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Book Review: Divinity of Doubt by Vincent Bugliosi

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From the get-go, I must admit that Divinity of Doubt is my kind of reading. The reason is simple. This well stated five-star book examines the possibility of God’s existence by contrasting it with the impossibility of His Existence. Author Bugliosi is a thinker in this sense: he refuses to consider anything as truthful except that which is reasonable to the human mind.

Divinity of Doubt supposes we have a mind; but deny that and we have utter nothingness which we know is unreasonable. Moving on from there, Bugliosi begins to annihilate ALL religion including, Catholicism, Protestantism, Jewish Religions, Oriental Beliefs, Muslimism and -isms in general.

How can he so easily wipe out all this doctrine with one fell swoop of his hand. Simple! Every religion known to man is a priori. This means that belief in any religious system accepts proof that the tenets it holds are justifiable and verifiable, because those tenets say they are justifiable and verifiable. In many cases, religious doctrine is built like a pyramid on some already believed, mythical, questionable fact, like the all-seeing eye on the dollar bill.

So many religious –isms today descend from the basic Biblical fact in Genesis that God 1) created the cosmos. How do we know that to be truth? Because in the beginning verses of the Bible, 2) the Word states the fact that an Almighty Creator made all things. How do we know the Bible is inspired by God? Because 3) the Bible says so. How do we know god created the cosmos, oops, we’ve been here before, haven’t we, because we have statement number 1) all over again!

This is like a wheel of fortune. Give it a spin and whatever religion the indicator points to is the winner of truth. Why? Because each space SAYS it is the truth. This is akin to religious belief today. Spinning the religions wheel is similar to believing the pointer because of where you were raised from childhood, and what religion your parents forced upon you.

Divinity of Doubt states reasonable proofs for 1) the all powerful, all knowing God (theism) and 2) the non existent God (atheism). Reading how author Bugliosi demolishes both beliefs is quite amusing. An example: theists profoundly believing in an all perfect God who is imperfect enough to allow the earthquake/tsunami in Japan to take place, or even the heinous holocaust. Then too, we have reduction to absurdity when atheists deny that God exists, but they themselves have existence from, from, from what? from nothingness?

This is an excellent book. I very highly recommend its researched material for study, not lightly; because it outlines the horrors religion has nailed through reason’s hands and feet. Look around the world today to see the painful crowns of thorns Israel and Jerusalem are attempting to beat down on each other’s brows in the name of religion. Then look at Pakistan, Arabia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria. But do not just look at the battles taking place, look at the real underlying reasons why — differences in religious and subsequent moral beliefs.

Vincent Bugliosi’s Divinity of Doubt would have all peoples share an agnostic view of the world. A view that says, for the sake of humanity, let’s stop killing one another in the name of religion. We are here; we are what we are; we are alive, and although we are reasonable, we must live with the ugliest, cruelest dichotomy of all time — we will never know the answer to the God Question.

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About Regis Schilken

  • jim from mb

    I’m reading it. His ignorance about science and all things about evolution is amazing!

  • Inkcognito

    Does GOD exist?
    Vincent Bugliosi, author of Divinity of Doubt is taking on the age-old question; DOES GOD EXIST? Unfortunately, as intelligent as he his, he show his almost adolescent naiveté when it comes to addressing this issue. His first; and possibly only, mistake is that he fails to understand that taking an “ego-centric” approach to understanding God is flawed. Unfortunately for him he is part of the human race, and, as the rest of us, is encapsulated in his body (ego) and the limitations of his capacity to think. After all we all use only a very small portion of the grey matter we play host to.
    Before trying to answer the ultimate question I suggest that Mr. Bugliosi start out with the basics. He would have been off to a good start had he spent a little time with the theologians he shunned. But then he may not have written the book.
    Which are you? Are drop of water in the ocean, or the ocean?
    Trying to comprehend the existence of God from an ego-centric point of view is very narrow in scope. It’s ego-centric which implies that “I”, if I think about it long enough, can figure it out.
    For example can you figure out if the glass is half empty or half full? The right answer is? BOTH! Same with God. Is God good or is He evil? The answer is “both”. Ask yourself. Does good exist in the midst of evil or is it the other way around?
    Sticking with the ego-centric approach ask your “self” how would I know good if I had nothing to compare it to? How would I know light if darkness did not exist? How would I know life if death were not part of the equation?
    As I said, trying to answer the question of God’s existence from an ego-centric point of view is futile. Our capacity to think is limited to the confines of what in the big picture is a very small and almost insignificant organism. Looking back to where we “think” we began supports this. Not long ago we believe the world was flat. And even, not so long ago, we discovered that there are many other planets in our Universe that could (and probably does) support life as we know it.
    Understanding the existence of God is not about thinking. It’s about experiencing. As a drop of water in the ocean we must let go of the thought that we are a “drop” in order to experience the “ocean”.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    So incoherent writing is somehow evidence that deities do exist? Strangely, I remain unconvinced…

  • http://www.regisschilkenwrites.com Regis Schilken

    Vincent Bubliosi’s writing is only incoherent to those who, unlike him, examine human existence by thinking they do not have the power to examine it for themselves when in fact No ONE can nor can ALL of us. Since each of us has to do the best we can with our reasoning, his points are well taken. He thrusts the human experience precisely in the middle between the security of what is possible and the unreasonableness of what is not. This leaves us comfortably in the middle although we may not like it. No, I think his position is reasonable without other proof!

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    My comment was addressed to the preceding commenter.

    However, in response to the review of the Bubliosi book, it is a complete cop out to come down to the view that agnosticism is the answer.

    Whilst it is a good point that nobody should kill or be killed in the name of religion, there is actually zero evidence at all for the existence of any deity, never mind the one shared so uncomfortably by Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

    There appears to be two glaring errors in this review; the first is the assertion that Bubliosi “proves”

    Then too, we have reduction to absurdity when atheists deny that God exists, but they themselves have existence from, from, from what? from nothingness?

    We don’t have existence from nothingness, unless you or the author are referring to the Big Bang, although that is as yet merely unexplained, not necessarily unknowable. Pretty much everything since then is already known.

    Secondly, neither the author nor the editor that published this review appears to have noticed the careless error in the penultimate paragraph, where you write “Look around the world today to see the painful crowns of thorns Israel and Jerusalem are attempting to beat down on each other’s brows in the name of religion.”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    “How do we know the Bible is inspired by God? Because … the Bible says so.”

    Where does the Bible actually say it was inspired by God?

    Just curious…

  • http://www.regisschilkenwrites.com regehschilken@aol.com

    Hello Dr. Dreadful!

    As a non-biblical person, there are only two places I can find where Paul alluded to the fact that the Bible is inspired, one place where Peter more or less says the same thing.

    Now if your question opens up the “inspiration” can of worms, what will become of all those who believe in the Bible or the Koran?

    I stand aby my comment: “Look around the world today to see the painful crowns of thorns Israel and Jerusalem are attempting to beat down on each other’s brows in the name of religion.”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    Hi Dr. Dreadful,
    Any time in the Sciptures that you see “that the Scriptures might be fulfilled” (and there are many such places in the Gospels) you are looking at a passage that speaks to the supernatural nature of the Bible. For instance:

    In John 19:3 ¶ Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
    24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith,

    They parted my raiment among them,
    and for my vesture they did cast lots. Ps. 22.18
    These things therefore the soldiers did.

    —-

    Also, any reference to “the word of God” speaks to the authorship of God:
    Hebrews 4:12 12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    —-
    2 Peter 2:1 [16] For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
    [17] For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
    [18] And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
    [19] We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
    [20] Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
    [21] For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

    I know more, but that’ll probably do for now.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    And now I have a question for those who do not believe in God, and it is not a snarky question, but rather one borne of my genuine curiosity.

    What kind of evidence would be sufficient for you to believe in God? Because here it is, what I have been hearing is “Even though I may not understand why certain things happen, I am confident that science can and someday will explain every physical and mental phenomenon.” Given this interpretation of reality, there is no room for God to impress upon you evidence of the supernatural. There is no supernatural, because you have decided there is no supernatural, and have determined in advance to refuse what might be God’s revelation of himself to you in a way that is uniquely relevant and meaningful to you personally, because you have already determined that anything that appears to be evidence of the supernatural will, in fact, one day be explained.

    This observation I have neither makes me feel angry with you, nor uncertain about my own growing (and as yet imperfect) understanding of who God is. There is a certain ineffable sadness about it, though. I feel sad for you, and for God.

  • zingzing

    it’s a good question. maybe something like what happens in the bible, where god strove to make his message clear. maybe god’s just become a poor communicator. or maybe it’s all a wild fantasy, gobbled up by the gullible. who knows.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    IIEY: As I’ve told you before, I’ve no problem in believing in a deity but the least they could do is actually turn up once in a while so, to answer your question, actually manifesting is pretty much the only thing that is going to work for me.

    The second half of your comment, starting from “Given this interpretation of reality, there is no room for God to impress upon you evidence of the supernatural” is unfortunately devoid of any discernible meaning, so is hard to respond to but, taking my best guess as to what you are trying to say, God could impress me in many ways, natural or supernatural, but inference and dubious reasoning, which is all you appear to have, just isn’t going to cut it.

    It isn’t the case that “there is no supernatural because you have decided there is no supernatural”, it is simply that, just like with the existence of a deity, there is zero evidence to support the notion. The rest of that paragraph just descends into meaninglessness so can’t respond further.

    Your final paragraph is simply confused and confusing and not a little arrogant. The only person you ought to feel sad for is yourself, as you have embarked on a fool’s errand of trying to know something which, on balance, probably doesn’t exist and is therefore completely unknowable.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Oh, the other thing that is sad about your blind belief is that it, along with all the other deity theories, just get in the way of any genuine reverence for the spectacular, secular miracle of the universe’s existence and the intelligence it has spawned.

    Everything in our universe is connected in a very real and tangible way, something so amazing as to inspire a very real awe and spirituality, which you and all the other shallow dogmatists appear to be blind to. That is really sad…

  • Is It Easter Yet?

    Christopher Rose and ZingZing, thank you for your answers. Christopher, you interpreted what I said differently from how I meant it, and that is why you took offense. “I feel sad for you, and for God” does not mean, “you are sad” or “you are pathetic.” It simply means I am sad, the way a sad movie makes me sad, and as I said, neither angry at nor contemptuous of you.

    Maybe your contempt of me comes from your incorrect assumption that I expect you to be convinced by the same evidence, uniquely relevant and meaningful to me personally, that helped to convince me that God is real. Just to clear that up, I don’t.

    So what is required for you is a physically perceivable manifestation, then. Moses got to see a burning bush, Saul got knocked off his horse and was blind for three days. OK. Thanks for letting me know.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    IIEY: I didn’t take offence and nor do I feel contempt for you personally; like your beliefs, that is just in your own head…

    I understood exactly how you meant you felt sad.

    To the best of my knowledge, you don’t actually have any evidence that your deity is real and it seems incredibly egocentric to think that some magical superbeing is going round creating unique little signs just for you to give you little clues as to what to believe.

    Even if Moses did see a burning bush and Saul fell off a horse, there is nothing about those events that necessarily means that a deity exists; it is just an interpretation, which is exactly the same as making stuff up. Sober minds don’t do that…

    If there is a deity, for which there is still zero evidence after at least six thousand years since the concept emerged from human thinking, the very least one could expect is that the s/he/it would actually turn up occasionally.

  • Is It Easter Yet?

    Again, I’ve not made myself clear. I didn’t expect you to be convinced by the manifestations that were physically appreciable to only Moses and Saul. I thanked you for letting me know that, barring such personal experiences happening to you, neither you nor ZingZing could (or would?) believe in God.

    I think it is neither arrogant or unreasonable for you to tell God that that is the case. You can tell him anything you’d like. OK Chris, good chatting with you, but I’ve got to get ready to leave the house for the day. Have a good one!

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    IIEY: All you have achieved here is a wonderful demonstration of the difficulty of communicating with people who have become so interpretative.

    You keep responding in indirect ways, such as your latest comment in which you refer to personal experiences, when I have clearly stated that only a personal appearance by said theoretical deity would suffice.

    We both know that isn’t going to happen but only one of us can actually admit it.

    Furthermore, I haven’t addressed any remarks to your fictional superhero, only to you, so it is also incredibly dishonest of you to to respond as you have.

    This inability, this lack of what ultimately comes down to intellectual or even spiritual integrity, is a common problem when having exchanges with people who “think” as you do, unfortunately…

  • troll

    on the one hand sobriety is highly overrated…on the other hand god on his best day is a rather sadistic demiurge who is so gonna get it when Mom gets home

    a pleasantly idolatrous easter to all so inclined

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Sobriety?

    Hic!

    Where’d that come from?

  • troll

    #14 – Sober minds don’t do that..

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Oh, gotcha; wasn’t thinking of booze, but at least I get your joke now!

    Cheers!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Irene and Rege, thanks for the clarification. It does still leave open the question as to what parts of the Bible are divinely inspired, or whether all of it is. We can’t know for sure which scriptures John, Paul, Peter and the rest of the crew had in mind when they wrote those passages. Until the Council of Nicaea, nobody could even agree what was actually in the Bible; and, considering many Bibles even today come printed with “Apocrypha”, they still can’t.

    As to your other question: why does God have to be supernatural? If he (she, it, etc…) created the universe, then he is of it – or it is of him. Either way, God is part of nature just like everything else.

    And as Chris pointed out, if God does reveal himself to each and every one of us in a uniquely personal way, then that does imply that there ought to be no doubt of his existence.

    As I believe I’ve mentioned before, the universe on a quantum level behaves according to a strict and elaborate set of rules, such that it seems to me to have been designed by someone/thing. However, it also seems to me that that cloud I can see through the window looks like Groucho Marx squatting on a camel. It may be that the cloud is indeed the spirit of Groucho beaming down on us. (What the camel thinks about it all I have yet to determine.) It may also be that it, and the apparent underlying design of the universe, are merely the interpretations of a species with a documented and rampant tendency to anthropomorphize things.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    Christopher, there had been two instances in this thread where you had heard that which I did not say. When I said, “it makes me sad,” you heard, “you are pathetic;” when I said “Moses saw a burning bush,” you heard “even those who have not seen a bush, burning without being consumed, should accept the Biblical record of Moses’ having done so as a priori evidence of the existence of God.” I hope you will consider the possibility that this latest represents the THIRD breakdown in communication. These breaks appear to be engendered by my inclination to assume the BEST about you and your curiosity about the cosmos, on a collision course with your inclination to assume the WORST about me. “It is not arrogant to tell God that, absent his manifesting himself to you personally, you could not/would not believe in him” was NOT a description of what you had done, but rather my recommendation of what you might do.
    I am sorry for making you so angry, Christopher Rose. I have answered your charges of intellectual and spiritual dishonesty just as charitably as I can. I hate it when people bicker in comments, and I won’t waste anyone else’s comment-reading time defending myself further.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    IIEY: I have twice corrected your false presumptions so fail to understand why you are repeating them yet again. It follows, therefore, that the breakdown in communication is yours.

    Your entire #22 is a staggering display of total miscomprehension on your part, whilst laying the same charge at me. I can’t imagine how you have arrived at such incorrect understandings, particularly when I have explicitly indicated your errors, but I guess that is what you get when you indulge in magical thinking. Frankly I am disappointed…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    I know what you mean about the Apocrypha, Dr. Dreadful, but one thing to consider is that many people who don’t accept it as being part of the Canon DO consider it to be composed of spiritually helpful, or at least historically interesting writings.

    If there were any Christians who think reading the Apocrypha is spiritually harmful (orthodox Christians DO feel this way about Gnostic literature), I have never read anything about them. The books that all orthodox Christians (and Jews and Muslims, for that matter) consider to be sacred represent a fairly significant percentage of all the books that ANY of the adherents of the world’s three major religions consider to be sacred. What that boils down to, is that among Christians, there is full accord about “where the good stuff is” in the New Testament, and the Old Testament, Apocrypha notwithstanding, can hardly be described as a document broken down into disjoint partitions which Jews, Christians and Muslims believe, without significant overlap among those partitions. Quite the opposite.

    I also WHOLLY concur with your opinion that the supernatural/natural divide is artificial, if God really exists (not the pantheism bit, though, I disagree with that.) I know I used the term supernatural, and a better all-purpose word might be “marked by divine influence outside the common or garden variety.” “Supernatural” is however, a useful term to use in some contexts, such as when it is useful to have a catch-all term that means “shit that ZingZing and Christopher Rose don’t believe in.”

    Ruvy (may his recently embittered soul find peace upon this earth, Lord, because I think he’s a pretty nice guy encased in crust) used to say that spiritual growth equated to the process of the supernatural becoming natural for a person.

    Well I’m off, except for one more comment.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    I never imagined that your expectations of me were ever high enough to admit the possibility of your being disappointed in me. I accept the be-burgued (that’d be the opposite of thinly veiled) compliment with obsequious gratitude, Christopher Rose.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    be-burqaued. Wearing a burqua. That wasn’t the last comment I meant, anyway, which was for troll.

    Thank you, troll. There is however a distinction between pagan and idolatrous. I don’t consider it idolatrous to adopt the celebrations of light coming out of darkness, death coming out of life into the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Christ to be idolatrous at all. These customs originated in the time when ALL nations of the earth knew God, so I think as long as I am not sacrificing my children to Molech and the like, I’ll be ok.

    *please deliver this chocolate Easter bunny to Cindy with my love*

  • zingzing

    “These customs originated in the time when ALL nations of the earth knew God…”

    during imperialism, maybe? or are you saying that all the disparate religions of antiquity came together (voltron-like?) into “god”? i think you’re getting a little happy with your history here, unless you’re admitting that christianity is just another twist in the evolution of religions around the world, and one that’s bound for their same fate, although its had a pretty good run, i must admit.

    irene?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    ZingZing, I’m talking about folk religions all around the world — no, no, not belonging to any common organization at all– which have creation stories, flood stories, Sky God’ prophecies about a God-man redeemer, stories that share many things in common. It’s really a fascinating study.

    (Incognito, ZingZing. Click the link, and all will be revealed.)

  • zingzing

    yes, i know… and what makes you think the originators of all those stories were wrong about the reasons for those stories and judaism/christianity got it right and true? both are just a hodgepodge of stories that came before them, retold to fit a (rather incongruous and sloppy) narrative. and the earlier versions of those stories that we’ve been able to track down undoubtedly had origins even further back. some of them might even lead back to a real historical event. but these stories are older than history as a human endeavour. by the time the bible was being written, no one could remember what exactly happened or why, so they just made something up.

    what you would read about in a history book and rightfully call “myth” in prior religions or even religions contemporary to early christianity (some of which bear remarkable resemblances), you seem to wholly believe when it comes out of the bible. why?

    and how can you be sure you chose the right one to follow? in other words, you’ve put all your money on one horse–even if it is the popular one, given the time and locale of your existence. that’s a dangerous bet.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    I didn’t use the word “myth,” ZingZing. I think it’s a disrespectful term, and I don’t use it, even when the story, as I understand it, is an embellishment–or even a corruption–of the account of what originally happened.

    You’d be surprised at how accurate oral history can be, ZingZing. It is a mistake to assume that events only started being recorded accurately when writing was developed.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    As far as being sure I picked “the right one to follow,” ZingZing, I don’t think you understand what I believe about how God has interacted with people who were honestly seeking him throughout in all ages and in all places. God is the “right one to follow.” I respect the honest and humble seeking of anyone looking for God, even if their conclusions–or rather, their understanding as of this point in time–differs from my own.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    Oh, I keep on saying, “I’ve got to go, and I really DO have to go.”

    I like talking with people about things like this though, and I miss Blogcritics.

    Well, thanks for stopping by, ZingZing. Festive Earth Day and springtime to you.

  • zingzing

    hrm. the term “myth” means what it means, nothing more. when i say it, at least, take it for what it is. it may be something based upon an actual historical event, but it’s been corrupted by time, and there’s no way of checking up on the veracity of it with any degree of certainty.

    oral history, particularly of the time we are speaking of, was, as far as i can see, far more dramatic and fantastic than any reality could have been. besides, i’d be willing to bet that many of these “histories” most likely BEGAN as stories, and became “history” more through deference to tradition than through deference to truth.

    (as a little aside, just look at the word “history” and think about how our idea of history developed out of a story, even in the english language. in middle english, there weren’t separate words for the two, and in some languages today, there still aren’t separate words for the two. yet, we know that humans are creative sorts who make up all sorts of nonsense. take from that what you will.)

    “It is a mistake to assume that events only started being recorded accurately when writing was developed.”

    well, there’s also the long gap between the invention of writing and the human endeavour of history as we know it. certainly, there was documentation before there was academic history, but most of that documentation has been lost. the first (at least that we can find) academic histories predate christianity by only a few hundred years. before that, many saw these religious stories as real histories. who knows, maybe they are truthful accounts of the world as it was. but it’s hard to take a religious document as a primary source of history. or at least, one shouldn’t. the accuracy of these histories are certainly in question, and i do not know what right you have to claim their accuracy (if you are), and i don’t know how you’d ever be able to prove them.

    belief is a powerful thing, no doubt, but you have to draw the line somewhere. this isn’t your grandmother telling you tall tales of your great great grandfather’s high jinx on the frontier… to me, it’s an organization that has controlled our society in various ways and to disastrous effects around the globe… to you, it’s your immortal soul. them’s high stakes.

  • zingzing

    “God is the “right one to follow.””

    ah, so you see it more like a game of roulette, and you’re betting on the red or the black. convenient, but “god” means many things in the real world. the christian “god” is not the only god, and even if the three major religions sort of agree on the subject at this point, allah might get pissed if you don’t follow his book, and so might yahweh.

    you’re still not safe.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    Door number One: Yahweh, and then Allah and the Trinity behind the other two. I’m 67% unsafe then, ZingZing…oh wait a minute…the Trinity counts for three out of the now SIX Divine Personages I run the risk of offending…so the chances of my doing so have now dropped to 50% whereas yours remain at a precarious 100%.

    That’s just silly talk, Zing, and I’m playing along with you. God called, I answered. I wasn’t aware at the time of rejecting Allah or Yahweh. All I can tell you is that there is a point in time when the presence of God became real to me. You don’t know what the details of that event are, nor do you know the details of the myriad of events since then that have been as life-changing, and at times, frightening for me as a physical manifestation of God would be for you and Christopher.

    Listen, I know a man whose spiritual journey has led him away from the materialistic atheism of his parents, through New Age spirituality, and now, to Jesus. He says though, that he recognizes the voice that talks to him (and I know EXACTLY what he means by that, though I appreciate that you think its craziness)…the voice that talks to him now is the same voice that’s been calling to him all along. I believe him.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    And that ZingZing is that. I hate opening myself up to the possibility of leaving and giving you the last word, but tomorrow and work are coming soon.

  • zingzing

    the internet, unlike ourselves, is forever. so you can always answer back.

    you’re at 50% good, if you really want to count the trinity as 3 out of 6, as opposed to 1 out of 3 (aren’t the trinity one in the end?); but i’m at 100% good.

    i’ll just live my life with as much compassion, humility and deference for my fellow man as i possibly can, and i’ll hope god isn’t the vengeful, spiteful, jealous being he is portrayed as in the bible. that’s not a god i’d want to believe in anyway… an absentee father, a genocidal maniac and an arrogant blowhard all in one…

    i’ll say that if there is an omniscient god, he’s got to be a fair god, and he’s not the obsessive, hateful prick man made up in the bible. he shouldn’t care what book you read or what prayers you say. and he shouldn’t care if you doubt, if he exists, since, if he exists, he gave you the ability to doubt. that would be a dirty trick, and not the sign of a good god.

    besides, i like warm colors, and i hear they’ve got them in surplus in hell. always wanted to meet satan. i’m sure it’ll be entertaining.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    I’m glad to hear you intend to live your life with “as much compassion and humility and deference for [your] fellow man as [you] possibly can,” ZingZing.

    He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:8

    In the spirit of compassion, humility, and deference for my fellow man, I encourage you in your intent to walk the path that your conscience directs, without further commentary.

    I have to laugh, though, when I he

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    […hear people defending U.S. involvement in a civil war abroad, and simultaneously accusing God of indiscriminate violence]

    That last bit was at the end of my comment, and I thought I had edited it all out before posting. Kind of messes with the spirit of the rest of the comment, but I figure I had to include the rest of it for the sake of the curious. Keep in mind that I had every intention of editing it out. There, you’ve seen MY conscience at work. Have a good one, ZingZing.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    I have to laugh, though, when I hear people defending U.S. involvement in a civil war abroad, and simultaneously accusing God of indiscriminate violence

    Yeah, but really, Irene, don’t you think God ought to be held to a teensy bit higher of a standard than a collection of rebellious, traitorous, perfectly-good-tea-wasting philistines? ;-)

  • zingzing

    fair enough, irene, but you have to admit you weaseled out of answering several of my questions. that you sounded nice enough while doing so (other than the libya thing, which takes a bit of a logical leap,) makes me wonder if you’ve ever thought about working in politics.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Irene has worked in politics, zing. Remember the Ron Paul door hangers? (She probably still has a few if you’re running low.)

  • Android Ferrari

    Proof that God does not exist lies in the fact that all belief in God is based on Faith. If God really existed, we would not need faith. We would know it. Furthermore, all of our collective and individual beliefs in God are nothing more than wishful thinking coupled with threats of dire consequences if we don’t believe. Your God(s) does nor love you, nor even know you. You can pray your brains out, but when you are on board that ferry in Bangladesh, your loving God will drown you like a rat in a sewer. Your God, if it exists, is a sadistic bastard. Amen.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Did somebody say “Ron Paul?”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    ZingZing, it might be a cognitive dissonance issue. Maybe you responded to the answer you EXPECTED me to give, without hearing the one I actually gave.

    Anyway, I’m glad you think I sounded “nice enough” when I gave them. You’re really getting into the groove of that lifestyle of compassion and humility and deference to your fellow man.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    Dr. Dreadful, I am too aware of what a shit I am compared to Jesus to be able to hold anyone in the Trinity to a higher sstandard….

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    …but it sure as heck is going to be fun doing that for ZingZing.

    LOL. Have a good Good Friday and Easter everyone.

  • http://www.demonsofjustice.com Regis Schilken

    Hey Android Ferrari, Forget your sewer rats. Believers would say rats were also created via evolution to become whatever they can become. Non-believers think they’re disgusting creatures better off eliminated. I say, “Let the rats where they belong. When you are lying on you deathbed bed, I doubt you will be wondering where rats came from.” Amen

  • zingzing

    irene: “Maybe you responded to the answer you EXPECTED me to give, without hearing the one I actually gave.”

    fine and good. maybe i want you directly respond to a question, particularly the one about why versions of the same story (zoroaster and his various versions as precursors and/or contemporaries of jesus) don’t hold the same weight as the biblical version. i’d appreciate a straight answer on that.

    “You’re really getting into the groove of that lifestyle of compassion and humility and deference to your fellow man.”

    i can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not, but i meant it the way it was stated. more often than not, when you question a person’s faith, they get belligerent, but you haven’t done that. it’s a rare thing. (it also often happens when you question a person’s belief on anything else as well.) your ability to maintain an even keel was worth noting is all i mean, and might be a positive quality in politics. (if you weren’t be sarcastic, which is something i’m not sure of, but think is a possibility, well then, ignore this. intentions are hard to gauge on the internet.)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is it Easter Yet?

    ZingZing, I posted #47 because I know you are one to enjoy a joke, even if it is at your own expense, which, to return the compliment, is not something I could say about just anyone. That’s the way I am, too, but you know, it always stings a little bit before I start laughing, and I trust that you started laughing soon… But I wasn’t joking in the comment before. No matter how many questions I might have about the existence of evil vs. the goodness/sovereignty of God, Jesus’ life has raised the bar for compassion to such an extent that I will always fall short of the Goal, which waits at the finish line, compassionately cheering me on anyway.

    I wanted to clear up any misunderstandings as quickly as I could, Zing. And as for the other question, I am composing a brief albeit straight answer.

  • deko

    Sorry if I am jumping in here, but I wanted to comment on the original article. Towards the end you ask us to notice the crown of thorns Israel is…etc. etc.
    This statement is a little ambiguous, but seems to be blaming Israel for the ‘problems’ they are causing. This all too common sentiment is both startling and telling. To me this is another obvious indicator that the Bible is clearly true.
    It is startling to me because this bias is hard to comprehend. It is telling because, if seen from a Biblical point of view, it clearly indicates the coming ‘hatred’ of Israel by the whole world.
    Israel was granted and won, it’s statehood under extraordinary and again, clearly, supernatural conditions. No Palestinian ‘state’, ‘kingdom’, or anything like a government existed there at that time, or anytime prior. Israel offered equal citizenship to all of those who were there at that time. Also, they are no more a religious state than America.
    Those who oppose Israel (and who are truly waging a religious war) do not seek justice. They are seeking the destruction of Israel and their people. They do not hide this view point. What possible non-supernatural explanation is there for the number of countries around the world bent on the destruction of Israel? This tiny country has millions of enemies world wide?!? Correct me if I’m wrong but I can’t recall any Israeli leaders ever announcing their intention to “annihilate” any of their neighbors. Israel is not the aggressor, they exist in a state of simple survival.
    That these points are not easily seen, and that in fact Israel is often times blamed, boggles the mind. While you and Vincent Bugliosi clearly don’t share my world view, the points I have mentioned are evidence enough that the Bible is true. Forest for the trees, and all that.
    Also as regards the book, I couldn’t bear to read much of it. What I did read indicates to me that contrary to his stated objectivity, the supposed ‘great idea” of the book, he takes a very anti-Christian stance. Not very original. Also many of his charges are the same old atheist folk tales. They are very superficial and not worthy of much comment.
    Sorry to come off so harshly, I can’t think of any light ways to address these things right at this moment.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    ZingZing, your questions DO deserve straight answers. I honestly thought I was giving one when I said that God has gotten through to people at all times and in all cultures. My focus was on my understanding that God cares more about what is in the heart of a people than about what sacred book they claim to be living by. But I see now the focus of your question was more on the book specifically.

    To answer, there are two different approaches I could take, one from the perspective of church scholars who were determining the content of the Canon, and the other a very personal approach, an explanation of why I hold the Bible above all other books. The short answer to the first involves an Early Church Father named Irenaeus.

    He was a student of Polycarp, another Early Church Father, who had sat at the feet of John the Evangelist, one of Christ’s twelve disciples. Irenaeus, then, was a man who was only two degrees of separation from the apostle John.

    This John had lived with Jesus, had watched crippled people walk away on their own after Jesus had healed them. He had watched Jesus treat hookers and other outcasts with dignity, and he had watched those social outcasts blossom under Jesus’ influence. He had stood near Jesus’ mother to support her while they watched how Jesus died, and watched as he walked through locked doors afterwards, displaying the miraculously healed-over scars of the nail and spear wounds. He had eaten a breakfast (fish and honeycombs) on the beach that Jesus had prepared for his friends, also in that interval of a few weeks between his crucifixion and his return to His Father in heaven.

    And the world itself couldn’t have held all the books the Apostle John could have written about what he had watched Jesus do. He said so himself in one of his books, actually. So even if John had held the teachings of the Zoroastrians et al. to be on par with his eye-witness accounts of Jesus Christ, editorial constraints would have been an impediment.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    So this man, Irenaeus, born in AD 130, two degrees of separation from the eye-witness John, quoted AS Scripture ALL of the books and ONLY the books (mathematical requirements for equivalence) that are on the list of Scriptural books compiled by Origen, separated from him by sixty years and a continent. This general agreement among the churches as to what was Scripture and what wasn’t (specifically, Gnosticism) was in existence not many years after those eye-witness accounts on the list were actually written, and many years before the Church Council which gave its official stamp approval to it.

    And how do *I* know that John wasn’t telling Polycarp lies who repeated them to Irenaeus who repeated them?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    ? I’m a little bit unsure about how to go about it, ZingZing. I absolutely know what I’d say, but it is a description of a very personal journey, and I’ve told it to people before, but never to an audience as large as the one you are recommending. I can imagine posting an Opinion Piece on the subject, and then, in the comments, hearing accusations of intellectual, spiritual and moral dishonesty, the responsibility for every religious war in history being laid directly at my feet, not to mention the onus of the many political (and spiritual) mis-steps of Christian people in the USA. That would not, as you’ve observed, upset me very much personally, ZingZing, but it is still something I’d have to brace myself for. I’d probably have to have an agreement with commenters that I’d already had my say, and that if anyone else wanted to spend a week and a half responding to every single objection in “About Atheists 101,” that was likely to be posted (by fly-by atheists who generally, present company excepted, never listen to your answers) they were certainly welcome to. I would very much like to tell my story Zing, but I don’t have much evidence that anyone on Blogcritics really gives a damn about hearing it. And even if a few of them begged, please with a cherry on top WRITE it, Irene Athena, the other kind of comments would still be there. People who googled Irene Athena would see them, and Irene Athena would be embarrassed. Is that a good reason not to write it, when believers are told to “bear the reproach of Christ” and to “count it all joy” while doing so? No it is not. But just the same, am I really to be expected to bare the most intimate details of my life to the entire Internet world? I’m still wrestling with myself about giving the long answer, ZingZing.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    So I’ll give you the a short part of the story. Many years after I’d made the adult decision to become what I’d call a committed Christian (the sinner’s prayer, the women’s Bible study, the Republican bumper sticker), I was minding my own dang business when I heard a voice in my mind ask, Do you know me?

    I did not immediately regard it as a voice from heaven (see above description of committed Christian), but a confluence of events convinced me that it was, and that the message was not to be regarded as a scathing rebuke, but rather as a wonderful invitation.

    During these events, I was moved to read biography (including autobiographical quotes) of a man named George M-two-dots-over-the-u-ller, who was able to “pray in,” without making any requests to donors at all, millions of dollars to house, clothe (and rather stylishly, at that), educate and fit for employment hundreds of thousands of orphans worldwide. It was an amazing story about how God taught him to trust in his sovereignty and goodness in a little building with a tiny group of orphans, where sometimes just enough rice for dinner would show up when water was already on the boil, while George was on his hands and knees beseeching God for it. (He knew how to make a shilling the way most of us are expected to, but God told him specifically, that for this project that was to be undertaken as a demonstration of His sovereignty, this was the way finances were to be handled.)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    ARE YOU STILL READING THIS ZINGZING??? BECAUSE YOU DANG WELL BETTER BE. IT’S A BEAUTIFUL SPRING MORNING AND I COULD BE OUT RIDING MY DANG BIKE INSTEAD OF WRITING THIS.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Is It Easter Yet?

    And the story continued as God brought George Muller through cycle after cycle of obedience-followed-by-revelation, until his became a household name, and he was asked by many how they could get faith like his. This is how he answered them, as recorded in a little book by Pastor Charles R. Parsons.

    ”Mark this concerning the grace of faith…it is not a gift bestowed once for all, but it is a day-by-day development wrought in the life by the Spirit of God…it has to do with the written word of God, it is ALWAYS accompanied by love; and it eventuates in spiritual power: ability to command even devils in the name of the Lord.”

    When I read the answer, ZingZing, I told God, “I want that, too.”

    I’m no George Muller, but I marked what he said to mark, and what he said would happen if marked it, has happened, in the gradual way a seed turns into a sprout, so that I have built my devotion to the word of God–the same one George Muller read–on the promise that more growth like that will follow. I understand that there is no way a reasonable man could or should take George Muller’s words at face value. The only way you can know George Muller was telling the truth is to have a conversation like that with God yourself.

    ===The end===

  • zingzing

    irene, i’ve read, i’ve read. and it’s a shitty spring day here and i’m just glad it stopped raining long enough for me to go help somebody move. yay… ugh.

    anyway, i read what you have to say, and i can see how you rationalize your belief in one book over another. that said, it would be strangely lonely to be a follower of zorastorism in this day and age, despite all of the similarities.

    but the part i’ll agree with completely is this: “God cares more about what is in the heart of a people than about what sacred book they claim to be living by.”

    buddhism is the religion that makes the most sense to me, although it has its own peculiar practices that seem like a giant waste of time to me. from my cherry-picked understanding of buddhism, it seems to value kindness and introspection, which seems just fine to me.

    i would hope that god, should he exist, would have no problem with that, and if there is a heaven, i feel like i’ve done very little to be denied entry. wouldn’t mind the 72 virgins or whatever it is. (misogyny is certainly not a mortal sin in the bible, so i’m getting away with that one.)

  • Is It Easter Yet?

    72 virgins: Islam not Christianity, ZingZing, and I feel it is my Christian duty to warn you that they’re probably virgins for a reason and you’d be very much inclined to keep them that way. (That was just a JOKE, to any Muslim terrorists in the house tonight…and it wasn’t misogyny either. ASK me about Mary Magdalene…)

    Seriously, though, I am very impressed with the lives of some Buddhists. I’ve heard of monasteries dedicated to caring for people in the last stages of AIDS. A few years ago, I read a book by a Vietnamese monk who had suffered a lot at the hands of, I can’t remember…Commies prolly…or maybe Western imperialists…but, anyway, the whole thing was a recommendation of the resorative power of forgiveness.

    I’m glad that I’m not Jesus—before whom all (the Bible says) Christians and non-Christians alike will have to stand one day to be judged—because I would have a hard time deciding whether or not to send someone like that away on the basis of a theological technicality.

    There are on the other hand some Buddhists whom it would be easy to condemn, but there is the possibility that Jesus will pull a “thief on the cross” move and include even some of these in the “last shall be first” category.

    There are, apparently, going to be different criteria that Christ “knowing the secrets in the hearts of men” will use to judge a Jew who was orphaned during the Holocaust, for example, and a well-educated cosmopolitan who does the spiritual equivalent of circling “E: none of the above” on every single answer on a multiple choice math test because he can’t be bothered to explore the possibility that any of the others are true. And I understand your point ENTIRELY ZingZing, that finding the “right answers” on a test asking you to rank the world’s sacred books is, in one sense, an exercise in futility; but people who regard it as more than a PURELY intellectual exercise are able to give answers that indicate to God that they at least thought that their pursuit of him was a worthwhile endeavor.

    I look at it this way, ZingZing. If you were deciding whom to allow to live in your house forever, and were only planning to let in those who (unlike Satan, Lucifer, literally the Light-Bearer, who had known God in ALL his glory and turned against him anyway) would keep up the standards of the place, would you REALLY let people who had called you a homicidal maniac breeze past you into the foyer? Like, you’d let them hand you their coats, while they prepared to be served an eternity of delights?

    The way I understanding “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” at least a good portion of the people in hell will hate God before the judgment, during the judgment, and after the judgment. A lot of people talk like they hate God while they are alive, but its because they don’t really understand him yet. Some people, though, the more they understand him, the more they hate him.

    Back to earth. I’ve got to get to the store and get the fam’ a ham or a leg of lamb or some other Pascal treat…see ya later.

  • zingzing

    “72 virgins: Islam not Christianity, ZingZing…”

    i know, i know. just taking my favorite bits.

    “would you REALLY let people who had called you a homicidal maniac breeze past you into the foyer?”

    take that up with the people who wrote the bible. i am certainly not responsible for how god is portrayed in a book written thousands of years before my birth. if that truly is god, maybe he was in his teenage years at that point. he certainly did like to lash out. quite the temper.

  • Is It Easter Yet?

    Alas, he’s still got it. And He’s bigger than you.

  • Baronius

    That a priori argument is unconvincing. Anything’s a priori if you get there late enough. I wouldn’t send back a cobb salad just because all the ingredients are in the bowl. Religions say what they do because people spent a lot of time arguing through their meanings and implications. And if you don’t like the version that most people find consistent and true, most every religion has major branches that take a different approach. Religion is just about the least a priori thing you’ll ever find.

  • http://www.demonsofjustice.com Regis Schilken

    Baronius, I would not send back the cobb salad because if I wanted, I could track its ingredients down to the kitchen and possibly even to the field from which they grew.

    The reason why the Bible is a priori is that it must be accepted as a given. Its writings can be traced back only to human writers, some of whom claim that Yahweh told the Israelites to murder, rape, plunder, and steal.

    What kind of God would have written those commands in the Bible?

    No, I think faith in ANY religion is a personal experience shared by the believer and what(whom)ever he or she thinks is God.

    rege

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    * tosses a hot-cross bun to Baronius. “He is risen indeed,” bro *

    There are a lot of things that must be accepted a priori as givens, Rege, and history, including the written history of the things God told the Jews to do — when he was leading them by a pillar of smoke and a column of fire and receiving their burnt animal offerings in a touch-down of blaze — is one of them.

    WIth the exception of people who have an experience of religion that is brittle and doctrinaire, people DO experience the Bible and faith in the context of a community that is, as Baronius states, the furthest thing possible from a priori. It is ALL about sharing experiences of God with one another, having confirmation about the right course of action, etc. I’ll quote it again, “Hebrews 4:12 the word of God is LIVING and ACTIVE and sharper than any two edged sword…” I think you may be limiting your own “a posteriori experiences” of the word of God by coming to your conclusions about the verses you refer to through “Big Book Explaining why the Bible is Evil” rather than examining them in context yourself, in other words, having an a posteriori experience with them, by examining them in the context of the chapters they were written in, as well as in light of the context of the cultures they were written in.

    Where is the order to rape coming in the Bible? are you talking about finding wives for the Benjamites?

  • zingzing

    irene: “Alas, he’s still got it. And He’s bigger than you.”

    well, that’s not a good god then. i’ll not live in fear of some unseen being. if god is all-knowing, then he must know when he’s being a little prick and he must know how to stop it. it’s far too human to be so petty. if i had a god, he wouldn’t be so small.

  • zingzing

    baronius: “Religion is just about the least a priori thing you’ll ever find.”

    and yet stories are. star wars is yojimbo and flash gordon and many other things. doesn’t mean star wars is true, or more true than any of its sources. and i wouldn’t go basing my life or hopes around it.

    how is the christian bible any different from star wars in the end? it’s older, certainly. but that’s about it.

    i’m joining the church of the klf. choose your own cult adventure.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Irene, whilst I’m mostly baffled by your confusing arguments and struggling to find any point of engagement at all, can you at least attempt to explain your assertion that “There are a lot of things that must be accepted a priori as givens”? That seems to be an attempt to avoid having to substantiate your position but I don’t want to make an assumption…

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ It’s Easter Yet

    Has anybody seen my chocolate bunny? It has one ear missing and a couple mashed jellybeans stuck to its tail.

  • Baronius

    “Baronius, I would not send back the cobb salad because if I wanted, I could track its ingredients down to the kitchen and possibly even to the field from which they grew.

    The reason why the Bible is a priori is that it must be accepted as a given. Its writings can be traced back only to human writers,”

    Rege, I cut off your quote there because the rest of it goes into some different arguments about the Bible. I just want to address the first question for now.

    Describing the Bible, Koran, or Upanishads as a “given” indicates unawareness of their history. First, there’s the question of which books/suras belong in the holy book. Then there’s the matter of identifying a definitive text or translation. Then, what is the proper interpretation of the text? Inevitably, that leads to the question of authority: who has the right to identify and interpret the meaning of the holy book? The fact is, when Ruvy, Easter Irene, and I hear the word “bible”, we have very different images in our minds.

    That’s not to deny the role of faith. Most of us don’t check the cobb salad back to the field. We smell the dressing, and maybe take a peek in the kitchen when we go to wash our hands. If we’re lactose-intolerant, we may make a special order. But if it’s a restaurant we visit regularly, we have a reasonable level of trust in the food.

    This article (and maybe the book) doesn’t seem to depict religion as most adults experience it. Yes, when we’re born into a religious tradition, we receive it as a given, but as we grow up we investigate it and form our own opinions, both positive and negative.

  • Baronius

    Zing, I think you can learn from any well-told story (which leaves out Episodes 1-3). But no one believes that Star Wars is based on actual events. The claim about the Bible is that the events in it are true. How true? Literally true? My default assumption is that any story I read in the Bible is literally true, but I recognize that there’s a lot of symbolic language in it. So perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the claim about the Bible is that it was inspired by God. That’s a particular cobb salad that I’ve looked into and found it to be edible.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Here are two of them,Cindy in #68!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Did you just fix that link, Christopher Rose? What a sweet-heart! Give a listen to Baronius, then. He might make more sense.

  • troll
  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    “Rise up this morning…smiled at the Risin’ Son…three little birds…” I appreciate those sentiments, troll. :)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Zing, He gave people (as well as scarier entities) the freedom to choose their own ways. I’d be more afraid of a God, who, under those circumstances, limited his reactions to some of those choices.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Every little thing, gonna be alright. One day.

  • zingzing

    baronius: “The claim about the Bible is that the events in it are true.”

    claimed where? in the bible? by who? the writers of the bible? or just by tradition?

  • zingzing

    irene: “I’d be more afraid of a God, who, under those circumstances, limited his reactions to some of those choices.”

    so… you’d be more afraid of a god that would separate the innocent from the guilty than one who would wipe out the vast majority of the creatures (and the majority of those innocent) of the earth because of what he saw as the wickedness of some of its residents?

    have you read the parts of the bible where god seemingly goes bonkers?

  • Regis Schilken

    zingzing
    I agree with you. There are places in the allegedly inspired bible where Yahweh really does go bonkers. Here are a few:

    Kill People Who Don’t Listen to Priests
    Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

    Kill Witches
    You should not let a sorceress live. (Exodus 22:17 NAB)

    Kill Homosexuals
    “If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

    Kill Fortunetellers
    A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death. (Leviticus 20:27 NAB)

    Death for Hitting Dad
    Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)

    Death for Cursing Parents
    1) If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness. (Proverbs 20:20 NAB)
    2) All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

    Death for Adultery
    If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

    Death for Fornication
    A priest’s daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)

    Death to Followers of Other Religions
    Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB)

    Kill Nonbelievers
    They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

    Kill False Prophets
    If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, “You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord.” When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through. (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)

    Kill the Entire Town if One Person Worships Another God
    Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. “The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.” (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)

    Kill Women Who Are Not Virgins On Their Wedding Night
    But if this charge is true (that she wasn’t a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father’s house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)

    Kill Followers of Other Religions.
    1) If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)

    2) Suppose a man or woman among you, in one of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, has done evil in the sight of the LORD your God and has violated the covenant by serving other gods or by worshiping the sun, the moon, or any of the forces of heaven, which I have strictly forbidden. When you hear about it, investigate the matter thoroughly. If it is true that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then that man or woman must be taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NLT)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Rege, for your own protection, please don’t post your e-mail address as your commenter name. See the comments policy.

    Thanks,
    Dr D
    Assistant Comments Editor

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Zing and Rege, I don’t know if you are still interested in them, but in case anyone else is, this is how my reactions have developed over the years, in response to those “Is God going bbonkers” verses read in the context.

    Again, I bring up the example of Satan who was Lucifer, the Light Bearer, the most beautiful of all created beings. God was right there in front of his face in Heaven, and yet he still chose to rise up against him in pride.

    It was the same for the Jews way back in Moses’ day. Don’t forget that their race was seeing miracles routinely then. To be a witch, or turning one’s back to instructions that were made very explitly (and in many cases exclusively) to the Jews was to see God roll back the Red Sea, take up burnt offerings in a pillar of fire that extended to heaven and say, “so the hell what? I’ll bow down to whom or what I want to, or no one at all.”

    The strictness of the rules had very much relaxed as, after cycle after cycle of turning from God, many in Jewish society had forgotten what it was to have God near every day. Even King David forgot for awhile, and when he and Bathsheba committed adultery, God took their child (straight to heaven apparently, because the repentant David was convinced he’d see him again) and Bathsheba lived on to bear him more children, her first husband having been killed in battle.

    By the time Jesus came around the hearts of Jews had turned against God to the extent (prophet after prophet had been murdered) that God was no longer speaking through prophets. The religious leaders, with few exceptions, had let them down. A sense of God’s involvement in the day-to-day affairs of life was kept alive in traditions, but it wasn’t something people were seeing with their own eyes anymore though they still retained the harshness of the law, to the vulnerable, but not to themselves. The attitude of God toward sinners in that climate was pure mercy (except for hypocrites.) Remember Jesus in the story of the woman caught in adultery? “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” And all her accusers walked away, as Jesus knew they would.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    The most troubling scriptures for me have involved the killing of men, women and childen en masse in battle (although this only seemed to have been done in extremely wicked societies). Instead of having only one choice, yours, of rejecting the whole Bible because you’d never noticed God’s mercy and asked for it and experienced it yourself, I HAD done all these things, and so was experiencing a real spiritual dilemma.

    I knew that the religion of the parents involved child sacrifice, so the kids weren’t safe with them either, but why not have the Jews adopt the kids? Then I thought it through. How do you answer the “where did I come from?” questions from a large group of adopted males who are coming of age in your midst, who notice that they are less than a 9 month span in age away their siblings? They’d learn the answer soon enough: “From parents we killed because they hated our God and us, so he told us we could take their land after we kicked THEM off it.” They’d figure it out, people would talk, and given the normal adolescent growing-up process of reducing the strong childish ties that have bound them to adults in their lives, there’d be big trouble.

    I can’t see that God is telling any nation on the earth to take land away from other people today, though I see a biblical case can be made for self defense. The history of the modern stat of Israel is a complicated one, a mixture of standing up to frank anti-Semitism whose goal is the destrution of the Jewish race, but in some cases, a failure to show the mercy that they themselves should have been shown throughout the centuries.

    In short, Reges, there is no indicationt (and many contraindications in the New Testament) that the rules you listed have been God’d prescription for ANY people who have been on the earth for about the last 2500 years. When they were, there was reason for them to be.

    There, I may not have answered the questions to your satisfaction, but I hope you see now that my high regard for God and his Bible has weathered the storm of exposure, and LONG exposure, to the passages you cite.

  • zingzing

    so god mellowed with age. good on him. still, we know what he is capable of, at least according to the bible. he was a hate fuck upon humanity in the old testament.

    the kinder, gentler god of the new testament is more my style, but his relative absence (if one believes this is more than a fiction) since that time is rather troubling and telling. how (in)convenient it is that he disappears as soon as science begins to be able to explain things as more than “an act of god.”

    the closest thing we’ve had to a prophet in recent times is david koresh, and i guess he’s dead now, and who knows… maybe that’s just the way prophets come off.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    No, Zing, God hasn’t mellowed with age, and the book of Revelation describes a Christ you would probably be just as uncomfortable with.

    But it’s not my job to convince you further on THAT point.

  • zingzing

    ah, revelation. the world’s craziest peyote trip. now that’s a good read. so wretchedly creative. so doggedly impenetrable. so willfully obscure. so obviously the work of a fucked up mind. the closest thing to proof of god is the use of language in the bible. although i guess it’s all in the translation. the biblical language, as much as it changes book to book and passage to passage, is a wondrous thing.

    one of my favorite prince lyrics is the first line on the batman soundtrack: “i’ve seen the future and it will be.” so much to unpack there. it’s both a true and false statement. revelation is the same way. you can see whatever you want in it. that is its genius.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    I don’t take personal offense when God is accused by people who have witnessed great suffering that they are still trying to put into some sort of context besides meaninglessness, or who are moved with an-above average sense of frustrated compassion in the face of the human toll tsunamis, for example, take.

    I can only tell people that it is possible to move past that. Once in awhile, they are happy I did. Not always though, and I’m fine with that.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    No you can’t see whatever you want in it. Most prophets are told that what the words they are being given won’t be able to be understood until some future time.

  • zingzing

    “Most prophets are told that what the words they are being given won’t be able to be understood until some future time.”

    and that’s wonderfully convenient.

    “No you can’t see whatever you want in it.”

    try reading it on acid. seriously, how many different interpretations of revelation are out there? are any the same? the book has been dissected countless times, and rarely with the same results. different translations cause ridiculously different interpretations. it’s hard to know what’s what, and if you haven’t read the work in the original language, i’m afraid you’re looking out for something that just won’t be coming.

  • zingzing

    well, not just the original language, but from the primary source, wherever that may be, or if there really even is one.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Keep on appreciating the language then, ZingZing, because it is a wonderful thing, and it is the ONLY wonderful connection between heaven and earth that’s left to some people, and it is enough. It may be so for you one day.

    What a boring book, to be able to see everything that was meant in it the first read-through. George Muller? I think he was through it about 70 times and was still learning things. Who knows, maybe the draw of the wondrous language will lead you to discover a point or two that you missed before…

    Happy reading.

  • zingzing

    “It may be so for you one day.”

    it may be. NO ONE knows the future.

    “What a boring book, to be able to see everything that was meant in it the first read-through.”

    when i was younger, i read the whole thing through. i’ll admit that some of it was beyond me, and some of it was flat-out boring. i’ve read certain books/passages multiple times and in various translations, but i’ll not pretend to be a biblical scholar of any sort, even amateur. but, even on that first read through, it seemed to me to be riddled with inconsistencies and was clearly the work of man, not god. maybe god speaks above our heads or in ways that he finds completely reasonable, but come off to us as confusing as all hell (unless you apply some mystifying logical leaps). either way, “his word” has been interpreted in many ways, and many of them foul. if he is omniscient, why are his words so unclear as to have all of these varying interpretations? why did he not make his meaning clear? (and if you say he does make it clear, why is it so unclear to so many, including those who would call themselves christian?)

  • troll

    …I ponder religious texts as part of an attempt to understand religious people – of which there are bunches all over the place

    personally – I like to keep my conclusions to myself and restrict my comments to the occasional act of inflammation

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    You are asking a lot of questions ZingZing, and just because I have other things in my life I need to take CARE of today (ahem) doesn’t mean I can’t answer them…or that they don’t have answers if you’d ask someone else who does have the time.

    I’ve made the attempt to answer about ten of your questions. Time’s up.

  • zingzing

    “I’ve made the attempt to answer about ten of your questions. Time’s up.”

    ah well, enjoy your creeping zombie jebus day (what a religion… eating a zombie… what will they think of next? seriously, there must have been great drugs just laying around everywhere back then).

    but remember there’s always tomorrow or whenever. for the internet is eternal.

    anyway (really this time), enjoy your holiday. i thank you for the answers you did provide, even they aren’t as fully convincing to my doubtful mind as they are to your believing mind.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Well there is an account of zombies (friendly ones) and a night of the living dead in the Bible. (And it’s not the vision that the “bones, dem bones, dem DRY bones” song was based on.) When I come back….Pentecost, perhaps….I won’t (attempt to) answer a single question for you until you’ve shown me you’ve found it for yourself.

  • zingzing

    that’s the kind of shit i eat up, irene… although neither of the following are your “friendly zombies,” although i guess the resurrection counts as that one. or old what’s his face… lazarus. that one would be too obvious… is there another?

    anyway here’s a couple i know of:

    Matthew 27:51-53

    “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”

    –and–

    Zechariah 14:12

    “Now this will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouth. On that day a large-scale panic from the LORD will spread among them. One person will grab the hand of another, and one will attack the other.”

  • zingzing

    i guess maybe the matthew one counts. although that shit would freak me out.

    the zechariah one is pretty damn awesome though. great stuff.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ It’s Easter Yet

    Thank you for the bunnies, Irene–all three of them. troll has presented two of my all time favs, Tracy and Bob. Still, I think candy* is called for on Easter.

    * I feel like Eeyore after troll‘s video. I thought this video was quite good and interesting, though.

  • regis schilken

    Please keep in mind: I am not anti-God, I just cannot see, within the light of reason, how a reasonable God could be the God of any religion. As I get older, it appears that God is what we make of it. All of the Christian/Muslim arguments down thru the ages for the existence of God rely on the fact that the Bible or the Koran is. It simply IS. It states what God wants for all all of us and it is based on the old traditional beliefs that GOD HAS REVEALED HIMSLEF/HERSELF TO MANKIND.

    No, I don’t believe this. I cannot believe this any more than I can believe stories about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. I apologize for hurting anyone’s feelings, but reason is our most advanced gift however we got it (evolution be damned if necessary) but we have this gift. To rely on unreasonable truths (a prioria at best) is to deny this gift from whatever source it came.

    rege schilken

    [personal contact info deleted by comments editor]

    by the way, when I review a book, I review it for what the author intends to tell her/his reading audience, not for belief in any religion!

    rege schilken

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Regis, Dr. D might have given you that warning to spare you the onslaught of commercial spam you’d get in your inbox if you flash your email around indiscriminately.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Aw ya prolly just looked up “zombies” in a Bible concordance or something, ZingZing, but yeah, the one in Matthew was the one I had in mind. Very good!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Thanks for the chocolatey video and the troll pics, Cindy and Troll. Well, see ya ’round!

  • zingzing

    the one in matthew is nice and sguigly, but the one in z is downright creepy.

    either way, you owe me answers. the power of the internets did not wager into your call. i am a resourceful man. do not doubt that.

    see you in two months, unless i catch you around here. there are questions unanswered and you told me you’d answer.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ It’s Easter Yet

    squiggly

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ No It’s Not

    99 regis,

    Any god of this world would have to be a psychopath, imo.

  • regis schilken

    If God gave people the freedom to choose their own ways, why would he command them to:
    1.Kill People Who Don’t Listen to Priests
    Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

    2. Kill Homosexuals
    “If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

    3. Death for Hitting Dad
    Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)

    4. Death for Cursing Parents
    1) If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness. (Proverbs 20:20 NAB)
    2) All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

    5. Death for Adultery
    If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

    6. Death for Fornication
    A priest’s daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)

    7. Death to Followers of Other Religions
    Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB)

    8. Kill Nonbelievers
    They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

    9. Kill False Prophets
    If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, “You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord.” When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through. (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)

    10. Kill the Entire Town if One Person Worships Another God
    Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. “The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.” (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)

    11. Kill Women Who Are Not Virgins On Their Wedding Night
    But if this charge is true (that she wasn’t a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father’s house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)

    12. Kill Followers of Other Religions.
    1) If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)

    2) Suppose a man or woman among you, in one of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, has done evil in the sight of the LORD your God and has violated the covenant by serving other gods or by worshiping the sun, the moon, or any of the forces of heaven, which I have strictly forbidden. When you hear about it, investigate the matter thoroughly. If it is true that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then that man or woman must be taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NLT)

    C’mon now! Does any of the above make sense? If you need more examples, I can list them for you.

    It appears to me that priests, ministers, rabbis, etc. only take what they think is GOOD from the Holy Book.

    Why don’t we ever hear about all these horrific commands given by the Old Testament God, not to mention a New testament God who’s Father in Heaven sent him to be murdered at the hands of mankind, the most horrific crime of the ages?

    rege schilken

  • brotherap

    Now it is clear why this ranting fool spent all that time denouncing OJ Simpson and his lawyers. He’s simply a madman, and clown, getting away with a PT Barnum act of phony rage against the Simpson jurors when his real rage it appears was against God. With his inside connections I’m sure he knew that his peers were involved in framing Simpson. He knew that Cochran, Clark, Shapiro and Hodgeman hid telephone records from the jury that would have indicated Simpson was in the backseat of a limo at 11PM traveling to LAX while his wife was still alive talking to her mother. I’m sure he knew they then argued for 7 mos. then agreed to turn the time back 1 and 1/2 hrs to 9:37 to make it convenient for Simpson to be alleged to be available to commit murder. This raging un-godly fool has to know what the authors of “PURSUIT OF EXHIBIT 35 in the OJ Simpson Murder Trial and its Hidden Secrets” know. I know this fool through his connections knew before writing “OUTRAGE” that Ron Goldman has a thick criminal file protected by a California Snitch Law. This foolish beast wasted our time knowing Goldman was a louse, that he was admittedly “cocky”, and as Kim his sister said of him ambivalent about his responsibility to repay debts. Ron who was allegedly handling drugs, knew cocky and fiscally ambivalent didn’t go together when owing drug dealers. Bugliosi, apparently with little influence it seems was put up to promulgating racial animus over two people he knew were hanging with the wrong crowd and got served in a most unfortunate way.

  • lindacakes

    yes, could we just keep talking about the information, and not get into personal comments about one another’s interpretations?