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#1 Master Buffalax

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 10:09 AM

I originally raised this issue in this thread; apparently it was off-topic there, so I'm starting a new thread to discuss it because I'm really curious to hear someone's answer. To give it some context, I was trying to provide some hard evidence that God as described in the Bible is NOT real (as opposed to just a lack of evidence that He is real.)

The argument is borrowed from fellow user Ventus, and I think he summarizes it rather well:

If there is a God, and particularly if God has revealed himself through Scripture, then ... Scripture should be better than it is.

Throughout my exchange with Ron, I fleshed this idea out into a formal logical chain, with premises labeled P and conclusions labeled C:

P1. If He exists, God, by His very nature, should be perfect.
P2. Every aspect of a perfect being is, by definition, perfect.
P3. Perfect things cannot be improved.
P4. The Bible can be improved. (This claim is justified below)
P5. One aspect of the God described in the Bible is that the Bible is His word made manifest.

C1. From P1 and P2: God's Word, if it exists, should be perfect.
C2. From C1: If the Bible is God's Word made manifest, it should be perfect.
C3. From P3 and C2: If the Bible is God's Word made manifest, it should not be improvable.
C4. From C3: If the Bible is improvable, it is not God's Word made manifest.
C5. Prom P4 and C4: The Bible is not God's Word made manifest.
C6. From P5 and C5: The God described in the Bible does not exist.

In plain English, if God chose the Bible as a means of sending His truth to us, as the Bible says He did, it should be perfect or nearly perfect (there might be small errors arising from the translation from Hebrew). Certainly no human should be able to significantly improve the Bible. If I can significantly improve the Bible, then, it must not be entirely, literally right about God.

So how would I improve the Bible? I borrow two examples from Ventus. I can think of a few more, but these strike me as the most difficult to argue against, which is why I'm using them.

1. Condemn slavery. The Bible explicitly condones slavery in, for instance, Leviticus 25:44 :
"Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids."
That's from the King James version; Merriam-Webster defines "bondmen/maids" as people bound to service without wages (ie. slaves), and newer translations just use the term "slaves" explicitly. In other words, it's ok to have slaves as long as they're heathens. Support of slavery can also be found in the New Testament (eg. Ephesians 6:5).

Even without that explicit condoning, though, what does it mean to not have an anti-slavery passage in the Bible? I realize that the Bible can't be expected to condemn every immoral act by name, but Leviticus makes a good effort to do so; it's mostly just a big list of God's rules for mankind. Chapter 11 is all about what you are and aren't allowed to eat, with several helpful examples. Chapter 18 is just a big index of S@xual taboos, and chapter 20 is another index of the same taboos but with the death penalty attached to most of them. In all of this laying-down-the-law, how is it that God neglected to condemn the appalling human rights violation that is slavery, but remembered to note that we can't eat rabbits because they "chew the cud"?

2. Get rid of Genesis 19:8, or at least modify it heavily. The one argument I've seen against this is that Lot offering his daughters to the rapists was an act of man, not an act of God, so God shouldn't be judged for it. But Genesis 19 is not just a record of what happened one day in Sodom way back when. It's meant to teach a lesson; the Sodomites are punished because they've strayed too far from the righteous path, Lot is saved because he puts his trust in God, and Lot's wife is punished for even looking back to the cesspool of sin from which she was fleeing. Lot is clearly the protagonist in this story; his hospitality saves the travelers from the mob, and his faith saves him when the rest of the city burns. Why is it never discussed that by offering his daughters to the rapists, he is committing the second most immoral act in the chapter (right after the rapists themselves)? If the angels who saved him were really messengers of a good God, they would have at some point explained to him that his actions were despicable. And since Genesis 19 is a story about morality, this explanation should have made its way into the final draft.

What do people think? This reasoning can be debunked by either pointing out a flaw in my logic or disagreeing with one of my five premises; I expect that most people will disagree with P4, which I why I spent so much time justifying it, but I'm happy to debate any of the other premises if someone sees them as mistaken.

Finally, a couple of notes, to avoid messy issues raised in the other thread:

-I realize that this evidence doesn't apply to belief in all gods, or even in most gods. It only applies to belief in the God of the literal Bible.

-Yes, my user profile says I'm a Christian, and yet I'm saying the Bible can't be literally true. If you want to discuss that, start a thread or direct me to a thread that already exists; it's not relevant to the topic of this thread (on the off chance that you think it is, please explain why in detail).

-The "historical evidence for Jesus" argument should be nipped in the bud before it starts. My argument is based entirely on logic. It's certainly debatable, but historical evidence can't beat it; documents and testimonies which suggest that the Bible is true, however convincing they are, are trumped by a deductive logical proof that the Bible cannot be true. (Again, if you think I'm wrong here, please explain thoroughly before you present all your evidence for the historicity of Jesus.)

-The claim that "I'm just writing opinions, not giving evidence" is objectively false. Logical proof is a form of evidence. If you think that one of my premises is just an unfounded opinion, tell me which premise you have a problem with and why.

#2 Ron

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 11:02 AM

I originally raised this issue in this thread; apparently it was off-topic there, so I'm starting a new thread to discuss it because I'm really curious to hear someone's answer.  To give it some context, I was trying to provide some hard evidence that God as described in the Bible is NOT real (as opposed to just a lack of evidence that He is real.)

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So, you are assuming that logic alone is "hard evidence"?

#3 Master Buffalax

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 11:12 AM

So, you are assuming that logic alone is "hard evidence"?

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... uh, yes. I grabbed a definition of "evidence" from dictionary.com (I usually like to use Merriam-Webster, but their definition was really tied to the legal connotations of the term, which didn't seem appropriate here)

Evidence: noun. that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.

A chain of deductive logic that proceeds from clearly true premises to a conclusion is an especially strong form of proof, and it's certainly ground for belief in said conclusion. Of course the whole thing falls apart if you can prove one or more of the premises false, which is why I've been trying to get people to actually argue against my premises. But assuming the premises are sound, deductive logic is perhaps the "hardest" form of evidence that exists, in that it only tells us what must be true if the premises are true (not what is probably true like, say, historical documents).

Edit: Now that I think about it, if logic is not "hard evidence", where does logic come into play? Surely you have to agree that logical proof is a valid form of argumentation. If we don't consider it "evidence", what is its role in a debate?

#4 Ron

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 03:50 PM

So, you are assuming that logic alone is "hard evidence"?

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... uh, yes. I grabbed a definition of "evidence" from dictionary.com (I usually like to use Merriam-Webster, but their definition was really tied to the legal connotations of the term, which didn't seem appropriate here)

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So your definition answers my question “logic alone is "hard evidence"?

Evidence: noun. that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.

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Let’s take a look at the definition for evidence for a moment. And not the single line that you provide, but the actual definition:

Evidence (ev•i•dence noun \ˈe-və-dən(t)s, -və-ˌden(t)s\)

1: a : an outward sign : indication b : something that furnishes proof : testimony; specifically : something legally submitted to a tribunal to ascertain the truth of a matter
2: one who bears witness; especially : one who voluntarily confesses a crime and testifies for the prosecution against his accomplices
— in evidence
1: to be seen : conspicuous <trim lawns … are everywhere in evidence — American Guide Series: North Carolina>
2: as evidence

www.thefreedictionary.com/evidence


When used in correspondence with the OP (or the context of the question submitted), which attempts to conclude that “by logic alone, one can prove that the Bible cannot be taken literally”, we have to ask ourselves:

Can one prove anything by logic alone?

Can anyone provide even one scientist, physician, lawyer, theologian, logician, and layperson (etc…) who lives their life attempting to prove things by logic alone, let alone life by logic alone?

What if someone cobbles together a perfectly sound syllogism, yet physical evidence disproves it; has the syllogism actually proven the logician’s conclusion correct?

As we look at the definition of the word evidence (when in context of the OP conversation, and reality), what do we see? We see that evidence is the outward sign, indication, phenomena that furnishes proof, and/or testimony; specifically that which legally submitted to a tribunal to ascertain the truth of a matter.

What are we actually looking for then? According to the definition for “evidence” we are actually looking for the “TRUTH” of the matter!

But then, we have to ask ourselves “what is truth then?” By definition Truth is that which corresponds with fact or reality! Can logic alone, then, be considered as enough evidence to overturn reality? Or can logic only be used in conjunction with physical evidence to prove a fact or truth?

A chain of deductive logic that proceeds from clearly true premises to a conclusion is an especially strong form of proof, and it's certainly ground for belief in said conclusion.  Of course the whole thing falls apart if you can prove one or more of the premises false, which is why I've been trying to get people to actually argue against my premises.  But assuming the premises are sound, deductive logic is perhaps the "hardest" form of evidence that exists, in that it only tells us what must be true if the premises are true (not what is probably true like, say, historical documents).

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Firstly, anyone who delves into logic, knows that you can put together a syllogism that is sound logically (within the rules of logic), but does not comport with reality. It is nothing more than a logical exercise.

Secondly, regardless of the logic of a syllogism, two (or more) irrefutable eyewitnesses will win the court case, and the logician will lose.

Edit: Now that I think about it, if logic is not "hard evidence", where does logic come into play?  Surely you have to agree that logical proof is a valid form of argumentation.  If we don't consider it "evidence", what is its role in a debate?

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Again, logic itself is not hard evidence, it is only the metaphysical line of thought, when used in conjunction with physical evidence, does it come into play to be considered “hard evidence”. Just like logics role in science: Logic cannot prove anything scientifically, but science cannot prove anything without logic either.

Further, absolutely no one attempts to debate with logic alone (other than two logicians practicing their craft). Then again, no logician goes through their life by logic alone. Have you ever attempted to eat a logical hamburger, or drink a cup of cold logic? You wouldn’t last very long.

#5 JoshuaJacob

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 04:42 PM

How can You improve the bible?

This seems to be your #1 question that needs to be answered.

Show us where the bible is in error and in fact is not "perfect" as You imply.

#6 Master Buffalax

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 05:32 PM

First, on the definition of "evidence", I can agree that we are looking for something that indicates the "truth of the matter". My logical proof is meant to demonstrate that my conclusion is true.

When used in correspondence with the OP (or the context of the question submitted), which attempts to conclude that “by logic alone, one can prove that the Bible cannot be taken literally”, we have to ask ourselves:
Can one prove anything by logic alone?

I guess it depends what you mean. Logic, when combined with valid premises, can prove lots of things. That's why I have five, clearly labeled premises, which I'm hoping someone will actually argue with at some point. I concede that pure logic, without any premises, cannot prove anything about the real world. I do have premises, though, so this is not a problem for my argument.

Can anyone provide even one scientist, physician, lawyer, theologian, logician, and layperson (etc…) who lives their life attempting to prove things by logic alone, let alone life by logic alone

?
Who said anything about living my life by logic alone? Pure logic can't tell us all or even most of the things about our world. I'm just trying to apply logic (along with five solid premises) to this one question, because it lends itself to a logical answer. And you can find dozens of mathematicians who attempted to prove at least some things by logic alone if you look in any math journal.

What if someone cobbles together a perfectly sound syllogism, yet physical evidence disproves it; has the syllogism actually proven the logician’s conclusion correct?

This is impossible and has never happened. If a syllogism leads to a wrong conclusion, it employed either fallacies or false premises. I challenge you to provide me with one logical argument (syllogism or otherwise) that takes true premises and uses sound logic to reach a false conclusion. It can't be done.

As we look at the definition of the word evidence (when in context of the OP conversation, and reality), what do we see? We see that evidence is the outward sign, indication, phenomena that furnishes proof, and/or testimony; specifically that which legally submitted to a tribunal to ascertain the truth of a matter.

What are we actually looking for then? According to the definition for “evidence” we are actually looking for the “TRUTH” of the matter!

But then, we have to ask ourselves “what is truth then?” By definition Truth is that which corresponds with fact or reality! Can logic alone, then, be considered as enough evidence to overturn reality? Or can logic only be used in conjunction with physical evidence to prove a fact or truth?

It's fair to say that logic can only be used in conjunction with physical evidence to prove a fact. That's why I have premises. I guess P1, P2, and P3 are just definitions, but P4 and P5 are real-world statements about what is in the Bible. These allow me to prove facts about the Bible; in this case, the fact that it's not entirely true.

Firstly, anyone who delves into logic, knows that you can put together a syllogism that is sound logically (within the rules of logic), but does not comport with reality. It is nothing more than a logical exercise.

Again, this is only true if you start with false premises. See my challenge above.

Secondly, regardless of the logic of a syllogism, two (or more) irrefutable eyewitnesses will win the court case, and the logician will lose.
Again, logic itself is not hard evidence, it is only the metaphysical line of thought, when used in conjunction with physical evidence, does it come into play to be considered “hard evidence”.  Just like logics role in science: Logic cannot prove anything scientifically, but science cannot prove anything without logic either.

Further, absolutely no one attempts to debate with logic alone (other than two logicians practicing their craft). Then again, no logician goes through their life by logic alone. Have you ever attempted to eat a logical hamburger, or drink a cup of cold logic? You wouldn’t last very long.

Ok. I guess this all boils down to the fact that pure logic cannot prove anything about the real world. I may have overstated the purity of logic in my argument above; I apologize for that. But logic along with sound premises can prove lots of things. My proof is not a self-contained logic bubble with no connection to reality because it's based on statements about the real world. (Specifically, statements that the Bible says certain things, which it definitely does say.) If one of my premise statements about the real world is wrong, tell me why. But if you agree with my premises and you can't find a fallacy in my logic, all of my conclusions are necessarily correct.

#7 JoshuaJacob

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 05:51 PM

It's fair to say that logic can only be used in conjunction with physical evidence to prove a fact.  That's why I have premises.  I guess P1, P2, and P3 are just definitions, but P4 and P5 are real-world statements about what is in the Bible. These allow me to prove facts about the Bible; in this case, the fact that it's not entirely true.

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The only thing You have provided as evidence that the bible is not true, as you say, is about Slavery and about Lot and Sodom. How does Your "evidence" prove that the bible is not true?

#8 Master Buffalax

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 05:59 PM

How can You improve the bible?

This seems to be your #1 question that needs to be answered.

Show us where the bible is in error and in fact is not "perfect" as You imply.

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Start reading the OP at the second block of text after my formal proof. There are three paragraphs explaining why I think that the Bible condones slavery and undervalues women, and how I would fix these flaws. In a sentence, I would add passages condemning slavery and remove Genesis 19:8.

Edit: Looks like you read them while I was typing. I'll reply to your new post soon.

#9 Master Buffalax

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 06:53 PM

The only thing You have provided as evidence that the bible is not true, as you say, is about Slavery and about Lot and Sodom. How does Your "evidence" prove that the bible is not true?

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I think you're being overly dismissive here. My comments about slavery show that the Bible endorses slavery, which is morally abhorrent. And my comments about Lot show that the Bible is flippant about raping women, which is also morally abhorrent. I could improve the Bible by changing these passages because, well, a guide to morality (which the Bible is, among other things) shouldn't be morally abhorrent. And if I can improve the Bible, that proves my premise 4. Along with my other premises, this is sufficient to prove that the Bible is not completely true as per my chain of logic.

#10 JoshuaJacob

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 07:18 PM

I think you're being overly dismissive here.

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Not really, You have to realize the times back then and how things are not like they are now. You and I have many comforts today, unlike in ancient times when life was REALLY unfair for people. What toils many people have suffered over the course of history in a cursed world.

My comments about slavery show that the Bible endorses slavery, which is morally abhorrent.

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Lets say that the bible does endorse slavery, how does that prove that the bible is not the perfect word of God? How does that prove that God is not perfect?

And my comments about Lot show that the Bible is flippant about raping women, which is also morally abhorrent.

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Again, how does this prove that the bible is not perfect and how does it prove that God is not perfect?

I could improve the Bible by changing these passages because, well, a guide to morality (which the Bible is, among other things) shouldn't be morally abhorrent.

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So by adding what you think will improve the bible, this will make the bible perfect?


And if I can improve the Bible, that proves my premise 4. Along with my other premises, this is sufficient to prove that the Bible is not completely true as per my chain of logic.

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You have not improved the bible in any way what so ever, you just added things that You think would improve the bible in your mind or by your own moral standards. Therefore You have not proven any of Your premises.

#11 AFJ

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 08:00 PM

Perhaps the poster is not familiar with the customs of people 4000 years ago on slavery. I don't know what it was in Egypt, where the Hebrews were coming from, when the law of Moses was written, but I do know why people became slaves in Israel. It is because they were overcome by debt. It a man owed another man, and could not pay him, there was no chapter 11. You gave that man your body, and that is not in the modern meaning. You literally were to offer your body as payment--that meant you became his slave. And they were commanded to treat their slaves well. You were not to abuse a slave.

Our economy is wrecked because of debt, and people not working. Many who are not working really never worked much at all, because they are on "the system." And they just raise up another generation who will be on "the system." How long do you think we can support non-productive people. Or so many people who go bankrupt. Bankruptcy is like a big hole in a bucket--someone is going to make up for the unpaid debts.

The good news is though, under Jewish law, every fifty years, all debts were canceled and if I recall correctly, all slaves were set free. So it sounds like a much better system than what we have.

#12 Salsa

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 10:11 PM

My comments about slavery show that the Bible endorses slavery, which is morally abhorrent. 

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The law was not given to create a perfect and just society. All it did was to restrain evil, and that's all it was meant to do. These kinds of laws were made for the unrighteous, not the righteous.

Saying God condones slavery is like saying that he condones divorce. But what did Jesus have to say about that:

"Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning."

The only thing that God "condones" is what was "from the beginning". The rest is the heritage of sin.

The Law merely amplified this problem so that we would realize our need for grace:

"So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith." Galatians 3:24

Neither freeing slaves not speaking out strongly against slavery solves the real problem. The real problem is spiritual - we are slaves of sin and only in Christ is there any real freedom from that.

#13 Master Buffalax

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 12:03 AM

Perhaps the poster is not familiar with the customs of people 4000 years ago on slavery. I don't know what it was in Egypt, where the Hebrews were coming from, when the law of Moses was written, but I do know why people became slaves in Israel. It is because they were overcome by debt. It a man owed another man, and could not pay him, there was no chapter 11. You gave that man your body, and that is not in the modern meaning. You literally were to offer your body as payment--that meant you became his slave. And they were commanded to treat their slaves well. You were not to abuse a slave.

That's very interesting! I didn't know that Israel handled slaves that way; it sounds like "indentured servitude" might be a more accurate description in modern language. That actually sounds like a pretty good system if you can rely on people to treat their slaves with a basic level of respect. (Unfortunately, a lot of companies today can't even be trusted to treat their employees with respect, so I doubt it would work in our current society.) If I'm hearing you correctly, "slavery" in the pre-Civil War American sense didn't exist in ancient Israel, so it makes sense for the Bible not to condemn it. I'll withdraw "condemn slavery" as a proposed improvement to the Bible.

I still say that removing Genesis 19:8 would undeniably be an improvement, though. I look forward to hearing your response to this, since your response to the slavery point was so refreshingly topical and well-informed ;) .

#14 Master Buffalax

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 12:15 AM

Disclaimer: If memory serves, multiposting is ok if each post is in response to a different person. Apologies if I'm wrong on this.

The law was not given to create a perfect and just society. All it did was to restrain evil, and that's all it was meant to do. These kinds of laws were made for the unrighteous, not the righteous.

Saying God condones slavery is like saying that he condones divorce. But what did Jesus have to say about that:

"Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning."

The only thing that God "condones" is what was "from the beginning". The rest is the heritage of sin.

The Law merely amplified this problem so that we would realize our need for grace:

"So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith." Galatians 3:24

Neither freeing slaves not speaking out strongly against slavery solves the real problem. The real problem is spiritual - we are slaves of sin and only in Christ is there any real freedom from that.

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Interesting argument. I already said that I'm dropping the "condemn slavery" improvement, so I guess this isn't a critical issue anymore. But I do think that it's a mistake to say that the Bible doesn't need to condemn slavery just because our own sin is the deeper issue. I'll certainly admit that speaking out against slavery wouldn't solve the bigger problem. But at the same time, the Bible isn't just about how much we all need God's grace. It's also supposed to tell us how we should live a good life and what God does or doesn't want us to do, even as it reminds us that we can never really live up to the standards of a perfect, sin-free life. That's why the Ten Commandments are in there, for instance. And slavery in the modern sense of the term is horrible enough that I think "no slavery" is an essential part of any list of rules for how to be a good, non-sinning person. Again, though, AFJ just informed me that slavery wasn't in the modern sense of the term when the Bible was written, so it's now a somewhat tangential point.

#15 Master Buffalax

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 12:50 AM

Not really, You have to realize the times back then and how things are not like they are now. You and I have many comforts today, unlike in ancient times when life was REALLY unfair for people. What toils many people have suffered over the course of history in a cursed world.

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I guess this argument applied to the slavery issue somewhat, in the sense that maybe the Israelites needed slavery to survive even if it was immoral. I had some counter-arguments lined up, but AFJ eliminated the need for that with a bit of historical context.

This argument doesn't address the issue of Lot, though. I don't care how difficult one's life is; handing one's daughters over to rapists is never ok, or even excusable. Lot's actions in Genesis 19:8 were appalling regardless of the society he lived in, and I hope that everyone here can recognize that.

Again, how does this [the Lot argument] prove that the bible is not perfect and how does it prove that God is not perfect?

It proves that the Bible could be improved, which means the Bible is not perfect because perfect things are unimprovable by definition. It does not prove that God is not perfect; quite the contrary, I'm working under the assumption that God must be perfect if He exists. It does, however, prove that the Bible is not the literal Word of God, since the Word of a perfect God should also be perfect, which the Bible is not.

So by adding what you think will improve the bible, this will make the bible perfect?

Not at all! I just think that it will make the Bible better, which is enough to show that the Bible isn't perfect already.

You have not improved the bible in any way what so ever, you just added things that You think would improve the bible in your mind or by your own moral standards. Therefore You have not proven any of Your premises.

I disagree. I chose Genesis 19:8 as an example of an improvement precisely because it's morally unambiguous. Lot offered his daughters to rapists. I should think that anyone with a working moral compass and a basic respect for women's rights can recognize that this was a horrible thing to do. If some people disagree, I'll concede that my argument doesn't apply to them, but I'll think they're bad people.

As I said before, the story of Sodom is a story of morality. In such a story, glossing over the kind of moral atrocity Lot tried to commit is an unacceptable oversight. The fact that said atrocity was committed by the story's most obvious protagonist only makes the problem worse. As such, the story of Sodom would be a much better moral parable if it either pointed out what Lot did was wrong or left out that bit altogether. I think it's fairly obvious that a moral story is made worse by offhandedly introducing a huge moral issue and then never addressing it. Of course, if you disagree with this point or think that it's just my opinion, let me know specifically which part you disagree with and what your own, contrasting opinion is. I've taken especial care to uses as little subjectivity as possible in my arguments, and it doesn't clarify anything to broadly say that I'm only improving the Bible "in my mind".

#16 Salsa

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 02:25 AM

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#17 Salsa

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 02:27 AM

But at the same time, the Bible isn't just about how much we all need God's grace. It's also supposed to tell us how we should live a good life ...

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It does, but you may have missed it. You can only live a "good life" by submitting to God. You can try to live a good life by following the law, but this won't count as righteousness before God. Trying to live righteously by human effort is like trying to clean the windows with dirty rags. It might seem like you are cleaning away some of the filth but you are only smearing it around.

God's intention is not to make a reasonably good purse out of a sow's ear. That is all legalism does. You can have the foliage on the outside, but without bearing fruit you are useless. A commandment, or an endorsement if you like, even if it is given by God himself, does not change a person from within. This is the message of the gospel.

Consider the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. If that law was followed by the Jews of that time then what problem would slavery pose? I would rather be a slave of someone who loves me than a free man in the society we live in today.

In fact, that is the choice we are given. Absolute freedom does not exist. We can choose to be slaves to sin under the guise of "freedom", or slaves to the one who truly loves us.

#18 MarkForbes

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 02:57 AM

...I disagree.  I chose Genesis 19:8 as an example of an improvement precisely because it's morally unambiguous.  Lot offered his daughters to rapists.  I should think that anyone with a working moral compass and a basic respect for women's rights can recognize that this was a horrible thing to do.  If some people disagree, I'll concede that my argument doesn't apply to them, but I'll think they're bad people....
...

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I think one needs to be careful to use the characters in the bible has moral standards. Quite frankly it is obvious that they had moral failures. Care as well needs to be taken with using popular standards of the present as absolutely ethical. They just may not be that flawless as we (presently) think. Slavery (or servitude) has been the norm for almost all societies we know of. The slavery in the Roman empire was abolished while Europe became christianised and replaced by a feudal order (vows between people of different social rank), which included labor obligations. That you had slavery in the colonies was actually an institutional import from Africa, where slavery was common practice, that means people of European descent purchased slaves that were enslaved by the locals and took them to the colonies. There was always some resentment in Europe against that and it should be noted that it was the Western nation that gradually abolished it elsewhere, too.

#19 Ron

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 04:24 AM

Ok.  I guess this all boils down to the fact that pure logic cannot prove anything about the real world.  I may have overstated the purity of logic in my argument above; I apologize for that.  But logic along with sound premises can prove lots of things. 

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First and foremost, logic is but one tool in the search for truth. And, as I provided earlier, logic alone is not sufficient to be used as evidence in the overturning of that which is extended into reality. Therefore, your initial logical failure is attempting to argue that logic alone can be considered "hard evidence".

Secondly, your logic fails (i.e. is not pure), because you are assuming that your opinion outweighs that which you are arguing against. You have provided absolutely no evidence (other than your ‘opinion’ in syllogistic form) in an attempt to counter to these facts in reality.

For example, I countered your initial attempts at your personally held beliefs that the Bible is wrong with the following questions:

Many questions come to mind then:

1- How can one claim a Christian worldview and then turn around and say “there is ‘absolutely’ no God?” Given your purposed worldview (in this forum), this question is clearly fair, as the Bible itself (i.e. the Biblical eye witnesses of the Bible, and even Jesus Himself) make the claim that God of the Bible be taken literally, and you are claiming to be a "Christian".

2- Do you have Biblical contemporaneous evidences, proofs and facts that these witnesses and Jesus are incorrect in their statements?

3- Do you have literal factual contemporaneous evidences that Jesus didn’t say He was God?

4- Do you have literal factual contemporaneous evidences that the Jewish leadership of the time didn’t understand that Jesus said He was God? (Further, do you have literal factual contemporaneous evidences that the Jewish leadership of the time didn’t (as the eye witnesses claimed) attempt to “do away with” Jesus for claiming He was God?)

5- Do you have literal factual contemporaneous evidences to counter the literal eyewitnesses of the life, ministry, miracles, death, burial, resurrection, continued ministry, then ascension, of Jesus Christ?

Keep in mind; I’m not requesting your “subjective opinion” I’m asking for “literal, factual evidence! And it is fair, since you are the one that injected “literal” into the conversation.

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And you provided absolutely no factual answers to support your premises and conclusions. You simply provided more faith statements and opinions in an attempt to stay away from the truth and reality of the historical facts that refute your flawed and highly opinionated syllogism.

My proof is not a self-contained logic bubble with no connection to reality because it's based on statements about the real world.  (Specifically, statements that the Bible says certain things, which it definitely does say.)  If one of my premise statements about the real world is wrong, tell me why.  But if you agree with my premises and you can't find a fallacy in my logic, all of my conclusions are necessarily correct.

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Firstly, your proof is not proof at all, as the word “proof” as defined is “conclusive evidence - evidence or an argument that serves to establish a fact or the truth of something”. And your entire syllogism is based upon your opinions alone, and not facts. If you had based your syllogism in facts that can be tested in reality, then you might have a start. Therefore your attempt at “evidence” is nothing more than a “self-contained opinion bubble. Therefore NONE of your conclusions are necessarily correct.

Secondly, your entire syllogism is nothing more than your opinion superimposed upon the real world, because you have provided absolutely NO real evidence (that which is extended out to reality) other than your opinion. Therefore NONE of your conclusions are necessarily correct.

Thirdly, your premise that the Bible is less than perfect because it can be improved upon is nothing more than opinion because you have provided absolutely no evidence (that which is extended out to reality) that your “ideas” are better, you have only said so. Therefore NONE of your conclusions are necessarily correct.

Fourthly, the Bible is indeed designated AS the “Word of God”, just as Jesus is designated AS the “Word of God”. And the Bible claims to contain the WORDS of God. And the Bible claims that the WORDS of God are perfect. But NOWHERE does the Bible claim that the actions of flawed man (contained within the Bible) are perfect. Nor does it claim that the words of flawed man (contained within the Bible) are perfect. Therefore your attempted correlation of the flawed actions and words of man as the “Word” or “Words” of God is fallacious at best, and blasphemous at its base. Therefore NONE of your conclusions are necessarily correct.

#20 Ron

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 04:25 AM

Conclusion:

P1. If He exists, God, by His very nature, should be perfect.

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This can be considered necessarily true



P2. Every aspect of a perfect being is, by definition, perfect.

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This can be considered necessarily true




P3. Perfect things cannot be improved.

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This can be considered necessarily true

P4.
The Bible can be improved. (This claim is justified below)

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Neither is this claim justified, nor is it qualified/verified, but it further is nothing more than a subjective opinion, and not an objective fact, as it has not been tested and verified in reality. Therefore this premise is flawed and fails.


P5. One aspect of the God described in the Bible is that the Bible is His word made manifest.

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This can be considered necessarily true with a caveat: Nowhere does the Bible equate the actions and words of flawed man contained within the Bible as synonymous with the perfection of God or His Word. The flawed actions and words of man are contained within the Bible as examples of fallen man. Therefore this premise is flawed and fails.




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