And what Ã¢â‚¬Å“New WordsÃ¢â‚¬Â would those be?
"Eisegetical" and "hermeneutical". I hadn't heard either word before, and I had to look them up. Yay vocabulary.
How can one claim a Christian worldview and then turn around and say Ã¢â‚¬Å“there is Ã¢â‚¬ËœabsolutelyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ no God?Ã¢â‚¬Â
I consider myself a Christian because I believe that Jesus was the son of God (not the exact God of the Bible), and that He showed us the way to salvation. I also believe that large parts of the Old Testament and some parts of the New Testament (including the part where Jesus said the Bible should be taken literally) are simply incorrect. If you don't consider this sufficient to be a Christian, that's reasonable. But I do, which is why I label myself as a Christian on this forum.
Do you have literal factual contemporaneous evidences that ... <various claims>
I'll re-list and clarify my evidence below. It's contemporaneous because it references only the Bible, and the Bible is certainly contemporaneous with itself. It's factual because it applies sound logic and doesn't rely on subjective opinion (this is of course debatable, but I'll take extra care to justify why I think this is so). And it's literal because it doesn't rely on any metaphorical interpretations of the verses it quotes.
And for what it's worth, my evidence isn't directly against any of the parts of the story of Jesus you listed; in fact, I believe most of those parts of the Bible. My evidence is simply against the Bible as a whole being completely, literally true. It might be interesting to discuss which parts of the Bible are true and which aren't, but for the purposes of this discussion, it's sufficient to show that any
part is not true.
Last thing before I get back into my evidence. I'm well aware that using subjective opinions as evidence is logically unsound and leads to bad decision-making. In future posts, if you can demonstrate that an argument I'm using is just opinion, you can consider it defeated, at least until I reword it or back it up. No need to waste words driving the point home or reminding me of the OP.
1. If the Bible is God's word made manifest, I shouldn't be able to improve His work significantly.
2. I can improve the Bible significantly.
3. Therefore, the Bible is not God's word made manifest.
4. The Bible says it is God's word made manifest, which is untrue, so the God it describes cannot be real. (He may be similar to whatever god does exist, but not identical)
We'll get back to point #2 in a moment, but the other three aren't subjective. I'll break down the logic as formally as I can, 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 is point 2, which I'll justify 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.
This is nothing but deductive reasoning from a set of premises. You could disrupt the reasoning by contradicting any one of the premises. However, P2 and P3 are really just definitions, while P1 and P5 seem very difficult to argue. (If you want to argue them, please do, but give an objection more specific than saying they're "subjective")
This leaves us with P4: The Bible can be improved. This statement certainly needs to be justified, which is what I've been trying to do since my first post. A reminder, since my original argument is a ways back in the thread:
So, how can I improve the Bible?...
1. Condemn slavery. First off, Ron said earlier that slavery is a post-fall thing, and just because man engaged in it doesn't mean God condoned it. In fact, the Bible does explicitly condone 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? Ron is right 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. Again, Ron's response is that Lot offering his daughters to the rapists was an act of man, not an act of God. 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 angles 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.
I'll admit, this isn't irrefutable evidence that I could make the Bible "better", if only because there is no objective standard for what "better" means. It is
, however, evidence that the Bible condones slavery and undervalues women. Because of this, I can only see four possibilities. Not just in the sense that "I think one of these things is true", but in the sense that given the evidence, I can see no other possibility.
1. I am misinterpreting the Bible, and there's something wrong with my evidence. Or,
2. My listed improvements are actually improvements. As per the logic above, this means the God of the Bible does not exist. Or,
3. The Bible is a better document because it condones slavery and undervalues women. There is nothing logically wrong with this viewpoint, but I find it morally abhorrent, and I hope you do, too. Or,
4. God intentionally wrote a document that seems obviously flawed at face value, but is actually perfect for reasons inscrutable to nonbelievers. This would seem tough to justify, since the "this whole book is literally true" clause leaves very little wiggle room for finding value in a seemingly bad passage.
When you reply, no matter what else you respond to and how, please pick one of these options (I suspect you'll go with option 1), or explicitly write out another option that I've overlooked. I've done all I can in response to broad accusations of subjectivity and requests for evidence on parts of the Bible I never intended to critique; to proceed, I really need to know what holes, if any, you find in my argument.