Saturday, October 14, 2017

No Contradictions In The Bible?


From Alt.Bible.Errancy, August 2, 1998:

"Paul Russell" <prussell@...> wrote:
I just joined the news group and I see where people 

are so uninformed about the word of GOD. The bible 
never counterdicts itself, it's just you don't understand 
it.

CREA
OK, Paul, if "[t]he bible never counterdicts [sic] itself", as 

you assert, would you please be so kind as to tell us where 
King Josiah died?

At 2 Kings 23:29-30, we are told that he died at 

Megiddo and he was carried from there DEAD in a 
chariot to Jerusalem (where he was buried), but over 
at 2 Chronicles 35:23-24we are told instead that he 
was grievously wounded at Megiddo and carried ALIVE 
from there in a chariot to Jerusalem, where he died 
and was buried. This appears to be a contradiction to 
this poor old country-boy...

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Was The Amalekite Massacre A Moral Atrocity?

It's just hard for me to believe that the average Christian sitting in a pew on Sunday morning knows anything about the following little story in the Old Testament. At least I hope not. How could they know about such and still believe their god, Yahweh, is a God of love--and actually continue to worship such an animal? From *The Skeptical Review*, 1994 / January-February:

by Farrell Till
The story of the Israelite massacre of the Amalekite nation is recorded in 1 Samuel 15 . The facts of the case, as claimed in this chapter, are these: Yahweh sent the prophet Samuel to command Saul, the first king of Israel, to "go and smite Amalek" and to " utterly destroy all that they have and spare them not" (v:3 ); the command explicitly stated that Saul was to kill "both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass" (same verse). According to the story, Saul took "two hundred thousand footmen and ten thousand men of Judah" (v:4 ) against the Amalekites and "utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword" (v:7 ), except for Agag their king, whom he kept alive to take back as a prisoner. This act of mercy, of course, was a clear violation of Yahweh's instructions, which were to kill everyone and spare no one. In addition to this act of disobedience, Saul also kept alive "the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them" (v:9 ).

Friday, September 29, 2017

Yahweh, The God Of Gods


From *The Skeptical Review*, 1991 / July-September:

by Farrell Till
Many Bible fundamentalists believe that while the nations around them wallowed in the mire of polytheism the Hebrews practiced a strict monotheistic religion. Their insight into the nature of the one true God Yahweh had resulted, of course, from the personal relationships that Abraham and the other Hebrew patriarchs had experienced with Yahweh, who had routinely revealed himself to them in dreams, apparitions, and other manifestations. It makes good sermon material, but there's just one thing wrong with it. It isn't true.

The early Hebrews believed in polytheism as much as the nations around them. They thought of Chemosh, Molech, Milcom, Baal, Dagon, and the other pagan gods as deities who were just as real as their own god Yahweh. They just thought that Yahweh was greater and mightier than the others, a sort of supergod or, in other words, the God of gods (Josh. 22:22). Monotheism or the belief that Yahweh was the only God was a late development in Jewish theology.

The evidence for this is too clear to dispute. There is, first of all, the peculiar fact that the Hebrews, when not referring to him by his personal name Yahweh, generally used a plural word (elohim) to designate their god. Literally, it meant gods rather than god. In the original Hebrew, therefore, Genesis 1:1 is actually saying, "In the beginning gods created the heavens and the earth." It seems strange that a people with a clear concept of monotheism, as bibliolaters claim that the Hebrews had, would have used a plural word in referring to the one and only true god. It would be somewhat like an English writer using men to refer to a man.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How Did David Kill Goliath?


Did David kill the giant, Goliath, with a sling 
and stone or with a sword? From the Topica Discussion list, 8 Feb. 2002:

Re: David and Goliath revisited Feb 08, 2002 

GEISIK
Greetings all.

(NRSV)
1 Samuel 17
49 David put his hand in his bag, took out a stone, slung it, 

and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into 
his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone,
striking down the Philistine and killing him; there was no sword in
David's hand.

GEISIK
Pretty clear, right? The standard yarn about David killing him with 

the stone. Well, perhaps Goliath was resurrected because we next 
read:

(NRSV)
1 Samuel 17:51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine; 

he grasped his sword, drew it out of its sheath, and killed him; 
then he cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that 
their champion was dead, they fled.

TILL
The OT is filled with examples of vague pronoun-antecedent 

references, and this could be one of them. The sentence that 
seems to say that David had a sword, which he drew to kill 
Goliath, could have meant this: "He [David] grasped his 
[Goliath's] sword, drew it out of its sheath, and killed him."

If this is what the writer meant, it would still be a mistake in 
my opinion, because I would think that a writer inspired by 
an omniscient, omnipotent deity should have been able to 
write with more clarity than that.

GEISIK
In any case, it does not answer my questions. Exactly how 

did David kill Goliath, stone or sword. 

TILL
Well, you should know that if "dead" didn't always mean dead, 

then "kill" wouldn't always mean kill.

Farrell Till

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Another Flaw in the Perfect-Harmony Theory


From *The Skeptical Review*, 1994 / May-June:

by Farrell Till
Inerrantists boast that the Bible possesses a thematic unity so amazing that it can be explained only on the basis of divine inspiration, but the facts do not support this claim. As we have noted in past issues, the biblical writers, like the theologians of all ages, often disagreed in important doctrinal matters. One such disagreement concerned Yahweh's willingness to forego promised vengeance when evil-doers turned away from their wickedness.

The prophet Jeremiah taught that when Yahweh pronounced punishment upon a nation for its sins, the judgment wasn't necessarily final, for if the nation repented and turned from its evil, Yahweh would relent:

Then the word of Yahweh came to me, saying... "The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it" (Jer. 18:5-8, NKJV with Yahweh substituted for the LORD).

Thursday, September 14, 2017

New Testament Prophecy Failures


The following is an excerpt from "Prophecies: Imaginary and Unfulfilled"by Farrell Till:


NEW TESTAMENT FAILURES


Except for the book of Revelation, the New Testament isn't considered as prophetic as the Old Testament; nevertheless, one can still find examples of unfulfilled prophecies and broken promises in the New Testament.

All twelve apostles to be rewarded: When Peter asked Jesus what reward the apostles could expect for forsaking all to follow him Jesus said, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matt. 19:28). A lot of theological rhetoric has been expended on the meaning of "the regeneration." Did Jesus refer to the church era that began on the day of Pentecost when he would sit on the "spiritual" throne of David or did he have in mind a period that would follow his second coming? Regardless of the time period he was referring to, the passage poses a problem. How, for example, could Judas, who was one of the twelve at the time this was said, ever be permitted to sit on a throne in a judge's capacity? In another gospel account, Jesus himself called Judas the son of perdition (John 17:12). So will the "son of perdition" be awarded a throne to sit on during the regeneration? That hardly seems possible, because Jesus said at the last supper that it would have been better for Judas if he had not been born (Mark 14: 21). If he should be awarded a throne in Jesus's kingdom that would make this statement false, wouldn't it? How could it, in any sense, be said of a man elevated to such a position as this that it would have been better for him if he had never been born? Some Bible apologists argue that Jesus, omnisciently knowing that Matthias would be chosen to succeed Judas (Acts 1:23-26), said twelve thrones instead of eleven because of his intention to keep his apostolic crew in full force. If that is so, one might argue that he, omnisciently knowing that Saul of Tarsus would later be called into the apostleship as "one born out of due time" (1 Cor. 15:8), would have been more exact had he said thirteen thrones rather than twelve. Others insist that the number twelve should not be interpreted so literally, that this is just a case of the figure of speech known as ampliatio, the retention of a name or designation after the reason for the original designation has ceased to exist. In counterargument, however, the opposition has every right to ask if there will ever be an end to figurative and spiritual interpretations of scriptures that pose serious problems for the inerrancy doctrine. There were twelve apostles present when Jesus made this prophecy, so why should we not believe that he meant twelve?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"When You Lack Evidence..."

by Carl Lofmark
When you lack evidence, the only way to decide whether or not to believe something is to ask: Is it likely? If you tell me a bird flew past my window, I will probably believe you, even though I did not see it myself and I have no evidence. That is because such a thing is likely. I have seen it happen before. It is more likely that a bird flew past my window, than that you are deceiving me. But if you tell me a pig flew past my window, I will not believe you, because my past experience tells me that such things do not happen, and so I presume that what you reported is false. Thus, where there is no evidence we have to rely on our own past experience of the sort of things that really happen (What Is the Bible? pp. 41-42).