conversation and picked out a few things for Rey, here.

    Lets see:

    1)”Well, while there may be a lack of evidence for particular religions and particular ideas about what god or the gods are like, there is not a lack of evidence for the existence of at least one god.”-rey

    –That’s just false. There’s a distinct lack, actually. There’s absolutely no reliable, scientific evidence for any of the gods mentioned in this conversation. Including the Christian one. If you have some, by all means lets hear it. You must know something we don’t.

    2)”Evolution certainly doesn’t disprove the existence of a god sense no random process can produce meaningful results without a guid or a programmer to set up rules to make something meaninful out of the randomly generated results and point them in a direction.”-rey

    –You’re absolutely right in that evolution doesn’t disprove a god! Jeez..just impressive. But this other business about what’s ‘meaningful’ and ‘direction’ is subjective, and you’re importing your own presuppositions as to what is such. Just because a process or system exists and functions doesn’t necessitate a designer. And if you want to say it definitely does, then who designed God? If you want to set up rules, all premises that follow in examination or explanation must follow them.

    3)”And there is no evidence that evolution can work without a designer. Anyone peddling that idea is only doing so because they fear the possible moral implications of there being a designer. Its obvious there must be a designer. It can’t be gotten around.”

    –See, you’re just using the same arguments over and over. If nothing can work without a designer, then neither can your god. End of story. If he breaks the rules, than so can another explanation. And your assumption about moral implications is erroneous and false. I (and Mouse, from what I glean from his readings) don’t have any fear of moral implications what so ever. and please with this ‘obvious’ stuff. It’s not obvious. If it were..you wouldn’t need faith.

    finally:

    4)”I guess the fish just thinks to itself ‘hmmm, I need legs’ and whazoo evolution slaps an extra chromosome on there to represent the characteristics. Right?”

    –No. Not right. It’s clear that you have little to no true understanding of the theory of evolution. Science is our most reliable method of learning and understanding the vast complexities of our universe. So before you get into arguments like this I would read a book or something. Evolution is the unifying theory in all of Biology. Any scientist or science professor will tell you this. It is a proven, observable fact that species mutate and evolve over time. Exactly HOW this happens is the theory part, and that’s where Darwin and natural selection come in. However, thus far, the theory has held up and been independently confirmed and observed by scientists from all over the world, while your claims of a god hold absolutely no weight in scientific discussion of any kind, due to the aforementioned distinct lack of anything aside from anecdotal evidence.

    Good day

  9. Genetic mutation IS natural. It’s an observed and well documented phenomenon. Sure, the mutation is, for all intents and purposes, random. But this “random” mutation DOES exist, because we’ve observed it happening. What’s not random, though, is the natural selection part: mutations that in some way help the organism’s fitness are passed on. It’s natural because it occurs in nature. “Nature,” as in the natural process of evolution, shouldn’t be confused with an organism’s nature. Similar meanings, but inherently different. “If they are moving the organism away from its nature to something against its nature, they are not natural but random.” The only thing random about the mutation is whether or not the mutation is beneficial to the organism. You’re ignoring competition for resources, and other natural, changing systems, like weather and climate. For the organism to survive, it MUST change it’s “nature,” as you put it. So, perhaps, it’s an organism’s nature to change over time to adapt to its surroundings.

    “Randomly a monkey species has just as much chance over time of becoming a bear as it does a man.” If such a change was indeed random, sure, why not. But it’s NOT random: a monkey species has no need to become a bear. Do you realize how many genetic changes would need to occur for that to happen? The probability for all of those changes to occur would be astronomically small. Extremely small changes happen over extremely large spans of time. It’s really not that complicated. And if you truly knew something about evolution then you’d know that humans didn’t evolve from moneys. We share a common ancestor, nothing more. A good friend of mine explains evolution as a tree, not a line. Could you provide me with a link to this example on evolution you found? I’d love to have a look. I myself can’t explain how extra chromosomes come into existence, (I’m sure a biologist could, and I’ll research it some more.) but I don’t see how it’s much of a stretch to think it possible, as there are a number of genetic disorders that involve additional chromosomes.

    And seriously. Get off this morality thing. EVEN IF I accept that there must be a creator to “guide evolution” why should I assume that he has morals, or that he even cares about us at all?

  10. Oops. I meant to tack this on to the first paragraph: The factors of the organism’s environment that affect the organism make the natural selection element of evolution not random: environment dictates what traits are passed on and what die out.

  11. Mouse and Archimedes:

    Maybe if you showed that you read what our side has to say about the grade-school-level “Who Designed the Designer” load of crap from The God Delusion, maybe Rey would be more interested in reading what your side has to say about evolution. Your argument against God only works if God himself is contingent, finite, and time-bound. But God is none of those things: he is necessary, infinite, and timeless. There was an article in the last issue of Philosophi Christi refuting the “Who Designed the Designer” argument using the doctrine of divine simplicity. I wish I could send you a copy, but I can’t find an electronic copy anywhere. It’s called “Dawkins’s Gambit, Hume’s Aroma, and God’s Simplicity” and it’s by Erik Wielenberg of DePauw University. Maybe you’ll have better luck than I did tracking a copy down.

    • “But God is none of those things: he is necessary, infinite, and timeless. ”

      –This is a useless explanation. It’s illogical by your definition, and you’re making an unsubstantiated assertion with the “necessary” bit. I could say I believe in a supernatural being that created the universe with a light sneeze, and he created David Hasselhoff in his image. There’s no evidence for this, but there’s also no evidence against it. When you provide a logical challenge, I would just say the ‘HoffGod is timeless and beyond natural description and all that jazz. And you couldn’t do anything about it. It’s no different than your god. It’s a convenient thing to say “well..we have a universe with certain laws and systems, and when asked how our God created such universe, we can just suspend the aforementioned laws and systems to fit our bill”.

      Notwithstanding your classy wisecracks about our “load of crap” and “grade-school-level” arguments, you still obviously don’t understand the flaw in your logic. What your position boils down to is supernatural. Which we have no evidence for. You still believe in Santa Claus, too, right?

  12. Oh, you’re the post author. I was hoping you’d show up.
    Going back to the beginning!

    “First, we are not made in the image of God. We are merely descendants of other primates who have evolved intelligence, and that means that there is no inherent dignity to being human. We are animals (albeit smart ones), pure and simple.”

    –Here you make 4 points. Three are correct! We are not made in the image of God. Check. We are descendants of other primates. Check! We are animals, and smart ones. Check! There is no inherent dignity to being human. Well, not so much here. You’re making, again, an empty and biased claim. You import your presupposition that without being subservient to a god, we can’t be anything more significant than a bunch of biomass. Well we are, fortunately so, sentient and emotional beings capable of great things of our own convictions. Significance, honor, dignity, love, purpose come from within us. It comes from our will to better the world we find ourselves living in. And if you need a god to give purpose to your life and purpose to the human race, that’s a sad affair.

    “Nothing means anything other than what value we assign to it–we become the arbiters of morality. Morality “evolved” the way it did because it was advantageous to the species. Nothing more.”

    –You got it, chief! Morality is relative, and yes..this is a big topic for another debate. Nonetheless, yes..morality “evolved” the way it did because it promotes societal harmony in different forms..depending on where or when the society defined what is moral. Now, what’s amusing is that I completely agree with your above statement completely, and yet you say it with a negative connotation. To the contrary. We have evolved, as I said, into smart, sentient, and compassionate humans. We formulate moral laws in order to facilitate the betterment of our societies and lives. How is that anything less than smart of us?

    Here’s the deal. As you referenced above, none of us, including you, believe in Thor, Apollo, Mithra, Kali, the Muslim version of God, etc. Many gods that you denounce provide moral codes to defy and life purpose to lose out on, which seems to be your argument. I don’t believe in your god for the same reason you don’t believe in the great Juju of the Mountain (while we’re on Dawkins references).

    • Arch…you are wandering in the desert of human reasoning my friend. I know because I spent years there myself. A man will always behave like the person (or primate) he thinks he is. This is why we see such a broad array of behavior patterns in mankind as opposed to a singular (instinctual) set of parameters in the animal kingdom. You will never witness a bear behaving like a chicken or visa versa because they are not conflicted regarding their (true) nature and origins as man(kind) is.

      So this duality is perpetuated by man who “thinks” (as a man thinketh in his heart so is he) that he is a descendent of the beastly nature. This results in very disparate manifestations and behavior patterns. One is evil another “good”, one loves and one hates, one prefers others before himSelf and another is Self serving. So which is it? Which is man’s true Self? David posed the question to God saying “what is man that thou art mindful of him?”. This gets to the heart of the matter, when man knows who he truly is, when he sees the pattern Son (Christ, not religion) then He see’s his true nature and self in the original matrix, intention.

      It’s His image in us that’s been defaced…that’s why Paul declared that its “Christ IN you” that we call forth, that is the truth (true nature) of every man (Col 1:27 & 28). I realize this (currently) makes no sense to you whatsoever, has no merit in your understanding. The truth of every man is Christ perfected in Him and He is Life, selfless love, mercy, wisdom, etc.

      All the best…

      • John,
        Thanks for your thoughtful response, but I obviously disagree. As I mentioned, people are defined as such because of our ability to reason, be rational, and acknowledge our consciousness.
        Now, you seem to take confidence in defining your referenced duality in terms of good and evil. If you’ve read my previous post, you may glean that I wouldn’t acknowledge such “forces” (or what have you)to be external and objective. Evil is whatever we say it is, and thus, so is good.
        In continuation, you imply that there is a way we act, and subsequently a way we actually are, or should be… (I.e. the children and creation of God). And then you pose which is the true self.

        As such, you can take the stance, based on the Bible, that we are subordinated creations of an all powerful deity, and you can use all the scripture you want to back that up. Trouble is, the Bible holds no weight with me. It was written 2,00 years ago by PEOPLE. not a god. People wrote the bible, and that’s all you (or anybody) can truly assert. Any claims of divine inspiration are unsubstantiated claims. Incidentally, I happen to disagree with the people that wrote your book.

        So, who is my true self? All I know for sure is that I’m a living, rational, sentient being with a body and a mind. It’s up to me to create my identity and choose how I want to live my life. My ultimate truth (as you have yours) is that we are a highly advanced species that are capable of thought, emotion, and reasoning. I feel, seeing as how this is the only life we have, it’s my purpose to live a fulfilling, helpful, and happy life. I don’t need a god for that.

        Cheers

  13. Competition for resources and random mutations within the existing DNA structure I have no problem with. A program can easily randomly change a few characters in a string each iteration. The problem comes in at the species jump point when the number of chromosomes changes. That is my quarel and neither of you guys can explain how a random process knows when to add or remove a chromosome. You can say that random changes occur in the existing chromosome structure. Fine. So what! That doesn’t move a species across the species barrier to being a new species. I want to know how you think a random process has the intelligence to know when to add or remove a chromosome (not just change the info in an existing one). When they were trying to indoctrine me into this crap in school instead of the asinine and childish “all life evolved from a common ancestor” and the cheasy ‘proofs’ from the fossil record they should have made some attempt the explain how a random process is smaret enough to know when to add or remove a chromosome. They ignored the most important detail. They failed. You are failing equally as bad. I have also yet to find anything online even attempting to explain it. But having attempted to reproduce the thing with computer programs, I know the answer: someone has to program it to know how to do that.

  14. Why is the change in chromosome number always ignored by proponents of unguided evolution? Why do they choose to only speak in terms of mutations that take place within the existing chromosomes and always ignore how new ones get added or removed by a random mindless and blind process? Because this is the point that proves the process cannot work as a mindless process.

  15. Just because you can’t explain it doesn’t mean there isn’t an explanation? You don’t get to appeal to mystery. This is supposed to science, remember? If unguided evolution cannot be explained on the chromosome level (the only level capable of producing new species!) Then clearly unguided evolution doesn’t work. How shocking that the evangelists of unguided evolution don’t know the first thing about how their system works on the chromosome level but they assure us it is the greatest truth in the universe and ‘trust me, it works.’ What a joke!

    • Did you know that both chickens and dogs have the same number of chromosomes? 78, to be exact. They’re not the same species.

      “If unguided evolution cannot be explained on the chromosome level (the only level capable of producing new species!) Then clearly unguided evolution doesn’t work.”

      So if we don’t know for certain how something works, then it therefore doesn’t work… The point of science is to explain what we don’t understand.

  16. In the link latinformouse provides downsyndrom is used as an example of how the number of chromosomes can change via ‘evolution’. But downsyndrom is not an evolution to another species but a continually occuring disease within one species’ population. If evolution to a new species ocurred the way downsyndrom does in human offspring then we would still see chimps giving birth to humans. Then there would be zero debate on evolution vs creation. Everyone would believe in evolution then. But there would still be the question of whether evolution was designed or not.

    • n the link latinformouse provides downsyndrom is used as an example of how the number of chromosomes can change via ‘evolution’. No, I simply said that it’s not unheard of for a species to produce an offspring with MORE chromosomes than the parent. You didn’t seem to think that possible. Let’s fit this into evolutionary theory: Consider the extra chromosome a mutation. Evolution would come into play if that extra chromosome survived and was passed on.

      Evolution on the scale you’re referring to occurs over millions of years. We wouldn’t be able to observe something like that in progress.

      • Scientists studying evolution, at this point in time, often apply to the metaphor of stumbling on a crime scene. We see what has happened, and via observation, studying species, fossils, biology, etc..we are working towards figuring out what has happened, why, and how. This is where the theory of evolution comes in.

  17. If you don’t know how something works then you can’t prance around like a peacock claiming you do, and you can’t discount the possibility that it was designed. You don’t know how it works so how do you know it works without guidance?

    • The discounting of a designer isn’t a simple result of us not knowing exactly how things work, the fact that there’s no evidence of such a designer is why it’s discounted.

      If I said all wind is created by a huge, invisible raven flapping his wings in the atmosphere… You might say something to the effect of “that’s silly..we know that wind is caused by air moving from high pressure to low pressure”. (which is true) So here we have two claims, one backed by a verified scientific explanation, and the other a silly folk tale. The trouble with the folk tale, though, is that you can’t disprove it.

      The idea here is that we have a concept (wind) that we know how it works. We didn’t always, though. So we figured it out, and we no longer have a need for the silly story. This is exactly what you’re doing with your god. We don’t understand everything about our universe or the origin of life, but we’re trying, and we may in the future. What we have now is a framework for the best explanation we have now. Appealing to the unverifiable claim “god did it”, isn’t an explanation at all. Just like the raven.

  18. Evolution occuring over millions of years still doesn’t explain the chromosome issue since there’s no way that happens over millions of years. It has to happen suddenly! Appealing to ‘it takes millions of years’ is nothing less than calling it a mystery and asking for blind faith in your say-sos.

  19. Arch…thx. What you described is Independent Self in which man asserts a self originating light and life analogous to the moon declaring it’s light to be it’s own. The physical illustrates the spiritual. Independent Self is mankind’s ancient dilemma and its an intoxicating illusion indeed.

    I appreciate you, your journey…all the very best my friend.

    • John,
      I’ll be honest in that I was a little taken aback by your response. I, like I assume you do, appreciate others’ opinions and ways of life. Doesn’t mean I agree with them, but I respect them. But this whole moon analogy is unfounded and judgmental.

      It’s understandable, to a certain extent, when you subscribe to a religion which preaches that everyone who doesn’t believe what you believe is going to hell. Even so, you have no place to tell me where my strength, purpose, and will to live a good life come from. Or that I’m intoxicated by an illusion.

      We can both agree, I assume, that we’re alive on Earth. I take the default position in that we’re alive and ultimately responsible for ourselves and our lives. You, however, are claiming that you’re the creation of an omnipotent, all powerful, invisible supernatural deity that cares about you and wants to save you from a hell that he (ultimately) imposes. Now that’s an intoxicating illusion.

      I appreciate you too, though, sir. Godspeed

      • Arch…in many ways mere text comunications are a poor medium not allowing for voice inflection, ie the writer’s heart and intentions are often not so clearly expressed. I mean no disrespect whatsoever.

        It is my firm belief that I owe you, my fellow man the truth, the truth that my (long, arduous) journey has revealed to me. The result of truth is always greater liberty, freedom within. It’s the least we can do for one another, speak the truth in love.

        I never said you were going to hell, I dont believe that is anyone’s eternal destination for God is love and the two (eternal loss and the fact that God is love) can not be reconciled. All God’s works are redemptive in nature, not eternally punitive. What possible purpose could that serve? How in any way would it amend for the wrongs done? For one to be eternally separated from Life (Himself) would constitute a defeat of God (of Love) which is not possible. For, “as in adam all died, so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor 15:22). All means all, God is love.

        I love and agree with George Macdonald’s (1824-1905) thoughts on the subject, too long to go into here but very insightful, beautiful. Thanks for a few minutes of your time and attention, all the best.

      • I understand your intentions better. I have my thing, you have yours, and we can agree to disagree, but I appreciate your forwardness and kindness.

        Not all who wander are lost,
        fly free my friend
        ~nick

  20. Eh! a Dr. White video. Disgusting! He definitely needs one more God.

  21. Well I consider this a total wrecking by the side of Latinformouse and Archimedes.

    Nice discussion, though

    • You’re hardly an unbiased observer, Fillmore. You have a similar e-mail address to and share an IP address with Archimedes. Nice try, though.

      Besides, it isn’t like your competition was fierce. Rey and John C? Try arguing with some of the people here.

      Despite that, I still don’t see that it was a total wrecking. Somehow, the debate turned to evolution when the post was premised on the differences between our worldviews. I saw no one offer anything compelling to refute my contention that saying you believe in “one less god” is fundamental worldview divide.

      The way you view the world will ultimately determine the way that you act toward your fellow man. If you see humanity as evolved primates versus special creations of God, then your actions will vary drastically.

      • “I saw no one offer anything compelling to refute my contention that saying you believe in “one less god” is fundamental worldview divide.”

        I never attempted to refute this, because I agree with it. However, I find your particular worldview to be inaccurate, as I said in my original reply. While it did get extremely off topic, I feel it was at least somewhat productive.

        Cory, howabout instead of belittling those on your side of the debate, perhaps you could do a little bit of debate yourself? You claim to “defend the faith against its detractors,” but the most you’ve done in this topic was insult the intelligence of every other participant in it. Instead of salivating at your theologyweb superiors, (and it doesn’t matter how “good” the “competition” is if their view is equally ridiculous) why not you, yourself, give it a shot. Both myself and Archimedes left plenty of posts here for you to jump in on.

      • Yeah yeah. I knew how it would look. But my roommate read the posts with me and wanted to post a reply. but was probably in bad taste anyway. Apologies.

        I may have been an ass a little bit, but none of it is ad hominim. But yes. I must agree with Mouse. We’ve been posting a lot of stuff you could argue. Let’s make some meaningful discussion.

  22. Cory, I dont participate in the forum to “debate” anyone. I only share my experiences when required given the topic at hand. If you remember I actually left for an extended period when things had devolved into such a pitiful, fleshly, argumentative state. Therefore, you wouldnt want me on your debate team, ha. But, that being said I do very much appreciate you and your emerging forum here and wish you and everyone all the very best.

    Thanks, John C!

  23. It seems that if you see humans as evolved primates versus special creations of God your actions will differ drastically. But I suppose its possible for someone to posit a world in which the universe simply exists and man does evolve by an unguides process and a God come in later from outside that universe and teaches man morality. The problem with atheism is that it can’t allow for any being to teach morality. Dawkins admitted in Ben Stein’s documentary that he isn’t opposed to intelligent design as long as the designer is an alien race who also evolved rather than a god. Obviously, however, if such an alien race began to teach morality, he would oppose this idea.

    • “The problem with atheism is that it can’t allow for any being to teach morality.”

      I agree, except it’s not a problem; it’s a reality. Humans ultimately decide for themselves what is moral. Absolute morality is an illusion.

  24. Of course human beings ultimately decide their own morality. Yet just like evolution itself they need some guidance. Evolution needs a goal to move towards in its mutations and human beings need a goal to move towards in their morality (a role model if you will).

    • If by guidance you mean nature. Natural laws dictate the formation of anything in the universe, including life. And evolution. The “goal” you reference is survival, something essential and universal. Similarly, humans do the same thing. Survival. For that you need societal harmony, which is what morality stems from. The effort to do what is “normal” to produce societal harmony and functionality.

      Therefore, these “goals” and things you mention require no god.They are natural inclinations. As such, morality doesn’t need a god either.

  25. How will the religion of a genocidal maniac god be overcome by teaching that men aree just glorified monkeys who only exist by chance? That will be seen as confirmation that some men are worth less than others and should be exterminated. Such an evil religion can only be overcome with a good religion not with outright irreligion. You must fight fire with water, not more fire. Atheistic evolution and the OT are one and the same morally–they both glorify and excuse racism. Chrestianity (Marcionism) does not.

  26. No survival is not the goal. How does a goal of survival outlaw genocide? Or rape? It doesn’t. Your goal is not worthy as a goal. Not for morality. Nor is it worthy for evolution. For the mere survival of a species, if that were the goal, why make sentient species? Why exceed the goal by so much? One a few species are made that can survive, why continue the creation proceess? No, my friend, survival is NOT the goal.

    • “why make sentient species”

      Even in the context of my argument, you just assume there’s a “maker”. Your logic is circular and that doesn’t get us anywhere.

      Good day, sir!

      • No, his logic is not circular. He’s asking why would nature make a sentient species. Evolutionists quite frequently appeal to the metaphor of a Maker when they write. When Rey does the same, you accuse him of circular reasoning. Not very fair.

        It’s a question I’d like to see answered: if survival is the only goal, why go any further than bacteria? They are better equipped to survive than any species thanks to their ability to make spores.

      • Please, if you would, provide a quote where I or anyone (other than you), said survival is the only goal. You seem to be going to town with that.

        And, two, no evolutionary biologist has, to my knowledge, uses the terminology “Maker” when dealing with evolution. If they have, let’s see a cited source.

    • “How does a goal of survival outlaw genocide? Or rape?”

      Societal morality doesn’t generally condone such actions. I’m sure most would consider genocide immoral, but that doesn’t stop them from doing it. Is this any different in your system? Do people go against what God tells them is moral? People will constantly go against what they consider to be moral, regardless of how their notion of morality was implanted in them, be it because society has dictated it so, or because they believe a god instructed it.

      “For the mere survival of a species, if that were the goal, why make sentient species? Why exceed the goal by so much?”
      I wouldn’t say we really exceeded anything. Being extremely aware and social beings, our extremely complex moral system is necessary. It’s our speciality, if you will.

      • Whatever the source of morality, humans will ignore it. Look at the tale of the Garden of Eden. The Bible teaches that we are totally depraved, and even some atheists are beginning to see this (though they try to deny it). Maybe a better way to think of “totally depraved” is enslaved to sin. It doesn’t mean that we’re as evil as we can be all the time, just that we are, at our core, very selfish.

        Note that nowhere in Scripture does it say that once you are a child of God that you will sin no more. Becoming a child of God makes you a work-in-progress. So that means that Christians are no better than their atheist counterparts at resisting sin. The difference is that we have hope that one day, this human condition of sinfulness will be taken away from us when we are glorified.

        The atheist has no hope such as this. The human condition is what it is, and nothing more.

        As to the survival question, I actually agree with Rey for once. I’d like to know what the point of making so many different species was when (if the only goal is survival) the simplest life forms are far better equipped to survive then the complex ones.

      • In response to: “Maybe a better way to think of “totally depraved” is enslaved to sin. It doesn’t mean that we’re as evil as we can be all the time, just that we are, at our core, very selfish.” and “The difference is that we have hope that one day, this human condition of sinfulness will be taken away from us when we are glorified.”

        It’s a Christian concept that we’re all inherently broken. If you don’t subscribe to that, then none of your moral or human-purpose arguments mean anything. Incidentally, like you put it, it’s the bible that teaches us such things. I happen to think it’s another device used in the snare of a certain religion. “You suck, you need God”. It’s pathetic.

        We’re born with no predispositions as to how to act morally and pick up such things through our parents, friends, society, media, what have you. Thus, people aren’t born broken or unworthy of something. While the opportunity is there to do what we consider as wrong, the opportunity is also there to do what what we believe is right. And perpetuating the happiness of our friends and family, helping people, being a good person (I.e not killing people, things like that), whatever you want to couch out..is tantamount not to pleasing a god, but to making a good life for ourselves in the only one we have.

      • I think a quick scan at history bears out the fact that we are totally depraved. Crusades, Inquisitions, the treatment of Native Americans by the white man, the slave trade, and the Holocost, to name a few instances. If our condition is not broken, then why all the examples of brokenness?

      • All these examples, however deal with religious people who held the God of the Old Testament and Jesus’ Father to be the same God. “Crusades, Inquisitions,”–Catholics who viewed the two as one God. “the treatment of Native Americans by the white man, the slave trade”–Protestants who viewed the two as one God. “the Holocost,”–Germans who viewed the two as one God.

        Could the “brokenness” the “totally depraved”ness of these men not be in that they believed in a religious system that made the God of Infinite Love and the God of Genocide out to be one and the same God?

        From the very beginning of Christianity there have been dualistic Christian sects who held these two are two different and adversarial Gods. Not just the Marcionites and Manicheans and such of the first 5 centuries, but also the Cathars and Albiginsians and such of the latter centuries, continuing up to the Reformation to be sure. The Inquistion actually was invented by the Catholics to destroy these dualistic sects. “The anti-Cathar Albigensian Crusade, and the inquisition which followed it, entirely eradicated the Cathars.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catharism

        You are not very knowledgeable of church history. There has always been this conflict between Judaized Christians who turned the Heavenly Father of Love into the cruel sadistic God of Genocide of the OT. And the conflict has always been one of preaching by the dualists met with murder and genocide by the good ‘orthodox’ monotheists who held that the same God is both good and evil.

      • Ok, I took a shot at you, you took a shot at me. But I think that we’re missing the bigger picture here: the atheist is the common enemy and we should be fighting against him. When we let our obviously competing theologies blind us to the real enemy, then he’s already won.

        At the risk of negating my entire point, how do you explain Deuteronomy 6:4 and Isaiah 45:5-6, 18? If there is no other god aside from the Lord, then the only conclusion that I can come to is that people who say otherwise are not preaching the whole counsel of God. We’ve had this discussion before, you and I, and it boils down the authority of Scripture. You reject much of Scripture (unreasonably, it seems to me). You ignore what is plainly taught in favor of some flavor of Marcionistic dualism. But I think that fails to appreciate the character of God revealed in Scripture. Loving and just are not opposed to one another. The mass genocides were God’s judgment on a sinful people; a judgment he had every right to execute. Read Revelation sometime: the New Testament contains evidence of judgment and wrath against sin, same as the Old Testament.

        Stop putting God’s judgment in opposition to his love. Understand that they are both parts of his character, and always will be.

      • That is no proof that we’re inherently evil. People are capable of terrible things, yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s our default setting. Have you ever owned a slave, killed someone else for their belief, or slaughtered a group of people? To make that claim that we’re inherently evil is to ignore the great body of good that we humans do, and are equally capable of doing.

      • I never said we weren’t capable of doing good, but what is good and who defines what is good?

      • “Good” is an abstract concept that is ultimately defined by the individual. We base it off of what we’re taught is good, what we observe in society. “Good” is subjective, but obviously there are generally accepted societal morals that most members tend to accept: murder, for instance.

      • But why does what is good seem to transcend cultures? For example, we’ve never discovered an indigenous tribe tucked away in some out-of-the-way corner of the world that thinks murder is okay. Adultery is almost universally forbidden, too. So is theft. So is sexual intercourse among close family members. It can’t come from society, because it seems to drive society. It has to come from outside society.

      • “But why does what is good seem to transcend cultures?” ‘Seem’ being the operative word here. And I’d be very careful claiming that all cultures don’t condone murder, adultery, or incest, because there are very striking examples of all of them, many within western societies. But the point is, I see those unifying shared morals as being evidence that even across cultures, humans are so very much alike. Howabout this: could a society exist if murder was a perfectly acceptable action without any sort of moral implication within a society, could that society survive? It wouldn’t work. A commonality between all cultures doesn’t mean that commonality transcends anything. For instance: All cultures up to this point have had some form of shelter. Shelter therefore transcends culture. Murder is immoral across cultures because condoning it is counterproductive to the race in general.

      • But the point is, I see those unifying shared morals as being evidence that even across cultures, humans are so very much alike.

        I agree, to a point. Humans share the same Creator, who wrote his law on our hearts. That explains the commonality.

      • Well damn man. What can I even say to that? Other than perhaps that it’s ridiculous and has no single shred of evidence to support it. It’s just as good an answer to say aliens implanted a moral code in us 10,000 years ago. It explains it, sure, but it’s utterly absurd.

      • Atheists always complain of “no evidence for God.” Yet, when faced with this beautiful earth and awe-inspiring universe, they balk at it and say, “Well it just happened that way.” No Creator needed. Pardon me for coming to the opposite conclusion. Life, the universe, and everything in it is evidence for God. Yes, I’m aware of the irony of using the phrase “Life, the universe, and everything” in that context.

        As for you contention that space aliens implanted a moral code, we both know that that did not happen because you made that up just now. I can’t answer everything that you make up, but I can deal in what is probable. What you suggest is not probable. But what I suggest–that God wrote the moral code on our hearts–is probable and is supported in the Bible. I can’t give you anything better than that.

      • Oh, so if I wrote a book about said aliens and let it sit for 2000 years it’d be more probable. Gotcha. I must say, your bar for probable is quite low.

      • This is ridiculous, I’m sorry. So just looking around at the earth and the trees and the sunset and the stars…that’s your evidence of God? What you’re seeing is a FRACTION of the chaos that is our universe. It’s funny you fail to see the dead bodies of the 30,000 children that die everyday of preventable causes, the massive earthquakes and storms that shatter Earth, viruses and the death, illness, and hunger that plague billions of people.

        If I worshiped a God I claim is all good, all knowing, and all powerful..I would be ashamed to give this world as evidence of his creation.

      • Typical argument by outrage.

      • By the way, I just nominated that last comment for a Screwball Award here. I should probably nominate a few of Rey’s rantings as well.

      • Ironic nominating that comment for a screwball award on a Christian website… Hmm…

      • You can take issue with it here.

      • Oh, I have no issue with it at all. God blessed me with a very keen appreciation for irony, that’s all. It’s a bit of a shame, though, that the most you could do to respond to Archimedes’s post was laugh about it with your internet love buddies. It’s a valid argument, and you disregarded it pretty nonchalantly. “Beauty,” as you pointed to as ‘proof’ for God, is entirely subjective; it’s not proof no matter how you choose to spin it.

      • I never argued that beauty was the reason for looking at Earth and seeing it as evidence for God. The mere fact of existence–that there is something rather than nothing–is the primary reason for assuming that God exists. I agree that beauty is subjective. But most humans regard this planet as beautiful. Most humans regard the stars in the sky as beautiful. Most humans regard pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope as beautiful. Awe at creation, a creation that we can’t explain apart from its creator, no matter how much atheists try.

        I dismiss the argument because I don’t regard the presence of sufferings or of evil as a valid reason to embrace atheism. If you do, then you prove my point that atheism is an emotional reaction rather than an intellectual one.

      • Thank you for using the word “assume,” because it’s a pretty big part of your argument here. Firstly, you assume that the universe necessitates a creator, which the jury is still out on. Believe it or not, science has done a pretty terrific job of explaining a lot of the creation you’re referring to, no matter how much you try to ignore it. Sure, it’s still a work in progress, but it’s progress all the same.

        “I dismiss the argument because I don’t regard the presence of sufferings or of evil as a valid reason to embrace atheism.” It’s certainly not a reason to embrace atheism. It’s fair to ponder, though, that if there was an intelligent designer to the universe he’d of done a better job of eliminating a lot of the suffering that we go through. If we’re the crown jewel of God’s creation, why make us so inherently flawed that we need to ignore our true evil nature and come to God? Anyway, I digress from the point of my response, and this isn’t really a viable point of discussion.

        Back to my point…The problem with what you say is that you offer a absolute, definite solution to a problem that we’re not entirely sure even exists. Even if I contend that the universe does necessitate a creator, why is yours the right one? From an objective standpoint, your religion, your god, your beliefs, are just as valid and plausible as every other religion on the planet, or any one I can make up off the top of my head. Answering a question incorrectly is generally worse than not answering at all. I have no problem with you stating that the universe needs an intelligent creator, but to state, absolutely, that this creator is the god of the Bible is a gigantic leap in reasoning, and absurdly illogical.

      • It isn’t so illogical when you consider that there is good evidence that Jesus is who he says he is, and he claimed to be the son of the God of the Bible (despite what Rey may tell you).

      • Lemme just say, Rey holds absolutely no merit in my book.

        I’m fascinated to hear what evidence you have, though.

      • Well, the New Testament. Historians agree that it is the best source of information for Jesus.

      • Historians would agree that the New Testament is the best source of information for Jesus because there really isn’t much else outside of it. Other than a couple casual references by Josephus and Tacitus, the Bible is really the only place Jesus was even mentioned. In a historical context I’ll agree the New Testament is evidence that Jesus existed and that he had a following of people that believed him to be the messiah. Proving Jesus’s existence does very little to prove his divinity, however. Even if Jesus himself believed he was the son of God that still is no evidence that he was correct. But I don’t think it’s inherently safe to use the NT as anything more than a religious text, because so much remains unknown about its authorship, historical accuracy, and a plethora of edits and revisions made by different churches over the years.

      • Even if Jesus himself believed he was the son of God that still is no evidence that he was correct.

        So, you don’t think that the Resurrection is proof?

        But I don’t think it’s inherently safe to use the NT as anything more than a religious text, because so much remains unknown about its authorship, historical accuracy, and a plethora of edits and revisions made by different churches over the years.

        Okay, first off, why doubt the authorship that tradition establishes? Even if authorship is in doubt, does that somehow affect the veracity of what was reported in the New Testament?

        Second, what remains unknown about its historical accuracy? So far as I’ve been able to tell, it is an extremely reliable historical document.

        Third, can you show me evidence of these so-called revisions? I’ve been asking atheists for these so-called revisions and no one has stepped up to offer me evidence of them. The textual integrity of the NT is unparalleled. With almost 6,000 original MSS available to study, it is child’s play to piece together the originals. Most of the variations are in spelling, and no variant affects any Christian doctrine. If you can prove otherwise, you’re the first critic that has ever done that and you should win some kind of award.

      • Are we all inherently rapists? If not, then why all the examples of rape?

        As I mentioned, I’m a proponent of the tabula rasa thesis. People do bad things all the time, yes. But people also do good things quite often. We’re not inherently anything, we make the decisions of our lives..while we’re living.

  27. The argument that the “mass genocides in the OT are judgements on sinful people” cannot explain Exodus 31:17-18
    “Now therefore kill every male child and every woman who is not a virgin but all the female children that are virgins keep for yourselves.”

    So the god of the OT here not only commands genocidal activity but also apparently sexual activity with young girls from the exterminated races. Kill all the males, but keep the young girls for a little party after the genocide.

    How is that judgement against a “sinful nation” when in reality the OT god is commanding his “holy” nation to commit two sins, murder and child-rape?

    The position that this god is the same as Jesus’ Heavenly Father is simply untenable. And the fact is, that if this god is the only god there is, we might as well not have a god since he cannot make us any better but only corrupt us with his perverse judgements.

    These are the sorts of commandments that make people totally depraved, not that save them from total depravity.

  28. And if you read on in Numbers 31 you find that after the children of Israel save the young girls for their post-genocide party, according to verse 28 they have to give one out of every 500 of them to the priests. Just because the priests didn’t participate in the war doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get to participate in the ensuing debauchery, right? “And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as Yahweh had commanded them.” (Num 31:31) I’ll bet theyu did.

    And how many young sex slaves did they take up in the war? It actually tells us!

    Numbers 31:35 tells us it was 32000. That’s only 64 for the priests, so I guess they had to share.

    • You dodged my question. What do you make of the clear statements in Scripture that “God is one” and there are no other gods? You can provide more examples of bad behavior commanded by God if you want to, but that doesn’t address my question.

      But all this begs the question: are you interpreting history accurately? Glenn Miller says no.

  29. Your question on how to deal with the statements in the OT that there is only one god are silly in light of the obvious fact its been proven the bible isn’t perfect. Besides, Paul says there are gods many and lords many but to us there is only one. That means there’s more than one but we only worship one of them. Even in the OT a multiplicity of gods is acknowledged because there is a passage in Deuteronomy where Almighty God hands out nations to the gods and happens to give Yahweh the nation of Israel for his inheritance. In that passage the Massoretic text has the phrase “according to the number of the children of Israel” whereas the LXX has “according to the number of the angels” and the dead sea scroll “according to the number of the gods.” Why you never noticed that this passage was saying God Almighty handed out nations as inheritances to lower gods is that you read a translation that obscures it by saying “number of the children of Israel” following the Massoretic and also because you assume based on the shema that there is only one. But the shems says “Yahweh our God is one Yahweh” not “Yahweh is the only God.” The later passages in the prophets that make Yahweh proclaim himself to be the only god are revisionist histories by the propehts. Deuteronomy shows that Yahweh is a sub-deity of God Almighty.

    • Your question on how to deal with the statements in the OT that there is only one god are silly in light of the obvious fact its been proven the bible isn’t perfect.

      I must have missed that memo. Where has this been proven? Not here, and not by you.

      Besides, Paul says there are gods many and lords many but to us there is only one. That means there’s more than one but we only worship one of them.

      Citation, please?

      Even in the OT a multiplicity of gods is acknowledged because there is a passage in Deuteronomy where Almighty God hands out nations to the gods and happens to give Yahweh the nation of Israel for his inheritance. In that passage the Massoretic text has the phrase “according to the number of the children of Israel” whereas the LXX has “according to the number of the angels” and the dead sea scroll “according to the number of the gods.” Why you never noticed that this passage was saying God Almighty handed out nations as inheritances to lower gods is that you read a translation that obscures it by saying “number of the children of Israel” following the Massoretic and also because you assume based on the shema that there is only one.

      Well, duh. The Israelites believed that all gods worshiped by all peoples existed. That colored some of their writings, no doubt. But that doesn’t make them right, and you can’t build a case for multiple gods from the Bible. The Bible declares that God is the only god.

      But the shems says “Yahweh our God is one Yahweh” not “Yahweh is the only God.” The later passages in the prophets that make Yahweh proclaim himself to be the only god are revisionist histories by the propehts. Deuteronomy shows that Yahweh is a sub-deity of God Almighty.

      You still have yet to prove this.

      Why am I suddenly fighting everyone in this thread?

  30. Deuteronomy 32:8-9 When the Elyonm (the Most High) set the boundaries of the nations he separated the sons of Adam according to the number of the gods, and Yahweh’s portion and inheritance was his people Jacob.

    Read it in several translations if you want. Look at the wikipedia entry for Elyon. Whatever. But get yourself educated.

    • In your beloved King James Version:

      When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.

      For the LORD’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

      Where does it say anything about setting boundaries according to other gods? Please enlighten me.

  31. When I chide you for not looking at the KJV its because you use horrid paraphrases rather than literal translations. I don’t have a problem with other translations when they are literal.

    (1) First, do a little thinking and use common sense. Look at what the KJV says here: the Most High divided the nations according to the number of the children of Israel, which is 12. But Ismael alone constitutes 12 nations according to Geneis! There were WAY more than 12 nations. Jewish tradition claims that the thunderings at Sinai were 70 different voices of God speaking each of the 70 languages in existence then. Ok, so 70 languages means 70 nations or more. 12 (the number of the children of Israel) is just wrong. There had to be more nations than that at the time of the Exodus.

    (2) Secondly there is a textual variant, as I said already. The LXX translates it “according to the number of the angels” which indicates that the Hebrew text “the seventy” were translating from used the word elohim here not children of Israel. Besides that the Dead Sea Scrolls (the oldest OT manuscripts) use the word elohim, so it is “according to the number of the gods.”

    (3) When the KJV was made the Dead Sea Scrolls hadn’t been discovered. (DUH!)

    My point is that what the passage says in the KJV makes ZERO sense, and the Dead Sea Scrolls version explains why. In the first century probably some goober changed the text from “number of the gods” to “number of the children of Israel” because he didn’t like Judaism’s original polytheism showing in the text. Thus, the Masoretic text is corrupt at this point.

  32. Ironic nominating that comment for a screwball award on a Christian website… Hmm…

  33. Lemme just say, Rey holds absolutely no merit in my book.

    I’m fascinated to hear what evidence you have, though.

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