Ancient Superstitions

by Luke Muehlhauser on April 28, 2009 in Quotes

burning_goat_flesh

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{ 97 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorkas April 28, 2009 at 8:43 am

Yes–we know this is true, because the BIBLE says so. And we know that the Bible is right because God wrote it.

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Reginald Selkirk April 28, 2009 at 10:41 am

This is an appropriate opportunity to remind theists that the omni-everything God is not the same as the Biblical Yahweh, and that defense of one provides no defense for the other.

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lukeprog April 28, 2009 at 10:54 am

Exactly.

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jesusfreak574 April 28, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Might it also be appropriate to point out that nothing logically hinders an affirmative answer to the question?

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lukeprog April 28, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Like most versions of most religions and superstitions, there’s nothing logically impossible about it, it’s just really silly and implausible.

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Lorkas April 28, 2009 at 7:37 pm

jesusfreak574: Might it also be appropriate to point out that nothing logically hinders an affirmative answer to the question?

If you want to worship a weird God like that, be my guest.

This quote makes me think favorably about Marcion, though. Christianity would make a lot more sense if he had won that argument (still not a whole lot of sense, but definitely a whole lot more than it does now).

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Lorkas April 28, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Perhaps this is the reason that God instituted Hell in the New Testament–he realized that he could enjoy the smell of burning flesh for eternity if there were such a place, and he’d probably been looking for a way to punish infidels. Two birds with one stone!

(I wonder whether he prefers the aroma of burning goat flesh or burning human flesh? Hard to say)

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Reginald Selkirk April 29, 2009 at 8:53 am

Lorkas: P(I wonder whether he prefers the aroma of burning goat flesh or burning human flesh? Hard to say)

Considering the biblical comparisons of believers and non-believers to sheep and goats, I doubt that he differentiates.

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Lorkas April 29, 2009 at 9:58 am

Reginald Selkirk: Considering the biblical comparisons of believers and non-believers to sheep and goats, I doubt that he differentiates.

Matthew 25:31-46

Heh… good point.

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verdog411 April 29, 2009 at 4:53 pm

yea, why not?

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Jeff H April 29, 2009 at 6:56 pm

I don’t think the real question is could a being like that enjoy sacrifices, but rather would they enjoy it?

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verdog411 April 29, 2009 at 8:36 pm

The question is could.  I have the ability to read the words on the picture; if the question is would then my question still remains:
why not?

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lukeprog April 29, 2009 at 9:56 pm

verdog411, are you serious?

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Lorkas April 30, 2009 at 5:22 am

verdog411: why not?

It could be true, but it is repulsive if it is. The point is, it makes no sense for a being of that magnitude to be pleased by an event which is not only small and insignificant by comparison to itself, but also utterly disgusting. Have you ever smelled burning flesh?

Christianity is a story. It might be a true story, and it might be false, but it is a story. If the story logic doesn’t work out, then it’s more likely to be false, and this shows a flaw in the story logic of Christianity.

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Lost Runer April 30, 2009 at 6:29 am

Lorkas: It could be true, but it is repulsive if it is. The point is, it makes no sense for a being of that magnitude to be pleased by an event which is not only small and insignificant by comparison to itself, but also utterly disgusting. Have you ever smelled burning flesh?Christianity is a story. It might be a true story, and it might be false, but it is a story. If the story logic doesn’t work out, then it’s more likely to be false, and this shows a flaw in the story logic of Christianity.

Either the God of the Bible exists or He does not.
Let’s say that He does exist, which you agreed could happen.   You are arguing that if He does exist then he would most likely not enjoy this type of offering.  We know that He could because it is giving that the God of the Bible exists, so that is no real argument in itself.

Let’s say that He does not exist.  You are arguing because you think that this type of God is repulsive, if I were an atheist I would find Him repulsive too, then He therefore does not.  Is that really your argument?  You don’t think this God makes sense and is therefore not logical to you and therefore doesn not exist?  Really?

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Lorkas April 30, 2009 at 10:29 am

Lost Runer: You don’t think this God makes sense and is therefore not logical to you and therefore doesn not exist? Really?

I said that this shows a flaw in the story logic of Christianity. I don’t in any way claim that this is the only flaw in the story, nor is this the reason why I am not a Christian (I mean, let’s don’t be absurd here!).

Be careful to distinguish between evidence for a proposition and proof for a proposition. I don’t think that this peculiarity alone shows the God of the Bible to be fictional–I was merely pointing out that an illogical story is less likely to be true than a logical one (do you disagree with this?). I don’t think this is a QED by any means, but it does count as philosophical (not empirical) evidence in the case.

Remember also that Christianity and atheism are not the only two options–there could very well exist a God that is identical to the God of the Bible in every respect except that the God does not delight in the odor of burning goat flesh. We need to be careful to avoid dichotomous thinking on this issue, which certainly requires more thoughtful consideration that is provided by a false dichotomy.

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jesusfreak574 April 30, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Lorkas: It could be true, but it is repulsive if it is. The point is, it makes no sense for a being of that magnitude to be pleased by an event which is not only small and insignificant by comparison to itself, but also utterly disgusting.

Lorkas: I said that this shows a flaw in the story logic of Christianity.

I’m not sure we have a flaw here.  It could be true.  It’s not a matter of logical impossibility or anything of the sort, but of preference.  Granted, if any of us were capable of creating such grand things, we don’t think we’d be concerned with anything so relatively insignificant.  All that means is that we are not identical to this hypothetical being, right?  Same with the actual smell.  We don’t like it, but when did the hypothetical God become identical to us?

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Lorkas April 30, 2009 at 6:19 pm

jesusfreak574: All that means is that we are not identical to this hypothetical being, right? Same with the actual smell. We don’t like it, but when did the hypothetical God become identical to us?

Supposing that we are created in his image, it seems awfully silly of him to create us in a manner that his preferences seem absurd to us (or by giving us a different logic than his own, re: “God’s logic is not our logic”).

Especially given that, according to this story, the most important thing we have to do in this life is understand the message of God, why would he create us with a “logic” that is flawed and prevents us from understanding him, and then torture us forever for not understanding him? Surely you recognize that this does not mesh well with the idea of an all-knowing, all-wise, all-loving God!

Consider the claim as if for the first time–forget for a moment its relationship with your particular worldview, if you can.

I tell you that there’s an all-everything force that created the 200-billion light-year wide universe, and all the 200 billion x 200 billion stars in the universe, and all the 10^80 atoms which makes it up, and all of the subatomic particles that compose them, [and he wants you to burn some goat flesh for him, because he likes the smell]. Are you more likely to believe me if the bracketed text is part of the claim, or if I leave that part out?

As I said before, this doesn’t disprove Christianity–it just points out a minor flaw in the story logic. I don’t particularly care to argue this point further (as I don’t consider it important to the debate at all), but I will read any reply you make regarding my question. If you still think that the story makes more sense with the burnt-goat-smell-loving than it would make without that one aspect, then I would love to hear why.

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jesusfreak574 May 1, 2009 at 5:36 am

I agree that there are more important things to focus on, but I’ll answer your question briefly.  Putting aside any bias for or against such a claim, I would be more surprised by the version including the bracketed text than the version without, certainly.  But as far as belief, I think it ought to be separated from what I would prefer.  So while I might prefer a force that doesn’t require anything from me, that should not factor into what I believe.

But let’s be honest – I wouldn’t believe you either way.  :P  At least not until I’d spent a good deal of time investigating the claim.

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Adiel Corchado May 2, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Lorkas: Surely you recognize that this does not mesh well with the idea of an all-knowing, all-wise, all-loving God!Consider the claim as if for the first time–forget for a moment its relationship with your particular worldview, if you can.I tell you that there’s an all-everything force that created the 200-billion light-year wide universe, and all the 200 billion x 200 billion stars in the universe, and all the 10^80 atoms which makes it up, and all of the subatomic particles that compose them, [and he wants you to burn some goat flesh for him, because he likes the smell].

I think the reason that comes  across as puzzling, absurd, ridiculous, and laughable to you is because you are taking it out of context, because you don’t fear God.

What is the context? Does the Bible really teach that the Almighty is delighted in the aroma of burning goat flesh? Or were these illustrative teaching tools, types and shadows if you will,  that God used to teach us greater spiritual truths? What does the Scripture say?

The Scripture teaches that sin, all sin, including this blasphemous blog that you host, is an unspeakably terrible offense to a holy and pure God.  The God who created us is worthy of all praise, honor, glory, gratitude and worship.  Instead we respond to Him with blasphemy, rebellion, mockery, contempt, wickedness, hatred, and disgust. Do you see the problem? All sin is a direct and personal offense to the majesty, dignity, and authority of the One who created and upholds the cosmos by the power of His word. Just how heinous is our cosmic treason against the King? That we really do deserve eternal conscious torment in hell under His wrath. The Bible is not waxing poetic when it says that we deserve eternal damnation. We really do deserve it.

The Scripture also teaches that God gracious and merciful, and that it pleased God, in His tender mercy, right from the very beginning (and even before the beginning), to provide for us a Savior. This was His plan all along. To redeem a fallen humanity for His glory. But how would He do it and when? The Bible says that He would do it at the appropriate time, when the stage of history had been set.

But what about the people before? Would they just be left in the dark? No… For them God provided (as part of setting the stage for Jesus’ coming) types of shadows of God’s salvation, so that through faith in God’s promise of redemption they too could be saved.

For example, when Adam and Eve sinned, God not only promised them a Redeemer (Genesis 3:14-15) He also gave them a picture of the Redeemer’s work when He slaughtered an animal and covered their shame and nakedness with the animal skins. This was the first foreshadowing of God’s redemption of man.

In the days of Moses we have God telling the people that they were to offer sacrifices of burnt offerings consistently to Him, culminating in the Day of Atonement in which two very special and specific sacrifices would be offered:  the goat of the sin offering and the scapegoat (Leviticus 16). 

With the first goat the high priest was instructed to:

“Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. 16 So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

With the second goat he would:

“Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. 22 The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness. ”

So for the people to be able to approach God, daily sacrifices would be offered, and on the Day of Atonement, a goat would be slaughtered for their sins and their sins were symbolically imputed to another goat which would be cast out into the wilderness.

If you understand what I have just described then hopefully you will understand the following: It wasn’t the actual goat’s blood or the casting away of the scapegoat that satisfied God, it was what it represented! What did it represent? It represented Jesus Christ and Him crucified for the sins of God’s people.

It is written in Hebrews chapter 10,

For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
6in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
7Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

Who is Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament bull, lamb, and goat sacrifices! The first thing that John the Baptist said when he saw Jesus Christ was: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  On the cross two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ the Son of God was both the lamb of the sin offering and the scapegoat.

“For He (God) made Him who knew no sin (Jesus) to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

For those who believe, our sins were imputed to Jesus Christ, and on the cross God crushed His only begotten Son in our behalf. Jesus Christ became our scapegoat and was cast out into outer darkness on our behalf by taking our sins upon Himself.  Three days later He rose from the dead in front of many witnesses and showed Himself openly by many infallible proofs.

He did this so that in return, through faith in His name, His perfect righteousness might be imputed to us thus securing us eternal life in the presence of God. This is the mercy of God, that though we deserve eternal conscious torment in hell for our sins, He provided a Substitute of infinite worth, to die in our place, forgive our sins, and grant us eternal life.

It is based on this great salvation (and because God has appointed a Day of Judgment) that God now commands all men everywhere (including ‘atheists’) to repent and trust Jesus Christ alone for your salvation. And it is based on this great truth, that the substitutionary death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God is the only sacrifice that truly please and satisfies God, that I beg and plead with you: Be reconcile to God!

God bless you.

Adiel

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Jeff H May 2, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Adiel, your comment is likely unnecessarily long, as I’m sure 98% of the people here have heard this explanation a thousand times (whether they are Christians or atheists). I won’t bother to respond to most of it because I don’t really care to (once you remove the premise that the Bible is true, the rest falls apart), but let me quote one thing you said:

“It wasn’t the actual goat’s blood or the casting away of the scapegoat that satisfied God, it was what it represented! What did it represent? It represented Jesus Christ and Him crucified for the sins of God’s people.”

Essentially what I see you saying here is this – “No no, goat’s blood satisfying God is silly. Human blood is what satisfies God!”

If you reject the one as unnecessary or trivial, then you should reject the other as well. The idea that God could not forgive sins without something dying is ridiculous. It doesn’t matter whether it’s goats, sheep, humans, babies, or vegetables. The idea of a God choosing to use sacrifice as some way to atone sins belongs back in the Bronze Age where it came from.

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Lorkas May 2, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Erm… it isn’t just Leviticus 16 where God says that he enjoys the smell of burning animal flesh. Here is a biblegateway.com search for “aroma pleasing to the LORD“. God is downright obsessed with the smell of burning meat, and most of those verses have nothing to do with the scapegoat ritual (which is emphatically not an act of mercy–it is an act of immoral injustice toward the animal forced to “bear the sins” of the tribe. I include the disgusting sacrifice of his own son in this as well.)

Trust me, Adiel–I attended an Evangelical college with a heavy emphasis on scholarship, so I’m familiar with Evangelical theology. I appreciate the explanation, but it doesn’t change the fact that God could have done things another way (I mean, the guy is meant to be all-wise and all-powerful), but he chose the barbaric, revolting path of blood-and-fire sacrifice to enact his plan of salvation for humanity.

The only thing that exculpates him from this hideous institution is the fact that he doesn’t exist.

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MacGuy May 2, 2009 at 2:13 pm

The multitude of your sacrifices – what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations – I cannot bear your evil assemblies.” - Isaiah 1:11-13

Obviously, God cannot smell so the Leviticus verse is simply a remark of acceptance to their sacrifice. Now I see some people here retreating to “The Christian God is bad, MK?. Very bad!” for allowing sacrifices in the first place. Such theological naiveness is not worth being answered here without also providing a comprehensive answer that skeptics don’t want to read anyway. 

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Lorkas May 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm

MacGuy: Now I see some people here retreating to “The Christian God is bad, MK?. Very bad!” for allowing sacrifices in the first place.

It’s not that he allows sacrifices. He demands them. Why would a moral and just God make his mercy contingent on the spilling of the blood of innocents?

If you see this position as “theological naiveness,” so be it. It seems to me theologically naive to reject the possibility that God could have constructed a different set of principles for giving out his mercy, yet he chose the bloody path of animal and human sacrifice as a framework for his salvation.

It’s not as though God was bound to make death the wages of sin–he set up the whole system, for goodness’ sake! He could have demanded sincere apology or community service or something, but he requires death.

MacGuy: Obviously, God cannot smell [...]

Blasphemy! God can do anything–he’s omnipotent!

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Adiel Corchado May 2, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Lorkas: Trust me, Adiel–I attended an Evangelical college with a heavy emphasis on scholarship, so I’m familiar with Evangelical theology. I appreciate the explanation, but it doesn’t change the fact that God could have done things another way (I mean, the guy is meant to be all-wise and all-powerful), but he chose the barbaric, revolting path of blood-and-fire sacrifice to enact his plan of salvation for humanity.

The holiness, justice, and wrath of God requires the death of the sinner.  That is how holy, majestic, and glorious God is, that even one sin against Him requires the death of the sinner under the full weight of God’s wrath.

The mercy and love God requires the death of His Son. Mere human blood cannot atone for sin. It had to be the blood of the infinitely worthy,  holy, guiltless, blameless, undefiled, sinless, Son of God.

There was no other way. There was nothing else that could wash away our sin. It had to be an atoning sacrifice, a propitiation, and it had to be one of infinite worth and value.

As it is written,

‘He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” ‘

Adiel

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Lorkas May 2, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Adiel,
So you are saying that God is bound by this law (sin requires blood)? God couldn’t have changed the law if he wanted to? Is there a higher lawgiver who makes the rules that God has to follow, or is this law self-existent?

If God made the rule that he has to follow, then everything I said in my last post still applies, and you haven’t addressed the problem at all.

If there is a higher law that God cannot break, then he is not omnipotent, since he is bound by a law antecedent to himself. Perhaps we should quit wasting our time on small time gods like Yahweh and try to find the higher lawgiver?

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Adiel Corchado May 2, 2009 at 9:05 pm

God’s Law is not something above Him that He must submit to.  It is a reflection of His holy nature and character.  For example, God is a God of truth– therefore He loves truth and hates lies, and commands us to be truthful and not liars. He cannot deny Himself and He cannot act contrary to His own nature.  God is able to do whatever He wills and His will is always consistent with who  and what He is.

Because God’s Law is a reflection of who He is at His core,  sin is a direct and personal offense against God, a violation of God’s person and nature. This is why He sees any transgression of His Law as hatred towards Him, because it perfectly reflects His holy character and nature.

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Jeff H May 3, 2009 at 5:37 am

So, Adiel, where did God get his nature? He obviously couldn’t have created himself (since that would be contradictory), and if no one else made him the way he is, that seems to indicate that it’s entirely arbitrary and random that God is the way he is. So if God had randomly been a God that loves lies, he would command us to be liars? That seems pretty…amoral at best.

Poor God. It seems that he is as much a slave to his nature as are we. He seems to deserve our pity.

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Lorkas May 3, 2009 at 7:07 am

Adiel,

The idea that you are so dismissive toward is a classical philosophical problem called the Euthyphro dilemma.

If God’s law is good just because he commands it (by fiat), then it is an arbitrary law. I can’t see this being a satisfying concession for the believer, but I might be wrong. When I was a Christian faced with the problem of evil, I always chose to deny God’s omnipotence (though I now think it makes more philosophical sense to deny his omnibenevolence), so you can see where my bias lies here.

If God’s law is good in and of itself, then it has nothing to do with God’s nature. The goodness is independent of God’s characteristics, and God is shaped by the law (and therefore not omnipotent, since there is a law higher than himself).

It’s rather simplistic to assert that God cannot change his nature, but he can do anything. This is as basic a contradiction as you can get. Perhaps this is what “God’s logic is not our logic” means?

X^~X = true, for God?

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Adiel Corchado May 3, 2009 at 10:06 am

Whoever said that God can do anything? Not the Bible. For example, the Bible clearly says that God cannot lie. What the Bible says that God is able to do whatever He wills. His plans are never thwarted. He does what He pleases.

God’s Law is good because it reflects God’s good character. God’s nature and character, His person, is the ultimate standard of goodness. God is not bound by some Law outside of Him that He must submit to. He is bound by His own perfect, flawless, holy, pure, righteous, just, and good nature. God cannot act contrary to His nature neither does He want to. He is perfectly fulfilled within Himself beholding His own greatness. It was His own joy in Himself that drove Him to lovingly and graciously create us, that we too might behold His glory and be fully satisfied in Him.

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Adiel Corchado May 3, 2009 at 10:12 am

Regarding the problem of evil, the reason evil exists is because God allowed it in order to set the stage for the greatest possible display of all of His divine attributes. In other words, God ultimately allowed it for His glory and the joy of His people.

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Adiel Corchado May 3, 2009 at 10:31 am

The reason for evil in the world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qpMtg48f6s

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Lorkas May 3, 2009 at 11:17 am

Adiel Corchado: For example, the Bible clearly says that God cannot lie.

Genesis 2:17
“You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

2 Thessalonians 2:11
For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.

Ezekiel 14:9
“And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet.”

Just a few examples where God does lie in the Bible, Adiel.

Adiel Corchado: God’s Law is good because it reflects God’s good character. God’s nature and character, His person, is the ultimate standard of goodness.

*facepalm*
Adiel–you clearly don’t understand the philosophical question being posed.

God’s character is either good because there is an external idea of “good”, or it is incoherent to say that God is good. The best definition of “good” would be “whatever God is” or “whatever God says”, if there is no external reference point.

Is it wrong to murder because God forbids it, or does God forbid it because it is wrong?

If the first is true, then morality is arbitrarily defined by God (therefore, whatever God says is right, and it would be moral to murder someone if God said so).

If the second, then God is helpless to change what is right and wrong, since the law is external to himself (for example, it would still be wrong to murder even if God told you to do it).

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Lorkas May 3, 2009 at 11:23 am

Adiel Corchado: His plans are never thwarted.

Wrong again! You should get to know your God a little better, Adiel. His plans can be thwarted, by chariots of iron!

Judges 1:19
The LORD was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had iron chariots.

So, if you ever have to face the LORD in battle, bring iron chariots, and you should be fine.

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lukeprog May 3, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Lorkas, I made the fix for you re: “don’t”. Cheers.

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Jeff H May 3, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Adiel Corchado: Regarding the problem of evil, the reason evil exists is because God allowed it in order to set the stage for the greatest possible display of all of His divine attributes. In other words, God ultimately allowed it for His glory and the joy of His people.

So in other words, it was more important to God to be able to show off and look all amazing and wonderful than it was to make sure that people didn’t wind up in hell? Some loving God he is.

Think about it – let’s say you have a child. And you know that there is a kidnapper and rapist out on the loose and very near your house. Regardless, you let your child go play outside, and then ten minutes later you look outside and you see him climbing into a van with a strange-looking man. Now, what do you do? Do you a) run to your car, follow the van, and immediately go and rescue your child? Or do you b) go and watch some TV, wait about a week or two, and then hunt down this rapist and blast him away with a shotgun in an impressive display of your power?

Obviously, the most loving choice here is a) rescuing your child right away. No decent parent would allow their child to be captured by the rapist for one second, let alone a whole week, if it were in their power to prevent it. But here’s the kicker – the most loving choice would have been c) don’t let your child go outside and play with the rapist on the loose in the first place. Does it disturb you that your God seems to have instead chosen option b)? And shouldn’t it disturb you that God is more concerned with his image than with saving his own children from harm?

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Lorkas May 3, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Thanks, lukeprog.

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Adiel Corchado May 3, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Genesis 2:7: The moment they ate the fruit they died spiritually (were cast out of the Garden and God’s favorable presence) and began dying physically until the day they died.

2 Thessalonians 2:11: God is sovereign. If you continually reject Him and oppose Him He has an innumerable amount of ways by which He can harden your heart. The Bible calls this Him “giving you over” to the desires of your wicked heart. One of the way He can further harden your heart is by using other people’s evils against you in such a way that you feel even more justified in your rebellion ie Big Bang, bacteria to blogger evolution, etc. The end result? You are fattened up for the day of wrath where God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

Ezekiel 14:9: This is a great example of what I’m talking about. Read the surrounding verses for the context and you will see that these people had set up false gods in their hearts which they followed. They were superficially coming to inquire of the prophet while in reality their hearts were opposed to God. Its an example of God opposing the proud and using their own evil intentions against them.

Even Jesus’ parables were purposely spoken in such a way that those proud of heart will not understand them…

“Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

‘ Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I shouldheal them.’

But this is not an example of God lying! These very parables are the reason why the humble believe! They are truthful and trustworthy. However they are spoken in such a way that if you are humbled you will see, but if you are proud you will be further blinded.

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Adiel Corchado May 3, 2009 at 2:00 pm

JeffH,

I know you are going to hate this but the truth is that God cares more about His glory than He does even about the salvation of every single sinner.  If He cared more about man than His own glory He would be a man-centered idolater.

Don’t misunderstand, the Bible makes it clear that God has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11) and it is true that He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

But it is also true that His greatest motivation for saving even one sinner is not the sinner himself, it is God. As He has said elsewere,

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.”

The reason God saves anybody is for the sake of His great name. He loves His people because He loves us, not because we are worthy of His love.

Now with that said, what was God’s greatest motivator for creating the world? Because He was so lonely that He could not live without us? Blasphemy. His greatest motivator was His own glory, to reveal His own greatness and power and worth, and to do it in such a way that His people (those who repent and believe, whom He has chosen) would be fully satisfied fully experiencing and beholding the full panorama of God’s glory.

This is the world in which we live. A world where God’s perfect justice and holy wrath are fully displayed and a world where God’s mercy and lovingkindness are fully quenched.

Those who refuse to repent and choose to continue in the rebellion will receive perfect justice from the Almighty and how terrible it will be. Those who repent and submit themselves to the Savior will receive eternal life in the presence of Him who created all things by the power of His word.

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Lorkas May 3, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Adiel, are you here to have a conversation, or just trying to evangelize? I thought I was joining a conversation, but it increasingly seems to me that you are only here to convert others, not to seriously discuss the issues.

Forgive me if I’m wrong about this, but it’s the perception I’m getting from your posts.

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Lorkas May 3, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Adiel Corchado: One of the way He can further harden your heart is by using other people’s evils against you in such a way that you feel even more justified in your rebellion ie Big Bang, bacteria to blogger evolution, etc. The end result? You are fattened up for the day of wrath where God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

I see. This God you are describing is quite the evil bastard.

Adiel, this may offend you, but even if you demonstrated to me that the God of the Bible exists, I would not worship him, if he possesses characteristics like this.

Why would a loving God intentionally prevent some of his creations from seeing the truth? It’s not as though I choose to be a nonbeliever in God, any more than I choose to be a nonbeliever in fairies. I evaluate the evidence for a claim, and if it is good, I accept the claim, and if it is not, then I reject it. If God takes action specifically to make me fail to “see the light”, then he is evil if he later tortures me eternally for not seeing it. How could I, after all, if an omnipotent being didn’t want me to?

Furthermore, if God wills that I not become a Christian, then I am doing his will by continuing in nonbelief, and you are working against the will of God when you try to convert me. Doesn’t God get angry when people try to go against his will? You’d better be careful.

In any case, I say we should rejoice that there’s no good evidence for the existence of such an all-powerful bully.

Cheers. I’m off to corrupt the youth by teaching them about the theory of evolution (assuming, that is, that school isn’t canceled because of the recently-evolved strain of swine flu).

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Adiel Corchado May 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Lorkas,

I am here to persuade you to flee to Jesus. That is my main concern.

Regarding the fact that God gives people over (Romans 1:18-32), as always, the context is key. The Scripture says that God has given every man sufficient revelation so that those who acknowledge Him are without excuse (Romans 1:20).  According to the Bible, not acknowledging God, not glorifying God, not thanking Him, are not the results of ignorance or insufficient evidence! They are the results of wicked, willful, suppression of the truth.

According to the Bible, you and Luke and whoever else, are not atheists because of lack of evidence.  You are atheists because you know enough about God to know that you hate Him and want Him out of your life. You want to be “free” from His rule and authority over your life. Ironically, the Bible calls this type of “freedom” slavery, slavery to sin and to Satan himself.

Now, the Bible clearly says that God is not mocked. He retaliates. You suppress the truth of God and claim to be wise– you end up becoming a fool that believes we came from… what is it again… a puddle?

The biblical principle is this: “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble”. His desire is to save you. His call is for you to humble yourself that He might exalt you. If you refuse and continue to exalt yourself, He will oppose you and give you over to greater bondage to sin and your delusion will increase.

I know that you hate God. I did too. This is why the world is under His condemnation: because the Light came into the world and we loved the darkness rather than the light, because our deeds are evil. Everybody practicing evil hates the Light and does not come to the Light lest your deeds be exposed.

Lorkas, I am here to tell you that even though you hate Him, He is your only hope. Your only hope is that He will change your heart like He did to me. May the Lord have mercy on you and grant you a new heart. A heart that loves the Lord and hates sin.

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Lorkas May 3, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Thanks for your concern, Adiel. Since I was once a Christian, I know that evangelism is often (though certainly not always) borne out of compassion, so I appreciate the sentiment.

I don’t, however, appreciate your assumption that I am an atheist because I hate God. That would be absurd, since I don’t believe God exists–it would be like hating fairies! You can at least have the decency to give a person the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his assertions about his own beliefs, unless there is clear evidence that the person is lying about his beliefs.

If I knew that God existed and I hated him, then I would not say “I do not believe that God exists.” That would be nothing more than wishful thinking. Imagine if I told you, for example, that I did not believe that Fred Phelps exists. Now, if there’s anyone I hate, it’s this guy, but it is absurd for me to claim that I don’t believe in him on that basis.

Accept it or not, I am an atheist because there is no good evidence for God’s existence (and I think I speak for Luke and Jeff on this one as well). I always try to avoid wishful thinking when I form my beliefs about the real world, and you should too.

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Lorkas May 3, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Suppose I argued that you really believe in Allah but you assert otherwise because you hate him and make yourself his enemy. Absurd, right? Because you don’t even believe that Allah exists, so how could you hate him? On what basis am I making that claim?

The subtitle to this blog is a quote: “When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” I think that this quote is (marginally) applicable here.

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Adiel Corchado May 3, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Lorkas.

When you say that you don’t believe in God I immediately have a decision to make: Do I believe you or do I believe the Bible? Because the Bible says that you are lying, and that the reason you are suppressing the truth of God is because you hate Him. So this is the decision the Christian is faced with: believe the professing atheist or believe God. Of course I’m going to believe God otherwise I wouldn’t be His servant, do you know what I mean?

Is it possible that you have really convinced yourself that He does not exist? Perhaps. Remember, God does give people over to what the Bible calls “a depraved mind”.   So its possible that at a certain level you really don’t believe in Him. Nevertheless, according to the Scripture, deep-down inside, at the end of the day… you know that He does exist. Not trying to be arrogant or act as a know it all, just telling you what the Bible says about the ‘atheist’.

Regarding the subtitle of the blog, the reason I dismiss all the other possible gods is because Jesus Christ, who rose from the dead, says there is no other god besides Him, and I believe Him.

But OK, I really do have to get to bed. We’ll talk again some other time. Good night.

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Adiel Corchado May 3, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Actually before I go I do have a question. Back to the main topic at hand, did you understand that it wasn’t the actual goat’s blood that pleased God but what it represented and pointed forward to, mainly,  Jesus’ death for sins, His burial, and triumphant resurrection from the dead?

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lukeprog May 3, 2009 at 7:30 pm

But there are many things that could symbolize that. Atonement could be symbolized by, say, a FAKE sacrifice. No, there is something special about REAL blood and REAL animal death that pleases the supposed creator of a bajillion galaxies.

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Lorkas May 3, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Adiel, you must be a troll. Do you seriously believe that all atheists have “depraved minds” and have a secret conspiracy against God? If so, then I’m afraid there is no purpose to our conversation.

You see, there is no way I will ever be a shallow believer, and that is all you are offering. “X is true because the Bible says so” is not a compelling argument for anything, because the Bible was written by people, just like every other book we have.

If you are here to offer dogmatic acceptance of everything the Bible says, then you don’t have anything to offer me. Things aren’t that simple for me, because I think.

Furthermore, if you are that deep in dogma, then you won’t be moved by reason. It is a futile exercise to try to reason a person out of a position that they didn’t reason themselves into.

Good night, and farewell, Adiel. Look out for chariots of iron–it’s a sure sign of God’s enemies, and God won’t be able to help you against them.

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Adiel Corchado May 4, 2009 at 6:13 am

Lukeprog,

Fake sacrifices would not  and could not convey the message(s) that God wanted to send.  What was the message that was ingrained in the common Israelite’s mind (and ours through reading the Scripture) when he witnessed millions upon million of animal sacrifices year after year?

1. The wages of sin is death. The wages of sin is not make-believe death, it is actual death. As it is written, “The soul that sins shall die”.
2. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. As it is written, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
3. The heinousness of sin. The smell of burning goat flesh and hair and the sight of massive amounts of blood all over everything is a putrid, disgusting, abominable thing to behold. Just like our sin is to a holy God.
4. The insufficiency of animal sacrifices to actually atone for our sins. Remember these sacrifices had to be offered daily, generation after generation after generation after generation. It never ceased! The work of expiation of sin was never accomplished.
5. There is a huge controversy between man and God. Things are not well in our relationship with God. We are separated from Him. To approach Him (something which ultimately pointed to Someone) has to die.

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Lorkas May 4, 2009 at 8:08 am

Adiel Corchado: Fake sacrifices would not and could not convey the message(s) that God wanted to send.

You’re saying that an infinite intellect is unable to imagine a better way than this to send his message? Couldn’t he have magically made us all experience how disgusting it is? That would have accomplished his purposes without causing the suffering of an innocent animal.

God certainly could have done that (he can do anything!), and it definitely would have been more just toward the goats and toward God Jr.

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Lorkas May 4, 2009 at 8:10 am

God can do telepathy, can’t he? That’s how Christians talk to him, so I figure God can send as well as receive telepathic messages.

I wonder what God’s telepathic bandwidth is–infinite up and infinite down?

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Lorkas May 4, 2009 at 8:38 am

One more point–I don’t know about you, but I get grossed out when I see gross things on TV. Even if I know that they are entirely special effects, I still get grossed out when I see them on television.

Surely God could do a better job of making a “fake sacrifice” to convey how disgusting sin is to him than television/Hollywood special effects departments are at simulating things like vomiting, gory violence, etc.

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Adiel Corchado May 4, 2009 at 9:42 am

I don’t understand what you’re saying in your last comment.

The animal sacrifices were not fake, they were real.  It was Luke who suggested that God should have used fake sacrifices to convey His message.  God required that actual animals were offered up to be slaughtered.

Another interesting point is that it was not only the sacrifices which were types and shadows which pointed forward to the reality of Jesus’ sacrifice. It was everything, the Holy of Holies, lampstands, table of showbread, etc, including the priests themselves. The priests were a type and shadow of the Great High Priest Jesus Christ. For example:

“And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. ” (Hebrews 10:11-14)

Jesus Christ is everything. Everything, even the temple itself represented Jesus (John 1:18-22). The whole sacrifical / priestly / temple system was one big elaborate teaching tool to point the world to Jesus.

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Lorkas May 4, 2009 at 10:12 am

You said that fake sacrifices couldn’t have had the same effect. I said that an infinitely intelligent god could imagine a way to make fake sacrifices work as well. I also said that an all-just god would want to, since it would avoid harming the innocent (the goat/Jesus).

If Hollywood can make a “fake” gross scene look real enough to gross me out, then certainly God could make a fake sacrifice that expresses his disgust at our sins. God is more powerful than Hollywood, right?

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Adiel Corchado May 4, 2009 at 11:21 am

No, I said that He used real sacrifices because sin and its effects are real and because what they pointed forward to would also be real. 

By the way I’m not big on “God should have” as I see it as a high form of blasphemy. Who are you to tell the One who created billions of galaxies with a single word how He should have done things?  Instead of focusing on what we presume He should have or could have done,  is it not better to consider and try to understand the reasons for what He actually did.

Also, regarding the reality that the sacrifices typified, Jesus’ atonement was absolutely necessary, otherwise God would not have crushed His only begotten Son. Someone had to drink down the cup…

38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.

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Adiel Corchado May 4, 2009 at 11:28 am

Brother Paul explains the necessity of Atonement well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSZeNK0TA80

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Lorkas May 4, 2009 at 11:32 am

Adiel Corchado: 3. The heinousness of sin. The smell of burning goat flesh and hair and the sight of massive amounts of blood all over everything is a putrid, disgusting, abominable thing to behold. Just like our sin is to a holy God

This is what I was responding to. You say above that one of the reasons for using a real sacrifice is to show us how disgusting sin is to God. But an all-powerful God could find a way to show us how disgusting it is without killing an innocent being.

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Adiel Corchado May 4, 2009 at 11:55 am

Yes, He could have found a way to show us how disgusting sin is without killing an innocent being if not killing an innocent being were His main objective.  But that wasn’t His main objective. His main objective was to illustrate for us the necessity of the death of His innocent Son on our behalf. He wanted to demonstrate for them the sacrifice of His innocent Son for sin, so… He had them sacrifice innocent animals.

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Lorkas May 4, 2009 at 1:03 pm

We are arguing that the death of his son was not necessary for God to save people, Adiel.

God could have done it without greusome human sacrifice, but he chose it this way. Don’t you understand that this is what the entire argument is about? He could have done it another way if he exists and is omnipotent, but according to your story he did it in exactly the way that barbaric animal-sacrificers would imagine him doing it.

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Lorkas May 4, 2009 at 1:04 pm

I wonder–if “God” told you to sacrifice your son with a knife and burn the body on a mountaintop, what would you do?

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Adiel Corchado May 4, 2009 at 2:44 pm

I must have misunderstood you then, Lorkas. I thought you were saying that the animals sacrifices were not necessary to illustrate Jesus’ sacrifice. I was just giving you reasons why God chose to employ their use for His purposes.

Regarding the necessity of Jesus’ sacrifice itself, the Scripture reveals that it was absolutely necessary. God’s justice, His wrath against sin, had to be satisfied. Either by the eternal conscious torment of the sinner in hell, or the death of the infinitely worthy, sinless, holy, blameless, innocent Lord of the universe.

Regarding your question of whether I would sacrifice my son with a knife and burn his body on the mountain top if God asked me, this event actually happened. Remember Abraham and Isaac? The Bible commends Abraham’s response and so lets take a quick look at it…

Abraham, knowing God’s character and His power, knowing that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead, trusted God and obeyed His command. He took his son up to the mountain, “built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son…”

Then what happened? God Himself provided the lamb. (Which is yet another type and shadow of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God!) No need to imagine hypothetical “What ifs?”,  the fact is that God did not allow him to actually sacrifice his son, neither did it ever enter His mind to actually allow such an abomination (Jeremiah 32:35),  it was a test of Abraham’s faith. Did Abraham love his son  supremely (idolatry) or did he love supremely the One who gave him his son?

So what does this tell us? The sacrifice necessary to approach God, the only acceptable Atonement for sin, has been provided, and it was God Himself who provided it.

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Lorkas May 4, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Adiel Corchado: Regarding your question of whether I would sacrifice my son with a knife and burn his body on the mountain top if God asked me, this event actually happened. Remember Abraham and Isaac?

Dear Lord… Yes, I remember. That was why I asked.
And you didn’t answer the question.

If God commanded you, Adiel, to sacrifice your son with knife and fire, would you do it?

I consider this question a litmus test of sorts for a Christian’s beliefs. Would you do it? (if it’s too hard for you to imagine that God would command you to kill your son, you can pretend like God told you he’s the antichrist or something, and he was choosing you to kill the antichrist)

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lukeprog May 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Holy crap, Lorkas and Adiel, you guys have stamina.

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Jeff H May 4, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Before Adiel answers this, let me also point out that, while in Abraham’s case, God spared Isaac’s life, remember that with Jephthah, God let him go ahead and kill his own daughter. So please don’t try to get out with the excuse that “God would never actually let me kill my son. He would find some way to test my faith but still get me out of murder.” Were this hypothetical situation to happen to you, he might do that, but he also might just let you go through with it. Keep that in mind as you answer Lorkas’s question…

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Lorkas May 4, 2009 at 8:10 pm

lukeprog: Holy crap, Lorkas and Adiel, you guys have stamina.

Ha… this is nothing compared with some marathon discussions I’ve had (though, I’ll be honest, most of them have more interesting content and less scripture and evangelism–this is remarkable in that regard).

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Adiel Corchado May 5, 2009 at 7:34 am

In Jephthah’s case,  God did not command Jephthah to make such a rash vow, and after he made it, the Bible does not say that God approved it or disapproved of it.  You are twisting the Scripture if you imply that God approved of either one of them, the sinful vow, and the keeping of the sinful vow.

The ultimate standard and final arbiter of truth in this world is the Bible, the word of God. Any voice from heaven which commanded me to do anything that contradicts God’s word, I interpret as Satanic and discard it (Galatians 1:8-9). With that said, God’s word clearly reveals that it is an abomination for people to sacrifice their children (abortion), and it has never even entered His mind to actually require such a thing.

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Jeff H May 5, 2009 at 7:51 am

Okay first off, if God knew that Jephthah’s daughter was going to come out of the tent, he could have told him, “Hey! Might not want to do that! How about you promise something else…” He could have also, once Jephthah saw his daughter come out, say, “No sweat, don’t go through with it. Your devotion was admirable, but I would never want you to sacrifice your own daughter!” Does it say this anywhere in the text? No sir. If God had disapproved of it, he should have said or done something to stop it. His silence is implicit acceptance of the action. You are being naive if you say that this all-powerful God did nothing to stop it, but yet disapproved, like he was powerless to do anything. (And even moreso, that he allowed it to be put into Scripture as an example of devotion.)

Second, perhaps God did not actually want Abraham to follow through, but he did command him to do such an action. And thus Abraham’s true motive was to complete the action. Jesus seemed to place a high value on motives. He said that anyone who is angry at someone has already committed murder in his heart. Thus, could it not be said that Abraham had already committed the murder in his heart as well, and thus God was commanding him to sin internally? Just because he did not follow through, does not mean he did not sin. And God should have known that, right? Right.

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Adiel Corchado May 5, 2009 at 8:00 am

No one ever said that it was sin for Abraham to go through with it, in fact it was a great demonstration of His faith in the God who was able to raise Isaac from the dead.  All I’m saying is that we learn from Abraham’s example that God did not actually require it of Him, it was a test.

I think the answer that you fishing out from me is, “Should we do whatever God commands?” And the answer is “YES!”.  So long as it does not contradict what He has clearly revealed in His word.

Regarding Jephthah and God not supernaturally stopping him from killing his daughter, God has not yet stopped Richard Dawkins from teaching blasphemies, does this mean that God approves of his sin? No! Listen, the point of the Book of Judges is not, “The people did what was right in God’s eyes and He approved!” No. The point of the Book of Judges is,

“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25

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Reginald Selkirk May 5, 2009 at 8:16 am

Adiel Corchado: The ultimate standard and final arbiter of truth in this world is the Bible, the word of God.

Ok then. Insects have four legs. So it is written, so it shall be.

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Lorkas May 5, 2009 at 8:39 am

And you can make your goats have striped (or spotted) baby goats if you make them look at stripes (or spots) while they breed. Genesis 30:37-39

I wonder if I could get a research grant to do Intelligent Breeding research?

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Lorkas May 5, 2009 at 9:24 am

Adiel Corchado: I think the answer that you fishing out from me is, “Should we do whatever God commands?” And the answer is “YES!”.

That’s all I was wondering. Lying for Jesus, killing for Jesus, cheating for Jesus–it’s all okay, if God says so.

Absolute morality is positively immoral.

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Jeff H May 5, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Adiel Corchado: Regarding Jephthah and God not supernaturally stopping him from killing his daughter, God has not yet stopped Richard Dawkins from teaching blasphemies, does this mean that God approves of his sin? No!

I would disagree with you here. Perhaps that’s what the Bible says, but if you use some basic reasoning skills I’m sure you can figure out that an all-powerful God could find a way to stop bad things from happening. And since he has every possible means at his disposal, I’m sure he could even find a way to do it without disrupting people’s free will. Like, say, Dawkins chooses to “teach blasphemies”, but God causes a major power failure. His intent was still sinful, but God prevented the message from getting out. I still stand by my statement that if one has the means to prevent wrong, and has incentive to prevent it, but instead does nothing, they are implicitly condoning the action. It doesn’t matter whether that is applied to God or us puny humans – the principle is the same.

“No one ever said that it was sin for Abraham to go through with it”

I’m saying it. And it’s biblical. God tells us not to kill/murder (in this case, the distinction is moot anyway). God then commands Abraham to kill his son Isaac. It doesn’t matter that God prevented it, it doesn’t matter that Abraham had some idea that God could raise Isaac from the dead. It’s not a sign of faith, but immorality that someone would intend to kill their own child. And why God would command someone to do something that contradicts another one of his commands is beyond me. You mentioned that if you heard something “from God” that contradicted something in his Word you would dismiss it as satanic. Abraham, therefore, should have done the same. I won’t let you try and squirm your way out of it. Either Abraham was acting immorally, or God was, or both. You can take your pick here, but someone is at fault.

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Adiel Corchado May 5, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Lorkas: That’s all I was wondering. Lying for Jesus, killing for Jesus, cheating for Jesus–it’s all okay, if God says so.Absolute morality is positively immoral.

The only problem with your examples is that God did not command any of those people to do any of those things.

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Adiel Corchado May 5, 2009 at 8:51 pm

JeffH,

There is a reason why God has not yet stopped every every evil act that has ever been committed, and is being committed today, and will be committed today and tomorrow. His glory. His ultimate plan is to fully reveal His glory. 

An example of how His glory is revealed through our evil is how He managed to use our worst ever evil deed for the greatest imaginable good. Remember the cross? We killed God (incarnate)! Yet God used His crucifixion for good by making His death the fountain of salvation, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life for all who trust in Him.

That is the prime example of how God reveals His glory through our evil.  Another example will be on Judgment Day when He perfectly punishes every single evil thought, word, comment on a blog, and action that has ever been committed.

Regarding Abraham’s test, the fact being that God Himself is the ultimate standard of justice, God’s test was perfectly just and good.  As far as I know at that point in history God had not yet explicitly revealed to Abraham that sacrificing his son was an abomination, it was through the test that He explicitly let him know this. Surely Abraham, knowing God’s character, already knew this, nevertheless the test was to see if He trusted God. Did He trust that God would somehow “provide a lamb” (Genesis 22:7-8)? Did he believe that if God did somehow allow him to go through with it, that God would resurrect Isaac (God had many times already promised Abraham that it was through Isaac that God would bless the whole world, Jesus descended from Isaac).

By the way I also find it ironic that an atheist, one who has no foundation for morality, would call the Foundation for Morality, that is, God, “immoral”.

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Jeff H May 6, 2009 at 4:11 am

a) If “revealing glory” is a legitimate excuse for criminal negligence, I will make sure to use that if I ever get accused of child neglect…

b) My mistake. You obviously don’t believe in any sort of internal “moral law” that Abraham would have already had. You obviously don’t think that Abraham had any conscience at all to tell him, “Hey, maybe, just maybe killing your son isn’t a great thing to do!” And like I’ve said, it doesn’t matter whether he thought that God would raise him from the dead or not. He still had the intent to kill his own child. The only way he would get out of attempted murder in a court of law would be to plead insanity (although the fact that he heard voices telling him to kill his child probably would get him off the hook).

c) Atheists have a foundation for morality, and if you take any introductory ethics course you’ll realize how silly that statement sounds. I’m not going to waste my time discussing it.

d) Actually, I’m not going to waste any more of my time discussing this at all. See you on some other comment trail…

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Lorkas May 6, 2009 at 5:25 am

Adiel Corchado: The only problem with your examples is that God did not command any of those people to do any of those things.

Why don’t you ask the people who performed those actions? They seem to have a different opinion. It’s not as though the imaginary voice in your head is more real than the imaginary voice in theirs, so that you can say they are deceived and you have the truth.

The real problem is a willingness to perform any action that is endorsed by a voice that you believe is God.

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Adiel Corchado May 6, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Lorkas, we don’t discover God’s will by supposed voices that we hear, but by what the Bible says. Like I said earlier, any supposed “voice” that contradicts God’s clear revelation is to be rejected! Had you done that (obeyed God’s word rather than the voices of men) perhaps you would not have strayed so far from the truth?

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Lorkas May 6, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Perhaps if you used reason rather than accepting as dogmatic truth the religious texts of an ancient middle eastern tribe, then you would not be so demeaning towards people who don’t accept your .

Seriously, Adiel–stop talking to us as if we are below you. Just because a shepherd from 500 BC says that he thinks people who don’t believe in his God are ignorant and a tentmaker from AD 40 says that anyone who doesn’t believe as he does is a liar and God-hater, doesn’t make it so. I don’t believe that all who are religious are delusional, but you are so if you think that there is unambiguous evidence proving that we should listen to your fairy tales rather than someone else’s.

I did not stray from “the truth”–I rejected as false the absurd ramblings of people who thought that demons cause disease, insects have 4 legs, and all of the species on Earth could fit in a wooden boat. I am happy to continue having a conversation with you, but not if you continue to be such a condescending ass.

I know that you aren’t coming to this conversation looking for an exchange–you are looking for a convert. Well, let me give you some advice: I am swayed by logic and reason, not scripture and theology. If you want a snowball’s chance in hell of converting anyone who reads this blog (or anyone reasonable at all), you cannot begin with the assertion that your belief is the truth, and argue that everything can fit it. I don’t believe the Bible is true, so quoting it does not compel me.

You need to start with the evidence, and end with your conclusions, not the other way around (outrageous, I know).

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Lorkas May 6, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Adiel Corchado: Like I said earlier, any supposed “voice” that contradicts God’s clear revelation is to be rejected!

Surely studying the universe is a valid way to learn about God, though. After all, if Christianity is true, then God wrote the Bible and made the world. It is well documented* that humans have changed the Bible when it suited their purposes, and many changes have accumulated that are simple copying errors.

In other words, even if we assume that the Bible was written by God, it is susceptible to change by humans. The laws that govern the universe, however, are not susceptible to change by humans. This means that the universe, not the Bible, offers us a better chance at learning what God is all about.

If science and the Bible contradict one another, it is better, therefore, to go with the evidence from the natural world. An example of this is the value of pi, which the Bible places at exactly 3, but our study of circles in the real world tells us otherwise. Which line of evidence should we listen to in this case–the Bible, or our own knowledge of mathematics, and why?

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Lorkas May 6, 2009 at 4:10 pm

* this is extensively demonstrated in Bart Ehrman’s book Misquoting Jesus: The story behind who changed the Bible and why.

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Lorkas May 6, 2009 at 4:16 pm

To sum up:

1. God wrote the Bible.
2. God created the universe. (I don’t actually believe 1 and 2, but let’s assume them to be true for the sake of argument)
3. The Bible has been changed by man.
4. The laws of the universe cannot be changed by man.
5. Man can make mistakes, and is biased.
6. Therefore, the universe is more reliable than the Bible for learning about God and his creation.

If we assume that you are right about God creating the universe and writing the Bible, we should still trust empirical evidence more.

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Adiel Corchado May 7, 2009 at 5:50 am

Lorkas: An example of this is the value of pi, which the Bible places at exactly 3, but our study of circles in the real world tells us otherwise. Which line of evidence should we listen to in this case–the Bible, or our own knowledge of mathematics,
and why?

I’m telling you the truth, it is better to trust in the Lord (who cannot lie) than to put confidence in man and man’s biases…

I know that it comforts the atheist to suppose that the Bible has contradictions and at a sinfully biased superficial glance their position does seem to hold some weight. But upon closer inspection God’s word always proves true and the atheist deceived, misled, confused, ignorant, and/or purposely lying.

For example, what is the value of pi? Is it 3.14 or 3.14159 or 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097 ? Every one of those is rounded off and not exact.

Is it possible that the numbers recorded in the Scripture are likewise rounded off? What if the diameter of the molten sea was 9.6 cubits? What would the rounded off diameter and circumference be?

Just saying…

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Adiel Corchado May 7, 2009 at 6:10 am

Lorkas: To sum up:1. God wrote the Bible. 2. God created the universe. (I don’t actually believe 1 and 2, but let’s assume them to be true for the sake of argument) 3. The Bible has been changed by man. 4. The laws of the universe cannot be changed by man. 5. Man can make mistakes, and is biased. 6. Therefore, the universe is more reliable than the Bible for learning about God and his creation.If we assume that you are right about God creating the universe and writing the Bible, we should still trust empirical evidence more.

1.The Bible is  God’s revealed Word. “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
2. God created the universe.
3. The Bible we have today is a truthful, reliable, and trustworthy copy of the autographs. The manuscript evidence proves this. More than 99% of the manuscripts perfectly agree with each other.  Of the remaining 1%, the greater portion are simple copying errors. And of the remaining percentage of the 1% (Mark 16, John 8 etc)– due to the vast amount of manuscripts— are discrepancies which we are able to identify and highlight.
4. The laws of the universe cannot be changed by man. True, however because man is biased, and because we do not have perfect knowledge and are constantly growing and learning and revising, and our assumptions and presuppositions are known to blind-side us…  nothing is certain…. except the Word of God!
5. Man can indeed make mistakes and is biased, you are right. And being that the Bible is the Word of God we should study what it says are some of the mistakes / biases that man is susceptible to and guilty of. The Bible says that man in his depravity is biased towards evil and against the Light (John 3:18-20), and because of it has exchanged the truth of God for a lie. A lie that fits their sinful bias and feeds their depravity eg  religions that endorse sin, the Big Bang, Darwinian evolution, etc.

6. The universe is fallen and cursed.

Man’s mind is depraved, fallen, anti-God, and deceived: “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools” and “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting”

God’s Word is infallible and inerrant and is the only thing in the world that can be fully trusted and believed.

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Lorkas May 7, 2009 at 6:23 am

Adiel Corchado: I’m telling you the truth, it is better to trust in the Lord (who cannot lie) than to put confidence in man and man’s biases…

First of all, I already gave you several examples from the Bible where God does lie.

Second, the content of the example I gave was only peripheral. The point is, if the Bible and the real world contradict one another on a basic observation, like insects have 4 legs vs. insects have 6 legs, then we should trust our observations of the real world. Anyway, if you think that the difference between 3 and (even) 3.14 is insignificant, then I’m glad you aren’t an engineer or a scientist. An omniscient author could have given the value to any accuracy she chose, and it would have been incredibly impressive if it had been given even to 10 digits, which was unprecedented for the time. Instead the author chose to give pi to less accuracy than the Greeks, the Egyptians, and the Babylonians had accomplished through their human faculties.

Since you only disagree with my argument by asserting it is wrong, rather than by responding to it logically, I will assume that you have no real criticism of the logic.

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Adiel Corchado May 7, 2009 at 6:34 am

No, what I am saying is that the supposed contradictions you are emphasizing are not really contradictions at all, but are rather evidence of your depraved (God says) atheistic presuppositions. Is it wrong for the biblical author, if the diameter of the molten sea was 9.6 cubits, in a text whose purpose is historical narrative and not scientific instruction,  to round the diameter up to 10 cubits and the circumference down to 30 cubits? Come on! Seriously though…

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Lorkas May 7, 2009 at 6:55 am

That sounds like the perfect defense for any position. “The things I’m claiming may make no sense whatsoever, but that’s just because you have a depraved mind.”
Ad hominem: the God-approved logical fallacy.

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Lorkas May 7, 2009 at 7:58 am

It looks like we broke this post… I can only see the background when I go to the comments page now.

The other posts seem to be fine, though.

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Lorkas May 7, 2009 at 5:37 pm

I can see it now, in Firefox. For some reason it wasn’t displaying correctly in IE.

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Lee May 7, 2009 at 5:50 pm

“Ironically, the Bible calls this type of “freedom” slavery, slavery to sin and to Satan himself.”
“Ironically, the Bible calls this type of “freedom” slavery, slavery to sin and to Satan himself.”
Ironically God calls his own followers “slaves” in many places in the Bible.
I suppose “slavery” is for Gods glory to eh?
The book of Leviticus is not referring to Jesus Christ. The book of Leviticus is a Jewish book later co-opted by the Christians. Christians then retroactively applied Jewish scripture to their new religion  much like Mormons insist New Testament verses  prophecy the coming of their prophet Joseph smith. There is not a single, solitary, clear, concise unmistakable reference to Jesus (or the trinity) in Jewish book Christians hijacked, which they now call the “Old Testament”.  The Christians hijacked the Jews holy books, the Muslims did a bit of both and the Mormons hijacked both the Jewish and Christian scriptures.
Hell, the Baha’i faith claims prophecy fulfillment in virtually every major world religion including the LDS (Mormons)!

All of it is a lot of hand waving and puzzle piece fitting done after the fact. People do the same thing when they scour the quatrains of Nostradamus after a major world event in order to then find “prophecy”. If the Biblical God wanted to make it clear that he has an eternal son and that he is part of a trinity that he is three people but also magically one person at the same time then he could have make this abundantly and thoroughly clear in the Old Testament instead of the insanely vague and cryptic manner in which Christians claim he left his scriptural evidence. 

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Adiel Corchado May 7, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Lee: There is not a single, solitary, clear, concise unmistakable reference to Jesus (or the trinity) in Jewish book Christians hijacked, which they now call the “Old Testament”.

It is written in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, chapter 53…

He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
9 And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see the labor of His soul,and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.

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Lorkas May 7, 2009 at 7:32 pm

This is not an uncontroversial passage, Adiel. Most Jewish scholars* (and even some Christian scholars) believe it to be referring to the Nation of Israel rather than to Jesus, and not without good reason, if you look at the grammar of the text (at times, the plural pronouns, “they/them” are used rather singular for “he/him”, like at the end of verse 8).

Therefore, this is not a “clear, concise unmistakable reference to Jesus (or the trinity)”, although it is probably the passage that can be most compellingly interpreted as such. In other words, I think this is the best of the OT “prophecies,” but even it is not clear and unmistakable as a reference to Jesus, when thoughtful exegesis (or even a plain reading of the original text in its original context) is applied.

* Pg. 9

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Adiel Corchado May 7, 2009 at 8:08 pm

All I have to say about Isaiah 53 is, “Whoever has to ears to hear, let him hear!”

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Adiel Corchado May 7, 2009 at 8:09 pm

lol, and I mistyped it! er

But seriously, “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear!”

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Lorkas May 7, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Hear what? That the passage you put forth as an unambiguous reference to Jesus is actually ambiguous and has been debated for centuries?

Notice that you can believe that the passage refers to Jesus while acknowledging that it can be (and is) interpreted otherwise, making it ambiguous. Even among Christian scholars, the interpretation of Isaiah 53 is not unanimous, as I cited above.

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Adiel Corchado May 7, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Lorkas, who do you think it is referring to?

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Jeff H May 8, 2009 at 3:44 pm

I know I said I was done with this conversation, but it seems that the conversation isn’t done with me. I just wanted to point out that I have heard another interpretation about Isaiah 53 referring to King Uzziah. I am not sure about the popularity of this argument, but I found it to be fairly good. There is an explanation of it here, under point (VI).

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jesusfreak574 May 10, 2009 at 9:52 am

Wow on two accounts.  The first being that you guys are still going.  The second being that I cannot  believe that I just saw a reference to the “the Bible has the wrong value for pi” argument.  I really do think that argument does a great disservice to whoever brings it up.

Pi as calculated by 1 Kings 7:25 is an issue of imprecision as opposed to an issue of accuracy.  A value of say, 6, is blatantly innacurate, while a value of 3 is the closest any number given to that many significant places can be to pi.  Because pi is irrational, any representation can be said to be imprecise, regardless of the number of digits.

Therefore, the reasonable objection is to claim that the calculation of pi from the text is more imprecise than we would expect.  This is clearly not the case, as the entire chapter is devoted to a general description of a palace and a temple.  Specific details are conspicuously absent, as are exact measurements (unless we are to believe that everything described really had dimensions quantized to the cubit).  In the context of the text and using the number of significant digits that are indicated as important  by the author, the calculated value of pi is perfectly reasonable.  The text isn’t a math textbook or an architectural blueprint; those cases would demand more detail and so we could expect a more precise pi calculation.  Rather, it is a simple description of the generalities of the buildings and furnishings with round measurements.

Well, that’s why I think the pi argument is unfounded.  I really think there are better arguments to spend one’s time on.

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