Just how high did YHWH fear the men of Babel would build their Tower?

August 24, 2007 at 4:53 am 71 comments

The Tower of Babel by Pieter BreugelAs a Christian, I was taught that the building of the Tower of Babel (in all likelihood, a ziggurat) was not an attempt to physically reach heaven, rather a spiritual attempt at humanistic arrogance.

The fact that the text says, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top {will reach} into heaven” merely reflects the naiveté of the builders’ view of the cosmos. The builders only imagined in their ignorance that YHWH lived above the sky, and could be reached if the tower were just tall enough.

I now strongly disagree with this view. The Biblical text, in both Old and New Testaments, makes it perfectly clear, in numerous examples, that God lives above the above the firmament of the sky in Heaven.

  • 2 Sam 22:8 and Job 26:11 both describe Heaven as being supported by pillars or some other kind of foundation, which could be rocked to and fro with the shaking of the Earth
  • Psalm 2:4 describes God sitting in the heavens
  • John 3:13 describes Heaven as being “up” and Earth is being “down”.
  • And of course the classic example is Acts 1:9-11, where Jesus physically ascends into Heaven and a promise is made by two mysterious men that this very Jesus will someday descend from Heaven.

There are many examples like this. The point is, the Bible clearly presents God and Jesus as living in Heaven, and that Heaven is somewhere up there beyond the skies. This is a picture of the universe the authors of Scripture thought they lived in. The text of Genesis 11 is no anomalous, naïve view. It is consistent with the rest of Scripture. The attempt was made to build a Tower “whose top {will reach} into heaven”, and YHWH came “down” to investigate. This is consistent with the thinking of the rest of the Bible. So why did my old Bible teachers insist that the text meant something other than what it says?Because they must. The last 50 years of history have been an unprecedented period of human exploration. Since 1957, when Sputnik 1 went into orbit and struck fear in all Americans, humanity has explored further above the skies than had ever been dreamt of by the ancient writers of Genesis. When Yuri Gagarin became the first human to enter space in 1961, urban legend suggests that he said, “I don’t see any God up here”. Whether he actually said it or not is irrelevant, because he did not see God or Heaven up there. Neither did the Mercury astronauts who first orbited Earth. Neither did the Apollo astronauts who first landed on the moon in 1969.

I remember when I was a kid in the late 1960s. My mother had a vinyl LP that was produced in the 1950s that I enjoyed playing because it was very vivid. It contained a dramatization of Christians boarding a bus that would take them to Heaven. It was sort of a magic bus, and the narrator described it as turning into a kind of spaceship and blasting off. The record described the bus passing the moon, then Mars, then Jupiter! Then just past Jupiter, maybe on the other side, there was Heaven! The narrator described the cubic structure, the streets of Gold, the Tree of Life and the Gates of giant pearls and gemstones. This LP was made as an inspirational message for adults just 50 years ago. The idea that an eternal Heaven is located somewhere behind Jupiter is now known to be impossible. Pioneer, Voyager, Cassini, and finally Galileo have conclusively shown that there is no Heaven behind Jupiter, nor anywhere else in the Solar System.

Now as we probe ever deeper into this incredible Universe with our robots and telescopes, most modern conservative Bible scholars are forced to concede that there is no Heaven “up there” (well, except for Mormons who still think God lives on Planet Kolob, but let’s not go there). Never mind that Jesus physically ascended in Heaven, because now science forces the clear reading of the Biblical text to be twisted to maintain any modern relevance. So now instead of “up there”, Heaven is now located “out there”. It has never been explained any better than as some kind of Star Trek influenced alternate realty of some sort, or a maybe as a contrived set of extra spatial dimensions (which don’t exist above the quantum level, if at all). If this is true, why did Elijah, then Jesus physically ascend upwards into Heaven with men watching as they went? Others just ignore the question completely and basically tell the laity to just trust God. So even though the text is pretty clear, and its simplest meaning is wrong, don’t worry somehow God will make it all work out in the end.

- HeIsSailing

Related Post: Ignorance is Bliss: The Origin of Languages?

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My Fall From Grace (Jehovah’s Witnesses) What Is My Problem (with the church)?

71 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Epiphanist  |  August 24, 2007 at 5:00 am

    What are scientists looking for in space anyway? It is obvious that whatever it is was not there in the time of Genesis and is still not there now. The USA Today poll shows that the general American population do not have sufficient understanding to question the scandalous expense of space travel and exploration, they are still expecting something magic to come from the sky. The Kingdom is in your heart. This is the relevance of the Babel story. Communication with your neighbour is much more important than hunting for a pie in the sky.

  • 2. Epiphanist  |  August 24, 2007 at 7:52 am

    There are a few bits left out in this republishing of the original which puts my comment out of context. Never mind, this subject is still on my mind too, have just posted today.

  • 3. Brad  |  August 24, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Hrmmm…. I wonder how the recorders of Genesis would have found relevant an inspired discussion of astrophysics. Is it really any wonder that God relied on symbolism to communicate something beyond their understanding?

    Assuming that God inspired/authored/had some hand in the writing of Genesis, then it would have to be using the language of the people receiving it. How could he communicate something that a language simply has no words to describe?

  • 4. Heather  |  August 24, 2007 at 11:48 am

    The point is, the Bible clearly presents God and Jesus as living in Heaven, and that Heaven is somewhere up there beyond the skies.

    In a way, you still see it presented this way today. There’s a popular Christian singer named Rebecca St. James, and if you’ve ever watched her speak while on stage about God, she usually does so in the concept of God as “up there” and us “down here.” She also points sometimes, too. When she prays in the middle of songs, she directs the prayers upwards, towards heaven. I’ve seen this in churches, as well, and I think this is hugely attached to the fact that the Bible clearly states that the location of God is up in the sky.

    And I do think to make it metaphorical or spiritual is twisting the text (even though that’s what I do) because it’s not what the authors intended. Plus, as you allude to, HIS, how can you make the physical ascension a metaphor, if they are clearly describing Jesus rising up to heaven, and then a cloud obscuring him from sight?

  • 5. J.P. Mitchell  |  August 24, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    It is hard to say what each author of the Bible meant. Many were writing to a specific time in history or audience. Their “up” may have meant something different than the other author’s “up”. As well, we should really examine the original Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic words, or their roots, in context with the rest of the sentences.

    All throughout history, man has continuously taken Biblical scripture out of context to support their reasoning, their cause, their way of life.

  • 6. dianarn  |  August 24, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    I always thought that was a funny passage. I would think that a “God,” who is omnipotent and omniscient, who created the entire universe would not be afraid of a bunch of humans building a tower. For one, check out our skyscrapers. God didn’t interfere with those. :) And they’re pretty tall. How much taller would the tower of Babel have been?
    My question was answered in part, by Zecharia Sitchin’s book, “The Twelfth Planet.” The Bible says, “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” The important verse is “let us make us a name [shem], lest we be scattered abroad….” In his book, Sitchin writes, “The Mesopotamian texts that refer to the inner enclosures of temples, or to the heavenly journeys of the gods, or even to instances where mortals ascended to the heavens, employ the Sumerian term mu or its Semitic derivatives shu-mu (‘that which is a mu’), sham or shem. Because the term also connoted ‘that by which one is remembered,’ the word has come to be taken as meaning ‘name.’ But the universal application of ‘name’ to early texts that spoke of an object used in flying has obscured the true meaning of the ancient records.”
    So he’s basically saying that “shem” didn’t really mean name in this phrase, but “sky-vehicle.” But I wonder, how would they know how to make one? They must have been pretty good at it, because “God” found it pretty dangerous. :) It’s still funny that the Creator of the universe would find this a threat. Unless this one wasn’t really God. :)

  • 7. lostgirlfound  |  August 24, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    Maybe part of the answer is that, when Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” he meant right here, right now. Maybe the biggest part of our energy should be spent bringing “heaven to earth,” and helping make this place liveable for the billion of our fellow humans that suffer hunger, poverty, and see countries like the US as “Satan,” and live in “hell” each day. Just a thought …

  • 8. Jim  |  August 24, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    HeIsSailing,

    Sweet post!

  • 9. Stephen P  |  August 25, 2007 at 9:13 am

    Assuming that God inspired/authored/had some hand in the writing of Genesis, then it would have to be using the language of the people receiving it. How could he communicate something that a language simply has no words to describe?

    The same way that teachers the world over do it. Start by describing concepts that your audience can understand. Give them names. Use these to describe more difficult/abstract concepts. Give these concepts names. Keep on building up until you get where you want to go. It’s nothing very difficult for a being capable of creating a universe – let alone one who has centuries to spare and the undivided attention of generations of followers.

  • 10. PB and J  |  August 26, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    i am with Brad on this one, and i think StephenP is also right. here goes….

    Brad makes an excellent point about hypothetically, if God exists, then He would need to communicate in a manner that people would understand.

    StephenP responds, “Start by describing concepts that your audience can understand. Give them names. Use these to describe more difficult/abstract concepts. Give these concepts names. Keep on building up until you get where you want to go.”

    that, in my opinion, is exactly what the Tanakh shows. a very basic teaching to early people like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. then a more structured definition of morality when Israel emerges from Egypt. then a critic on the way people had misunderstood the intent of Torah in the Prophets.

    and finally, a full revelation of the intent of all Tanakh in two commands, “Love God with your heart, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself”.

    doesnt this make Stephen P and Brad both be correct???

    peter

  • 11. Heather  |  August 26, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    Except isn’t there a difference between saying that God lives in the sky/heaven, and God not living up there? At what point is the information given simply incorrect? Because the concepts being described here aren’t dealing with morality, or how the Torah was understood. It’s describing the layout/structure of the universe, and the location of heaven/wherever God dwells.

    Why give instructions that make it seem as though God is directly in the sky? Why not just keep it vague, and say it’s elsewhere?

  • 12. PB and J  |  August 26, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    heather

    good point, but i think we have to remember that it is we who translate the word to be “sky”. the Jew would translate it much differently. they would have an alternate definition as the allegorical dimensionless “heaven” whatever-you-wanna-call-the-place-where-God-lives.

    this really is no different than a word like “batman” in English. we all understand that the word refers to a character known as Bruce Wayne from Gotham City, but another might only understand the literal meaning as “one who takes care of bats” or “one who breeds bats”, etc.

    all language uses allegory in its various definitions for words. so why would this be problematic if Hebrews did this as well?

    peter

  • 13. HeIsSailing  |  August 26, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    PBandJ, Stephen & Brad,
    I understand the need for God to be understood, and to use idioms that would be understood by the people. I forget the name of the interpreter who said that this was ‘baby talk’ by God, but I understand the point, and I don’t have any problem with this explanation. But at the same time, the Christian will say that Bible and science agree, and this is where I get hung up. God can use ‘baby talk’, but in the end, the information he dispenses has to be correct. At least that is what I was taught to believe.

    I have to agree with Heather on this. At what point is the information given just *wrong*?

    it is we who translate the word to be “sky”. the Jew would translate it much differently. they would have an alternate definition as the allegorical dimensionless “heaven” whatever-you-wanna-call-the-place-where-God-lives.

    (PB&J)

    But there is a further problem here. You have more than language describing where Heaven is located, you have physical descriptions. Elijah boarded a flaming chariot and ascended physically “up by a whirlwind to heaven” (2Kings2). Jesus also is described as literally ascending, or going up to Heaven, as his disciples gazed up at him! “He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” (Acts 1). I don’t think there is any allegory intended here. People are watching both these incidents, and it is to be taken literally.

    There is no alternate definition of ‘sky’ here.

    And it is not like the Jewish and early Christians were incapable of writing in spiritual allegory. One look at some of the apocalyptic writings, both canonical and noncanonical will especially convince you of that. The gnostic conception of a heavenly pleroma was much more in line with a spiritual allegory than something we find in canonical writings, and would support your argument much better – but most of that was deemed heretical.

    Again, I was taught as a Christian that this stuff had to be scientifically accurate, even if by allegory. But I don’t see anyway to interpret it to have any basis in reality. I love the story, but I see it is human derived mythology.

  • 14. PB and J  |  August 27, 2007 at 12:01 am

    HeIsSailing

    thanks for the response. i think you make a good point. there is no question that much of the “evangelical” world within “Christianity” believes that the Bible is always scientifically accurate even when using allegory. this is not however everyone’s perspective.

    for instance, does every “Christian” believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth? first, that is what the Roman Catholic Church did teach before Galileo, but Galileo (and Copernicus) was a “Christian” as well. second, the church no longer teaches that the Sun revolves around the Earth (except for some extremists, who really do still believe this). but in Psalms there is an allegory of the “Sun coming up”. This was the basis for the “Christian” dogma of the ergocentric view of the world. but fortunately, some of us (most today) dont still believe that the dogmatic interpretation of “Sun coming up” requires a literal perspective about scientific knowledge.

    in concluding, a side note, but very interesting, did you know that the Bible doesnt actually say that the Flood covered the entire Earth? and yet, most “Christians” contend that the only view (if one holds to complete scientific accuracy of Scripture) is that the Flood was worldwide because “the Bible says so”. funny, because the Bible doesnt even say so.

    so i think you are right that many “Christians” are very out of place. but that doesnt imply that all of us are. nor does it mean that the literary device of allegory wasnt being used in reference to “heavens”.

    peter

  • 15. Heather  |  August 27, 2007 at 5:15 am

    the Jew would translate it much differently. they would have an alternate definition as the allegorical dimensionless “heaven” whatever-you-wanna-call-the-place-where-God-lives.

    But I don’t think this works because of everything surrounding the word “sky” here. Building the tower to reach the heavens, God looking down. In other circumstances, given how the word “heaven/heavens” was used, it doesn’t really come across as allegorical.

    Simply because Christians don’t take certain aspects literally doesn’t mean that the verses are allegorical. I think that’s reading too much into the author’s intent.

  • 16. HeIsSailing  |  August 27, 2007 at 7:06 am

    PB&J, I was raised in a very conservative and restrictive Bible environment. When I was very young, I was told by some of the older folks that dinosaurs never existed and fossils were God’s way of testing our faith. Even as 10 year old, I knew that was bunk.

    Just for the record, I know the church for centuries believed the sun, and everything else in the universe revolved around the Earth. I think this was based more on philosophical grounds more than anything else. Today’s atheists who claim that the Bible says the the Sun goes around the Earth are being a little rediculous. We still speak of the sun rising and setting – I never had a problem with that.

    And not to get too far afield, but yes, the Bible does say that it was a worldwide flood. I tried PB&J, believe me, I tried my best as a Christian to weasel out of a global flood but the text clearly implies that the flood was global.

    Gen 6:17 – God will bring a flood to destroy ALL flesh. Everything that is in the earth shall die. This looks global to me.

    Gen 6:19 – Noah is bring two of EVERY sort of living thing into the ark to keep them alive. Other verses draw a distinction between clean and non-clean flesh. Again, when it says EVERY sort of living thing, I take it to mean EVERY sort of living thing.

    Gen 7:22 – Everything that had life in the dry land died. Again, when it says everything, I assume it means *everything*.

    Gen 7:20 – all the mountains were covered. Again, I take this to mean, *ALL* the mountains were covered. Even the highest ones.

    Now, I have heard some argue that the text means that the flood only coverered the known world of the Middle East. There are two more reasons why the text clearly indicates a global flood:

    If this were a local flood, God would have told Noah to herd the animals to higher ground. Not spend > 100 years building a barge!

    After the flood, God makes a covenant with Noah by placing a rainbow in the sky. He promises never again to bring a flood to destroy the Earth. Have there been local floods since that time? If there have been, God broke his promise.

    Again, I now think this story is pure mythology. But as a Christian, and a physicist at that, believe me, I could never get this text to say it was a local flood, despite my desperately wanting it to say so.

    These days, I can just read the Bible as really cool myth, and wonder what history lies behind these passages. I no longer have to worry about taking things literally or not. I mean no offense to you when I say that Christians have placed a terrible stranglehold on the Bible with its doctrine of inerrancy, when it was never intended to be inerrant! But that is the Christian mindset.

  • 17. Heather  |  August 27, 2007 at 11:11 am

    HIS,

    I was told by some of the older folks that dinosaurs never existed and fossils were God’s way of testing our faith.

    Would this be the same God that doesn’t confuse anyone? :)

  • 18. Brad  |  August 27, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    HIS,

    Jim, a contributor at COAS, wrote the following on his most recent post:

    “I’ll just come out and say it. The Bible is not exact.

    But it is truthful.

    Now that I’ve stirred up the hornet’s nest!, let me make a lateral move and ask you a question for you to answer yourself. Imagine I asked you this question in person.

    What was your first car accident like?

    You describe it to me. You tell me when it happened. You tell me about the intersection where it occurred. You tell me about your car’s speed, and the other car involved. You may mention weather, or whose fault you think it was. You might mention if anyone else was in the vehicle with you. And I would think your story was truthful.

    But it wasn’t exact.

    You probably didn’t mention how laws of inertia and perpetual motion factored into the collision. You didn’t mention the precise angle of the sun or angle of the oncoming car’s headlights, and how that may have hindered your sight. You didn’t provide VIN’s for either automobile. I heard nothing of the condition of your brake pads, and when you had them changed last, or the approximate weight of your vehicle. Do you have anti-lock brakes?”

    The full post can be found here:
    http://seminarianblog.com/2007/08/27/bees-inerrancy/#more-148

    I feel like this is a good starting point. The bible and science do not disagree because they certainly talk about the same thing, but for a totally different purpose. God’s people, however many thousand years ago, did not need to know about physics and the cosmos to understand God. It didn’t help. If I knew everything there was to know about female genitalia and hormonal fluxautions during a woman’s menstrual cycle, would it bring me into a better relationship with my wife? Ummm… nope. Is my knowledge of her and awareness of who she is in disagreement with science? Not at all.

    HIS said:
    “Again, I was taught as a Christian that this stuff had to be scientifically accurate, even if by allegory”

    And that is a very unfortunate symptom of Christianity’s uncritical adoption of modernity. This is a long post as it is, but for an even more detailed discourse on this, please see the link to our most recent post above.

    Good conversation, HIS. This is definitely a topic that needs to be ironed out for Christian and non-Christian alike.

  • 19. Heather  |  August 27, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    Brad,

    But with the car accident example, aren’t you going into the area of subjective truth? How I describe an accident would be the truth as I see it, and thus true on a certain level. But it may not be what actually happened. Nor would I expect the person to remember how it objectively happened. Even if there were four accounts — we could probably piece together the objective account, but each of those accounts would also include things that did not happen. The person simply thought they did.

    For me, it’s not a matter of whether people “needed” to know how the cosmos worked. It’s how the information was relayed, and that it was relied, sometimes in specifics, about the location of heaven. Would you say that Jesus literally ascended up to the clouds? Or would you say that was metaphorical/allegorical? To me, that’s almost like picking and choosing, only this happens to make sure that the Bible can still be called inerrant. To the writers, the ascension would mean that Jesus literally did what the Bible said he did, in that moment.

    I mean, what if we one day discover that it’s scientifically impossible for people to be nailed to the cross because there’s these tiny bugs inside that incinerate people who are nailed to the crosses? Incinerate them in thirty seconds or less? Wouldn’t you say at this point that it would be difficult to accept the crucifixion as something that literally happened, and be very hard to make it an allegory?

  • 20. Jim  |  August 27, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Noticed some comments on my post over here. Thanks Brad for incorporating it. =)

    Karen, I brought up the car accident example merely to show that one can be truthful without being exact and/or exhaustive. As far as subjective and objective truth, that’s another matter, and I think another example would be better suited to address it. I think Mike will have one soon at our blog. Stay tuned.

    HeIsSailing, you make a great point regarding my definition of inerrancy at my post. I should have included examples. Scientific accuracy simply can’t be something we try to fit the Bible into. It just wasn’t written with that purpose.

    To apply the principle, when we see the creation account in Genesis 1-4, it works. I know this is a hairy hairy passage, but hear me out, as I’m narrowly using it, just to illustrate a narrow point. It affirms that God created all things. It says nothing about the science of it. It doesn’t use scientific language at all (‘creepy crawly things”??). So, for example, asking how old the earth is is an invalid question to ask of the Bible, as a cursory glance at the language shows it did not attempt to convey any scientific meaning or talk about that.

    We can debate all day long about what the text does say and mean, but hopefully we can find common ground about how it doesn’t communicate.

    But taking Biblical passages as truthful in what they affirm is not the only qualifier. How communication had developed, and its original purposes must go alongside it.

    Now with respect to heaven…the Bible just doesn’t give us a whole lot. Descriptors of it are vague, and fleeting. Much misinformation has been borne about heaven from the church, but it has stepped past what the Bible has given us.

    “Again, the Biblical writers were fully capable of writing more sophisticated language concerning Heavenly pleromas and spiritual matters than we give them credit for.”

    I would question this. The disciples of Jesus are very widely regarded as being fishermen of low education. Paul was smart as anything, and he gave us the most information on heaven, even then, he couldn’t describe it too precisely.

  • 21. Brad  |  August 27, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    There is so much here, I could write another 3 posts… so I will try to address the key issues here, and please forgive me for not answering all of these questions…

    “But with the car accident example, aren’t you going into the area of subjective truth?”

    Is the person’s experience any less truthful? I understand the certainty issues of subjective truth, but the example is not meant to be pushed too far. Jim uses this description to support inerrency, but also included is divine inspiration (which is a part of inerrency he chose not to explain in as much detail). While human subjective perspective is flawed, the claims of scripture to be divinely inspired put certain limits on that so as to maintain truthfulness. I know that is a whole other issue, so I will refrain from more detail for now.

    “Would you say that Jesus literally ascended up to the clouds?”

    Sure. It is what they claim to have seen. Did they see him beyond the clouds? No. Does it really matter? Not really. Is it possible he just disappeared once he got beyond their sight? Sure. Does any of that really matter as to the truthfulness of what happened? not at all.

    “Or would you say that was metaphorical/allegorical?”

    That is VERY possible, but I would not say that it was ONLY metaphorical/allegorical. Scripture shows that events in the past happened historically in order to be an example to future generations (1 Cor. 10:1-11 is a GREAT example of this). It does not have to be an “either/or” question, it MAY be a “both/and.”

    “I mean, what if we one day discover that it’s scientifically impossible….”

    “What if” can be applied infinitely to any situation. It is the Christian belief that God does not necessarily work within human means. If God were constrained by the same laws of Physics that He supposedly created, would he be God or would he be a laughingstock? Why must God fit into our view of the universe? Must a parent operate within a child’s view of truth, knowledge, and/or reality? Grade school would look awfully different if they did.

    “When Christians make this argument, they never follow through and give an example.”
    Sometimes this is very true. Sometimes Christians do not understand it, and sometimes they are comfortable in the mysterious “gray area” of scripture that we can’t quite make sense of (like the Trinity). I probably fall into the latter because I learn every day that I have increasingly more to learn. But, this comment seems in strange opposition to your complaint against the scientific Christian explanation that forces scripture in compliance with science. Yet scripture’s aim is not to be “scientifically accurate,” but to facilitate a growing relationship with our Creator. Again, I mention my illustration with my wife. It is not less true, just a totally different goal.

    “But if Heaven is in some alternate reality, why did Jesus ascend? Elijah? Why did God come ‘down’? How is that ‘baby talk’ to be translated into that model of Heaven?”

    Honestly? I don’t know. I think the problem lies in giving answers to questions that God Himself has not answered. He did not think it important enough (or at least vital in having a relationship with Him) to include some of those details. I honestly don’t have a problem with that, and do not know why it must be one (at least to the degree that it can be for some).

    HIS,
    Your questions do not come off as flippant, but frustrated. And that’s cool. I would be the same way if I had the inane answers that it seems you have gotten from some. I think the best answer in this case, however is “wait and see,” or at the minimum, “I don’t know, but it could be…..”

    “Again, the Biblical writers were fully capable of writing more sophisticated language concerning Heavenly pleromas and spiritual matters than we give them credit for. ”
    I wholeheartedly agree. Does the answer to “why” this is so, HAVE to be “because it isn’t true?” Or could it be that there is more truth left to be discovered/revealed? Scripture is startlingly silent on some things, yet very loud on others. There is a clear indication that writers (and God) had priorities. How helpful would a scientific discourse on how Jesus or Elijah “ascended” to heaven actually be if God’s goal is primarily to bring His creation back into relationship with Him? Sure, it would be of some importance, but not comparatively. God is a good editor. :-)

    (I apparently, am not, if the length of this post is any indication)

  • 22. Brad  |  August 27, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Hehe, so Jim posted while I was writing… I like his response much more. :-)

  • 23. Justin  |  August 27, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    very thorough response brad, well done.

  • 24. Radec  |  August 27, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    “Does any of that really matter as to the truthfulness of what happened? not at all.”

    I have issue with this statement. I believe it does matter when parts of the story flat out don’t match with the rest of the story.

    Take for example me telling the story of being on the airplane when a pilot forgets to take the mic off… (the punchline being “don’t forget the coffee… if you’d like the Joke is here – http://www.snopes.com/risque/tattled/coffee.asp )
    The story works because it is plausible…I COULD have been on an airplane where this event happened. What if I were to tell the story where all the events happened on a rocket ship to mars? The story wouldn’t work, and it justs sounds silly. The facts need not be proven right, but at a minimum they do need to be plausible.

  • 25. Heather  |  August 27, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    Brad,

    I understand not getting to every question. If you did that, you wouldn’t get anything else done.

    While human subjective perspective is flawed, the claims of scripture to be divinely inspired put certain limits on that so as to maintain truthfulness.

    But here, aren’t you essentially using the Bible to support a claim the BIble makes about itself? I would say that in the car example, the truth would be true for that person. But that’s not necessarily the “Truth.” Because at this point, we’d have to qualify what we mean by truth, which is why I see the car example working against any claim to inerrancy. Anything that people described is shaded, to some degree, by their paradigm.

    Does any of that really matter as to the truthfulness of what happened? not at all.

    I would say that yes, it would matter to the truthfulness. To go back to the car example: say the person says that a polka-dot elephant barged into the car, and thus causing it to crash. THis is actually not true, but to the person, that’s what s/he believes. In this case, what happened does affect the truthfulness, because the perception affects the truthfulness. I mean, honestly, why not just have Jesus vanish, rather than raise to the sky, and a voice say that Jesus is now in heaven? Why orchastrate the events in a way that plays right into that world view?

    If God were constrained by the same laws of Physics that He supposedly created, would he be God or would he be a laughingstock?

    My point with this example is that holding to the concept of inerrancy seems to change the meaning of the BIble to ensure that it stays inerrant. Such as the examples with the bugs, and if that were true, the meaning would then become purely metaphorical. We know that any description of God literally in the sky, or the pillars of the Earth, are literally not true. So many Christians would say that those are metaphorical, only, even though the author’s intent was literal. To me, what’s driving the belief that it’s metaphorical is the concept that the Bible must be inerrant, rather than what the Bible says itself. Rather than evaluating if the Tower of Bable can be true based on what we know of the location of heaven on the story itself, outside factors are introduced, such as the necessity of inerrancy. That inerrancy then forces the reader to say that the story is metaphorical/allegorical, rather than what the author’s actually intended, or what the story’s actually saying. As HIS says, it doesn’t answer how the stories can be accurate, or even provide a means of judging the accuracy of the stories, if we can determine the literalness vs. metaphor based on a need for inerrancy. It’s like approaching the Bible with the conclusion already set.

  • 26. PB and J  |  August 27, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    HeIsSailing

    sorry, i know yall have moved on…dont want to be a burden on a side pt…but notice that Genesis doesnt say it covered the entire land, just all “living” things. Jews judge life based upon the circulation of blood. so plants are “alive”. thus, there could very easily have been land that wasnt touched as long as there werent animals or people living there.

    so theoretically, it is possible, that isnt wasnt the whole earth.

    but aside from that, i think the crux really has to do with understanding etymology and linguistics. personally, as a literature major in college, i dont think you are being fair to the use of language. i think you are holding the Bible to a much higher standard than any other type of literature…and finally, i never said that i believe the Bible is 100% inerrant. i think there may be certain things (for sure in our Text today) that are not true. i know this shocks many, but i dont think its fair to textual criticism to say that the Scriptures are inerrant today for sure and not even likely in the original. with that said, i also can say that i believe they are extremely accurate, especially compared with other texts of the day.

    peter

  • 27. Heather  |  August 27, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    Peter,

    Jews judge life based upon the circulation of blood. so plants are “alive”. thus, there could very easily have been land that wasnt touched as long as there werent animals or people living there.

    Wait. Are you saying that plants *aren’t* alive?

    i think you are holding the Bible to a much higher standard than any other type of literature…

    Well, doesn’t it get held to that higher standard by Christians themselves? (Perhaps not if they don’t take it as inerrant).

    The thing is, the Bible is supposed to be produced by those guided by an absolute Truth, and yet I see it the same as another type of literature.

    No, I don’t do this level of analyse on any other literature. But nor do I get told that any other literature is the result of a divine encounter, nor am I told that in other literature, supernatural things occured on the level of the Bible.

    Except I’d probably get told that for the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an. The difference here is that Christianity is heavily emphasized in the Western world. If the Qur’an were just as much, then I’d be going through the same process.

  • 28. PB and J  |  August 27, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    heather,

    sorry, i mistyped, i meant “arent”.

    i think you make some really good pts. there is no question that it SHOULD be held to a high standard for those who claim “inerrancy”. and for those of us who dont necessarily cling to inerrancy, i STILL think it should be held to an extremely high standard.

    the reason i asked that question is because when reading and analyzing a literary text, it is understood that there are allegories within it. we would not criticize another book for saying something like, “they were building a ship that was big enough to carry the whole population of San Fransisco in it.” of course, one might respond this is a ridiculous point. ok, then how about Milton’s Paradise Lost. it IS intended to have theological implications and Milton would have called it “true”, but Milton often uses allegory, saying ridiculous things, because we the reader understand it wasnt intended to be taken literally.

    however, suppose this wasnt allegory, and the writer of Genesis was trying to be literal. if that is the case, then what??? it doesnt prove the Message of the Text is wrong, only that the details are (and unrelated details at that). personally, i can understand why a person would choose to reject some details of Scripture, but that doesnt mean that the Message is wrong. if the Message of the New Testament, say, is about Jesus and following him as our Rabbi, then the details about scientific understanding arent important. even theological details dont destroy the Message. here is why, because Jesus didnt write the NT. so there is a lot of possible “error” that could have come through the misinterpretation of his disciples.

    even if this is the case (which i am not saying it is, just hypothesizing), the Message doesnt have to be thrown out.

    that was all i was trying to get across.

    what do you think?

    peter

  • 29. Heather  |  August 27, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    Peter,

    it IS intended to have theological implications and Milton would have called it “true”, but Milton often uses allegory, saying ridiculous things, because we the reader understand it wasnt intended to be taken literally.

    I think this is the catch right here — we’d understand that it wasn’t indended to be taken literally. I don’t think we have that with many of the biblical elements that are taken allegorically today. I do think they were written to be taken literally, and that was the author’s intent. Milton would’ve called his text true in an allegorical sense. Would the Tanakh writers have done the same? Or the NT writers?

    I don’t have a problem with it taken allegorically today. My difficulty comes from taking it allegorically and still holding to the claim on inerrancy, when it is in fact an “error.” Now, I don’t mean this in the sense that the writers lied, but that the writers were communicating from their own cultural view, and thus would get some things wrong.

    it doesnt prove the Message of the Text is wrong, only that the details are (and unrelated details at that).

    I think this depends on the person, honestly. For some, if there isn’t a literal Adam/Eve, then Paul’s whole process of sin coming from Adam/Eve/the serpent is wrong, and without “original sin,” there was no need for Jesus and the whole thing is bunk. For that person, it’s chipping away at the message, and re-defining the elements of the message. Another person might say that the Tanakh has to be true, because Jesus said it was, and so if it’s not true, then Jesus is a liar (I’ve seen both of these used, although I’m not sure by posters here). But I think for some, if the writers got those physical details wrong, then it would call the theological details into question, such as heaven/hell/salvation which in many ways, are hard to define in the first place.

    I understand what you mean about not throwing the message out, and that’s one of the things that troubles me about Fundamentalism. And I mean no insult to an ex-fundamentalists here. But everything of the faith seems wrapped up in the Bible, and so if that goes, everything goes. Fundamentalism doesn’t seem to focus on a relationship with the divine, or encountering the divine, but rather on the Bible-must-be-literally-true. Then again, I suppose it makes sense if the Bible is the only way one has of defining what the relationship with God is? There just doesn’t seem to be something “bigger” than the Bible driving fundamentalism.

  • 30. epiphanist  |  August 28, 2007 at 6:31 am

    Well HIS. I am glad that you managed to get this post off the ground at last. LOL Also amused by the confusing babble from the squabbling crowd – very fitting.

  • [...] renewed. Let’s not conform to all these religions created by our ancestors who believed in myths and unseen spiritual forces. Let’s view life through the lens of knowledge, science, and what [...]

  • 32. Satan: The Greatest Bible Myth « de-conversion  |  April 3, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    [...] HeIsSailing wrote on several myths of the Bible including the Leviathan, the creation story, the tower of Babel, and the origins of languages. I wrote an entry on the Exodus. However, I believe one of the [...]

  • 33. Tachyon55555  |  August 24, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    you are in the shitter when you c it as you do, i know, he is just closer to ya than you can ever believe, otherwise you would be the same as all others, and you are not mainstream thats for sure… you can allways bring light by asking and how do you know… I gladly reply but i understand why he makes thoose “situations” to test ya faith.. I once asked him deeply with my heart to help me cuz I lost some i loved, he told me so much, he still does, but he must make + and – as in a battery to make energy so? night and day 2 different “laws” so to speak like all other 2 made contrasts not pleasent to experience. but bro cut some of it of cuz he is raw energy gladly help you and talk cuz he is goddness himself but you can´t take so much love when you still are driven from lust in flesh as we all are, there he can´t control himself cuz of burning will of doing right handed things, and when we as humans still have left hand we would no matter what he gave or showe you, you would be the one that will “forget” him again, and he don´t get mad cuz he is GOD so he can forgive you, you and I can´t in the same way, just say we can and then one will c what cards we hold in hand, in a way I love him cuz i know he c´s all and c´s it as humoristic when he some times show you that he saw “it” it can be so many things only you and him knows… I gave him or them i might add a hole in me when i listened with my heart and he took the other with him to c who you were to give you free willl.. I could talk years just from thoughts which i may say have been patternized within few years, but I have stopped it a little cuz what I have no man can in full control, I think he “saw” a possibility in me a gave me so many keys, to know what to do is a key that matches a sequence, but I can´t be teacher no more cuz I have that specific understanding of darkness which you have when you do good and get mocked like ancient times, jesus knew he would be haunted by romans when he did his thing, and he knew he would be killed why do you think? why did he go out to the three in night trying to take the burden on him, there the devil said no man can bear the burden of sin, there i hear GOD say between the lines he MUST be there to help me, I know iit is a tough border to cross but do you wan´t truth take it if not don´t go of that way cuz you will be shitty all the time, yet in this day and yet where you live. I c you understand the tower in a speciel context which touches my heart let me just say so.. why is wars endless, evil between men, so that all can have orbits, flowers grow, universe expanding, like you head if you don´t stopå thinking so much, but it is hard to kill, as you c i haven´t told him to fuck off, cuz I can´t from who he helped me when no one did, but I feel it is time cuz he has started to tell me about tachyons, ngs, planets, nibiru, I never asked for knowledge only for a life so in a way it is him saying wan´t me to stay any longer or do you wan´t to breathe… I say thanks father for your help and love the last 4 years, he was a “father” to me when I needed a father the most, ofc the devil has also been here and only by saying that i have become more happy cuz me and one knows, theboy said it as it was. then he got energy cuz one controls it all in big scale, so big that the devil gets his toy to play with so that the index for him is created to fit GODS will.. yeah like a book or priest have told me all this.. if so why did I in a period said to him, plz give me smalll pieces, keys cuz you are breaking my head and spirit cuz I am not allowed to know as a human.. then I become as you and want a family to be good to, I am fucked in this world with this… but yet one know me and know that I would never use all thoose kets for evil cuz if I did I could be the new controller, but it would only be controller of the night train, and I won´t so I can only use thoose4 keys for good no misuse cuz then GOD come to me as he did ADAM and EVE, I haven´t even read the bible, but know I don´t dare to cuz I have a feeling yet again, that I only hear him, when I understand the silence between to lines written, it is a thought that travels faster than light which means it comes to ya before you could stop it, We can´t stop thoughts before they became thoughts can we? to say it in small cuz i could go on and on, humans have strings in back some one once in a while wants to help control, but know he is allwayds busy with his family ELOHIM but when you know what ELOHIM i am talking about you are allready on your way down into the ABYSS of knowledge and I am not the one sending you down there cuz i tell you GOD can talk you to death, even to suicide cuz he will not stop of love in a twisted way until you start to enjoy your life to bolster + energy and real happyness for you, thats how far he would go to make you realize this very important thing to please your soul instead of buring it of with truth all the time, why do you think we can´t c GOD, why could JESUS not live many may asked, YOU THINK THIS IS A NORMAL EVERYDAY DANE SITTING HERE, talking to ya if so I wouldn´t believe so
    but yet syntaxes are made with no judgement cuz I learned from Father so many things, some of them yes I would give away but maybe even GOD is not “hole” satisfied who knows.. MAN GOD is to wild tooo wild to try to think you can make a “deal” with… I know in this I sound weird but all remains to be seen with time, cuz time is essence but we as humans don´t really understand the subject in full, in that lack of understanding wild energies travels in and out, and no one can explain it in normal ways, like Graham that once said he had invented the phone, yearh right, today we don´t even know Graham bell or maybe might not.. you C= light

    E= M + C

    E= elohim, sends monster man of knowledge controlled by him in QED terms, C= clean of the mess and say it will soon go away and then I smile = CHRIST

    I know why EInstein refused to work with the other energy than we harmonic universe, the quantum of chaos and monsters.. I think GOD or the energy itself told me the real angels are small particles not for the eye to c, cuz angels hate humans that judges them, so to prevent this he created them less than !/10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 than an atom which we can with help but the smaller one like bosons can only be seen with faith which i beleive is the real 3rd eye but it has a price in daily life.

    you may say my thoghts are wild, if you think you can meet him without changing I dare you to try, over time you will say with ya truth given to your lifestory, yahuahhhhhhhh heheheeh he was fun in a wild way. and he helped you in his way cuz only him know what we need when we are the ones that flee away from what we really need.

    GOD make me more than allive, especially when I realized and remembered I once long before this asked him for a girlfriend, months after I got one, now I have been alone for 5 years so again 2 contrasts one of them not funny, right now I am burning inside of I miss one to hold, but who is thoose women anyway, why do he take em away from me or not even allows them to meet me, cuz I am in a another path right now so specific as allways, cuz he pull me to him just by telling me things that others don´t know and I gladly help him cuz I gotta give some back, but yet he know that I am a black hole inside with no love from girls, I have no doubt he loves me, and I like him, also I don´t dare to do nothing else, but I can´t love him in full wih no girl, hope he knows cuz I have not hit people, stole from no one, said many truths instead of easy lying, he knows all this but maybe my story are way more specific, I was said to be born the 24 th of december funny right? yet I was born before the science/doctors have forseen, I was born one month to early the 24th of november from sign of Jupiter with the eye you want more? cuz jupiters has an eye in real no matter how I try to put out the dark. You will c all ingredients so to speak in your life so it gets full sense and it will scare the shit out if ya just by knowing, cuz everytime you c a star you think, every time you c hebrew written you think, every time you are in a chruch you will think, but worst is that you c that your head and heart actually is the whole universe and that why astro with permission from years have been giving the path to understand the universe it self… I said two become one is man and wife with no egoism to eachother or astro+ theo in one piece united as human race should. thats why iit is a bummer to be a guy like me that knows cuz I can only be hit, laughed at, humiluiated so is it, and if you can´t take it leave it cuz then you are no saviour… I tell him all the time i am just a boy and I hope I meet a girl in the future, if it is only going to happend when i said goddbye to god and his friend what to think then? was that another test to get me to even a higher lvl…. we don´t understand our bodies and mind in ful yet, cuz all are still bounded by the black energy of thin king an letting our mind control the day… We are not free at all, only free will..

    he is so genious so be overwhelmed of him don´t get mad cuz all people must have struggle to feel the good afterwards…

    Fuck man I hope I soon stop this timeless waste, cuz only Father can tell you so you listen, no one else, no one..

  • 34. Ubi Dubium  |  August 24, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Um…That was long. And incoherent.

  • 35. Tachyon55555  |  August 24, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    i wrote that in 20 mins… thats why I don´t play investigating mr smith no more…

    no man can bear the seed of knowledge not” the seed”

    now it is mocking time for me as one turns the energy for me against me to make + and – for me…….

    so?

    I listen unless there is a shifted glue between the sequence…
    :)

  • 36. paleale  |  August 24, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    It’s like Kurt Vonnegut as a college frat-boy, tripped out surfer. Very stream-of-consciousness.

  • 37. Joshua  |  August 25, 2009 at 10:45 am

    I need to reread that when I’m high.

  • 38. Joshua  |  August 25, 2009 at 10:49 am

    BTW, HeIsSailing… this is a really good article. Nice post :)

  • 39. Joe  |  August 25, 2009 at 11:23 am

    I listen unless there is a shifted glue between the sequence (#35 Tachyon)

    Tachyon—

    But the primary source of frenetics does not allow for artistic endeavor as the wisdom of Barney Fife dictates. Mutual substances do not beautify, but do alleviate primary share-holders worries, but not completely. Regulations verify the manipulation. Panda Express is offering Orange Chicken at a reduced price. Go figure.

  • 40. LeoPardus  |  August 25, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Well put Joe. :)

  • 41. The myth of the virgin birth of Jesus « de-conversion  |  November 1, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    [...] HeIsSailing wrote on several myths of the Bible including the Leviathan, the creation story, the tower of Babel, the origins of languages, and the Crucifixion story. I compiled an entry on the Exodus and wrote a [...]

  • 42. crystalized  |  April 3, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    God wasn’t afraid. He was annoyed and angry. The humans were so full of themselves they thought they could build a tower to heaven. So he brought their tower tumbling down to remind those idiots what the creator god is capable of when challenged in such a way.
    It’s just like when the Titanic sank really. Everyone kept saying “Even God cannot sink this ship.” And they were forced to eat their own arrogant words when the ship hit an iceberg.

    Also, God does not “cause” bad stuff to happen. He withdraws his “protection” which allows Satan to make bad things to happen. Satan has dominion over this world, except in situations where God interferes.

    Now as to why God protects and doesn’t protect at different times is something only God knows. You have to trust he has a good reason for it and a plan. That’s why its called faith.

    Satan’s dominion will not be broken until the Second Coming of Christ.

  • 43. crystalized  |  April 3, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    And as for the Heaven above the skies stuff.
    Come on, it’s a metaphor for a different plan of existence, one higher than our own.
    We have physical bodies and live in the physical realm. We do not have “souls” or “immortal souls.” That is something the Catholics invented. It is not in the Bible. Most protestants believe in the “immortal soul” too because protestants originally came from the catholic church.
    We are purely physical realm beings (no souls involved).
    God, Jesus, the angels, etc. are spiritual beings.
    They exist in a spiritual realm. They do not have physical bodies…usually.

    The Spiritual realm is a “higher” existence or in a “higher” place than this world. That’s why the early peoples had a naive concept of heaven being above the clouds. The sky, the clouds, and the starts were mysterious to the early people and were in another celestial world from their point of view.

  • 44. Ubi Dubium  |  April 4, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Wow. Christianity mixed with a fair dose of new age woo.

    That was pretty consistent with most of the xian commenters I’ve seen comment here. They pick and choose the bits of their religion they want to believe in, and then claim they have the “Truth”.

    Sorry, Crystalized, that was very unconvincing. I’ll give you the same response that I give anybody trying to convert me. You have claimed that there exist “spiritual” beings who affect what happens in the physical world. You have made an extraordinary claim that you say is true. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. You presented no evidence, only made an assertion. Cough up the evidence or stop preaching at me.

  • 45. CheezChoc  |  April 4, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    RE post 42: Crystalized, if you really think long and hard about what you said regarding an ultimate reason and a plan, it just makes no sense.
    Example: people in some African nations suffer horribly due to war and tribal conflicts, to name just a couple of problems. Would you really tell someone who is existing in misery and pain there that someday it will all make sense because it somehow fits into a gigant puzzle that they just can’t comprehend? Would they find that comforting? I think they would find it monstrous even to think about.

  • 46. CheezChoc  |  April 4, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    I meant to say gigantic, not gigant

  • 47. cag  |  April 4, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Ubi #44 It is obvious that anyone who believes the original premise (god, heaven, hell etc.) will use the same logic, that is, none, in their pleadings. If you buy the first 10 words of the bible (translation – the Earth is the centre of everything) and Genesis 1:16 where the sun, moon and stars are made in one day as compared to the 5 days to make the Earth then you will believe anything. These people not only believe in lies but actively promote lies. When the error of their ways is highlighted, they are unable to rise above their appalling ignorance. There is good reason for churches to encourage ignorance- it is their ticket to survival. Some people cannot be helped.

  • 48. crystalized  |  April 4, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    @Ubi Dubium
    I am not trying to convert you. I am explaining the Tower of Babel story. You can choose to believe its true or not, that’s your choice.

    I would hope most people would take an interest in hearing both sides of an argument. I wouldn’t be here reading a website like this if I wasn’t willing to listen to the other side and take criticism. That is the greatest attribute of free speech.

    @CheezChoc
    No I would not say that to them. There are many innocent people who suffer in this world and do not deserve it in any way. Those people will have greatest rewards in heaven. I totally understand if that seems like small consolation right now when people are in the midst of suffering. But Heaven is supposed to be something when can’t even come close to imagining and it will last forever. A perfect world. It will be the way Earth should have been if sin hadn’t entered into the equation.

    But God has to allow these terrible things to play out until the end. Not because he enjoys us suffering, but because “we” are the “example world”, the fallen race, compared to the rest of the universe. God is showing the rest of the worlds out there what happens when someone other than God is in charge. Lucifer.
    The main problem why Lucifer can’t do a good job, other than the fact that he is not a god, is his reasons behind rebelling against god. He was jealous of Jesus’ position next to God. He was the highest angel, but he became arrogant and greedy and wanted to be in Jesus’ place, becoming a part of the God-head/trinity, in essence become God. His envy and hatred reached point where he sowed the idea among the other angels that he could do a better job than God.

    Now God knew what was going on and he could have wiped Lucifer from existence right then and there, but that would have terrified everyone else. It would have shown that anyone who speaks against God is immediately wiped from existence. Job spoke against God and God allowed it because he wanted Job to come to understand why God’s way was righteous. Not just tell him he had to think that way or else he would be wiped from existence.
    This great struggle of good and evil in this world has to play out in order for the entire universe to understand WHY Lucifer’s objections to God are wrong. God wants his creations to understand and obey him out of love, not fear.

    And another thing, you guys are arguing about how impossible it would be to create the world in 6 days and other extraordinary things. Hello, he’s God, he is not bound to the laws of physics. He created the laws of physics.

    The last argument of “How do you know God exists?” most of you are throwing at me.
    Here’s my answer: “How do you know God doesn’t exist with absolute certainty?”

  • 49. crystalized  |  April 4, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    One of my friend’s argument that I really liked:
    “I would rather believe in God and find out I’m wrong after I die than not believe in God and find out I’m wrong and deeply regret it.”

    I think we need to find a happy middle between the zealously religious, fundamentalist christians, and the total atheists.

  • 50. crystalized  |  April 10, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Here’s what I was trying to get across earlier and did a terrible job.
    String Theory.

    String Theory is so complex and it just boggles my mind, but it’s what I mean about a different plan of existence, one higher than our own. And why angels and God etc. are invisible to us.

  • 51. BigHouse  |  April 10, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Throw in a bit of Pascal’s wager and we have ourselves Apologetics soup!

  • 52. Quester  |  April 10, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    You must have skipped #49, BigHouse; it’s simply a paraphrase of Pascal’s Wager. Crystalized has managed to prepare a whole vat of Apologetics soup.

    Ingredients*:

    #42- Good and bad things happen, and we don’t really know why.
    #43- Some things Christians believe are wrong, and some things in the Bible are metaphorical.
    #48- Aliens are watching, and we can’t prove an insufficiently defined negative.
    #49- Pascal’s Wager.
    #50- Physics is hard to understand, especially if you don’t put any effort into it.

    Put it all into a pot, heat and stir, wave your hands in a distracting manner, and maybe someone will swallow some of this as evidence for God.

    *The ingredients of Apologetics soup, consisting of nothing but hot air, can be rephrased in a nearly infinite number of ways. Please do not consider this a definitive list. Add and subtract from this list in accordance with your own lack of taste.

  • 53. CheezChoc  |  April 10, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    @crystalized:

    What other worlds are you talking about? You mean they’re all watching us right now and learning a lesson from our suffering? We have to be the “example” ? Where the heck are you getting all this?

  • 54. crystalized  |  April 10, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    @Quester
    “Pascal’s Wager” Thanks for that. I didn’t know there was an actual name for the idea. My friend and I were just arguing back and forth one day and she came up with that.

    But #50 I have a problem with.
    “#50- Physics is hard to understand, especially if you don’t put any effort into it.”

    I said string theory boggles my mind, I didn’t say I didn’t understand it. But it is very difficult to grasp the concept. It is not elementary physics. Maybe you’re a genius and understand everything immediately, but most people aren’t like that.

    I am working with what I’ve learned so far about physics. As I go through life and learn more, I’m sure my opinions will change in different ways. Yours likely will to. What you know today defines what you believe. But as you learn more and more as you go along in life, your understanding of the world may change in ways you could have never foreseen.

  • 55. crystalized  |  April 10, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    @CheezChoc:

    If you consider String Theory, they could exist right next to us and we would never even know it.
    Yes, the “aliens” are learning what happens when you sin. It shows that no one but God, can be “God.” Any other way than God’s way only causes problems because God’s way is perfect and good. God’s way would be like “hey please don’t pollute the rivers because it has consequences down the road.”
    But someone else’s way would be “but I have to pour my chemicals somewhere, so I’m going to have to disregard what you said.” God’s way is the only way because for example, there’s only one way to keep your body healthy. Eating healthy foods, exercising, clean air, etc. You cannot keep healthy any other way because that is what your body needs.
    God’s not a “killjoy” with all his rules. They are needed. The rules are there to protect you and actually make you enjoy life. You can feel safe and happy when no one does horrible things to you. If there weren’t any rules or people didn’t follow them, everything would dissolve into chaos. The word “chaos” defines our world right now. Look around you at all the horrible things people do to each other every day and it’s a vicious cycle that never ends. No one is happy when someone does something mean to them. I am not talking about being “sugary sweet” to everyone, nothing so superficial, but to have compassion, mercy, and respect for everyone you meet, no matter who they are.

    We have to be the “example” because we are the ones who sinned. God could have wiped Adam and Eve out of existence and started over with a new pair that wouldn’t have been so foolish. Frankly, that’s what I would have done if I had been God when that happened. But he didn’t. He was merciful enough to give them and all of their descendents a way to redeem themselves.

    Satan and his angels were cast to earth, so they are aliens, so to speak, and yes, they’re right here watching us. The good angels are among us and watching all that we do as well. The good angels help us and are also writing down all that we do, good and bad, and report back to God with it. What they are writing down is what will be used as evidence in the final judgment for whether we lived a good or bad life.

    This is God and the universe is an inconprehensively vast terrain. Do you really think humans and angels are the only races God has every created?
    They are not allowed to interact with us because we are the fallen race. We’ve been placed in a “time-out” zone. Like when you send a bad child to the corner for “time-out”. Until our “time-out” or probation is over, and final judgment comes we will not come into contact with these alien races, but they are watching us very closely. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Satan was the very first sinner. This is a huge battle between good and evil and unfortunately earth is the battleground.
    The good and bad angels are among us and we arn’t even capable of seeing or touching them–> explaination in string theory.

    Matthew 18:10 –
    “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”
    In other words, their angels are constantly reporting back to God what’s gonig on down here. The little ones are children jesus was talking about.

    Hebrews 1:14, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
    Therefore, angels are only servants–beings sent to care for people who will potentially inherit salvation.

    As for where am I getting this stuff? It’s all from the Bible.
    So if you believe the Bible is true, then everything falls into place. But if you don’t believe the Bible is true, then yeah, you’re probably not Christian.

    Isaiah 14:13-15 –Satan’s Fall, here he’s saying he wants to become God.
    “For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of assembly far away in the north.
    I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High. Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths.”

    Ezekiel 28:12-17 –more about how Lucifer turned into Satan
    “You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.You were in Eden, the garden of God. Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone all beautifully crafted for you and set in the finest gold. I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire.

    You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.

    Ezekiel 28:18-19 –And here’s what will happen to him in the end at final judgment.
    “By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All who knew you are appalled at your fate. You have come to a terrible end, and you will exist no more.”

    “you will exist no more”
    Here’s some of the constant evidence in the Bible as well that people will not “burn in hell forever.” People will burn up and exist no more. Hell is not a place where the devil with a pitchfork pokes you over and over again.
    So, in an ironic way, atheists kind of get their wish. They believe there is no god or afterlife and they actually will cease to exist because of that belief.

  • 56. CheezChoc  |  April 11, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Just needed clarification. I spent years in the Baptist church and they never talked about angels as aliens or other races or anything similar.

  • 57. crystalized  |  April 11, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Many churches today hardly read the Bible. They follow the traditions of men, but they never bother to find out if what they are doing actually agrees with what the Bible says.
    Plenty of people call themselves “christians” but they don’t even know “why” they are christian or what they really believe in. They just follow along with whatever a priest or pastor tells them, but never bother to find out if the Bible says that or its just their particular sect that believes it.

  • 58. BigHouse  |  April 11, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Many churches today hardly follow Christ. They follow the traditions of the Bible, but they never bother to find out if what they are doing actually agrees with what Jesus says.

    Plenty of people call themselves “christians” but they don’t even know “why” they are christian or what they really believe in. They just follow along with whatever the Bible tells them, but never bother to find out if Jesus says that or its just their particular sect that believes it.

  • 59. crystalized  |  April 11, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    @BigHouse

    The first four chapters of the New Testaments are Christ’s Words as reported from 4 different men, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

    Four different people bore witness to Christ’s words and actions and wrote them all down.
    The Bible IS Christ’s Words and God’s Words because Christ followed God.

    Jesus says nothing if you do not read his words in the Bible.
    You would never find out what any ancient person said if you did not read their words.

    That’s like saying don’t read “The Apology” because instead you should find out what Socrates said. How else are you going to find out what Socrates said in his speech during his trial. Plato was present at the trial and wrote it all down to preserve it.

  • 60. Frreal  |  April 12, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Umm no Crystal.

    The authors and dating of the gospels are highly contested. Many scholars believe Mark was the first gospel written around 70 AD. That is 70 years AFTER Christ. That would mean the author would have written something 30+ years after the event in addition to the fact that the author would be rather aged. The site below is an excellent resource for the various arguments concerning the dating and authorship of ALL the books of the old and new testament. Perhaps some research is in order.

    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/mark.html

    I recall you said this earlier.

    “Plenty of people call themselves “christians” but they don’t even know “why” they are christian or what they really believe in. They just follow along with whatever a priest or pastor tells them, but never bother to find out if the Bible says that or its just their particular sect that believes it.”

  • 61. Frreal  |  April 12, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Also Crystal,

    Be sure to check out the home page of that site. It contains many of the books that weren’t included in the Bible you read today as well as nonchristian writers such as Josephus and Papias that make references to historical events.

    Here also is the Old Testament section. Dating is important because a prophecy isn’t a prophecy if the prophecy was written after the event no? Authorship is important because you want to make sure you are getting first hand information and not oral stories that were handed down (and changed) from generation to generation.

    http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com

  • 62. crystalized  |  April 13, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    “Dating is important because a prophecy isn’t a prophecy if the prophecy was written after the event no?”

    I have no idea what you’re talking about. What prophecy? Where? Specific example?

    “not oral stories that were handed down (and changed) from generation to generation.”

    This is a gigantic can of worms that’s been opened, so I found a website to do it for me.
    http://www.everystudent.com/features/bible.html

  • 63. BigHouse  |  April 14, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Crystalized, the first section of that link on “Historians” says it “confirm(s) what the Bible says about Jesus” But they stop WELL short of confirming the supernatural nature ascribed to Jesus. Is this really the best you have? If so, it’s unconvincing.

  • 64. Anonymous  |  November 28, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    we point upwards because it is like saying God is above all of us, which He is. however, we do not know where heaven is because it is simply not in this “realm’ so to speak. the Bible tells us there are two worlds the physical and the spiritual. we can only see the world in which we live in and thus don’t know where heaven is. :)

  • 65. cag  |  November 28, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    #64, we do know where heaven is. It is in your imagination. Which is also where hell is. By the way, god is also known by atheists as 404, because it is not found. You can let your parents know that they succeeded in corrupting your mind with the biggest lie of all time.

  • 66. Anonymous  |  November 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    funny how all the atheist read these articles

  • 67. Giacomo  |  August 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    edrei, it depends on what kind of ads. i fogrot the word something to do with conceptual ads or what if conceptual ads (or some other words, i just tembak!), then it’s ok to use it alongside adsense. e.g. i know for amazon ads (which i use in my blog), it is ok. and if i’m not mistaken, blog ads. also ok. well, lcf has blog ads and amazon. ask lcf, yvonne. he will be in a better position to inform you on this matter.

  • 68. Queila  |  August 30, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Hello Youtube,Everyone who is reading this ceonmmt, please click on my username for my videos I made about the The Truth of the World. I have found out what the truth of life is, the truth of the world, and the truth of God. Please, I really want people to watch and listen what I have to say. No more living in false reality, no more living in illusions, no more thinking there is no way out its time to lead your life into The Truth of the World!!!!!!!!! I love our Lord!!! God bless!!

  • 69. cag  |  August 31, 2013 at 1:43 am

    Queila, go and spam where there are people that actually believe in the ridiculous that you are peddling. Like all the other thousands of gods, yours does not exist.

  • 70. Emmly  |  March 6, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Schism-limitation obligation bundles are the type the bulk of QuotesChimp purchase. The threat taken by the insurance underwriter is expressed in terms of the maximum sum that will be paid under the coverage per wounded man and per injury for all wounded men. A typical example is $100,000 per individual and $300,000 per mishap.

  • 71. amy  |  March 7, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    From comment #55 – ”

    “you will exist no more”

    This is the only thing I find wrong with Crystalized posts (BTW, good job, Crystal ! ).

    Let’s try, “you will exist no more in this plane/dimension”.

    Our Creator is not a destroyer. I think that is pretty obvious.

    If we can’t fathom, dream up, or simply be told what Heaven is, can’t we understand the same thing about a place called “Hell”?

    I’m not saying that I think we should be brow-beaten about the concept of Hell. Since we don’t know a whole lot about it, all we can assume is that it must be a place where everyone only considers himself/herself. It is a choice. If there is a “god” in this realm called “Hell”, we have a fairly good idea of how he chooses to please himself. And this “god” is not omnipresent, so you still get to think that you have some time to please yourself, or the desires of your neighbor.

    Me, I just look at the myth of that guy chained to a rock forever, and gets a part of his body eaten, and then restored, day after day. What is the purpose of this? Why does the human mind even entertain such thoughts??

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Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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