I saw a version of this via Facebook (to the right, click to expand in another window), but I thought it zeroed in on just one debate rather than allowing for use in a more general sense while also mentioning the “BIG TWO” — which is the abortion debate and same-sex-marriage. Not to mention that the color choice for the text is hard to read.
I really liked this, so I redesigned it a bit. Mind you, I think Jesus’ harkening back to Adam and Eve was a specific argument for heterosexual marriage/union, I like the idea of assuming the skeptics position and showing how deficient it is.
I chose a classic set of paintings of SATURN DEVOURING HIS SON. This story is a well-known Greek myth. The paintings chosen are by Peter Paul Rubens (left) and Francisco Goya (right).
Here are some of my posts dealing with the “BIG-TWO.”
A quote regarding Natural Theory and cannibalism. First up is one of my oldest posts (pre-dating my time on this .com), and it is not “my” writing specifically — it is other sources I collated:
….Human beings also have other aspects to their nature, aspects that are not such noble features of their makeup. One is their method of sexual reproduction. And make no mistake: despite astonishing denials of organized homosexuality, human beings, as surely as deer or elephants, come equipped with a natural method of reproduction. Unlike in other species, however, these lower aspects in man share in man’s higher aspect, reason. The result is the virtue of temperance or self-control. The Founders of America understood that our rights stem from this capacity, the capacity for moral virtue.
Homosexuals like to argue that, since people are by nature free to choose, the choice of sodomy should be protected, at least as much as any other choice. However, the fact that people are free by nature to make choices does not mean that any choice they make is good or that all choices should be equal before the law. Some people choose to steal and lie. Some abandon their children or their wives or husbands. Some sink into the grip of drugs. Some evade the draft at their country’s need, or abandon their duty in the face of battle. These are bad choices, and when they are made, the rest of us must bear part of the cost. These things are wrong in a constitutional democracy, as much as they are wrong anywhere else.
On the other hand, liberal societies recognize that all sins cannot be, and must not be, punished under the law. A state powerful enough to do that is too powerful to control. That is why we are cautious in a free country, about telling others what to do. That is why Presidents often appeal to us to be upright, moral citizens, but they do not bring charges against us unless we break the law.
Still, we must not forget that democracies have the greatest in the practice of virtue by citizens, because in democracy the citizens themselves are the rulers. So it is that George Washington, one of the greatest moral examples in history, said in his First Inaugural Address: “There is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness…”
A liberal society might, then, find it prudent to ignore homosexuality. It might well deem it unwise to peer into private bedrooms. However, this is not the issue before us. Today the demand is that homosexuality be endorsed and promoted with the full power of the law. This would require us to abandon the standard of nature, the one standard that can teach us the difference between freedom and slavery, between right and wrong.
Once we abandon the standard of nature, what is to forbid us from resorting to any violation of nature that we please? Why should we not return to slavery, if we find it convenient? Or the practice of incest or adultery or cannibalism? Without an understanding that there is a higher law that limits human will – whether divine law or the “law of Nature or Nature’s God” which we can grasp through our reason – there is no basis to prohibit any activity. Anything becomes possible (which is why some [me included] refer to murder and homosexuality in the same stroke of the pen/keyboard, this analogy is now detailed in a more exhaustive manner above).
In fact, the rights sought by homosexual activists are not natural or constitutional rights (for the best chapter on this subject – why homosexuals should be fighting to keep the traditional definition of family – I suggest the book Relativism: Feet Planted Firmly in Mid-Air). They are the special rights granted ethnic minorities by affirmative action policies. These special rights would force businesses, schools, and virtually every institution in the land, public and private, to open their doors to homosexuals, and allow lawsuits to be brought against those that refuse….
DARWIN CONCEIVED OF EVOLUTION in terms of small variations among organisms, variations which by a process of accretion allow one species to change continuously into another. This suggests a view in which living creatures are spread out smoothly over the great manifold of biological possibilities, like colors merging imperceptibly in a color chart.
Life, however, is absolutely nothing like this. Wherever one looks there is singularity, quirkiness, oddness, defiant individuality, and just plain weirdness. The male redback spider (Latrodectus hasselti), for example, is often consumed during copulation. Such is sexual cannibalismthe result, biologists have long assumed, of “predatory females overcoming the defenses of weaker males.” But it now appears that among Latrodectus hasselti, the male is complicit in his own consumption. Having achieved intromission, this schnook performs a characteristi somersault, placing his abdomen directly over his partner’s mouth. Such is sexual suicide—awfulness taken to a higher power.
It might seem that sexual suicide confers no advantage on the spider, the male passing from ecstasy to extinction in the course of one and the same act. But spiders willing to pay for love are apparently favored by female spiders (no surprise, there); and female spiders with whom they mate, entomologists claim, are less likely to mate again. The male spider perishes; his preposterous line persists.
This explanation resolves one question only at the cost of inviting another: why such bizarre behavior? In no other Latrodectus species does the male perform that obliging somersault, offering his partner the oblation of his life as well as his love. Are there general principles that specify sexual suicide among this species, but that forbid sexual suicide elsewhere? If so, what are they Once asked, such questions tend to multiply like party guests. If evolutionary theory cannot answer them, what, then, is its use? Why is the Pitcher plant carnivorous, but not the thorn bush, and why does the Pacific salmon require fresh water to spawn, but not the Chilean sea bass? Why has the British thrush learned to hammer snails upon rocks, but not the British blackbird, which often starves to death in the midst of plenty? Why did the firefly discover bioluminescence, but not the wasp or the warrior ant; why do the bees do their dance, but not the spider or the flies; and why are women, but not cats, born without the sleek tails that would make them even more alluring than they already are?
Why? Yes, why? The question, simple, clear, intellectually respectable, was put to the Nobel laureate George Wald. “Various organisms try various things,” he finally answered, his words functioning as a verbal shrug, “they keep what works and discard the rest.”
But suppose the manifold of life were to be given a good solid yank, so that the Chilean sea bass but not the Pacific salmon required fresh water to spawn, or that ants but not fireflies flickered enticingly at twilight, or that women but not cats were born with lush tails. What then? An inversion of life’s fundamental facts would, I suspect, present evolutionary biologists with few difficulties. Various organisms try various things. This idea is adapted to any contingency whatsoever, an interesting example of a Darwinian mechanism in the development of Darwinian thought itself.
A comparison with geology is instructive. No geological theory makes it possible to specify precisely a particular mountain’s shape; but the underlying process of upthrust and crumbling is well understood, and geologists can specify something like a mountain’s generic shape. This provides geological theory with a firm connection to reality. A mountain arranging itself in the shape of the letter “A” is not a physically possible object; it is excluded by geological theory.
The theory of evolution, by contrast, is incapable of ruling anything out of court. That job must be done by nature. But a theory that can confront any contingency with unflagging success cannot be falsified. Its control of the facts is an illusion.
David Berlinski, The Deniable Darwin & Other Essays (Seattle, WA: Discovery Institute Press, 2009), 45-47.
This is something I saw pop up on my FB in slow traffic yesterday and I thought it worthy of a “quick” retort.
A couple things going on here. First, no one I listen to or have read (other than the kooky “Alex Jones fringe,” has said it’s “not dangerous.” For instance, I myself argue it is as dangerous as the 1957-1958 and the 1968-1969 outbreaks — when the numbers are tampered down with the CDC’s change to how death certificates are written:
SOME EXAMPLES TO SUPPORT THE CONTENTION
Last month Alameda County, Calif., reduced its Covid death toll by 25% after state public-health officials insisted that deaths be attributed to Covid only if the virus was a direct or contributing factor. — Dr. Makary is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Bloomberg School of Public Health and Carey Business School. (Wall Street Journal)
Alameda County has changed the way it calculates deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a 25% drop this weekend. The official total fell from 1,634 to 1,223 on Friday after the county changed its methodology to align with narrower guidelines used by California and U.S. health agencies. According to a news release from the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, the new number includes only people who “died as a direct result of COVID-19, or had the virus as a contributing cause of death as well as people for whom COVID-19 could not be ruled out as a cause of death.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
(FLASHBACK VIA RPT)And as states are going over death certificates, they are dropping by at least 25% in deaths by Covid-19. And some independent groups are helping “catch” the inflated number, like Pennsylvania’s “Wolf administration was caught this week adding up to 269 fake deaths to the state totals on Tuesday” (CITADELPOLITICS). Or this short example (PJ-MEDIA)
On Thursday, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) confirmed a report by the Freedom Foundation that they have included those who tested positive for COVID-19 but died of other causes, including gunshot injuries, in their coronavirus death totals. This calls into serious question the state’s calculations of residents who have actually died of the CCP pandemic.
Last week, after it was reported that, like Washington, Colorado was counting deaths of all COVID-19 positive persons regardless of cause (which had resulted in the inclusion of deaths from alcohol poisoning), the Colorado Department of Health and Environment began to differentiate between deaths “among people with COVID-19” and “deaths due to COVID-19.”
Just one more of the many examples I could share is the New York Times getting 40% wrong of their “died from Covid-19 under 30-years old” front page news story. Mmmm, no, they didn’t die of Covid.
This Sunday morning, The New York Times has devoted their front page to the nearly 100,000 U.S. victims of COVID-19. The text-only cover lists 1,000 names and excerpts from the obituaries of people who have succumbed to the dreaded virus. The only problem with this lovely memorial is that at least one of the victims did not appear to have died from the coronavirus and his was only the sixth name on the list. [….] But others were quick to point out that Haynes was only the sixth name on the list. One replied, “He was one out of 5 under 30 on the list. Another in that group had a condition that doctors told him he would not live to 18. Did not test positive for COVID but still ruled a COVID death. That’s 40% of the under 30 age bracket.” (Red State)
APRIL 8TH (2020):
APRIL 19 (2020):
So, I am saying as an example, that a good portion of the deaths being attributed to Covid are not in fact Covid deaths.
The CDC has introduced a new ICD code, “to accurately capture mortality data for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on death certificates.”
(Note: ICD stands for International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. It is a medical classification list by the World Health Organization (WHO).)
The new ICD code for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is U07.1. The CDC email says that the WHO has added a second code, U07.2, for instances “where a laboratory confirmation is inconclusive or not available. Because laboratory test results are not typically reported on death certificates in the U.S., National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is not planning to implement U07.2 for mortality statistics.”
The problem with the new codes is that it may result in an inflated number of coronavirus deaths….
And this is what I [for example] have argued. Do these changes made in April of 2020 impact previous outbreaks? Would this change also increase the 1957-1958 and the1968-1969 outbreaks? I think so.
A couple more examples to support the contention
(Story about a May 2020 death cert)
…. Jack Dake, an Oklahoma man who lived an admirable life as a veteran, a lifelong blue-collar worker and a loving dad, died on May 6 after contracting COVID-19.
There’s just one problem with his cause of death, his family says: Jack Dake did not die from the coronavirus.
The man barely had any symptoms, his family told The Oklahoman, and he died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
But, the family insists, that didn’t stop a coroner from labeling Dake as a coronavirus statistic on his death certificate on May 14.
Dake’s son, Jack Dake Jr., told the newspaper that his father’s death had absolutely nothing to do with the pandemic.
“Alzheimer’s was the cause of death, and COVID-19 was not even a contributing condition,” Dake Jr. told The Oklahoman. “Yet it’s recorded as the only cause of death.”
Dake apparently contracted the coronavirus at an Oklahoma City assisted living center and tested positive on April 17.
But the elder Dake was in one of the final stages of his battle with Alzheimer’s and had quit eating and drinking, which is common for end-stage sufferers of the degenerative brain disease.
Dake Jr. also said his father was never again tested for the coronavirus, but the family did request that he be put on hospice care, as he was not eating and was dehydrated.
Dake was listed as being terminal with COVID-19 by hospice workers, and when he died 20 days after testing positive, his death was recorded as one of the state’s coronavirus fatalities.
According to USA Today, a provision in the Coronavirus Aid, Relieve and Economic Securities Act provides a “20% premium or add on” to Medicare reimbursements to health care facilities. (More information about that provision from the American Hospital Association.)…
The Montezuma County Coroner’s Office is disputing the state’s claim of a third fatal case of the coronavirus in Cortez, saying the person died of alcohol poisoning. County Coroner George Deavers said the person tested positive for COVID-19, but an investigation by him and the pathologist determined the cause of death was ethanol toxicity. The person’s blood-alcohol content was 0.55, or almost seven times the legal driving limit of 0.08 in Colorado, Deavers said. A BAC of 0.3 is considered lethal. (DURANGO HERALD)
CBS 12 News examined medical examiner’s reports on COVID-19 deaths and found eight examples where a person was listed as a coronavirus death but had actually died from something else. This includes a 60-year-old man who died from a gunshot wound to the head, a 90-year-old who fell and broke a hip, and a 77-year-old who died of Parkinson’s disease. (CBS)
A woman is left with “no peace” after her father’s death certificate stated he died of the coronavirus despite previously testing negative and an MRI test showing he suffered multiple strokes. Jay Smith died on July 12 in San Antonio, Texas, after an MRI showed brain damage from enduring multiple strokes. Kayla Smith, however, said last week that her father’s death certificate listed him as a coronavirus victim. “They put him as COVID. He didn’t have COVID. He had a stroke,” she said. “The MRI showed that he had multiple strokes in the brain, and also he had a blood clot. Those multiple strokes caused so much damage in his brain that it caused damage in his body.” Jay Smith was first taken to the hospital on July 6, where he tested negative for the coronavirus and was transferred to a non-COVID floor on July 7, according to local outlet KATU. (WASHINGTON EXAMINER)
The other contention in the “meme” is that “no experts” agree with portions of the above. Just high-school dummies.
Here is an older post:
List of “Dummies”
Dennis Prager interviews the co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration, Jay Bhattacharya. Dr. Bhattacharya is a professor of medicine at Stanford University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He directs Stanford’s Center for Demography and Economics of Health and Aging. Bhattacharya’s research focuses on the health and well-being of populations, with a particular emphasis on the role of government programs, biomedical innovation, and economics. Most recently, Bhattacharya has focused his research on the epidemiology of COVID-19 and evaluation of the various policy responses to the epidemic. He is a co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration, a document proposing a relaxation of social controls that delay the spread of COVID-19.
Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist with expertise in detecting and monitoring infectious disease outbreaks and vaccine safety evaluations.
Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases.
Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician, epidemiologist, health economist, and public health policy expert focusing on infectious diseases and vulnerable populations.
Alexander Walker, principal at World Health Information Science Consultants, former Chair of Epidemiology, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, USA
Andrius Kavaliunas, epidemiologist and assistant professor at Karolinska Institute, Sweden
Angus Dalgleish, oncologist, infectious disease expert and professor, St. George’s Hospital Medical School, University of London, England
Anthony J Brookes, professor of genetics, University of Leicester, England
Annie Janvier, professor of pediatrics and clinical ethics, Université de Montréal and Sainte-Justine University Medical Centre, Canada
Ariel Munitz, professor of clinical microbiology and immunology, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Boris Kotchoubey, Institute for Medical Psychology, University of Tübingen, Germany
Cody Meissner, professor of pediatrics, expert on vaccine development, efficacy, and safety. Tufts University School of Medicine, USA
David Katz, physician and president, True Health Initiative, and founder of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, USA
David Livermore, microbiologist, infectious disease epidemiologist and professor, University of East Anglia, England
Eitan Friedman, professor of medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Israel
Ellen Townsend, professor of psychology, head of the Self-Harm Research Group, University of Nottingham, England
Eyal Shahar, physician, epidemiologist and professor (emeritus) of public health, University of Arizona, USA
Florian Limbourg, physician and hypertension researcher, professor at Hannover Medical School, Germany
Gabriela Gomes, mathematician studying infectious disease epidemiology, professor, University of Strathclyde, Scotland
Gerhard Krönke, physician and professor of translational immunology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
Gesine Weckmann, professor of health education and prevention, Europäische Fachhochschule, Rostock, Germany
Günter Kampf, associate professor, Institute for Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, Greifswald University, Germany
Helen Colhoun, professor of medical informatics and epidemiology, and public health physician, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Jonas Ludvigsson, pediatrician, epidemiologist and professor at Karolinska Institute and senior physician at Örebro University Hospital, Sweden
Karol Sikora, physician, oncologist, and professor of medicine at the University of Buckingham, England
Laura Lazzeroni, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and of biomedical data science, Stanford University Medical School, USA
Lisa White, professor of modelling and epidemiology, Oxford University, England
Mario Recker, malaria researcher and associate professor, University of Exeter, England
Matthew Ratcliffe, professor of philosophy, specializing in philosophy of mental health, University of York, England
Matthew Strauss, critical care physician and assistant professor of medicine, Queen’s University, Canada
Michael Jackson, research fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Michael Levitt, biophysicist and professor of structural biology, Stanford University, USA.
Recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Mike Hulme, professor of human geography, University of Cambridge, England
Motti Gerlic, professor of clinical microbiology and immunology, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Partha P. Majumder, professor and founder of the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Kalyani, India
Paul McKeigue, physician, disease modeler and professor of epidemiology and public health, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Rajiv Bhatia, physician, epidemiologist and public policy expert at the Veterans Administration, USA
Rodney Sturdivant, infectious disease scientist and associate professor of biostatistics, Baylor University, USA
Salmaan Keshavjee, professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, USA
Simon Thornley, epidemiologist and biostatistician, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Simon Wood, biostatistician and professor, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Stephen Bremner,professor of medical statistics, University of Sussex, England
Sylvia Fogel, autism provider and psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and instructor at Harvard Medical School, USA
Tom Nicholson, Associate in Research, Duke Center for International Development, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, USA
Udi Qimron, professor of clinical microbiology and immunology, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Ulrike Kämmerer, professor and expert in virology, immunology and cell biology, University of Würzburg, Germany
Uri Gavish, biomedical consultant, Israel
Yaz Gulnur Muradoglu, professor of finance, director of the Behavioural Finance Working Group, Queen Mary University of London, England
A Facebook friend posts a lot of stuff from the Left. And while I could spend all day refuting in similar fashion much of it (like the below), this topic caught my eye. Here is the FB graphic she posted on her wall:
This comment on Christianity is a somewhat paraphrased excerpt from the following letter written by Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Priestley:
“this was the real ground of all the attacks on you: those who live by mystery & charlatanerie, fearing you would render them useless by simplifying the Christian philosophy, the most sublime & benevolent, but most perverted system that ever shone on man, endeavored to crush your well earnt, & well deserved fame.” – Jefferson to Priestley, March 21, 18011 (entire letter)
There are other useful links at MONTICELLO’S link to this topic. Even CHECK YOUR FACT has this regarding the Jefferson quote:
There is no evidence that Jefferson ever said or wrote this. His estate at Monticello includes the saying on its list of “spurious quotations.”
The quote has been frequently attributed to Jefferson on social media, appearing in numerous memes and posts on Facebook.
However, the Daily Caller found no record of Jefferson ever saying or writing this expression. A search of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson returned no results matching the alleged saying. It doesn’t appear in a collection of his quotes and letters either.
His estate at Monticello also includes the statement on its list of “spurious quotations.” The first known appearance in print dates back to 1996, according to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation…..
The fuller quote reads… and note, many say this about their youth as well. I say similar things — as I stayed out of the church as a youth when I could.
“I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies.”
Later in life however, Franklin (and I would say myself) wrestled with religious matters well, and came out on the theistic end of life. Here, for example, is a letter from Benjamin Franklin to the “atheist” Thomas Paine:
TO THOMAS PAINE. [Date uncertain.]
I have read your manuscript with some attention. By the argument it contains against a particular Providence, though you allow a general Providence, you strike at the foundations of all religion. For without the belief of a Providence, that takes cognizance of, guards, and guides, and may favor particular persons, there is no motive to worship a Deity, to fear his displeasure, or to pray for his protection. I will not enter into any discussion of your principles, though you seem to desire it. At present I shall only give you my opinion, that, though your reasonings are subtile and may prevail with some readers, you will not succeed so as to change the general sentiments of mankind on that subject, and the consequence of printing this piece will be, a great deal of odium drawn upon yourself, mischief to you, and no benefit to others. He that spits against the wind, spits in his own face.
But, were you to succeed, do you imagine any good would be done by it? You yourself may find it easy to live a virtuous life, without the assistance afforded by religion; you having a clear perception of the advantages of virtue, and the disadvantages of vice, and possessing a strength of resolution sufficient to enable you to resist common temptations. But think how great a portion of mankind consists of weak and ignorant men and women, and of inexperienced, inconsiderate youth of both sexes, who have need of the motives of religion to restrain them from vice, to support their virtue, and retain them in the practice of it till it becomes habitual, which is the great point for its security. And perhaps you are indebted to her originally, that is, to your religious education, for the habits of virtue upon which you now justly value yourself. You might easily display your excellent talents of reasoning upon a less hazardous subject, and thereby obtain a rank with our most distinguished authors. For among us it is not necessary, as among the Hottentots, that a youth, to be raised into the company of men, should prove his manhood by beating his mother.
I would advise you, therefore, not to attempt unchaining the tiger, but to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person; whereby you will save yourself a great deal of mortification by the enemies it may raise against you, and perhaps a good deal of regret and repentance. If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it. I intend this letter itself as a proof of my friendship, and therefore add no professions to it; but subscribe simply yours,
I start out this upload with a call into the show this week… after a little back-n-forth it ends. BUT, I include a bit of the show Dennis Prager speaks about during the call. That is from late February. A great topic covered well. Here is the creed spoken of:
✦ I believe in one God, the creator of the universe. ✦ That he governs by his providence. ✦ That he ought to be worshipped. ✦ That the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children. ✦ That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this.
For a very good discussion of the influence of the Calvinistic tradition on the thinking of Benjamin, see:
John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987), 191-213.
The fuller quote from Adam’s sheds some light on Calvinism’ influence on the founders. The quote was taken out of context from a letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 19 April 1817 (entire letter):
Twenty times, in the course of my late Reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, “This would be the best of all possible Worlds, if there were no Religion in it”!!! But in this exclamati[on] I Should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without Religion this World would be Something not fit to be mentioned in polite Company, I mean Hell. So far from believing in the total and universal depravity on human Nature; I believe there is no Individual totally depraved.
A slightly more English friendly version is this:
“Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible Worlds, if there were no Religion in it!!!’ But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company – I mean hell.” (Charles Francis Adams [ed.], The Works of John Adams, 10 vols. [Boston, 1856], X, p. 254.)
Taken from They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions, by Paul F. Boller, Jr. & John George, p. 3.
Adam’s was using the quote as a hyperbolic analogy to make a larger point. The opposite point as displayed in the meme. And the point was the depravity of mankind in a VERY Calvinistic structure. Here, as a way to drive the point home that this topic — that is, religious influences on the founding of America — is a topic I have for seminary studied well. Here is a bibliography of books used for a class. Books that sit on my shelves, I will highlight one in particular I recommend:
Atkinson, James. The Great Light: Luther and the Reformation (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2006).
___________. Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution, & Religion, 3rd ed. (Aledo, TX: Wallbuilders Press, 2000).
Belloc, Hilaire. The Protestant Reformation (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, 1928).
___________. Characters of the Reformation: Historical Portraits of 23 Men and Women and Their Place in the Great Religious Revolution of the 16th Century (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, 1936).
Berman, Harold J. Law and Revolution II: The Impact of the Protestant Reformations on the Western Legal Tradition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003).
_____________. Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983).
Eidsmoe, John. Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1987).
Esolen, Anthony. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2008).
Estep, William R. Renaissance and Reformation (Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1986).
Evans, M. Stanton. The Theme is Freedom: Religion, Politics, and the American Tradition (Washington, DC: Regnery, 1994).
George, Timothy. Theology of the Reformers (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1988).
Hannah, John D. Charts of Reformation and Enlightenment Church History (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2004).
Hillerbrand, Hans J. The Reformation: A Narrative History Related by Contemporary Observances and Participants (New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1964).
___________. How the Reformation Happened (New York, NY: Harper Perennial, 1968).
Hoffecker, W. Andrew. Revolutions in Worldviews: Understanding the Flow of Western Thought (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2007).
House, Wayne H. Charts of Christian Theology & Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992).
_____________. Charts on Systematic Theology ( Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2006).
Lowenthal, David. No Liberty for License: the Forgotten Logic of the First Amendment (Dallas, TX: Spence Publishing, 1997).
MacCullouch, Diarmaid. The Reformation: A History (New York, NY: Penguin, 2004).
Marshall, Paul. God and the Constitution: Christianity and American Politics (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002).
McGrath, Alister E. Reformation Thought: An Introduction, 3rd ed. (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 1999).
______________, ed. The Christian Theology Reader (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1995).
Nichols, Stephen J. The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2007).
Noll, Mark A. America’s God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln (New York, NY: Oxford University Press).
Olberman, Heiko A. The Dawn of the Reformation: Essays in Late Medieval and Early Reformation Thought (Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1992).
Parker, G.W.H. The Morning Star: Wycliffe and the Dawn of the Reformation (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2006).
Pelikan, Jaroslav, Reformation of Church and Dogma (1300-1700), vol. 4 (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1984).
Sandoz, Ellis, ed. Political Sermons of the American Founding Era: 1730-1805 (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 1991).
Sharansky, Natan. Defending Identity: It’s Indispensible Role In Protecting Democracy (New York, NY: Public Affairs, 2008).
Skinner, Quentin. The Foundations of Modern Political Thought: The Age of Reformation, vol. 2 (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1978).
_____________. The Foundations of Modern Political Thought: The Renaissance, vol. 1 (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
_____________. Liberty Before Liberalism (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
Spellman, W.M. John Locke and the Problem of Depravity (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1988).
Stark, Rodney. The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success (, New York, NY: Random House, 2006).
_____________. For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Slavery (Princeton, NJ: Princeton university Press, 2004)
Tomkins, Stephen. A Short History of Christianity (Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2005).
Walton, Robert C. Chronological and Background Charts of Church History: Revised and Expanded (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2005).
Witte, John Jr. Religion and American Constitutional Experiment (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2005).
___________. The Reformation of Rights: Law, Religion, and Human Rights in Early Modern Calvinism (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2007).
___________., and Frank s. Alexander, eds. Christianity and Law: An Introduction (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
___________. From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition (Louisville, KY: WJK, 1997)
___________. God’s Joust, God’s Justice: Law and Religion in the Western Tradition (Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006).
___________. Law and Protestantism: The Legal Teachings of the Lutheran Reformation (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2002).
Woods, Thomas J. Jr. The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2004).
Later in life, Adams wrote:
“I love and revere the memories of Huss, Wickliff, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Melancton, and all the other Reformers, how muchsoever I may differ from them all in many theological metaphysical & philosophical points. As you justly observe, without their great exertions & severe sufferings, the USA had never existed.” — John Adams to F. C. Schaeffer, November 25, 1821, in James Hutson, ed., The Founders on Religion: A Book of Quotations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005), 15–16.
The quote by our first official President does not even hint at secular thought? The entire letter in fact does not. An excellent site recording the non-secular events surrounding the Constitution, also note the following — to use just one example from the many via Is the Constitution a “Secular Document?”
[I]t would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves . . . . In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency; and . . . can not be compared with the means by which most governments have been established without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage.
[W]e ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained….
Messages and Papers of the Presidents, George Washington, Richardson, ed., vol. 1, p.44-45
If there was one thing I have learned over the years of attacks against Bush over eight years, and now Trump… the rule of thumb is to wait about a week (or more) for the truth of the situation to come out. This is a prime example. Many who have a visceral hatred for Trump immediately jump on the band wagon [just like BDS, Bush Derangement Syndrome — there is TDS, Trump Derangement Syndrome]… and… the below meme is a prime example.
During conversation with a Facebook friend about a meme posted regarding the Dianne Feinstein with Attorney General Bill Barr, I linked theFULL exchange to the exchange. After some talk, the below meme was posted:
After incorrectly reporting that President Trump had discussed former White House counsel Don McGhan’s potential testimony in the House with Russian President Vladimir Putin, NBC News was forced to issue a correction:
CORRECTION (May 3,2019, 1:51 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article incorrectly included one topic that White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Presidents Trump and Putin discussed on Friday. They did not discuss the possibility of former White House counsel Don McGahn appearing before Congress. Sanders was answering a question from reporters about whether McGahn would testify before Congress.
HILARIOUS. I bet “unnamed sources” are at the center of this story. You can add this to theTRUMP IS CHUMMY WITH PUTINconspiracy the Left and NeverTrumpers have:
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said the U.S. has a full range of options available to help oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and didn’t rule out “ultimately” using military action on top of diplomatic, political and other pressure points.
“We’re preparing those for him so that when the situation arises, we’re not flat-footed,’’ Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week,” one of three scheduled appearances on Sunday morning political shows.
Trump on Friday said Russian President Vladimir Putin assured him he isn’t seeking to “get involved” in the crisis, although Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton both said earlier in the week that the Kremlin talked Maduro out of leaving Venezuela after U.S.-backed Guaido attempted to end his regime by calling for a military uprising.
“The president has made clear, we want everyone out, and that includes the Russians,” Pompeo said.
(Updated! This post is now married — ha — to this post of dietary laws in Leviticus. Also, posted some excerpts from a book at bottom.) After posting the above graphic, Jonathan Lewis [I believe Jonathan closed his FB down since last checked] said this in response to a friends post.
Here is his initial post.
The point of this, for me, is that marriage has been something that changes. I hate when people use the bibles example to deny my friends the right to get married when marriage today is nothing like marriage was in the bible. On top of all this, almost all marriages where arranged. Just as it used to be illegal for a black man to marry a white women. That had to change and it did. And people used the bible to try to stop it from changing. It’s just here to show that marriage has changed. And needs to change again to allow the LGBT community rights.
There are a few things wrong with how Jonathan has come at this issue. The first is how one should approach any historical document, this is called Hermeneutics. This way of approaching any document of antiquity pre-dates Christ [by about 500-years] and can be summed up in the “eight rules.”
✦ Rule of Definition. Define the term or words being considered and then adhere to the defined meanings.
✦ Rule of Usage. Don’t add meaning to established words and terms. What was the common usage in the cultural and time period when the passage was written?
✦ Rule of Context. Avoid using words out of context. Context must define terms and how words are used.
✦ Rule of Historical background. Don’t separate interpretation and historical investigation.
✦ Rule of Logic. Be certain that words as interpreted agree with the overall premise.
✦ Rule of Precedent. Use the known and commonly accepted meanings of words, not obscure meanings for which their is no precedent.
✦ Rule of Unity. Even though many documents may be used there must be a general unity among them.
✦ Rule of Inference. Base conclusions on what is already known and proven or can be reasonably implied from all known facts.
Another important term that is often missed in a post like Jonathan’s to engender emotional responses and not critical thinking, is Etymology:
“the study of the origins of words or parts of words and how they have arrived at their current form and meaning” (Encarta Dictionary).
So, what does a historical thinker say about the above?
They [the critics] start with some improbable presumption; and having so decreed it themselves, proceed to draw inferences, and censure the poet as though he had actually said whatever they happen to believe, if his statement conflicts with their notion of things…. Whenever a word seems to imply some contradiction, it is necessary to reflect how many ways there may be of understanding it in the passage in question…. So it is probably the mistake of the critics that has given rise to the Problem…. See whether he [the author] means the same thing, in the same relation, and in the same sense, before admitting that he has contradicted something he has said himself or what a man of sound sense assumes as true…. The objections, then, of critics start with faults of five kinds: the allegation is always that something is either (1) impossible, (2) improbable, (3) corrupting, (4) contradictory, or (5) against technical correctness. The answers to these objections must be sought under one or other of the above–mentioned heads, which are twelve in number.
So taking the above from Aristotle and applying this thinking to one area, say, language, will afford us a great deal of help:
…Consider how confused a foreigner must be when he reads in a daily newspaper: “The prospectors made a strike yesterday up in the mountains.” “The union went on strike this morning.” “The batter made his third strike and was called out by the umpire.” “Strike up with the Star Spangled Banner.” “The fisherman got a good strike in the middle of the lake.” Presumably each of these completely different uses of the same word go back to the parent and have the same etymology. But complete confusion may result from misunderstanding how the speaker meant the word to be used…. We must engage in careful exegesis in order to find out what he meant in light of contemporary conditions and usage.
So these are just some quick, higher educational deep-thinking skills/points, to apply to the graph. There is a history gap not mentioned in the graph or following conversations about the graph. For instance, King David in the Old Testament had many wives. Why would someone take this event (fact) and rip it from its historical context and apply modern day thinking to it? If this is done then there is another purpose behind doing so, an agenda. Sure, the Bible states that God “gave David Saul’s wives” (2 Samuel 12:8),but that is just a figure of speech. In ancient times, it was commonplace for a new king to take possession of everything owned by the former king, including his wives. So let’s take the “cultural gap” here and open it up a bit:
8. I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives-The phraseology means nothing more than that God in His providence had given David, as king of Israel, everything that was Saul’s. The history furnishes conclusive evidence that he never actually married any of the wives of Saul. But the harem of the preceding king belongs, according to Oriental notions, as a part of the regalia to his successor.
Knowing now that culturally speaking (using the understanding of idioms and ideas as known in a particular time-period) that it was commonplace for a new king to take possession of everything owned by the former king, including his wives, is not the same as God saying go out and take many wives to fulfill the lust of man. In-other-words, just because a great man in the Bible had more than one wife does not mean we should. The Bible faithfully records — as a true history book would — both the advances and the failures of people. Not only that (e.g., ripping something from its historical, cultural, geographic, etymological, and theological understanding), but context is important as well, context in a book recording evil deeds done along side righteous ones, and how to regulate man’s inhibitions.
The only direct command against polygamy is given to the kings that were to rule Israel, as they are told not to “multiply wives” to themselves (Deuteronomy 17:17). It is also interesting to note that polygamous relationships seem to be regulated in the commands Moses gave to the nation of Israel. Leviticus 18:18 instructs that a man should not marry sisters, and Deuteronomy 21:15 talks of assigning an heir to a man with two wives. Many commentators suggest that the passages do not endorse polygamy but rather prohibit it. Deuteronomy 21:15 may also be translated as “has had two wives” in succession rather than at the same time. The sisters in Leviticus 18:18 are understood by some to be any Israelite women. Regardless of the interpretation of these passages, the taking of multiple wives is not in accord with God’s design from the beginning.
An analogous understanding is that the Bible gives commands on how to treat slaves, even having an entire New Testament book written with regards to this understanding. Does this mean the Bible supports slavery? Of course not, however, slavery was an institution around almost as long as man, so the Bible treats the reality of this institution in a way that will create the most fair actions of “owners” of slaves towards the humanity of current affairs. The Bible was the first historical document to say such a radical thing as “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). And this radical change in direction led to women and slavery being defeated (see my chapter in my book on Feminism, and, Listen to Thomas Sowell’s chapter from his book on slavery).
Now, in Christian thinking, Christ is understood to be God, bringing something new to man. He taught on many aspects of this “something new,” and even dealt with this topic – marriage.
In Matthew 19:4 (and Mark 10:2) we find the Pharisees challenging Him by asking if it is lawful for a man to put away his wife:
(vv. 3-8) Some Pharisees came to him. In order to test him, they said, “Does the Law allow a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” Jesus answered, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the creator made them male and female? And God said, ‘Because of this a man should leave his father and mother and be joined together with his wife, and the two will be one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, humans must not pull apart what God has put together.” The Pharisees said to him, “Then why did Moses command us to give a divorce certificate and divorce her?” Jesus replied, “Moses allowed you to divorce your wives because your hearts are unyielding. But it wasn’t that way from the beginning. I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
But you say, “Why?” Because the LORD testifies about you and the wife of your youth against whom you cheated. She is your partner, the wife of your covenant.
Notice how the practice of many wives just does not fit into the passage? Context. We know that God intended for one man, one woman and that this relationship was to be for the duration (Matthew 19:4) the only allowable cause for divorce is fornication God then sought to regulate the polygamous practice (Exodus 21:10). So, again I reference my thinking on the matter of regulating versus abolishing institutions:
In Scripture, God sometimes allowed what was less than ideal because people’s hard hearts made the ideal unattainable (e.g., Ex 13:17; 1 Sam 12:12-13). To be able to exercise some degree of restraint over human injustice, Moses’ civil laws regulated some institutions rather than seeking to abolish them altogether: divorce, polygyny, the avengers of blood, and slavery (Keener 1992: 192-96). Jewish lawyers in fact recognized that God had allowed some behavior (marrying a Gentile captive in Deut 21:11-13; according to some, slavery) as a concession to human weakness (Daube 1959); some of their own rulings, such as the prosbul, conceded human weakness in hopes of improving the situation of justice (Daube 1959: 10). Nevertheless, Jesus’ opponents here assume that whatever the law addressed it permitted (19:7; cf. ARN 24, §49B); Jesus responds that Moses permitted this merely as a concession to Israel’s hard hearts.14 That his questioners exploit this concession thereby implies their own hardness of hearts, a charge ancients would easily enough apply to those deficient in love toward family members (Epict. Disc. 3.3.5). Thus in Matthew (in contrast to Mark), the Pharisees even exploit Moses’ concession as a command (Gundry 1982: 380). Jesus, by contrast, uses Scripture differently (cf. 12:7), here probably seeking to protect an innocent Jewish wife from her husband wrongfully divorcing her….
Craig S. Keener, The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rpids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 2009), 465.
I wish also to posit another idea completely missed by this chart, or the conversation that insued, and that is “is it wrong?” For instance, Christopher Wolfe makes the point that “arguments about whether homosexuality is biological or inherited are secondary to arguments about whether or not it is moral.” He continues,
Dallas declares that “even if it can be proven that genetic or biological influences predispose people toward homosexuality, that will never prove that homosexuality is in and of itself normal.” I have argued elsewhere that “it is an epistemological error to base value decisions on empirical data alone. For example, parents may reject dishonesty or homosexual behavior on moral grounds, regardless of what percentage of the population happily engages in those behaviors.”
Christopher Wolfe, ed., Homosexuality and American Public Life (Dallas, TX: Spence Publishing, 1999), 83-84.
Not only this, but the chart points out another fact, that is, no where in the Bible or in all religious history and cultural history, that homosexuality was never normalized. Therefore, the radical change is coming from those who support this idea. that is, that homosexuality should be normalized via marriage “rights.” In fact, this is one of the main strains of thought in comparing political worldviews. In the book A Conflict of Visions, Thomas Sowell makes this point in comparing the two models for coming to decisions:
While the constrained vision sees human nature as essentially unchanged across the ages and around the world, the particular cultural expressions of human needs peculiar to specific societies are not seen as being readily and beneficially changeable by forcible intervention. By contrast, those with the unconstrained vision tend to view human nature as beneficially changeable and social customs as expendable holdovers from the past. Ideals are weighed against the cost of achieving them, in the unconstrained vision. But in the unconstrained vision, every closer approximation to the ideal should be preferred….
Continuing Dr. Sowell quotes Hayek and then makes his point:
The growth of knowledge and the growth of civilization are the same only if we interpret knowledge to include all the human adaptations to environment in which past experience has been incorporated. Not all knowledge in this sense is part of our intellect, nor is our intellect the whole of our knowledge. Our habits and skills, our emotional attitudes, our tools, and our institutions— all are in this sense adaptations to past experience which have grown up by selective elimination of less suitable conduct. They are as much an indispensable foundation of successful action as is our conscious knowledge.
In this vision, it is not simply that individuals rationally choose what works from what does not work, but also— and more fundamentally— that the competition of institutions and whole societies leads to a general survival of more effective collections of cultural traits, even if neither the winners nor the losers rationally understand what was better or worse about one set or
the other. Values which may be effective at the tribal level will tend to be overwhelmed by values that permit or promote the functioning of larger aggregations of people. From this perspective, “man has certainly more often learnt to do the right thing without comprehending why it was the right thing, and he still is better served by ‘ custom than understanding.” There is thus “more ‘intelligence’ incorporated in the system of rules of conduct than in man’s thoughts about his surroundings.”
Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (New York, NY: basic Books, 2007), 28, 37-38.
Which explains the almost elitist “I know better than all of human history” mentality:
The following are excerpts are from the following book, click to enlarge:
Temple University Students for Intellectual Freedom (TUSIF) hosted Ann McElhinney, the Irish documentary film maker behind the documentary film “Not Evil, Just Wrong”, which debunks myths surrounding global warming. Also speaking on the panel were Jennifer Stefano, Director of Energy and Labor Policy, AFP-PA; and Tom Pyle, President, American Energy Alliance. The event concluded with an always-entertaining, outrageous Q&A session. Entertainment provided by the Temple U. Socialists-Feminists, radical leftists. AFP chose to tour Pennsylvania due to the state’s history in the energy field and their vast resources of shale, crude oil, and coal. This is an opportunity for students to learn about how the left’s radical environmentalist agenda is harming America.
ORIGIN:In February 2016, a quote purportedly from Republican senator Ted Cruz about a connection between being openly gay and the proliferation of mass shootings (and public nudity) started recirculating on social media, along with a message urging people not to support the presidential candidate.
However, while Cruz still openly opposes same-sex marriage, he never said this….
While this “setting the record ‘straight'” (pun intended) and others with his similar falsely attributed statements all seem to go out of their way to stress that Ted Cruz does not support the gay-lifestyle in public affirmations such as gay-marriage. Well duh!? All major world religious founders did not support this lifestyle, and almost all religious adherents do not either. The Judeo-Christian Holy Book as well.
There seems to be an air of, “well, Sen. Cruz did not say this… b-u-u-t-t…” And this is the corruption of the political Left, what some call the professional left. They take religious and historical traditions, and trample on them making the modern an elitist to all of history that stood before there short life. THEY are the elite who know it all — to hell with those that preceded them. Which is why one of the mantra’s that came out of the 60’s was “trust no one over 35-years old.
Here is the other quote:
The above is another malignant lie geared at Ted Cruz. Politifact says of the above this… and keep in mind they are in a sense stressing he is still a “bad guy” but that he didn’t — at least — say this with their noted “pants on fire” rating:
A Facebook post suggests Cruz said the day he declared for president, “There is no place for gays or atheists in my America. None. Our Constitution makes that clear.”
Cruz has been clear about his belief in God and opposition to legalizing gay marriages. However, there is no record of him saying the Constitution leaves no place for gays or atheists in “my America.”
The quick commentary on this swath of Scripture is this:
Concerning the non-virgin bride, there is an element of fraud here. A woman who admitted she was not a virgin was immune from prosecution; only one who pretended to be a virgin bride was subject to execution, and even then, only if her husband accused her. Furthermore, if any man seduced her prior to her betrothal, she needed only publicly confess this fact, and she could require him to marry her and never divorce her. If she was raped in the city, her cries for help would vindicate her. If she was raped in the field, she was presumed innocent and would be vindicated by her own words. Under those circumstances, it is quite reasonable that a woman who married under false claim of virginity was presumed to be guilty of adultery, that is, having sexual relations with someone other than her betrothed during her betrothal.
While this is a response to a particular “meme,” I will be bringing in previous discussions, posts, and ideas to build to a response that should be instructive in approaching other verses or challenges often given to the Christian as evidence that the Bible shows an “evil” God, and thus undermines the Christians reliance on the Bible.
If you want to just go to a refutation of the meme and skip the build-up, you can do so by CLICKING HERE. Otherwise, enjoy the tour through other challenges that end up being the opposite of the claims of the skeptics.
If a man encounters a young woman, a virgin who is not engaged, takes hold of her and rapes her, and they are discovered, the man who raped her must give the young woman’s father 50 silver shekels, and she must become his wife because he violated her. He cannot divorce her as long as he lives. (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)
The meme [upper/right] was posted by my son to engender deeper conversation on his Facebook. I began to post a series of responses giving hints to ways to approach ancient documents. One must REMEMBER this as you read… I am not showing the divine nature of the Bible… I am merely pointing out the generally accepted rules of engagement when approaching ancient literature most legal systems in the West and literary critics accept as a guideline[s] to sift through documents [ancient or new]. These rules are not meant to prove the divine nature of anything. They are however meant to engender a level playing field (if-you-will) to help anyone approach weighty subjects, texts, and the like.
By using these “rules of engagement” we will find that the typical atheist/skeptic who refuses to mature in their approach to these issues use shallow thinking by promoting such “challenges,” so-called. The real purpose of such memes are merely to produce an emotional — visceral — reaction, emotive in nature, having nothing to do with good thinking in any way.
This approach, then, not only makes it easy for the believer to show the folly in such positions, BUT SHOULD make the skeptic pause and contemplate how they are making themselves look in a public place. They [the skeptic] should want to make their case full of gravitas, facts, context, and the like so they can garner a level of respect in their own positions. These memes do just the opposite. They make the skeptic look childish.
(As an aside, almost all of the graphics/pics inserted in my posts will be linked to similarly contextual article or posts.)
This is key:
Raising one’s self-consciousness [awareness] about worldviews is an essential part of intellectual maturity…. The right eyeglasses can put the world into clearer focus, and the correct worldview can function in much the same way. When someone looks at the world from the perspective of the wrong worldview, the world won’t make much sense to him. Or what he thinks makes sense will, in fact, be wrong in important respects. Putting on the right conceptual scheme, that is, viewing the world through the correct worldview, can have important repercussions for the rest of the person’s understanding of events and ideas…. Instead of thinking of Christianity as a collection of theological bits and pieces to be believed or debated, we should approach our faith as a conceptual system, as a total world-and-life view.
Ronald H. Nash, Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity in a World of Ideas (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992), 9, 17-18, 19.
Okay then, I will cut’n’paste much of the posts/discussion from my son’s Facebook below (with some editing/addition).
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
This is one reason why people who say they are skeptics really are not all that skeptical… because they do not do the yeoman’s work to know how to accept or reject their own beliefs well nor those beliefs of whom they are challenging. It does a great disservice to themselves AS WELL as others… and really shows a disregard for a world religion that I have not seen shown to the other great religions of the world. Some even will defend these other Religions without knowing the religions own stated positions.
This is the first of a few points I will make.
This is an issue that has many depths to it. And when atheists or skeptics reject the Bible for such verses, they do a disservice to good thinking. And mind you, one of the most important aspects of this debate is how do we approach ancient texts in a fair way. FIRST and FOREMOST, the idea that the writers of the Bible were robotic in their transmission, called in occultism, “automatic writing,” is not what we see here – where the writer gives over control of himself to write [word-for-word] what is being relayed to him or her. Geisler so aptly words the issue this way:
The [biblical authors] who wrote Scripture were not automatons. They were more than recording secretaries. They wrote with full intent and consciousness in the normal exercise of their own literary styles and vocabularies. The personalities of the [biblical authors] were not violated by a supernatural intrusion. The Bible which they wrote is the Word of God, but it is also the words of men. God used their personalities to convey His propositions. The [biblical authors] were the immediate cause of what was written, but God was the ultimate cause.
(See references for this and Aristotle quote to follow, here)
So the idea that the Bible is a word-for-word dictum is NOT the case. The idea that the Bible is not something akin to “automatic writing” has no bearing on if this is the Divine Word of God however. Rather, the Christians concern should be to show the viable nature of the Bible in its internal context. There are techniques to help the truth seeker to do just that. In fact, our courts today incorporate some help in how they approach documents submitted as evidence, and literary-textual critics employ these Grecian helps that Aristotle and others formulated well.
The internal test utilizes one Aristotle’s dictums from his Poetics. He said,
They [the critics] start with some improbable presumption; and having so decreed it themselves, proceed to draw inferences, and censure the poet as though he had actually said whatever they happen to believe, if his statement conflicts with their notion of things…. Whenever a word seems to imply some contradiction, it is necessary to reflect how many ways there may be of understanding it in the passage in question…. So it is probably the mistake of the critics that has given rise to the Problem…. See whether he [the author] means the same thing, in the same relation, and in the same sense, before admitting that he has contradicted something he has said himself or what a man of sound sense assumes as true.
So are there rules that apply to approaching subjects in a fashion that maximizes the best conclusion on the text/topic that is the subject? Yes there is, this list is also from the Greeks and is summed up in these 8-points are summed up well in a short handout to a class I taught at church dealing with how believers should approach Scripture:
1)Rule of Definition: Define the term or words being considered and then adhere to the defined meanings. 2)Rule of Usage: Don’t add meaning to established words and terms. Ask what was the common usage in the culture at that time period. 3)Rule of Context: Avoid using words out of context. Context must define terms and how words are used. 4)Rule of Historical background: Don’t separate interpretation from historical investigation. 5)Rule of Logic: Be certain that words as interpreted agree with the overall premise. 6)Rule of Precedent: Use the known and commonly accepted meanings of words, not obscure meanings for which there is no precedent. 7)Rule of Unity: Even though many documents may be used there must be a general unity among them. 8)Rule of Inference: Base conclusions on what is already known and proven or can be reasonably implied from all known facts.
(These are more fully explained in the outline I wrote for that teaching here)
This is always helpful to the believer to fall back on when skeptics take a single Scripture out of context and uses it as an example of why they reject the Bible. (The same would be said if something was done in similar fashion to such works as Homer’s Iliad, Caesar’s Gallic Wars, a play from Shakespeare, or the like.) These people not only try to show the Bible in a certain light, but take a leap to say Scripture is not divine in how the Christian or Jew think it is. This is a leap that the text does not warrant. Again, the conclusion they make is not warranted by properly approaching the text… in other words they destroy any warrant they feel they have or have shown by sloppy thinking. By creating this “straw-man” they come to a conclusion that is really a non-sequitur, effectively making their position incoherent.
I will talk about two such texts in the next post.
Over the years I have been challenged with many verses. While I have responded to this in the past, Dennis Prager’s critiques is hard to beat. This challenge has to do with Deuteronomy 21:18-21. The Scripture and argument go something like this:
“If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, 19 then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his home town. 20 “And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 “Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear of it and fear,” (Deut. 21:18-21).
BEFORE getting to Prager’s rebuttal… let us deal with some qualifications one need to know and apply to a text in order to maximize a skeptical look at said text.
This seemingly harsh punishment for rebellion has been used by the critics of Christianity to infer the moral backwardness of Old Testament ethics. It is easy to throw stones from the comfort of our 21st-century perspective. If you apply our own understanding to this situation… then yes, I would agree with the skeptic. But this is not how thoughtful people approach ancient texts. For instance… there are many gaps from our 21st-Century post Judeo-Christian, Western culture that one should account for.
THE LANGUAGE GAP
✦ …Consider how confused a foreigner must be when he reads in a daily newspaper: “The prospectors made a strike yesterday up in the mountains.” “The union went on strike this morning.” “The batter made his third strike and was called out by the umpire.” “Strike up with the Star Spangled Banner.” “The fisherman got a good strike in the middle of the lake.” Presumably each of these completely different uses of the same word go back to the parent and have the same etymology. But complete confusion may result from misunderstanding how the speaker meant the word to be used…. We must engage in careful exegesis in order to find out what he meant in light of contemporary conditions and usage.
We speak English, but the Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek (and a few parts in Aramaic, which is similar to Hebrew). Therefore, we have a language gap; if we don’t bridge it, we won’t fully be able to understand the Bible.
THE CULTURE GAP
If we don’t understand the various cultures of the time in which the Bible was written, we’ll never comprehend its meaning. For example, if we did not know anything about the Jewish culture at the time of Christ, the Gospel of Matthew would be very difficult to grasp. Concepts such as the Sabbath, Jewish rituals, the temple ceremonies, and other customs of the Jews must be under¬stood within cultural context in order to gain the true meaning of the author’s ideas.
THE GEOGRAPHY GAP
A failure to be familiar with geography will hinder learning. For instance, in I Thessalonians 1:8 we read, “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith [toward] God is spread abroad.” What is so remarkable about this text is that the message traveled so quickly. In order to understand how, it is necessary to know the geography.
Paul had just been there, and when he wrote the letter, very little time had passed. Paul had been with them for a couple of weeks, but their testimony had already spread far. How could that happen so fast? If you study the geography of the area you’ll find that the Ignatian Highway runs right through the middle of Thessalonica. It was the main concourse between the East and the West, and whatever happened there was passed all the way down the line.
THE HISTORY GAP
Knowing the history behind a passage will enhance our comprehension of what was written. In the Gospel of John, the whole key to understanding the interplay between Pilate and Jesus is based on the knowledge of history.
When Pilate came into the land with his emperor worship, it literally infuriated the Jews and their priests. So he was off to a bad start from the very beginning. Then he tried to pull something on the Jews, and when they caught him, they reported him to Rome, and he almost lost his job. Pilate was afraid of the Jews, and that’s why he let Christ be crucified. Why was he afraid? Because he already had a rotten track record, and his job was on the line.
Consider something known as the psychology of testimony. This refers to the way witnesses of the same event recall it with a certain level of discrepancy, based on how they individually observe, process, store, and retrieve the memories of an event.
One person may recall an event in strict chronological order; another may testify according to the principle of the association of ideas. One person may remember events minutely and consecutively, while someone else omits, condenses, or expands. These factors must be considered in comparing eyewitness accounts, and this is why history expects a certain amount of variability in human testimony. For example, let’s say that twelve eyewitnesses observed the same event–a car accident. If those witnesses were called to testify in a court of law, what would the judge think if all twelve witnesses gave the same exact testimony of the event, with every detail being identical? Any good judge would immediately conclude they were in collusion and reject their accounts. The variations of the observations of the eyewitness testimonies actually add to the integrity of their recall.
These are just a few of the many examples one needs to seriously consider when approaching ANY ancient text – especially ancient religious texts.
GENRE (IN THE OLD TESTAMENT)
Lawis “God’s law,” they are the expressions of His sovereign will and character. The writings of Moses contain a lot of Law. God provided the Jews with many laws (619 or so). These laws defined the proper relationship with God to each others and the world (the alien)….
History. Almost every OT book contains history. Some books of the Bible are grouped together and commonly referred to as the “History” (Joshua, Kings & Chronicles). These books tell us the history of the Jewish people from the time of the Judges through the Persian Empire…. In the NT, Acts contains some of the history of the early church, and the Gospels also have History as Jesus’ life is told as History….
Wisdom Literature is focus on questions about the meaning of life (Job, Ecclesiastes), practical living, and common sense (Proverbs and some Psalms )….
Poetryis found mostly in the Old Testament and is similar to modern poetry. Since it is a different language, “Hebrew,” the Bible’s poetry can be very different, because it does not translate into English very well….
Prophecy is the type of literature that is often associated with predicting the future; however, it is also God’s words of “get with it” or else. Thus Prophecy also exposes sin and calls for repentance and obedience. It shows how God’s law can be applied to specific problems and situations, such as the repeated warnings to the Jews before their captivity….
Apocalyptic Writing is a more specific form of prophecy. Apocalyptic writing is a type of literature that warns us of future events which, full meaning, is hidden to us for the time being….
Approaching portions of Scripture (or ANY ancient text) knowing even the genre is helpful to dissect it well.
DENNIS PRAGER exemplifies how to approach Deuteronomy 21:18-21 by explaining much of what we have talked about already plus more:
In an ongoing discussion at an atheist’s website, I was challenged with how evil God is to kill children with a Bear (2 Kings 2:23-25). I mean children? Here we have proof that God killed innocent children. Or so a light reading would express as much.
This is a post I can truly pat-myself-on-the-back for… because I offered a twist on this that other apologists have not. Let me explain after this verse is read:
He went up from there to Bethel, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. From there he went on to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria. (2 Kings 2:23-25)
It looks like we are seeing God killing kids for essentially – and just as cutely – as a young child gets frustrated and calls a friend “poopy head.”
However, if you come at this ancient text taking the Grecian examples of the credibility afforded a text, and step out of our 21st-Century post Judeo-Christian “Western” culture and ask if there are gaps in our knowledge (historical time periods, who was this written to, who wrote it, does understanding geography help us in understanding this tough verse, does understanding the culture of the writer help [how are the two cultures different], are there hint in the Hebrew that will help us as well, etc) Using this we can ask like any CSI detective:
And How It Happened.
…as well as does the text…
Does it repeat a theme in the larger text;
Is it related or unrelated;
Is it alike or similar to other portions of the text or cultures in the area;
Is it true to our modern life in some way.
By doing so we can find out that:
✔ The crowd was in their late teens to early twenties (NOT CHILDREN, but military age, and this is known from other parts of the Bible where the Hebrew is used AS WELL AS from other ancient documents and cultures in the area of the Middle-East); ✔ they were antisemitic (this is known from most of the previous passages and books as well – also historical anthropology and other ancient texts); ✔ they were from a violently cultic city (ditto); ✔ the crowd was large (large enough to do the following….
(Here is my “pat-on-the-back” coming up)
✔ this large crowd had already turned violent and riotess.
I can say this because as the pictures of cultural customs from this time-period [key!] show on my in-depth response to this by using drawings of historical figures from Israels history: priests, prophets, spiritual leaders, and even Flavius Josephus.
What did you notice above in the cover to an A&E documentary to the right? Yup, a turban as well as a cloak which covers the heads of the priests and prophets. Take note of the below as well.
I will post continue with a snippet from the aforementioned post:
I posted multiple images to drive a point home in our mind. The prophet Elisha would have had a couple cultural accoutrements that changes this story from simple name calling to an assault. He wouldn’t have been alone either, in other words, he would have had some people attached to him that would lay down their lives to protect him. And secondly, he would have had a head covering on, especially since he was returning from a “priestly” intervention. So we know from cultural history the following:
He would have had a head dressing on — some sort of turbin; and he would have had an entourage of men to dissuade any attack or mistreatment of a priest of Israel on a journey.
One last point before we bullet point the complete idea behind the Holy and Rightful judgement from the Judge of all mankind. There were 42 persons killed by two bears. Obviously this would require many more than 42 people. Why? What happens when you have a group of ten people and a bear comes crashing out of the bushes in preparation to attack? Every one will immediately scatter! In the debate I pointed out that freezing 42 people and allowing the bears time to go down the line to kill each one would be even more of a miracle than this skeptic would want to allow. So the common sense position would require a large crowd and some sort of terrain to cut off escape. So the crowd would probably have been at least a few hundred.
Also, this holy man of God was coming back from a “mission,” he would have had an entourage with him ~ as already mentioned, as well as having some sort of head-covering on as pictured above ~ as already mentioned.
QUESTION: So, what do these cultural and historical points cause us to rightly assume?
ANSWER: That the crowd could not see that the prophet was bald.
Which means they would have had to of gotten physical — forcefully removing the head covering. Which means also that the men with the prophet Elisha would have also been overpowered. So lets bullet point the points that undermine the skeptics viewpoint.
✔ The crowd was in their late teens to early twenties; ✔ they were antisemitic (this is known from most of the previous passages and books); ✔ they were from a violently cultic city; ✔ the crowd was large; ✔ the crowd had already turned violent.
These points caused God in his foreknowledge to protect the prophet and send in nature to disperse the crowd. Nature is not kind, and the death of these men were done by a just Judge. This explains the actions of a just God better than many of the references I read.
COMMENT AFTER THE TWO EXAMPLES
So when I see something like this meme… it is just that. A very badly “exegeted” point. VERY RARELY do I meet a skeptic that does the yeoman’s work of heavy lifting and making a case well enough that they explain their disbelief in a manner that would demand a decision by other’s by engendering an informed dialogue. But this is why Trump — pivoting here to make a point — does so well among conservative because rather than pausing to see if their emotional response is rooted in more that a rejection based on “no-knowledge” and driven by reactive feeling to the opposing political party.
Skpetics and liberal leaning persons deride the religious or conservative folks for being shallow and not thinking well, but in fact these rejections of BIG IDEAS and ancient text are done by doing just that — low information positions. which is why I ask people to pause and to think more deeply on their own positions. To learn their position better as well as to know better without making straw-men type arguments the position they are rejecting. In-other-words, Know what you reject, and why you reject it.
AGAIN, bringing this to current examples in our political lives, and repeating myself in a way:
Very rarely do you find someone who is an honest enough skeptic that after watching the above 3 short videos asks questions like: “Okay, since my suggestion was obviously false, what would be the driving presuppositions/biases behind such a production?” “What are my driving biases/presuppositions that caused me to grab onto such false positions?” You see, few people take the time and do the hard work to compare and contrast ideas and facts. A good example of this is taken from years of discussing various topics with persons of opposing views, I often ask if they have taken the time to “compare and contrast.” Here is my example:
I own and have watched (some of the below are shown in high-school classes):
Bowling for Columbine
Roger and Me
Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
An Inconvenient Truth
The God Who Wasn’t There
But rarely [really never] do I meet someone of the opposite persuasion from me that have watched any of the following (I own and have watched):
Celsius41.11: The Temperature at Which the Brain Dies
Michael & Me
Michael Moore Hates America
Bullshit! Fifth Season… Read More (where they tear apart the Wal-Mart documentary)
Mine Your Own Business
Screw Loose Change
3-part response to Zeitgeist
Unlocking the Mystery of Life
Just as an afterthought. A skeptic who rejects God and accepts naturalism cannot say rape is wrong like the theist can say this:
theism: evil, wrong at all times and places in the universe — absolutely;
atheism: taboo, it was used in our species in the past for the survival of the fittest, and is thus a vestige of evolutionary progress… and so may once again become a tool for survival — it is in every corner of nature;
pantheism: illusion, all morals and ethical actions and positions are actually an illusion (Hinduism – maya; Buddhism – sunyata). In order to reach some state of Nirvana one must retract from this world in their thinking on moral matters, such as love and hate, good and bad. Not only that, but often times the person being raped has built up bad karma and thus is the main driver for his or her state of affairs (thus, in one sense it is “right” that rape happens).
An example from an “evangelical” atheist:
★ Richard Dawkins: My value judgement itself could come from my evolutionary past. ★ Justin Brierley: So therefore it’s just as random in a sense as any product of evolution. ★ Richard Dawkins: You could say that, it doesn’t in any case, nothing about it makes it more probable that there is anything supernatural. ★ Justin Brierley: Ultimately, your belief that rape is wrong is as arbitrary as the fact that we’ve evolved five fingers rather than six. ★ Richard Dawkins: You could say that, yeah.
In other words they have to BORROW FROM ethics the worldview that they are trying to disprove.
For more on this, see my post noting many more atheist/evolutionary (philosophical naturalism) positions followed to their logical conclusions here:
Here are some questions from a person trying to figure out what I have been getting at. At first they seem like “snarky” comments, but end up in a good honest question.
So when you say rape was “okay then and not now”, you mean that it was ok according to the people, or according to God? (Or both?)
I say this is snarky because the questioner either was not aware (or on purpose) formulated the question which would only allow for a response that “damned” the responder.
In a very neat book meant to dumb down big ideas in logic, we read the following example that will surely persuade the reader who dislike “Dubya’s” rhetoric:
A false dilemma is an argument that presents a limited set of two possible categories and assumes that everything in the scope of the discussion must be an element of that set. Thus, by rejecting one category, you are forced to accept the other. For example, “In the war on fanaticism, there are no sidelines; you are either with us or with the fanatics.” In reality, there is a third option, one could very well be neutral; and a fourth option, one may be against both; and even a fifth option, one may empathize with elements of both.
Ali Almossawi, An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments: Learn the Lost Art of Making Sense (New York, NY: The Experiment, 2013), 16.
To backtrack just a bit, I am sure S.C. missed the previous two point response to the meme specifically in the original post on Facebook. So I will post these here for clarity and then pick back up with the convo
I linked to a post on Dr. William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith site explaining some of the issues. Here is an excerpt of the challenge… followed by an excerpt of the response:
…you believe that the Bible is the revealed word of God, as you seem to regarding the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, then how do you find child rape so abhorrent when there is nothing in the Bible condemning it? Indeed, Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT says that if a woman (regardless of age) is raped, the rapist must pay her father 50 silvers and marry the woman, which hardly seems a punishment to the rapist. This, of course, excludes engaged women, for whom the punishment for being raped is death if they don’t cry for help (Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB). The only instance in which it is only the rapist who is punished is if the victim is engaged (possible but not likely if they are a child), and they cry for help (again, a child would very likely be intimidated into not calling for help, and therefore, by Biblical law, be killed)….
Dr. Craig responds in full, but here is the point I wish to zero in on:
But do your examples even do that? The immorality of rape is immediately given in the seventh of the Ten Commandments “You shall not commit adultery.” Any sexual intercourse outside the bounds of marriage is proscribed by the Bible. So rape is always regarded as immoral in the Bible. That puts a quite different perspective on things. What your complaint really is is that the penalties for rape in the passages you cite seem unduly lenient. You think that the criminal laws against rape needed to be even stronger than they were in ancient Israel. Well, maybe you’re right. What does that prove? There’s no claim that Israel’s laws were perfect or adequately expressed God’s moral will. Jesus himself regarded the Mosaic law on divorce as inadequate and failing to capture God’s ideal will for marriage ( Matthew 5.31-2 ). Maybe the same was true for rape laws. Israel’s criminal statutes were not timeless truths for all societies but were intended for Israel at a certain specific time in its history. Moreover, these statutes are examples of case law: if such-and-such happens, then do so-and-so. These were idealizations which served as guides and might admit all sorts of exceptions and mitigating circumstances (like a child’s being afraid to cry for help).
In any case, Spencer, how much effort have you really made to understand these laws in the cultural context of the ancient Near East? None at all, I suspect; you probably got these passages from some free-thought publication or website and repeat them here with little attempt to understand them. By contrast, Paul Copan in his Is God a Moral Monster? (Baker: 2010) deals with these passages in their historical context, thereby shedding light on their meaning (pp. 118-119). Copan observes that there are three cases considered here:
1. Consensual sex between a man and a woman who is engaged to another man, which was a violation of marriage ( Deuteronomy 22.23 ). Both parties were to be executed. 2. Rape of a woman who is engaged to another man ( Deuteronomy 22.25 ). Only the rapist is executed; the woman is an innocent victim. 3. Seduction of a young woman who is not engaged to another man Deuteronomy 22.28 ; cf . Exodus 22.16-17 ). The seducer is obliged to marry the young woman and provide for her, if she will have him; otherwise her father may refuse him and demand payment of the usual bridal gift (rather like a dowry) anyway. In short, rape was a capital crime in ancient Israel. As for Leviticus 20.13 , this verse prescribes the death penalty for consensual sexual intercourse between two men; that you interpret this passage to condemn a child who is assaulted by a pedophile only shows how tendentious your exegesis is.
If anything, then, the Bible is far stricter in its laws concerning sexual behavior than we are today. So even though appeal to the Bible is no part of my argument for (2), what the Bible teaches about the immorality of rape is right in line with my claim that objective moral values and duties exist.
Another good — short — response is this “cool as Colt 45” response to the same topic incorporating the language and context used in these verses:
So the main challenge is dealt with quite handily herein. However, continued discussion will always ad to the understanding of such a tough topic.
Remember I am still responding to S.C.’s challenge that was a false dilemma, but try to steer the convo to what I know he means. Keep in mind, things do not fall into place easily, so repeating the same thing multiple times ~ just differently or with additional information ~ will often times make a subject click with an individual. I am hoping this will be the case here.
Again, “rape” is not part of that verse. The Bible was the first book to legally codify for an entire culture the punishment of the rapist.
…Let’s compare this with ANE law. Copan writes,
Middle Assyrian laws punished not a rapist but a rapist’s wife and even allowed her to be gang-raped. In other ancient Near Eastern laws, men could freely whip their wives, pull out their hair, mutilate their ears, or strike them –a dramatic contrast to Israel’s laws, which gave no such permission.
The previously posted link to a video uploaded to my YouTube of parents being able to kill their children for disobedience is another oft misquoted verse to make a point without any depth of real understanding 12-minutes long):
You see, these verses do the exact opposite of what the meme says they do. The meme says they support rape… in their full context they are protecting the woman from rape by making death the punishment for the rapist.
AGAIN, for CLARITY purposes:
In Deuteronomy 22:28-29 is appears as if a rape victim is to marry the rapist, the verse is as follows:
“If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.”
This issue is, however, addressed in another verse from Exodus in the laws of social justice:
“If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife. If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride-price for virgins.” (Exodus 22:16–17)
Copan explains that “In each case, the man is guilty. However, the critics’ argument focuses on verses 28–29: the rape victim is being treated like she is her father’s property. She’s been violated, and the rapist gets off by paying a bridal fee. No concern is shown for the girl at all”.
He goes on to say that “The girl’s father (the legal point person) has the right to refuse any such permanent arrangement as well as the right to demand the payment that would be given for a bride, even though the seducer doesn’t marry his daughter (since she has been sexually compromised, marriage to another man would be difficult if not impossible). The girl has to agree with this arrangement, and she isn’t required to marry the seducer. In this arrangement, she is still treated as a virgin”.
So, rather than undermining women this law instead emphasizes their protection…
…So, I don’t think that these verses are condoning rape. Instead these laws were in place to protect the vulnerable, such as women, should undesirable circumstances arise. No, the Bible nor God condones rape.
S.C. is now understanding a bit more about the context, culture, language, the intended audience, the author, etc. I say this because even if he does not admit it, when you start to ask good questions it means you are becoming invested and interested in an outcome. The real challenge is to get beyond one’s presuppositions and reach a conclusion that may be as minimal as this, “wow, maybe I was wrong in coming at this topic in the past… what can I do to better treat the subject as well as respecting others beliefs.”
Respecting others can often times be respecting friends or family.
So here is the question from S.C.
There seems to be a lot of assumptions made there. Where in the text does it say anything that gives us the idea that “The girl has to agree with this arrangement, and she isn’t required to marry the seducer. In this arrangement, she is still treated as a virgin”?
Some of the answer is already dealt with in detail above. We are incorporating many of the points from the “8-Rules,” Aristotles dictum, Israels cultural mores in a lawless time period as well as the surrounding nations cultural mores. In fact we have used in this post many of the points discussed.
One we will focus on here is Context:
3) Rule of Context: Avoid using words out of context. Context must define terms and how words are used.
Many a passage of Scripture will not be understood at all without the help afforded by the context; for many a sentence derives all its point and force from the connection in which it stands. (Biblical Hermeneutics, Terry. M. S.. p. 117. 1896.)
[Bible words] must be understood according to the requirements of the context. (Thayer’s Greek?English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 97.)
Every word you read must be understood in the light of the words that come before and after it. (How to Make Sense, Flesch, Rudolph, p. 51, Harper & Brothers. 1959.)
[Bible words] when used out of context… can prove almost anything. [Some interpreters] twist them… from a natural to a non?natural sense. (Irenaeus, second?century church father, quoted in Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 50, Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1957.)
The meaning must be gathered from the context. (Encyclopedia Britannica, Interpretation of Documents. V. 8, p. 912. 1959.)
A good rule of thumb in life is to remember that Context is King.
So using the language and context of the text in question, remembering these key points (pic to the right), we begin to have the tools to answer the issue ourselves by investigating the language, context of the book itself, history, and the like. Here, Apologetics Press has done precisely that (also noted in what I called the “smooth as Colt 45” video):
…The truth is, however, the Hebrew word in this case translated “seizes” (tapas [see more below on this]) can mean many things. Here are some examples of the way it is translated in Deuteronomy 22:28 in several different English translations:
“lay hold on her” (ASV)
“taking her” (DRA)
“and takes her” (NLV/NAB)
“and hath caught her” (YLT).
By looking at other passages that use the word, we can see that the word tapas sometimes has nothing to do with force, and therefore nothing to do with rape. As Greg Bahnsen has written:
The Hebrew word tapas (“lay hold of her,” emphasized above) simply means to take hold of something, grasp it in hand, and (by application) to capture or seize something. It is the verb used for “handling” the harp and flute (Gen. 4:21), the sword (Ezek. 21:11; 30:21), the sickle (Jer. 50:16), the shield (Jer. 46:9), the oars (Ezek. 27:29), and the bow (Amos 2:15). It is likewise used for “taking” God’s name (Prov. 30:9) or “dealing” with the law of God (Jer. 2:8). Joseph’s garment was “grasped” (Gen. 39:12; cf. 1 Kings 11:30), even as Moses “took” the two tablets of the law (Deut. 9:17)… [T]he Hebrew verb “to handle, grasp, capture” does not in itself indicate anything about the use of force (italics in orig.).
In truth, we use English words in this way on a regular basis. For instance, a brief look at the English word “take” illustrates the point. You can take someone’s cookie, or take a person’s wife, or take a bride to be your wife. The idea of force is not inherent in the word at all. If you take a person in your arms, what have you done? Or if a young man takes a young woman to be his wife, is there force involved? No. Also, think about the English word “hold.” You can take hold of something in a number of ways. We often say that a woman will holdthe child in her arms, or a bridegroom takes a bride to “have and to hold.” The Hebrew wordtapas is acting in exactly the same way as the English words “hold” and “take” are.
In addition, it is clearly evident from the immediate context of Deuteronomy 22 that rape is not being discussed in verses 28-29. We know that for two primary reasons. First, verses 25-27 give a clear instance in which rape is being discussed. In that case, a man raped a woman, she “cried out” (v. 27), but she was in the country and no one was there to help her. The text says that the man who committed the crime “shall die” (v. 25), but the Israelites were supposed to “do nothing to the young woman” since “there is in the young woman no sin worthy of death” (v. 26). It is of great interest that in this clear case of rape, the text uses a completely different word. The word translated “forces her” in verse 25 is the Hebrew word chazaq and yet in verse 28, the verb has been intentionally changed to tapas (see Shamoun, 2015). Second, the natural reading of verses 28-29 makes it evident that both parties are guilty of at least some of the blame. Notice that at the end of verse 28 the text says, “and they are found out.” When the passage discusses the obvious case of rape, the text specifically only mentions the man in verse 25 when it says “then only the man who lay with her,” and conspicuously leaves out any indication of “they” being involved in the sin. Dr. Bahsen compares Deuteronomy 22:28-29 to Exodus 22:16, which reads, “If a man entices a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall surely pay the bride-price for her to be his wife” (1992). Notice that in this verse in Exodus, there is no force and both parties shoulder some of the guilt.
The practical value of God’s instruction in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 is easy to see. A man has sexual intercourse with a young woman who is not betrothed to anyone. There is no force involved, and it is not rape. But their action has been discovered. Now, who in the land of Israel wanted to marry a young girl who has not kept herself pure? The man cannot walk away from his sin. He has put the young woman in a very difficult life situation, in which there would be few (or no) other men who would want to marry her. Since it was often the case that women had an extremely difficult time financially without the help of a husband, this would be even more devastating to the young woman. God holds both the parties accountable, instructing them to get married and stay together, both suffer the shame, and work through the difficulties that they have brought on themselves. Nothing could be more moral, loving, and wise than these instructions. Once again, the skeptical charge against God’s love is without foundation.
MOST COMPASSIONATE LAW
Just to repeat an important note:
Again, “Nothing could be more moral, loving, and wise than these instructions in that area and culture.” Why? Because it, for the first time in the ancient world, stripped the power of choice away from men and allowed for choice in the woman’s decision. Sexual abuse, including rape, are prohibited in Scripture. In a Blaze article addressing modern myths regarding the Bible and various sexual behaviors, Rabbi Aryeh Spero and Rabbi Moshe Averick (and others) bring clarity to the argument that the Bible requires a woman to marry her rapist:
Averick addressed Deuteronomy — the book that is most targeted by biblical critics.
“The ‘rape’ that is talked about in Dvarim (Deuteronomy), is obviously not criminal rape; it is talking about a case where a relationship between a young man and woman got out of hand,” he said. “Sexual relationships in a Torah society are strictly forbidden before marriage — dating is only for purposes of marriage in the Orthodox community.”
Averick also pointed out that in Jewish law, women cannot be forced to marry against her will. If a man does not fulfill his duties as a husband, the woman is “entitled to initiate divorce proceedings.” The “rapist,” or fornicator, is not allowed to initiate such proceedings but is obligated to fulfill spousal duties.
This requirement that a “rapist” marry the violated woman, Bock noted, was enacted in order to protect the woman whom he defiled with his sexual advances.
“His act has rendered her unacceptable as a wife for others,” he explained. “So this law was designed to indicate responsibility in the sex act for the person in a patriarchal context where women had little power and where the women if left to the event would be on her own.”
Nettelhorst acknowledged that in a modern context, the situation mentioned in Deuteronomy “sounds awful,” and it was not ideal at the time it occurred either, but the idea was to, again, protect the woman and discourage sexual immorality. By marrying her, the “rapist” was accepting the consequences of his actions, paying her father a restitution and taking on the responsibilities of a husband to provide protection and security.
Spero added that a rape victim could “opt out” of marrying her rapist if she so desired, for, “if not, men could forcibly bring to altar any single woman he desired simply by raping her.”
CONCLUSION TO FIRST QUESTION
BTW, the penalty was 10-years wages, AND marriage to provide for and feed, house, and raise children with this wife… IF SHE SO DESIRED! Which often times she did, considering that the “rape” spoken of here isn’t violent but a more consensual fling. And considering the importance placed on virginity in that time period. One author notes:
…it could be viewed as merciful to the woman, who, because of the rape, would be considered unmarriageable. In that culture, a woman without a husband would have a very difficult time providing for herself. Unmarried women often had no choice but to sell themselves into slavery or prostitution just to survive.
That punishment consisted of two parts: he must pay the woman’s father fifty shekels of silver and he must marry and support the woman for the rest of her life. Fifty shekels of silver was a very substantial fine as at that time a shekel was a measurement of weight and not an actual coin. Some scholars believe it could have represented as much as 10 years of wages for the average person. The fact that a man was in any way punished for rape was revolutionary for that period of time in history. No other ancient legal system punished rape to anywhere near the degree outlined in Deuteronomy 22:22-29. While it is unrealistic to say that because of this command rape never occurred, hopefully the severity of the punishment was a strong deterrent to the exceedingly evil act of rape. …
That should explain WELL the verse [verses] used out of context to engender emotive responses based in just that, feelings.
NOT TO MENTION that no where in Israels ancient writings, rabbinical tradition and writings [etc.], did the position taken in the meme ever get recorded historically. Showing that how the people of the time understood exactly what was meant by this codified law. This is another clue to show the skeptics grasping at straws to build a straw-man position and attack it.
ANOTHER POINT MADE BY S.C.
I understand that the earlier verses in the chapter are referring to consensual sex, but to me passage 28 specifically cannot be about consensual relations when it uses the term “seize” (or “lay hold”, depending on which translation you are using). A Strongs concordance search of this shows that this term was used to show the taking of something, or someone, without consent, in multiple passages throughout the Bible.
I respond as well as a person in an apologetics group I am a part of (thanks to Z.E. Kendall for his insight… I was on the same track with …USE SKILLFULLY)
No, you have it backwards… the earlier verses talk about rape, the later talks about a more consensual relation.
✦ A primitive root; TWOT 2538; GK 9530; 65 occurrences; AV translates as “take” 27 times, “taken” 12 times, “handle” eight times, “hold” eight times, “catch” four times, “surprised” twice, and translated miscellaneously four times. 1 to catch, handle, lay hold, take hold of, seize, wield. 1a (Qal). 1a1 to lay hold of, seize, arrest, catch. 1a2 to grasp (in order to) wield, wield, use skillfully. 1b (Niphal) to be seized, be arrested, be caught, be taken, captured. 1c (Piel) to catch, grasp (with the hands). ~ James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995).
“Taphas” is the Hebrew word for “Lay hold on her”, and it can mean “to catch, handle, lay hold, take hold of, seize, wield, USE SKILLFULLY…”. It doesn’t necessitate a wrongful handling, or laying hold of. This verse concerns seduction, not rape. In no way is rape condoned in any part of the Bible, a simple reading of the larger context of Deuteronomy 22:25-29 easily confirms this. Notice that verse 25 gives the Law regarding rape, but uses an entirely different word than that in verses 28-29. The word used in vs 25 is chazaq- “to force”. In the other stories of the Bible that recount rape, none of them use the expression “taphas Shekahb” as in the Deuteronomy 22:28-29 passage.
…As for Deut. 22:28-29, interesting other uses closer to the meaning of Hebrew 8610 in the passage are likely such that the man in the passage “plays her like a harp,” as it were, or “uses her like the bow.” (Genesis 4:21 and Amos 2:15). So yeah, I’d say that enticement or the like is in view there.
The passage is connected with the immediately preceding passage, of course not through the concept of rape but rather, through the concept of outcomes that the parents/father wouldn’t desire.
Good stuff Maynard. And remember the context of the verses leading up to 28-29 dictate this is a woman deceived by a man’s promises, played like a harp. The primitive root meaning of the word means “to manipulate.”
Answering Islam has a good two paragraph section out of their larger post on the topic of rape:
The Hebrew word tapas (“lay hold of her,” emphasized above) simply means to take hold of something, grasp it in hand, and (by application) to capture or seize something. It is the verb used for “handling” the harp and flute (Gen. 4:21), the sword (Ezek. 21:11; 30:21), the sickle (Jer. 50:16), the shield (Jer. 46:9), the oars (Ezek. 27:29), and the bow (Amos 2:15). It is likewise used for “taking” God’s name (Prov. 30:9) or “dealing” with the law of God (Jer. 2:8). Joseph’s garment was “grasped” (Gen. 39:12; cf. I Kings 11:30), even as Moses “took” the two tablets of the law (Deut. 9:17). People are “caught” (I Kings 20:18), even as cities are “captured” (Deut. 20:19; Isa. 36:1). An adulterous wife may not have been “caught” in the act (Num. 5:13). In all of these instances it is clear that, while force may come into the picture from further description, the Hebrew verb “to handle, grasp, capture” does not in itself indicate anything about the use of force.
This verb used in Deuteronomy 22:28 is different from the verb used in verse 25 (chazak, from the root meaning “to be strong, firm”) which can mean “to seize” a bear and kill it (I Sam. 17:35; cf. 2 Sam. 2:16; Zech. 14:13), “to prevail” (2 Sam. 24:4; Dan. 11:7), “to be strong” (Deut. 31:6; 2 Sam. 2:7), etc. Deuteronomy 22:25 thus speaks of a man finding a woman and “forcing her.” Just three verses later (Deut. 25:28), the verb is changed to simply “take hold of” her – indicating an action less intense and violent than the action dealt with in verse 25 (viz., rape).
My son asked Sari (the woman I am talking to in this post) to continue on with the conversation to its conclusion, to which I pointed the following out to my son for clarity:
It’s simple Dominic, when I bump into someone in Starbucks and they ask me about this verse, I open up my Bible and find these notes (my Bible is to the right || right click on image and choose “open link in new tab” to fully enlarge). When Sari is at Starbucks and pulls out her Bible [insert laugh track] when someone asks about this verse, she has these notes (hers is to the left || right click on image and choose “open link in new tab” to fully enlarge):
Romans 8:7 simply states: “For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so.” (see some commentary below). I can only give so many “helps” to apply to a proper hermeneutic:
Greek rules of interpretation (which the courts in Western culture use),
other verses (the Bible interpret’s the Bible ~ Aristotle’s Dictum),
cultural and historical keys to the Hebraic culture,
as well as the others surrounding Israel… etc.
J.C. Ryle said in “Fire! Fire!,” this,
“Beware of manufacturing a god of your own: a god who is all mercy but not just, a god who is all love but not holy, a god who has a heaven for everybody but a hell for none, a god who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and bad in eternity. Such a god is an idol of your own, as truly an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible, there is no God at all. Beware of making selections from your Bible to suit your taste. Dare not to say, ‘I believe this verse, for I like it. I refuse that, for I cannot reconcile it with my views.’ Nay! But O man, who art thou that repliest against God? By what right do you talk in this way? Surely it were better to say over EVERY chapter in the word, ‘Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth.’ Ah! If men would do this, they would never deny the unquenchable fire.”
To use the laws of logic and reason, to rightfully divide the Word (2 Tim 2:15), to apply laws in the universe discovered by the Greeks — like Newton discovered the law of gravity, it had always been there, it was merely codified.
Men do not make laws. They do but discover them. Laws must be justified by something more than the will of the majority. They must rest on the eternal foundation of righteousness. ~ Calvin Coolidge
All this [and more] in application to the faith in the construct of the Christian-theistic worldview is something non-regenerate men and women have deep lasting trouble with. For they cannot even see [again, even see] the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3:3)… because regeneration brings a new sight, a new awakening to the soul (1 John 2:29; John 3:6; James 1:18). In other words, Sari HAS fleshed (pun intended) it out to its logical conclusion (Psalm 146:8; Luke 24:31), that is, blindness, rebellion, in the sight of something so evident (2 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Kings 6:17).
It is like saying “look at that ‘fast’ car,” contrasted with “look at that ‘slow’ car.” The car stays the same… the word preceding it defines it’s context… and in our culture it could denote a Pinto [a junker piece of shite!] or a Marzoratti [an expensive sports car].
You see, sexual assault [rape] stayed the same — because the culture looked on sexual purity as important. But the word preceding it defines it’s context — AS WELL AS the actions taken after the context is spoken. So the assault stays the same… the modifier denotes a willingness of a non-willingness in the action (AS WELL as the punishment following such an action ~ death penalty or a “shotgun wedding”).
A shotgun wedding is a wedding that is arranged to avoid embarrassment due to an unplanned pregnancy, rather than out of the desire of the participants. The phrase is an American colloquialism, though it is also used in other parts of the world, based on a supposed scenario (usually hyperbole) that the father of the pregnant daughter, almost by accepted custom, must resort to using coercion (such as threatening with a shotgun) to ensure that the man who impregnated her follows through with the wedding.
The use of duress or violent coercion to marry is no longer common in the U.S., although many anecdotal stories and folk songs record instances of such coercion in 18th- and 19th-century America. Often a couple will arrange a shotgun wedding without explicit outside encouragement, and some religious teachings consider it a moral imperative to marry in that situation.
One purpose of such a wedding can be to get recourse from the man for the act of impregnation; another reason is to ensure that the child is raised by both parents. In some cases, as in early America and in the Middle East, a major objective was the restoring of social honor to the mother.…
This is why leftists can say 1-out-of-4 women are sexually assaulted on college campuses… who would want to send their daughter to such a place like higher education. It isn’t until we see that they define an “unwanted kiss” and “rape” as sexual assault (and everything in-between).
This verse reveals how hopelessly incorrigible and utterly destitute the flesh really is. It is a spiritual anarchist. This demolishes any theory that there is a divine spark in man and that somehow he has a secret bent toward God. The truth is that man is the enemy of God. He is not only dead in trespasses and sins but active in rebellion against God. Man will even become religious in order to stay away from the living and true God and the person of Jesus Christ. Man in his natural condition, if taken to heaven, would start a revolution, and he would have a protest meeting going on before the sun went down! Jacob, in his natural condition, engaged in a wrestling match. He did not seek it, but he fought back when God wrestled with him. It wasn’t until he yielded that he won, my friend. Anything that the flesh produces is not acceptable to God. The so–called good work, the civilization, the culture, and man’s vaunted progress are all a stench in the nostrils of God. The religious works of church people done in the lukewarmness of the flesh make Christ sick to His stomach (see Rev. 3:15–16)….
~ J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: The Epistles (Romans 1-8), electronic ed., vol. 42 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 145.
The mind-set of the flesh is death because it is enmity against God. The sinner is a rebel against God and in active hostility to Him. If any proof were needed, it is seen most clearly in the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. The mind of the flesh is not subject to the law of God. It wants its own will, not God’s will. It wants to be its own master, not to bow to His rule. Its nature is such that it cannot be subject to God’s law. It is not only the inclination that is missing but the power as well. The flesh is dead toward God.
~ William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments, ed. Arthur Farstad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 1709.
While I originally found this poster funny, I — due to a post on the FaceBook where I found the original pic — was informed about some of Marilyn’s biographical history. Firstly, her mother was mentally ill, so we know that there was an unstable home from the get-go for Marilyn. And any child in other than the ideal mother/father home are statistically known to increase in bad-choices and bad-behavior. Not only that, as a foster child, Marilyn was sexually abused.
Yvonne, the woman who called this to my attention, makes a great point:
✤“She tried her best with the cards life gave her.”…. “Marilyn suffered her entire life… The daughter of her acting coach told Marilyn ‘I want to be just like you,’ Marilyn replied ‘honey, you don’t want to be me, people will just use you.'”
So, I want to leave the poster up with my verbal retraction of it as a lesson learned a)by me, and b) a lesson for others. What we see in society “acted out” may often times be something else (see #’s 4 & 6 for example) that deserves compassion ~ especially Christian compassion… we invented it: humanism [something other world views lack, inherently] ~ rather than humor or derision. Marilyn was lost and needed Christ just like any of us did — do.
We Are All Harlots In the Lord's Eye (Hosea)
What I am basically saying is that it is all fun and games till someone gets hurt, and this girl was thrust into the underbelly of Hollywood and the world stage by people who replaced father-figures and family, it should be a cautionary tale. One that should shake us awake and pray, not for Marilyn, obviously. But to pray for the many girls and boys in the world that are dealt bad cards. And to effectively counter culture’s acceptance of behavior based off of bad cards by its [culture’s] tendency to rubber stamp all behavior as equal, acceptable, or beneficial. (After reading #’s 4 & 6 you will note I am speaking about same-sex marriage as one example.)
Nor should we encourage girls or boys to mimic behavior wrought by these “bad cards” that are displayed in the narcissism of pop-culture.
And, as an aside, who would Jesus invite into your inner-circle of friends that would surprise you like Mary Magdalene surprised the religious leaders of Israel?