Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Entities Who Can't Sin

From the Errancy Discussion list, 2-14-99:
The standard argument is that man was given free will, which enabled him to "fall," because without this thing called "free will," humans would have been automatons. Our response to this has been to call attention to the biblical claim that God's nature is such that he cannot do anything that is contrary to objective or absolute morality and then to point out that if it is the case that God cannot do anything contrary to objective morality but is nevertheless an entity that has freedom to choose, then the existence of morally perfect entities that have free will is possible. Why then did God not create humans with this kind of nature? 

Farrell Till

[And I might add, since it is allegedly this God's will that none perish, I Timothy 2:3-4, he would had to have created man like himself, with free will and the inability to sin--but according to other scriptures he didn't create man this way at all, in fact, the Bible teaches that he created man in such a way that MOST would perish, Matt 7:13-14, thus creating the most egregious contradiction in the Bible and relegating the Bible to nothing more than a work of man. KWH]


Friday, March 17, 2017

Pagan Origins Of The Resurrection

From *The Skeptical Review*, Nov/Dec 2001:

by Farrell Till 
I was reluctant to publish an article whose endnotes required an entire page, but the subject of Mark McFall's article is one that skeptics should have some familiarity with in order to understand that many claims about the uniqueness of Christianity are without foundation. The title of McFall's article, when considered in the context of some of his footnotes, betrays the fact that he seemed more interested in catching me in a mistake than in defending his apparent belief that the New Testament doctrine of the bodily resurrection of Jesus was unique. Instead of just discussing the Egyptian myths of Osiris with a view to showing that they did not claim that he had risen bodily from the dead, McFall chose instead to write from the perspective of "The Resurrection of Osiris According to Farrell Till." I was left wondering what he thought he would have accomplished if he had proven that I was dead wrong and that Egyptian mythology had not taught that Osiris was resurrected bodily. Would McFall have then thought that because he had shown Farrell Till to be wrong, he had established that the claim that Jesus had risen bodily from the dead was a unique religious doctrine?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What Third-Day-Resurrection Prophecy?

The New Testament claims in two places, 1 Cor 15:3-4and Luke 24:45-46, that it was prophesied in the Old Testament that the Messiah would rise from the dead the third day. But no such scripture can be found in the OT. From the Errancy Discussion list, 1-8-98:
Hello Mr. Till,
I'm am enjoying reading your article about "Prophecies: Imaginary and 

Unfulfilled."  I find one of your points a little puzzling though.

" In two different places, then, New Testament writers claimed that the 

resurrection of the Messiah on the third day had been predicted in the 

scriptures. Try as they may, however, bibliolaters cannot produce an Old 

Testament passage that made this alleged third-day prediction. It simply 

doesn't exist."

Didn't Jesus supposedly indicate this referred to Jonah?

Mat 12:40  For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of 

a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in 

the heart of the earth.

Jonah 1:17

Doesn't this fit the criteria for a third day resurrection?

TILL
No, it doesn't.  Your mistake is in assuming that because the writer of
Matthew SAID that Jesus SAID what you have quoted above, this has to mean
that the writer of Jonah meant for the story of Jonah and the "great fish"
to be a prophecy of the third-day resurrection of the Messiah, but that is a
very flawed interpretation method.  The writer of Jonah meant what he meant,
and what someone living centuries later may have thought that he meant would
in no way affect the meaning of what was originally intended.  No matter how
much you may analyze the story of Jonah and the great fish, you will find nothing
in the text that even remotely suggests that the writer intended this to be
understood as a figurative prophecy of a distant resurrection.  So if there
is nothing at all in this story even to remotely imply that it was a
resurrection prophecy, it doesn't matter what application of the story was
made by someone who lived centuries later.

I have serious doubts about the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth, but for
the sake of argument, I will concede both that he existed and that he made
the statement in Matthew 12:40.  This would mean nothing more than that
Jesus used the story of Jonah as a basis for a simile.  I don't suppose you
would be willing to argue that the application of a simile to a historical
event would make the historical event a "prophecy," would you?  If so, let
me know, and I will show you how that just about any event claimed in the OT
could be made into a figurative prophecy.

My position remains the same.  Jesus said that it had been written that the
Christ would suffer and rise from the dead the third day.  He had to be
referring to the OT scriptures when he made this statement (if he did),
because no other scriptures existed at the time.  So if this statement was a
true statement, I'd like for someone to show me where it was written that
the Messiah would rise from the dead on the third day.  I'd like for someone
to show me where it was written even in the story of Jonah that the Messiah
would rise from the dead the third day.  It isn't there.  No such prophecy
existed.

Farrell Till

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

"Proofs" For The Bible

From the Errancy Discussion list, 6-29-97:

TILL
Yet, another Christian with his prophecy fulfillment claims.

ROB
There are many religious books in the world that have many good things to
say. But only the Bible has fulfilled prophecies-with more fulfillments
still to come. The Bible has _never been wrong_ in the past, and it won't
be wrong in the future. It does not even abrogate itself. 


TILL
The Bible has _never been wrong_ in the past? What planet has this 

guy been living on? I'll cite just one example of many prophecy failures 
in the Bible. Ezekiel prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar would destroy 
Egypt and that it would lay waste for 40 years, but this never happened.

Ezekiel 29:1 In the tenth year, in the tenth month, on the twelfth day of
the month, the word of Yahweh came to me:
2 Mortal, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy
against him and against all Egypt;
3 speak, and say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: I am against you, Pharaoh
king of Egypt, the great dragon sprawling in the midst of its channels,
saying, "My Nile is my own; I made it for myself."
4 I will put hooks in your jaws, and make the fish of your channels stick
to your scales. I will draw you up from your channels, with all the fish of
your channels sticking to your scales.
5 I will fling you into the wilderness, you and all the fish of your
channels; you shall fall in the open field, and not be gathered and buried.
To the animals of the earth and to the birds of the air I have given you as
food.
6 Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am Yahweh because
you were a staff of reed to the house of Israel;
7 when they grasped you with the hand, you broke, and tore all their
shoulders; and when they leaned on you, you broke, and made all their legs
unsteady.
8 Therefore, thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will bring a sword upon 

you, and will cut off from you human being and animal;
9 and the land of Egypt shall be a desolation and a waste. Then they shall
know that I am Yahweh. Because you said, "The Nile is mine, and I made it,"
10 therefore, I am against you, and against your channels, and I will make
the land of Egypt an utter waste and desolation, from Migdol to Syene, as
far as the border of Ethiopia.
11 No human foot shall pass through it, and no animal foot shall pass
through it; it shall be uninhabited forty years.


Notice that the prophecy is very specific in stating that Egypt would be "an
utter waste and desolation, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of
Ethiopia." Ethiopia was on the southern border of Egypt, and Migdol was in
the northern delta of the Nile. Hence, the prediction was that the country
would be laid waste from its northern border to its southern border. The
next verse says that no human foot or animal foot would pass through it for
40 years. Perhaps "Rob" would be so kind as to cite the evidence that any
such thing as this ever happened to Egypt. Some inerrantists try to claim
that this is a prophecy that will be fulfilled at a future date, but the
prophecy was specifically addressed to Pharaoh king of Egypt, and the rule
of the pharaohs ended long ago. Furthermore, as the verses below show, the
prophecy made Nebuchadnezzar Yahweh's instrument of vengeance against 

Egypt, and Nebuchadnezzar has been dead for 25 centuries.

Ezekiel 29: 12 I will make the land of Egypt a desolation among desolated
countries; and her cities shall be a desolation forty years among cities
that are laid waste. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and
disperse them among the countries.
13 Further, thus says the Lord Yahweh: At the end of forty years I will
gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered;
14 and I will restore the fortunes of Egypt, and bring them back to the
land of Pathros, the land of their origin; and there they shall be a lowly
kingdom.
15 It shall be the most lowly of the kingdoms, and never again exalt
itself above the nations; and I will make them so small that they will never
again rule over the nations.
16 The Egyptians shall never again be the reliance of the house of Israel;
they will recall their iniquity, when they turned to them for aid. Then they
shall know that I am the Lord Yahweh.
17 In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the
month, the word of Yahweh came to me:
18 Mortal, King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon made his army labor hard 

against Tyre; every head was made bald and every shoulder was rubbed 
bare; yet neither he nor his army got anything from Tyre to pay for the 
labor that he had expended against it.
19 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will give the land of Egypt to
King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon; and he shall carry off its wealth and
despoil it and plunder it; and it shall be the wages for his army.
20 I have given him the land of Egypt as his payment for which he 

labored, because they worked for me, says the Lord Yahweh.
21 On that day I will cause a horn to sprout up for the house of Israel,
and I will open your lips among them. Then they shall know that I am 

Yahweh.

The tirade against Egypt continued on into the next chapter. An analysis of
the chapter would show other specific details in the prophecy that were
never fulfilled, but these are enough to establish that this is a clear
example of a prophecy failure.


As time allows, I will address "Rob's" other prophecy claims in later
postings. Meanwhile, perhaps he would like to explain to us when 

Ezekiel's prophecy against Egypt was fulfilled.

Farrell Till

Monday, March 13, 2017

Do We Have A Deal? I Didn't Think So

Does "God" want people like Farrell Till and me saved 
or not? It seems like "God" would value skepticism in 
regards to outlandish claims that are contrary to all of 
our experiences over rank gullibility. I think I know my 
own mind and I know what it would take to convince 
me of Yahweh's existence. And if I know what it would 
take then certainly Yahweh, if he's really "God", would  
know too. So what is he waiting on, he allegedly doesn't 
want me to be lost, I Timothy 2:3-4? Well, I think we all 
know the answer to that question, don't we?

From the Errancy Discussion list, 8-10-96:


PATRICK
And the sovereign God of the universe can perform to satisfy
your petty ratiocination. And would you be convinced?

TILL
Why shouldn't the "sovereign God of the universe" perform to 
satisfy my petty ratiocinations? He didn't seem to mind 
performing for the petty ratiocinations of others. Have you 
ever read the following story from the "inspired, inerrant 
word of God"?

Judges 6:11 Now the angel of Yahweh came and sat under the
oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, as his 
son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press, to hide it 
from the Midianites.
12 The angel of Yahweh appeared to him and said to him,
"Yahweh is with you, you mighty warrior."
13 Gideon answered him, "But sir, if Yahweh is with us, why then
has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds 
that our ancestors recounted to us, saying, 'Did not Yahweh bring 
us up from Egypt?' But now Yahweh has cast us off, and given us 
into the hand of Midian."
14 Then Yahweh turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours
and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian; I hereby commission 
you."
15 He responded, "But sir, how can I deliver Israel? My clan is the
weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family."
16 Yahweh said to him, "But I will be with you, and you shall strike
down the Midianites, every one of them."
17 Then he said to him, "If now I have found favor with you, then 
SHOW ME A SIGN that it is you who speak with me.
18 Do not depart from here until I come to you, and bring out my
present, and set it before you." And he said, "I will stay until you 
return."
19 So Gideon went into his house and prepared a kid, and
unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour; the meat he put 
in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them 
to him under the oak and presented them.
20 The angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and the
unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour out 
the broth." And he did so.
21 Then the angel of Yahweh reached out the tip of the staff that
was in his hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes; 
and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the 
unleavened cakes; and the angel of Yahweh vanished from his 
sight.
22 Then Gideon perceived that it was the angel of Yahweh; and
Gideon said, "Help me, Lord GOD! For I have seen the angel of 
Yahweh face to face."
23 But Yahweh said to him, "Peace be to you; do not fear, you
shall not die."
24 Then Gideon built an altar there to Yahweh, and called it, Yahweh
is peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the 
Abiezrites.
25 That night Yahweh said to him, "Take your father's bull, the
second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that 
belongs to your father, and cut down the sacred pole that is beside 
it;
26 and build an altar to Yahweh your God on the top of the
stronghold here, in proper order; then take the second bull, 
and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the sacred pole 
that you shall cut down."
27 So Gideon took ten of his servants, and did as Yahweh
had told him; but because he was too afraid of his family and 
the townspeople to do it by day, he did it by night.
28 When the townspeople rose early in the morning, the altar of
Baal was broken down, and the sacred pole beside it was cut 
down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been 
built.
29 So they said to one another, "Who has done this?" After
searching and inquiring, they were told, "Gideon son of Joash 
did it."
30 Then the townspeople said to Joash, "Bring out your son, so
that he may die, for he has pulled down the altar of Baal and cut 
down the sacred pole beside it."
31 But Joash said to all who were arrayed against him, "Will you
contend for Baal? Or will you defend his cause? Whoever contends 
for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him 
contend for himself, because his altar has been pulled down."
32 Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to
say, "Let Baal contend against him," because he pulled down his 
altar.


So your god Yahoo didn't seem to mind at all giving Gideon sign 
after sign to prove to him that he was dealing directly with "the 
sovereign God of the universe," so why won't he do the same 
for me, Patty? Am I not as important as Gideon? After all, the 
Bible says that God is no respecter of persons. Did he care 
more for Gideon than me?

But wait the story of Gideon isn't over.

33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of
the east came together, and crossing the Jordan they encamped in 
the Valley of Jezreel.
34 But the spirit of Yahweh took possession of Gideon; and he
sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow 
him.
35 He sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they
too were called out to follow him. He also sent messengers 
to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they went up to meet them.
36 Then Gideon said to God, "IN ORDER TO SEE whether you
will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have said,
37 I am going to lay a fleece of wool on the threshing floor;
if there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, 
then I shall know that you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you 
have said."
38 And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed
the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with 
water.
39 Then Gideon said to God, "Do not let your anger burn against
me, let me speak one more time; let me, please, MAKE TRIAL 
WITH THE FLEECE just once more; let it be dry only on the fleece, 
and on all the ground let there be dew."
40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, and on
all the ground there was dew.

So I'll make a deal with the "sovereign God of the universe," Patty. 
If he will treat me with the same consideration that he showed 
Gideon, I'll believe in him. The next time you're chatting with 
him, pass that word along.

PATRICK 
I doubt it. I am minded of your fellow naturalist Emile Zola, who
upon witnessing the cure of a Lupus victim at Lourdes, said "If 
all the sick at Lourdes were cured, I would still not believe in a 
miracle." (I may be paraphrasing -- I'm at work and don't have 
the book in question).

TILL
Well, I'm not familiar with the incident that you referred to, but I 
don't understand how Zola could have known, without extensive 
medical examinations, that this lupus victim had been cured. It 
so happens, however, that I visited Lourdes back in the 50's 
when I was working as a missionary in France. There is a grotto 
(or at least there was at that time) where relics of previous 
handicaps had supposedly been left behind by those who were 
"cured." I saw crutches, walking canes, braces, wheel chairs, 
and such like but not a single artificial limb. I'll make a deal 
with your god. I'll go to Lourdes and take with me a personal 
acquaintance whom I know to have only one arm. If your god 
will restore his amputated arm, I will immediately close down 
all of my work on behalf of Skepticism, Inc., and return to 
missionary work on his behalf. If my friend returns home with 
just one arm, you will reimburse me for all of the travel expenses 
I incurred.

Do we have a deal? Of course, we don't, because not even you are
stupid enough to accept a challenge like this, because you well 
know that no miracle like this is ever going to happen.

PATRICK
Do you not see the problem with expecting God to be your dancing
clown?

TILL
No, I don't see any problem. He allegedly danced for Gideon and 
other biblical characters, so why can't he dance for me? After all, 
the Bible is correct in saying that he is no respecter of persons, 
isn't it?

Did your god care more for Gideon than he cares for me?


Farrell Till




Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Responsibility, What Is Yahweh's Policy?

by Kenneth W. Hawthorne

Dave Matson asks the question concerning the god of the Bible, Does God Need Praise and Glory?. The Bible clearly teaches that this god wants but doesn't need praise and glory. The men who wrote the Bible wrote themselves into a corner on this one. You see they describe this god as perfect and complete, therefore needing nothing. So these authors of the Bible have him only wanting praise and glory. But even if there are other alleged reasons why he created man, creating man was not something that he needed.

The Bible's authors claim that their god is all-knowing (plus all-powerful, all-loving, all-wise, perfect and complete and a few more I'm probably leaving out). And sure enough in Mt 7:13-14, they claim he knew that the majority of his beloved(?) humans would wind up in his eternal hell. Oops! So the Bible's hapless authors in their attempt to make their god-creation omni-everything, plus have the ultimate in punishment to scare people into their new religion, went too far. They have their all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, all-wise, perfect and complete  etc., god-creation willing for billions of his allegedly beloved humans to suffer unspeakable horrors in his eternal hell for something he only wanted but didn't need.

Then they have the absolute gall to claim this god loved his human creation so much that he sent his son to be crucified (bloodshed, injustice, pain and murder are around this god like flies on feces) to keep man from going to hell when he knew all along this "wonderful, loving sacrifice" would "save" only a comparative handful. If this sordid tale were true it would be more of an obligation on the part of this god for putting this flawed creation in such a precarious situation to begin with. This is no description of a God of love much less an all-loving God. This is a description of a infinitely terrible fiend. And what kind of an example is this god setting for humans concerning responsibility? The average human is much more responsible than this--being responsible. Every day millions of people choose to do the right thing. It is inconceivable that allowing billions of sentient humans to be tortured for eternity is the right thing. Responsibility, what is Yahweh's policy? His policy is infinite irresponsibility.

The Bible has the Creator allegedly acting in an infinitely horrible, irresponsible manner that no rational, loving human would ever be guilty of. Therefore, the god of the Bible cannot be anything but pure fiction.