Episode 101: Is God a Liar? »« 100th Episode Live Recording – April First 12pm-2pm EST

100th Episode Live Special

The Doubtcasters would like  to thank all the RD fans from around the world who took part in our live 100th episode special. Your questions, stories and insights made this milestone for the show that much more special. But if you didn’t get a chance to listen, it’s all here. Does Jesus fulfill the biblical requirements for being the Jewish Messiah? Does the bible condone the beating slaves? What are the worst arguments you’ve ever heard for the existence of God? Why do atheists care what religious people believe? We attempt to answer these questions and many more, and in doing so we show once again that when it comes to the claims of religion there are plenty of reasonable doubts.

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Comments

  1. Fergus Gallagher says

    I hear the “Argument from the Survival of the Jews” all the time. I’m pretty sure a caller used it on last week’s (2012-03-25) Atheist Experience.

  2. Andrew Ryan says

    Yay, I got a mention on the show for my slavery discussion with Chris Bolt.

    I’d say his explanation for why that Exodus passage does not condone the beating of slaves is one of the weakest pieces of apologetics I’ve heard. Again, if “We’re going to do nothing to punish you” is not condoning, I’d like to know what hypothetically Chris imagine it would like like if the bible DID condone “beating your slave so they die a couple of days later”. Would it only be condoning if the slaver was actually rewarded or given a NEW slave? What does Chris think the middle ground between ‘Punishing’ and ‘Rewarding’ for an action is?

    I note too that following Chris’s “Why on earth would someone blog so much about something they disagree with” blog, virtually every blog his site has published since has been discussing atheism, including a “Happy atheists day” on April 1.

    Please guys, please debate Chris Bolt.

  3. 1000 Needles says

    Thanks for another excellent episode, Doubtcasters!

    Most of the atheists that I know here in Asheville, NC are listeners of your show. Your knowledge and expertise are greatly appreciated.

  4. daneelolivaw says

    I’m almos done listening this episode. Congratulations on your 100+ shows, IMHO you are one of the best podcasts about atheism and critical thinking of religion I’ve encountered.
    This was an interesting change of pace. Having constant interaction with the audience and answering questions on the go meant that you couldn’t spend a lot of time of research and exposition on every subject, which is one of the hallmarks of this show. But I think that it was still an awesome episode with lots of interesting content.

  5. Amy says

    Love the episode! I hope you’ll do the live show format again soon. I’m not sure if Reasonable Doubts has merchandise, but I would love an I <3 Zander Reasonable Doubts T-shirt.

  6. Amy says

    I forgot to say what I initially came to the blog to say. Congratulations of 100 episodes and 4+ years of great podcasting! Thank you all for the time you put into it. I really enjoy it.

  7. C8H10N4O2 says

    Is there any place that Jeremy has a textual outline of his arguments about the internal contradiction of Jesus’ being the Messiah? For some reason, as soon as genealogy talk starts, my mind shuts off haha. I’ve been trying to follow the argument and write an outline for myself, but I’m not seeing the full extent of the argument. I’d really love to see this get analyzed much more thoroughly in an upcoming segment too if that were possible.

    Congrats on your 100th episode. Your podcast was pivotal in my deconversion process of being someone who was a believer but was frustrated with a lot of things being “taught” in churches to becoming someone who is very comfortably no longer a believer but is now even more frustrated with things being “taught” in churches.

  8. Justin Schieber says

    Andrew,

    I had a very large response written for Mr, Bolt prepared for this episode. Unfortunately, we had SO MUCH to talk about and SO MANY callers, I quickly shortened it to the bare essentials. I might have to post the full version on his blog soon.

    As for a formal debate with Chris on the soundness of TAG, that is a possibility down the road. If it happens though, it will be after he responds to the actual main arguments we presented in RD98. He has expressed interest in responding but noted that he was extremely busy and wanted to take his time on the critique, which we appreciate. While it has been well over a month since the episode has been out and his very active blog-posting suggests he has plenty of time to show the atheists who’s the boss, I would rather give him the benefit of the doubt. It is his time after-all.

    But, for now, having a break from All-things-TAG is not something to complain about.

    Also, we have a youtube channel now!

  9. says

    Great episode! I felt kind of strange being able only to listen to the recording of the live episode, but I wanted to add my congratulations.

    Jeremy, I wonder which is the more compelling argument about Jesus’s lineage vis a vis the Bible? On one hand, you found the impossibility of Jesus being the messiah as per the lineage provided by Matthew. While this is good, isn’t it easier simply to argue that the bible is self-contradictory because this lineage differs from that of Luke? I can already see the apologists’ response to the critique from this episode: “Well, Matthew was mistaken. If you read Luke, that’s the real lineage…”

  10. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    Just started listening…

    Regarding Joseph Campbell:
    I almost looked into his stuff once, but from internet scuttlebut (and maybe lecturer asides?), I got the impression his work was more the subject of lay fandom, not so popular in academia.
     
    If I remember the criticisms correctly, he tended to trivalize/cherry-pick aspects of narratives to force them to match, then posit that the resemblance hinted at a human universal that gave rise to similar recycled myth elements everywhere. Basically that he had a theory of everything that wasn’t very useful for leading to new information about a given culture. Whether the universal was expected to be biology or something supernatural was never stated.
     
    If that criticism is accurate, sounds like a literary and less-severe version of “Pyramids were built by Egyptians, Maya, and more. A single source must’ve influenced civilizations on multiple continents.”

  11. Jeremy B says

    I have only been listening for a short time and I just wanted to say that I loved the 100th edition.

    I recently ran across a bad argument for the existence of god (specifically, the primacy of Christianity) that you didn’t mention on the show which seriously broke my brain for, like, nearly 20 minutes and I wanted to share it with you all.

    The argument goes like this: The story of Jesus is so absurd on its face that its mere existence is not only proof that there is a god, but also that His son, Jesus Christ, must therefore be the savior of mankind, just as the story itself claims.

    The person (by which I mean “radio personality based in the Atlanta, GA, area”) then went on to say that this absurdity is one of the many clues that our Lord and Creator of the Universe left for humanity so that we could know He exists and that His Word is truth… etc. etc.

    Of course, the funny (if not insidious) part of it is, in order to believe this is a valid argument, you have to accept, up front, something with which I think most of us already agree: the central myth of Christianity is ridiculous.

    I’d love to hear any thoughts…

    Oh… and thanks, Doubtcasters, for making my life in the Bible Belt just a little more livable.

  12. says

    Compulsory: I don’t know about academic reviews of Campbell, but I’ve never heard anything like what you said. Even if I did, I wonder if it is worthwhile to criticize someone for bringing some complicated anthropology to the lay person? It seems that science’s inability to relate to the average person is part of why people still have beliefs in souls and bigfoot. His contribution to getting people to question their religious belief should be acknowledged.

    I don’t think he did say much about the supernatural because it didn’t have much to do with myth. A study of myth starts with the presumption that it is words that came from people. Or if you wanted to know if there was a person once that Vishnu was based on, that would be a study of the history of a myth, a different discipline. Nor did he mention biology, somewhat like Newton understanding the affect of gravity without knowing the mechanism. Campbell didn’t have the available science to begin to answer those questions.

    Your comparison to pyramid building is insulting. The “single source” is the human experience. We have come a long way since Campbell’s death with neuroscience, but people have always known there is a commonality across all humankind. Myths are a way to explore that.

  13. Bjarte Foshaug says

    Thanks to the doubtcasters for the best atheist podcast available anywhere, and congratulations on show nr. 100(-ish)!

    Re. the “Why do it?” challenge, I never bought into the idea that it doesn’t matter what people believe either (even if shockingsly many atheists do), mainly for two reasons:

    First of all, if you look at much of what is actually written in sacred texts like the Bible or the Quran (doctrines like martyrdom and jihad, divine laws demanding the death penalty for victimless “crimes”, the demonization of infidels and heretics, the apocalypse, hell, the inferior status of women etc.), really believing it can make even the most appalling behavior seem like the only right thing to do. Thus my first problem with religious faith is that it allows otherwise intelligent people to think and act as if such doctrines were true whether they are in fact true or not. Religious “extremism” is simply what follows – quite naturally – from this. You cannot expect people to really believe something, hold it to be a matter of escaping eternal torment or gaining eternal happiness, and still act as if adapting to secular society during the few decades they spend on earth was more important (As Sam Harris puts it, there is no possible future in which aspiring martyrs are going to make good neighbors).

    Of course this doesn’t apply equally to all religious beliefs (As Harris has also pointed out, the crazier you get as a jain, the less we have to worry about you), but this brings us to the second, and in my opinion more basic, problem with religion in general. The main error that all religious believers are guilty of, as I see it, is to believe for the wrong reasons (as you have to do in order to believe in God, since no other reasons are available). The same kind of wrong reasons that gave us the jains also gave us the jihadists. The fact that the contents of jain beliefs are harmless while the contents of jihadist beliefs are harmful, is irrelevant with respect to the deeper problem which is simply leaving the most important questions in life up to blind faith in the first place. To quote Harris again, “Faith, if it’s ever right about anything, is right by accident”, thus relying on faith to settle any matter of real world importance, is hardly any better than leaving the outcome up to chance. If that’s not immoral, then I don’t know what is.

  14. Jim says

    Awesome show! Congratulations on 100 shows and I’m looking forward to another 100. When people ask for a recommendation on which podcasts to listen to, this one is ALWAYS among the three I give them. (Three, has such a Biblical ring to it. Sometimes I offer up seven! Maybe I need to make a list of 12…or even 40!)

    As for the worst argument for god’s existence…this is one I heard for years at my Mother’s church. I hate repeating it because it brings up such horrible memories…but here goes. “The Bible says it, I believe, that settles it.” Usually followed by several random “amens” from the crowd.

  15. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    @Lausten North:

    I don’t know about academic reviews of Campbell

    There are quite a few in this link.
    Article: Wikipedia – Monomyth Criticisms

    “Others have found the categories Campbell works with so vague as to be meaningless, and lacking the support required of scholarly argument”

     

    I wonder if it is worthwhile to criticize someone for bringing some complicated anthropology to the lay person?

    I wasn’t referring to the sort of thing that happened to Sagan (shun the popular guy). The criticisms, as I understood them, were that he used a non-peer reviewed medium to promote not-so-good anthropology.
     
     

    Whether the universal was expected to be biology or something supernatural was never stated.

    I don’t think he did say much about the supernatural because it didn’t have much to do with myth. A study of myth starts with the presumption that it is words that came from people.

    I was referring to what would lead disperate people to write similar myths. A supernatural version of the collective unconscious would be another take on it.
     

    The “single source” is the human experience… people have always known there is a commonality across all humankind.

    I’d say that’s biology/ethology then. Since you brought up neuroscience, you’re probably using a similar definition for “human experience”.
     

    Myths are a way to explore that.

    They’re a way to appreciate that. Exploration implies discovery.
     
     

    Your comparison to pyramid building is insulting.

    From Campbell’s Wikipedia article

    As a strong believer in the unity of human consciousness and its poetic expression through mythology, through the monomyth concept Campbell expressed the idea that the whole of the human race could be seen as reciting a single story of great spiritual importance [...] As the ultimate truth cannot be expressed in plain words, spiritual rituals and stories refer to it through the use of “metaphors”
    [...]
    According to Campbell, the Genesis myth from the Bible ought not be taken as a literal description of historical events happening in our current understanding of time and space, but as a metaphor for the rise of man’s cognitive consciousness as it evolved from a prior animal state.

  16. CSB says

    And I just unpaused the podcast to find out that you mentioned the clip about ten seconds later.

    Go figure.

  17. says

    Thanks compulsory. I think you are taking a more scientific approach. That is one way his work should be evaluated, but I put him more in the category of a Shakespeare or Yeats. Except of course he didn’t create poetry. I think the quote about unity that you provided supports what I’m saying. I think you’re reading something into the idea of cross-cultural similarities, and extrapolating Campbell thought there was a source outside the human mind. You could be right, but I would need more evidence.

    By “explore” I meant learn about what ancient people were thinking. Writing that includes allegory is one of the few insights we have into how people perceived their world in a time when the world was less understood.

  18. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    Arg, this is gonna be a wall of text. Good news: I’ll conceede something. : )

    @Lausten North #19:

    I put him more in the category of a Shakespeare or Yeats.

    With art, the context of the audience’s states of mind, then and now, affect the meaning gleaned. If you’re after entertainment, this doesn’t particularly matter; you’ll still have a compendium of stories. But history is a necessary supplement to differentiate between themes and pop-culture references the author of his time expected an audience to understand versus themes modern readers might imbue.

    For example, quite a few unsavory customs and stated attitudes begin to make sense in light of sorting out paternity in an age before tests.
     

    Writing that includes allegory is one of the few insights we have into how people perceived their world in a time when the world was less understood.

    If history is unavailable, and literary extrapolation is the only thing available, that’s all the more reason to be strict about the mechanisms by which the methodology is supposed to arrive at truth, so as to minimize the risk of becoming an exercise in confirmation bias. This is why in other disciplines, ‘textural criticism’ is such an involved process.

  19. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    @Lausten North #19:

    I think you’re reading something into the idea of cross-cultural similarities, and extrapolating Campbell thought there was a source outside the human mind.

    I wasn’t reading-in so much as recoiling at the needless ambiguity that could’ve easily been cleared up.

    Jung was a major influence on Campbell, and even he was ambiguous at times as to whether he meant inherited similarity or a subtle homo sapiens hivemind. Within a limited scope, inherited/immersed culture is viable vehicle.
    Article: Wikipedia – Collective Unconscious
     
    Terms like unity of consciousness (rather than similarity) and hunting for deeply important universal ‘spiritual’ messages were the sorts of things that set off visceral woo red flags in me. And I thought you were charitably reading plausible naturalistic definitions into it. Digging further, I think I may have eliminated my supernatural influence hypothesis…
    Article: European Graduate School – Joseph Campbell Biography

    In his series of four books entitled The Masks of God (1962 – 1968), Joseph Campbell would attempt to summarize the world’s main spiritual stories in order to support his ideas on the unity of the human species. This theory includes the notion that most of the belief systems of the world have a common geographical ancestor.

    Joseph Campbell believed that all forms of spirituality are the search for a single unknown force, which he would come to qualify more as eminent rather than transcendent and which, according to him, is simultaneously inner and outer, in contrast with being only external, and from which all comes from. This is for him where everything exists and in which everything eventually returns.

    *cringe* More red flags, but cultural memory from last physical mingling is implicated.

    So rather than a contemporary supernatural uplink, he’s dealing with the assumption that vaguely similar plot elements (any abberant details explained away as later embellishment) were somehow preserved over so many generations of reinacting/retelling that they reach back to before humanity set out to settle distant continents. This is where those other academic criticisms come in: regarding the quality of information fed in and what novel knowledge comes out.

  20. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    There’s a good archaeology textbook that covers a history of a variety of silly and respected hypotheses, how they were motivated, how they were flawed, and what was subsequently determined as new physical evidence came in. Campbell isn’t among them, but it offers the sorts of things to be wary of in any proposed historical framework: for example, when linguists who tried to determine the ancestry of American Indians by comparing words that resembled Europeans’.

    Book: Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology
     
    This concludes the wall of text.

  21. meanmike says

    Congratulations on making it to 100 episodes!

    I really enjoy the podcast. I started around episode 90 and have since listened backwards to almost every one. Thank you for introducing me to Norse Mythology, and giving me cognitive dissonance about eating meat. I am very much looking forward to the next hundred episodes.

  22. says

    Compulsory,

    That mythology textbook looks great. I’ve been wanting to delve more into archaeology but I dont feel like I have enough of a grounding in its methods to be a good critical thinker here. I wanted the equivalent of Fischers “Historians Fallacies” for archaeology…maybe this will be that book. Thanks for the recommendation.

  23. says

    In regards to your response about what a secular world would be like(paraphrased). I have to disagree. There would still be killing, fighting, and bulling people would just not have a religious reason to blame it on.
    But that’s just a small point. good show and thanks for the other 99 as well.

  24. says

    Just to clarify for people reading the comments, we never implied in any way that violence or superstition would cease to exist in a world without religion. Only religiously motivated violence, etc.

  25. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    Out of curiousity, how’d you guys tie Oya to voodoo dolls?

    Not that it wouldn’t make sense: manipulating someone’s luck would be fitting for her. And anything’s possible with all the jumbled syncretism goin’ on, and no central orthodoxy…

    Wild Speculation: From some cursory googlin’ I think the called spirit is Oya herself (or any voodoo diety), not one of her minions or the target person, and the (sympathetic doll + pinned-on contagion) is just say “sic ‘em!”
     
    Incidental trivia:

    it is difficult to establish the regional/cultural origins of many practices. For example, the use of an effigy, often called a “voodoo doll” in popular culture, to perform a spell on someone is documented in African, Native American, and European cultures.

    Article: Wikipedia – Hoodoo

  26. Bjarte Foshaug says

    Re. comments 25 & 26, of course religion isn’t the only thing that motivates bad behavior, but that doesn’t mean religion isn’t also a motive (or that the evil that is directly attributable to religion is not a problem). It is even true that religion sometimes motivates good behavior, but I would argue that in every case, there are far more noble reasons to engage in that very same behavior than faith (the very reasons that make us think of it as “good” in the first place). As Sam Harris puts it, one of the problems with religion is that it gives people bad reasons to be good when good reasons are actually available. You don’t have to share Harris’ views on moral realism (as I certainly don’t) to agree with him on this point. Without religion we would still have all the good reasons to be good, while at least some the bad reasons to be bad would cease to exist.

    I also think Harris hit the nail on the head when he said that because secularists and religious moderates have no idea what it’s like to really believe the things that religious extremists claim to believe (the kind of things that are actually in the Bible), we cannot easily bring ourselves to accept that anybody else really believes it either, hence we get argument like “Religion is misused” and “Without religion, people would find another excuse” and “This would all have happened anyway (for completely different reasons)”, all of which assumes that the real motive is always secular. I hope they are right (if the real motive is secular, then at least we have a common interest in keeping the planet habitable), but I am going to take some serious convincing.

    I never cease to be amazed at the inability of many atheists to accept that any of the atrocities committed in the name of religion has anything to do with belief (as opposed to politics, economics, opposing western colonialism, pure evil or whatever), even when the perpetrators themselves cite explicitly religious motives for their actions, and even when former believers who have since rejected their faith confirm that this is exactly how they used to think. As I wrote in a previous comment, you cannot expect someone to really believe the creator of the universe wants them to do something, hold it to be a matter of escaping eternal suffering or gaining eternal happiness, and still act as if adapting to secular society was more important. This is precisely why it is so vitally important to get people to not think that way, or if that can’t be done (as, I suspect, is often the case), prevent them from persuading others to think that way. This is why we need more criticism of religion, not less.

  27. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    @Bjarte Foshaug #29:

    hence we get argument like “Religion is misused”

    What is religion supposed to look like when it’s used properly?
    People doing stuff they were supposed to do anyway for non-religious reasons.
    /snark
     

    I never cease to be amazed at the inability of many atheists to accept that any of the atrocities committed in the name of religion has anything to do with belief.

    I can’t speak for the people you refer to, but as large numbers of people become involved (especially for atrocity scales), group psychology (authority, conformity, groupthink, tribalism, rationalizing to remain a good person, etc) can be more powerful than any individual facts believed.
     
    In other words, arguing details of dogma with one such member would be less likely to alter decisions because neighbors provide reassuring normalcy. “If everybody’s doing it, it’s less wrong.” Or the self-fulfilling, “Most people aren’t complaining. Who am I to argue?” etc.
     
    There are vids of lectures from a Berkeley course “Social Psychology: Self and Society” more relevant to atrocities, but I’ll just link this.
    Video: Excerpt of Ex-Pastor Jerry DeWitt on Pentecostal Role-Playing

  28. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    * That said, it takes a core of charismatic leaders with screwed up facts/motivations to get the ball rolling and an existing social framework to grant them influence.

  29. says

    Apparently the Reasonable Doubts cast do not care much for truth or honesty.

    Originally one of your listeners wrote:

    “[The Bible] clearly says you can beat your slave to death as long as they take longer than three days to die.”

    Well, no, the Bible does not clearly say that one can beat one’s slave to death. That action is not permitted by the Bible. I demonstrated that from the text of Scripture. After I did so, the commenter shifted his argument. He moved the goal posts. His argument became, “Yeah, well, the Bible condones slavery.” But that is something that was already conceded, and not his original objection.

    Unfortunately, the guys at Reasonable Doubts removed the discussion from its context and, following the commenter mentioned above, pretended as though the objection was not the one concerning the permissibility of beating one’s slave.

    The text in question:

    20 “When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. 21 But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.”
    Ex 21:20-21 (ESV)

    Now, in verse 20, the death of the slave will be avenged. The punishment in verse 20 for the death of a slave *is not* merely the loss of property, but the loss of the slave owner’s life. The cast at Reasonable Doubts mentioned that the punishment was just the loss of property in this instance (“If you set your car on fire, your punishment is that you lose the car.”) But that is not what the text states. They conflated verse 20 with verse 21.

    In verse 21 the loss of income is the slaveowner’s punishment for beating the slave in such a way that the slave does not die. I’m not sure how much clearer we can make this. There is an atheist at Choosing Hats correcting the argument the original commenter was making and the Reasonable Doubts cast conceded that there are other reliable sources in agreement with me on this matter. They can change the objection to say that there is something unjust about the punishments in question, or something unjust about the Hebrew slavery in principle, but just whining that it is unjust is not an argument for their position, and it fails to give a fair presentation of the context of the original objection and answer.

    Even the sign that the Reasonable Doubts guys mentioned shows how really poor this attempt at appealing to the emotions is, for it is nothing more than an anachronism to display an image of a United States slave with a quote from Scripture about slavery. One would have to be really, really ignorant to think that the two are the same.

    As for Justin’s reply about Bible translations, I stand by my original words. The comments are open on the respective post for Justin to post his reply. Unfortunately on this podcast he puts the term “perfect translation” into my mouth many times when I did not, so far as I can remember, make such a claim. It is ridiculously presumptuous for the cast of Reasonable Doubts to implicitly accuse me of reading the Bible like an ignorant fundamentalist when they have little, if any, knowledge of my educational background in biblical interpretation and translation. I assure you that the cast of Reasonable Doubts does a much better job at representing the fundamentalist brand interpretation of Scripture especially with respect to the passage quoted above than I do!

  30. andrew R says

    CL Bolt: “That action is not permitted by the Bible. I demonstrated that from the text of Scripture. After I did so, the commenter shifted his argument. He moved the goal posts. His argument became, “Yeah, well, the Bible condones slavery.”

    If you mean me, then you’re wrong – I never shifted goal posts or the argument – I focused entirely on the bible condoning the beating of slaves.

    Further, I reject that you demonstrated that it is not permitted. Rather, you argued that ‘Doing nothing to punish the slave owner’ somehow does not constitute condoning, because the slave owner had lost his slave. I asked you what WOULD constitute condoning, if ‘no action at all against the owner’ does not qualify. You never answered. One can only presume that ‘condoning’ in your mind would be if someone actually bought the slave owner a new slave!

  31. Andrew R says

    “In verse 21 the loss of income is the slaveowner’s punishment for beating the slave in such a way that the slave does not die. I’m not sure how much clearer we can make this.”

    I’m not sure people were really rejecting or having trouble understanding your point there. We just don’t think that it really refutes the claim that the bible condones the beating of slaves. Look up ‘condones’. If the law says ‘you punished yourself already by what you did’, and then the law enforces no punitive measure on you, then I’d say the law IS condoning what you did.

    “One would have to be really, really ignorant to think that the two are the same.”

    Unfortunately American slavery was justified for centuries by very sincere people quoting the bible. You can call that ignorance, but it still happened. To me it seems ignorant to try to pretend that biblical slavery was some kind of comparatively benign thing. It’s not much better than WLC’s attempts to say that biblical genocide was excusable.

  32. tunji samuel says

    I like the piece about Yoruba gods. I’m a nigerian yoruba and I am familiar with those gods ogun sango oya and osun. Two Nigerian states are named after some of those gods. Ogun state and Osun state are firmly rooted in ancient god beliefs. People don’t really belief in those gods anymore but it is believed by most yorubas that those god stories are a firm representation of history. They claim that modern religions like christianity and islam brought an end to those sacrifice-demanding gods. I never believed those stories and yes those gods are ancient gods not worth believing in.

  33. Chris L. says

    Just recently found your show through C.F.I. I really enjoy your show alot!! I’ve been jamming alot them onto my i-pod. The live show was GREAT also! Definetly do another one. I really enjoy the PolyAtheism segments, the stories are great but it is the truth in the “almost” subtle last statement that I like. Also a personal thank you for the “Parenting episode”.

    I have a question for the hosts, and/or for the people here leaving comments. What do you think would be the most compelling arguement agaist the existance of God and the validity of Jesus being divine? BUT could you please put this in “laymens” terms, easy to handle yet very blatant and compelling. There have been times where I will simply check myself out of a conversation when it turns to religion, because it can be such a deep topic to tackle quickly. Remember you’re not trying to persuade scholars of religion, more like buddies at a poker table or close co-workers on break time. Maybe they ask you the simplest question…”Why don’t you believe?” I can’t see myself asking them well “why DO you believe?” and then just try to tear down their answer with every physics or psychology thing I can remember from books I’ve read and things I’ve watched or simply yelling at them “Go read the damned thing!” I guess I am asking for the “magic” bullet…lol magic… THANKS FOR THE SHOW AND THANKS FOR YOUR TIME!

  34. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    @Chris L #36:

    What do you think would be the most compelling arguement agaist the existance of God and the validity of Jesus being divine? [...] Remember you’re not trying to persuade scholars of religion, more like buddies at a poker table or close co-workers [...]
    I am asking for the “magic” bullet

    Sigh. There isn’t a catch-all.
    Video: Evid3nce’s deconversion series – The God Concept
     
    Short answer: You’ll never get a definition of “god” to work with. It’s a noun and it verbed once when the universe began.
    No point in arguing Jesus’ divinity. Try “How was killing Jesus necessary to have any effect on you thousands of years later?” Resist facepalming if you get the programmed response: “for our sins.” Get them to spin a yarn so they can hang themselves with it.
     
    There will be no reversal during any single conversation, and in fact be prepared to see stunningly out-of-character displays of dishonesty, absurd canards, double-standards, LOTS of deflecting non-sequiturs, tribal we-vs-you agression, post-modernism to the point of solipsism, and short-term memory loss as they scramble to avoid conceeding. IIRC Dan Barker described it as if the topic makes them revert to the age they were indoctrinated, like 8 years old.
     
    On the other hand, if someone’s already a non-believer, who only claims religious affiliation out of misplaced sense of ancestry and never cracked open their book, hand them Leviticus. Any page. I randomly flipped to ch26 where Yahweh says he’ll rot out his followers’ eyes with consumption and make them eat their own children for repeatedly breaking the rules: like the one to set harlot daughters on fire.
     
    After theism, there’s usually a deist phase. This is largely a matter of basic misapprehensions about learning epistemology. Burden of proof, occam’s razor, not proposing an explanation until there’s an anomaly that needs special explanation, defining expected interactions of a proposed thing up-front, not accepting if indistinguishable from the null hypothesis. Also, you derive theories about the world by extrapolating from incomplete observed knowledge, not first principles.

    A theist god will intervene to help you out but it’s not plausable. A deist god might exist, but it’s insignificant and not worth believing in. It’s an imaginary friend who won’t play with you, or a euphemism for ignorance.

  35. says

    Thats classic Bolt…so the bible permits slavery and lets people off easy for some ghastly crimes but if you dont put the objection just right he will through a tantrum and accuse you of twisting the bible and his words. Bolt discovered long ago that he can avoid confronting problems with his own worldview in this manner (just look at his supposed “response” to our episodes on presuppositionalism). Well, its transparently juvenile and no one is falling for it. Lets settle this…Bolt, how would you have replied if the original commentator said “The bible condoned the practice of slavery within Israel and was tolerant of it elsewhere?” Or what if he had said “The bible thinks death is the appropriate punishment for not being a virgin on your wedding night, but you could beat one of your slaves so hard that they will die from internal hemorrhaging two or three days later–and for that your only punishment is one less slave” Could you respond in any other way but the affirmative? Do you get a sense of pride standing firm on the high morality of these passages? BTW we still haven’t heard your response to 98 yet. Until you tackle our moral argument I’m going to treat any and all moralizing on your part to be just empty posturing from someone with no real foundation for their ethics.

  36. says

    Hi guys, if you do decide to debate Chris Bolt and you have the room then please count me in.

    I’ve managed to tie Sye up in knots and get him to finally admit that the contrary is not impossible.

  37. says

    Thank you Paul. When the time comes we will consider asking for your help. We have left the possibility of a formal debate open with Chris Bolt. Before we agree to it, though, we have asked him to complete his critique of our challenges in rd98. Since we’ve already put a couple of hours into discussing and critiquing presuppositionalism we do not want to “reset” things by beginning a new debate with shorter time limits that may allow Bolt the excuse to avoid responding to some of our points in rd98. Bolt was concerned that he lacked the time to prepare an adequate defense but promised us that once he did deliver, Justin and I would become Christians (almost certainly a joke but you never know with these guys). Busy schedules are something we can sympathize with, but it has been almost two moths and we have heard no response, though a cursory examination of his blog shows Bolt has had plenty of time to fight battles elsewhere. Obviously we are eager to get on with things but in keeping with what we believe is the best strategy we want to see that the Christian account of logic is indeed sound before we discuss how we account for logic. Experience has taught us that presuppositionalists focus their energy on attack and shrink from the responsibility of defending their own view. But as we have said before you can’t argue the impossibility of the contrary if your own worldview is impossible. On the plus side, this delay has allowed more time on our side for research, ensuring quite a show if Bolt should try to make good on his promise.

  38. Fergus Gallagher says

    I just tried to “poke” Chris Bolt about this on Choosing Hats. Comments are moderated, so I’m not expecting too much.

  39. says

    a clarification on my comments towards Chris Bolt,

    I missed something in Chris Bolts post that I would like to address. Apparently Bolt believes the slave mentioned in Ex 21:21 did not actually die, but was just injured to the point of not being able to work (thus loss of income). He believes this is plainly evident from the text and says he doesn’t know how this could be any clearer. He also cites us as conceding that reliable sources confirm his reading. First, that the slave does not die from his injuries is not clear…its clearly the opposite. It says “survives a day or two” -a finite (and short) stretch of time. In what universe is “did not die” is the clear equivalent of “survives a day or two”. Second, that reliable source (The Oxford Bible Commentary) would not agree with Bolts interpretation that the slave did not die…it explicitly states of verse 21 that it is a case of unintentional death. Meaning the slave master beat the crap out of the slave but never intended to actually destroy his moneymaker.

    Furthermore, Bolt believes one would have to be really, really ignorant to equate american slavery with Hebrew slavery. He fails to mention or respond to our comments in the episode about this. Hebrew slaves are treated differently than foreign slaves. Foreign slaves can be kept over the duration of their lives and their children will also become slaves. Perhaps not a strict equivalence but not the kinder-softer indentured servitude many apologists make it out to be.

    It seems the debate between Bolt and his original commented hangs on the meaning of condone. Since the bible does offer punishment for murder, knocking out a slaves teeth, eyes or beating them so badly that they die a day or two later, Bolt is comfortable saying Hebrew law did not “condone flogging and mistreatment of slaves.” The clearest statement from the bible that could settle that matter would be a passage explicitly condemning flogging. No such passage exists. We only see extreme examples punished and in all cases (except murder) the punishment is lighter than what would be received for working on a Saturday. That bears repeating: the unintentional manslaughter of a slave by beating is less heinous to the Hebrew law than working on Saturday.

    So what does it mean to condone? If we take it to mean enthusiastically endorses, then Bolt is correct. If condone means “accept or allow” then Bolt is most certainly wrong unless he can produce a verse that categorically condemns flogging. You wont find one. Secondly the comentor is not completely overreaching by citing this passage as an instance of condoning abuse. Technically there is a punishment–letting the slave owner live with the financial consequences, so bolt can pick nits and score a hollow victory for the “morality” of hebrew slavery but note the state does not intervene to punish the injustice–and the practical consequence is the slave-owner can factor the death of slaves into his bottom line. If he enjoys beating his slave more than the money he gets from his labor, he can go ahead as long as he watches the teeth and eyes and doesn’t actually aim at killing him instantly. It is consistent with ordinary usage of language to call this condoning. When we talk about a government condoning actions, we mean they allow them to happen or look the other way, not taking sufficient action. Imagine the scenario where a employee could be beaten by their employer and the only punishment they received was loss of hours worked by their employee, with no prosecution whatsoever. In Bolts universe this could not be called an instance of the states law condoning abuse.

    If that is Bolts view let it stand for all to see. This is what biblical morality does to corrupt the conscience of otherwise good people. Bolt portrays complaints about slavery as “whining.” He is right that no amount of disgust we might express will alter the foundations for his twisted morality. These are people who think the appropriate punishment for a lie is eternal torture of a kind which no mere human can even fathom. Such a mind will not be swayed by moral disgust. But also note that Bolt regularly expresses condemnations of atheists that follow from his presuppositions. Let us do the same and not let up. Perhaps a few less calloused individuals will see the exchange and question whether they really are on the moral side. Studies of apostasy show most people leave the faith because of moral objections to its teachings. Even the most indoctrinated apologist is not immune…look to people like Paul Copan, WLC and even Bolt and you notice they cannot bring themselves to fully swallow this poison pill either, in that they will go to great lengths to try and soften these passages or evade their conclusions.

  40. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    @reasonabledoubts #42:

    In what universe is “did not die” is the clear equivalent of “survives a day or two”.

    Maybe after 3 days, cause of death is indeterminate? Statute of limitations? In a couple decades, the slave’d be dead of something anyway, right?
     

    The clearest statement from the bible that could settle that matter would be a passage explicitly condemning flogging. No such passage exists.

    And even if it frowned upon flogging on a whim, there’d still be the verses that prescribe it as acceptable punishment.

    (Lev 19:20-22) about scourging a slave woman for the crime of sex while betrothed. The man makes an animal sacrifice and his sin is forgiven.
    And hey, slaves got a lightened sentence; usually its death. So this must be an example treating your slaves well.

  41. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    Stumbled across someone you might find interesting…
     
    Audio: Luhrmann, Tanya – Anthropology of Hallucination Training Among Evangelicals
    * Click the “Available Formats” tab for an mp3.
     
    Article: ScienceNews – Visions for All (religious experiences and nonpsychotic hallucinations)

  42. says

    “In verse 21 the loss of income is the slaveowner’s punishment for beating the slave in such a way that the slave does not die” should read, “in such a way that the slave does not [immediately] die.” So the comment responding to me above is correct with respect to this error. My older comments on the text both here and elsewhere are clearer. The distinction in the text is akin to the distinction between murder and manslaughter in our system.

  43. Andrew R says

    “The distinction in the text is akin to the distinction between murder and manslaughter in our system”

    Manslaughter or murder, there’s still no punishment. Therefore the BEATING is still condoned, regardless of whether you interpret the text to mean ‘they die after three days’ or ‘they’re still alive after three days’.

    “So the comment responding to me above is correct with respect to this error.”

    Is this a convoluted opaque way of admitting you made a mistake? If so, you need to be clearer.

  44. says

    Andrew,

    Though pointing out this is “manslaughter” doesn’t change a thing in regards to my critique (which acknowledged this fact) the verse here DOES punish murder. This must be conceded by us. Be glad we got a limited concession out of him. I personally dont see any good coming out of further antagonizing Bolt on this matter. When arguments get tense and drawn out it’s only natural to save a little face. The record of this debate (though scattered around two blogs) speaks for itself. Lets close the book on this one and await his response to our direct attack on the moral foundation of Christianity.

  45. Justin says

    I have decided against posting the entirety of my criticism to Bolt’s blog. I don’t see a point. After he suggested I was dishonest and cared little for truth for failing to meet his particular standards of context about a conversation that was not all needed to see the force of my argument, it’s clear that it wouldn’t be helpful for either party. I’m sure we both have better things to do with our time.

    And he is correct, he never said ‘perfect’ translation. That was my mistake. Fortunately, It in no way undermines the point I was trying to make. Replace ‘perfect’ with ‘adequate’ if you like.

    -J

  46. Mark G says

    Guys; Just a quick note to say congratulations on 100, and thanks for all of your work. I enjoy listening to your podcasts so very much. The live show was a great idea, and I hope you may consider doing it again. And I have to say the live show introduced me to Reality Radio, so you accomplished some good marketing also. I plan to tune in often.

    Thanks again. Please keep up the show for another couple of hundred, at least.
    Mark G.

  47. says

    So I’m done with talking to Andrew R. about this slavery passage. He’s been corrected by at least two atheists now (Pat Mefford on Choosing Hats and Jeremy above) about his outlandish comments. Claiming that the text we have been discussing does not include any punishment for beating one’s slave to death is just plain batty. It’s plain for anyone with eyes to read it. The whole chapter is on rules and punishments, the one who beats the slave to death will be put to death, and the one who beats the slave to death unintentionally will lose his income from the slave. Tired of repeating myself. Not worth my time.

    My “particular standards of context”? No. The context was not provided. It has nothing to do with my “standards”. Andrew R. changed his complaint after I rebutted its original form. You guys took my original response and set it up against his new complaint (probably because you were reading the way he spun it after the fact). This is really easy to resolve. Just go back and look at what Rhology commented at Choosing Hats when this all began. He conceded that slavery is right there in the Bible. It is a part of the economic life of theocratic Israel. I tried pointing this out to Andrew R., but he said he didn’t want to continue with Rhology and started taking shots from over here instead. :shrug:

    Anyway, I’ve repeated myself enough on that topic for a lifetime. If people don’t get it by now they don’t want to.

    The trouble with replacing “perfect” with “adequate” is that the two terms are completely different from one another. Words matter. I don’t believe in a perfect translation of Scripture. I do believe in an adequate translation of Scripture. And again I stand by my case that someone who thinks language can’t be translated adequately should get out more.

  48. Andrew Ryan says

    “He’s been corrected by at least two atheists now (Pat Mefford on Choosing Hats and Jeremy above”

    Oh dear CL Bolt, Jeremy was correcting YOU, not me.

    “Claiming that the text we have been discussing does not include any punishment for beating one’s slave to death is just plain batty.”

    Sure. Good job I never argued that it did. I said that the bible condoned beating slaves. Good job there’s nothing in the bible about burning straw men, or you’d be in big trouble!

    “Andrew R. changed his complaint after I rebutted its original form. ”

    I already told you I didn’t. I said from the start ‘The bible condones the beating of slaves’. I already challenge you to quote me saying any different. All you’ve done since is repeat the allegation without backing it up. I’ll leave it to other readers to draw their conclusions from that.

    “… the one who beats the slave to death unintentionally will lose his income from the slave.”

    …Which perfectly fits the definition of ‘condoning’. Point conceded by CL Bolt.

  49. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    @Both C.L. Bolt #50 and Andrew Ryan #51:

    “He’s been corrected by at least two atheists now (Pat Mefford on Choosing Hats and Jeremy above”

    Oh dear CL Bolt, Jeremy was correcting YOU, not me.

    This should make it easier to see how each of you might’ve read corrections of the other…
     
    Jeremy’s comments at #38 / #47:

    the bible permits slavery and lets people off easy for some ghastly crimes [...] what if he had said “The bible thinks death is the appropriate punishment for not being a virgin on your wedding night, but you could beat one of your slaves so hard that they will die from internal hemorrhaging two or three days later–and for that your only punishment is one less slave” [using Bolt's definition of punishment, which basically includes any undesirable outcome].
    Could you respond in any other way but the affirmative?
    Do you get a sense of pride standing firm on the high morality of these passages?

    pointing out this is “manslaughter” doesn’t change a thing in regards to my critique [...] the verse here DOES punish murder
    (meaning here: only added consequences not already implicit in the offense, to be enforced by someone). If anybody is ignoring that murder is punished, they shouldn’t. Still, no such repercussions are applied to the “manslaughter” beatings.

    Brackets and italics are my inferences; not speaking for what he was necessarily thinking during composition.

  50. Andrew Ryan says

    I still can’t see where Jeremy supposedly corrects me. Apparently ‘atheist Pat Mefford’ corrects me on some other website, but without a quote I can’t judge this correction. A note though, that being an atheist doesn’t automatically mean I have to give someone’s post any greater credence, so I’m not sure what relevance Pat’s beliefs have.

    However, I will apologise for something in my post immediately above:

    Bolt: ““Claiming that the text we have been discussing does not include any punishment for beating one’s slave to death is just plain batty.”

    Me: “Sure. Good job I never argued that it did. I said that the bible condoned beating slaves. Good job there’s nothing in the bible about burning straw men, or you’d be in big trouble!”

    Bolt is actually correct that I DID originally say something along the lines of “The bible says it’s fine to beat your slave to death as long as they take longer than three days to die”. But I don’t actually concede that point, and I don’t see it as a ‘batty’ claim, and neither do I think it’s something anyone else posting here has denied apart from Bolt. And I don’t think I ever then changed the claim to simply “The bible condones slavery”. But if he wants to accuse me of shifting goal posts, I’ll say clearly that I stand by the original ‘goal posts’ anyway.

    If you say to someone ‘If your slave dies you’ll no longer have the value of your slave”, you’re not threatening them with a punishment, you’re just stating the (obvious) consequence of their actions.

    So yes, bible still condoning the beating to death of slaves if they take longer than three days to die. I still stand by that, and I still don’t see any decent argument against it.

    And that’s even IF we allow the ‘It’s manslaughter’ notion. So what – it’s manslaughter – still being condoned and allowed. At any rate, I don’t think the “takes longer than three days’ = manslaughter” idea is particularly just anyway. In today’s courts we see attempted murder charges going to people who beat victims into comas, and we see manslaughter charges going to people who caused instantaneous deaths to others. The length of time someone takes to die doesn’t necessarily reflect at all the intention of the aggressor.

  51. Andrew Ryan says

    One final thing, I found Bolt’s righteous umbrage here amusing: “It is ridiculously presumptuous for the cast of Reasonable Doubts to implicitly accuse me of reading the Bible like an ignorant fundamentalist when they have little, if any, knowledge of my educational background in biblical interpretation and translation.”

    …it’s ironic given that he posted this to me: “Try studying the text next time for yourself (not an atheist site that references the text), or reading some commentaries, and you won’t make such silly mistakes”

    So it’s ridiculously presumptuous of people to make assumptions about Bolt if they have little knowledge of his educational background, but it’s fine for him to make assumptions about anyone else based on a similar lack of knowledge.

    Even greater irony given that he’s the one actually mis-reading the text…

  52. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    @Andrew Ryan #53:

    I still can’t see where Jeremy supposedly corrects me.

     
    When Bolt has this strawman of Andrew’s argument in mind,

    Claiming that the text we have been discussing does not include any punishment for beating one’s slave to death is just plain batty [persisting in a redefinition that includes 'obvious consequences'].

    Bolt’s selective awareness might see the following from Jeremy as coming from someone who also bought into the strawman and attempted to ‘correct’ Andrew.

    the verse here DOES punish murder. This must be conceded by us.

  53. Andrew Ryan says

    Compulsory, I guess it’s possible he could have read it that way, but in his absence it’s a little unfair to suggest he might so wilfully misread the text.

    Jeremy was saying that if one allows that a distinction is being made between murder and manslaughter, then murder (death within two days) is clearly being punished. But seeing as that is not something I was ever denying, it’s a huge stretch to say that I was being corrected here.

    If I spend 12 months writing a book, and then decide I’m going to burn the only copy, I would argue that the state is completely ambivalent and disinterested in me doing that – it has no say one way or the other about whether I destroy a year’s work.

    However, using Bolt’s logic, one cannot argue that the state condones me destroying my own book, because I will be ‘punished’ by its destruction. This is despite the fact that the state is doing nothing to prevent me burning the book – the very fact that destroying it causes me a loss, by Bolt’s logic, means that the state is ‘punishing’ me for doing so.

    This is, in his own words, ‘batty’. As the Doubters pointed out already, a slave owner could easily figure he could afford the loss of the occasional slave, and just include that in his bottom line. It’s not like the bible is saying “You better not beat your slaves so badly such that they die a few days later… if you do you will suffer… the loss of that slave!”. This is just stating the obvious, it’s virtually a tautology. What it is not is a punishment.

  54. tonylodden says

    Does anyone else see just how ridiculously bizarre it is that the argument about whether or not slavery beating/murder is condemned or condoned in the Bible is still going on? I mean, the fact that the Bible…the “perfect word of God” even makes it okay for slavery to exist is enough for me to call foul. If you cannot see that, you need to take your “God goggles” off or wake up. The book was written by people who lived in a totally different time period, and the morals they write in there are evident of that.

    Basically, I don’t care if it was more or less moral for the time period, this book is supposed to be from a holy deity that is absolutely perfect. That doesn’t mean relatively perfect, and for anything that even allows slavery, it’s obvious that it is flawed. Even if it were relatively perfect, it’s obviously not anymore, so why even bother. If “God” had to only give directions based on relative morality, he’s a product of human creation. The end.

  55. says

    “The book was written by people who lived in a totally different time period, and the morals they write in there are evident of that.”

    Oh? Can you name something in the Bible that does not still go on today?

    Are you really so narrow-minded and ignorant as to think that there is no longer any slavery in the world?

    I certainly hope not!

    “…for anything that even allows slavery, it’s obvious that it is flawed.”

    It’s not obvious to me. Could you explain?

  56. Ripples says

    Another entertaining and educational show and my thanks go to the cast for all their efforts.
    The live format was really good though I could see how it would be more difficult than the standard show. I would be really appreciative if another live show was done, even if it was on the 200th show which I hope to listen to.

    In regards to slavery I am fairly sure that it still exists today. I am also hopeful there aren’t all that many people who condone (a) Slavery (b) Beating slaves (c) killing slaves; the worry would be that although society has moved on from “slavery is a good thing”, the holy books are still a touch ambiguous on the subject.
    A nice clear 11th or so commandment saying thou shalt not keep slaves would have been an excellent thing.

  57. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    @C.L. Bolt #59:

    Are you really so narrow-minded and ignorant as to think that there is no longer any slavery in the world?

    You acknowledge there are people subject to slavery today…
     

    “…for anything that even allows slavery, it’s obvious that it is flawed.”

    It’s not obvious to me. Could you explain?

    … but you don’t think the slaves’ lives are negatively affected by the practice?
     
    Or if you acknowledge slavery is harmful… you don’t think morality has anything to do with interpersonal behavior that generally improves quality of life in human societies?
    That would also get you to: accounts of a perfectly moral being aren’t flawed for depicting it aloof to varieties of severe human harm.

  58. Andrew Ryan says

    “Are you really so narrow-minded and ignorant as to think that there is no longer any slavery in the world?”

    Another strawman. Are YOU really so ignorant that you can’t see the difference between:
    a) Harmful activity that societies haven’t managed to stamp out, and
    b) Harmful activity wholeheartedly embraced by society, justified by its encoding and endorsement by a holy book?

    As before, in your haste to make a glib response, you completely miss the point you’re responding to.

    Anyone can do that. Watch:

    “Can you name something in the Bible that does not still go on today?”

    Err.. talking snakes, people living for hundreds of years, zombies rising from the dead?

  59. tonylodden says

    C.L. Bolt:
    “Oh? Can you name something in the Bible that does not still go on today?

    Are you really so narrow-minded and ignorant as to think that there is no longer any slavery in the world?

    I certainly hope not!

    It’s not obvious to me. Could you explain?”

    Wow. Do you realize how ridiculously horrible your statements are? Before you read what else I have to say, sit back, and re-read what you’ve written. If you still don’t see it, try again. Then give it one more try just in case you still don’t see it?

    Did you get it? Try again.

    Okay, now let’s discuss this. You are saying that it’s okay for the Bible…the word of a deity that is supposed to be above us, one that is supposed to be perfect, all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful etc. (despite all the problems with those concepts, even granting that these concepts are possible despite their not being possible) has a book written for his instructions to mankind, and he allowed…nay, he instructed on how to properly have slaves. He didn’t say, “thou shalt not have slaves”. This is insanely less moral than standards in most places today.

    Let’s flip this, just in case you still aren’t getting this because you have “God goggles” on.

    The way you are trying to flip this on me, is despicable or misguided at best. If I were to write a book on how to “properly rape a woman” I’m pretty sure anyone with any tiny hint of morality would see that as a pretty horrible thing. With your logic though, it would be okay because rape still happens today. Or perhaps you wouldn’t since it would obviously have been written by a human hand, so let’s hypothetically say it appeared in the Bible. Now it’s okay, and if I speak out against a book giving somewhat unclear instructions on how to properly rape a woman, I’m a horrible person because rape still happens today and it was found in a “holy book.”

    Seriously, take your “God goggles” off for a minute and read what you said. Using a straw man argument, you actually just implied that if I hold my position on this, that I’m narrow-minded and ignorant because slavery exists today. What were you thinking when you wrote that?!? If it’s okay that it’s in the bible because slavery exists today, you realize the bible being regarded as a holy book can actually support slavery’s existence. That’s the exact problem here! If any deity had any common sense at all, he would have clearly and directly said that slavery SHOULD NOT exist. He would not have given any kind of instructions on slavery, because the only valid set of instructions would be “thou shalt not have slaves.” “The Lord your God commands thee to have no slaves.” It’s easy to write. This isn’t a difficult thing to write at all. Instead, when we look to this book, it gives instructions which permit slavery.

    The only reasonable thing to ask is “why?” The answer to this question is either that God is a terrible deity unworthy of any kind of worship, but then we run into the problem that the Bible says the opposite of that. So then we can simply apply Occam’s razor and say that this book was written by men who lived back in that time period, and suddenly, everything in the book makes sense. They didn’t know jack about the world, and the morals you find in there are not a set of morals from a deity that is above us, but from man’s own mind.

    I shouldn’t even engage in discussion with you beyond this, but I sincerely hope you take a moment to read your own position so you can see how immoral your stance has become just in order for you to defend something that isn’t defendable in the context of today’s superior morals. I don’t know that there is any possible hope for you, but if you don’t see a flaw in allowing slavery, I’ll counter your question (even though I think it’s pretty evident, and I’ve already provided enough explanation that it should be even more obvious) with another question…can you provide a way in which allowing slavery is okay? If a perfect for all generations “guide to life” book that allows slavery is not flawed, slavery must be okay. Please explain to me how it is okay. (I don’t even have to invoke a straw man here, because you actually are supporting “guidelines for slavery” instead of “prohibition of slavery” from a perfect deity.)

    As for your last silly comment, Andrew Ryan already submitted a list of things, but yes, it’s very simple and easy to list things that happen in the bible that do not happen today.

  60. says

    tonylodden would you be interested in a debate with the following resolution:

    Resolved: All slavery is wrong.

    Let me know. Thanks.

  61. says

    I’ll extend that question to Andrew R. as well, though I stand by my comment that I’m not going to interact with him on the topic via comments anymore.

  62. says

    tonylodden wrote:

    “The book was written by people who lived in a totally different time period, and the morals they write in there are evident of that.”

    Now I take Tony to be saying that the morality of the authors of the Bible is indicative of the fact that they lived centuries ago.

    But there is a problem with Tony’s statement. Namely, the morality of the authors of the Bible as well as the morality of others who lived during the same time as the authors of the Bible is still held today.

    So, for example, roughly 2 billion Christians including myself agree with the morality of the authors of the Bible. The morality of the authors of the Bible is not any more indicative of their times than it is of our times.

    The same is true with respect to practices I would reject. Take, for example, rape. There was rape back then, and there is rape now. You can perform this little exercise with any moral fact.

    So when I asked, “Oh? Can you name something in the Bible that does not still go on today?” I was not referring to miracles. I was referring to moral practices. And I’d still wager that any moral practice Tony could cite from the Bible is still performed somewhere today. Slavery is one of them.

    So, contrary to the implication of Tony’s claim (in the context of a discussion about slavery) that, “The book was written by people who lived in a totally different time period, and the morals they write in there are evident of that,” the morals the authors of the Bible adhered to were *not* merely indicative of their time. Slavery still goes on, and Tony’s comment implied that it does not.

    Now rather than answering my very simple question Tony expressed his incredulity with my question and went off on several tangents that put words in my mouth I never said. But he has a chance to redeem himself by debating me as mentioned above. Let’s hope he is willing to defend his implicit claim that all slavery is wrong, “…for anything that even allows slavery, it’s obvious that it is flawed.”

  63. says

    Regarding Tony putting words in my mouth, he writes, “With your logic though, it would be okay because rape still happens today.”

    But that has nothing to do with my logic. Tony is either helplessly confused or a liar. Sometimes I think the atheist aim is to weary opponents rather than to woo them. :)

    Compulsory does the same thing, “… but you don’t think the slaves’ lives are negatively affected by the practice?”

    I never said anything like that. Didn’t even imply it. I mean, if you guys want to argue against *me*, then do so, but arguing against stuff I never wrote is a waste of all of our time.

  64. Andrew R says

    The figure of 2 billion Christians accepting biblical morality is nonsense. Surveys show the majority of Christians are pretty ignorant of the book’s contents. Whenever I ask a Christian about the slavery passages, the majority are unaware of them. The next most reply is indeed “Those versus were written by less enlightened men”. Then a small pocket of apologists try to argue it was lesser slavery, more like indentured servitude, ignoring that the children of slaves could also become slaves.

  65. Andrew Ryan says

    “I never said anything like that. Didn’t even imply it. I mean, if you guys want to argue against *me*, then do so, but arguing against stuff I never wrote is a waste of all of our time.”

    OK, let’s look at the words from you in the post that you think we’ve so misread, April 17, 2012 at 5:38 am:

    “Oh? Can you name something in the Bible that does not still go on today?
    Are you really so narrow-minded and ignorant as to think that there is no longer any slavery in the world? I certainly hope not!
    It’s not obvious to me. Could you explain?”

    All you’ve got there is questions. I’m guessing you figure such a post carries rhetorical power but you certainly lose clarity. If you want us to understand your position, drop the opaque oneline ‘zingers’ that seem designed merely to ‘score points’, and just clearly state your position, and where you think we’re going wrong. You complain about the inferences we draw, but inference is all we’ve got as you don’t come out and say anything. Meaning was particularly hard for us to divine because pointing out that ‘moral practices cited in the bible are still performed somewhere’ is a complete non sequitur with regards to the point Tony was making. Tony’s point didn’t rely on an idea that slavery is now non-existent anywhere. You can moan that his ‘rape’ point misrepresented you, but it’s only because your slavery reply made no sense.

    “Sometimes I think the atheist aim is to weary opponents rather than to woo them. :)”

    Are your constant “You’re all idiots and liars!” replies supposed to be wooing?

    “would you be interested in a debate with the following resolution: Resolved: All slavery is wrong.”

    If your idea is to confound us with an example of slavery that we can’t dismiss as being wrong, why not save time, cut to the chase and offer it to us?

  66. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    @C.L. Bolt #67:

    Compulsory does the same thing

    You said it was not obvious to you that explicit condoning of slavery was a flaw that should not be expressed by a perfectly moral being.
     
    Condoning Slavery + Perfectly Moral… Still Flawless
     
    You might be using a typical definition of morality (“interpersonal behavior that generally improves quality of life in human societies”), but you consider slavery to not be harmful. Hence no conflict.
     
    Or you might be using a definition of morality that allows for slavery to be harmful, by treating harm as irrelevant. Again, no conflict. (example: obedience to a specific being that obeys itself)
     
    They were phrased as questions so you would define “morality”, as you currently understand it, such that slavery doesn’t conflict with the perfectly moral being you’re advocating.
     
    If left unstated, we could be talking past each other.

  67. says

    Compulsory:
    Very late follow up to post #20.
    I don’t doubt that Campbell is deserving of criticism. His work is not rigorous within a particular discipline and much of it is idle speculation. And I would need to read more of his work to bring any more rigor to this discussion.

    So, on just one point, you bolded “common geographical ancestor” when referencing what set off red flags for you. But, we do have a common geographical ancestor. We are all descended from a pretty small population in Africa not that long ago. I don’t see it as much of a stretch to theorize that we all think alike in some basic ways. I would need more evidence, more direct experience of Campbell to accept that he had a “hive mind” or “unity of consciousness” theme he was developing. And I accept that I should do that research. Thanks for the links and feedback.

  68. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    I would need more evidence, more direct experience of Campbell to accept that he had a “hive mind” or “unity of consciousness” theme he was developing.

    If you read #21 more carefully, you’ll find I was sorting it out. That was the concession, in fact.

    Though his mentor favored a hive mind at times,

    “Jung was ‘also at pains to stress the numinous quality of these experiences, and there can be no doubt that he was attracted to the idea that the archetypes afford evidence of some communion with some divine or world mind’”
    (from the linked Collective Unconscious article)

    Campbell himself did not. He focused on cultural inheritance, as denoted by the bolded bit about common geography.
     

    So, on just one point, you bolded “common geographical ancestor” when referencing what set off red flags for you.

    When I wrote “more red flags”, that was an aside, reacting to the flurry of common woo-peddler weasel words that happened to be nearby:

    “all forms of spirituality are the search for a single unknown force, which he would come to qualify more as eminent rather than transcendent and which, according to him, is simultaneously inner and outer, in contrast with being only external, and from which all comes from. This is for him where everything exists and in which everything eventually returns.”

    We are all descended from a pretty small population in Africa not that long ago. I don’t see it as much of a stretch to theorize that we all think alike in some basic ways.

    I’ll quote the original bolded line:

    “This theory includes the notion that most of the belief systems of the world have a common geographical ancestor.”

    That phrasing is not a statement about biological similarity: homo sapiens brains thinking alike. That statement implies that numerous independent chains of hearsay somehow still have things in common after tens of thousands of years.
    And, as noted earlier, that is supposed to be “a single story of great spiritual importance” and “ultimate truth”.

  69. says

    We’re arguing about semantics in a short academic summary of Campbell. I’d rather not continue to do that. I’ve already submitted that you may be right. I don’t think there is much value in arguing the limitations of a man’s work, whose life was cut short. He worked across disciplines and had a profound affect on how people view spirituality and religion. Overall, that affect was positive, opening minds to the idea that their god is not special.

    He left the door open to some crazy woo, no doubt. But it was the 70′s, you should see some of the shirts I wore back then.

  70. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    @Lausten North:

    He worked across disciplines and had a profound [effect] on how people view spirituality and religion. Overall, that [effect] was positive, opening minds to the idea that their god is not special.

    That he did.
    Enjoy the books/films. And google along: besides recent archaeological discoveries, you’re bound to find loads of interesting background for the characters and cultures that he brings up.

  71. Alex Watson says

    I do hope that before moving it to the Archive, the moderators remove the thirty plus pages of CL Bolt’s hall-of-mirrors pedantry, which has added nothing of substance to the discussion, and made reading it an exercise in masochism.
    My commiserations to all who tried so valiantly to demonstrate that the immobile parrot was, in fact, dead.

  72. Andrew Ryan says

    Nah, leave it up there so people can see for themselves the shoddy arguments of the apologist.

  73. C8H10N4O2 says

    There is probably a better place to discuss that video specifically, but I’ve watched it numerous times and laughed every time. I don’t know why Don McLeroy agreed to appear on the show. I guess you have to be so deep into your delusion that you actually believe you could represent your side really well on a show like The Colbert Report.

  74. TX_secular says

    I just listened to the podcast and heard the call for “stupid reasons” and it seemed the prior thread was pretty much over…sorry if my post was too far off topic.

  75. Cay says

    Doubtcasters – I would love a new show – my podcast feed is lonely for your brand of reason. Thanks!

  76. says

    “I do hope that before moving it to the Archive, the moderators remove the thirty plus pages of CL Bolt’s hall-of-mirrors pedantry, which has added nothing of substance to the discussion, and made reading it an exercise in masochism.”

    You mean the material that the moderators commented upon at length in more than one podcast. Guess it really did add *something* to the discussion.

  77. says

    Bolt,

    In comment 47 I said we came as close to a resolution on this matter as anyone could expect and encouraged my listeners to stop antagonizing you into further debate. Sadly they did not. But the comments here have been silent for awhile. If you continue to troll this comment section you have no one but yourself to blame for the waste of time that ensues.

    P.S. are you still planing on a rebuttal to rd98 or is that no longer in the works? If it is, can you give me an estimate as to when it will be posted? I am currently planning outlines for our next several episodes and such information would be helpful in helping me direct my time/focus.

  78. says

    I responded to your comment over at CH to say that sadly I have no response in the works right now. Thank you for the opportunity to interact with the hosts and to comment here. The comments were silent for 3 days prior to my previous comment offered in response to someone calling me out by name. But I am fine with the thread being shut down.

    Best,
    Chris

  79. andrewviceroy says

    I have to disagree with Jeremy that critical thinking cannot be summed up in a soundbyte, as I just invented a nice little meme in this vein myself recently that I plan on infecting the world with and hope you’ll do the same. It is merely two words:

    Rebut yourself!!

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