Facebook and Friends

The pinnacle of Christian belief—turning a hobby into cash

Some people make themselves really difficily to like on Facebook. Here are some recent shares by one—I think Jesus is ready to roll the stone back over his tomb and take up death.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they were held accountable for the promises they preach?

This guy is from South Africa. If anyone thinks the US has religion problems, march in to Pretoria…In Jesus name, of course.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

246 thoughts on “Facebook and Friends”

  1. You start by hoping he will be held accountable for his actions. He will, but not on earth and not by people. He is guilty of idolatry. Money has become an idol to him. I will pray that he sees his weakness and sin and repents of it. All those who seek to judge him should check the log in their eye. What is your idol? We all have them. Christians aren’t meant to be perfect, but we should seek to put away our idols and repent of them, not spread them to others. As for the mockers and the scoffers I’ll refer you to 2 Peter 3:1-13, Proverbs 19:29, or Proverbs 24:9. God saw you coming too…

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    1. It makes sense there would be mockers and scoffers. Just look at the doctrine. Making belief into a virtue certainly has proven that men will believe anything—even that belief is special when it’s actually so common it is the natural man, not the other way around. Who can resist what is so inherent as that?
      William is doing what he has an affinity to do. No immutable attribute of oneself can be a sin.

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  2. Jim,

    I always enjoy visiting your blog and have once again been entertained here by your provoking subjects you write about that get our cranial noodles pumping. 😉 I dig that kind of stuff just like you. I wish I had the same free-time I did prior to the (global) disaster we went thru with COVID-19 in between Jan. 2020 and April/May 2021. But sadly I don’t. :/ And now with constantly new variants manifesting—because naïve people won’t get vaccinated and won’t follow (dire?) necessary public health protocols to win this viral pandemic war against a biological-cellular enemy—I don’t see that past Wonderland of (manageable) Free-time returning anytime soon as long as the general public chooses to remain defiantly ignorant. Oh well, what are we intelligent ones going to do? What more can we do except other than hope Natural Selection weeds out the mentally weak & challenged, huh? 😆 😛

    Nevertheless, I no longer see the point in debating or discussing further what I’ve already shared here. Let me know my Friend if you find any necessary refinements or flaws I’ve overlooked:

    • Yeshua/Jesus was unequivocally Jewish, specifically Sectarian Palestinian Jew.

    • Yeshua spoke primarily TWO languages when reforming/teaching: 1) Mishnaic Hebrew, and 2) Syro-Aramaic.

    • No manuscripts or testimonies in those two languages of what he said/taught exist today. There are a few inferences from contemporaneous authors/historians that non-Greek manuscripts once existed, but the Earliest Patristic Church Fathers—all of whom are Roman-Greeks (not Jews)—saw no apparent need to protect and save those verbatim(?) manuscripts/gospels! Why not? That speaks volumes about the anti-Semitic Early Church Fathers.

    • The majority of Jewish/Israeli linguistic scholars of the Late Second Temple Period, i.e. the Zugot, Tannaim, and early Amoraim Periods, which is during Yeshua’s lifetime, agree and conclude that Greco-Roman copyists NOT trained in proper Mishnaic Hebrew or from that into Syro-Aramaic cannot and WILL NOT accurately translate or transcribe what a 1st-century CE Rabbi-Reformer would say or teach. To Greeks it’s incomprehensible. But what ever stopped the Roman Empire, her authorities and her Legions from dividing, conquering, and writing their own version of history and foreigners? 😉

    • If one’s original source(s) are UNreliable and worse, unverifiable, then does that not dictate that ANYTHING thereafter—like a minimum 40 yrs to c. 80 yrs later or more by NON-witnesses!—about persons, places, or events should/MUST be taken as only implicit inference… and NOT explicit indisputable fact(s)? That’s a rhetorical question and exercise by the way.

    • Therefore, unless Mishnaic Hebrew gospels/manuscripts suddenly appear (and are legitimately authenticated as 1st-century CE) or Syro-Aramaic gospels/manuscripts suddenly appear and are legitimately authenticated… then it stands to reason that anything and everything about a Palestinian Jewish Rabbi-Reformer of the 1st-century… or even more so a possible/probable caricature of a Greek-Hellenistic Christ via Apotheosis ALWAYS be questioned and NEVER authoritative? That’s another rhetorical question and exercise too. 😉

    Oh well, there’s always some tart apples in the bunch the world must tolerate, huh? 🤭

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    1. I agree with you. One of my favs and if I remember correctly, yours too, summed it up pretty well: “ In order to be effective, a doctrine must not be understood, but has rather to be believed in. A doctrine that is understood is shorn of its strength—If a doctrine is not unintelligible, it has to be vague. If neither unintelligible nor vague, it has to be unverifiable—Eric Hoffer. TEP admitted this is all he knows, then went on to tell me the other belief systems have no completion.
      That’s why I said earlier that real evidence for the story would kill faith. It wouldn’t kill the religion, but would go along way to undoing the damage of virtue by belief.
      I have a suggestion for you if your struggling to make sense of the knot-heads out there. I try to look at it like a Hindu would look at it—as a drama. It’s a really interesting show when you sit back and look at the crazy, as people with a limited program, convinced beyond any doubt their knowledge is somehow special, when all along evolution will win, in fact the whole organism is functioning perfectly! What a show! Bravo man, they’ve even convinced themselves they can do something about it.

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      1. Hah! 😄 What a great way to look at it! Well done Sir. 👍🏼

        It’s not so much that I struggle with the crowds of “knot-heads” out there. It’s the fact that they have no or little sense-of-humor (prudish, elitist?) and REFUSE to equitably allow me my mega strong FAITH in Sasquatchianity (the Almightiest of all Bigfoots) with all its abundant “evidence” proving its eternal value… while expecting or often demanding that I surrender MY Faith in Sasquatch/Bigfoot which is just as credentialed & authoritative as their Faith™ in a Greek Apotheotic “Christ” and unconditionally embrace their belief-system—depending on what Xian denomination they belong to. 🙄🤦‍♂️ Then, as if that’s not enough… they refuse to fairly examine, study, or seriously consider the very background/heritage and authority their own Lord & Savior hails from and was steeped in: Judaism. More specifically, what Late Second Temple Judaism/Messianism truly consisted of FROM the very people who expertly know!!! That’s what baffles me or in your words “struggle with.” I mean, that’s like me telling a Tibetan what lifestyle is best suited for them and how to live it… and I’ve never set foot EVER in Tibet!!! Am I missing something there!? 🤣 To be frank, that’s ludicrous to me.

        Your further thoughts, provided you have the time on that non-sense? 😉

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        1. That’s what bothers me about organizations like Amazon outreach. First colonizers pollute the ecology, now they come in to rescue a once happy people from their sins and continue to simultaneously destroy beautiful ways of being human.
          If there is anything I can take from Christianity it would be to fully live the prime tenet of their faith. Real faith—total trust in letting go. The faith of an atheist.

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          1. Ahhh, an EXCELLENT point Jim!!!! BOOM!!! (drop tha mic with tons of reverb!)

            To me, that… your pinpoint description, demonstrates how decayed and lost the “holding firmly, unflinchingly” to basic human principles AND equally the science behind our planet’s ecology—i.e. the kitchen, table, and very food that sustains our basic existence!—is seemingly a dying (or dead?) art form. Or virtue of all life and what makes it so perfect, so beautiful. Why are we trying to replace that? We CAN’T!!! 🤦‍♂️

            Ugh. I miss those times when universal principles were immoveable, especially in those small, varied short windows of “good” American history. 😔

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          1. 😄 Wendy, I’m unsure if this new Faith has been published at all, let alone English. What I have learned over the years after my “Conversion” is that you must bang big sticks on trees, grunt loudly, roar louder, but at the full Moon, faint-hearted mortals and humans usually runaway fast at that point, and most importantly—this very critical so listen/read carefully with your favorite libation in hand—you must keep the entire Faith secret! IOW, no real hardcore evidence that would undermine Sasquatchianity’s mystique, sorcery, intrigue, unverifiability so as to cause necessary blind-faith then fracture into 100 various denominations (minimum!), and finally NOT be captured on video-camera in any revealing resolution.

            OH! One more thing, do not allow any bones to be discovered, ever, by any gullible humans. Why? Because that’s how we maintain our blind-faith from our convert-followers. They’ll never get wise about it and leave our natural church in the wilderness! There. Got it? Any more questions? 😁

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  3. Greetings my good Friend! Thought I’d pop over and see what mischief you’ve gotten yourself in. 😉 I was also recommended to pop in and see what all the hullabaloo was about with Fiery-Faithers™ and see if I might be able to contribute a little to the nonsense. 😛 🤭 So, let me read…

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    1. Well, immediately right off the bat… I do not care for anyone who portrays them self as a scholarly theologian and all the while have no method of reading their background, CV, academic accomplishments, or personal background… when it all reflects provenance and transparency, let alone credentials of some sort of established learning from an accredited reputable institution. Hmm, sketchy and seedy. Of course too, remember there’s 2-3 regular trolls about—who get themselves banned from various blogs—then reregister under a different alias. I know of one in particular that has done this 8-10 different times on several other blogs within our circles Jim.

      Que the tune by C+C Music Factory, “Things that make you go Hmmm.” 🤔

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    2. Furthermore Jim, I have discovered that one particular commenter here I’ve had a few in-depth dialogues with already—Ezekiel Project—not only has changed his blog’s engagement protocol, but shares NOTHING at all substantial regarding his background, CV, academic attainments from reputable established institutions, etc., as I mentioned earlier. Hence, I suspect this commenter will soon do the Same Ole Same Ole jig & dance of avoiding DIRECT questions… thus sending our once productive dialogue into useless oblivion. 🙄🤦‍♂️

      I give you many props Jim for having the REMARKABLE patience to deal with these/those water-jigger-bug kinda people. 😄 More power to ya Brotha!

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      1. Hahaha. You notice it’s fewer are farther between lately. It is interesting revisiting all the reasons I don’t believe any of it. It takes a special type of dedication to mental wranglership

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        1. Hahaha! 🤣 No kidding! At least it has a tiny bit of entertainment value, right!? 😉 I use to get the same thing when I worked for YEARS at a Psych/A&D rehab therapy hospital. You meet the exact same type of folks; albeit… the ones being self-admitted or committed by the County/State were at least there for obvious mental-illness problems. But it’s the subtle, minor ones that move and lurk amongst us—the majority of citizenry that know too little about mental-health & its symptoms/manifestations—that turn the other cheek (to borrow a popular phrase) and allow those who are on the verge of being unstable and sick… continue to roam in charisma catching more gullible victims UNfamiliar with psych/A&D problems.

          I kid you not about this Jim. It’s more prevalent than ordinary Americans realize. 🙂

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          1. Everybody is on the scale somewhere. It all boils down to coping or not. I’m beginning to think all these beliefs are so varied and prevalent all over the world because nothing is actually real. Or I’m just crazy too…

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            1. 🤣 HAH! You spoke so much more heavy wisdom there my Friend! As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe aptly put it…

              “We do not need to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the Universe.”

              But recognizing the EXTREME degrees of “disordered” minds does indeed provide us a bit of a rebalancing, status quo so that normal life might evolve, progress, and hopefully, assuredly become more and more SELF-RELIANT than reliant upon fairy-tales, myths, and boogie men/women. 😉 😛

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        1. Well, Ezekial Project isn’t answering as fast as he did to the initial questions. Hmmm, I wonder why? 🤔

          Oh well. Being Friday evening I have my usual dancing plans that begin shortly until 3-4am Saturday… so I must bid adieu to this provocative conversation with EP-TEP. 😄 Perhaps tomorrow or on the Sabbath(?) we’ll pick it back up… provided he answers the second set of questions Jim?

          A “boa noite a todos e bons sonhos!” or in English… G’nite to you all. 👋

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        2. Well my Friend, I wish you the best with any and all Evangy-Fundy horse-blinder Christians™ falsely believing that their heavily (exclusively) Greco-Roman canonical New Testament represents authentic, verifiable Late Second Temple Judaism/Messianism and the rural Sectarian Palestinian Jews were TRYING to clean-up from impure Hellenistic contaminations (including Herodian Saul of Tarsus) and outright blatant wrong translations from Mishnaic Hebrew to Greek, or Mishnaic Hebrew to Syro-Aramaic (wrongly) into Greek… and then all subsequent hand-me-downs the last 1,900+ years. Unless they or archaeologists find authentic Mishnaic Hebrew 1st-century CE manuscripts—ala the Dead Sea Scrolls—or authentic Syro-Aramaic 1st-century CE manuscripts… everything, I mean comprehensively everything tracing back to only Greco-Roman Greek sources will NOT be reliable at all. They may even be completely bogus.

          After all, it is the Greek Patristic Fathers of the Roman Empire that started widespread anti-Semitism in the first place. This is the (heretical?) heritage modern Christianity promotes. 😉 It’s not pretty is it Jim? Yikes. 😬 Yuk! 🤢

          Take care Jim. 🙂

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            1. 🤣🤣🤣 OH MY STARS and the heavens, galaxies, and Black Holes that eat ’em all up!!! (tips his 🎩 to the Genius) I could NOT have spoken such brilliance any better than that Sir Jim! 😄

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            2. Me and you both Zoe. I’m writing it down and hope I get Mishnaic Hebrew to Syro-Aramaic in the right order. Be a bitch-fest if I accidentally swap ’em around. It’s finding the right gap in an evangelical conversation to throw it in as well! And then what? Quick exit? Prearranged interventionary phonecall? Feigning illness? Need to get back to the spaceship? Dinner date?

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      2. If y’all wanted to know about any changes in behavior, you had only to ask. I’m only just seeing this, so forgive me if I’m a bit late in responding. I have a combination of Asperger’s and ADHD that makes it very difficult for people I have no emotional attachment to to have any effect on me. This means that I don’t get embarrassed or ashamed the way others might. I can, however, become annoyed and irritated, especially when people make assumptions that are too easily verified. As I have mentioned prior, I am not invested in your choices beyond caring about you as fellow human beings. The result is, I’m neither a “water-jigger-bug”, or anything else. To be those things requires that I have emotional responses that I simply am not able to have unless we have an emotional connection, and that isn’t likely to happen.

        Furthermore, as I have mentioned before, I’m a layman. I’ve been very upfront about what I am. I have never once made the claim to being an expert, but I have shared knowledge acquired through my own personal efforts. I’m self-taught. If that isn’t good enough for you, that is a giant, steaming pile of not my problem. I don’t live my life by your leave, and am completely unconcerned with whether you approve or not. Don’t get it twisted.

        As for why the frequency of my replies changed, I have a life outside of here. I work full-time, have a wife and kids with attending duties and responsibilities, am juggling two careers, looking at returning to college for a nursing degree, writing a book, and in general living life. I reply when I can, as often as I can, and guess what? I gotta sleep some time, too. My availability varies because the amount and frequency of my free time varies. Again, if that doesn’t meet with your approval, then that’s on you. You may insert any of the various and sundry quotes about assumption being a bad idea right here, and then do me the favor of kicking rocks. Have a blessed day, now. Bless your little heart.

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        1. This part of your comment, TEP, — especially when people make assumptions that are too easily verified. — is rather interesting since in some cases, the “verifying” source may in itself not even be “verified.” 😮🙃

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          1. Asking questions helps. Did any of y’all stop and ask me questions about myself, or were y’all too busy making assumptions about my character? There was a marked absence of curiosity that tells me that this conversation was not what it seemed. I should have noted that from the start, but I missed it. Oh well, lessons learned. I thought I was engaging with people who at least respected me despite differences of opinion, but now it’s clear I wasn’t. It’s a good thing I don’t get embarrassed the way others do, or this would be hurtful. Instead, I shall just take my leave from the conversation and go about my business. Y’all can go back to looking down your noses at me. Have a blessed life.

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            1. Huh! Your Jesus was scorned and beaten … and you’re running away with your tail between your legs.

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            2. Nice try. Jesus also taught that we shouldn’t cast our pearls before swine (Matt. 7:6), and that we should walk away from those who reject faith (Matt. 10:14). Think whatever you like, I don’t care. I did what I set out to do. Bye.

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            3. ”I admit you caught me off guard with that one, but I appreciate it. Here is a link to my most recent post:
              I can’t speak for anyone else, but you’re welcome to stop by anytime. If nothing else, the depth of your journey in your religion is impressive. I think it resonates with some more than others, but in all sense of fairness I appreciate your views and they do have a distinct purpose in the group.

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            4. Wow TEP a lot of judgement there. Given that you’ve stated you have no empathy for people with whom you have no emotional connection can you really/fairly ask us to exhibit it for you?

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        2. Perhaps given your busy schedule an appointed time for conversation, dialogue, exchange, pending conversion might work? I, too, have Asperger’s, my friend, but it doesn’t rob me of my sense of humour.

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  4. I see no contradiction, but I do see an example of why it is that I discourage people from using a single verse without first studying the surrounding text. The Bible wasn’t written with a chapter/verse system in place, which means that study of the text cannot be done on a verse by verse basis in most cases. Thus far the only exception I’ve found is the Beatitudes at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, but that’s for a whole host of other reasons that we can get into later if you like.

    The chapter/verse system was developed by scholars a thousand years after the fact, for ease of reference. This means that the Bible shouldn’t be broken up piecemeal for the purposes of exegesis, that does no justice to Scripture and leads people into error.

    In this case, the verse you’ve quoted out of context is part of a prayer that the Lord Jesus was giving to the Father on behalf of Himself and the Disciples. It is John 17, and the prayer takes up the whole chapter.

    Verses 1-5 of this chapter say, “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”

    In verse two, He makes the statement that He has been given power over the flesh, so that He may bring eternal life to those who would follow Him. This is consistent with John 14:6. Bear in mind also that this section is entitled “Prayer for the Son” in the King James.

    Note too, that the main thrust of this prayer is that those who chose to follow the Lord Jesus are to be regarded as separate from the rest of humanity in the same manner that God is, though no part of this imparts divinity on Jesus’ followers. It makes us united in purpose, not nature. Those of us who choose to follow Him are still very much human.

    As for Jesus Himself, Scripture interprets Scripture, and He made numerous claims to divinity that He never once imparted on His followers, as evidenced by the fact that they worshipped Him and He accepted it and the fact that His claims to divinity came in the form of taking on titles and prerogatives reserved specifically for YHWH.

    As for your point regarding belief, that’s a bit misguided, don’t you think? For one, the words in Scripture translated as believe don’t quite mean the same thing that believe does in English. The Greek word pisteon and the Hebrew emunah carry a whole host of alternate translations including belief, trust, faith, confidence, and assurance. When used as an intransitive verb, they reference things that people must be convinced of. Are you maybe detecting a theme? It comes down to a single word: evidence. Biblical belief and faith are evidential in nature. As the Apostle Paul said, “Prove all things hold fast to that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

    In that sense, you have demonstrated belief in the idea that belief is offensive because it is “the root of all the worlds divisions and delusions”. In a sense, that is a true statement, but not in the way you’re thinking.

    Belief in anything contrary to reality and evidence is delusion. Logically, there can only be two religious beliefs, the Way of Truth, and the Way of Falsehood. Logic dictates that the Way of Truth can only take one form, while the Way of Falsehood has the ability to take just about any form so long as it isn’t Truth.

    Belief is also something that the Lord Jesus commanded of us when He was teaching, which harkens back to what He told Abraham, Moses, and all the others. The only thing He’s ever asked of any of us is full faith and trust in His promises and His Laws. That’s one of the main thrusts to the Gospel, that the source for eternal life and Salvation cannot be found anywhere but in Him.

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    1. “Salvation cannot be found anywhere but in Him”
      Because the Bible says you need salvation then offers the cure. It’s a neat trick, but when I was asked “who am I” as a child, the answer was forthrightly provided to me. When I ask myself now who am I, Self inquiry reveals something totally different when you remove the cultural bias.
      Using the Bible to prove the Bible is an age old standard. Translation, context, all of these things you say are regularly used to conflate the simplicity of the gospel now into the realms of experts. To really know it one must believe, but through unbelief the mystery is there right in the open. No hocus pocus, no secret knowledge, no belief (which clouds your vision) of any kind, no presuppositions, it’s right under your nose the entire time.
      Humans can only think of one thing at a time. This linear thinking is why schooling takes so very long—one line at a time. But while your attending to your Bible the world is not linear. It is passing you by as the days and years and death of billions go to their graves clinging to the only thing they know.
      I’ve misquoted nothing. I do think a cursory journey through Chinese and Hindu philosophies would help you see the world isn’t what you’ve been trained to see. If Christianity is true it will only bolster your faith, which is very lacking if I may say so.

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      1. Using the Bible to prove the Bible is an age old standard.

        In my latest post (on the bible), I included a comment that I recently came across: “The Bible is not evidence. It’s an unsupported assertion, and it cannot be used to support its own claims.” I really think it narrows things down.

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      2. Using context and translation to help a person determine what it is that the Bible says isn’t something reserved for experts. I’m not an expert, I’m a layman. While I haven’t ruled out seminary as a future endeavor, the fact is that I’m just a regular dude who came to the conclusion that I should do all that I can to understand what it is that I’ve chosen to follow. I would have thought that a logical conclusion.

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        1. Tep336, would you be kind and explain to me something i never understood. how is it that god created man in ‘his own image’ and yet we, humans, are considered sinners??

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          1. Mankind wasn’t a sinner at the moment God made Adam. He didn’t become a sinner until he committed his first sin. The one thing that someone ought to bear in mind is that Scripture is silent on how long Adam and Eve were in the Garden before Satan showed up. There was a point where Adam failed in the Garden, and when he did, he became a sinner. Eve followed very shortly after. The ripple effect of that has impacted everything up to this point, and will continue to have an impact until the Father finally decides that it’s time.

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            1. thank you for your reply, but it does not answer my question. if God created Adam in his image and Adam fell or sinned, that means god is of something than can fall or sin.
              that is impossible. god’s creation must be the same like god himself: “in his image”.

              did God created a faulty man?? why would he? he put all his love in Adam. we are made out of love.

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            2. Ah, I see the issue. Allow me to clarify. When Scripture says that God created Man in His image, this isn’t a statement that He created us according to His divine nature, but rather according to His intent and design. Think of it more along the lines of genetic engineering. He didn’t make a xerox copy of Himself when He made Adam, He designed him according to the intent and purpose He had envisioned (i.e., in His image), and crafted him out of the elements that make up our world (i.e., out of the dust of the ground).

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            3. I really hadn’t planned to respond to any more of your comments, TEP, because obviously we don’t agree and that’s not going to change — at least on my part. But your response to monicat is nothing but opinion and/or Christian teachings as there is nothing that confirms this in your holy book.

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            4. but that is your interpretation only. this isn’t at all how i read “made man in his image”. God made man out of himself, because ALL belongs and IS himself, isn’t it?

              is the ‘ground of the world’ not God?? if it isn’t, then what is it??
              is God somehow separate for his great Creation?? how could that possibly be?

              it is all Him, or nothing is Him. you can’t separate the creator from His creation.

              have a lovely day!

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            5. His god is too small for that. He can only create little gadgets to worship him, then sends them off to a foreign globe as visitors on probation. Demands they follow his will, but nobody really knows what that is, so he has a perpetual leg up on the bad men, and especially bad women.

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            6. One can logically infer that the Lord is separate from His creation. Take Genesis 1:1, for example. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” According to modern cosmology, time, space, and matter are all co-relative, which means that they came into existence at the same time. What would become the universe was a singularity that was so dense that none of the physical laws of the universe were able to function. In other words, it was as close to nothing as we can envision and not even Hawking was willing to speculate on the conditions contained within that singularity.

              Going back to Genesis 1:1, we find that exact information contained within the text. In the beginning (time) God created the heavens (space) and the earth (matter). Taking it a step further, ancient Hebrew lacked a word for universe, so they used a colloquial term, “haShammayim ve haEretz”, the heavens and the earth. Not only does Genesis 1:1 say that God created the universe, but it states that in so doing, He created time, space, and matter.

              As these things came into existence at the same time, and He created separate from them, this would indicate that the Lord is not subject to time, space, or matter. This places Him separate from His creation, but with the ability to interact with it at will.

              Moving on to Genesis 2:7, the Hebrew words used for “from the dust of the ground” is apar min haAdamah. Apar translates as “Dust, clay, earth, mud”, min as “A part of, from, out of”, and haAdamah as “Ground, land”. So, rather straightforward. Adam was created from the earth.

              Now, we get to science things up a bit. What are the primary elements that make up our bodies? The elements contained in our bodies consist of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, sulfur, and whole host of others. Of those elements, how many are naturally occurring in the earth? How many are found within our atmosphere? See my point?

              The creator being who exists separate from His creation used elements of His creation to make the pinnacle of said creation, the human being, using the same elements that He used to make the other animals. Furthermore, it states that He then imbued said human with His breath of life, which is another way of saying His Spirit.

              Throughout the Bible, YHWH repeatedly states that He has no physical form, that His nature is far beyond that of ours, that His thought processes are beyond our ability to comprehend, and all of this is consistent with a non-corporeal being with the ability to create a universe from nothing, to include the laws that govern it. There is nothing in Scripture that would indicate in any way that God is anything like Man. This means that we can safely infer that being made in the image of God means that we were created according to the manner in which He envisioned, not as a mirror image of Him. Being made in His image means that we were designed by Him and for His purposes.

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            7. i agree with most things you say. however, you did confirm “He imbued his creation (man) with his breath” or Spirit. in that way, we are like God. our bodies are made of matter stuff, yes, but we live by the breath of the spirit, which is undying, isn’t it so?

              and Jesus confirms this. Jesus was divine, or realized his divinity or oneness with God, which is why he says “no one goes to the Father but by me”. that means, we too can become like Jesus, when we realize that Spirit that is within all of us.

              consider that God is the great source (the singularity of physics) where nothing is separate and its potential is infinite, with all those qualities you mention that go way beyond the mind.
              when He takes a bodily/physical manifestation, all his divine qualities are there, but the quantity is significantly smaller.

              why do i say that? throughout history we have evidence of human beings realizing this inner divinity, and transcending the material existence. in body they ‘appear’ human, but their consciousness is always
              abiding in the Absolute/God/YHWH.

              when the consciousness abides in That, it takes on its qualities. 😊

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            8. That is an interesting way of viewing it, however, that isn’t what Scripture says about Jesus. He’s God the Son, the physical incarnation of God, and in possession of a divine nature that none of us can possess. There is only One God, and humans aren’t Him, will never be Him. The Lord taking on human form is an example of Him choosing to limit Himself for a purpose, not the idea that we’re capable of becoming gods.

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            9. Christianity is at odds with the mystical experience, even regarding their own Bible. Men and women from time immemorial have had the experience. Some suffer inflation because of it, while others try to promote such individuals as gods. There have been Christian mystics as well, but they remain in the background so as not to disrupt the controlling monopoly. Jesus certainly thought he could teach it, but people would rather worship the messenger.

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            10. In the case of Jesus, the Messenger is worthy of worship. Nor was this the only time He came to earth in human form. Messianic texts in the Old Testament point to a divine Messiah, and the extant Jewish writings agree. As there is only One divine being, YHWH, it’s safe then to assume that Jesus is YHWH in human form. Note that Exodus 20 reserves worship for YHWH only, and that Jesus accepted worship from His followers, which is a declaration of divinity in and of itself. This is the distinction between Him and other “holy” people. He’s the real deal, they were either blessed by God and allowed to do certain things to the glory of God at best (prophets), or self-serving frauds at worst. There is a huge difference between the two, and Jesus exists in a category all His own. Scripture even tells us how to tell the difference between the two (Deut. 13 & 18).

              Some of the Messianic texts that point to a divine Messiah are:
              Zechariah 12:10,

              “Then I will pour out on the house of David and on the people of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and prayer, and they will look on Me, the One they have pierced. They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”

              Note that the Lord God says in this verse that He is the One that was pierced. This brings us to the next bit, Isaiah 53, which says,

              “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. 6We all like sheep have gone astray, each one has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. 7He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth. 8By oppression and judgment He was taken away, and who can recount His descendants? For He was cut off from the land of the living; He was stricken for the transgression of My people.” (verses 5-8)

              “After the anguish of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities.” (verse 11)

              There are three elements to the references I’ve chosen to bring to your attention, and they are: the Messiah will die for our iniquities and transgressions, that He will be righteous, and that He will die and be resurrected. All of these point to a divine Messiah because no one who is unrighteous can take the punishment due another, and no son of Adam can be righteous. The fact that it shows that He will die and be resurrected (verses 8 & 11) is icing on the cake. Isaiah 64:6 says,

              “Each of us has become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.”

              As you may recall from my post on the Gospel, the word for unclean in Hebrew references something defiled in the Levitical sense, and the words for filthy rags are a reference to the menstrual rags used by women in those days. If our most righteous deeds are comparable to a used menstrual rag in the sight of the Lord, then there isn’t a single human anywhere who has a sliver of a hope of being righteous. Hence the need for a savior, and that is who and what the Messiah is.

              Next, Daniel 7:13-14 provides us with the title by which Jesus most often called Himself, and that is “Son of Man”,

              “In my vision in the night I continued to watch, and I saw One like the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. 14And He was given dominion, glory, and kingship, that the people of every nation and language should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”

              Two points of note here. First, the phrasing is “like the Son of Man”. If this were to be used as a descriptor for a human son of Adam, it would simply be “a son of Man”. Instead, Daniel wrote it down as “like a Son of Man”, which implies that it is someone who isn’t a human but comes in the form of the human. According to Scripture, that can only be one of two possible options: the angels or YHWH Himself. The second point shows us who it is. It says, “coming with the clouds of heaven”. There is only One figure who comes with the clouds of heaven, and that is YHWH. Side note: The “Ancient of Days” is a reference to YHWH. This is one of His divine titles.

              There is no “controlling monopoly” to maintain. Even before the Roman Catholic Church came into existence, there were differing Churches, what we would call denominations today. There was the Syrian Church, the Eastern Orthodox, the Coptic, the Ethiopian, the Armenian, etc. There has never been a controlling monopoly, especially given that all of those churches agree on the essential Christian doctrines. To be sure, there have been times when the differing Churches sought to establish total control of their own areas, but that has always been unsuccessful. Just ask a Protestant.

              As for “Christian Mystics”, they’ve been largely Gnostic in nature, and Gnosticism isn’t Christianity. It doesn’t fit with Scripture, contradicts Scripture, and has its origins in the Garden. The Serpent managed to trick Eve through the earliest form of Gnosticism, and it’s been our problem ever since. They’re pushed away because they aren’t us, not because we fear anything from them. They are their own separate thing, and there is to be no relationship between the light and the darkness (2 Cor. 6:14).

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            11. and Gnosticism isn’t Christianity. It doesn’t fit with Scripture, contradicts Scripture”. Which council of politicians and men of power do you accept? Who gets to choose which scripture is real scripture? Certainly you are Catholic then. So who gets to choose? Those that have a vested interest in controlling the narrative that had the most colorful arguments. Heaven forbid if individuals could use their own talents and perceptions to chart their own course.

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            12. So…you’ve guessed wrong…I’m NOT Catholic. I am, however, well-versed in Christian history. It makes sense to know and understand the people, places, and events between the day Jesus ascended and now. As for who gets to determine what is Scripture and what isn’t, there are very well established and reasonable standards that have been around for thousands of years. They are:

              1. The writer must be a known prophet, apostle, or be closely connected to one of the beforementioned. (Example: Matthew and John were known to be Apostles and eyewitnesses, Mark and Luke compiled the eyewitness accounts of the Apostles and others)
              2. It must be accepted by the Body of Christ, which is to say that it must be accepted by the laity. In case that isn’t clear enough, that means the common people of the Church, not the clergy.
              3. It has to be consistent with orthodoxy and doctrine. In other words, it can’t contradict what is already in Scripture.

              I would personally add a fourth qualification, if I had my druthers:

              The work it contains must be reliably placed in the right time period, geographical location, and language. This is why the Nag Hammadi library is not regarded as canon, by the way. Linguistic analysis shows it was originally written in Second Century Syriac, not First Century Judean Greek. Wrong place, wrong language, wrong time period, with the added bonus of wrong authors. The materials contained within the library were dated to the Second Century, but the Apostle Thomas is known to have died in India in the 70s AD. How could he have written the Gospel of Thomas if he had died somewhere else decades prior?

              Your argumentation shows that you’ve perhaps been misinformed of early Church history. Allow me to illuminate, if you will. First, the first three centuries of Church history were marked with brutal persecution. Pretty much the entire world was competing to see who can kill the most Christians, who could come up with the most creative ways to brutalize, torture, and kill them, and who could exterminate Christian teachings the fastest. As a result, there were no ruling bodies beyond Bishops, and they usually spent a lot of time imprisoned for existing.

              Despite this, the entire New Testament canon was set by the laity centuries before Constantine and the Council of Nicea. These were the books that they were learning from, studying, and citing in their own works. The early Church fathers wrote so extensively that we could reconstruct the entire New Testament, minus 11 verses, along with complete exegetical commentaries, without using any of the manuscript tradition that is used for our modern translations. Their works account for millions of pages of text, and much of it has survived to the present.

              As for my denomination, I am what is commonly called a Messianic Gentile. This means that I am a Gentile believer who practices Messianic Judaism, the original form of Christianity. Looks like I’ve done quite well charting my own course, my friend.

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            13. learn to see His face everywhere, if you don’t seem him everywhere.you won’t see him anywhere.
              all forms are His.

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            14. This doesn’t change the point I’ve made. He exists separate from His creation and chooses to interact with it. He is omnipresent and omnipotent, but He is NOT His creation. To assert otherwise is to deny His Word as Truth.

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            15. Not really denying the word as truth. It is to deny the interpretation of the experience by various men as truth. It is a perspective with some truth in it. Muhammad interpreted based on his culture. Jesus interpreted it based on his particular language and culture. The Hindu and Buddhist text record the experience based on theirs, while the shaman and sages from all over the world did not see jesus in their visions, more purely they saw god as all. There is nothing that is not it, and you are it too. It is grander than the Bible or or any text can illustrate, as obvioused by the convolution of the Bible, it is every conceivable premise or process. It is the Tao, and it is the totality of action and integration of all life.

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            16. Muhammad interpreted based upon his rather prodigious list of mental illnesses, but that’s a topic for another time.

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            17. Careful. Your obsession here is very close to clinical diagnosis.
              Neurosis; Excessive and irrational anxiety or obsession. A relatively mild mental illness that is not caused by organic disease, involving symptoms of stress, depression, anxiety, and obsessive behavior.
              Now that you have it all figured out, persist in it a while longer and just watch none of it come to fruition.
              Part of the problem is for all the words you know you have neglected to offer any experience. It’s books about books with no practical knowledge; knowledge from observation of the way things actually are.

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            18. According to Islamic sources, Muhammad was a warmonger, a pedophile, a serial murderer, a serial rapist, a raging misogynist, quite possibly a sociopath, likely suffered from OCD and PTSD, along with a whole host of other issues both medical and mental. He had prescription grade daddy issues due to his father dying six months prior to his birth, and having nearly every authority figure ripped out of his life before he was aged ten. The sources also show that the first four years of his life were spent living in a home where he was regarded as being of the least importance. He was ignored and mostly neglected during his most formative years. If you think that didn’t have an impact on his psyche and teachings, you’re sadly mistaken. I’ve spent years studying Islam along with Christianity and Judaism, and have even been to the Middle East. I’m neither ignorant nor obsessive, so at least do me the courtesy of not assuming things about me without first taking the time to ask a few questions.

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            19. According to sources, David (insert random prophet here) was a warmonger, a pedophile, a serial murderer, a rapist and raging misogynist, quite possibly a sociopath, likely suffered from OCD and PTSD, along with a whole host of other issues both medical and mental.
              Quite obviously falls into the category “religious leader”. From your description Muhammad could easily be a ancient Jew or Catholic.

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            20. Ah, nicely done. However, there is a point you’re missing. David repented of his sins, none of which include the list of crimes committed by Muhammad, and taught that people should submit to God and His Law.

              Muhammad taught people that the horrible things he did were allowed by Allah and encouraged them to do the same. His youngest wife was how old when he consummated their marriage? She was nine.

              Furthermore, as you chose to use my own words against me, there is a point that needs to be made. While David did commit several crimes, including some very serious ones, he also came to the realization that he had done wrong. If you want an example of that, read Psalm 51. He wrote that Psalm as a response to the remorse and repentance he went through once he’d realized what he’d done.

              He didn’t rape women or children, he didn’t teach his followers to rape people, he never tortured anyone for any reason, there are no historical sources that show him having his critics killed, do you see the pattern? Muhammad did all of those things.

              Your argument is that one religious leader is as good as another, which is in keeping with your relativistic bent. This is where your subjective moral standard gets you. Muhammad, a man after Hitler’s own heart, commits a veritable theme park worth of atrocities and you excuse it by declaring that he’s no different than another leader. I bet the Chinese persecution of religious minorities currently taking place can be written off as “cultural differences”, right?

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            21. Well since you brought it up, Hitler was a Christian endorsed by numerous high profile clergy. This is the entitlement of monotheistic belief. Ancient Israel used the same tactics yet somehow that is ok because you believe the message is of a higher virtue. This is why one can only trust themselves. Virtually every town and hamlet where Christianity planted its roots some form of self righteous oppression followed. It’s a bad religion.

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            22. Oh, I’ve heard this one. Let me ask you a question. What if I were to declare myself a Muslim today. I mean, recite the Shahada, the whole nine yards. Yet, I choose to eat pork, drink alcohol, refuse to keep any of the five pillars, fast during Ramadan, etc. What would you call me?

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            23. I wouldn’t call you anything.
              Hitlers writings were every bit as sincere as yours. It takes an unbeliever to see the utter fallacies it carries across all religion and denomination.

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            24. Well, since you’re unwilling to apply the correct titles, the answer would be “hypocrite” and “apostate”. Why? Because my actions would be contrary to my stated beliefs. Even if Hitler believed that his actions were according to the will of God, the truth is that his actions were entirely in contravention of the teachings of Jesus, making his actions contrary to the will of God according to His Word. Not only does that make him a hypocrite, but it makes him an apostate. He wasn’t a Christian any more than I am a Muslim, his assertions to the contrary not withstanding.

              Evidence is what determines whether a person is living in keeping with their stated beliefs. Jesus spoke to this in the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12) The Apostle Paul spoke to this in his epistles when he described what he called the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26). When you examine just those two passages, you see clearly that Hitler was NOT any of that, displayed none of those characteristics. Neither did Muhammad for that matter.

              If actions speak louder than words, then Hitler’s and Muhammad’s actions spoke volumes about unchecked mental illness, hatred, and evil.

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            25. Hitlers actions were no more or less natural than yours. Was he able to decipher that his actions were out of character, based on his upbringing and his neurology? The difference between you and he is a slight tweak in the wiring and a lack of impulse control. Hitler is as natural a phenomenon as a tsunami. The troubling part is that through belief in Jesus one will follow someone like that or any other cult figure, into doing something they would not normally do on their own.

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            26. That’s where you’re mistaken. Following Jesus, God incarnate, leads to an eternity in His Kingdom. Rejecting Him leads to somewhere that people shouldn’t want to go, but they run for it like it’s an Olympic sport.

              Hitler was not a product of Christianity, he acted against the teachings of Christianity. What is the difference between he and I? I’m saved and made new by the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the Cross for me. Since accepting that fact, the Spirit has inspired in me an overwhelming desire to run as far away from who I used to be, as fast as I possibly can. I follow God’s Law because it is pleasing in His sight for me to do so and for no other reason.

              I don’t seek accolades, validation, or anything else from my fellow humans because there is no difference between us. I only seek validation from the Lord God. Jesus set the standard by which we are ALL to live, and did so be demonstrating it for all to see.

              Your main issue is that you operate under the assumption that Christians weren’t give a standard to live by in order to make your argument look and sound better. That’s why you cling so tightly to the idea the one of history’s worst monsters was a Bible-believing Christian, and why you refuse to accept the idea that he was at best a pretender. To do otherwise is to reevaluate your opinions, and you can’t have that.

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            27. Um, Jesus condoned the law of Moses. He was Jewish and was to fulfill the law. He quoted from it, even the silly parts like the non existent flood and non existent exodus. Folklore can even fool the god of the universe. Weird

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            28. I’m referring to physical evidence found by scientists. There is genetic, geologic, and chemical evidence, in addition to cultural evidence, all of which points to a worldwide flood. As for the Exodus, one of the main issues has been location. As it turns out, the biblical Mt. Sinai wasn’t the mountain currently bearing that name, but rather a mountain in Western Arabia. This means that they didn’t cross what is currently known as the Red Sea, but rather what is now known as the Gulf of Aqaba situated between the Sinai peninsula and the Arabian peninsula. Once someone was able to get into Saudi and actually look at the sites, they found a direct correlation with the biblical narrative, complete with rock carvings depicting moon god worship, a large rock split down the middle, etc. Why people aren’t screaming this from the mountain tops is beyond me given the inordinate number of hoops people had to jump through with the Saudi government just to gain access to the site. They protect it as if it’s made of solid gold.

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            29. Certainly we hope to find solid evidence for that would kill faith. It wouldn’t kill the church, but faith would go bye bye and that would cleanup a lot of messes.
              Same with solid evidence for Jesus. What a blessing to humanity that would be, going beyond belief. How is it that Chinese civilization survived the great worldwide Noah flood?
              While they too, apparently had an incredible flood about 4000 years ago, they survived that and likely, it was what was the beginning of the 1st dynasty, or Xia.
              If the Noah story were even partly true, how would a prophet of god not be aware of other souls surviving this catastrophe?
              As far as the Exodus, we have to rewrite the narrative to split hairs and hope, which also skews the actual evidence.
              For over a hundred years biblical scholars and archeologists have scoured the near east and found nothing.
              We even have modern examples on the West Bank of settlements. Even something of 30-40,000, demands a huge amount of infrastructure, water, hospitals, schools, cemeteries. Why nothing at all at Kadesh?

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            30. How do you define faith? What would you consider solid evidence of Jesus? Is it not enough that He’s mentioned more times than the emperor of His day, and that the historical references are both friendly and unfriendly, and that they confirm numerous elements of His life and times, including His crucifixion?

              The answer to your rhetorical question about Noah and the Xia Dynasty is found in genetic evidence which shows that humanity not only came from a founding pair, but that they emerged at the same time as 95% of animal species on the planet, which is indicative of a worldwide catastrophe. Note that the people on the Ark were genetically related because the human gene pool at that point was still branching out from the founding pair, Adam and Eve. As they branched out, there were gradual changes to the outward appearance of successive generations, in addition to the gradual outward migration of humans all over the planet.

              As for the Exodus, your assertion presupposes that there has never before been historical or archeological evidence for the site I mentioned. If that is the case, you would be incorrect. Much of what brought people to the site in Saudi was historical works by people like Eusebius of Caesarea, Jerome, Ptolemy, Philo, and Josephus. Their works describe biblical Mt. Sinai as being located in Arabia, in the range known today as Jabal al-Lawz. That this isn’t common knowledge isn’t the fault of historians. Most people regard such pursuits as being boring and uninteresting.

              Your point regarding the Xia Dynasty does help to highlight one of the evidences for a worldwide flood. There are more than two dozen cultures spread out all over the world that have flood myths in their literature, and they all seem to follow the same pattern, i.e., humans anger deity, deity tells them to stop, they refuse, deity floods the earth and kills all but a small remnant. Couple that with the genetic evidence, and it isn’t hard to come to the conclusion that these are remnant stories from the biblical flood.

              Add to that the fact that the biblical account contains descriptions of geologic processes that the other accounts lack, it isn’t hard to determine that the biblical account would be the most accurate. The evidence is very plainly there, but people aren’t inclined to seek it out.

              Finally, your point about Kadesh. First, there is more than one site bearing the name Kadesh mentioned in the biblical narrative. Second, the desert environment isn’t great for preserving human remains, especially over the course of thousands of years. The conditions that need to be met for the long term preservation of animal remains, especially those of humans, are so unforgiving that most human’s remains would be nothing but dust in a few centuries.

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            31. Unrelated note: My family and I keep the Sabbath. I probably won’t be on much until Saturday evening. Just a heads up, if I suddenly disappear, I’m just spending time with my family and God.

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            32. not sure whether that should comfort us or raise concerns! haha. just appealing to your sense of humour there, TEP336, which i know is hidden down under all those heavy, biblical quotes 😄 Happy Sabbath

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            33. Isn’t it rather interesting that there’s so much Islamic information about Mohammed as compared to what is known about Yeshua. I wonder why that is …

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            34. I believe we’ve had that discussion before, and you indicated that you weren’t interested in pursuing it further. In either case, there is more than enough evidence that Jesus existed, and there are some who’ve come to the conclusion that Muhammad never existed. Granted, I’m not in that camp, but their argument is compelling.

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            35. That’s correct. I’m not interested in pursuing the topic of Christianity and your interpretation of same any longer. However, that doesn’t preclude me from sharing my thoughts on Jim’s blog as related to comments made by him or his readers. 🙂

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            36. Very well. Share away. Our conversation is at an end. Have a blessed day, and may the Lord bring you peace and understanding through the Lord Jesus Christ.

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            37. that’s like saying the gold in the gold chain is separate from the chain, like the milk in the butter is separate from the butter, like the heat of the fire is separate from the fire.

              where is the separateness?? in your mind only

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            38. No, it really isn’t. All of what you’ve listed off is subject to the physical laws of our universe, and God isn’t. He isn’t subject to any of the laws of our universe. Our universe has a beginning, and ultimately an end. God has neither, He is timeless, eternal. Our universe is constrained by physical laws by virtue of being made up of space and matter. God is neither space nor matter, as both came into existence with the beginning of the universe. Anything that has a beginning requires a beginner, and said beginner would not be subject to the laws related to the system that has been brought into existence.

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        2. Look to Nature for most of your answers. For the rest look within. Try it for a month and see if your vision expands. Books are only gateways that lead you to wider vistas — Proust.
          It is incumbent upon us to enter or remain corralled in text. The self, the I AM is within and exampled in the exigence around us. And even seeming reality is an illusion inasmuch as each of us sees/intuits/experiences it uniquely. If you accept interconnection then you will see yourself reflected in a star. Try it. Let go of ancient text for a month and see your own truth in the living sentience around you.

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  5. If you don’t mind, I would like to provide some insight from the Christian side of things. Just so we are all clear, this isn’t Christian. This is heresy wrapped up in pseudo-Christian speech, with the intent of tricking people out of their money. It takes a very intentional twisting of Scripture to make people arrive at the point where they regard God as a cosmic pez dispenser and act accordingly.

    For one, not only did Jesus teach that His followers would be hated for His sake, but the Apostles went out and spent what remained of their lives facing persecution and discrimination for their choice to follow Jesus, while actively convincing others that choosing to follow Jesus is worth the persecution. If the intent was to live their “best life now”, then they did it wrong.

    One of the reasons I no longer have accounts on any social media platforms is because I got tired of constantly having to address these horribly heretical teachings. Instead, I use my blog to take down these types of ideologies and do all I can to expose the people pushing these teachings for the fraudulent charlatans that they are.

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        1. I have just read your post. I have a problem with the notion/concept of “sin”. If we are to take the single progenitor of sinful behaviour as Eve eating the fruit (presumably an apple) from the tree of knowledge and then knowing good from evil (choice) then surely that is the beginning of self-awareness and self-determination. Brave choice to leave comfortable safety of ignorance/immortality behind and embark on a journey of self-realization. I also take issue with your claim that Adam should have taught Eve how to behave! But perhaps this bothers me the most, “I have ceased speaking to relatives and friends who I recognized quickly as being detrimental to my relationship with the Lord. ” Wtf? You are welcome on this site. Welcome to express your beliefs and defend them. Why can’t you “turn the other cheek” and show love to relatives and friends who disagree with you? I simply don’t understand this “choice” of yours. Is it exampled by Jesus in your text?

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      1. It’s unusual, but nice, to read a comment from someone who may disagree with a blog topic and/or subsequent comments, but is able to remain civil in their rebuttal.

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        1. Aw, shucks. I hold firmly to the idea that we ought to treat others as we would like to be treated.

          Do bear something in mind when dealing with people like me in the future. We love the truth, we love justice, and we adhere to the idea that it is better to be kind, open, and honest than to be rude. I’ve come to the conclusion that you can gauge a person’s confidence in their position based upon the level of their civility in their responses. The less civil they are, the more surface level their knowledge, though that isn’t always the case. On occasion I do encounter people on both sides who are quite knowledgeable but also overflowing with arrogance and pride.

          The fact is that the Gospel Message is offensive to many people, so why would I compound that by being rude?

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          1. Maybe the gospel message is offensive because it isn’t the good news Jesus taught at all? The real good news was suppressed from the beginning.

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            1. You would have to prove that, and the historical record shows that the Gospel accounts are accurate to the original. Who would be the culprit?

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            2. You would have to provide relevant Scripture to demonstrate what you mean. He also taught the opposite of what you’re asserting. In John 14:6 He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” If He truly felt that His Oneness with the Father wasn’t peculiar to Himself, then why declare Himself the only way to the Father? Why not just do as countless other sages and wiseman have done and teach about self-control and self-love? Why call people out on their sins if not to bring them to the point where they are forced to deal with them? Furthermore, why go through the trouble of crucifixion at all?

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            3. ”If He truly felt that His Oneness with the Father wasn’t peculiar to Himself, then why declare Himself the only way to the Father?”
              Looks like we have a contradiction.
              “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
              22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:” This is very Hindu, btw.
              I know you stated the gospel is offensive; it isn’t. It is belief that is offensive—and it doesn’t matter what belief that is. Belief is the root of all the worlds divisions and delusions (political and religious) It is also the greatest guru challenge of all time. To reward mankind for doing something they can’t help but do. The natural man is actually the believing man, not the other way around.
              Belief as a virtue is a death sentence to peace.
              But as long as we are willing to believe in this way, we deserve to remain subjects of this deprecated dogma of the worthless sinner. Someday the world will surpass belief mode—if not, more of the same.

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          2. If non-theists take offense at the gospel message it is because it proposes that an innocent party can serve as a scapegoat for the crimes and misdemeanors of another — an immoral proposition that runs counter to our present concepts of justice based on holding individuals accountable for their own actions.

            The gospel also teaches us to love our enemies: a concept without practical purpose or meaning. As Ayn Rand rightfully noted:

            Love is the recognition one grants to value or virtue. Since all men are not virtuous, to love them for their vices would be a monstrous conception and a vicious injustice. One cannot love such men as Stalin and Hitler. If one says one does, it merely means that one does not love at all. To love the ideal and also those who betray it, is to betray the ideal.

            Finally, the Bible presents obedience to authority (i.e., complete deference to the will of another) as a moral virtue rather than what it really is: a complete dereliction of one’s moral accountability to others.

            As a consequence, I reject the gospel because it stands diametrically opposed to my moral values.

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            1. The first question that comes to mind is, from where do you derive your moral standards? Next question is, from where do you derive your definition of love? Final question, have you considered the possibility that you are looking at biblical justice from the wrong perspective?

              Side note: An amusing, though not entirely unrelated, point is the origin of the term “scapegoat”. It comes from the First and Second Temple practices of laying the sins of Israel on a goat and releasing it into the wild outside the borders of Israel. No particular point there, just found amusement in your choice of words.

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            2. I like this question! “ The first question that comes to mind is from where do you derive your moral standards?”. Of course it’s me. I completely trust myself. If I can’t trust myself, can I trust my mistrust in myself? You see what a quandary this generates? I agree with Ron 100%. To abandon one’s moral authority is immoral. It is also the process that gets good men to do evil in the name of god.

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            3. How do you define evil or good? Without an objective source for any form of morality, how can you determine what is good or evil? Furthermore, what happens when someone just as assured of themselves disagrees with you? I don’t recall people like Adolf Hitler or Muhammad ibn Abdullah being known for their lack of confidence in themselves. So, how to you reconcile opposing viewpoints on what constitutes moral behavior in a system where good and evil are determined by the individual?

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            4. Well obviously I appreciate opposing viewpoints. That why I welcomed you and posted disagreeing points of view. It’s all part of the game. Christianity is a great game. Very serious.
              Good and evil are points of view, but in the end it’s a reaction (or lack of) to stimuli. Everyone is selfish so a level of conformity is in the best interest of survival. Another plus for Christianity although for reasons would not recognize don’t approve.

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            5. That doesn’t quite answer my question. Hypothetically speaking, if you were to come across someone beating an elderly woman about the head with a brick, how would you know that it is wrong and that you must act to stop it?

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            6. Altruism is not a unique human trait. It even crosses species.
              This could be a trolly problem. You mustn’t act to stop it but would you? What if there was a gang around the event and you had to think about it for a moment? Would then your complete faith in Jesus give you the courage to jump in, or hinder it?

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            7. It’s been my experience that humans are seldom ever truly altruistic. Having spent a decade and a half in the military and healthcare, I’ve seen the best and worst humanity has to offer. Would I attempt to stop someone from being killed? Yes. Nor would I be too concerned with dying in the process. I trust the Lord. As for altruism amongst other species, for the most part dogs are the only animals that come to mind. Not saying it can’t happen with other species, just that they’re the only ones that come to mind. That being said, the difference between us and them is that the Lord made us in His image, not them. He imbued us with His Spirit, which certainly places us in our own category.

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            8. Does his spirit also contain the yetzer hara? Makes me wonder: who is on the left hand of god? It never says. Yet Judaism and Christianity are fashioned after the kings court, so who is on the left hand? The story of Job is a clue.

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            9. Satan isn’t the left hand of God, if that’s what you’re asking. He is an angel who allowed pride and arrogance to override any good sense he might have once possessed, and has since become irredeemable. As for the yetzer hara, you ask a loaded question, interesting, but loaded. 😁 In Christian terms, the yetzer hara would be the innate inclination of the human towards sin. This is similar to how it is defined in Judaism, which makes sense as Christianity is the completion of Judaism. As it is innate to humans, it is something that the Lord doesn’t possess. It goes against His nature. This is consistent with the portion of the Gospel Message that holds that we humans are broken and condemned before the Lord apart from the blood of Jesus shed for our sins.

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            10. So the book of Job is allegorical? Not scripture? Sure, Satan makes backroom deals then god and Jesus agree to it. Satan is the prosecutor, Jesus the defense attorney, and the father figure is the judge. How coincidental is that?
              The yetzer hara had to be introduced in Judaism to save face for god, but Isaiah makes it pretty clear, doesn’t he? Do you see at all what a conundrum the story makes when they had not the foresight to see it through?

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            11. Which part of Isaiah are you referring to? Job is Scripture and there are a few things you’re missing here. First, Satan comes from the Hebrew word for “accuser”, so yes, he will play the part of prosecutor. Second, Jesus isn’t necessarily the defense attorney. Scripture says He will be the Judge. As for backroom deals, what you’ve missed is that Job wasn’t actually a righteous man. If he were, Satan wouldn’t have had a claim on him. The fact of the matter is that Job was arrogant and self-righteous. That was his sin, one for which he repents. God didn’t make a backroom deal to torture a righteous man, he made a point to both Satan and Job.

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            12. Not sure what you’ve read into this, but “1. There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”
              I wonder if you had read this without being coached how you would actually read it?

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            13. Oh, if I’d only read that part and no other section of the Book, I’d see it as referring to a man who was totally upright before God. I take your point, there. However, that impression would come to a crushing end just a little bit later when I read that he’s arrogant enough to believe that good fortune means that you’ve found favor with God and that misfortune means that God hates you because you’ve sinned against Him. Job 4:7-11 is an example. That’s one of Job’s friends speaking. Job’s words from that point on aren’t any better as his self-righteous beliefs consume him until the Lord rebukes him for it.

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            14. Sure after Job finally cracked and questions god., but in the end what happens? Certainly if the story were true the whole thing was a scam. Just like Hebrew religion to administrate a test without telling the tested they are being tested. More deception. Just like the entire universe isn’t what it seems to be with our five senses. That’s not a good gods doing.

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            15. How do you make that determination? If morality is subjective, then how can you declare anything right or wrong without assuming an objective moral standard that is external to you?

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            16. Easy, As you stated it in one of your first comments. You treat others the way you want to be treated to maintain equilibrium in the system. Even when you don’t want to. Even lab monkeys expect a sense of fairness.

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            17. My moral values derive from the same place as yours and everyone else’s: from one’s self. That’s not to say they weren’t informed, shaped and influenced by others, but ultimately, our moral values reflect our innermost values and are completely subjective.

              The theist proposes our moral standards are given to us by an objective authority named God, but that’s just kicking the can down the road, because one is then immediately prompted to ask, “From whence does God derive his moral code?” — to which the answer can only be one of two options: it is either subjective to God’s will, or God is compelled to abide by some moral code that exists apart from God, thus making God a superfluous extra in this equation.

              “Ah, but there’s a third option!” exclaims our religious apologist. “God’s moral code is intrinsic to God’s nature.”

              But that’s just another way of saying that God’s moral code is subject to God’s inherent personal whims.

              Plus it raises another question: By what metric did you determine that God’s moral nature was objective? And how will you convince the adherents of other religions that the “objective” moral standards derived from your god are superior to the “objective” moral standards derived from their gods? Because in order to make that determination everyone would first have to possess a standard by which to judge the moral standards of all the gods in question, once again reducing them to superfluous extras to the entire problem.

              My definition of love is having an affinity for the people and things we value. What is yours?

              In answer to your third question: yes, I have considered the possibility that I was looking at biblical justice from the wrong perspective. That’s part of the reason I’m no longer a Christian believer.

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            18. For something to have a beginning, there must be a beginner. Our universe has a beginning, therefore it must have a beginner. This is a statement that is consistent with the Law of Causation, and I won’t insult your intelligence by assuming you haven’t heard this one before. Needless to say, I affirm the statement that a system with a beginning requires a beginner. To affirm otherwise would be illogical.

              When the causal agent of our universe created it, He did so with specific intent to create a universe geared towards our existence. This idea was first put forth by what would eventually become the Bible, but has since been echoed by science in the form of the Anthropic principle, which dictates that the conditions of our universe are geared in such a way as to make complex intelligent life inevitable.

              The basic point is that the causal agent of our universe not only wrote the physical laws that govern our universe, but the moral ones as well. Considering that said causal agent exists separate from the universe, it goes without saying that He isn’t subject to the laws that govern our physical reality.

              As time, space, and matter came into existence simultaneously, then it’s logical to assume that the causal agent of our universe would not be subject to time, space, or matter. Such a being would also not be subject to the thought processes, motivations, and inherent biases that we humans are subject to. This would render Him entirely objective. What we’re discussing here is a mind that works in ways we can’t even begin to comprehend. The answer to your question then becomes, He derives His moral code from Himself entirely. There is no other possible source, and a being who is omniscient would be more than capable of working out every possible permutation throughout the whole of time in order to see the best outcome for all situations is more than capable of developing an objective moral standard.

              Now, the issue you face is, if time came into existence at the moment that space and matter did, and that logically points to a causal agent that is timeless or eternal, what does that do for your argument? Morality is subject to the mind and will of a being who exists so far outside of our entire lexicon that we can neither fathom His mysteries nor fully comprehend what we do know.

              What’s my definition of love? In the words of Dr. Voddie Baucham, Jr., “It’s an act of will accompanied by emotion that leads to action on behalf of its object.” Going beyond that, there is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs. 6Love takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” There is also the example provided by Jesus who chose to go up on that Cross and die for our sake.

              The point I was seeking to make regarding biblical justice is that the biggest mistake anyone in the modern age can do is view it through the lens of 21st Century Western thought, as opposed to the philosophical approaches of the ancient Near East. I know that such an approach is frightening to the modern Westerner, but that’s because we tend to forget that our entire way of life is undergirded by biblical principles. Without it, there are no human rights, no due process, no evidentiary standard by which our courts would function, none of it.

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            19. Universal or not, the impact that Jesus has had on the West is profound. In the ancient world, human rights were those granted by the powers-that-be, and not something assumed to be inherent to humanity. This is just one way that biblical principles have affected our underlying assumptions about our fellow humans.

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            20. This is absurd. The only indigenous people left in the west/world are the compliant—and the lucky. Human rights came in spite of the church and it still fights nearly every social advance.

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            21. Human rights developed slowly, sure. However, based upon how the ancient world worked, it never would have progressed to the point that it has if it wasn’t for the Judeo-Christian ethic.

              Don’t forget that the idea of entertainment in the ancient world consisted of watching people tear each other apart in gladiatorial games, watching half-starved wild animals tear each other and humans apart, or watching as armies of gladiators reenacted past battles in very gory and realistic ways. If that was entertaining to them, what does that say of their basic morality.

              In those days, if you had a baby that you didn’t want, for example if it was a girl and you only wanted boys, one only had to toss the unwanted child into the garbage heap or a field to die from exposure or predation.

              Do also note that the only Christians involved in the events taking place in the games were the ones being torn apart by animals, or being crucified, raped, beaten, or tortured for sport. According to Tacitus, Christians were even blamed for the fire that people were convinced had been set by Nero, and subjected to all manner of horrific punishment for it, including being used to make human torches.

              It was Christians wandering the streets, garbage heaps, and countryside at night looking for discarded infants so that they could adopt and raise them. They were the ones who introduced the concept of human rights as we know them.

              Did it happen perfectly? Nope. Nothing involving humans ever happens quickly or perfectly, with the exception of disaster and self-destruction. That being said, imagine a world without Christian morality, and it’s scary.

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            22. It was Christians wandering the streets, garbage heaps, and countryside at night looking for discarded infants so that they could adopt and raise them.

              Do you have references for this? More than one if possible.

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            23. Exposure, abortion and infanticide were known practices in ancient Rome and Greece. For example, Aristotle was a huge fan of abortion because he feared overpopulation. The only exception in the ancient world was found in what we now call the Judeo-Christian tradition, which has always taught that infanticide, exposure, and abortion are immoral. Abortion is an area where modern Christians and Jews differ, but that wasn’t always the case. Back then, Christians and Jews routinely spoke out against such practices.

              We’ll begin with a document known as the Didache. This was a document written in the early history of the Church that acted sort of like Cliff’s Notes for new believers. It carefully and thoroughly details the basic beliefs of the early Church, and one of the statements contained therein is, “You shall not murder a child by abortion, nor kill a child at birth.”

              If you’re looking for other sources, there is “The Kindness of Strangers The Abandonment of Children in Western Europe From Late Antiquity to the Renaissance” by John Boswell, “Childhood, Class and Kin in the Roman World” edited by Suzanne Dixon, there is also this article entitled “As Long as it’s Healthy” (https://www.abc.net.au/religion/early-christianitys-resistance-to-infanticide-and-exposure/10898016)

              Then there is this, from a paper published in October 2011 by the North American Association of Christians in Social Work entitled “Orphan Care in the Early Church- A Heritage to Recapture”,

              “Christians worked against infanticide by prohibiting its members from practicing it, voicing their moral view on infanticide to the pagan world, by providing for the relief of the poor, and actually taking in and supporting babies which had been left to die by exposure by their pagan parents.”

              As I said, it was the Judeo-Christian ethic that brought about the changes that wouldn’t have come about otherwise.

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            24. Tell that to the unprovoked massacred in the Indies by the Christian explorers. You ever read the first hand account by Bartolomé de las Casas. Everywhere Christianity planted its flag. And you think it’s the gospel that’s offensive? And still the pushback on equal rights. Your above statement is full of fallacy. The Christian morality was supposed to know better. There isn’t a Christian morality other than sexual purity.

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            25. What I find interesting is how quick you are to malign us and paint us all with a wide paintbrush based on the actions of some committed long before any modern Christian was alive. Furthermore, I find it interesting that you are so quick to ignore the fact that the atrocities committed in the name of Christ were done in complete contravention of His teachings. Unless you can find someplace where Jesus definitely spoke in support of such things, I think you should reexamine the way you regard us.

              Setting that aside, I don’t need to read the works written by de las Casas because I’m of Mexican descent. I’m a Mestizo of Spanish and Aztec ancestry, and I’m well aware of both my heritage and the history associated. While I can appreciate your outrage over the things done by the Spanish, I can also point out that the Nahuatl people weren’t the innocent noble savages that people want to think they were.

              The Nahuatl Aztec empire was a very well developed society that had made some amazing advancements despite being stone aged people who never domesticated anything larger than a turkey. They were also some of the most vile, disgusting, and bloodthirsty monsters to walk the planet. Ever see the movie Apocalypto? Yeah, that was surprisingly accurate, though the characters in that movie were Mayan.

              Jaguar and Eagle warriors would routinely attack neighboring tribes for warriors to sacrifice to the gods, slaves, and resources. They were so violent that the Spaniards had no difficulty finding allies to help take them down. Those are my ancestors. 😁 Take a wild guess at who had a vicious temper as a teenager.

              Not excusing the horrendous things done by the Spanish, but I am giving you the other side of the story. When Europe showed up on this side of the planet they found tribes actively involved in raiding, enslaving, and pillaging each other. It took some time, but that stuff came to an end due to the advent of Christianity on these shores. As I said earlier, changing anything with humans takes time because we’re notoriously shortsighted and stubborn.

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            26. I’m not painting anyone with a broad brush. The accounts by De las Casas spoke of people who knew no violence and the Spaniards would cut them to bits. So it didn’t take the kind of warrior behavior you mention, although I agree with you that was part of it too. “I think you should reexamine the way you regard us. I hold no malice for anyone. I think your awesome! Christianity gave a sense of entitlement, even to the settlers here in the USA. Maybe Jesus could have warned about that?
              Btw, I make my own sandals and I prefer the Panamanian cutarra. The weave pattern is traced back at least 500 years and originated with the Aztecs who called them the cotoro.
              This is my current pair

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            27. When reading historical accounts the one thing you must always bear in mind is bias, both your own and on the part of your subject. All humans have biases, and those biases can be either explicit or implicit. No matter what, there’s bias. If you’re reading and you find no bias, assume that it’s yours. The trick is to look past your biases and seek to adopt a cold, dispassionate historical perspective in order to get anything resembling a clear picture.

              Bartolomeo de las Casas was a priest and he held the Conquistadores in disdain for being who and what they were. The fact that he was a Jesuit priest meant that he was educated to a very high standard, trained to be thorough and methodical, and that he was supposed to be a man of peace. He saw the Conquistadores as being evidence of failure, and I applaud his ability to see the humanity of the natives they encountered. However, things are never entirely what they appear. To quote G’kar, one of my favorite sci-fi characters, “No one here is who they seem to be…”

              He had his own biases, and they were as much religious as they were political. He held a particular dislike for Hernan Cortez for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that there might have been a Jewish connection in his family. The fact that no small number of Cortez’ Conquistadores were conversos didn’t help matters as the Spanish Church was actively involved in the persecution of conversos and morescos at the time. In case you’re wondering, conversos were Jewish converts to catholicism, while morescos were Muslim converts to the same. They weren’t even allowed to be there, but managed to sneak their way into the so-called New World nonetheless.

              On the topic of conversos, I recommend you read Juan Marcos Bejarano-Gutierrez’, “Jewish Conquistadors in the New World”. Rabbi Bejarano-Gutierrez is a meticulous researcher and his analysis of life for conversos is pretty detailed.

              Christianity didn’t give anyone a sense of entitlement, and Jesus did teach against that kind of behavior. Check out the Beatitudes. Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, etc. Do any of those historical accounts we read display any appreciable amounts of any of those qualities that Jesus declared b’racha? When you make negative statements about Christian morality, that’s where the broad paintbrush makes an appearance and why I said you may need to reexamine how you view Christians. We aren’t monsters, and we spend a great deal of time mourning over the things being done in this world.

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            28. I think most Christians are doing the best they can. Some use it as cover, like the prophet William in the post, but can you outsmart your own neurology and experiences? “what you must always bear in mind is bias”
              Jesus disciples seem no different than any devotee to their guru. He is without reproach. Like Trump or Biden is from their supporters.
              If you need guidance there will always be someone to give it to you right up until you don’t. Once a person decides to believe-in any dogma there is no hope. There is then miles and miles of explanations to justify that belief to find the right mental wrangling to have it make sense. Why is belief of this nature even necessary at all? Why do humans operate on belief? Because nothing is real. Nothing is as it seems, even after it seems like it. The colonized peoples of the world now speak the language and worship the white Palestinian jesus. It is hard to unlearn empire.

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            29. The Jesus I worship is a brown First Century Jew and is God the Son, God incarnate. The white Jesus was invented by the Catholic Church to further divorce Christianity from its Jewish origins. As for why I chose YHWH over Quetzalcoatl or any of the other gods has to with the evidential nature of faith. I saw more than enough evidence to convince me that YHWH is the Creator and the One to whom I should bow, and I’ve since borne witness to the changing work of the Holy Spirit in my life to confirm it. All has cemented in my mind the fact that the other gods either don’t exist, or are fallen beings masquerading as gods.

              In the interest of full disclosure, I have to point out that my upbringing was irreligious. My Mexican father was an atheist and my American mother was a non-practicing Christian. I didn’t spend an appreciable amount of time within the confines of a church until I was in my teens, and it didn’t take. I eventually walked away after coming to some conclusions based in self-righteousness and arrogance.

              It would be 21 years before I finally came to the Cross. Fast-forward seven years I’m now in my mid-40s and have come a matured conviction regarding the fact of YHWH and who He is, and what I owe Him.

              I’m not doing the best I can. That would imply that the answer for my change is somehow within me, and that simply isn’t the case. On my own, I was married and divorced several times, had a non-existent relationship with my eldest children, couldn’t keep a job, experienced financial ruin multiple times through my own poor decisions, and lived a life controlled by cowardice and multiple addictions.

              Now, the addictions aren’t just gone, it’s as if they never existed. I’m working a very good job in a field that I enjoy, I’m married to an incredible woman who’s done nothing but point me in the direction of the Lord, and I fear no man. Not one bit of that was me, it was all God.

              You are correct in one regard. Many liars, cheats, charlatans, grifters, and other unsavory types have twisted Scripture in ways it was never meant to be used, all for their own personal gain. Those people will face an extra special kind of judgment when they come before the Lord because He makes clear that His Name is not to be trifled with.

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            30. So when it’s all said and done you obviously think your bias is more valid than everyone else’s. Nobody else gets it the way that you do. This is the level of fundamentalism that erased cultures. You have become your own oppressor. The answer is within you alone. Many, many people have done all the things you’ve done with Jesus in their life. But, this is just as natural as the hobo or the beatnik. Your playing a marvelous game. Well played!

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            31. When bias is fully supported by evidence, it is less bias and more logical conclusion based on the evidence. Granted, two people can look at the same evidence and come to differing conclusions, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m not oppressed, so I can’t be my own oppressor. As for your point regarding natural tendencies, I have to wonder. Are you of the opinion that we should also follow our natural instincts?

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            32. Interesting remarks related to instinct: https://www.learning-mind.com/basic-instincts-dominant/

              Also, from Wikipedia: Any behavior is instinctive if it is performed without being based upon prior experience (that is, in the absence of learning), and is therefore an expression of innate biological factors.

              And … (same source): Instinctual behaviour in humans has been studied, and is a controversial topic.

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            33. There is very little evidence outside the Bible narrative that this Jesus existed at all.
              The colonizers erased your history. Now you speak their language and worship their god. You may not feel oppressed, but maybe white leashed is a better term.
              You have quite a quandary going. Because of your addictions and divorce you know longer trust yourself. So, can you trust your mistrust in yourself?
              Many people have traveled the ways of your past WITH the lord. The entire thing is irrelevant. Do you think now if you quit believing you’d relapse into criminal?

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            34. You’ve been misinformed regarding the evidence for the existence of Jesus. There is more historical evidence for His existence than there is for the emperor of His day, and yet no one seems to question the existence of Tiberius Caesar. I’ve always wondered why that might be. 🤔

              As for my lack of trust in myself and my own judgement, that goes back much farther than that. I’ve spent much of my life being the kind of guy I wouldn’t want my sons to be, or my daughters to marry. Would I revert back to who I’d been if I were to forgo my faith? No, I’d be worse. Absent an objective moral standard there would be little reason for me to behave in a moral fashion and my Asperger’s would ensure that I would make all the wrong decisions. As Dostoyevsky once wrote, “If there is no God anything is possible”.

              To be sure, many professing Christians, and no small number of pretenders, have had to deal with similar issues to mine. However, as I said, those habits and tendencies didn’t go away through any of my own effort. I mean, I quit a pack-a-day, 25 year smoking habit cold turkey while working at a casino. I’ve never had the personal control necessary to pull that off.

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            35. That is how to quit anything. Cold turkey. If you plan it and announce it the devil comes-knocking—and we all know who the devil is.
              those habits and tendencies didn’t go away through any of my own effort
              That is very Buddhic of you. It is exactly the point.

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            36. You’ve been misinformed regarding the evidence for the existence of Jesus.

              TEP, the only “evidence” for Jesus is in the bible. Certainly a couple of people mentioned him in later writings, but this is hardly considered evidence. However, having said that, I do recognize that to many, the bible is as authentic as any history book.

              So there’s that.

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            37. Included in the list of those who regard the Bible as historically reliable would be the Smithsonian Institute, the Biblical Archeology Society, and the Israeli Antiquities Authority, to name a few. The Bible is routinely used in archeological research, which makes very clear that it is historically accurate. 😁 Furthermore, in addition to a historically reliable New Testament manuscript tradition, you also have writings by non-friendly Jewish, Greek, and Roman sources that are both contemporary and non.

              Bear in mind that several of the people who mentioned Jesus, including Josephus, were born within the same time frame, which makes them contemporary. As I said, there is ample evidence for His existence, even if you were to limit the evidence to the Bible alone.

              Consider that Matthew and John are both eyewitness accounts, Mark and Luke are compilations of multiple eyewitness accounts, James and Jude were both known to be Jesus’ half-brothers, and all affirm that Jesus existed. Prior to the resurrection, James would have been considered an unfriendly source given that he was opposed to Jesus’teachings until he witnessed the risen Jesus for himself.

              Then you have the Jewish Talmud, which not only affirms His existence, but affirms certain things about Him, to include His supernatural works. If you’re looking for an unfriendly source, that’s as unfriendly as it gets. I doubt they’d take the time to slander someone who never existed, and no one on this planet would have wanted Jesus to never have existed more than the religiopolitical leaders of First Century Judea.

              On the topic of Josephus as a source, allow me to anticipate a certain argument. There are two references to Jesus found within the works of Josephus. Of the two, one was clearly tampered with everywhere except for the Arabic language version. Through that one, scholars have been able to reconstruct what Josephus is believed to have actually written regarding Jesus. As for the other reference, there is no evidence of tampering. This means that Josephus counts as a contemporary source who’s works confirm the existence of Jesus.

              Historical evidence shows that the contents of the New Testament were written prior to the end of the First Century, with most of it written prior to 70AD. This is known for a few reasons, not the least of which is that the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem isn’t mentioned despite the fact that Jesus predicted its destruction. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, the only New Testament work written after 70AD is the Book of Revelation.

              This means that the contents of the NT were written in the right time period, in the right language, in the right geographic area, by people whose existence are confirmed. Add to that the fact that the early Church fathers were all very prolific writers, and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of sources to be found within the first 100 years of Church history.

              Compare that to the works of people like Plato, whose works and existence we take for granted despite the fact that the oldest copies of his works known were written approximately 1200 years after he was supposed to have lived. It’s clear that ignoring or dismissing the evidence of His existence is ill-advised.

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            38. Well, one thing is for certain. This response and several others that you’ve offered provides clear evidence that you take the scripture to heart that’s found in 1 Peter 3: Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

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            39. Thank you. Yes, I do.1 Peter 3:15-16, “But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you. But respond with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who slander you may be put to shame by your good behavior in Christ.”

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            40. It’s very easy to be passionate and believe what it’s all you know. There are better and more consistent views of the world. I find it amazing that of all the things we’ve talked about you agree with nothing whatsoever.

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            41. All logical and rational thought begins and ends with the Bible. I’ve stated repeatedly that I’ve researched the Bible, determined that it is to be trusted without question, and concluded that it is the Word of God. I’ve also stated that the Bible isn’t all I’ve known. I spent most of my life living in the secular world, and have only been a follower of Jesus for seven years. I’m 44 years old, so you aren’t dealing with some young kid.

              It’s very easy to assume that someone is ignorant when they disagree with you. The challenge is looking past that bias and seeking to understand why. You’ve spent much time disagreeing with me, debating with me, but you haven’t invested a lot of time in learning why it is that I hold so tightly to my stated beliefs. I would think that would be an important question.

              In truth, there are only two religions: the Way of Truth and the Way of Falsehood. Truth is determined by an analysis of evidence, and the evidence points toward the Bible and YHWH. The Bible and YHWH both state that His Way is the only Way. Jesus even called Himself “the Way” (John 14:6). One can conclude then that anything that runs counter to the way that is demonstrably true must be false.

              Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure we will agree on a great many moral and philosophical precepts and principles, but where we will consistently disagree is in the source of those precepts and principles unless you make the choice to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ.

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            42. Yes. And I was accused of overconfidence. Then I was told he knew nothing of the other religions, but they didn’t have completion. His story might be more interesting if it was compatible with reality.

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            43. When we first started, I told you that my entire job as a believer is to tell you what I believe and why. My job isn’t to convince you, change your mind, or otherwise change the trajectory of your life. That part is between you and the Holy Spirit, I’m not arrogant enough to believe for a second that I have any part in that.

              The fact of the matter is that I don’t need to know every other religion or subscribe to every philosophical ideology in order to choose a direction. If I held to that idea, I wouldn’t get anywhere in life because it would take more time than I have on this earth. What I do need to know is what and why I believe. At multiple points I’ve made knowledge claims that you would have been well within your rights to question. Nan has even taken the initiative and asked me to provide some kind of sources for something I’d said, of which I did, so one can’t accuse me of ducking or dodging. Thus far, you haven’t asked any of those questions or even shown one bit of curiosity, which I take to mean that you don’t regard it of any importance.

              I mean, how much time have you spent studying each and every belief system on the planet? How much expertise do you have when it comes to just the top five belief systems on this planet? Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that you are expecting a certain level of expertise out of me that you don’t possess yourself.

              Finally, I’d like to know when it was that I accused you of overconfidence? I’m curious.

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            44. I would also point out that you are just as much of a presupposititionalist as I am. Neither of us is willing to let go of our presupposition. The difference is that you are the only one who’s shown anything resembling surprise at this fact.

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            45. We all have to have faith in something. It’s built into us. Why would it surprise you to encounter someone who did the same thing you did, only in a different direction? Thus far, you’ve been somewhat relativistic about the whole thing. Why does it matter to you what I place my faith in?

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            46. It doesn’t matter at all. The whole world is stuck in beliefs mode. It isn’t really working. Round and round we go. I believe in nothing.

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            47. I find that deeply sad. If I might ask, and bear in mind that you’re free to tell me to kick rocks for asking, but why have you chosen to believe in nothing?

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            48. Because everything in the universe is fluid and temporary. I’m just here for the show. Nothing is permanent whatsoever. Especially clinging to a past that was neither wonderful nor pleasant. The past is a memory and the future an expectation. Nothing turns out as planned so I live where all those things exist—in the present. Christianity is where happiness exists in promises, but it is a dangling carrot religion that has never met its objectives.
              The world would be a most unsavory place if everyone was purely virtuous. We have examples of those efforts and thankfully they died out before everyone else.

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            49. That’s a very sad place to be. I think you’re looking at it all wrong, though. My happiness and joy isn’t found solely in the future promise of Salvation, it’s also found in the present relationship that I have with God.

              Will our universe one day come to an end? Yes, Scripture has said that for thousands of years. However, it also says that there will be a new beginning after, and it’s one that will lead to eternity.

              The choice you face lies in what that eternity will look like. I trust the Lord. I trust that He will provide for me, and I know that this is why I am saved and that my eternity will be one spent in His Kingdom and in His presence. I care about you, and want you to know the same thing. However, I can’t make that decision for you. That falls to you.

              All the human attempts you’ve mentioned were for naught because they involved humans. God’s an entirely different matter altogether. He’s the missing element in all of those attempts.

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            50. What you fail to recognize is I am very happy and have a productive life and family. It’s interesting living in other counties and seeing millions of happy people living good lives that have no idea you or your teachings even exist. Your religion isn’t special at all. It’s just life in a closed system, like the elephant on the chain.

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            51. I was simplynproviding alternatives that offer no contradiction. Unlike Christianity which is full of them from beginning to end.

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            52. Well, if I am to defend my faith as required, then bring them to bear. Just know that I will give you a detailed response to each one you present.

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            53. There are websites dedicated to those contradictions. Some of them incidental, some very serious. The first contradiction Christians love is “god is love”, while simultaneously allowing the fringes of the world to suffer unimaginable horrors by the chance at being born. The victims who suffer traumas far worse that your pitiful addictions, yet he singled you out by his good graces. Children Raped and tortured to death during years of abuse. Many not even knowing Jesus or why, let alone those that called out to god and received nothing. Those poor dumb bastards that knew not Jesus now get to suffer in hell because they didn’t accept a god they never heard of, or heard from.

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            54. An interesting observation, but it raises a question that needs asking. How are you able to determine that any of that is right or wrong? Morality is subjective according to you, so what makes any of what you’ve listed off wrong? To declare any of that bad or wrong is to assume an objective moral standard, which leaves you in a bit of a pickle.

              I know why those things are wrong, and why they seem wrong to you. However, you refuse to acknowledge it. You choose to go about life wrapped in nihilism and pretending that there is nothing inherently wrong with the point where your worldview and your morality converge.

              As for the why of any of that, according to the Bible, God didn’t make any of that. He created us, and we went off kilter. Yes, God is love. However, God is also good and just, neither of which we are. He set forth a Law for us to follow, but we consistently choose not to follow it. None of what happens in our world is His fault, it’s ours. He imbued us with free will, and we ran with it.

              The supreme irony with your argument is that God has acted on these things in the past, which has led atheists to accuse Him of being a moral monster. He took out entire civilizations who were doing everything you’ve listed off, and MORE, and you would pass judgment on Him for it. Which is it? Would you rather He act, or let us have our freedom?

              Bear something in mind, Jesus knew no Sin. He never once committed a single sin, never violated a single one of God’s Laws, which means that He was the most innocent person to walk the face of the earth, and He was murdered on the Cross. There’s nothing that compares to that, and He did it on purpose to bring us Salvation. You get to do whatever you want with that.

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            55. You deflected and didn’t answer my question. Suppose all you want. Jesus has nothing to do with this.
              Let’s assume for a minute morality comes from god. My cousin that was 4 when she was diddled and killed was every bit as innocent as Jesus. Even if you stick to your guns on original sin, why didn’t god save her but helped you with your addiction? Why does he help some by finding their car keys, but leaves a child sinner in a dungeon to rot and grow feral?

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            56. You said, “You deflected and didn’t answer my question.”

              Did I? Not from where I stand. You made an assertion and I asked you to back it up. Rather than do as asked, you chose to deflect by telling me to go look it up on my own. I’m not having a conversation with an article, I’m having a conversation with a human being who has raised an objection but refused to back it up.

              Furthermore, my answer was correct, even if you refuse to acknowledge it. God didn’t make those people commit those crimes, He didn’t create the conditions that led to those crimes, and where the biblical record shows that He did something about it, folks on your side of things accuse Him of being a monster.

              However, when He chooses to leave it for us to deal with, you mock Him by declaring that as evidence that He doesn’t exist. I hope you can see how inconsistent and irrational that position is.

              Also, I asked a valid question. If morality is subjective, as you have asserted, what makes any of the things you’ve listed off wrong? If morality is subjective, then what right do you have to declare anything that God has done or not done immoral to begin with?

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            57. The first contradiction Christians love is “god is love”, while simultaneously allowing the fringes of the world to suffer unimaginable horrors by the chance at being born. The victims who suffer traumas far worse that your pitiful addictions, yet he singled you out by his good graces. Children Raped and tortured to death during years of abuse. Many not even knowing Jesus or why, let alone those that called out to god and received nothing. Those poor dumb bastards that knew not Jesus now get to suffer in hell because they didn’t accept a god they never heard of, or heard from. God is love is a contradiction to reality.

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            58. TEP, did it ever occur to you that Jesus’ existing 33 years without sin was not a fair or even reasonable comparison if what you say is true. He knew the boss, and knew he was the bosses son. He knew his every move was being examined by the father. This is no test at all in comparison to me, not knowing any of this nor knowing that I am the one messiah of all eternity with a specific purpose to save humanity. Pretty sure if you could see the angels and the father looking at you, you’d do it all right too. He was left alone what, a few minutes on a cross? Big deal

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            59. How do you define love? All you’ve done is restate your objection despite the glaringly obvious inconsistency between it and your stated worldview, which leads me to believe that you do believe in God, but are angry with Him for what you regard as immorality on His part. As you’re determined to see an answer to your question, I’ll give it, but you aren’t going to like it. 🤷 Bear that in mind as you read this.

              As I stated before, God is not only love, He is also good and just. In some of the examples of violence in the OT, He either allowed or commanded violence against certain nations because they had fallen under His judgment. These crimes included the ritual human sacrifice of their children, pederasty, pedophilia, bestiality, adultery, rape, homosexuality, and a whole host of other crimes.

              How were they able to come under judgement? These things were a violation of His Law. He set down these laws because He wants what’s best for His creation. So, right there, we know He disapproves of those things and has indicated so by declaring them wrong.

              He took down the people committing those crimes, either directly (Sodom & Gomorrah, the flood), or indirectly (Amalekites, Canaanites, etc.) by commanding their destruction. Right there, it is clear that He neither approves of nor allows such things to happen, which makes part of your objection moot. He doesn’t allow these things to happen, which makes your objection more a problem of perspective than morality.

              At multiple points in the Bible, He commands His people to do the following: protect the oppressed, see to the widow and orphan, seek justice for crimes committed by the wicked, and honor the Law that He set down. These are imperatives and they aren’t optional. Again, your objection is proved specious because He has indicated His disapproval by laying down the Law, by carrying out judgment under that Law, and by bringing punishment down on the nations violating His Law, along with commanding punishment for the individuals committing the crimes.

              What do you think is happening to the US at this time? All the violence and upheaval, the people all over the place seemingly intent on taking us apart at the seams? Did you honestly think that a nation that murders its children and turns away as people openly and wantonly violate the Law of God in the name of “pride”, and whatever other justification helps them sleep at night, would somehow go unanswered? That we’re presently under judgement is a clear indicator that He doesn’t just sit back and allow horrible things to happen. Again, your objection is proved specious in light of the apparent facts.

              Scripture says that violating a single one of God’s laws is the same as violating them all, which means that we’re guilty on a corporate and individual level. If you’ve ever lied, cheated, stolen, hated someone without reason, indulged in lustful thoughts, then you’ve violated His Laws. His Law applies to the individual, as well as to the nation, so who’s really guilty of allowing those crimes to take place, us or God?

              He laid down the Law, showed us how to deal with violations of the Law, made adherence to and enforcement of the Law mandatory, and you somehow think that He allows those horrible things to happen? Be real, here.

              Now, what I’m going to do is address your next objection in the same response, so you’re getting a two-fer. It’s true that Jesus knows God, as He IS God. Does that make it fair? Perhaps not, but that’s what grace and mercy on the part of God is for. Besides, who told you that life is fair?

              Now, your argument is that the fact that He knows God is the reason why He behaved Himself, and there are two problems with this reasoning. First, He is God incarnate, which means that He is God. As He is God, then committing Sin goes against His nature. Second, your statement presupposes that you don’t know God. We all know God, some just refuse to follow Him and even go so far as to deny His existence.

              Furthermore, Messianic texts showed that the Messiah would be eternal. Even the Talmud suggests that the Messiah would be of divine, eternal origins. Tell me, what is 33+ years to a being who is eternal? He didn’t just keep the whole Law in order to be right before the Father, He kept the whole Law because it is according to His nature to do so. He kept it in order to be a pure substitution for us before the Lord, which is what He was when He went up on the Cross. He also kept it to set the example and standard for us, so that we would know what it looks like to keep His Law.

              His death on the Cross was an extreme act of love, and it was done with the intent of bringing us Salvation. John 3:16-21, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. 18Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

              19And this is the verdict: The Light has come into the world, but men loved the darkness rather than the Light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come into the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever practices the truth comes into the Light, so that it may be seen clearly that what he has done has been accomplished in God.”

              The result here is that the second contradiction you’ve handed me has turned out to not be so. What you have in this is a problem of perspective brought about by pride and arrogance. Trust and believe, I know what those look like. They’re the root of the issues I struggle with every day, so it takes one to know one. 😁

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            60. Whack a mole apologetics. Please don’t defer to the “angry at god” argument. There is no deity monarchial boss of the universe.
              ”Tell me, what is 33+ years to a being who is eternal?” Exactly the point. He had no trials knowing he was the bosses son and the entire universe was at stake for him to avoid “sin” for a few measly years which was against his nature.This is no sacrifice at all.
              Btw, What do you think is happening to the US at this time? All the violence and upheaval, the people all over the place seemingly intent on taking us apart at the seams?. This is actually the safest time in known history to be alive. Violent crime, world poverty, early death, all at lows unheard of in the past. Your chances of living out a normal life into old age are unprecedented. And the world is less religious than ever before. This is no coincidence.

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            61. “Whack-a-mole apologetics”.

              I like it. 😂 That’s one of the best ones I’ve seen since I began engaging in apologetics. I think I’m gonna hang on to that one. I might even use it. Thanks for that one. Gave me a good chuckle.

              Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t going through life sinless, it was willingly going on the Cross and enduring physical death along with the cup of the Father’s wrath poured out for the sins of Mankind. His sinless life was intended to serve as an example of what it means to live according to the Law.

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            62. Jim will undoubtedly have an answer, but mine is this — you can put your faith into anything you desire. It can be a totem pole for all I care. The problem arises when you and those that hold the same “faith” try to convince other people that YOUR perception of faith is better than anyone else’s.

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            63. Quite frankly, it makes no difference to me. If you want to be a hardcore Christian, that’s totally up to you. Or if you prefer being a Christian-in-name-only, that’s OK by me as well. I think you know as well as I do that the problem arises when you and other believers “hold to the tenets of your faith” by preaching the word to those who have clearly expressed they are not interested or in many cases, have already “been there, done that” and prefer not to return.

              There is little doubt there are thousands of people who would joyfully respond to the story you offer, so one wonders why you don’t reach out to them instead of spending time trying to convince people like Jim?

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            64. Good point. However, note that my response when you said you were not interested in learning about what I had to share was “suit yourself”. Any continued conversation from that point has been at your behest. As for why we preach the Gospel, it is because we’re commanded to love everyone and there is nothing more loving thansharing the Gospel.

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            65. there is nothing more loving than sharing the Gospel. — Actually, I think there are some young folk that might disagree with you on that. 😈

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            66. Well, they would be wrong. If a person firmly believes that there is a heaven and a hell, and knows how one can go to one while avoiding the other, then the most unloving thing they can do is keep that information to themselves. Conversely, sharing that information would then be the most loving act one can commit.

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            67. Not really. You need validation which tells me you really don’t have any faith. I certainly hope you glean out many tenets of your faith because if you hold the OT close to your belief system you could justify just about any behavior. Thank god for secular law.

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            68. Why else would you seek agreement on this conundrical story of original sin and salvation? I wasn’t born a sinner and I don’t need saving.

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            69. I’m commanded to share the Gospel. Your choice is to either accept the message or ignore it. As I said before, beyond the fact that I care about you as a fellow image bearer of God, I’m not invested in your choice one way or another.

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            70. If everything must have a beginning, then logical consistency dictates that God must also have a beginning. Because to state otherwise is to engage in special pleading. Moreover, YHWH’s origins can be traced back to the fanciful imaginations of the superstitious desert nomads who once wandered the Middle East. So in reality, God’s moral code represents the moral code of the ancient men, which is about as subjective as it gets.

              And biblical justice is no justice at all. Because based on Christian theology, Rudolf Höss, the Commandant of Auschwitz, who later repented of his sins and confessed Christ as his savior, will be supping with God in Heaven, while the “perfidious” Jews he executed will spend their eternity in Hell. So please tell me: Where is the justice in that?

              https://aleteia.org/2016/03/04/how-the-commandant-of-auschwitz-found-gods-mercy

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            71. You would be incorrect. If time, space, and matter didn’t exist prior to the moment that our universe came into existence, then logic would dictate that God would not be subject to time, space, or matter. As He would not be subject to time, space, or matter, then He would exist separate from those. To be timeless is to be eternal, without beginning or end. To be separate from matter would mean that He is immaterial. To be separate from space would mean that He is spaceless. All of these are terms and concepts used to describe the Lord in the Bible.

              As to your point regarding biblical justice, I can’t speculate on what happened to the Jews of Auschwitz once they died. That isn’t my place, that’s God’s. Far be it for me to pass that kind of judgment on people.

              I can say that Jesus stated that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that none can get to the Father except through Him. If they, in their last moments, chose to accept Jesus, then they’re with Him in His Kingdom. If not, then that’s potentially very bad news.

              You are assuming a few things about biblical justice that aren’t in evidence, namely that it matches what we as 21st Century Westerners regard as justice. God’s justice allows for substitutionary atonement on the part of someone clean and innocent. That is why animals presented for sacrifice were required to be without spot or blemish. It is also why Jesus, when He went up on the Cross, did so having committed no Sin. He was completely blameless so that He could take the punishment due us upon Himself.

              Finally, your point raises a question. If morality is subjective, and you make the claim that it is, then why is any of what you’ve pointed to wrong? Why would it be wrong for Hoss to be in the Kingdom, while his victims are in hell? At the time he was committing his horrendous crimes, they were justified in his mind. it wasn’t until much later that he had a change of mind and heart over what he’d done.

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            72. If time, space, and matter didn’t exist prior to the moment that our universe came into existence, then logic would dictate that God would not be subject to time, space, or matter”. IF, is the key word here. You’d be hard pressed to prove there was ever nothing. What is matter made of, anyway? Seems all we can do in analyze frequency, forms and their behaviors.
              God would however, be subject to the Tao. It is the only way god could be a “he”. He is relational to a she. If god were the lone being drifting in the void it would not be a patriarchal figure head, but an it. Higher and lower beings are both subject to the Tao which is the isness of existence. All gods are subject to it.

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            73. Your response raises more questions than it answers. If God exists as an immaterial consciousness outside of spacetime, what event prompted him to create the universe? And by what mechanism does an immaterial consciousness obtain the components required to create a material universe? And why couldn’t that same explanation be applied to the singularity that existed prior to the Big Bang?

              Furthermore, Christian theology proposes that God is an all-perfect being; and by definition, perfection means completion — i.e., without defect, or as good as it gets with no further refinements possible. Such a being would have no needs or desires — which stands in stark contrast to the biblical god who commands worship and adoration and expresses extreme anger and dissatisfaction whenever the humans he created don’t meet his exacting expectations, even though he supposedly has complete control over every aspect of his creation and possesses the foreknowledge of how events will play out.

              And we don’t need to speculate what will happen to the Jews who didn’t confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior prior to entering the gas chambers, because in Matthew 10:32-33 Jesus clearly stipulates that “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” And Paul reiterates this in Romans 10:9 when he proclaims: “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

              So God’s justice has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with expressing belief in substitutionary atonement, which, as I stated earlier, is about as immoral as it gets, because it punishes the innocent in place of the guilty. Moreover, it’s completely unnecessary because an act of forgiveness requires nothing more elaborate than granting forgiveness. If humans can do it without all the fanfare, why can’t God?

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            74. It’s the gamblers religion. I hear gambling is a sin in some Christian circles, yet they make the most fantastic play by betting the whole works on one hand. All the tension, the whole thing is a source of anxiety right up until the last roll. And they never even get to see where the wheel landed. The Hindi would say; Bravo man, bravo. Well played.

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    1. If you don’t mind, I would like to provide some insight from the Christian side of things.

      And if you don’t mind TEP336, I’d like to provide more insight from the Jewish side of things. 🙂 But first some simple questions for you please.

      #1 — Was Jesus Jewish with a Jewish upbringing?

      #2 — What two languages did Jesus most often read, speak, and teach in to his audiences?

      If you’d first answer those questions, then I have several more questions to follow. Thank you kindly.

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      1. Welcome. I get the feeling that things just got good.

        Question 1: Yes.
        Question 2: He spoke Hebrew and Aramaic, possibly Greek. Given that Aramaic was the most common language in Judea, He likely taught in Aramaic.

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        1. Ahh, judging by your answers, yes indeed this HAS gotten good. Thank you for being direct and not sending me/us onto a game of non-stop merry-go-round Whack-A-Mole. That is appreciated. However…

          Regarding your answer to #2, what specific dialect of Hebrew did Jesus read, speak, and teach in Jewish synagogues, the Temple, and strictly among his fellow sectarian Jews? Then regarding the latter part of your #2 answer…

          Why do you say “likely taught in Aramaic” when it is widely accepted that Jesus’ two primary languages were Hebrew (a specific dialect of it) and Aramaic? Feel free to elaborate on your reasons why he would teach just in Aramaic—and to go further, what specific Aramaic dialect would that have been?

          Thank you kindly TEP336. 🙂

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          1. I’d say Galilean Aramaic as His first language, Hebrew as His second, and Greek is a possible third. As with Aramaic, His dialect of Hebrew was likely to have been Galilean, thought it’s also possible He spoke Mishnaic.

            I said, “likely” because it’s also possible that He taught in Hebrew, and slightly less possible that He taught in Greek. Many Jews in that time period spoke Greek due to the fact that they’d returned from life abroad to the holy lands. For many of them, Greek was a first language, if not a lingua franca, which means that He might have had to teach in Greek on occasion.

            “Whack-a-mole” still gives me a chuckle.

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            1. TEP336 —

              “Galilean Aramaic” originates from Syriac- or Syro-Aramaic. And Mishnaic Hebrew was spoken primarily among Jews, probably exclusively among Jews of Palestine/Galilee. Why? If you are well-educated in Late Second Temple Judaism, especially inside 1st-century CE Judea, Nabataea, and Syria—strictly Homeland Judaism versus Hellenistic Judaism of Cilicia, Asia Minor, and further westward in the Roman Empire—Jews were dead serious about keeping PURE their conversations and teachings about Yahweh extremely exclusive, apart from (pigs) Greco-Romans or any other impure, vile contamination. More to the point, 99.9% of any Hellenistic, foreign Greek-speaking or Latin-speaking Roman without extensive training and lifelong teaching of Mishnaic Hebrew WILL NEVER fully understand all connotations & meanings of God’s Holy (secret-Gnosis) revelations (in Mishnaic) Hebrew. This is attested by the Zugot, Tannaim, and early Amoraim Rabbinical periods and those rabbinical manuscripts from c. 10 CE to 240 CE that Judaism still possesses. Also, the Dead Sea Scrolls support this chasm between Mishnaic Hebrew and Syro-Aramaic FROM and apart from Hellenistic Koine Greek. In other words, anyone of Greco-Roman origins speaking primarily Koine Greek simply WILL NOT properly translate any Mishnaic Hebrew. Period. All Rabbinical scholars today of the Zugot, Tannaim Periods will state this. Unfortunately, due to the power and might of the Roman Empire and its Legions (advanced weapons) all of this authentic, verifiable history got lost in the Victors rewriting popular history… what modern Roman Christians have today. 🙂

              Therefore, with this Jewish history firmly fixed and established TEP336, my next question to you is…

              #3 — Are there ANY Mishnaic Hebrew or Syro-Aramaic manuscripts, testaments, documents, recordings of Jesus’ (Yeshua bar Yosef’s) Rabbinical reforms in existence to know precisely what the rabbi-reformer actually taught?

              And then once you equitably answer #3, would you please answer…

              #4 — What written language does the earliest of early Christian churches possess of “Yeshua’s/Jesus'” actual teachings? Is it his native languages?

              Thanks for your continued directness in your answers and NOT sending me/us on a useless game of Whack-A-Mole. I’m glad you get a kick out of that too as we do. 😉

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            2. Fair question, though similar to one I’m periodically asked by Muslims in my evangelistic endeavors. I’ll give you a similar answer, as you aren’t likely to insist that the Gospel was revealed directly to Jesus from Allah.

              To answer your third question, we don’t have any surviving manuscripts in Mishnaic Hebrew or Aramaic. However, some of our earliest sources do suggest that Matthew originally wrote his Gospel account in either Hebrew or Aramaic before it was translated to Greek.

              Modern scholars are fairly split on the topic, with some holding to the opinion that Matthew wrote it in Aramaic, while others believe it was Koine Greek. This brings me to question number four.

              Provided that Matthew originally wrote his Gospel account in Aramaic, the remainder was written in Koine Greek. The next obvious question would be, “Why write it in Greek as opposed to Aramaic?”

              The answer is found in Matthew’s account, chapter 28, verses 18-20, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

              As He commanded them to go out and make disciples of all nations, there was the very practical matter of communicating with the Gentiles, along with Jewish communities outside the region, who’d lost their command of Hebrew and/or Aramaic. Remember that there is a reason why the Septuagint was compiled. Koine Greek was the lingua franca throughout the Roman empire, which meant that anyone traveling anywhere would fare better if they spoke Greek.

              I should also note that Matthew 28:18-20 is the fulfillment of the prophecy given by Daniel regarding the Son of Man (Dan. 7:13-14). Interesting considering that Jesus used that title more often than any other.

              Now, I must take my leave until tomorrow night. Shabbat Shalom.

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            3. Thanks for your answer to Question #3 TEP. To condense, your answer to Question #3 was:

              To answer your third question, we don’t have any surviving manuscripts in Mishnaic Hebrew or Aramaic.

              We can stop right there. That was the correct answer. Thank you. There was no need to go further because my question did offer that invitation. 🙂

              And after rereading your long, long reply, you did indeed take the route most all evangelical Christians take, either from their training in American seminaries for Greek OR from their Christian trained church/organization staff… which learned it from American seminaries of Greek, i.e. the Septuagint. Saying “Provided that Matthew…” is purely theoretical on your part as well as what all American Christian seminaries speculate. But as we all know, speculation does not equal true, authoritative, or factual. In essence that’s like us debating whether or not Sasquatch-Bigfoot exists and what the nature and purpose of Sasquatch-Bigfoot would be. I wager that no one here cares much about that mystery/myth, right? 😉 Moving on…

              ———————

              Hebraisms. Many Hebraisms are found in the Septuagint—the ancient Greek translation by Greeks of the Hebrew Tanach—and are considered by the vast majority of Jewish/Israeli scholars in ancient languages, in particular Greek, Hebrew, and Mishnaic Hebrew: different due to the differences between Hebrew inside Synagogues & the Temple vs. general Hebrew & Aramaic out in public. These expert Jewish linguists conclude that the Septuagint was translated by very bad (Greco-Roman) translators.

              Rather than translate the Tanach into proper Greek, they mechanically translated the words, leaving behind numerous Hebrew thought patterns. To someone who is familiar with the Tanach in Hebrew this Greek is relatively easy to read. But to a Classical Greek specialist who expects to find elegant Greek syntax it sounds like gibberish. And in ancient times it was no better.

              In other words, on the streets of 1st-century Athens, Greeks did not understand hardly at all the Septuagint. It was incomprehensible to the ancient Greco-Roman reader.

              For example, the Tanach often opens an account with the Hebrew word vayehi “and it was.” Of course in proper (Mishnaic) Hebrew “and it was” means, “it came to pass, it happened.” But the Greek reader sees kai egeneto and says, “And it was? And what was?!” In Greek it’s gibberish! Very often the translators did not even know what they were reading and created nonsensical sentences by translating word for word. In the Septuagint 70. 1 Samuel 3:10 and compare that to 70. Numbers 24:1. Then compare those to the purely Greek Matthew and it makes no sense at all. The critical Semitisms are not just BAD Greek, but are prone to cause difficulty in translation for anyone not thoroughly trained in Mishnaic Hebrew. There are not ANY well-known Jews of the 1st- and 2nd-centuries CE being a necessary significant part of the earliest Early Roman Catholic Patristic/Apostolic Church’s formulation of the Canonical New Testament in Greek, i.e. your Septuagint. This is why I asked you Question #3.

              Allow me to give a modern example of this Mishnaic-to-Greek breakdown, or as was sometimes the case Mishnaic-to-Syro-Aramaic-to-Greek total breakdown.

              It’s like a student at any number of American seminaries today learning modern Hebrew writing a paper in English and then hiring an American Ashkenazi Jew to translate his English into modern Hebrew. In that paper the English student refers to a graph with the words: “See Table 1.” The Israeli translator, having only a basic working knowledge of English, translates this re’e shulchan ‘echad…which would translate literally to “see the one table you eat on.” Of course, the Hebrew word shulchan means a table you eat on not a table in a document which in Hebrew is a different word altogether (tavla)! This is what was widespread inside the Greco-Roman translation rooms listening to or reading (very rare?) “testimonies” or presumed “gospels” of Jesus’/Yeshua’s Mishnaic Hebrew or any related Syro-Aramaic he taught/spoke to Palestinian Jews. And this is another critical point to take note, that Yeshua’s/Jesus’ audience was 90% to 95% Palestinian Jews that understood (for sure) Mishnaic Hebrew and if further elaboration was required for one of his reforms he would’ve done that from Mishnaic-to-Aramaic, NOT into Greek. There is no plausible reason to think Yeshua/Jesus was preaching/teaching to Greeks—Greco-Romans or non-Jews would not have understood ANYTHING he was saying nor reading to them. Remember, in the traditional, extant Roman Catholic history Gentiles were going to be the responsibility of other foreigners… badly translating Jesus’/Yeshua’s reforms!

              The oldest existing COPIES of the canonical Gospels are supposedly within the Greek Septuagint, which is an over-literalized translation by Greeks/Romans (not Hebrew-speaking Jews like Jesus), and unknowingly inserted too many erroneous Hebraisms. To make things worse, many Greek copyists who knew no Mishnaic Hebrew later tried to “improve” what was obviously BAD Hebrew-to-Greek resulting in a complete disaster or a complete Cluster-Duck. Yep, that is what modern Greco-Romanized “Christians™” today possess and have wrongly learned repeatedly now for over 1,900+ years. Most Hebrew-Jewish scholars of the Zugot, Tannaim periods of Second Temple Judaism and Messianism conclude the Greco-Roman (Hellenistic) New Testament today would be no more accurate of 1st-century Palestinian Judaism and Yeshua/Jesus than Dr. Suess’ Green Eggs & Ham.

              To conclude here, the Aramaisms that MIGHT be present in the Septuagint, and there are indeed, are just as much over-literalized Greek as the Hebraisms and therefore also incomprehensible gibberish. Why? Because if a BAD Greek translator doesn’t know Mishnaic Hebrew translated into Aramaic, then his translations of Aramaic into Greek are going to be equally flawed or flat-out wrong in Greek! So today’s New Testament, particularly the Synoptic Gospels, hardly represent ANY if at all of Jesus’/Yeshua’s AUTHENTIC reforms/teachings.

              Unless you care to discuss in depth Yeshua’s/Jesus’ Jewishness of Late Second Temple Period Judaism inside 1st-century Palestine, which you did state was his upbringing, education, and what he was attempting to reform (some in radical new ways in that time-period) like many outlying rural Sectarian Jews were wanting to clean-up, purify if you will inside Judaism that Hellenism had contaminated… then I cannot join you on that merry-go-round of Greek origins, Greek or Greco-Roman authority of a purely Roman Hellenistic Apotheosis version of a hijacking, overhaul, and Greek invention of a wrong Mishnaic Hebrew translation(s). I’ve done that way too much to know it gets all of us nowhere. We might as well talk about the existence of Sasquatch-Bigfoot as a beneficial Lord & Savior. 😉

              Thanks TEP336 for your initial direct, honest answers. Best regards to you.

              Liked by 2 people

            4. Good morning. I know when we left off I indicated that I would return Saturday night, however, after a day spent with my family I was so completely exhausted that I wouldn’t have been able to form a coherent thought. I chose to put off until this morning what I wouldn’t have been able to do last night. I hope that explanation is sufficient, though based on the tone of your response I get the feeling it’s immaterial to you.

              I found your response to be an interesting one. Now, questions regarding the current iteration of the Septuagint notwithstanding, and frankly I had neither the inclination nor the time to go into the various historical vagaries of the Septuagint, my purpose in using the existence of the Septuagint was to illustrate the point that there were Jewish communities throughout the ancient world that had lost their command of Hebrew and Aramaic, and that Greek, as the common tongue, was chosen for a reason.

              Where you’ve gone wrong is that you’ve asserted incorrectly that the core of the Septuagint was compiled anywhere other than Alexandria, Egypt by Jewish scholars more than two centuries before the birth of Messiah. Consider the following,

              “The Septuagint is a Jewish translation which was made mainly in Alexandria. Its Hebrew source differed greatly from the other textual witnesses (the Masoretic text, the Targumim, the Peshitta, the Vulgate, and many of the Qumran texts)… [It] is important as a source for early exegesis, and this translation also forms the basis for many elements in the New Testament.”

              Tov, E. (2001). Textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible. (2nd ed.), pg. 134.

              As people, especially scholars, don’t do things for the fun of it, we can safely conclude that your assertion that the Septuagint was anything other than a Jewish document compiled in Alexandria is incorrect.

              I gave the answer I gave in anticipation of an objection that usually follows. That’s the way I work. I anticipate counterarguments and address them preemptively. If you take issue with the answer, then prove me wrong, don’t just try to cut me off at the knees and assume that I’ll let it slide. I’m generally a friendly person, and I do go out of my way to make myself approachable, but if you want this conversation to continue, then you might consider being a bit more respectful. The quickest way to have me decide that you are no longer worth my time is to be rude. Treat others as you would have them treat you.

              Yes, my response was long. I admit to being a bit long-winded, but it’s sometimes necessary when dealing with complex topics that can’t be distilled down into one or two sentences. I’d much rather say too much, as opposed to not enough. Do note that I have a tendency to include the obvious questions in the text so that people can see what I’m speaking to. I would have thought that such an approach would make sense, correct me if I’m wrong.

              Yes, I dealt with the theoretical. And? I did so because there is a distinct possibility contained within the circumstances, and people don’t usually make assertions regarding circumstances if there isn’t a basis for it. Early sources suggest that Matthew’s Gospel was initially written in Aramaic. If it was, and I’m inclined to believe so, it would make a lot of sense. He was a Jewish man writing for a Jewish audience about a Jewish matter.

              As amusing as your example was, this isn’t anything like the debate over the existence of Sasquatch. Still, you got a smile out of me on that one.

              We’ve both agreed that Jesus taught in Aramaic, and possibly Hebrew, so I’m not sure why you’ve chosen to continue making the point. The point you’re missing is that there were no shortage of Diaspora Jews from Greek speaking regions who’d returned home. If they didn’t speak Hebrew/Aramaic, then someone would have to communicate with them in some manner, right?

              That being said, you haven’t addressed the point I made as to why the New Testament was written in Koine Greek. As one of the most important factors in sharing any kind of message is language, and given that Jesus’ final command was that His followers were to share His message with all nations, language becomes an all-important factor, now doesn’t it?

              As for Jesus’ Jewishness, I’d say He was very Jewish, His teachings were very Jewish, and He is very plainly the Messiah ben Yosef. Your assertion that the Aramaisms found in the text might be incidental doesn’t bear out given the manner in which He taught. Take the Beatitudes as an example.

              Most people aren’t really aware that the statements delivered in the opening of the Sermon on the Mount are in fact b’racha. Granted, the way He delivered and phrased it was likely to be very controversial, however, His teaching style was very much Jewish.

              Then, there was His statement that He didn’t come to abolish the Law and the prophets, but to fulfill. He did that, by the way, and all in accordance with the various prophecies found in the Tanakh.

              Much of your assessment is interesting. I like the level of detail you’ve gone into. I hope you’ve got more.

              Liked by 1 person

            5. Very well. I’m not sure what you hoped to accomplish, but if I might give a bit of friendly advice, Murphy’s Laws of Combat Operations state, “When you have secured the area, make sure the enemy knows it, too.” Before you go declaring victory, perhaps it would help to ensure that your opponent is in agreement. Debate doesn’t work like chess, there is no checkmate. I do confess myself disappointed. I thought I’d get more fight out of you. Oh well, that’s the way life goes. Be blessed.

              Liked by 1 person

            6. Hah! I did notice when I TRIED to get a “general” idea of who you were, your background, education, CV, etc, you mentioned that you served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I have many, almost a majority, of my extended family (esp paternal side) who serve(d) in all of our various military branches. I have the utmost, deepest respect and admiration for ANYONE who volunteers to put their own life on the line—so that I might believe whatever I choose & learn in a domestically, relatively peaceful nation—that you and so many who SERVE make that possible. So…

              With that in mind and said, thank you genuinely from the bottom of my heart and by default empathy of what you sacrifice so that myself and millions of other Americans too often take for arrogant granted as a daily given. I really do mean that; my own blood-family does it as well. And I am indeed a HUGE history buff of military affairs, combat, and wars. Hence, I have an even DEEPER appreciation and empathy for all who serve. Thank you a hundred times over TEP336. 🙏🏻

              Namaste for you and yours.

              Liked by 1 person

            7. Much appreciated. I’m just a guy. If I had it to do all over again, there are a few things I’d do different, but I’d still do it again. As for my education and what not, that’s easy. I’m self-taught when it comes to theology and apologetics, though I haven’t ruled out attending seminary sometime in the future. I’ve spent countless hours studying all three Abrahamic religions in parallel so that I can better understand my own. My blog functions as a chronicle of the things I’ve learned since converting. Have a blessed night.

              Liked by 2 people

            8. As my own blog does the same thing… from a Pagan family upbringing to collegiate Christian (full soccer scholarship—Belhaven University, Jackson, MS) to 3.5 years at Reformed Theological Seminary and many Missions trips over to 4 different Continents, then back home to the U.S. for full-time church staff work… to finally the discovery that those 17 missing years of Yeshua’s/Jesus’ life are a major, CRITICAL problem for the validity of the Greco-Roman “Christ™” and eventually the entire foundations of Christendom… of which to this day NO theological scholars of any Christian denomination can respond to with ANY plausible, reasonable explanation as to HOW the singular, most miraculous “Son of God” with all his prophecies, etc, just simply disappear from the face of the Earth under the nose of the Roman Empire’s spys, agents, allies, etc, that would’ve EASILY turn Yeshua/Jesus in to the Herodian authorities!!!!?

              Bottom-line… the Greco-Roman version of Apotheosis is simply bogus. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. 🙂

              I could go on and on and on about all the plethora of holes Christianity has in its verifiable history, theology, and popular propaganda… but I’ve done it so many times over 4-5 decades now that it gets old—sounds like a broken record—and Evangy-Fundy Christians just refuse to equitably listen to any level of dialogue and reasoning. Sad really.

              Nonetheless, take care TEP and thanks again for your military service Sir. ❤️

              Liked by 3 people

            9. His process is that of a Buddhist— “ And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
              He didn’t know, and god had to have an increase in wisdom and favor?Another weirdity.

              Liked by 1 person

            10. good catch! 👍

              it is a ‘cooking’, a transformation, the alchemy of turning metal into gold, or matter into spirit.

              pfft! in a few short thousand lifetimes, i too will be walking on water

              Liked by 1 person

            11. 😆 शान्ति मा आउनुहोस् — or in other words: “Śānti mā ā’unuhōs” (Nepali) and of course sticking my tongue out at you. 😛 😉 hehe

              Liked by 1 person

  6. Shallow remark on my part. I know you’re a lot more thoughtful than that.

    I think the post is an example of a facet of human nature rather than the product of a specific belief system. Why do you think it is a byproduct of religion? Are there not examples of this behavior in non-religious settings? In your opinion, does believing in God make one more gullible?

    Like

    1. Thanks Frederic. What’s funny is the very religion he espouses claims some higher knowledge—he should know better, but alas, it’s nothing special. His illusion of grandeur ‘prophet William ‘ as a believer has made him detestable.
      This from his website—“Official page for the Anointed man of God Prophet William Ramatseba of GST(Glory & Salvation Temple) ministry. He suffers from inflation. Sure, believing in God makes one more gullible, if we’re talking about THE God of the Hebrew Bible. Remember, this was shared on Facebook by a follower of his from the USA. A seemingly normal couple that lives on a ranch and newly retired lifelong believers in Jesus. They are supposing some higher knowledge too and should know better. But alas.
      There are examples of this facet of human nature elsewhere, sure. But this is a byproduct of his religion. He is in a quandary making a living in a religion he doesn’t know, or believe in. Most people aren’t anointed into their work to compensate for being a sinner.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. In case you may be thinking along the lines of: Hmmm, South Africa eh Don’t we know someone from that neck of the woods?
    As Bob Dylan once sang:
    ”It ain’t me babe”
    Honestly!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Looked to me like he has a William fetish too. Did you notice how small the word ‘with’ is? When I first saw it on my phone I thought it said ‘worship us’

        Liked by 2 people

  8. My personal favorite is the Miracle Spring Water given/sold by Peter Popoff on TV. People must be sending money to him even though he is an outed fraud. But, it seems like anything goes in most advertising these days.
    Like you said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if they were held accountable for the promises they preach?” Yep.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m certain behind the scenes prophet William and his buddies get a good laugh about how much money this makes. You ever see Steve Martin in ‘Leap of Faith?

        Like

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