Atheism Theism Debates
Few months ago I was sent an invite via a extended family member to a popular Atheists vs Theists Debate site. I joined and posted a comment to one of the posts about faith in God. I related that God is only known as He chooses to reveal Himself to His creatures, that is, to man. This was replied to by several as to how one knows what one knows. I replied that our knowledge is restricted to and limited in our common nature and experience; and that God as transcendent and infinite must ever be the first and utmost participant in the revelation and knowledge; that we have no real innate natural ability to reach and find Him.
The site is difficult for me to appreciate since it has such a wide variety of members and diversity. So I did not pursue further interaction. As I continued to read posts from time to time I felt that perhaps just sharing my reasons of Faith in God and His Christ according to the Scriptures and the Christian Church It would be a good thing within my restraints. So here I will also share this for others as well. mjm.
((Here is the first post and replies:
God exists as God, we know Him by His own revelation and interaction with us as His creature; the Scriptures reveals that interaction and intervention. I of myself cannot know Him, or see Him, or find Him. He visits man to find us. I cannot argue for or against His existence except by His words concerning Himself; if that Word is negated or rejected their can be little to debate about that leads to certainty or veracity. Science and philosophy, human thoughts, may say much, but can never say what it does not know beyond its limits of test, sight, hearing, and the like.
CG:Circular reasoning huh?
TW: You do not know him by his own revelation, you know him by your own indoctrination. Geography is the reason for Christian belief. Nothing else.
N.K: How do you know it is God’s word and not just words fabricated by humans?
MJM: To the three above remarks: We all reason in circles at times; and when we are out of the woods we begin on a straight path; and if we cannot find that straight and narrow path we have hope that others might help us. True, our knowledge of Him is based on the doctrines we have learned and believe, and that applies to all things human and natural; no one is different in this regards. If I have no desire or will to know the truth of God, if there be a God, then I will not know what I reject or discard. As in all things we are to be accountable for honesty, sincerity, and diligence. Religion of any kind, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Atheism, is always local, even if it comes to us from afar. All things must begin at a certain spot, the place where you or I occupy. Our knowledge of truth is what it is in us, and to the extent we understand what we know or reject to know. Great men have exercised their minds and skills to explain the thing called knowledge, and what that is in us, both its innate or external, or its phenomena and transcendency it all its variations. Simple folks must be simple: “You will know the truth; and it will set you free.” The Bible must be handled like any other book, and must be evaluated accordingly; but we are the ones that will be tested as to our motives and capacity.))
Why I believe in God according to the Bible and the Christian Church. Reasons 1-5:
1. In Genesis Moses writes that God created all things: the heavens, the earth, all living creatures and animals of nature, and man or mankind. God creates creation, the universe, nature, and the world.
2. In Genesis Man is created in the image of God according to the likeness of God. Man ‘s highest nobility, glory, and honor is divine and infinite in comparison to all other living creatures.
3. God is revealed as above and beyond and before all creation, that the physical world, universe, and nature are infinitely smaller and lesser than God. That such a infinite, transcendent, and incomprehensible God to be known is revealed in human terms and words common to man and human experience.
4. God as so revealed and so known has a purpose for all creation, but a greater purpose and will for man that He has never abandoned or forgotten.
5. God is revealed and understood to be good, and goodness along with wisdom, truth, right, mercy, and countless qualities and attributes of His Person and ways are to be seen and reflected in man.
(Here are the replies to the second post:)
1.PPJ: None of those are reasons to believe. You don’t even know if the bible is true. As a matter of fact, it’s not. It has to be the most altered of all the holy books.
MJM: Reasons to believe may vary, as reasons not to believe as well. If I did not know or believe the Bible is true I should not give it as the reason of faith. If I did not know or believe that America is a great country I should not say it is a great country. To say America is not a great country does not make my statement true; and to say the Bible is not true does not make it false. To make a statement of belief or disbelief does not establish truth or veracity; it is only a witness and a testimony, which may be debated, as it usually is. To say that the Bible is ‘the most altered of all the holy books’ is logically meaningless as a rebuttal to this argument, for it carries no content of validity on one hand, or instruction on the other. Thus it is said of Shakespeare or Confucius or Plato we don’t know if he really said or wrote this or that or anything; but few will take this dubious criticism seriously.
2.CP: How arrogant to think that god looks like us.
MJM: If Moses thought that God was some Super Giant Man like Zeus or Jupiter or any anthropomorphic image or hero or idol then arrogance might be a fit remark; but since Genesis has no such notion or doctrine, as well as the rest of the Bible, this accusation is groundless.
3.NK: OP: so basically you are using the Bible as evidence the Bible is true. Do you know what Circular Reasoning is?
MJM: “The components of a circular argument are often logically valid because if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true.” The Bible is not true because of our faith, nor because we say so; and in the contrary it is not false because of unbelief or criticism. I come to the Bible (this was and is my experience) and hear or read what it says to me, and its claims laid hold on me, did something within me, and I became alive inwardly to new things. God became personal in the words of the Bible. My struggle to know, understand, to believe continued as I sought to follow. Those who rejected the Book also became my test and experience, as it is here and now. I have listed 5 reasons of faith, which as God permits, I will add several others.
4.CP: The bible is inaccurate because it’s a collection of legends based on oral traditions. There was no garden of eden, no global flood, the sun never stood still and no one ever survived three days in the digestive system of a marine creature. It’s not “may not have happened” it’s “didn’t happen.” The basis of your belief are the stories a desert tribe used to tell themselves around the campfire thousands of years ago. Personally, I like the Aztec creation story better.
MJM: As I have said the denial of something does not negate assertions; a Garden of Eden, Noah’s Flood, Joshua’s Long Day, and Jonah’s Whale [are] spoken of from ancient times, and are old enough to be legends. The ancient stories of the Sumerians before Moses speak of the Blest Dilmun (Paradise) and the Great Flood, for me to deny of what they speak does not alter the existence of the story. The oral traditions, legends and the like, are indicative of the thing which we are seeking. What is that? The facts and truth behind the stories, and for which the legends and traditions are passed down from generation to generation. I need not explain the astronomy of the long day, nor the possibility of a man surviving, or dying and reviving, in a whale’s belly, for a few days, to believe its possibility. There are countless stories everyday that we are told that seem impossible, yet are true for those who have investigated. The Genesis stories are related by Moses as God’s spokesman; the tribes were ignorant of most of these things; and confused by Egyptian and Sumerian stories.
As to the Aztec Creation Story (Stories) its been a few decades since I read some [of] these. Perhaps you might briefly relate the details of the Aztec Creation that we might rightly compare it with the Bible version.
5.TM: The bible is true because It says so.The bible says god exists. Therefore, it is true that a god exists.
MJM: As I said before, God exists , if He exists, because He exists, whether we believe or deny, but not because we say or believe. Gandhi existed because he existed not because someone said or believe so. Its laughable and illogical to make reality dependent on faith as proof; its even more comical and silly to deny one’s being, existence, or reality because one does not know, believe, or ascertain such. This applies to the Bible as to all other literature, sacred or common.
Why I believe in God according to the Bible and the Christian Church. Reasons: Posts 3: Reasons 6-10:
6. The world, the universe, and the nature of existence, reality, and life is such that we ask and seek answers, final and ultimate answers. The Bible gives us these answers as a revelation of God in manifestation of Himself to His creation.
7. We have believed in God from our earliest recorded history to the present, and the Bible for the past 2.000 years has been our TextBook of faith and reason of all that pertains to and is related to God.
8. Religions of the world, both ancient and modern, attest to man’s interest and quest for God. Theism as faith in God exists everywhere that man exists; Monotheism is the faith of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, along with some other religious bodies; Polytheism is the belief in many gods and goddesses, deities, spirit beings, subordinate or superordinate divine supernatural beings or powers of persons or things to which man is dependent or subject to in ways good and evil. These ideas, doctrines, myths, notions, and systems all indicate man’s religious and spiritual nature as the Bible shows.
9. Philosophy from ancient times to the present teach us that God exist of necessity in reality or experientially, that the world is a reflection of the Divine Order, that nature manifests a Transcendent Correspondence, that creation reveals a Creator, Designer, Maker, Former, Architect, builder, and much more. The many philosophical systems and doctrines, both in agreement and in contradiction, are all witnesses to man’s unique and Biblical place in the universe of time and space.
10. Science from ancient times to the most recent advancement of knowledge and technology in every field and intellectual domain of the schools and societies of the highest learning and specialization establish the Biblical God is wise and perfect, profound and inscrutable, and ever interesting and intriguing. Science in both knowledge and understanding is leading us as captives back to the God of the Bible, the God of truth, the true God.
NK: I don’t find your reasons for believing in God to be rational or credible. I will remain an atheist. Let me know if you ever find *valid* evidence of God.
MJM: Fair enough; my rationale may not convince you, which doesn’t matter as to truth or love; so if further reasons incite or entice you towards God we will all rejoice.
NK: I don’t understand what you just said, but I will say that you worship someone who (if he exists) is currently torturing my mom and sister (and billions of others) in a lake of fire, which I don’t find very loving.
MJM: I wish to share your pain, or at lest offer sympathy or empathy, in whatever way that I can; as you did not understand my hope towards you, I likewise do not understand your grief and charge. God, if He exists as we are willing to say, and if the Bible is true as to His will and ways, then how do we understand an reconcile eternal torments, human sufferings, and evil everywhere? I will not presume or pretend to know your beliefs or reasons, but that is why I accepted the invite to join and interact. I cannot reply to you charge against God in regards to your loved ones; we can only discuss or debate to discover truth without malice or prejudice towards those who are of another way. With respect and concern, I can only offer thoughts and prayers.
NK: Sorry, you belong to an organization whose policy is to torture all God unbelievers in a lake of fire, so I cannot not accept your sympathy or empathy as sincere. If you God exists I can reconcile eternal torments and suffering with him being a psychopath. You need to reply to my charge in regards to my loved ones for me to even consider that you actually care about them. I do not want the thoughts and prayers from an accomplice to their torture, thanks anyway. Good thing it’s imaginary.
MJM to NK:
1.”Sorry, you belong to an organization whose policy is to torture all God unbelievers in a lake of fire, so I cannot not accept your sympathy or empathy as sincere.” We do not set the rules of the universe or the creation. The Bible speaks of the Lake of Fire for judgment on the Devil and his angels, for the wicked, for all those oppose to God. If God exists as God, if the Bible is true, then the judgments are true and just accordingly. God cannot allow His creatures to disregard His will and ways without eternal consequences. If we are His creatures as the Bible reveals, then we have His spirit of life, His breath of life, His portion in and of our soul: for the Bible says: “In Him we live and move and have our being”. And again that the dead all live unto Him, for He is the God of the living not of the dead.
2.”If you God exists I can reconcile eternal torments and suffering with him being a psychopath.” To judge that the God revealed in the Bible is evil and cruel is not our place as creatures; we read of Him as good and merciful, ever and always seeking to win and woe man back to Himself. The Bible does not reveal a psychopathy in God, but rather God as a Father and Savior, as El Shaddai, the Nourisher and Nurse for His children. But the Devil, Satan, the Old Serpent is revealed as the enemy to man and God, and psychopathy and sociopathy resides in him, for he is the originator of all such disorders, sins, and crimes. The Devil’s greatest lie and deception is to past on that God is a Devil like himself. No God is a good King, and there are many lords and kings who wish to dethrone Him.
3. “You need to reply to my charge in regards to my loved ones for me to even consider that you actually care about them. I do not want the thoughts and prayers from an accomplice to their torture, thanks anyway. Good thing it’s imaginary.” As I said before, I do not presume to know of your loved ones, real or imaginary, but only can respond to you and your words. The God of the Bible loved the world, mankind, His creatures, and exhibited that love in grace to do what was necessary to redeem and reconcile us to Himself. The world has not regarded His will or ways for a very long time; and we have become vey cruel to our own kind, leading to unbearable ills and woes in our cities and nations. Yet despite the thousands of years, the many generations, He still sends words of mercy and kindness to us and to all men everywhere. Many that we in malice and hate consign to eternal fires in our judgment are safe and saved by Him, and those who we wish to excuse their evil and wickedness He will not allow to escape that day and hour. He is revealed as One Whose eyes and heart looks on the poor and needy with the greatest and most tender care; but we will not have it so. Though we discuss and dialog in imaginary notions, yet reality is only a step away.
NK: 1. I don’t care who sets the rules, torture is amoral and I could never side with a torturer. Torturer is not just. It is psychopathic. You are defending burning people in a lake of fire. You sound like a serial killer.
2. How come its okay for you to judge God but not me? Seems hypocritical…
3. What you think is love is psychopathic indifference. That’s what happens when you derive your morality from a mass torturer.
MJM to NK: 1. You object to Torture as immoral, unjust, psychopathic, and as serial killing. This applied to the God of the Bible is your reason for unbelief and rejection. Torture and torment as used in this way judges God as evil and an Evildoer. But the Bible does not present such a God to us. In Genesis we see examples to the contrary: in Adam and Eve’s disobedience God does not strike them down in cruelty or death, but judges them with a long term sentence that has continued to this day. Again, in Cain killing his brother Abel God deals with him before and after with mercy in judgment. Again, Abraham pleads with God in regards to the doom of Sodom and Gomorrah, that surely the Judge of the world will do justly and rightly to not destroy the just with the unjust. So too in many other examples throughout the Bible. But on the other side God being just, righteous, and true cannot ignore evil to exist or continue without a Divine response. This moral necessity is judgment, and judgment as torment, and to the judged some call it torture. Punishment whether human or divine, individual or collective, private or public, or any such analogies may consist of torment or torture. To be tormented or tortured by guilt, grief, regret, mistakes, sins, and crimes are the just and natural consequences to certain moral actions. God as the Supreme Standard of morality must exact the proportionate measure of judgment and justice, just as in human terms the laws, state, government, and the like authorities, also punish, judge, and execute or afflict the convicted.
2. If I judge God I am wrong, and in what I judge Him once recognized I repent. I like Job may argue in error or reason about God and His actions, but I ever seek to understand the Almighty in His judgments. The Monarch, Sovereign, King, Emperor, Potentate, and Prince may among men do wrong, make mistakes, give commands and directives that lead to great sufferings and distruction to the people, yet are not thereby out of necessity chargeable to evil or guilt. If God is God then the right and judgment belongs to Him as it is to no other.
3. A case in Noah’s Flood may be examined as to God’s judgment: Adam and his progeny, his seed, are shown to be God’s creation and creatures, they were originally provided for in a somewhat idyllic nursery, they disobeyed and were exiled to live in the world as we now have it. In there[their] banishment by divine judgment they are allowed live outside direct divine constraints or regulations. In a few centuries man was so depraved and corrupted that God saw only one man still righteous and good before Him. Being God as God could make a new creation just as easily as before, yet He chose to preserve or save Adam’s seed in Noah and his family. He preserved and saved animals for man in like manner. The Flood was was of nature and of the heavens and the earth in waters, rain, rivers, seas, and wells or fountains beneath the earth. True He could prevent these things from bringing destruction, yet the used them in nature as He as ever done, is His Divine prerogative. And having done so, decides to never thus judge again, although man will not change. A conqueror at war, as Caesar and the like, he comes, he sees, and he takes, and in his conquest does as he pleases with the conquered for better or worse. God as Lord conquers human nature in many ways like what we see in nature and the world. His love and mercy as God is very longsuffering, a few thousand years are for Him only a few days. This is the Bible’s God and Judge and Savior.
1. The reason for my unbelief is your inability to provide valid evidence God exists. The fact he would be a mass torturer if he did exist makes him unworthy of worship. The Bible presents him as a mass torturer.
2. Incoherent gibberish.
3. Incoherent gibberish.
MJM to NK: I cannot change your verdict against the God of the Bible as to His existence or judgments. I thought of a quick reply and then just move on, but then I reconsidered by delaying for a couple of weeks to review and reexamine some writers and works against God or the Bible as interpreted by the Christian Church. Although I have always as a Bible believer since my conversion in 1969, being 17, read or listened to works critical against faith, religion, Bible, and Christianity, and have continued to do so to this date, yet some writers have made significant impact on my thoughts and beliefs. There are too many to lists, but a select few I thought best to reexamine. I did not review Michael Shermer of the Sceptic Society and Scientific American, or Richard Dawkins books, or others currently active against the Bible versus science; since these writers and scholars are fairly fresh in my memory, and their arguments add little to the older classical debate. All admit the newest science are ever altering long held views. I did review very fully and carefully Andrew White’s History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom; and Robert Ingersoll’s Some Mistakes of Moses, etc.; and Thomas Paine’s works (Age of Reason, Common Sense, Rights of Man, etc.); and Voltaire’s works (Philosophical Dictionary, etc.); and finally the most important of all Bible critics, and the earliest of the modern world, laying the foundation for all the others since the 17th century (1650 on), namely Spinoza.
Since you regard my reasoning from the Bible as “incoherent gibberish” it is clear we have no proper grounds to debate or discuss the Existence of God and His Rights. I daily spend a hour in morning keeping with the news, and often the words ‘incoherent’ and ‘gibberish’ are used as accusations by the media against certain, celebrities, experts, politicians, scholars, and the like. The Media so speak against each other on the left or right; the Republicans so charge the Democrats, and in turn the other repay the like compliment; and thus the modern against the ancient, the atheists against theists and the reverse, and so too Bible is often judged. Now it so happens that the language of skepticism is fond of such terms, although they are guilty in like manner of their own opinions and ideas. Both Ingersoll and Paine were fond of these words levelled against the Bible and Bible believers. Therefore I intend to briefly cite these Bible critics and sceptics with their own reasons and rationale against God and Scriptures as witnesses to their supposed superior wisdom and honesty. Afterwards, God willing, I’ll return to more reasons I believe in God according to the Bible and the Church.
Robert G. Ingersoll: “Some Mistakes of Moses”, etc. (1833-1899, “the Great American Agnostic”, teacher, lawyer, veteran (Colonel), and political freethought orator; son of abolitionist and controversial Congregational preacher, and co-worker of Charles G. Finney. He was a great admirer and promoter of Thomas Paine. His greatest accusation against the Bible God was Hell. His greatest convert to Christ was Lew Wallace (veteran, General) of ‘Ben Hur’.
Ingersoll examines the Pentateuch (Five Books of Moses, Genesis-Deuteronomy), to point out some hundred examples of Some Mistakes of Moses. He does not believe that there was ever a Moses in Egypt, nor the Israelites, and thus the Pentateuch does not have one letter from Moses’ hands. After a few chapters by way of Introduction he takes in hand Genesis and examines the Creation Week from Monday to Sunday, all of which occupies half of his book; the second half treats Genesis 2 to Deuteronomy. The entire examination is simplistic and childish, with many “incoherent gibberish” passed on as valid criticism. It is this kind of Biblical Criticism and Skepticism that, early as a young Christian, reinforced my faith in Scriptures, and thus in God’s existence and rights. Others have answered in detail Ingersoll’s Bible critique in his days and the decades that followed, and they are to be found, so I will not trouble the reader.
Ingersoll says: “He who endeavors to Control the Mind by Force is a Tyrant, and he who submits is a slave.” This he thinks is a wise saying, and applies to God and Moses and the Bible; and he has come along to save Americans and the world. For the mass or common folks are slaves as long as they believe without doubts. He finds human failure or defects as grounds to deny and reject the Bible, as if all men in all places in all collective unions and groups, families, nations, and the like, are not chargeable to this argument rebuke. To him priestcraft is the prime evil, and orthodoxy must be the first evil destroyed; and thus if the Book is shown false the rest is all lies, myths, and superstition. Thus he goes on whining against tradition, creeds, and religion for several chapters. His father’s faith, he without blush, chides as the ‘Andover Factory’, being ignorant and fools. He would have us admire and extoll “Voltaires, Humes, Paines, Humboldts, Tyndals, Haekels, Darwins, Spencers, and Drapers”, instead of “the Lord Jesus Christ”. He wishes clergyman to be freethinkers and speakers while wearing the cloak of the Gospel, to pretend to serve God and Christ by destroying very subtly the Bible as the Word of God. No, not by leaving the ministry but using it in this deceitful manner.
Thus he gets to Genesis 1, the Creation Week, and he ignorantly (though he is an intelligent man) commences the start of the week on Monday instead of Sunday, ending on Sunday instead of Saturday; and attributes this false order to Moses. He attributes his false chronology to the Bible, and his superficial hermeneutics to divine inspiration; but these are all Ingersoll’s Mistakes. His reasoning about creation, time, life, and the world or nature is all confused as to what the Bible actually says in the written words; he constantly reasons from his own belief of what Christians and Jews and others teach about what the Bible says. We all fall into this error; but we are blamable when we claim authority to judge or criticize and are not guarded. Another Mistake of Ingersoll is making the Bible a Science Book, or a History Book, and the like. So Ingersoll has Eternal Matter as the reason he cannot believe that God created Eternal Matter because he cannot understand that if God Who is Eternal created Eternal Matter, how could He be Eternal. He cannot see or understand that his notion of time and space as of the natural world, order, universe, reality, if created by One Who, as the Creator, creates creation outside of, beyond and other than time and space (time-space), that this One as God exist and subsist in what we cannot name or comprehend in natural terms or human language. Thus the Bible, in Genesis, by Moses, says God (Elohim). Even a babe can understand this truth and fact, that the world in all that we see and hear and know, things living and inanimate, visible and invisible, or in any other words , names, and terms from a child to a genius, was made and created and birthed from God: therefore the Bible says: “in Him we live, and move, and have our being”. To be continued.
8. Ingersoll’s Mistakes of Moses Continued:
(1) “In the time of Moses, it was perfectly safe for him to write an account of the creation of the world. He had simply to put in form the crude notions of the people. At that time, no other Jew could have written a better account. Upon that subject he felt at liberty to give his imagination full play. There was no one who could authoritatively contradict anything he might say.”
(2) “It was substantially the same story that had been imprinted in curious characters upon the clay records of Babylon, the gigantic monuments of Egypt, and the gloomy temples of India. In those days there was an almost infinite difference between the educated and ignorant. The people were controlled almost entirely by signs and wonders. By the lever of fear, priests moved the world. The sacred records were made and kept, and altered by them. The people could not read, and looked upon one who could, as almost a god. In our day it is hard to conceive of the influence of an educated class in a barbarous age. It was only necessary to produce the ” sacred record,” and ignorance fell upon its face.”
(3) “The people were taught that the record was inspired, and therefore true. They were not taught that it was true, and therefore inspired. After all, the real question is not whether the bible is inspired, but whether it is true. If it is true, it does not need to be inspired. If it is true, it makes no difference whether it was written by a man or a god. The multiplication table is just as useful, just as true as though God had arranged the figures himself. If the bible is really true, the claim of inspiration need not be urged ; and if it is not true, its inspiration can hardly be established. As a matter of fact, the truth does not need to be inspired. Nothing needs inspiration except a falsehood or a mistake. Where truth ends, where probability stops, inspiration begins. A fact never went into partnership with a miracle. Truth does not need the assistance of miracle. A fact will fit every other fact in the Universe, because it is the product of all other facts. A lie will fit nothing except another lie made for the express purpose of fitting it. After a while the man gets tired of lying, and then the last lie will not fit the next fact, and then there is an opportunity to use a miracle. Just at that point, it is necessary to have a little inspiration.””
(1): The time of Moses according to the Bible is some 500 years after the time of Abram and Terah (Gen.10); and further removed from Noah and His Sons another 500 years; and from Adam and the Garden of Eden over a thousand years (1500 years or more determined by different chronologies, which are all conjectural) (Gen.5). Bob died before Sumerian writings were discovered and unearthed, before its non-Semitic language was deciphered, and the thousands of cuneiform scripts translated to reveal a lost and hidden world going back 2,000 years before the Babylonians and Egyptians. This was the world of Dilmun of the Black Headed Axe Wielding People who survived a Great Flood and resettled Mesopotamia from north to south. From these the later stories were borrowed and modified. Samuel Kramer has given to us many “Firsts” from Summer an Accad; and both the Egyptians and Babylonian-Assyrian-Chaldean learned many things which are well known today. Thus this Mistake of Ingersoll by ignorance is forgiven.
(2): In the study of the First Historical Writings of the Ancient World in the Texts we read of the Education System of even children, boys and girls, of leaders and common folks, of lawyers as well as craftsmen, all interacting in a religious society. They always pointed back to a near and a distant past when people were related to gods and goddesses as a family and kingdom. Science was at an infancy, and exploration was a novelty. The power did not reside in the Priest but in the King, and Kingship was a Divine Institution; the King being the embodiment or manifestation of God. Ingersoll was mistaken in this also. What Bob describes would not develop for several thousands of years after the Sumerians. Moses comes in during the period that the knowledge of the ancient Sumerians was fading away, as taught by those Orientalists most familiar with these things. , and may be examined in Prichard’s “Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament”, and many such works.
(3) Bob’s Logic is that Truth needs no Divine Inspiration, and need no miracles or claims. Moses writes as taught of the God of Israel, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, a new version and history from Creation to the Exodus. The details of the many stories, myths, doctrines in circulation from Adam to Moses is here addressed, corrected, and revised. The Creation of the Universe, Earth, Man, the World and Nature, are now set forth in the way God desires to teach Israel and mankind. He teaches us that 2 + 2 = 4, but not all the elements of math or science or history. What is, is truth, and when truth is known as truth, without error or contradiction tested, truth is proven true as a fact or reality. What we understand of truth is altogether a different matter. Thus, man in seeing the world and nature, the universe in all its many parts and ways, things of God, or a Power, Force, Something or Someone or Someplace, in place of God. The truth remains, God is and exists as God whether known or unknown or understood. Our inherited and innate ignorance is what must be instructed in ever slow increments till we see and know the truth. That is what education means, a leading and guiding to the truth; and once the truth is known it sets us free; thus we have in John 8: “Jesus therefore said to those Jews that had believed Him, If ye abide in My word, [then] are ye truly My disciples and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” To be continued…..
NK: Do you know what gish galloping is?
MJM: “Neil Duane Tolbert Gish, American biochemist and a prominent member of the creationist movement. A Young Earth creationist, Gish was a former vice-president of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and the author of numerous publications about creation science. Gish was called “creationism’s T. H. Huxley” for the way he “relished the confrontations” of formal debates with prominent evolutionary biologists, usually held on university campuses. A creationist publication noted in his obituary that “it was perhaps his personal presentation that carried the day. In short, the audiences liked him.”
“The Gish Gallop should not be confused with the argumentum ad nauseam, in which the same point is repeated many times. In a Gish Gallop, many bullshit points are given all at once.”
“”If I were wrong, then one would have been enough!—Albert Einstein, commenting on the book 100 Authors Against Einstein”, Wikipedia.
Ingersoll’s Mistakes of Moses continued:
(Note on Inspiration: RGI uses ‘Inspiration’ as a primary leg of his Skeptical Stool, but a look in any good Dictionary shows its varied shades of meaning and usage. He often referred to Shakespeare in his lectures and interviews as the greatest literary genius that ever lived, and regarded his inspiration as the greatest example of inspiration, In fact he owned a special edition of the Works William Shakespeare that bore on the title ‘Inspired’; and often pointed to it as his Holy Bible, and next to it lay his Hymnal, the Poetic Works of Robert Burns. Indeed Bob, the Preacher’s son, was a real Preacher on a Mission to convert America and the World.)
“It will not do to say that Moses merely intended to tell what God did, in making the heavens and the earth out of matter then in existence. He distinctly states that in the beginning God created them. If this account is true, we must believe that God, existing in infinite space surrounded by eternal nothing, naught and void, created, produced, called into being, willed into existence this universe of countless stars.”
“The next thing we are told by this inspired gentleman is, that God created light, and proceeded to divide it from the darkness. Certainly, the person who wrote this believed that darkness was a thing, an entity, a material that could get mixed and tangled up with light, and that these entities, light and darkness, had to be separated. In his imagination he probably saw God throwing pieces and chunks of darkness on one side, and rays and beams of light on the other. It is hard for a man who has been born but once to understand these things. For my part I cannot understand how light can be separated from darkness. I had always supposed that darkness was simply the absence of light, and that under no circumstances could it be necessary to take the darkness away from the light.”
“It is certain, however, that Moses believed darkness to be a form of matter, because I find that in another
place he speaks of a darkness that could be felt. They used to have on exhibition at Rome a bottle of the darkness that overspread Egypt. You cannot divide light from darkness any more than you can divide heat from cold. Cold is an absence of heat, and darkness is an absence of light. I suppose that we have no conception of absolute cold. We know only degrees of heat. Twenty degrees below zero is just twenty degrees warmer than forty degrees below zero. Neither cold nor darkness are entities, and these words express simply
either the absolute or partial absence of heat or light. I cannot conceive how light can be divided from darkness, but I can conceive how a barbarian several thousand years ago, writing upon a subject about which he knew nothing, could make a mistake. The creator of light could not have written in this way. If such a being exists, he must have known the nature of that “mode of motion” that paints the earth on every eye, and clothes in garments sevenhued this universe of worlds.”
MJM reply RGI Moses Mistakes:
Bob is struggling to understand or believe that an Eternal God could create Eternal Matter. But Genesis 1 does not say anything of what existed before the Universe was created. God existed as God, the state and place and world that existed before the present world and reality is latter revealed and understood to be a spiritual, existence, creation, and reality, being with God by God as a Spirit in a spiritual world of His own making and relations. God in the non-physical or supernatural, a metaphysical world, is spoken of only as the Creator of the world as we know it, and as He has spoken of and to. That He created the heavens and the earth and all things that exists in the natural world is all Genesis records. God did not exist in space or time, or space-time, or with matter and energy, and any physical properties and elements. God exists outside of time till He created the creation and the universe, then He exists or continues in time out of His own eternity, which is eternal outside of our conception of eternal. This is why the Bible must be a Divine Inspired Revelation for us to conceive of what is outside and beyond human and natural things. The spiritual world of God, spirits, angels, spiritual creatures and creations are not of this world. merely to deny the existence of a spiritual reality in our ignorance is not wise or safe. These things are true or false as one believes or doubts in our own thoughts and understandings. They cannot be proven or demonstrated by human or natural means.
Bob is Mistaken as to what Genesis next records: ‘God created light then divided it from the darkness’. Moses writes of the state of the Earth in chaos and disorder and darkness covered the deep, while God’s Spirit moved over the waters. Many questions may be asked about this state and condition of the world, but as with many other things we are not told. Now, Moses could have been like Ingersoll and those critics like him, and told us all kinds myths and stories to laugh about, but he was not so foolish. But Bob is eager to teach us Science and Basic Physics, explaining Moses belief or doctrine of ‘darkness’ as ‘a thing, an entity, a material’. Bob imagines what he thinks Moses imagined about Light and Darkness, and instead of turning his memory and eyes back to the Text he wanders off into his own imagination and thus makes obvious Mistakes. The entity that Genesis is focused on is the Sun as the Light. This Light was not here created but called forth, called out of the darkness. He called and named the Light Day, and the Darkness Night. Day and Night made a whole Day, Day One. Later we are told that the Light was the Sun or the Greater Light which rules the Day in which it shines and heats.
Genesis speaks to us as children, simple and easy to understand; Bob wants to turn it into Science, Natural History, Cosmology, Geology, Astronomy, and Biology. But such a Book would be useless to man in divine things, and would not increase faith at all. Modern Physics since Einstein has overturned and outdated and updated Newtonian Physics, as Aristotle and Plato were earlier revised and retired. Quantum Physics and those who understand it, which excludes me, make the true false and the apparent not real, and a hosts of other things beyond common folks, and definitely not for children. God through Moses in Genesis instructs us that the things that we see and hear, the things that are, are all from Him as the Maker of them all. The names He gives them, Light and Darkness, Day and Night, are creations not mere entities, they are divine things and not divine beings, that the only Entity or Being is God Who creates and controls the universe of all creation and nature. Not only did He know the ‘Mode of Motion’, but made it and its function, to rule, to light and heat, and to divide and separate. And we are still ever learning of His wonders. No Mistakes here.
Ingersoll on Moses’ Bible Mistakes continued:
1. “We are next [Day 2] informed by Moses that ” God said Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters ; ” and that ” God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament.”
What did the writer mean by the word firmament? Theologians now tell us that he meant an ” expanse.” This will not do. How could an expanse divide the waters from the waters, so that· the waters above the expanse would not fall into and mingle with the waters below the expanse ? The truth is that Moses regarded the firmament as a solid affair. It was where God lived, and where water was kept. It was for this reason that they used to pray for rain. They supposed that some angel could with a lever raise a gate and let out the quantity of moisture desired……Nothing is clearer than that Moses regarded the firmament as a vast material division that separated the waters of the world, and upon whose floor God lived, surrounded by his sons. In no other way could he account for rain. Where did the water come from? He knew nothing about the laws of evaporation. He did not know that the sun wooed with amorous kisses the waves of the sea, and that they, clad in glorified mist rising to meet their lover, were, by disappointment, changed to tears and fell as rain.”
2. [Day3]……”Certainly the writer of this did not have any conception of the real form of the earth. He could not have known anything of the attraction of gravitation. He must have regarded the earth as flat and supposed that it required considerable force and power to induce the water to leave the mountains and collect in the valleys. Just as soon as the water was forced to run down hill, the dry land appeared, and the grass began to grow, and the mantles of green were thrown over the shoulders of the hills, and the trees laughed into bud and blossom, and the branches were laden with fruit. And all this happened before a ray had left the quiver of the sun, before a glittering beam had thrilled the bosom of a flower, and before the Dawn with trembling hands had drawn aside the curtains of the East and welcomed to her arms the eager god of Day. It does not seem to me that grass and trees could grow and ripen into seed and fruit without the sun. According to the account, this all happened on the third day. Now, if, as the christians say, Moses did not mean by the word day a period of twenty-four hours, but an immense and almost measureless space of time, and as God did not, according to this view make any animals until the fifth day, that is, not for millions of years after he made the grass and trees, for what purpose did he cause the trees to…..Plenty of grass, a great variety of herbs, an abundance of fruit, but not a mouth in all the world. If Moses is right, this state of things lasted· only two days; but if the modern theologians are correct, it continued for millions of ages……It may be that I am led to these conclusions by “total depravity,” or that I lack the necessary humility of spirit to satisfactorily harmonize Haeckel and Moses ; or that I am carried away by pride, blinded by reason, given over to hardness of heart that I might be damned, but I never can believe that the earth was covered with leaves, and buds, and flowers, and fruits before the sun with glittering spear had driven back the hosts of Night.”
3. [Day 4]…..”Moses supposed the sun to be about three or four feet in diameter and the moon about half that size. Compared with the earth they were but simple specks. This idea seems to have been shared by all the “inspired” men. We find in the book of Joshua that the sun stood still, and the moon stayed until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. “So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.” We are told that the sacred writer wrote in common speech as we do when we talk about the rising and setting of the sun, and that all he intended to say was that the earth ceased to turn on its axis “for” about a whole day.” …….Some endeavor to account for the phenomenon by natural causes, while others attempt to show that God could, by the refraction of light have made the sun visible although actually shining on the opposite side of the earth…..If this is true, and if as the bible tells us, the stars were made after the earth, then this world has been wheeling in its orbit for at least five million years. It may be replied that it was not the intention of God to teach geology and astronomy. Then why did he say anything upon these subjects? and if he did say anything, why did he· not give the facts? According to the sacred records God created, on the first day, the heaven and the earth,” moved upon the face of the waters,” and made the light. On the second day he made the firmament or the “expanse” and divided the waters. On the third day he gathered the waters into seas, let the dry land appear and caused the earth to bring forth grass, herbs and fruit trees, and on the fourth day he made the sun, moon and stars and set them in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth. This division of labor is very striking. The work of the other days is as nothing when compared with that of the fourth. Is it possible that it required the same time and labor to make the grass, herbs and fruit trees, that it did to fill with countless constellations the infinite expanse of space?”
MJM response Ingersoll:
1. Bob charges Moses and his translators as well the theologians and Jews and Christians for several thousand years of a ignorant mistake of the conception of heaven as a ‘solid floor which could be opened or closed’ to water the earth or to withhold and retain the waters’. He thinks that the modern theologians have turned the the rendering ‘expanse’ to satify the science of the times. But here also Bob is mistaken in several points. (A) The OED gives the etymology of ‘firmament’ thus: “firmament (n.) Look up firmament at Dictionary.com mid-13c., from Old French firmament or directly from Latin firmamentum “firmament,” literally “a support, a strengthening,” from firmus “strong, steadfast, enduring” (see firm (adj.)). Used in Late Latin in the Vulgate to translate Greek [LXX] stereoma “firm or solid structure,” which translated Hebrew raqia, a word used of both the vault of the sky and the floor of the earth in the Old Testament, probably literally “expanse,” from raqa “to spread out,” but in Syriac meaning “to make firm or solid,” hence the erroneous translation. Related: Firmamental.” And Bing search easily gives for ‘raqia’: “The Hebrew word raqia is usually translated “expanse” or “firmament.” When it is directly followed by “of the heavens” it means atmosphere, sky, outer space, or heaven. However, when raqia stands alone, it means the earth’s crust.” (B) The AKJV of 1611, the English Bible used by Bob and all Protestants in America in the 18th-19th century has in the original margin the translators note at verse 6 : “firmament: Heb. expansion”, telling the reader that the literal meaning is ‘expanse’, thus making ‘firmament’ the traditional or alternative rendering. I need not tell the reader that ‘expanse’ is space expanded, what spreads out and beyond; like Bob needed to expand his notion of the Hebrew ‘firmament’. (C) Bob has missed the item of the creation of ‘waters’ (mayim) before Day 2, for it was there in verse 2, along with the heavens (shamayim), earth, God’s Spirit (Ruach Elohim, God’s Wind), darkness, and the deep or depths. A description of a Earth in ruin, covered by darkness and waters, so that no dry land was visible. (D) Bob mistakes the ‘firmament-expanse’ as the floor or ground or ceiling, when Moses describes a space and sphere which was to come between the waters, making a separation, division, extension, and expansion of the waters into some under and some above. This Firmament-Expanse (Raqia from Raqa) He then named or called Heaven (shamay-im=heaven-s). Thus we arrive at Moses’ notion of what the ‘firmament-expanse’ means, namely the heavens, the skies, the space and sphere that separates the oceans and seas of the earth from outer space, and all the spheres of science: geosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere; and we must expand or firm static solid concrete notions and ideas of the space and spheres to the infinite ‘void’ between all celestial bodies; which to us ordinary unscientific folks appear empty and emptiness or nothingness.
2. Bob next mistakenly charges Moses with another scientific mistake. He thinks Genesis depicts on the 3rd Day that after the waters (bodies of waters of oceans, Seas, lakes, rivers, etc.) were gathered, collected, receded, distributed, drained, and such like; and after the dry land (Earth) appeared visible that there was no sunshine or daylight because he has hardened his thinking of the Sun and Moon and Stars were not created till Day 4. This is a scientifically silly idea and doctrine that Genesis never teaches. Verse One and Two has the Heavens and the Earth, with Spirit-Wind and waters, darkness, and the deep covered (land submerged and buried); then Day 1 Light is separated from Darkness, and sunshine and daylight functions and is regulated. All this before Day 4. Again, Bob is mistaken about Genesis use of Day as merely 24 hours (we will explore this at Day 4), and that God created and made the infinite details and varieties of creation and nature in solar and lunar days. God of course can do all things and anything speaking humanly; except humanly speaking Scripture qualifies that He cannot lie, and by extension and expansion of reason He cannot and will not do certain things; but we are straying from the argument. Of course there was daily sunshine, daylight, heat, for His miracle of creation, restoration, and evolution (in the sense of development and production and perfection). The Seeds of Life always needs Light, and God likes to shine lots of light everyday and night. Bob is mistaken as usual.
3. Bob is funny, and sometimes silly, and many times creative and subtle. After listening to some 40 Lectures and 15 Interviews of Bob repeating over and over again and again his same points and facts to disprove the Bible and Christianity and Religion, I find myself able not to take him too seriously as a scientist and philosopher, thus I am able to enjoy his esthetic rhetoric, and professional oratorical performance, as quite entertaining and provocative; of course the joke on Christians. But the truth of the facts of Genesis Day 4 is this: God made (not created) the Lights of the Firmament-Expanse of the Heaven to divide or separate between the Day and Night (as in Day 1), and to be for Signs, Seasons, Days, and Years: to give light (and thus heat) on the earth; to rule the day and night, and separate the light from darkness; and the Stars also (the translators in italics added “made”, which is not needed). Beautiful non-scientific but accurate story. The Sun, Moon, and Stars are already created in the Beginning before Day 1, now in Day 4 He makes the function and regulates them to regulate the Earth; thus Genesis uses the expression “and God set them in the Firmament of the Heaven ” so that we might not make the mistake of carelessly reading and interpreting the 4th Day in a scientific manner. He appointed the Celestial Bodies for the instruction of Israel and mankind, in the way they have functioned from then to now. No mistakes here.
Now as to the use of the word Day (yom), it is explained clearly in the Text, and easy to understand. It is Day generally of 24 hours in the Middle East; but if Moses was at the North Pole in the Summer it would be sunlight all day long (the Midnight Sun), and in the Winter only darkness; and in the South Pole a day may last six months or almost a year. Day is measured in moments of time dictated or governed by the Celestial Bodies, and science teaches us that it is produced naturally by the earth revolving around the Sun and the Moon orbiting the Earth, and the Sun moving in the Solar System in the Galaxies, and so on. Now Genesis speaks of the 7 Seven Days of Creation, then in 2:4: “These [are] the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens”; then in 5:1-2, referring to the Sixth Day of Creation it speaks of Adam’s Generations “in the Day God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.” These expressions are literal but not scientific nor metaphorical; they are Mosaic, Biblical, and Divine. We must not interpret Scripture in such a way to impose on it are modern notions or private ideas, including those in its defense; nor should we offend by holding on to silly ideas and views that all men know to be unreasonable and funny. Genesis is not a science textbook, or natural physics, so when we read Joshua 10:13: “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. [Is] not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.” We may not interpret the Text by science, then deny God’s power and act, then reject Scripture as myth. We do not know how He chose to do what He did; we do not know what is meant by the Book of Jasher; we may not clearly ever know on this side of that day to come. We do know that the daylight and sunlight gave Joshua the extra time to battle and win. If we believe or reject this is all together another matter. We must not exaggerate the problem or issue, nor should we speak in such away to trouble others with absurdities of conforming Bible to science.