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REPLY #7 TO
"RELIGION"



Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).


(R) My wife and i found your site via the rail.
(MB) Nice to know that the system is working. Hopefully, you'll bookmark my site and visit often!


(R) Although i disagree with your intellectual approach to Christianity (which seems to be the 'religion' you have the most difficulty ascribing to) i would just like to say it is excellently written!
(MB) I use Christianity for most of my examples not because it is the religion I have the most difficulty with, but because it is the religion with which I am the most familiar. I would not consider myself competent to engage in more than a cursory discussion of most other religions.


(R) Your quest for God (which is clearly seen in your profuse argumentativeness) seems to be outlined by your statement : The concept of intellectual doubt is, to them, unfathomable and even threatening.
(MB) How does being argumentative peg me as engaging in a "quest for God"? I seek only to debunk the nonsense that most Christian proselytizers advance to attempt to promote and justify their beliefs. The rationale behind the statement you quoted is simply that deep religious conviction is totally consuming and leaves no room for doubts. If such doubts were permitted, the spectre of losing a major portion of one's life due to the crumbling of its religious supports would be too much to bear. Therefore, they are simply brushed aside and not permitted.


(R) However i charge you to replace intellectual with spiritual and apply this statement to yourself.
(MB) In other words, you are trying to claim that I fear that I might give up free intellectual thought and become an adherent to restrictive religious blind faith? Frankly, I'd spend more time fearing that I might someday sprout a third arm in the middle of my back.


(R) Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
(21) because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
(22) Professing to be wise, they became fools,

(MB) This is part of Paul's admonishment of unrighteous men and sets the tone for the message he seeks to deliver to the Roman recipients of his epistle. What else should we expect a preacher of the Gospel to say?


(R) i have intentionally quoted a verse from God's inerrant, holy book the Bible, and would like a response to the following statements :
(MB) To claim that the Bible is "inerrant" is foolhardy. It only takes one example to prove this to be false and there are numerous examples of contradictions, inconsistencies, and outright nonsense from which to choose. One could start with a famous example and refer to the all of the errors in Matthew's genealogy of Jesus, how it differs from the one given in Luke, and how they both are in contradiction of the history related in the Old Testament. But, that's another discussion. Let me first respond to your interpretations of the verses you have submitted for my analysis.


(R) Luke 17:30, "Even thus shall it be IN THE DAY when the son of man is revealed. (vs 31) IN THAT DAY . . . (vs 34) I tell you, IN THAT NIGHT.."
Nobody in Luke's day thought it could be day and night at the same time! They thought the earth was flat! Luke was written around 65 A.D. How did Luke know something that the scientists didn't know until the 16th century?

(MB) There are several errors in your interpretation, context, and supporting argument. First, your selected verses are culled out of context from a larger story that begins at Verse 20 when the Pharisees are demanding that Jesus tell them when the Kingdom of Heaven will come. The words "day" and "days" are used many times throughout Jesus' reply and mean chronological days -- not the time during those days when the sun is shining. You have also left out the important part of Verse 34, which, in its entirety, reads: "I tell you, in that night there shall be two [men] in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left." There is nothing in that verse that even suggests that anybody is postulating the fact that it can be "day" in one place and "night" in another at the same relative time.
    As far as your supporting argument goes, the ancient Greeks had proven some 400 years prior to the writing of Luke the fact that the Earth is, indeed, spherical and not flat. Luke was originally written in Greek and the author would certainly have known that fact.



(R) Isaiah 40:22, "It is he that sitteth upon the CIRCLE OF THE EARTH."
How did Isaiah know in 700 B.C. the earth is round? The scientists of Isaiah's day thought the earth was flat. They didn't discover the earth is round until the early 1500s when Magellan sailed around the world. How did Isaiah know something over 2000 years ahead of science?

(MB) Simple -- he didn't know any such thing. He also does not *say* any such thing in this verse. He describes the Earth as a circle. A "circle" is a flat, two-dimensional object. Draw one for yourself on a piece of paper to see this. A "sphere" such as the Earth, on the other hand, is a three-dimensional object. (To be strictly correct, the Earth is ovoid rather than being a perfect sphere, but that's beside the point). A person standing outside at a location where he can see to the horizon in all directions could easily imagine that he is standing atop a gigantic, flat, circular object. It's actual sphericity would not be apparent to anyone who had only visual data to work with. Magellan did not prove that the world was round. He accomplished what Christopher Columbus failed to do -- reach the Orient by sailing west from Europe.


(R) Job 26:7, ". . . and hangeth the earth upon NOTHING."
During the time of Job, it was believed a god named Atlas held the earth on his shoulders! Nobody believed the earth "hangeth upon NOTHING!" Job is the oldest book in the Bible! Written over 3500 years ago! How did Job know something that was IMPOSSIBLE to know during his day?

(MB) Again, it's simple -- he didn't know that. Atlas was one of the Titans in Greek mythology. The Hebrews of Job's time knew nothing of this (and would certainly not have believed it if they did know about it). Once again, you have left out the important part of the verse. In its entirety, it reads: "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, [and] hangeth the earth upon nothing." If one considers a map of the Earth, north is "up". If the north is stretched out over "the empty place" from which the rest of the Earth hangs downward, then the Earth can be said to "hang upon nothing" -- which is exactly what Job is saying. Also, your chronology is incorrect. Job is not the oldest book in the Bible, nor was it written 3500 years ago (i.e., in 1500 B.C.). Job was written after the Babylonian Exile in 538 B.C. and, therefore, is some 300 years younger than the J Document comprising parts of the Pentateuch (or "Torah", if you prefer) -- the first five books of the Bible.


(R) Genesis 2:7, "And the Lord God formed man of the DUST OF THE GROUND, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul."
Surely, you don't take Genesis 2:7 seriously? Do you?

(MB) Of course not. By the way, I'm sure you know that this is part of the second of the two distinct and contradictory creation tales presented in Genesis. In the first tale, Man is created after the other living things. In the second, he is created first. They can't both be correct!


(R) November 1982, Reader's Digest had an article titled How Life on Earth Began. It stated that according to scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center the ingredients needed to form a human being can be found IN CLAY.
(MB) This is somewhat of a mangling of A. G. Cairns-Smith's theory that the carbon-based organic building blocks for life on Earth were produced as a by-product of an earlier phase of crystalline silicon formation and growth that acted as a catalyst. Clay itself is primarily silicon and water and not all of the other required elements to make carbon-based life.


(R) The article said, "The Biblical scenario for the creation of life turns out to be NOT FAR OFF THE MARK."(Reader's Digest, November, 1982 p.116) No, it's "not far off the mark" - it's right on it!
(MB) Neither Biblical scenario has any similarity to reality. They don't even agree with each other! By the way, if you're looking for objective and competent science reporting, you would be better advised to seek sources other than Reader's Digest.


(R) Scientists have laughed at the possibility of Genesis having any scientific credibility whatsoever -
(MB) ...and rightfully so.


(R) and yet, the more we learn, the more we find it to be SCIENTIFICALLY CORRECT!
(MB) There is hardly anything in Genesis that even approaches coincidental scientific correctness. The more we learn, the more this is demonstrated. Yet, this should not be an indictment of Genesis. After all, consider the audience for whom the book was written and the time during which it was written.


(R) These are not even the beginning of God's signature in His word.
(MB) Nor of the standard circular-reasoning attempts to use the Bible to prove its own validity. The Bible is one of the great works of literature. It is invaluable for the history recorded in its pages and as a repository for the philosophical and theological ideas of the people who wrote it. However, it is not a work of science. It is not inerrant. It cannot be taken literally in all chapters and verses. And, there is nothing about it that makes it superior to the holy books of any other religion.


(R) Thank you for your time and God (the *only* God that is :) bless.
(MB) Thank you for the sentiment. By the way, how do you know that your God is "the only God"? How do you know that any such beings exist at all or that the Bible hasn't got the story wrong while some other religion's holy book doesn't actually contain the real truth of the matter?



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