Monday, May 19, 2008

'Sin tax' misses the biggies

Gov. Easley is calling for an increase in the "sin tax" -- the common term for taxes levied on items viewed as personal vices.

When I first ran across that term, I wasn't sure what it meant but was very curious about how it would be enforced. Surely sins were committed not just in our deeds but in our thoughts, in our attitudes toward others, in our insistence on personal comfort rather than the common good.

How can you tax hatred or greed or jealousy or laziness? Wouldn't you need to tax good actions left undone as well as the evil actions we take? And who gets to decide what a sin is, anyway?

It was almost a letdown to find out that a "sin tax" was nothing more than a few pennies added to the cost of a pack of cigarettes or bottle of booze. What a cheapening of the word "sin"!

These days, the common view of sin is remarkably physical in nature: It is whatever offends our sense of propriety or damages our health. So we focus on personal vices like smoking and drinking, or on variations from the sexual norm. There's much less attention paid to the ways in which we, individually and collectively, degrade other people, destroy the earth and turn away from the suffering of others.

But it's easy to collect a tax at the grocery store check-out line. It's impossible to levy a tax every time you change the channel because you can't stand to see another report about the thousands who died in China or Myanmar. But which do you really think pains God more, your neighbor's beer or your callousness?

131 comments:

Gamecock said...

Jane, you never cease to amaze me with your wisdom and your prescient hand on the pulse of America and North Carolina.

I wrote a column on this for one of my websites (see link below), but your blog raises profound questions that I didn't think of.

more later (and I am still working on a comprehensive response to the evangelical manifesto)

http://www.redstate.com/blogs/gamecock/2008/may/18/mecklenburg_declaration_ii_needed_against_sinful_democrat_tar_heel_taxers

Gamecock said...

My main point in my blog was how these "taxes" inordinately impact lower income families. Secondary point that I direct at my conservative republicans that, rightly, eschew class warfare/envy politics is that is OK to market the fact that non-class envy policies actually do help lower income families and to point out that the policies of my former party of 18 years hurt lower income families, and that since the fact of the failed results of same are clearly documents, it is a "sin" for them to continue to advocate same and that their underlying motive is obviously not to help them.

But this post by Jane takes the argument to another level, as to deeds and thoughts.

As to thoughts, I would say that, generally, government should not seek to discern same for the purpose of punishment or otherwise, except for the narrow purpose of "intent" with respect to crimes or torts, and then only with respect to whether they intended to commit the act that caused harm, and not "why" they wished to cause harm (as in hate crimes laws that have as their effect to devalue the lives of certain people based on race, gender or the kind of sex acts one prefers. - Let's punish acts)

But as to deeds, I would point out that most all laws are legislations of morality. Most all, even including traffic laws that seek to prevent accidents that injure or kill human life. The moral is that we value human life.

The market place punishes and rewards many sins, such as greed, jealousy and laziness.

How so?

more to come

Lazarus said...

Jane,

Great post. Thoughtful and insightful. It makes me ask, "What is moral and what is sinful"? In my understanding of what Jesus taught, we aren't really punished for our sins - we are punished BY our sins and I know that many Christians would disagree with me on this.

Sinning is and of itself a punishment because we live in a state of error that perpetuates the common illusion that we are human animals instead of divine descendants. By affirming this spiritual error, we create suffering. Thus sin in mind, heart or deed always leads to the same thing: suffering. When something is moral, be it a law, a thought, a policy, etc, it should reduce or prevent needless suffering. Take for example the Catholic Church's policy on birth control. The Church considers it a sin and instructs Catholics to abstain from birth control. But the intent of the rule and the effect of the rule are quite opposite. The effect is one that creates great suffering - especially in children - from starvation, poverty, and disease. Yet, the Church holds fast to this policy and the suffering continues. Who is more moral? The Church, which perpetuates suffering with this policy, or the woman the Church condemns with 9 children she cannot feed, and a husband she is not allowed to refuse, who secretly takes birth control pills (if she can even get them)? What of the poor woman in sub-saharan Africa who's husband travels far for work and returns with AIDS? The condom she wants to use is a sin to the Church, but the cost of not using that condom is her suffering and death and the once again needless suffering of her children who will languish harshly without parents that love and care for them because they are now dead.

I think a key issue here can be seen in the old testament/new testament dichotomy. The old testament focused on adherence to an external law as a path toward spiritual unity with God. Hence the harsh punishments of those that broke the external law. Jesus "came not to destroy, but to fulfill" that law, to bring a higher understanding to it. Jesus taught that adherence to external law is fine, but hardly meets the mark. His standard was much higher and is often refused by most people, even those that claim to follow His teachings, because it requires great personal introspection and personal growth and change. Most people don't want to do this kind of work.

So, the Sin Tax focuses on the old testament idea of adhering to external law, which leads to an impotent and lame enforcement of external conditions which matter little. Those of this mindset are often reaching for a stone to throw. It is this same idea that I think sits behind and props up most "conservative" political thinking - regulate the personal lives of people with draconian laws and punish them harshly for personal behavior. But what does this accomplish? At best, nothing, at worst it continues the illusion that morality is something that happens outside the individual. This is an outdated and harmful perspective because it keeps the focus on others, seeking to take the speck out of their eyes and ignoring the log in our own.

Gamecock, I enjoy reading your posts because you are very intelligent, even though I don't agree with you sometimes. Regarding hate crimes laws (if I read your meaning correctly)... I also think hate crime laws are a bit lame - beating and killing are already illegal, so why should beating and killing a gay couple or an immigrant be any worse? The harsh reality is that in many, many cases for many, many decades, the law was not applied equally to all levels of society. Hate crimes laws are an attempt to find justice for those citizens to which justice was often impossible to achieve in the US judicial system. So legislators made an attempt to force judges to consider that gay people and immigrants are people, too, and their suffering should be addressed equally with those of a more accepted station in society. I don't think hate crimes laws really hit the mark, but they are necessary at this stage of our political development. Some day we may consider each of our neighbors an equal and a brother, and we may even rise to the level of "my brother's keeper". Until then, the messy political process will struggle and do the best it can.

To your credit, I would hold up liberal policies of the past and put them to the same moral test - creating or reducing suffering. Some missed the mark and have been done away with. But others like universal health care, education and food for children so they can grow up to be strong citizens, and care for the elderly so they can live with the least amount of suffering - those policies are liberal and are necessary and good.

Nick said...

I don't care for smoking at all really. I find it disgusting. At the same time, I don't think it's proper to call that a "sin tax." I agree that sin begins in the heart and I'd prefer going after the abortion campaign instead of the smoking campaign. My guess is the media doesn't do that because they don't want to "step on anyone's toes."

I keep asking people a question based on what Socrates says in the dialogues of Plato. Which is worse? If you rob someone or if you are robbed?

I hope everyone knows the answer to that.

Danbo59 said...

Lazarus wrote, "Take for example the Catholic Church's policy on birth control. The Church considers it a sin and instructs Catholics to abstain from birth control. But the intent of the rule and the effect of the rule are quite opposite."

Nice cheap shot (though ineffective) at the Catholic Church.

No, the intent is not opposite. The intent is to conform to God's plan for Creation -- that it is He alone who gives (and ends) life. It is not up to man to decide that. It is not up to man to interfere with the natural processes and possible result of the marital act.

The effect????? The law of the Church has no effect as you so blithely profer. The effect is the result of mankind's engaging in the marital love act with his spouse. Sex outside of mariage is, in itself, a serious sin.

Having a "husband" who a woman is not allowed to refuse is a red herring. The Catholic Church teaches no such thing. As for AIDS, the Catholic Church (rightfully) teaches abstinence if one or both partners has a transmittable STD. If both partners had stayed monogomous throughout their lives (instead of living the good life before they were married) there wouldn't be any need to mention this at all.

Next time, lay off the Catholic Church until you know what you are talking about and the reason behind the Catholic (Universal) Church laws.

Use of contraceptives is a serious sin so long as 1) one is aware of the teaching and 2) acts (or fails to act) with full knowledge and consent. Period.

Anonymous said...

Jane- were you against the NC lottery? It is a fact the poor spend their money on this false dream more than the so called rich. But, the liberals love the lottery afterall it's for the kids.

Lazarus said...

Danbo... I don't really care about the Catholic church. I survived it and left it. If its teachings and rules bring meaning and substance to your life, great, but I still hold to my conclusions. Your argument assumes people believe that silly mythology about "God's Will" and that people actually behave as the Church instructs. They do not. By refusing to recognize the obvious, the Church's policies create more suffering while attempting to stay "moral".

I'm not anti-God or anti-religion. My definition of God is just different than that of the Church, so I look at the result of their policies critically. I draw my conclusions, you draw yours. I don't hate the Catholic church and I'm sure it does good in the world, too.

Why not speak to the real issue of my post? God, and sin and salvation, are all on the Inside.

pornstudent said...

There should be a constitutional amendment making taxes illegal. Governments shouldn't be exempt from taking what isn't theirs. They can ask for donations for whatever it is they want to do. If we want something that a government isn't doing, we can do it ourselves.

Danbo59 said...

Lazarus wrote, "By refusing to recognize the obvious, the Church's policies create more suffering while attempting to stay "moral".

You mean by refusing to amend what it knows is right just to make everyone "feel" better????? No, I don't think so. Truth cannot be changed.

Lazarus wrote, "My definition of God is just different than that of the Church,...."

Really, what is your definition of 'God'?

Lazarus wrote, "God, and sin and salvation, are all on the Inside."

You can't be more wrong. Sin comes from within, for sure. But Salvation is from outside -- from God. Salvation can never be earned by our own deeds alone.

We need a) Grace (externally provided), b) Faith (granted to us by God's Church at Baptism and nurtured within) and c) Good Works (a response to Grace and faith; from within).

So you can see that it takes three things to attain (still not earn) Salvation -- something purely external (without which none of the below are possible), a mixture of external and internal, and a response from the internal.

Danbo59 said...

pornstudent wrote, "There should be a constitutional amendment making taxes illegal...They can ask for donations for whatever it is they want to do...."

Are you serious??? Ask for donatons???? For what? Like, for defense of our nation???? Yeah, what an army we'd have if we left it to the individual's conscience to donate to provide for the public defense.

The real problem is that the Federal Government is meddling in areas where it has no business -- like legalizing abortion (states right), education (states right), housing (states rigths). None of this stuff is mentioned in the Constitution and is, therefore, specifically assigned to states to regulate. No-child-left-behind is a poster child for what Federal Government has no business getting involved in.

pornstudent said...

If governments didn't meddle abortions would be legal. State and city governments shouldn't meddle either.

Danbo59 said...

pornstudent wrote, "If governments didn't meddle abortions would be legal. State and city governments shouldn't meddle either."

Sorry, but our Constitution disagrees.

From abortion to bubble-gum-chewing, if courts would stop MAKING laws instead of interpreting them, it would be left up to the states to decide if abortion (or bubble-gum-chewing) was legal. Then, if you don't like living in a state that respects human life (NC) you can move to one where life is considered worthless (CA). See? Your rights are protected.

BlueRooster12 said...

Question for Lazarus.
You said; Jesus taught that adherence to external law is fine, but hardly meets the mark. His standard was much higher and is often refused by most people, even those that claim to follow His teachings, because it requires great personal introspection and personal growth and change

What do you mean by His standard was much higher?

John 12:45-50 (New King James Version)
New King James Version (NKJV)
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.


45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe,[a] I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

As you have just read Y'shua didn't say anything that His Father YHWH had not told Him to say. Y'shua was obedient to His Father and obedient to the Torah, Y'shua fullfilled the torah by living it. Torah is were you find what YHWH considered as sin. so Y'shua can't be giving a higher standared then what His Father gave.

It is confusing to me when I see people putting Jesus on a higher pedestal then His Father God.

So if you would please explain, Thanks!

Iztok said...

In the Bible we were told that we were to reign over all other creation. I guess there is a fib as we are in the mercy of much smaller of God's creations. For example another God's creation called HIV has much bigger power as it claimed so many lives so quickly.

Danbo59 said...

"In the Bible we were told that we were to reign over all other creation."

That was before The Fall.

Danbo59 said...

bluerooster12 wrote, "Y'shua was obedient to His Father and obedient to the Torah."

Jesus is the Torah -- He is the Word Incarnate.

Iztok said...

"That was before The Fall."

Fall was part of the God's plan.

Danbo59 said...

"Fall was part of the God's plan."

Incorrect.

Anonymous said...

It is alleged that the taxes proposed on tobacco and alcohol would fall disproportionately on the poor.

Who is forcing the poor to smoke or drink?

Nobody.

Freedom to choose includes freedom to make bad choices.

Lazarus said...

rooster. I think the God of the old testament is a misunderstanding and not who Jesus was referring to.

Do you think God is a person?, ie, the "father" of Jesus? Could Jesus have been speaking of spiritual principle/truth and put it in the terms of the time?

Danbo59 said...

Lazarus asked, "Could Jesus have been speaking of spiritual principle/truth and put it in the terms of the time?"

No. "As the Father sent Me, so I send You."

Iztok said...

Iztok: "Fall was part of the God's plan."

Danbo: "Incorrect."

So you are saying that when God created things he didn't set it up so Fall would have the option to happen? And if he did set it up as with an option are you saying that he didn't know it will happen?

If he deliberately set it up with an option to happen and knew it will happen how can you not call this a plan?

Danbo59 said...

Iztok asked, "So you are saying that when God created things he didn't set it up so Fall would have the option to happen?"

No, I did not say that.

Iztok asked, "And if he did set it up as with an option are you saying that he didn't know it will happen?"

I didn't say that, either.

Iztok asks, "If he deliberately set it up with an option to happen and knew it will happen how can you not call this a plan?"

Aside from the fact that you 1) tried to assume facts not in evidence and 2) to create the rules of the game in your last question, the answer to the last question is "no."

----

Saying that "knowing" is equal to planning is simplistic. If I place a bowl of candy in front of a three-year-old and tell him not to touch it, then leave him alone for a few minutes I "know" he is going to get into that candy. But saying I planned it that way is ridiculous.

God knew what would happen. But He didn't make the decision. Man did.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to promote a rabbit trail away from the original discussion, but iztok and danb059 are debating something that has always puzzled me. I understand that the fall was our choice. I appreciate the fact that God gave us the gift of choice, rather than simply creating automatons. But if God is truly omniscient, then He had to know we would fall, correct? And if the answer to that is yes, then how is that truly our choice?

Of course, perhaps the problem with this question - and with all of our deepest religious debates - is that we attempt to find answers that are logical based on human reason. God does not share the limitations of human comprehension.

D.J. Williams said...

Jane,

Great post. Often the most dangerous sins are the ones that fly under our own radar. I had an experience with exactly that last night as related to a reality that many in Charlotte can likely relate to. I've written about it on my blog.

Iztok,

Fine. I'll say it. The fall was part of God's plan. The responsibility for sin is fully man's, but God has still sovereignly decreed all things. The Bible makes it very clear that the cross of Christ was not an adjustment. It wasn't plan B. It was God's purpose from the beginning (Acts 4:27-28) for Christ to die for sinners and bring maximum glory to the Father. No fall, no sinners. No sinners, no cross. So yes, the fall was part of God's plan.

Soli Deo Gloria

Danbo59 said...
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Danbo59 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danbo59 said...

DJ wrote, "So yes, the fall was part of God's plan."

Disagree. It wasn't His plan for us to Fall, but He knew we would. That's why He had "Plan A" from the beginning. Subtle difference.

"...stand firm and hold to the traditions...." -- 2 Thess 2:15

Iztok said...

"God does not share the limitations of human comprehension."

While this might be true. God is still bound by logic. As it goes way beyond anything. Also murder is bad regardless. I see no way God could declare murder is good but plenty of ways of people believing in God declaring murder as a good thing.

DJ, did Jesus really die? As in is dead? If he isn't dead, why claim he died? Definition: "To cease living; become dead; expire." Perhaps we should use proper term? His life was temporarily suspended?

It couldn't be "Plan B" if this was actually plan all along.

As the issue of so called "free will":

Free Will
Some people argue that without a god there would be no free will, that we would live in a deterministic universe of cause and effect and that we would be mere “robots.” Actually, there is far less free will than most people think there is. Our conditioning (our biological desire to survive and prosper, combined with our experiences) makes certain “choices” far more likely than others. How else can we explain our ability, in many cases, to predict human behavior? Experiments have shown that our brain makes a “decision” to take action before we become conscious of it! Some believe that the only free will we have is to exercise a conscious veto over actions suggested by our thoughts. Most atheists have no problem admitting that free will may be an illusion. This issue also brings up a conundrum: If a god who created us knows the future, how can we have free will? In the end, if we are enjoying our lives, does it matter if free will is real or an illusion? Isn’t it only our ego – our healthy self-esteem that is beneficial for survival – that has been conditioned to believe that real free will is somehow better than imaginary free will? (http://mnatheists.org/content/view/64/1/)

Danbo, no I will not bring God's abortions up.

Iztok said...

I will try to go back on topic with "sin tax".

I don't think it is appropriate to call alcohol, tobacco etc... "sin tax". Having said that, I don't (and never did) smoke and only drugs I've ever done is alcohol. I've been drunk a couple of times in my life and both times before I turned 21 (it was legal where I came from). I never did drink and drive. While I still drink I would always limit myself to one drink when I am expected to drive (or not even that). If I come to think our system of determining what drugs are legal and what not doesn't make much sense except when you think that we allow drugs that do not have an option to provide "religious experience" (alcohol, tobacco) and we prohibit those who do (pot, LDS, ...). I guess because of competition not because of any other reason.

My main concern is not so much taxing "sin". My main concern is when we are starting to go into so called thought control. Various dogmatic organizations and countries had long tried to impose such things.

D.J. Williams said...

Danbo said...
"Disagree. It wasn't His plan for us to Fall, but He knew we would. That's why He had "Plan A" from the beginning. Subtle difference."

Could you please provide a Biblical defense of this idea? From what I can tell it flies in the face of the following passage...

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory." - Ephesians 1:3-12

He works all things together according to the counsel of his will. All things. Nothing excluded or exempt. Everything is part of his perfect plan.

Iztok said...
"DJ, did Jesus really die? As in is dead? If he isn't dead, why claim he died? Definition: "To cease living; become dead; expire.""

Umm...yes. He died. His body ceased lving and became dead, just like every other person who has ever died.

Iztok said...
"It couldn't be "Plan B" if this was actually plan all along."

Read my post carefully. That was exactly my point.

Soli Deo Gloria

Danbo59 said...

The Catholic Bible translates the word in Eph 1:11 as destined. There is a difference from being destined as opposed to being predestined. I am not a Calvinist.

Even such, this passage you quote nowhere states that God predestined us to Fall. All it says is that He willed us be saved by His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, from the beginning (because He knew we'd fall.

God doesn't plan our lives; he doesn't decide what we'll do. He knows what will happen because he is omniscient.

Anonymous said...

blah blah blah "sin tax" is just an expression and not even a new one at that.

D.J. Williams said...

Danbo said...
"The Catholic Bible translates the word in Eph 1:11 as destined. There is a difference from being destined as opposed to being predestined."

Well, the Greek word in question is proorizo, which is defined as "to predetermine, to decide beforehand." This lexical indication of "deciding from the first" is reflected in nearly every translation I've been able to find. I would have to say that the USCCB translation is lacking. If I'm wrong, what lexical data would you offer to demonstrate why?

Danbo said...
"Even such, this passage you quote nowhere states that God predestined us to Fall. All it says is that He willed us be saved by His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, from the beginning (because He knew we'd fall.

Of course, I also highlighted several other words in that passage that indicate that God works (energeo, actively ordains) all things according to the counsel of his will. All. Nothing exempt. Nothing excluded. Everything. How does your viewpoint fit with that text?

Danbo said...]
"God doesn't plan our lives; he doesn't decide what we'll do. He knows what will happen because he is omniscient."

I'll ask again. How do you back this idea Biblically? As of right now all I can take it as is your opinion.

Soli Deo Gloria

E said...

A whole lot of arguing about a book of fairy tales people.

Instead of sin tax how about a luxury tax?? Tax all cars over 35,000 a higher amount. Tax homes worth 500,000 a higher amount.

This way people who have alot of money are taxed and the lower classes can breath a little easier.

All could smoke and drink and be merry!!

Danbo59 said...

DJ wrote, "I would have to say that the USCCB translation is lacking."

Gee, that's surprising. Your religion rewrites the Bible and then says the original is the innacurate version.

Never mind. We obviously have different views on God. Mine is a God who gave us free will. Yours is a God who mapped out your life before He created the world; a God who grants you no free will.

My God inspire a work that is to be read and taken as a whole -- yours wrote a book one word at a time, such that the whole of revelation can be discerned by any single word.

You are obviously very learned in Greek and can quote Scripture left and right, verbatim. Of course, so can Satan.

D.J. Williams said...

Danbo said...
"Gee, that's surprising. Your religion rewrites the Bible and then says the original is the innacurate version."

Of course, I gave my specific lexical reasoning for why I believe that the USCCB is lacking in this case. If I'm wrong, show me why. If you can't, then I hope you don't use this same argument again.

Danbo said...
"Never mind. We obviously have different views on God. Mine is a God who gave us free will. Yours is a God who mapped out your life before He created the world; a God who grants you no free will."

So, rather than interact with my exegesis of Scripture, you're going to offer no response, say "never mind," and paint a caricature of my view of God. How is that helpful? Here's how I formulate my view of God...

"The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps." - Proverbs 16:9

"The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
he turns it wherever he will." - Proverbs 21:1

"For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills." - Romans 9:17-18

Again, what Biblical passages inform yours?

Danbo said...
"My God inspire a work that is to be read and taken as a whole -- yours wrote a book one word at a time, such that the whole of revelation can be discerned by any single word."

Have I not stated time and time again that we must strive to see the Scripture whole? Yet, does that mean that individual passages have no meaning? Surely not? You're setting up a false dichotomy here. I'll ask you again, as I've asked you time and time before - if I am wrong in my interpretation of these passages, if I am missing the forest for the trees, per se, then demonstrate to me what Biblical passages I am missing that could inform me of the correct view of these verses, and tell me what the correct interpretation of these verses is.

Danbo said...
"You are obviously very learned in Greek and can quote Scripture left and right, verbatim. Of course, so can Satan."

I also can count. So can Satan. We must be just alike. Seriously?!? If this is the level of intellectual discussion you are prepared to engage in then have fun, friend. When you're prepared to discuss ideas, we'll continue.

Soli Deo Gloria

Danbo59 said...

DJ, you have no "ideas." Just a script you've been force-fed.

Any 'religion' that matter-of-factly suggests and teaches that two-thirds of God's creation is doomed to eternal damnation just because they don't live in an area where the Gospel is proclaimed is no Christian religion to me.

Gamecock said...

Lazarus, thanks for the compliment and the feeling is mutual.

more later on the issues

Gamecock said...

Lazarus and Jane

First, to address some of Lazarus's points:

I don't think that hate crime laws address the issue of past sins of law enforcement with regard to gay victims, since hate crimes only apply as an add-on after an arrest for the underlying crime. What addresses the problem is choosing person's of character to be police.

Given the subject matter of Jane's post addressing actions of government with regard to sin, I'm not going to respond to the matter of the Catholic Church and birth control.

I don't quite agree with what I perceive as a too extreme diminution in the importance of of conduct/acts/physical matters in the NT visa vis the OT.

In one sense you are spot on, as pertains to the issue of salvation. I think the whole point of God's dealings with the Hebrew people was to illustrate how we are incapable of becoming the heavenly creatures God seeks to make us via our own efforts to keep God's law and be holy. Only Jesus can do that if we surrender our will to him.

But what was sin in the OT REMAINS SIN in the NT, and human nature being what it is, sin is what makes life on earth less that Eden-like.

So that, civilized society must address sin to remain civilized and sustain itself. One of the great problems in history has been the burden of children born out of wedlock, both from the standpoint of the burden that others must bear financially, and because it is much more likely that the offspring will become productive members of the society with a mother and father on the job.

This is among the BIGGIES, along with defending the society against outside forces, and punishing violent acts of crime, etc.

And, in general, I do not oppose the use of the tax code to advance the values of a society.

But, when the govt's actions disproportionately burden lower income families, I draw the line, and all families must travel to work and eat. Moreover, some of the few small pleasures of low income workers are a smoke and a beer. They aren't escaping the dawg-eat-dawg with trips to Paris. I see it as perverse to seek to have them pay a disproportionate share and that govt would grow dependant on smokers and drinkers for revenue.

Lazarus, I certainly agree with a federal safety net, as has the GOP since at least Reagan, and really since the end of WWII.

I think one of the biggest sins of omission in our country are the head in the sand liberals that refuse to see the evil we face that wants to destroy us, that always will want to no matter how often be sing the blame America first PC song.

I am also appalled at those that would shirk our moral responsibility as the world's greatest nation to liberate the oppressed. I am most proud of this nation because of the millions we have set free from tyranny from the Phillipines, Europe, Korea, Japan, Grenada, Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

more later

Nick said...

Actually, we're told to subdue the creation. The terminology used is the terminology used for conquering a city.

666 said...

Danny Boy,

I nominate you as poster child of the “ Why In The Heck Would I Ever Want To Be A Hateful Christian? ” campaign.

Your puerile attempts at intimidation, your savage attacks in this blog on anyone who disagrees with you, your smart-alecky insistence that you are right and everyone else is wrong smacks of the Counter Reformation. You’re only 450 or so years behind the times.

You’d make a great Pope.

Anonymous said...

Get a life people.

Eric said...

All of this fighting over the interpretation of the bible is exactly why religion should be personal and stay way away from any and all government. You guys believe the same god, you read the same book of fairy tales but dont read it the same way. If we keep this up Catholics and Methodists and all other Christian religions will be fighting for real like the shiite and suni are doing in the islamic religion.

We should all believe what we believe worship how we worship and dont push our beliefs on anyone else or look down on someone because of they dont believe the same exact thing you do.

In the end we dont know if the bible, tora, or koran are true. So we should all shut up and leave each other alone.

Danbo59 said...

666 wrote, "You’d make a great Pope."

Thanks for the compliment. [BTW, it's called 'having a backbone', 666.]

D.J. Williams said...

eric said...
"We should all believe what we believe worship how we worship and dont push our beliefs on anyone else or look down on someone because of they dont believe the same exact thing you do."

eric said...
"So we should all shut up and leave each other alone."

Translation: Nobody should tell someone else, "I'm right, you're wrong." Except me.

Honestly, does it not occur to you that you're doing the very thing you tell others not to do?

Soli Deo Gloria

Iztok said...

If no-one would push their religion beliefs to others we would all end up atheists at the end. Our kids are born atheists and are conditioned not to be one.

So I sincerely doubt that any religious person would agree to what Eric is suggesting.

D.J. Williams said...

Iztok said...
"If no-one would push their religion beliefs to others we would all end up atheists at the end. Our kids are born atheists and are conditioned not to be one."

Of course, kids are born with no knowledge whatsoever and learn everything by instruction or experience. So, should we also not 'condition' our kids to understand physics or the wisdom of world history?

Soli Deo Gloria

Iztok said...

DJ, sure, I am not saying we shouldn't teach our kids mythology.

Eric said...

D.J.

Im not right. Thats the whole point. No one is right.

We wont know until we die. thats why we should not make laws about stuff we dont know is true! Thats why we should not fight with one another over these religious issues because we have no clue who is right.

Do your own thing and hope you wind up where you want in the end.

Danbo59 said...

Eric opined, "Do your own thing and hope you wind up where you want in the end."

You'll find this instruction under the heading "Recipe for Anarchy."

Nick said...

The point is, no one has shown me it isn't mythology and I invite people to try. Now I know someone might say "The Muslim will say the same thing about the Koran. My reply is "Great!" I would hope they would. Let's meet and discuss it out in the public square. The atheist is convinced naturalistic evolution got us here. Excellent! Let's get his opinion in on it as well! As a Christian, I'm not afraid to have my ideas tested in the marketplace of ideas.

Btw Eric, if you think you shouldn't act until you have 100% certainty, don't expect to do a lot in life.

Iztok said...

"As a Christian, I'm not afraid to have my ideas tested in the marketplace of ideas."

Nick, so on what day did God create fossils then?

Nick said...

The days simply refer to periods of time. I'm not a YEC so I would say sometime in the sixth day when land animals were created. I have no problem saying that day can extend for millions of years either.

D.J. Williams said...

eric said...
"Do your own thing and hope you wind up where you want in the end."

Here's my point, Eric. By telling me to just do my own thing, you're not following your own advise. You're telling me how to practice my faith. You say that we don't know what's true, so everybody should just keep their opinions to themselves, yet you're by definition not keeping your opinion to yourself. I'm not saying you're intending to do so, I'm just saying that one cannot possibly tell others they should operate from an individualistic, pluralistic worldview without contradicting their own principles. It makes about as much sense as saying, "There are no absolutes" (which is itself an absolute).

Soli Deo Gloria

Eric said...

D.J. why do you want to fight and argue?? Thats not nice.

You assume I dont believe in god. I do believe in a higher power. I just dont trust man enough to believe the stories to be all true. There are missing stories. I think alot of men over time have used god and prophets to better themselves.

all me untrustworthy if anything. So I dont want a religion running my politics. I dont trust either put them together WOW!!

Nick said...

Eric: D.J. why do you want to fight and argue?? Thats not nice.

So he's trying to argue with you in saying that you shouldn't argue and he's in an intellectual fight to say you shouldn't fight. That's not nice....

Eric: You assume I dont believe in god. I do believe in a higher power.

Me: What can you tell us about this higher power?

Eric: I just dont trust man enough to believe the stories to be all true.

Me: Do you trust any of them to be true? Why or why not?

Eric: There are missing stories.

Me: If they are missing, how do you know about them?

Eric: I think alot of men over time have used god and prophets to better themselves.

Me: Kind of like Israel did in having their temple destroyed and being sent off into exile. Right?

[QUOTE] all me untrustworthy if anything. So I dont want a religion running my politics. I dont trust either put them together WOW!![/QUOTE]

But I also don't want politics running my religion. I have no problem with separation of Church and State when properly understood. The church and the state are working for the same goal many times but in different ways. They are meant to be allies and not enemies, although I consider the church the more important of the two.

pornstudent said...

After an argument about the Bible between Danbo and DJ, Eric said, "We should all believe what we believe, worship how we worship and don't push our beliefs on anyone else... So we should all shut up and leave each other alone."

DJ responded, "Does it not occur to you that you're doing the very thing you tell others not to do?... By telling me to just do my own thing, you're not following your own advise."

It's nonsense to say someone isn't leaving others alone because he asks to be left alone, or to say we are taking others' freedom because we want everyone to be free.

Nick, it's not hard to understand Eric, yet you insist on interrogating him about his faith.

Nick said...

Porn: After an argument about the Bible between Danbo and DJ, Eric said, "We should all believe what we believe, worship how we worship and don't push our beliefs on anyone else... So we should all shut up and leave each other alone."

Me: And there's the first problem. Eric assumes moral neutrality but that is not neutral. Part of my faith that is essential is the Great Commission. I AM to share my faith with others. If you tell me not to share my faith, you are not being fair to my faith.

Also, is Eric pushing on me the belief that I should not push beliefs?

Porn: DJ responded, "Does it not occur to you that you're doing the very thing you tell others not to do?... By telling me to just do my own thing, you're not following your own advise."

Me: And DJ is 100% correct on this one.

Porn: It's nonsense to say someone isn't leaving others alone because he asks to be left alone, or to say we are taking others' freedom because we want everyone to be free.

Me: When my church knocks on his door, he's not obligated to listen. If someone gives him a tract, he's not obligated to read it. Everyone has a right to speak. It does not require them to listen. It also doesn't require them to agree or even disagree. Because I can hear Eric's opinion, it does not follow that I am required to agree with it.

Porn: Nick, it's not hard to understand Eric, yet you insist on interrogating him about his faith.

Me: Understanding and agreement are two different things. If my faith is true also, then what I am doing is the most loving thing of all. It is getting him to think about the issues in a deeper way. What if the story of Christ is true? Well that has intense ramifications for all of us. The same as if Muhammad was really visited by Gabriel or if Joseph Smith did receive a revelation. (If he received one, I am quite certain it was not from God.)

Do I interrogate? Yeah! I'm willing to have my beliefs interrogated also. That's the way the system works. That's the marketplace of ideas. If someone wants to throw out a belief and say it can't be scrutinized, then that is simply intellectual tyranny. If someone makes a claim in the marketplace, let them back it.

pornstudent said...

Nick,
You don't mind being rude?

Anonymous said...

If the marketplace of ideas is anything like the marketplace for most things, whatever appeals to the masses will rule.

Pretty much as it is today with hamburgers and religion.

Nick said...

Wow. So it's okay to come and tell everyone that they should stop doing what their faith commands them to do in obedience to their Lord, but if you dare raise a question against that position and want to examine it, it's called "rude."

Iztok said...

Nick, so you are saying that at one point Earth took millions of years to rotate once around its axis?

It is obvious that day was described as one night and one daylight period.

pornstudent said...

It's rude to talk religion to someone who tells you they don't want to hear it.

Nick said...

Not at all Iztok. In fact, if it was a literal 24-hour period, it would say evening to evening and not evening to morning.

All I see it saying is that each of these periods had a start and a close.

Nick said...

Porn. If he didn't want to talk religion, then he should not have posted here. It's rude to put up an idea and not have anyone question it.

pornstudent said...

Your questions to Eric, Nick, "What can you tell us about this higher power?" and "Do you trust any of [the religious stories] to be true? Why or why not?" and "If [missing religious stories] are missing, how do you know about them?" aren't questions about Eric's position that he doesn't want people pushing their religion. It's you being rude.

Iztok said...

Nick: Genesis 1:5: And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

So please explain how this fits your idea of millions of years?

It fits perfectly with one rotation of Earth around its axis. This is what we call a day. Right now it is approximately 24 hours. Are you saying that in times of Genesis it took millions of years to rotate? (Nick: "I have no problem saying that day can extend for millions of years either.")

pornstudent said...

Nick,

If you really believe non-Christians are going to spend eternity in agony, then I would expect you to say you wouldn't mind being rude.

You and DJ are right about having the freedom to push your religion. We never wanted to make it illegal. And all of us can be as rude as we want as well.

Nick said...

Iztok. The same way I said earlier. It's describing a unit and not a 24-hour period.

Nick said...

Porn: Of course I'm asking questions. If someone wants to come and tell me how to live my life and not get questions, they're simply not going to get it. If you want to call that rude, then be sure that I am not the only rude one.

I don't consider it rude because I don't buy into this PC stuff.

D.J. Williams said...

Iztok said...
"It fits perfectly with one rotation of Earth around its axis. This is what we call a day. Right now it is approximately 24 hours."

Iztok, I suggest you do some lexical research on the Hebrew word yom, which we translate as "day." I think you'll be surprised at its range of meaning. For an example of the word being translated to certainly mean something other than a solar day, see Genesis 2:4. You're attacking a belief that we simply don't hold, my friend.

Soli Deo Gloria

Iztok said...

Nick and DJ, a "unit" in Genesis 1 was "a day and a night" which really explains a single rotation of Earth around its axis. While "yom" might have different meanings the "light/dark" cycle doesn't. So unless you are claiming Earth was rotating WAY slower then today Genesis 1 is clear and it describes a period we would call a day (24 hours give or take) nowadays.

Feel free to redefine words as you please but at that point we no longer have any basis for any sort of conversation.

Nick, you said: "It's describing a unit and not a 24-hour period."

Tell me what other unit would fit the following wording: "the evening and the morning" from Genesis 1 if it is not the day as we know it today (one rotation of planet around the axis)? Tell me one single unit that fits that description from Genesis better.

D.J. Williams said...

Iztok said...
"Tell me what other unit would fit the following wording: "the evening and the morning" from Genesis 1 if it is not the day as we know it today (one rotation of planet around the axis)?"

Of course, "evening and morning" could well be a poetic way to describe "beginning and end." This fits rather well with the context of Genesis 1, actually. The sun is not created until day 4, so days 1 through 3 are clearly not solar days as we know them, since the earth has nothing to orbit, and thus no motion, and no rotation. How could there be literal evening and morning on the first day with no sun? Also, notice that day 7 has no "evening and morning" descriptor. Curious, no? The author carefully chooses each word, aligns the account by a symmetric Hebrew poetic structure, then simply forgets the refrain on the last day? Doesn't seem likely. More likely is the idea that "evening and morning" are a figurative representation of the "completeness" of each day. However, day 7 is not yet complete. We are living in the seventh day. God is no longer creating ex nihilo, but is now creating only by the natural processes that he has put in place and sustains. Hebrews 4 alludes to this reality when it declares that God's "rest" remains for us to enter into. The hope of our salvation is that we will join in God's Sabbath rest, which knows no "evening and morning."

Iztok, this isn't "redefining" words, but simply interpreting Scripture based on its literary genre. You don't read the newspaper the same way you read the lyrics of a Beatles song. Thus, since Genesis 1 is clearly organized around a Hebrew symmetric poetic structure, that should inform the way we approach it in the process of interpretation. I hope you'll understand this. It does you know good to ridicule an idea that we don't even believe. This is the definition of a straw man.

Soli Deo Gloria

pornstudent said...

"I suggest you do some lexical research on the Hebrew word yom, which we translate as "day." I think you'll be surprised at its range of meaning."

Nick and DJ would have us think we can't make sense of their god because we haven't done enough research. They are always telling us about the real meaning of the words in the Bible. There's been a humungous amount written attempting to explain their religion's contradictions, cruelty and pettiness. They have excuses piled upon excuses.

Nick said...

For Iztok, DJ said what I was going to say beforehand.

Porn meanwhile has come in with basically "whine whine whine." Yeah. We suggest you do research. If you want to learn about any topic, you do research.

Again, go to a library sometime.

pornstudent said...

Nick,

I've probably been to more libraries and read more books than you. I'm not a name dropper, though. I'm not practicing what I learned in an apologetics class on you. I'm not rehashing the last term paper I wrote.

I don't want to be your student. I'm not going to research Ancient Near East culture or do lexical research on a Hebrew word.

It's not whining to see contradictions in your religion. And it's obvious your god is cruel and petty.

Nick said...

Oh. The whining is in saying that we think research should be done. You've just told me you're not going to go and do it. Now if you want to bring up contradictions, go for it. If you want to try to show God is cruel and petty, go for it.

If not, then just stop whining.

Iztok said...

DJ and Nick, you didn't answer which unit would fit better then a day in the description.

DJ are you saying that this is seventh day we are living? So God is still resting? Genesis 2:2? (Genesis 1 doesn't even have 7th day!)

Also, it is obvious that whoever wrote Genesis didn't have a clue how things work. First we have a light and a darkness (day/night) then later on it "recreates". Then it doesn't have a clue that Moon is not the light just reflecting Sun's light.. Not to mention plants were created before Sun???? As well as stupid "having dominion over" while we all know that it is the other way around when it comes to microorganisms.

You say Genesis is poetic? So we can simply say that God was there for poetic reasons and wasn't really real as well?

pornstudent said...

Almighty God sending people to hell because they don't love him is petty. A punishment of eternal torment is cruel. An almighty, loving God sending people to eternal agony is a contradiction.

These are obvious truths. You didn't even have to read a book to see them.

pornstudent said...

"It is obvious that whoever wrote Genesis didn't have a clue how things work." - Iztok

None of the authors of the Bible knew how things work. This world would be better off if people stopped reading it.

If people just read the Bible as a story, there wouldn't be any harm done. But there are Christians planning the end of the world. We've got to stop them.

D.J. Williams said...

Iztok said...
"DJ are you saying that this is seventh day we are living? So God is still resting? Genesis 2:2?"

Pretty sure that's exactly what I said. Read my post.

Pornstudent said...
"I'm not going to research Ancient Near East culture or do lexical research on a Hebrew word. It's not whining to see contradictions in your religion."

Translation - "I like to accuse Christianity of contradictions, but I don't want to take the time to actually know what I'm talking about."

Sorry to be so blunt, but that's what I'm hearing, man. I can't take your accusations seriously when you tell me that you don't want to seriously study the issues.

Pornstudent said...
"An almighty, loving God sending people to eternal agony is a contradiction."

Unless we deserve it, and God is just as well as loving. Is a loving judge sending a murderer to death row a contradiction?

Soli Deo Gloria

D.J. Williams said...

Pornstudent said...
"But there are Christians planning the end of the world. We've got to stop them."

Fearmongering, anyone?

Wow, I must have missed the class on apocalypse planning.

Soli Deo Gloria

pornstudent said...

I'm not going to take the time to follow your study suggestions. I don't value your opinion on what is worth my time reading.

The contradictions are evident without researching ancient writings.

"Is a loving judge sending a murderer to death row a contradiction?"

First of all, death row isn't eternal agony in a lake of fire. This is obvious. You don't need to reread your texts to understand this. Secondly, a human judge isn't your almighty, all-knowing, loving God. They can't be compared, and you wouldn't accept to make excuses for your god. Thirdly, I think the killing of people under the guise of "justice" is barbaric.

pornstudent said...

It's about time you quit comparing your almighty, all-knowing, loving God to a human judge. Any time you do so you reveal your and your religion's untruthfulness.

Christians are planning the end of the world. They're planning the end to America and democracy. They're looking forward to a Kingdom.

D.J. Williams said...

Pornstudent said…
“ I'm not going to take the time to follow your study suggestions. I don't value your opinion on what is worth my time reading.

The contradictions are evident without researching ancient writings.”


Do you realize how silly this sounds on an intellectual level? Consider this example…

Person A: Concept X is silly. It doesn’t make sense.

Person B: Have you studied concept X?

Person A: No.

Person B: You should take a look at it. I think you’ll find it makes more sense than you think. Here are some reasons why…

Person A: I don’t care. I don’t want to study it. I just think it’s silly.


Do you see my point? How can you deride something as full of contradictions if you don’t even understand it and have no desire to? Hey, you’re free to make all the statements you want. But we’re also free to attempt to demonstrate when those statements are false. Once we do so, the ball’s in your court to respond. To respond in ignorance and willfully continue to do so doesn’t lend much credibility to your case - to us and (I hope) to others.

Pornstudent said…
“First of all, death row isn't eternal agony in a lake of fire. This is obvious. You don't need to reread your texts to understand this. Secondly, a human judge isn't your almighty, all-knowing, loving God. They can't be compared, and you wouldn't accept to make excuses for your god. Thirdly, I think the killing of people under the guise of "justice" is barbaric.”

1) The severity of the offense is determined by the one offended. If God is perfectly holy and righteous, any sin against him is infinitely grievous. Thus, an infinite punishment is just, by the definition of the word. You may not like it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense. To say that hell is “too much” is to undervalue both God’s holiness and our sinfulness.

2) Of course God isn’t a human judge. Since he is perfectly good and just, his authority in judgment is infinitely greater than a human judge. You list “loving” as one of God’s attributes every time but you never list “just.” Your incomplete view of God is the problem here. He is both loving and just, holy and, good. The point still stands, though – you never blast human judges for punishing evil, yet when God does it he is petty and cruel.

3) Then you have a light view of sin. Of course, you’ve said before that you don’t think “sin” and “evil” exist, so of course this won’t make sense to you. How you can sit on your high horse and call something “barbaric” is curious to me, though, if sin and evil don’t exist.

Pornstudent said…
“Christians are planning the end of the world. They're planning the end to America and democracy. They're looking forward to a Kingdom.”

Actually, the Kingdom is already here – but as Jesus said, his kingdom is “not of this world.”

This is pure fearmongering. You offer no evidence, you just say that we want to bring down democracy. Let me assure you, I’ve got no plans to bring down this country. You can put the torches and pitchforks away. :)

Soli Deo Gloria

Iztok said...

DJ: "Pretty sure that's exactly what I said. Read my post."

I didn't know you were a deist DJ.

D.J. Williams said...

Iztok said...
"I didn't know you were a deist DJ."

I'm pretty sure I clarified exactly what I meant by saying that God is still resting in my earlier post...

D.J. said...
"We are living in the seventh day. God is no longer creating ex nihilo, but is now creating only by the natural processes that he has put in place and sustains."

God is not creating ex nihilo anymore. He has ceased that special creative activity that marked days 1-6. He is still very much active in his creation. I am no deist. Iztok, I'd appreciate if you'd engage my thoughts and not reduce them to caricature by putting words in my mouth.

Soli Deo Gloria

pornstudent said...

I don't value your opinion on what would be worth my time reading. I don't need to read your theology books to see the obvious contradictions, pettiness and cruelty of your religion.

In your excusing of God's cruelty you invent "infinitely grievous sin." I'm not being silly if I don't check some books out of the library and read up on the concept.

You insist on comparing your almighty, all-knowing, loving and just God to a human judge.

You insist that God must punish our sin because he is just, he can't help it, it's his nature.

All your theology studies have made your excuses for God convoluted. Another example, "God is not creating ex nihilo anymore. He has ceased that special creative activity that marked days 1-6."

D.J. Williams said...

I think I've made my point about the dangers of criticizing in ignorance. I leave you to it.

Pornstudent said...
"You insist that God must punish our sin because he is just, he can't help it, it's his nature."

Just to clarify, I actually insist that God punishes our sin because he is just, it's his nature, and he should do it. Justice is a good thing, we just don't see it that way when we're on the receiving end of it. Adding to our guilt, God freely offers pardon through the sacrifice of Christ, yet we mock it, deride it, and reject it.

Pornstudent said...
"All your theology studies have made your excuses for God convoluted. Another example, "God is not creating ex nihilo anymore. He has ceased that special creative activity that marked days 1-6."

What exactly is convoluted about that statement?

Soli Deo Gloria

pornstudent said...

You can't just say the truth: the guy who wrote Genesis didn't know what he was talking about. You can't bring yourself to believe that the Universe was actually created in six days either. Somebody said it's supposed to be poetic. Some nerdy types came up with a "ex nihilo" kind of creating and a "special creative activity" kind of creating; your favorite creation excuse.

Your mumbo jumbo is a little better than the Latin; it's used to keep people ignorant of what is real. Theoretical theology upon theoretical theology, with lots of difficult, unfamiliar words; they're still excuses.

pornstudent said...

Christians telling people, children even, that they will be tormented in Hell unless they accept Jesus as their Lord and savior is worse than fear mongering. To take a basic human instinct as lust and say it is reason enough for our deserving eternal punishment is sadistic. To believe that this is a loving religion is mental illness.

D.J. Williams said...

Pornstudent said...
"You can't just say the truth: the guy who wrote Genesis didn't know what he was talking about."

Says the guy whose already admitted he doesn't care to actually study and understand the Bible or theology.

Pornstudent said...
"Christians telling people, children even, that they will be tormented in Hell unless they accept Jesus as their Lord and savior is worse than fear mongering. To take a basic human instinct as lust and say it is reason enough for our deserving eternal punishment is sadistic. To believe that this is a loving religion is mental illness."

Unless it's true. Then it's the most loving thing that one could do.

Soli Deo Gloria

pornstudent said...

I don't have to study the Bible and theology to know that the author of Genesis didn't know what he was talking about. If my reason for life depended on the Bible being true, I might be motivated to find a hidden meaning in it.

You think we are all born defective and deserving of eternal torment. But you imagine yourself saved and God loving you. Your faith gives you comfort and joy. But, can't you hear the screams from Hell? You can't hear them because there aren't any. Hell doesn't exist.

It's not enough for you to have the human race feel guilty for being human, you want us to surrender to your king. You want us to go up to an alter, kneel down and bow our heads before your king. You want us to surrender our lives, passions and uniqueness to your king. No wonder there are militant atheists.

Your idea of Heaven, the place you want to spend eternity, is a kingdom, not a free democracy. You try to excuse this by saying it's a kingdom of another world. Still, it's the world you prefer. You take orders from your king and you believe it's your duty to get others to surrender. Your religion is a threat to America and to those of us who love freedom.

Anonymous said...

Pornstudent. You've hit the nail on the head of why I rarely quote "scripture".

Once I started asking serious questions, people started saying you had to become an "expert" in Greek, Latin, Aramaic, etc., to "understand".

And I thought, h'mmm:

a)spend my life studying ancient languages to understand a bogus religion...

OR

b)just live my life...

I chose the latter and spend my time studying current languages if I feel the need to study a language.

Muslims make similar claims about the Quran. All translations are
flawed, you can only understand it in classic Arabic. It's a great way to Arabize the world (the true aim of Islam, BTW), but I wouldn't waste my time learning classical Arabic in search of any "truth" in the Quran.

Really, now, what self-respecting non-believer would give a flying crap?

If the "experts" can't provide us with a convincingly clear translation in a given language, then how could a native speaker of that language ever expect to understand what even the "experts" cannot translate?

It's a mindf-ck, pure and simple.

Gamecock said...

imbiber of purient interests

Have you been to Neptune? And beyond?

Can you hear the sounds of meteorites crashing into Uranus?

D.J. Williams said...

Anonymous (5/28 9:31 PM) said...
"Once I started asking serious questions, people started saying you had to become an "expert" in Greek, Latin, Aramaic, etc., to "understand"."

Hmm, don't think I ever said that one has to be an expert in Hebrew to understand Genesis 1. All one has to do is pick up a lexicon to see that yom has a wider range of meaning than simply a solar day. If picking up a dictionary is too taxing, then I could just point out that the english translation, "day," also has a similar semantic range. Once again, see Genesis 2:4 for an example.

If you wish to remain ignorant of the Bible, by all means, go ahead. You've got every right to live your life however you want, and I wouldn't have it any other way. The freedom we enjoy here in America is great. But when you start criticizing in your ignorance, I've got every right to offer a reasonable explaination. Freedom of speech also includes the freedom for us to hold you accountable for misinformed statements in a public dialogue.

Soli Deo Gloria

pornstudent said...

Some Christian experts still insist the Universe was created in six (24hr) days: Popular Compromises of Creation — The Day-Age Theory

D.J. Williams said...

Pornstudent said...
"Some Christian experts still insist the Universe was created in six (24hr) days: Popular Compromises of Creation — The Day-Age Theory"

Of course they do. I have good friends who do. Not sure what that has to do with me, though.

In the interest of full disclosure, I don't hold to the day-age theory, but what is often referred to as the literary-framework hypothesis.

Soli Deo Gloria

Danbo59 said...

pornstudent wrote, "Hell doesn't exist."

Just what Satan wants to hear! It most certainly does exist, and those who deny its existence have a good chance of ending up there.

pornstudent writes, "You think we are all born defective and deserving of eternal torment. But you imagine yourself saved and God loving you. Your faith gives you comfort and joy."

We are born "outside" of the perfect Grace of God due to man's Fall in The Garden. Adam's sin removed mankind from that sphere of perfect Grace. That is the concept of original sin. It's not something on our soul -- it's something missing from our soul, so to speak. It's a state of being, not an inherited wrong. Mankind exists outside God's "perfect" Grace due to The Fall.

pornstudent writes, "...you want us to surrender to your king. You want us to go up to an alter [sic], kneel down and bow our heads before your king. You want us to surrender our lives, passions and uniqueness to your king. No wonder there are militant atheists."

God calls us to control our lives, our passions and our uniqueness. God gave us our lives. He gave us our passions! He gave us our uniqueness. How is acknowledging this "surrendering" them? You make "surrender" in this case sound like the surrender of "defeat."

It is in "surrendering" to victory, "surrendering" to He who gave us the very things you mention, to our Lord and God, that we achieve the ultimate freedom. We are called to be God's sons and daughters -- brothers and sisters of our Lord, Jesus Christ. As sons and daughters we share in the inheritance of The Kingdom. I do not feel less free because I love my earthly father -- why should love of our heavenly Father impart a feeling otherwise??? God wants to give you a share in His Kingdowm -- for eternity. What, this isn't enough?

pornstudent writes, "Your idea of Heaven, the place you want to spend eternity, is a kingdom, not a free democracy. You try to excuse this by saying it's a kingdom of another world. Still, it's the world you prefer. You take orders from your king and you believe it's your duty to get others to surrender. Your religion is a threat to America and to those of us who love freedom."

Again, freedom on this earth does not compare to the freedom in the Kingdom of God. You can't compare one to the other. No man is -- or can be -- free on earth, as he must surrender to death.

Take orders from our King? The only orders our King gives us is 1) the Golden Rule (based upon the Ten Commandments) and 2) the charge to 'spread the Gospel [Good News].' Hardly seems oppressive.

I am not sure where you get your delusion that either of these 'orders' is a threat to America and those who love freedom! [There is no freedom apart from God.]

Pornography is an affront to the dignity of man and woman. It is a serious and grave sin. It pulls man down to the level of an animal -- farther away from the divine life to which he is called. The farther you get from God, the closer you get to Satan.

pornstudent said...

"It is amazing that men will accept long, complicated, imaginative theories and reject the truth given to Moses by the Creator Himself." - D.D. Riegle

Iztok said...

Danbo: "It pulls man down to the level of an animal -- farther away from the divine life to which he is called. "

But we are animals. There is hardly anything that would make us unique.

1. We see examples of culture in the animals.

2. We see acts of deception in other animals ("mind reading").

3. We see tool use.

4. Morality is evident.

5. Emotions are present.

6. They also have personality.


So what is so unique to humans then any other animals? We are just different species of animals. Simple as that. But animals never the less. (We certainly don't have dominion over them as it is obvious that microorganisms have dominion over us.)

pornstudent said...

"Ultimate Freedom" YES!

"God calls us to control our lives, our passions and our uniqueness." NO!

I am animal. I am nature. To this I surrender.

Danbo59 said...

pornstudent proudly proclaims, "I am animal. I am nature. To this I surrender."

To "surrender" to the natural is to surrender to sin. To "surrender" to the supernatural -- ah, therein lies true freedom.

Danbo59 said...

Oh, Iztok, the same old arguments (microorganisms have dominion over us). Can't you think on your own two feet as opposed to simply parroting the latest tripe from the atheist websites?

Man lost his "perfect" dominion over the earth when he fell. Even so, we still have certain microorganisms on the run, don't we (e.g., polio).

As for nothing making us unique apart from the animals, you could not be more wrong. We have self-awareness, intelligence and a soul. Animals act out of instinct and conditioned response. Only man can think, reason and choose. Sorry --you may be only an animal but I certainly am more than that.

D.J. Williams said...

Pornstudent said...
""It is amazing that men will accept long, complicated, imaginative theories and reject the truth given to Moses by the Creator Himself." - D.D. Riegle"

I find it incredibly ironic and amusing that a guy who has spent the past few days proclaiming his proud and purposeful ignorance of biblical scholarship suddlenly finds one article by a YEC and now is telling me that I'm wrong. Trust me, pornstudent, I've had more in-house debates with those views than I can count. I don't agree.

Soli Deo Gloria

Iztok said...

Danbo: "We have self-awareness, intelligence and a soul. Animals act out of instinct and conditioned response. Only man can think, reason and choose."

Animals have self-awareness and intelligence.

Please define "soul" so we can discuss it.

Humans do act out of instinct and conditioned response as well. I think that use of tools also fits into think, reason and choose category and we've seen animals using tools.

So all you have left is "soul" so please define this in scientific way so we can see weather we can find it in other animals.

"Sorry --you may be only an animal but I certainly am more than that."

Wishful thinking not based on facts.

Danbo59 said...

soul -- Our divine essence, imparted by God, that continues existence after death of the human body.

Animals cannot "reason." Animals are not "self-aware." Animals cannot "think." Animals cannot "choose."

Stating that man can act on instinct and conditioning does not prove we are equal to animals!! The point is we can do otherwise. Animals cannot. What you're saying is like saying we can't be superior to animals because both defecate. Absurd!

As for wishful thinking, it's not -- it's fact.

Same old tired arguments is all you bring to the table.

pornstudent said...

DJ,

My point in the link was to show that Biblical experts don't agree with what the word "day" meant in Genesis, so if I spent years studying Hebrew I wouldn't know either. I'm inclined to agree with the article I linked to insofar as the writer of Genesis probably meant the usual definition of the word "day."

The reason for the quote is because I wanted to show that even some Christians agree with me in thinking that many Christians use complicated, imaginative, and convoluted excuses for God.

Iztok said...

Danbo: "soul -- Our divine essence, imparted by God, that continues existence after death of the human body."

Can you show any evidence of such thing? Other then human wishful thinking?

Certain animals are self-aware. Chimpanzees for example identify themselves and understand the mirror image when handed a mirror. This implies not only self-awareness but also intelligence (thinking).

Monkeys can manage mathematics. Dolphins can be decisive. Crow can bend a wire to form a tool. These all are signs of thinking.

D.J. Williams said...

Pornstudent said...
"My point in the link was to show that Biblical experts don't agree with what the word "day" meant in Genesis, so if I spent years studying Hebrew I wouldn't know either."

I don't think I ever claimed universal agreement (in fact, I've admitted the opposite). I simlply claimed that it is a valid and possible interpretation that fits the language, genre, and context of the passage. I never said you'd know, I said you'd plainly see that there is more than one lexical meaning for yom.

Pornstudent said...
"The reason for the quote is because I wanted to show that even some Christians agree with me in thinking that many Christians use complicated, imaginative, and convoluted excuses for God."

Yom can (and often does in Scripture) mean something other than a solar day. The structure of Genesis 1 is poetic rather than straight narrative. This leads me to believe that the passage may not be intended as literal play-by-play. Wow. That's pretty convoluted. I'm surprised I understand it.

Soli Deo Gloria

Danbo59 said...

Iztok asks, "Can you show any evidence of such thing?"

Sure can! But first, you prove that "love" exists.

Iztok said...

Danbo: "But first, you prove that "love" exists"

Love can be defined both as type of feeling and as demonstration of certain types of actions.

Love is a physical thing and we know the chemicals responsible for the feeling of love. It is also dependent on the brain structure. Person with a lobotomy or other type of brain damage may lose the ability to feel love. It is confined to our physical brains this further emphasizing it's physical nature. It is not an entity that exists outside of our brains however.

Your turn.

Danbo59 said...

Iztok wrote, "Love can be defined both as type of feeling and as demonstration of certain types of actions."

"...can be defined...?" No, no, you must prove. No can be's allowed in a proof.

Iztok wrote, "Love is a physical thing...."

Please explain. If it's physical, can I touch it? See it? Hear it? Taste it? Smell it?

Iztoke wrote, "...we know the chemicals responsible for the feeling of love."

We do? Please list. Also, who is we? "...feeling of love...."??? No, no, I am talking about love,, not the feeling of love.

Iztok wrote, "It is also dependent on the brain structure. Person with a lobotomy or other type of brain damage may lose the ability to feel love."

May lose the ability? Hmm, why do some lose it and some don't? I didn't ask for you to discuss whether or not a person can "feel" love. I asked you to prove it exists. I may never "feel" something, but that doesn't prove or disprove that something.

Iztok wrote, "It is confined to our physical brains this further emphasizing it's physical nature."

That says absolutely nothing. Wishful thinking.

Iztok finished, "It is not an entity that exists outside of our brains however."

Huh? You haven't proven it exists yet, so how can you prove where it does and/or does not exist?

Your turn (still).

pornstudent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pornstudent said...

DJ, I never said anything about the definition of Yom. I just gave you a reason why I don't want to spend much time studying the Bible.

Now, to the L-O-V-E definition:

Love is four letters. Love is a word. Love is something people talk about. Love is something I feel. Love is something I do.

The four letters of love are L, O, V and E. The word love can be either a noun or a verb. As a noun, the word love has nine definitions; as a verb it has four. The definitions are here.

Sometimes people may argue that love doesn't really exist because, as with all feelings, it can't be touched with our senses. Love, as a verb, though can be seen; except an observer wouldn't know the motive of an action and, therefore, wouldn't know if the action observed is really love.

The word love is spoken and heard (or talked, written and sung about) often. Most everyone would say love exists because they experience it. Sometimes a person would want another to prove its existence in order to prove something else exists.

The feeling of love is pleasant. Usually the most pleasant feeling of love is felt for other people and, to a little lessor extent, to other animals. Part of loving others is wanting them to be happy. From wanting those we love to be happy, love becomes something we do.

pornstudent said...

The love definition at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/love

pornstudent said...

So, where will this lead? Assuming there will be no satisfactory proof of love for Danbo:

Iztok could say, "There is no proof that love exists. Shoot, I guess it doesn't exist after all."

Iztok could tell Danbo, "Your just too uneducated (or another fault) to understand."

Iztok could say, "There is no proof that love exists. So?"

Iztok could say, "I can't prove love exists. So?"

Iztok could say, "I can't prove love exists. Maybe that's how it is with God."

pornstudent said...

Love's Proof

Do you feel the emotion of love Danbo? If you do, then this is your proof that it exists.

Danbo might say, "Yes, I do feel the emotion of love. But I didn't ask you about feelings."

"Do you experience love Danbo? If you do, then this is your proof that it exists."

Danbo might say, "Yes, I experience love. But it can't be proved."

"You don't have to prove it, Danbo, we feel it too."

Iztok said...

Danbo, chemicals involved in love are: testosterone, oestrogen, dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, oxytocin, and vasopressin. One can observe brain reactions using fMRI.

It is physical in a sense electricity is physical. We can see reactions to it and know what the basic requirements for it are.

Love is a feeling by definition. It can't stand alone (re: your "feeling of love" vs. "love" attempt.

Yes "may lose ability". If you do not understand the terms in scientific manner then there is no point. As with any scientific approach may/can/should and other words are pretty well defined when it comes to descriptions of things.

pornstudent said...

Sounds like proof to me.

Anonymous said...

Relax, DJ, you won't find me making uninformed comments about the "meaning" of the Bible because I don't really care.

Christians spend billions of dollars trying to spin-doctor that book into something palatable to whatever market they are trying to reach.

There's an interpretation for just about every viewpoint that craves Biblical justification for whatever it is that almost anyone wants to do.

I'm really not surprised anymore at what the Bible can be used to argue for or against.

And I'm just not in the market for that kind of justification.

From this point forward, everyone can take any quote I ever use or explain from the Bible as being of absolutely no value to anyone.

You can take it as a joke.

Danbo59 said...

I guess if "feeling" love is proof of love, you've just proven the existence of the soul. Thank you for your help. Case closed.

As to Iztok's claim of the chemicals that "cause" love to be felt, that's poppycock. You can't inject someone with all those chemicals and all of a sudden expect them to say, "I feel love." You might as well throw together all the chemicals contained in a human body into a pile on the floor and say, "Look, a human being."

Iztok said...

Danbo, you failed to prove eternal soul. I can give you the feeling that you perhaps have soul as in feeling of love but you still failed to prove few things.

1. That animals don't have it.

2. That it is gift of God.

3. That it is eternal.

So start working on those. (You are the one qualified the above properties so I am sure you will have some good evidence of it outside the scripture, like any scientific research papers etc...)

Even fMRI tests that show it would do. If you tell us which chemicals are responsible for it would be good too. Basically any tests you can provide to back the above (esp. eternal part).

Danbo59 said...

Iztok, it is true of those like you --

They have eyes but do not see; have ears but do not hear; minds but do not comprehend.

None of your arguments prove that "love" exists. Yet I know it does, as does the immortal soul. If you want "scientific" proof, ask those who have been clinically dead and brought back to life. Ask them what they experienced.

D.J. Williams said...

Anonymous (5/30 12:25 AM) said...
"Christians spend billions of dollars trying to spin-doctor that book into something palatable to whatever market they are trying to reach."

Sadly, you're right. It's disgusting.

"There's an interpretation for just about every viewpoint that craves Biblical justification for whatever it is that almost anyone wants to do."

Again, you're spot on. Name a desire, and you'll find a Biblical spin-doctor who'll affirm it for you.

"I'm really not surprised anymore at what the Bible can be used to argue for or against."

Me either. Just when you think you've seen it all...

"And I'm just not in the market for that kind of justification."

Likewise. Your critiques are on the money, and they need to be heard. I don't want someone's spin designed to sell me a product. The infomercials on TV will talk their ears off trying to tell me why I need a product and how fantastic it is. I don't need that junk. However, all the spin in the world can't change the reality of a product - either it works or it doesn't. In the same way, all the Biblical spin-doctors in the world mean nothing - the real question is, when we let the Bible speak for itself (which, like all communication, is possible if we listen carefully), is it truth? I don't care what you think about my opinions. I tend to talk too much. But please, don't let all the charlatans and screamers turn you away from the Bible. Ignore the sales pitches. Just opt for the test drive.

Soli Deo Gloria

Iztok said...

Danbo, people have been wrongly pronounced dead in the past.

I've shown way more that we know about love then you've shown about soul.

Even if I would give you that clinically dead are your proof of eternal soul (which I don't as they still need a living body for soul to work at minimum). You still didn't prove #1 and #2 by any stretch of imagination not even close to what I've posted about love.

Iztok said...

Danbo: BTW: your ad hominem attacks are really something (eyes but not see etc...)! Add well to the discussion.

Danbo59 said...

Iztok wrote, "Danbo: BTW: your ad hominem attacks are really something (eyes but not see etc...)! Add well to the discussion."

Hits close to home, perhaps?

Yes, you've offered quite a bit on love -- unfortunately nothing that holds up to scrutiny.

pornstudent said...

Danbo - "I guess if 'feeling' love is proof of love, you've just proven the existence of the soul."

You think the feeling of love and soul are the same thing?

bigcock said...

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