Hitchens critiques the Koranic tradition

posted at 5:51 pm on April 27, 2007 by Allahpundit

A little red meat on Friday night via Slate’s continuing series of excerpts from “God Is Not Great,” his new omnibus anti-religion polemic. This comes from yesterday’s selection; today’s selection is on Mormonism and is breezier, but this took more balls to write so it earns the blockquote.

The likelihood that any of this humanly derived rhetoric is “inerrant,” let alone “final,” is conclusively disproved not just by its innumerable contradictions and incoherencies but by the famous episode of the Koran’s alleged “satanic verses,” out of which Salman Rushdie was later to make a literary project. On this much-discussed occasion, Muhammad was seeking to conciliate some leading Meccan poly-theists and in due course experienced a “revelation” that allowed them after all to continue worshipping some of the older local deities. It struck him later that this could not be right and that he must have inadvertently been “channeled” by the devil, who for some reason had briefly chosen to relax his habit of combating monotheists on their own ground. (Muhammad believed devoutly not just in the devil himself but in minor desert devils, or djinns, as well.) It was noticed even by some of his wives that the Prophet was capable of having a “revelation” that happened to suit his short-term needs, and he was sometimes teased about it. We are further told—on no authority that need be believed—that when he experienced revelation in public he would sometimes be gripped by pain and experience loud ringing in his ears. Beads of sweat would burst out on him, even on the chilliest of days. Some heartless Christian critics have suggested that he was an epileptic (though they fail to notice the same symptoms in the seizure experienced by Paul on the road to Damascus), but there is no need for us to speculate in this way. It is enough to rephrase David Hume’s unavoidable question. Which is more likely—that a man should be used as a transmitter by god to deliver some already existing revelations, or that he should utter some already existing revelations and believe himself to be, or claim to be, ordered by god to do so? As for the pains and the noises in the head, or the sweat, one can only regret the seeming fact that direct communication with god is not an experience of calm, beauty, and lucidity.

I’ve been meaning to link this vid for awhile but haven’t gotten to it for various reasons. It’s from a debate in Canada earlier this year over a proposed hate-speech statute; Hitch naturally segues from there to the larger subject of free inquiry, which lets him digress about his favorite hobbyhorse. He’s at the top of his game, too, but I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea so be advised that it’s incendiary even by his standards. Islam takes the worst of it — that part begins at 16:35 if you’re counting up or 4:17 if you’re counting down — but by no means all of it. Definitely worth watching if you’re in the mood. Which, with the weekend upon us, maybe you’re not.


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I am a Christian, but I still read Christopher Hitchens because he is an interesting writer. On the subject of Islam, Hitchens has plenty of material with which to work.

Phil Byler on April 27, 2007 at 6:12 PM

Every time someone mentions Hitchens, I always think of Steve H. from the apparently defunct Hog On Ice blog’s hilarious HuffPo parody where Hunter S. Thompson (who pulls a knife and screams “Hitchens, you puffy primary school pederast!”) sits next to Hitch on a plane, they get wasted, and then force Arianna Huffington’s Latino gardner to get high and run amok in her mansion. It was classic.

I saw Hitchens in DC’s Reagan National Airport last weekend and wanted to do my Johnny Depp-Does-Hunter S. Thompson impression so I could use the puffy primary school pederast line… but it was 5:30am and he looked cranky.

ScottMcC on April 27, 2007 at 6:17 PM

Drawing a parallel of Mohammad busting into a sweat on a cold day before transmitting the message to kill all Jews and Christians to Paul being struck down in conversion is a tidy stretch. There is no witness of what actually happened to Paul and the idea of his vision being effected is hardly symptomatic of an epileptic fit.

So Holocaust denial needs to be protected and the USA and UK did nothing to end the Holocaust? What a pompous, white wine sipping fop. Where is his lecture circuit in Iran?

Hening on April 27, 2007 at 6:25 PM

I’d say Hitchens is channeling Spencer here. There’s some very important differences between Paul’s vision on the Damascus road and Mohammad’s, however. Moral equivalence kills, Hitchens.

PRCalDude on April 27, 2007 at 6:34 PM

Did somebody just jump in the water and kick up the mud? I am having a hard time seeing.

He reminds me of a Bagpipe.

americaslaststand on April 27, 2007 at 6:35 PM

Mohammad’s actual pedophilia is more problematic than his potential epilepsy.

Dostoevski was an epileptic, and it didn’t hurt his work. Because he was working from a better moral structure.

It is Mohammad’s moral failings that undercut his “religion”.

Who can take a “prophet” seriously who “marries” a 6 year old child and then rapes her when she is 9?

Whatever else he was, he was a pervert.

That’s bad enough for me.

profitsbeard on April 27, 2007 at 6:46 PM

As for the pains and the noises in the head, or the sweat, one can only regret the seeming fact that direct communication with god is not an experience of calm, beauty, and lucidity.

That’s why He gave us email. The next revelation will be in all CAPS and will have a “!” next to it.

RedWinged Blackbird on April 27, 2007 at 6:47 PM

am a Christian, but I still read Christopher Hitchens because he is an interesting writer. On the subject of Islam, Hitchens has plenty of material with which to work.

Phil Byler on April 27, 2007 at 6:12 PM

I agree, Phil.

Glynn on April 27, 2007 at 6:48 PM

So Holocaust denial needs to be protected and the USA and UK did nothing to end the Holocaust?

Yes. That’s what free speech is. What’s more effective, letting the David Dukes of the world expose themselves or suppressing them and having people wonder what possible truth is being kept from them?

And No. The UK and the US ended Nazism because it was a threat to us which in turn ended the holocaust. It was going on for years and was known in the west to be happening and we didn’t do a damn thing. It’s a historical fact.

JackStraw on April 27, 2007 at 6:54 PM

Hitchens is definitely interesting. A bit enamored with his own intelligence, but interesting. I don’t think his claims are true in our society: the biggest censorship forces in the United States are the liberals. Islam will definitely use hate speech laws to try to silence Christians, and we’ll be put in jail. But the laws themselves will be enacted by the Democrats. Were Christians leading the charge against Don Imus? I don’t think so. It was liberals attacking him.

PRCalDude on April 27, 2007 at 7:03 PM

It seems much better to ask “What is god?” than to ask “Is there a god?”. We see that there is something other than an entire randomness at work in human affairs. Granted, fortune and misfortune pass everywhere, like a devouring desert wind; but as they pass, it leaves a clearly discernable residue, like a well-prepared desert traveler.

When one reads the writings even of men who have carelessly earned themselves the name “atheist,” one sees that they agree with Believers that human beings and human affairs are subject to a humanly transcendant rulership. They disagree with the Believers as to the nature or attributes of that rulership and how it is made manifest. Niccolo Machiavelli agreed with the New Testament writer who said, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is death”; they disagreed as to the right way. Those able to discern the right way do well not to rely on others’ representations; those unable to discern the right way must hope they have the discernment to find discerning teachers. In the course of generations, those who cannot do either are extinguished; they are left without children, nephews, disciples, or students. It’s both an awesome spectacle and a funny one.

Kralizec on April 27, 2007 at 7:22 PM

The hate speech discussion is great. I have the entire conversation on my computer somewhere.

Nonfactor on April 27, 2007 at 7:25 PM

Everyone can get it right from time to time, out of just pure luck, even Hitchens.

Lawrence on April 27, 2007 at 7:27 PM

Kralizec on April 27, 2007 at 7:22 PM

Hitchens’ problem is, he’s discerned the right way, and claims the right to take it, but he can’t stay why he has the right. He’s looking for answers as to why nobody is standing up to the current threat in this day and age, but the answers have already been found. Preachers in 17th century England were being jailed and burned alive for their speech that the Queen found objectionable, paving the way for the enlightenment thinkers a century later that claimed the same right that men like Bunyan, Cranmer, and Wycliffe earned for them. Hitchens is wondering why there’s no one to do that these days, but the answer is pretty clear.

PRCalDude on April 27, 2007 at 7:34 PM

Hitchens’ problem is, he’s discerned the right way, and claims the right to take it, but he can’t stay why he has the right. He’s looking for answers as to why nobody is standing up to the current threat in this day and age, but the answers have already been found. Preachers in 17th century England were being jailed and burned alive for their speech that the Queen found objectionable, paving the way for the enlightenment thinkers a century later that claimed the same right that men like Bunyan, Cranmer, and Wycliffe earned for them. Hitchens is wondering why there’s no one to do that these days, but the answer is pretty clear.

PRCalDude on April 27, 2007 at 7:34 PM

Some people get their ethics from god, some from themselves (existentialists), some from natural laws and rights (Locke and Hobbes), etc. None of them can prove that their way is the ultimately and universally “right” thing. I’d like to think that my belief is totally right, but I know that there is no way to prove this. It’s called subjectivism.

Nonfactor on April 27, 2007 at 7:40 PM

Nonfactor on April 27, 2007 at 7:40 PM

What you call subjectivism we call moral relevance. Who says you have rights, you? Why should anybody believe you? What makes you more right than the despot that says you don’t have rights?

Natural law is a by-product of an established order by made by a good God. ‘Rights’ are borrowed capital from the idea that man is made in the imago dei, and therefore should be treated with dignity.

PRCalDude on April 27, 2007 at 7:52 PM

What you call subjectivism we call moral relevance.

There is a slight difference, but I’ll accept your term. I’m not a moral relativist, I have morals about what I think is right or wrong, but I realize that I cannot know for sure whether or not my morals are the “right” morals for everything in this universe. Subjectivism – you have your morals, I have mine, and neither of us can prove who is ultimately correct, no matter how much we’d like to believe so.

Who says you have rights, you? Why should anybody believe you? What makes you more right than the despot that says you don’t have rights?

Who says I have rights? I say I have rights. Nature says I have rights. I have the right to think because nature affords me that right and I choose to act upon it. I have the right to control my body because nature affords me that right and I choose to act upon it. I’m not saying you should believe me, I believe I’m right, but I don’t believe what’s right for me is right for everyone.

Natural law is a by-product of an established order by made by a good God.

Not according to any philosopher I’ve read. I don’t even think Aquinas went so far as to say Natural Law was the same as Divine Law. Most philosophers who prescribe to the idea of natural law say that it derives itself from the ability to reason.

‘Rights’ are borrowed capital from the idea that man is made in the imago dei

PRCalDude on April 27, 2007 at 7:52 PM

What do you think this?

Nonfactor on April 27, 2007 at 8:04 PM

The intellectual theory is quite correct. But when was the last time that Christians wholesale killed and subjugated non Christians for religious reasons alone? (Hitler was enamored with the old druid cults, not Christian) When was the last time the Christians made slaves of non Christians? When was the last time Christians, for the exclusive sake of religion, was actively trying to take over the entire planet?

Now……when has Islam ever stopped doing all these things, even to the present day?

By all means say whatever you want about the various religions, no exceptions, but don’t lose sight of the reality on the street and around the world, the stakes are too high.

P. James Moriarty on April 27, 2007 at 8:08 PM

Islam will definitely use hate speech laws to try to silence Christians, and we’ll be put in jail.

Yep. If there’s one thing that has become clear it’s that Christians are constantly being gagged. Why just today, I missed the 700 Club when lightening knocked out my cable for a couple hours. I’m not saying its a conspiracy, but wasn’t THAT convenient.

You guys need to give the vicim thing a rest. You are no more silenced than the love which dare not speak. It can’t seem to stop talking anymore either.

JackStraw on April 27, 2007 at 8:08 PM

JackStraw on April 27, 2007 at 8:08 PM

Perhaps you need to listen to Hitchens more closely. The point he made was that the Muslims in society would be demanding the protection under the hate speech laws, but whenever they’re criticized, they’re out demanding that we “behead those who insult Islam.” Instead of having a knee-jerk reaction, recognize that I was using the future tense, “we will be put in jail,” meaning if and when such laws are passed. I don’t think that’s the case now. Give the democrats a few more years.

If you’ve been paying attention to what’s been happening in Canada, it’s been drifting the direction of Europe. One evangelist was sentenced to drive 3 hours to work for an Imam because he was distributing literature on how evil Islam is.

PRCalDude on April 27, 2007 at 8:19 PM

if and when such laws are passed. I don’t think that’s the case now. Give the democrats a few more years.

Give me a break. You have that little faith in our Constitution? In our democracy? Forget your ad hominem attack on an entire political party–you’re attacking the strength of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Nonfactor on April 27, 2007 at 8:22 PM

PRCalDude on April 27, 2007 at 8:19 PM

I heard him quite clearly. Particularly the part about thinking for yourself.

I’ve heard Hitchens speak and read his writings. He’s no fan of Islam. Neither am I. He also is no fan of organized religion in any of it’s many faces. In fact, I believe he said it was the cause of most of the problems we have in the world today.

I agree.

JackStraw on April 27, 2007 at 8:27 PM

If he went off about Christianity, they would have yelped and applauded.

He went off about Islam, they sat on their hands.

Striking.

benrand on April 27, 2007 at 8:29 PM

Natural law is a by-product of an established order by made by a good God.

Not according to any philosopher I’ve read. I don’t even think Aquinas went so far as to say Natural Law was the same as Divine Law.

According to Paul, “(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)” (Romans 2:14-15 NIV)

The law that is written on their hearts was put there by God.

That is one of the biggest differences between the Judeo-Christian and the Islam gods, the JC God adheres to laws whereas Islam has to wrap itself around an irrational god that is based on Mohammed’s pecadillos.

pedestrian on April 27, 2007 at 8:31 PM

Hmm. Nested blockquotes don’t work. The following is a quote, not my opinion.

Not according to any philosopher I’ve read. I don’t even think Aquinas went so far as to say Natural Law was the same as Divine Law.

pedestrian on April 27, 2007 at 8:32 PM

The law that is written on their hearts was put there by God.

Sure, you can’t prove that the Christian God exists without quoting The Bible (which by the way you can’t prove is completely true), but that won’t stop you from doing it.

Nonfactor on April 27, 2007 at 8:36 PM

pedestrian on April 27, 2007 at 8:31 PM

Maybe I don’t understand the term. I agree that it comes from God giving men a conscience, “so that they by nature do the things required by the law”. I was just saying that the idea that men have rights was derived as done in the Declaration of Independence.

PRCalDude on April 27, 2007 at 8:38 PM

Nonfactor on April 27, 2007 at 8:36 PM

I think we can. Nothing else explains the fallen state of man, man’s relationship to God and his need of a Saviour. It’s true because it’s internally consistent and the claims in it are true.

PRCalDude on April 27, 2007 at 8:40 PM

the idea that men have rights was derived as done in the Declaration of Independence.

PRCalDude on April 27, 2007 at 8:38 PM

Not true for Hobbes. Not true for Locke. I don’t even think Madison mentioned God-given rights in Federalist 10 or 51. The concept of individual rights isn’t dependent on the concept of a certain god.

Nonfactor on April 27, 2007 at 8:41 PM

It’s true because… …the claims in it are true.

PRCalDude on April 27, 2007 at 8:40 PM

I wanted to highlight this.

Nonfactor on April 27, 2007 at 8:42 PM

I saw Hitchens in DC’s Reagan National Airport last weekend and wanted to do my Johnny Depp-Does-Hunter S. Thompson impression so I could use the puffy primary school pederast line… but it was 5:30am and he looked cranky.

Last year I ran into Pat Buchanan at Reagan and wanted to engage him, but he was tilting.

Then again, so was I.

drjohn on April 27, 2007 at 8:46 PM

Sure, you can’t prove that the Christian God exists without quoting The Bible

I don’t think that anyone can prove that the Christian God exists. I was simply quoting an early source on natural and divine law. In this instance, the fact that Paul is a nearly universal agreed upon authority on what is or is not Christian doctrine is simply a bonus.

Regarding the provability of the existance of God, Bonhoeffer pointed out that when Jesus cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” he was saying that he too was participating in the feeling of a lack of certainty of God’s presence. Jesus was quoting from Psalm 22, which goes on to say “they who seek the LORD will praise him— may your hearts live forever!”

I was just saying that the idea that men have rights was derived as done in the Declaration of Independence.

Jefferson got that idea from John Locke, where he got it from I don’t know. Calvin thought that people had to obey the king until God sent a deliverer.

pedestrian on April 27, 2007 at 8:58 PM

I don’t think that anyone can prove that the Christian God exists.

My point exactly. Nor can we prove that something is universally right or wrong. Nor can we prove what existed before space and time (if anything).

Anyone operating under the influence of reason and logic would see that the most sensical (my word) thing would be that no god of any type exists, universal morality does not exist, and these things are most likely unattainable.

But I do think that if a Christian says that nobody can prove the Christian God exists they aren’t that hardline of a Christian; most would say The Bible is proof enough.

Nonfactor on April 27, 2007 at 9:07 PM

Okay, I’m not exactly a fan of the Koran and Mohammed, et al. But I AM Mormon, and I read his linked piece on Mormonism that Allah links.

If that is typical Hitchens, the guy’s completely non-trustworthy. His article is not just anti_mormon–it’s antifactual. How can you trust anything he writes when his research is that poorly done? His article is filled with blatant lies and falsehoods, that even a check of Wikipedia (as untrustworthy as it is) would be easy to refute.

So, I fail to see the point of this screed of Hitchens, when I know how much falsity (and deliberately falsified, too, since I don’t think it’s possible that he could have been that factually wrong by mistake) he is spewing elsewhere.

Vanceone on April 27, 2007 at 9:19 PM

But I do think that if a Christian says that nobody can prove the Christian God exists they aren’t that hardline of a Christian; most would say The Bible is proof enough.

Those circular “proofs” kept me away from even being interested in learning about Christianity for a long time. There was no Bible for a couple hundred years after the death of Jesus, just a collection of letters that had contradictions among them. Only after the council went through and selected the authoritative set did a reliable Bible exist. And for over a millenium after that, most people were not able to read the Bible on there own. There were many fine Christians during that time. God speaks directly to us, and that is how we know that the Bible is true.

pedestrian on April 27, 2007 at 9:23 PM

Bravo Nonfactor, and Mr. Hitchens.

doufree on April 27, 2007 at 9:28 PM

Anyone operating under the influence of reason and logic would see that the most sensical (my word) thing would be that no god of any type exists, universal morality does not exist, and these things are most likely unattainable.

That depends on your experience. And your description of reality leads us to a very dark place. If there’s no universal morality, you’d better be paying someone to watch your six.

Than again, I guess that’s why we pay taxes.

Pablo on April 27, 2007 at 10:09 PM

Pablo,

There is no universal morality. Morality is a subjective thing. It’s entirely moral for girl babies to have their heads smashed in at birth in some cultures (China comes to mind). It’s entirely moral to have a caste system in India. It is, in some places, entirely moral to buy and sell slaves.

They must not have got the memo, for they are acting immorally in our eyes. They think the same about us. Morals derive from cultural realities. Multiple wives, leaving the old outside to die from exposure, cannibalism, subjugation of women. All can be considered moral if looked at through the lens of that culture.

That’s because, as I said earlier, morals are subjective.

Krydor on April 27, 2007 at 10:20 PM

Religion solves a key human need and desire. We’re naturally obsessed with pattern matching – see our “constellations” – and while correlation != causality it’s a conservative assumption in a dangerous world. Pascal’s wager intellectualises this at a high level, but essentially says the ame.

All religions need to be subject to the most outrageous criticism, good ones, bad ones, and fake ones (cough Jedi cough). Hate speech, as such, is a bad thing to criminalise. The US’ limitations on counseling crimes are overly broad, and we need to deal with people who aid and abet genocide (what else is communism?) Hate speech is just stupid, but it exemplifies its stupidity: see Truthers, David Duke, etc.

libertarianuberalles on April 27, 2007 at 10:44 PM

I wanted to highlight this.

Nonfactor on April 27, 2007 at 8:42 PM

Ok, prove that it’s not.

PRCalDude on April 27, 2007 at 11:36 PM

Natural law is a by-product of an established order by made by a good God.

Essentially, no, at least if you’re concerned with the actual history of the idea. There certainly are various Christian spins on the notion of natural law, but to suggest that this somehow makes the idea exclusively Christian, or even theistic in a general sense, is simply wrong. The origins of the idea trace all the way back to Aristotle (who, needless to say, was not a Christian), whose ideas were revitalized by Aquinas. And when Hobbes and Locke, probably the most famous authors on the subject, delved into the matter, divinity was overtly not cited as the source, but rather human reason.

Blacklake on April 27, 2007 at 11:47 PM

Jefferson got that idea from John Locke, where he got it from I don’t know.

I think the chain of “big names” going backwards in time is Jefferson > Locke > Hobbes > Aquinas > Aristotle, though the idea went through something of a wringer with each iteration, and no doubt there were lesser names involved along the way.

Blacklake on April 27, 2007 at 11:53 PM

Blacklake on April 27, 2007 at 11:53 PM

Hobbes in no way got his ideas from Aquinas. Hobbes is one of the most well-known atheist philosophers out there and inventor of the State of Nature thought experiment whereas Aquinas was a proponent of trying to combine reason and revelation.

I think Hobbes is original unto himself. He supported a Monarchy, rebutted the divine right of Kings, and if he got ideas from anyone it would be Machiavelli. Locke was the one to quantify property as a natural right (seeing as it existed before a community is formed) and believed that people get into social contracts with a majority of people to protect their property (including health as well as physical land) and then the majority gets into a contract to form a government with a legislative and executive branch.

Aristotle was a great supporter of politics, true, but in no way influenced the people you mentioned. He supported slavery of the mentally ill for crying out loud. He was a founder of Republican thinking whereas Locke and Hobbes, if anything, were more Liberal thinkers.

Nonfactor on April 28, 2007 at 12:02 AM

Oh, I just saw that Blacklake, you were talking about people who talked about natural law; my mistake.

Nonfactor on April 28, 2007 at 12:07 AM

Ok, prove that it’s not.

PRCalDude on April 27, 2007 at 11:36 PM

I don’t think you understand how burden of proof works. If religious people claim that their religious document is the absolute truth they must then prove that it is the absolute truth, if they cannot do so then the document should be regarded as fiction.

I can imagine four thousand years from now people arguing that 1984 was a truthful depiction of life in 1984 England. Or maybe they’ll say George Orwell saw the future and wrote about it 50 years before it happened. And people will be in an argument about whether or not it’s true or not, and some guy will say “The book 1984 is true because the claims in it are true.”

Nonfactor on April 28, 2007 at 12:11 AM

Morals are what the predator impresses the prey, first.

With increasing self-awareness in the primate line, the collective creatures eventually over-ruled the single, predatory despot. And wrote a different morality upon the tribe.

Each grouping developed against different backrounds (plenty vs. famine, earthquake zones vs. placid river plains, ocean beaches vs. mountain ledges) and their morals adapted to the pleasures and threats therein.

Overpopulation bred the indifferent exposure of infants. Warlike neighbors bred warlike defensive moralities. Relative calm and a tighter social order permitted more expansive and benevolent moralities to evolve.

What is inborn is the will to dominate one’s own life, and the world around us. Each morality reflects how we adapt this innate power-urge to the culture and nature that surrounds us.

If it cannot be fought openly, morality will spins self-preserving subterfuges, calling our own weakness “modesty”. Waiting to gain strength and strike back “righteously” .

Nietzsche’s “The Geneology of Morals” is a stimulating introduction to this topic.

And “The Lucifer Principle” by Howard Bloom.

Morality evolves and becomes more civilized as we shed our claws and prickles and brutality.

Nothing was born-in from the beginning but a cunning for survival. And whatever served it was seen as moral.

Or, if your moral concepts were too unrealistic (either too cruel or too mild), you joined the compacted mass of failed theories in the geological layercake.

If there is a God behind it all, it has a wasteful and painful method of carving a human out of the tohu bohu.

And a hell of a morality, itself.

profitsbeard on April 28, 2007 at 12:20 AM

This is really disappointing coming from Hitchens. I consider myself a fan, but the stuff about Mormonism is just egregiously, factually mistaken over and over again. I knew he was kind of nuts on the subject of religion, and I guess this new book means he hasn’t mellowed with age.

WasatchMan on April 28, 2007 at 1:21 AM

Blah Blah Blah Hitch said all that to say this count down 1:29″ Where are your priorities ladies and gentelmen. Your giving away whats most precious in your society and your giving it away without a fight… Shame on you while you do this. Make the best use of the time you’ve got left. This is really serious! Ni Night

sonnyspats1 on April 28, 2007 at 2:19 AM

Hitchens makes a slip about A A Man For All Seasons (around 13 minutes from the end). It’s not Cromwell, the King’s prosecutor who speaks of cutting down all the laws. It’s William Roper, the future (in the play) husband of his daughter, Margaret.

JimC on April 28, 2007 at 3:37 AM

Yeh, after reviewing this a bit, and reading the comments, it confirms that Hitchens did not take much time to really research the subject. Anyone with any sense would know that “religion” as a topic is HUGE and a comparative usually takes years, even a lifetime of work to put it all out in a coherent and informed manner, especially to condense it all into a manageable book form.
This is an elaborate rant, and based too much on unverified conventional wisdom. It’s just Hitchen’s half-informed opinion on everything. It’s moderately attractive because there’s just enough truth in it to keep the juices flowing, a little something for everyone, but that’s it.
It’d be useful to see how he’d survive two years in a remote village out there, given a particular job to accomplish and see how much his reasoning, how much of his basic assumptions of how things should work, and his assumptions of right and wrong are firmly Judeo-Christian. Observing his current comportment, I’d feel reasonably comfortable betting that by 12 months, he’d be whining that nothing works because everyone else is too lazy or dumb and can’t appreciate his wisdom or the need for this important project, and by 18 months running for his life chased out of “Dodge” by the pagans for his gross disrespect to them, their customs and their religion. One doesn’t have to speculate. Peace Corps is full of such stories. Interestingly, Peace Corps has learned that volunteers with strong religion and sense of self do far better and accomplish more than volunteers with little or no religious understanding or sense of self. Those who don’t know who they are, weak religously and in identity go in, and take on the full aspects of the host culture. Deceptively, they appear at first to be fabulously brilliant at their assignments, but at the moment when they believe they’ve got it all figured out, they are turned on and left wrecked. Some have had to flee, at a run, literally with just the clothes on their backs, and wanely finish out their time in some other time-finshing posting, shattered, shaken and disoriented.

Isn’t the essential problem with Hitchens this:
The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

naliaka on April 28, 2007 at 10:27 AM

I don’t think you understand how burden of proof works. If religious people claim that their religious document is the absolute truth they must then prove that it is the absolute truth, if they cannot do so then the document should be regarded as fiction.

I can imagine four thousand years from now people arguing that 1984 was a truthful depiction of life in 1984 England. Or maybe they’ll say George Orwell saw the future and wrote about it 50 years before it happened. And people will be in an argument about whether or not it’s true or not, and some guy will say “The book 1984 is true because the claims in it are true.”

Nonfactor on April 28, 2007 at 12:11 AM

I just told you why it’s absolute truth. God intervened in history at varioius times, progressively revealing of a coming Redeemer. The first time he did this was in Genesis 3:15, then later with Noah, Abraham, Israel, the prophets, and lastly in Jesus. Everything happened as foretold. Jesus died according to the Scriptures and was raised again according to the Scriptures. Jesus death and resurrection therefore carried accomplished what was proclaimed and carried with it the implications that were proclaimed. Nothing else explains the fallen state of man or the state of the world today, nor his need of a Saviour.

Your point about ’1984′ doesn’t really apply because it was written to be fiction and never claimed to be the Word of God. Also, the events that were foretold never happened in 1984. We have evidence to the contrary.

PRCalDude on April 28, 2007 at 10:31 AM

PRC,

Most Biblical scholars think that Genesis is a parable. As in, what the Bible says about the Creation and Flood are moral tales not intended to be taken literally. Blame St. Augustine of Hippo for that, him and his science conflicting with faith thing.

Unfortunately, this problem runs throughout the Bible. It’s that darned circular reasoning you are using.

Krydor on April 28, 2007 at 10:49 AM

pedestrian on April 27, 2007 at 9:23 PM

All logic is circular. I readily admit mine is, but yours is also.

The texts of the New Testament were finished by AD 90 at the latest (Revelation). The Gospels were all written before AD 70, as were the other epistles. Most of the Pauline epistles were written in the 40s. I don’t think you understand how the canon was formed.

PRCalDude on April 28, 2007 at 10:54 AM

Your point about ‘1984′ doesn’t really apply because it was written to be fiction and never claimed to be the Word of God. Also, the events that were foretold never happened in 1984. We have evidence to the contrary.

I’m not entirely sure why I bother, but it might be worth noting (to somebody, at least) that the stronger arguments against, say, many of the claims in the book of Genesis are that we have abundant evidence to the contrary. Your reverence for evidence seems to run a bit towards the selective.

Blacklake on April 28, 2007 at 11:00 AM

All logic is circular.

Holy p’s and q’s, Batman!

Blacklake on April 28, 2007 at 11:04 AM

Your reverence for evidence seems to run a bit towards the selective.

Blacklake on April 28, 2007 at 11:00 AM

Is this going to turn into a creationism vs. evolution debate? Your reverence runs a bit toward the selective as well. Scientific evidence changes all the time. Just the other day, geneticists in Israel found out that Lucy, the suppposed ape relative of modern man, is not really a relative at all. The paleantologist who discovered the pre-Cambrian fossils stated that, in light of what he found, Darwinian evolution was maybe only part of the story. Science isn’t at all certain about what it knows, neither does it even know where to look most of the time. Science itself these days has a bias toward reinforcing the idea that there is no god. If they go in with that bias, guess what? They keep developing new theories that support it. It’s a circular argument. There is no god, therefore this scientific evidence is true, therefore, there is no god.

PRCalDude on April 28, 2007 at 11:46 AM

Hobbes in no way got his ideas from Aquinas. …

I think Hobbes is original unto himself. …[I]f he got ideas from anyone it would be Machiavelli….

Aristotle was a great supporter of politics, true, but in no way influenced the people you mentioned. …Locke and Hobbes, if anything, were more Liberal thinkers.

Nonfactor on April 28, 2007 at 12:02 AM

Questions as to who influenced whom seem mostly to be questions about accidents, but they do point to more general and enduring questions. One of those is the question as to how to interpret the philosophers’ writings. Thomas’s Summa is written as many short dialogues; in any given case, it’s possible that Thomas’s opinion is closer to that expressed, for example, in one of the objections or in the response. Aristotle’s works often have the appearance of a man conversing with himself out loud, so we’re always entitled to wonder which participant in the conversation, if any, is “the real Aristotle.”

Another question indirectly raised by the question of influence is the question as to how much the philosophers agree with each other, irrespective of the means by which they come to agree. And that question goes to the question as to what it’s possible for the most intelligent human beings to discover through inquiry, i.e. through paying close attention, asking searching questions, and considering all the answers and their respective merits. Although this question is humanly more important, its answer depends on the answers to all the many questions of interpretation. Thus, it depends on one’s first having noticed the questions of interpretation and accepted that they exist.

Kralizec on April 28, 2007 at 11:53 AM

It’s a circular argument. There is no god, therefore this scientific evidence is true, therefore, there is no god.

PRCalDude on April 28, 2007 at 11:46 AM

It seems one should be careful of pointing out to scientists any flaws in their reasonings. The scientists have little fear they’ll go to Hell if they change their mind on some point, so the way is always open for them either to improve their existing case or make a different one. Thus, you run the risk of helping them make a better case, without ever proving your own. (Are you aware how much Philip Johnson and similar critics have helped scientists refine their opinions in regard to the evolution of wings in birds?) Unless you’re good at proving, you might be better off with simple faith, since a weak attempt to prove the truth of your faith will just corrupt your faith or that of others.

Of course, I admit, it would help if the scientists were less provoking. They don’t seem very bright.

Kralizec on April 28, 2007 at 12:41 PM

PRC,

What I’m saying is that the the Biblical texts are not historically accurate. Therefore, we cannot infer God’s intervention with the use of the Bible as a source.

I do know how the Bible came about, and much of it came from other religions (not Judaism). It’s rather interesting, don’t you think, that the text which actually show a man can have a relationship with God through Jesus with no need for intermediaries were expunged from the record?

If this is a road you wish to travel, you might not like the destination. Just a friendly heads up.

Krydor on April 28, 2007 at 12:48 PM

Krydor on April 28, 2007 at 12:48 PM

I’m not quite sure what you’re referring to, but I’m all ears.

PRCalDude on April 28, 2007 at 5:14 PM

Is this going to turn into a creationism vs. evolution debate? Your reverence runs a bit toward the selective as well.

No, it’s not, and no, it doesn’t. Mind your projections.

Blacklake on April 28, 2007 at 5:52 PM

Kralizec on April 28, 2007 at 12:41 PM

Look, my critiques come from reading Dawkins. He made the point in “The God Delusion” that there are not many (if any) intermediate forms and structures for the creatures we see because evolution took place but the original mechanism (the scaffolding, he calls it) by which the evolution took place has been erased. Fine. Fair argument. But who’s taking what on faith then? If he can’t find the original scaffolding by which evolution took place, then how can he tell us we have a God of the gaps, or whatever.

My point wasn’t to take on evolution vs. creationism at all. It was to point out that there is much scientists take on faith, and much that they need to be true in order for their argument to hold water, for example now they’re running around changing their assumptions to show that early earth indeed had a reducing atmosphere. Miller and Urey’s experiment had fallen out of favor for a long time because scientists couldn’t show this. It’s back in fashion now because scientists in 2005 now think we had one. It was in my high school biology textbook in 1997 even though it had fallen out of fashion some 20 years earlier. Like I said, if the only evidence admissable is evidence that is based on the assumption that there is no god, guess what scientists are going to find? I don’t care if we help them refine their arguments. We’ll just keep refining ours.

PRCalDude on April 28, 2007 at 6:37 PM

Like I said, if the only evidence admissable is evidence that is based on the assumption that there is no god, guess what scientists are going to find?

What could possibly constitute physical evidence for something that isn’t physical? Considering that you’d combine statements like that with ones like this, actually offered as a criticism of science:

Science isn’t at all certain about what it knows, neither does it even know where to look most of the time.

when that’s pretty much the entire point of the scientific perspective as a whole, not a criticism of it, it’s pretty hard to grasp where you could possibly be coming from.

Blacklake on April 28, 2007 at 7:47 PM

What could possibly constitute physical evidence for something that isn’t physical? Considering that you’d combine statements like that with ones like this, actually offered as a criticism of science:

We say it’s the creation. You say what we call the creation is not created at all. It’s a matter of presuppositions. Though science isn’t at all certain of whether or not the earth was created because, as you say, it’s constantly searching for new answers, it still claims there is no god. Well, if it knew everything, it could do that. Since it doesn’t, and because it’s fallible, it can’t. Moreoever, if it assumes the presupposition that there is no god, it can only reinforce that presupposition with further inquiry. Science is not religiously neutral. It can’t be.

PRCalDude on April 28, 2007 at 9:40 PM

I just told you why it’s absolute truth.

You told me it was true, but you still haven’t give any evidence to support your belief. You still think the argument “it’s true because the claims in it are true” is a valid argument for crying out loud. You haven’t proven the claims in it to be true, and using quotes from The Bible that state “The Bible is true” is not proof.

God intervened in history at varioius times, progressively revealing of a coming Redeemer. The first time he did this was in Genesis 3:15, then later with Noah, Abraham, Israel, the prophets, and lastly in Jesus.

God intervened, did he? And you know this how? Oh, The Bible, that’s right. And you know The Bible is true how? Do you not see your own circular reasoning? It’s really really embarrassing to see someone continue to use this lamest of fallacies.

Everything happened as foretold.

How do you know everything happened as foretold? And how does this prove that God exists or The Bible is true? How do you know Jesus was raised from the dead? (And I’m almost afraid to ask that question because I know the answer, and I know it will be circular logic yet again).

I should have known where this “debate” was headed when I responded to you on April 27, 2007 at 8:04 PM. You believe God exists, you admit to circular logic and use of selective evidence, you have no proof Jesus was resurrected or that God created the Universe outside of The Bible, and when all this is pointed out to you, you say “so?” Pathetic.

Nonfactor on April 28, 2007 at 10:41 PM

God intervened, did he? And you know this how? Oh, The Bible, that’s right. And you know The Bible is true how? Do you not see your own circular reasoning? It’s really really embarrassing to see someone continue to use this lamest of fallacies.

There is extrabiblical evidence that the accounts are true. You wouldn’t find it compelling. You want to maintain your dependence on yourself rather than on what the Bible says.

How do you know everything happened as foretold? And how does this prove that God exists or The Bible is true?

Well, you can read Isaiah 53 and then any of the gospel accounts of the passion if you want. Again, there is extrabiblical evidence that Jesus was crucified. For various reasons, Christianity wouldn’t have made it out of the ancient world if the resurrection wasn’t a fact. But it happened according to the Scriptures.

You believe God exists, you admit to circular logic and use of selective evidence, you have no proof Jesus was resurrected or that God created the Universe outside of The Bible, and when all this is pointed out to you, you say “so?” Pathetic.

I’ve been up front about my use of circular logic. You haven’t been about yours. You are just as selective of evidence that reinforces the idea that there isn’t a god, because that’s the belief you’ve committed yourself to. You’re committed to your own independence from God, but are at the same time dependent on a finite intellect that is also fallible. You can’t know everything, nor are you always right, but at the same time assert that the Bible is false and the Christian God is a figment of my imagination. You are absolutely certain of this even though you can’t be. I say that the creation and your conscience tell you that there is one. The Bible is proof of the Christian God. He has revealed himself. You still haven’t actually stated why you don’t believe the Bible.

PRCalDude on April 28, 2007 at 11:37 PM

Whoa. Unblockquote that third one. Sorry about that.

PRCalDude on April 28, 2007 at 11:38 PM

Though science isn’t at all certain of whether or not the earth was created because, as you say, it’s constantly searching for new answers, it still claims there is no god.

Individual scientists might say things like that, but you’ll be hard pressed to find scientific research on whether or not God exists. Anywhere. The reason for this is that God, whatever it may be, is apparently not physical. And if it’s not physical, it fails to fall under the domain science. Hence, as there can be physical evidence neither for or against the proposition “God exists,” there is no corresponding scientific research providing evidence one way or the other. So “Science” (not to be confused with some scientists) doesn’t at all say what you claim.

You’ll even find, if you actually looked, a large number of scientists who profess personal belief in God (though they hopefully don’t make the mistake of presuming to back up this claim of faith with physical evidence, which is necessarily impossible.)

I think you’re making the same mistake that many atheists make: you assume that a particular scientific theory (evolutionary theory) somehow stands in juxtaposition to a non-scientific belief (God exists), and that one can be refuted by arguing about the soundness of the other. That’s not possible. One is a claim about the physical world; the other is not.

Meanwhile, you’re continuing to project the arguments of other people onto me with statements like “You say what we call the creation is not created at all.” I have said and do say nothing of the sort. I don’t even know “created” could even mean in this context. I’m neither a theist or an atheist; both of those parties seem to make claims about the veracity of propositions that can’t be tested for veracity. I am agnostic.

Blacklake on April 28, 2007 at 11:43 PM

There is extrabiblical evidence that the accounts are true. You wouldn’t find it compelling. You want to maintain your dependence on yourself rather than on what the Bible says.

You keep saying that yet you continue to not provide any evidence. Where is the evidence outside of The Bible that Jesus rose from the dead, that he walked on water, that he preformed any of his miracles?

I’ve been up front about my use of circular logic. You haven’t been about yours. You are just as selective of evidence that reinforces the idea that there isn’t a god, because that’s the belief you’ve committed yourself to.

What circular logic? I’ve pointed out yours, the least you could do is point out mine before you make accusations. And so far in this thread I haven’t used any evidence to prove there isn’t a god because 1) The burden of proof is on you and 2) I’ve simply been asking you questions.

You can’t know everything, nor are you always right, but at the same time assert that the Bible is false and the Christian God is a figment of my imagination.

I agree, I can’t know everything, but I can know that 1 + 1 does not equal 3, and I can know that the sums of a triangles corners add up to 180 degrees, and I can know that sections of The Bible have been falsified.

The Bible is proof of the Christian God. He has revealed himself.

And again I ask (but I’m beginning to think you don’t want to answer) what proves The Bible is absolutely correct? You say there is other evidence. I say show it to me. You ignore that section of my post.

You still haven’t actually stated why you don’t believe the Bible.

PRCalDude on April 28, 2007 at 11:37 PM

I don’t believe The Bible to be true just as much as I don’t believe the Qur’an to be true. There is no evidence that corroborates many of the claims made in the document. The claims made are illogical. And there is no “proof” of the Christian God outside of this document that states that the Christian God exists (Oh, by the way, this document says that the document is the word of this Christian God and the word is 100% true).

Nonfactor on April 29, 2007 at 12:03 AM

Hence, as there can be physical evidence neither for or against the proposition “God exists,” there is no corresponding scientific research providing evidence one way or the other. So “Science” (not to be confused with some scientists) doesn’t at all say what you claim.

Of course not. If all the editors of the scientific journals are staunch atheists, they’re not going to take any evidence that the Christian God exists as valid. Science can only reassert it’s own presuppositions. They’ve assumed the answer.

What circular logic? I’ve pointed out yours, the least you could do is point out mine before you make accusations. And so far in this thread I haven’t used any evidence to prove there isn’t a god because 1) The burden of proof is on you and 2) I’ve simply been asking you questions.

Why do I assume the burden of proof. Because you say so? I’ve tried to answer your questions. When you’re already committed to your answer no matter what, what evidence could I possibly admit that you would accept? The Son of God is risen from the dead, and you won’t accept that.

I agree, I can’t know everything, but I can know that 1 + 1 does not equal 3, and I can know that the sums of a triangles corners add up to 180 degrees, and I can know that sections of The Bible have been falsified.

Ok, which ones? That’s something worth discussing.

And again I ask (but I’m beginning to think you don’t want to answer) what proves The Bible is absolutely correct? You say there is other evidence. I say show it to me. You ignore that section of my post.

You want extrabiblical evidence? Ok. I’ve given reasons why I think Darwinian evolution didn’t happen. Since the only competing theory (thanks to the editors of scientific journals) is that we were created, what do you want? Which claims specifically do you want to talk about.

I don’t believe The Bible to be true just as much as I don’t believe the Qur’an to be true.

The Qur’an isn’t internally consistent. It requires the doctrine of naskh (abrogation) in order to be interpreted. It also teaches tanzih (transcendence) which states that no human language can describe Allah, in which the Qur’an fails to be what the Qur’an claims to be.

The claims made are illogical.

Which ones?

PRCalDude on April 29, 2007 at 11:02 AM

I am agnostic.

Blacklake on April 28, 2007 at 11:43 PM

Ok, if your unsure, how can you tell me I can’t be sure. This discussion’s probably about to go to archive, but I’ll try to answer you in more detail later.

PRCalDude on April 29, 2007 at 12:03 PM

PRCDude,

You don’t know what I’m talking about? The folly of using ancient texts as history. When ancient peoples didn’t understand something, they tossed God in there. Think eclipses and earthquakes.

So, to say that God’s intervention is apparent when one uses the Bible as reference is rather shortsighted. The story of Noah and is Ark was lifted from Gilgamesh. Unless there were two different worldwide floods and two different righteous men that God chose to spare. So, we can either use that story as a teaching tool regarding being a faithful person (or whatever), or we can claim that this a real and true example of God’s intervention with the affairs of humans.

Anyway, one example of dozens regarding the use of other religious texts within the Bible, showing that the Bible is not the truly revealed word of God, as pagan sources were used. There is no evidence of a worldwide flood, to boot. Regardless, God was added later by the Jews after hearing the story from someone else.

The story of the Gospels is a fun one, which has been touched on. The Nicean council decided what goes where. At the time, there were a bunch of different Gospels going around and serious debate on the divinity of Jesus. Sound familiar?

At any rate, there were some Gospels expunged with regards to not needing churches, reincarnation, yin/yang concepts, no magical powers and some other eastern influences. The council came about to consolidate the power of a central church. They wanted one telling of the ressurection, but ended up with multiple ones. What you have now is the abridged edition of the Bible, chosen by men who wished to control vast numbers of people.

The inclusion of Revelation was to keep people in line. If I recall correctly, there were a couple of apocalyptic texts at the time. Even then, they weren’t sure if it was actually John’s revelation or someone pretending to be John. It certainly is the one most open to interpretation, which is why people are on about the Rapture.

The story of the Bible is a cool one, although it’s less about faith and more about control. I haven’t bothered with this for a number of years, so this is giving my memory a good workout. Apologies up front for my hazy memory with regards to some of the above.

Krydor on April 29, 2007 at 12:21 PM

The Son of God is risen from the dead, and you won’t accept that.

PRCalDude on April 29, 2007 at 11:02 AM

I tried giving you the benefit of doubt that you knew what you were talking about. I thought you’d actually present this so-called evidence that supports the resurrection of Jesus, but nope. I’ve lost count of how many times I asked you to provide this evidence that supposedly backs up the claims made in The Bible–you can’t do it.

Nonfactor on April 29, 2007 at 1:40 PM

Krydor on April 29, 2007 at 12:21 PM

Christians have been answering copycat charges since the Christian faith began. Gilgamesh is not the only Flood narrative around. Every culture has one. Have you investigated our responses?

The Council of Nicea threw out the gospels that were much later than the originals. The gnostic gospels were all written by 2nd and 3rd century heretics that weren’t eyewitnesses of the events in question.

Most of the confusion about Revelation these days centers around the fact that most of the modern writers (LaHaye et al) don’t read the apocalyptic texts that Revelation is based on (Zechariah, Isaiah, Daniel, etc.) If you’re not more specific, I don’t know really how to answer you. Email me through my website later if the answer comes to you.

PRCalDude on April 29, 2007 at 4:35 PM

I tried giving you the benefit of doubt that you knew what you were talking about. I thought you’d actually present this so-called evidence that supports the resurrection of Jesus, but nope. I’ve lost count of how many times I asked you to provide this evidence that supposedly backs up the claims made in The Bible–you can’t do it.

Nonfactor on April 29, 2007 at 1:40 PM

I think I do. The Bible is true because it perfectly explains the fallen nature of man today and the state of the world, and of God’s relationship to man, and of man’s need of a Savior? What evidence are you looking for? If you are an agnostic, you can’t logically tell me I’m wrong because you’ve admitted you aren’t sure about the existence of God. If you’re unsure, how can you logically tell me I’m wrong?

PRCalDude on April 29, 2007 at 4:38 PM

I think I do.

You think you do what? I stated that you cannot provide evidence, you have not. You have made claims such as:

it perfectly explains the fallen nature of man today and the state of the world, and of God’s relationship to man, and of man’s need of a Savior

But that’s a rather subjective assumption for an absolute answer. Who says that there is a “fallen nature of man today,” and what evidence do you have to verify that things now are worse than they were back in whatever imaginary time you’re thinking of? How does The Bible explain of “God’s relationship to man”? It states that God exists (which you still haven’t offered up any evidence outside of The Bible to corroborate) and states that there is a relationship between man and God. That doesn’t explain anything; it’s just a statement that you assume to be true because you want something to look up to. And again, how does The Bible explain “man’s need of a savior”? It states man needs a savior and provides one, but that doesn’t prove anything, especially when there’s no proof that this so-called savior rose from the dead in the first place.

If you are an agnostic

I’m not.

you can’t logically tell me I’m wrong because you’ve admitted you aren’t sure about the existence of God.

PRCalDude on April 29, 2007 at 4:38 PM

I’ll bite. Even if I were agnostic I could tell you that there is no evidence outside of The Bible corroborating the resurrection of Jesus. Even if I were agnostic I could say that the Christian God’s Bible is untrue due to flat out evidence and logic (you do realize that miracles in and of themselves are illogical, right?), and if The Bible is untrue then the entire religion is a sham.

Nonfactor on April 29, 2007 at 5:48 PM

Ok, if your unsure, how can you tell me I can’t be sure.

I can’t, and I don’t. All I can do point is that if you’re sure, it’s clearly due to faith, not physical evidence. There is no conceivable relevant physical evidence.

Blacklake on April 29, 2007 at 6:32 PM

“All I can do point is that…” there should read “All I can point out is that…” Infernal machines.

Blacklake on April 29, 2007 at 6:34 PM

I can’t, and I don’t. All I can do point is that if you’re sure, it’s clearly due to faith, not physical evidence. There is no conceivable relevant physical evidence.

Blacklake on April 29, 2007 at 6:32 PM

Now you’re telling me your faith is more valid than mine. We have the gospels that provide a reliable Jesus death and resurrection. There was an empty tomb as physical evidence. If Jesus wasn’t resurrected, everybody could have just gone to the tomb and said, “Look, there he is, right where we left him.” Various alternate explanations have been offered as to what happened to Jesus’ body instead of a resurrection, but if you have no evidence yourself of these alternate explanations, we’re right back where we started.

PRCalDude on April 29, 2007 at 6:59 PM

Nonfactor on April 29, 2007 at 5:48 PM

Sorry. I quoted BlackLake instead of you. I’m trying to keep track of several different arguments here.

But that’s a rather subjective assumption for an absolute answer. Who says that there is a “fallen nature of man today,” and what evidence do you have to verify that things now are worse than they were back in whatever imaginary time you’re thinking of?

Ok. Men are constantly killing one another, depriving each other and doing all of the other things they do because man is fallen. He is sinful. If he were inherently good, the world would reflect that. It is, except for the U.S., a place of much ruthlessness and evil. The Bible states that the first man, Adam, was our representative. He was made mutably righteous. When he sinned (the fall), all of his posterity were made sinful as well.

How does The Bible explain of “God’s relationship to man”? It states that God exists (which you still haven’t offered up any evidence outside of The Bible to corroborate) and states that there is a relationship between man and God.

Man, since the fall, is deserving of God’s wrath because God is righteous and we are sinful. In order to be good, one must hate evil. The same is true of God. God, being gracious, immediately intervened after the fall and promised to send a Saviour (Genesis 3:15). Successive interventions by God further clarified who this Saviour would be, until he was fully resolved in the coming of Jesus. God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus on the cross for our sins, at the same time redeeming certain men and women from their sins. Jesus was our substitute, so bore our punishment in his place. In so doing, God also maintained his justice by pouring out his wrath upon sinners. “Christ became sin for us.”

That doesn’t explain anything; it’s just a statement that you assume to be true because you want something to look up to. And again, how does The Bible explain “man’s need of a savior”? It states man needs a savior and provides one, but that doesn’t prove anything, especially when there’s no proof that this so-called savior rose from the dead in the first place.

I would much rather that man be inherently good. The world would be a much, much better place. That’s not how it is though, and that explanation doesn’t fit. Knowing then, that I am sinful and deserving of wrath, I look to my Saviour, Jesus. See my above post to BlackLake about the resurrection issue. Proof that God does exist is in the form of his Word, and the Creation, both of which are attacked these days both by modern science and various other ways. Science has already assumed its answer. Methods of attacking the Word are too numerous to recount here, but all have defenses from a Christian viewpoint.

PRCalDude on April 29, 2007 at 7:25 PM

PRCDude,

Well, I suppose I could go deeper and begin an email dialogue. I’m not sure of the point.

-Gilgamesh predates Noah by centuries and flood narratives (as you mentioned) are not unique to any culture.
-The concept of monotheism predates Judaism by centuries, and is found in multiple religions, not the least of which are the Egyptians.
-There is no worthwile historical evidence of the Exodous
-The virgin birth was copped, if I recall correctly (it has been years, please remember) from Jainism
-Heaven and Hell come from Zorostrianism, which also predates Judaisim
-The earliest Gnostic text, once again from memory, is that of Mary, and it was early first century.
-Certain Christian festivals are direct descendants of pagan rituals.

Before such things as an email dialouge can be initiated, I’ll need parameters. Can we reference things that predate Judaism, actual Judaism or are we going to use the Bible and only the Bible? If we can only use the Bible, is it allowable to show how certain things are impossible as related to us within the text?

The problem is the closed loop. I have the ability to muck about with the “allowed” gospels and show the inherent contradictions, specifically the moral ones. I can, if necessary, use other sources that highlight the similarities of Christianity and whatever else.

I’m more than willing for you to set the rules and give you the home court advantage.

Krydor on April 29, 2007 at 10:02 PM

If he were inherently good, the world would reflect that.

Except nobody is claiming people are inherently good.

It is, except for the U.S., a place of much ruthlessness and evil.

You’re joking, right? Nothing ruthless or evil happens by the U.S. or in the U.S.? Seriously?

The Bible states that the first man, Adam, was our representative. He was made mutably righteous. When he sinned (the fall), all of his posterity were made sinful as well.

All you’ve managed to do is explain why, by your standards, humanity is in bad shape. This, however, does not mean that The Bible is it’s explanation. You still don’t manage to do that.

Man, since the fall, is deserving of God’s wrath because God is righteous and we are sinful.

You can’t argue like this without first proving the existence of the Christian God. You are assuming that there is one, and then assuming that people “deserve” something from this God. Where do you get that belief from? I’m guessing The Bible, which you still haven’t proven to be true no matter how many opportunities I’ve given you.

You’ve stated numerous times in this thread about how there is evidence corroborating the resurrection of Jesus and other phenomena as described in The Bible, yet you have yet to provide one, one single link verifying your claims.

In order to be good, one must hate evil.

I’m guessing you get this idea from The Bible as well, which, by the way, you still haven’t proven to be absolutely true. The only reason you have to believe that The Bible is true is because The Bible tells you it’s true (it’s true because the claims in it are true – let me remind people that you made this statement without proving the claims in it were true).

Proof that God does exist is in the form of his Word, and the Creation, both of which are attacked these days both by modern science and various other ways.

PRCalDude on April 29, 2007 at 7:25 PM

You seriously don’t understand what it is to “prove” something, do you? A claim that God created the world is not proof that God created the world, it’s a claim made without evidence. Can you prove The Bible is the word of God? Really, you can? Well then provide a link. Oh, wait, you don’t have any links to provide? I see.

Nonfactor on April 30, 2007 at 2:25 AM