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Old 02-06-2009, 10:10 AM   #541
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Not to nitpick, but if I recall, those other stone tablets are found in Deuteronomy 5, while God supposedly dictated the Exodus 34 version of the Commandments to Moses, who used plain ink to record them.
You recall incorrectly, once again, I'm afraid. Deuteronomy 5 is when Moses read the law to the Israelites, and yes, that chapter contains the Ten Commandments. However, the whole chapter makes no mention of the tablets at all.

According to Exodus 34:1, the second set of tablets were stone and God Himself wrote on them, He didn't mention whether he used plain ink or what.
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The LORD said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke."
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As far as I am aware, many consider all three occurrences of the "Ten (more or less) Commandments" to be valid, although there are some codified disagreements among the Christian sects, notably between the Catholics and the Protestants. Exodus 34 is often referred to as the renewal of the Covenant.
The list of commands in Exodus 34, does not match the list in Exodus 20 or the one in Deuteronomy 5 -- the latter two do match.

I don't know who considers them to be the same, but I don't based on the simple fact that the words don't come near to being the same.

I'm also unsure why anyone would refer to the Exodus 34 passage as renewing a covenant, it's pretty clear that it's a new covenant altogether. In verse 10, God said He was "making a covenant," not renewing one, and then goes on to talk about things previously unmentioned.

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Actually, I don't find it clear at all, particularly in light of Exodus 34.16: "And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods."
Again the context is important, the entire statement there is: "Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same." (Exodus 34:15-16)

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Now, if God drove out all the poor Canaanites and other schmucks "before you," and as you state, the former inhabitants were no longer resident in those lands, what "daughters" is God talking about? Mail-order brides?
As the full directive makes clear, God was explaining why he was insisting that they not make treaties with the other peoples in the land: so that their children would not marry the children of those other people and be led away.

This is a fine example of what I was saying about taking a statement out of context so that it appears to mean the opposite of what it actually says. A suggestion here, the old King James Version is pretty bad about being easy to follow, if you'll try the New International Version or the New American Standard Version, or the New King James Version (the site I've been getting links from has all three and many more besides), you'll find the language itself much easier to follow. Those three are all considered excellent translations, and they're direct from very early texts, whereas the old KJV has been serially translated (versions updated from versions, and so on), and has quite a few points that have been spindled along the way.

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Hm, again, I used the words "intolerance and militancy" in connection with religion in general, and monotheistic religions in particular. While "intolerance and militancy" may include attempts at conversion of the followers of competing deities, it also includes just smiting the "infidels."
I think HarryT's already addressed that point quite well.

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Like in "He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed." Exodus 22.20.
Again, context. This is part of the laws that continues the Ten Commandments (which go on for several chapters). Those laws were for the Israelites, for their internal conduct, not directives to go to other nations and destroy people just because they served other gods. As even further example of how context is important Exodus 20:21 (the very next sentence) says, "Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt."

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Or, to quote Jesus himself, again: "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." (Luke 19:27)
For crying out loud, Sonist -- this is part of a parable! The better known version is accounted in Matthew 24:14-30 where it's called the The Parable of the Talents. This version in Luke 19:11-27 is called the Parable of the Minas. You're not even quoting Jesus' words, you're quoting Jesus quoting a figure in the story.

The stories are generally held to be illustrative of what Jesus refers to as "The Kingdom of Heaven," and this one maps pretty well to what was actually going on with the Jewish leaders at the time. If we carry that out logically, Jesus was predicting that the Jewish leaders who rejected him as the Christ (and crucifixion is a pretty firm rejection) would be punished when he returned on what's know commonly referred to as "Judgment Day." Since this is directed at the Jewish Leaders, and Jesus was Jewish, how can it be perceived as intolerance for other religious beliefs?


I'm beginning to wonder if you're deliberately taking pieces out of context.
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Old 02-06-2009, 11:13 AM   #542
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It's perhaps worth noting, as a matter of interest, that the Greek word used in the NT can mean both "camel" OR "camel hair", and that the author almost certainly meant "camel hair", which is very thick and wiry and hence virtually impossible to thread through a needle.
I hadn't heard that before, it is, indeed of interest.

The other, lesser known interpretation of the passage holds that one of the gates of Jerusalem was called "the eye of the needle" -- it was evidently a very small and windy one. Taking a camel through it would require the beast to more or less crawl through, so it was very, very hard, but doable.

Whichever is the root, it's clear that it's talking about something that is either very, very hard or flat impossible, so any of the three roots work well enough for the purposes of the statement.
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Old 02-06-2009, 01:08 PM   #543
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It's talking about something that's flat impossible. There is no such gate. Camel and camel hair are not the same word.

The "easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle" is matched by similar expessions in other ancient texts. The words mean what they seem to mean. There are no hidden or clever interpretations needed.

http://www.biblicalhebrew.com/nt/camelneedle.htm

seems to be a good summary.

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I hadn't heard that before, it is, indeed of interest.

The other, lesser known interpretation of the passage holds that one of the gates of Jerusalem was called "the eye of the needle" -- it was evidently a very small and windy one. Taking a camel through it would require the beast to more or less crawl through, so it was very, very hard, but doable.

Whichever is the root, it's clear that it's talking about something that is either very, very hard or flat impossible, so any of the three roots work well enough for the purposes of the statement.
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Old 02-06-2009, 01:12 PM   #544
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This is a fine example of what I was saying about taking a statement out of context so that it appears to mean the opposite of what it actually says.
I have been reading a bit of this for some time and thought I would chime in. The hard core atheists in this forum are VERY good at taking a few typed words out of context and then twisting the words. It is just absolute ignorance and arrogance. You simply cannot have an intelligent debate with these people. It is a total waste of time. This is precisely why atheists have such a poor image in the society at large.

This is what happens to the arrogant apostles of Dawkins. They are exactly what they accuse religious people to be. Hypocrites who refuse to debate with reason, pulling things out of context and twisting facts to support their "faith" in atheism. They have ZERO answers themselves, yet are more than happy to attack people for their faith. Blind arrogance and making points by pulling things out of context does not make you right. It makes you ignorant.

I really didn't get it at first, but I can finally see the point of the original poster regarding this book being included on the reader because it is so offensive in attacking people for their faith. Dawkin's little disciples in this forum didn't like that, so they decided to attack the poster just as Dawkins himself would have.

This pretty much sums up the atheist argument as far as I am concerned:



http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_3UXl0oMYPL...eism-nogod.jpg
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Old 02-06-2009, 01:21 PM   #545
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I have been reading a bit of this for some time and thought I would chime in. The hard core atheists in this forum are VERY good at taking a few typed words out of context and then twisting the words. It is just absolute ignorance and arrogance. You simply cannot have an intelligent debate with these people. It is a total waste of time. This is precisely why atheists have such a poor image in the society at large.
I think you do the atheists in this forum a grave disservice, readerguy. Sure some arguing the atheist position here have disregarded context, but many of them have not.

Certainly the practice of de-contextualizing and twisting is not limited to atheists -- I've probably known more "Christians" who've done such than I have "atheists" -- partly because I've probably known more Christians than atheists.

I agree that parts of this discussion are going round in circles at the moment, but as you've read the discussion, you've doubtless noticed that the tone of it is unusually civil for such a discussion. Please help us keep it that way.

We're glad to have you join our community, but we're also very protective of that sense of community around here. Please help us keep it civil.
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Old 02-06-2009, 01:48 PM   #546
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Well, that's actually a (probably deliberate) mistranslation. The original wording is "You shall not murder."

Murder and kill being rather different things.
And, um, "go forth into this land and slaughter the people who live there so you can live there instead" is not murder?

Or it's not murder when a deity orders it? (And it's not theft, to take their property?)

I can grok "not kill" doesn't mean "don't kill cattle so you can eat them." Doesn't mean "don't cut down grain; don't fish; don't swat mosquitos." But saying it just means "don't kill people that your own laws make it illegal to kill" makes it utterly useless as a moral guideline.

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Anything can mean anything if the context is sufficiently removed.
Granted. However, Jesus did claim he was only sent to the Jews, and that his message should not be squandered on less-worthy people, although they might be allowed some benefit from it.

These kinds of contradictory messages are all over the bible. The claims by "true believers" that the "real message" is obvious seems like verbal sophistry to prove whatever point they've already decided on; no reading of the bare text makes one passage more important or more currently relevant than another.

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A lot of hostility toward God that I've encountered has a fairly firm rooting in what people have "heard" the Bible says. Often the words (or something close) really are in there, but they've been totally divorced from their context and made out to mean something else entirely, sometimes something completely opposite of what was originally meant.
My favorite bible verse is Matthew 22:14. (Many called; few chosen.) I'm amazed that while many Christians understand it to mean "not everyone who thinks they're getting in, are getting in," very few of them are willing to accept it also means "not everyone is invited."

I consider myself one of the not-called.
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:19 PM   #547
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And, um, "go forth into this land and slaughter the people who live there so you can live there instead" is not murder?

Or it's not murder when a deity orders it? (And it's not theft, to take their property?)
I'd tend to call what you're describing "war," which you'll probably agree is in a different category from both "kill" and "murder."

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I can grok "not kill" doesn't mean "don't kill cattle so you can eat them." Doesn't mean "don't cut down grain; don't fish; don't swat mosquitos." But saying it just means "don't kill people that your own laws make it illegal to kill" makes it utterly useless as a moral guideline.
Well, since it was the beginning of a set of laws (which go on to elaborate in mind-numbing detail), it's more of a law. Clearly, they had some sort of concept of what "murder" would be, which maps more or less to what our modern one would be ... setting PETA aside for the nonce.

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Granted. However, Jesus did claim he was only sent to the Jews, and that his message should not be squandered on less-worthy people, although they might be allowed some benefit from it.

These kinds of contradictory messages are all over the bible. The claims by "true believers" that the "real message" is obvious seems like verbal sophistry to prove whatever point they've already decided on; no reading of the bare text makes one passage more important or more currently relevant than another.
Couldn't have said it better myself: you have to consider all the passages on a matter to get a balanced, accurate view of what the Bible teaches on it.

Jesus was only sent to the Jews, and every indication is that if the Jews had accepted him he would have remained only for the Jews -- but Judaism has always allowed for conversion, which would necessarily allow Gentiles into the same promise.

As it worked out, the Jews rejected Jesus, and his message was opened up to Gentiles directly. Personally, I suspect that if the former case had applied, Judaism itself would have converted to Christianity, but that's really getting esoteric, so I won't go there.

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My favorite bible verse is Matthew 22:14. (Many called; few chosen.) I'm amazed that while many Christians understand it to mean "not everyone who thinks they're getting in, are getting in," very few of them are willing to accept it also means "not everyone is invited."
If that verse stood in a vacuum, then you'd probably have a point, but 2 Peter 3:9 (among other verses) has something to say on the matter as well: "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." And of course John 3:16 would seem somewhat relevant: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

I don't pretend to understand everything in the Bible. I've reached the conclusion that just like everything else in the world, there are some parts of it we'll probably never understand ... at least not in this life. That being said, I think -- and this is my interpretation -- that all who answer are definitely called.
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:34 PM   #548
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I think you do the atheists in this forum a grave disservice, readerguy. Sure some arguing the atheist position here have disregarded context, but many of them have not.

I agree that parts of this discussion are going round in circles at the moment, but as you've read the discussion, you've doubtless noticed that the tone of it is unusually civil for such a discussion. Please help us keep it that way.

We're glad to have you join our community, but we're also very protective of that sense of community around here. Please help us keep it civil.
Spoken with absolute class (even though I humbly disagree). It is just my opinion, but I just wish the atheists here were treating Theists with the same amount of respect you have so charitably expressed. Good for you.
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:38 PM   #549
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Hey, I never insist that others agree with me! If we all agreed, the conversations here would be pretty short and boring.
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:16 PM   #550
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Hey, I never insist that others agree with me! If we all agreed, the conversations here would be pretty short and boring.
...and you'd better agree with that, if you know what's good for you!
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:37 PM   #551
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I have been reading a bit of this for some time and thought I would chime in. The hard core atheists in this forum are VERY good at taking a few typed words out of context and then twisting the words. It is just absolute ignorance and arrogance. You simply cannot have an intelligent debate with these people. It is a total waste of time. This is precisely why atheists have such a poor image in the society at large.

This is what happens to the arrogant apostles of Dawkins. They are exactly what they accuse religious people to be. Hypocrites who refuse to debate with reason, pulling things out of context and twisting facts to support their "faith" in atheism. They have ZERO answers themselves, yet are more than happy to attack people for their faith. Blind arrogance and making points by pulling things out of context does not make you right. It makes you ignorant.

I really didn't get it at first, but I can finally see the point of the original poster regarding this book being included on the reader because it is so offensive in attacking people for their faith. Dawkin's little disciples in this forum didn't like that, so they decided to attack the poster just as Dawkins himself would have.
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Spoken with absolute class (even though I humbly disagree). It is just my opinion, but I just wish the atheists here were treating Theists with the same amount of respect you have so charitably expressed. Good for you.
Most of the people who've got involved in this, on any of the sides, have been treating each other with respect. We may not all have been agreeing with one another, but it's certainly not been a flame war or anything really beyond a bit of heated debate.

However, treating the atheists with the disrespect you have shown them in your first post may not be showing a good example...
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:00 PM   #552
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Originally Posted by readerguy View Post
I have been reading a bit of this for some time and thought I would chime in. The hard core atheists in this forum are VERY good at taking a few typed words out of context and then twisting the words. It is just absolute ignorance and arrogance. You simply cannot have an intelligent debate with these people. It is a total waste of time. This is precisely why atheists have such a poor image in the society at large.

This is what happens to the arrogant apostles of Dawkins. They are exactly what they accuse religious people to be. Hypocrites who refuse to debate with reason, pulling things out of context and twisting facts to support their "faith" in atheism. They have ZERO answers themselves, yet are more than happy to attack people for their faith. Blind arrogance and making points by pulling things out of context does not make you right. It makes you ignorant.
I can sympathise with this, but point out that exactly the same hypocrisy is displayed by some (not all) believers. The crass film cited in post #494 et seq is an illustration. The interview was obtained by deception, and edited dishonestly. To my mind that is an equivalent case of "blind arrogance."

As such it may preach to the already converted but is likely to meet with sheer derision elsewhere.
I honestly wonder whether such people really believe in what they are doing, thinking that any duplicity is justifiable in their cause; or whether they are just out to make a reputation among naive believers.
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:05 PM   #553
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This is absurd. These are simply opinions stated out of ignorance, not facts. I have an advanced degree and I am highly educated. I am also an avid reader who is committed to expanding my education and knowledge. I am also a self made millionaire in my mid-thirties after starting with nothing. I am also a very devout Christian. The type of Christian who has examined all of the evidence on both sides of the equation and found what I believe to be the absolute truth. It is my faith in God that has carried me through difficult times and made me stronger, and my constant education about Him that has brought me to this conclusion. The more I study and the more life experiences I have convince me of the truth in the Gospels.

Just because you can afford a hedonistic lifestyle, does not mean you choose to engage in one. It is yet another myth of the rich and affluent. Read "The Millionaire Next Door" by Dr. Thomas Stanley who did the most comprehensive academic study of millionaires in history. Most millionaires (at least in the U.S.) are self made, hard working, not "showy", married to one person their entire lives (not hedonistic), and yes, have a belief in God.

Christianity has endured for two millennia and reached well over two billion adherents because of the awesome message of hope it brings to the world. The message of the New Testament and the wisdom, hope and moral guidance it contains have stood the test of time, and is the basis of a great deal of "morality" defined as we know it even today.

A true scientist should be humbled by all the mysteries of the universe they cannot explain while they continue to search for knowledge, not show arrogance and hypocrisy as Dawkins has consistently expressed and also showed in his interview. There is so much science doesn't know for certain. Dawkins doesn't KNOW where life comes from. He fully admitted it. He simply has FAITH in his point of view just as we all do. This belittling of other people is unwarranted and unjustifiable.

(If you missed it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlZtEjtlirc )
Hey, Hugh Hefner was a millionaire wasn't he?
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:10 PM   #554
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He's not dead, Slayda.

And he's hardly typical of ... well, of anything, is he now?
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:56 PM   #555
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh View Post
... I'm also unsure why anyone would refer to the Exodus 34 passage as renewing a covenant, it's pretty clear that it's a new covenant altogether...."
Perhaps you are unaware of the scholarly debate, which has raged for centuries regarding the reconciliation of the "ethical" nature of the decalogue in Exodus 20, and the "ritual" nature of Exodus 34.

Explanations abound, focusing on the various sources for Exodus, but one of the common views is that the shortened, ritual version in 34 is the result of a reduction process. See for instance, this: http://books.google.com/books?id=Z7s...um=3&ct=result

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Originally Posted by NatCh View Post
... For crying out loud, Sonist -- this is part of a parable! The better known version is accounted in Matthew 24:14-30 where it's called the The Parable of the Talents. This version in Luke 19:11-27 is called the Parable of the Minas. You're not even quoting Jesus' words, you're quoting Jesus quoting a figure in the story.
Uhm, you seem to totally miss my point regarding "intolerance and militancy," which is illustrated by both the words and the moral of Luke 19:27.

To begin with, some find it ambiguous whether 27 relates to the noble from the parable, who in any event, is really Jesus, who is on his way to the throne of David as the King of Kings. For this reason, many commentators end the discussion of the parable with 26, and simply ignore 27.

Others, point to 27 as the retribution which will be meted out to those who refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Christ, after he returns to Earth as its rightful king in the Second Coming. Yet others claim that 27 refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

Second, the Parables of Minas and Talents, while similar, are generally seen by many of the faithful not as versions of each other, but as differently structured stories, teaching distinctly different virtues.

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Originally Posted by NatCh View Post
... I'm beginning to wonder if you're deliberately taking pieces out of context...."
The "out of context" argument seems to be often employed by those who wish to avoid the glaring contradictions and problems within their holy book. Really, with enough logical twisting and placing words in the "context" of my choosing, I can find the Word of God in my dishwasher manual.

Finally, HarryT's point about placing the "morality" of biblical characters in their historical context, to which you refer for support, is valid. But it only serves to drive the point, that the mythology compilation we call The Bible, is nothing more than the relatively primitive world view of some Bronze Age tribesmen, with some edits and interpolations by subsequent generations of faithful.

So, while it may be of interest on many levels, The Bilble's place is next to the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Vedas, or any good compilation of Greek Myths. Where it resides on my bookshelf.

Last edited by Sonist; 02-06-2009 at 06:27 PM.
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