Victoria NeuroNotes

Two Questions For Those of the Abrahamic Faiths

326 Comments

I haven’t completed the post I had planned to publish next, about how to overcome fear, because I have been preoccupied with thoughts and questions I need to express.  It came to a head this morning after reading a comment from a devout Christian, Brandon, who blogs on WordPress.  He wrote:

“Abraham did not simply believe God existed, Abraham trusted that God had a plan. That’s what God valued in Abraham so much.”

Here are at least 100 verses about Abraham in the Bible.  Verses about Abraham are also infused throughout the Torah and Qur’an.  Many of you may have heard about the recent murder of a child and attempted murder of another child last week.  According to police, Kymberley Dawn Lucas, 40, is accused of killing 2-year-old Elliana, and attempting to kill 10-year-old Ethan.  Insane?  The Florida woman was inspired by a church sermon she heard just 24 hours earlier on the Book of Genesis, Genesis 22, and attempted to recreate the Biblical story of Abraham.  The world was outraged.  And what about the surviving child, Ethan, traumatized beyond measure?  How likely is it that he will ever trust again?

Jesus, Paul and the apostles spoke of and glorified Abraham’s obedience, faith and righteousness.

Galatians 3:29

“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

James 2:23

“And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.”

Tens of millions around the globe seem to find nothing wrong with worshiping the God of Abraham — Jesus’ daddy.

Tens of millions speak highly of Abraham, who obeyed the command of his god, and attempted to kill his son, Isaac.

And Abraham’s faith was counted as righteousness.  Yet, had he attempted to murder his son today, he’d be arrested.

Why is it that you cannot see what’s before your very eyes?  And what kind of message does this send to children?

I’d like for you to see through my eyes, and through the eyes of others who do not believe in your god of “love”.

 

Advertisements

Author: NeuroNotes

Victoria predominately blogs about religion, and the brain's role in religious type experiences.

326 thoughts on “Two Questions For Those of the Abrahamic Faiths

  1. This Abraham and Isaac business is so infuriating!

    This kind of faith is called insanity today, yet it is highly valued by God? Not only is it highly valued by this supposed God, but revered by millions upon millions today. But if a modern day person says they heard to voice of God tell them to kill their child they are called insane! Insane!

    Why? Because at the heart of the matter we all know that no one hears God talking. It’s just our own voices reverberating in our minds.

    Like

    • Exactly right, Ruth. In the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, Abraham was evaluated, based on biblical accounts of his religious experiences and behavior. Here’s what it says:

      “He is described as having had interactive mystical experiences of an auditory and visual nature (see Figure 1), that influenced his behaviors throughout most of his life (see Table 1). This phenomenology closely resembles that described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). Applying the DSM-IV-TR paradigm, Abraham’s auditory and visual perceptual experiences and behaviors could be understood as auditory hallucinations (AH), visual hallucinations (VH), delusions with religious content, and paranoid-type (schizophrenia subtype) thought content (see Table 1 for examples). These psychiatric features occur together as a constellation in psychotic disorders of both primary psychiatric origin and secondary to medical and neurological conditions.” http://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=1476850

      Like

  2. An additional insight, if I may, that everyone I’ve ever heard discuss the Abe/Ike story seems to fail to notice, is this:

    • Abe himself knew that what he was doing would not be approved by anyone:
    • He got up very early in the morning for his journey, one can safely assume (as we shall see) before Sarah, his wife, arose.
    • He took two men with him, but when he was ready to take Ike up the mountain, he not only left the two men and the donkey behind, he didn’t tell them what he had planned.

    • Abe and Sarah never lived together again – after the episode on the mountain, Abe lived in Beer-Sheba (Gen 22:19), while Sarah died in Kirjath-arba (Gen 23:2), “…and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.

    The old broad (127) left his sorry ass! (And now, I’m gonna get my own kicked for calling her a broad on Neuro’s site – I’m used to it. Luckily, her feet – which she has begged me to kiss – are small.)

    Like

    • Arch, thanks for the additional insight. As far as your ‘broad’ statement, nothing ever surprises me with you. But women have been called worse in the bible. And given the fact that women are listed as property of men in the 10th Commandment of the protestant bible, I understand that it may take at least another millenia before you insure dudes come around. 😈

      Like

  3. This is a very poignant piece, Victoria, and asks some very serious questions about what can be a fine line between faith and insanity. Though I am a firm believer in a higher power and was a practicing Catholic for many years, I have come to follow my own faith system rather than any created by man’s interpretations, which are often befuddled and self-serving. I believe in a loving God who offered guidance through the 10 Commandments. I’ve always had a hard time swallowing the story of Abraham, and God’s “ultimate test,” which clearly flies in the face of one of the most important Commandments, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” It’s because of this example of contradiction that I’ve found much of The Bible questionable at best. Do I believe in God and Jesus? Absolutely. But I also believe in dinosaurs and life forms beyond those on Earth — both of which I see as undeniable truths that, for some, threaten the validity of The Bible. When you have clear evidence of one thing, such as giant bones and prehistoric footprints and peoples, I think you have to ask yourself how much validity there is in the other.

    Like

    • “I believe in a loving God who offered guidance through the 10 Commandments.”

      Like

    • “I have come to follow my own faith system rather than any created by man’s interpretations, which are often befuddled and self-serving.”

      Hi Ned. I appreciate this comment. You are one of may favorite bloggers on WordPress, and I consider you my friend. I do believe that religions, such as the Abrahamic faiths, have claimed responsibility for the empathic and compassionate behavior that we humans exhibit. Neurological and child development studies have shown that prosocial behavior is intrinsic. This same empathy and compassion is also exhibited in other animals. In the video, Phil says:

      “Dear children of Abraham, or those who emulate the faith of Abraham: I’m not saying that there wasn’t a creator. I just can’t believe a mind that could or would make this universe would share exactly the same insecurities, the same need for respect and recognition, the same demand for loyalty, submission and obedience, and the same murderous rage of the worst of human kings and your average alpha male chimpanzee.”

      I concur. And I take great issue with a holy book(s) that would tell me that I, we, are unworthy, lessor, shameful creatures who should beg their maker for not being what we could not be. As Phil poignantly stated, these religions will tell you what you are, but they will also tell you what to think and what not to think; who to trust and who and what to love. It took me years to deprogram myself and cast off the shackles of self-loathing and shame caused by religious indoctrination. So when I see people under the spell of authoritarian religions, such as the Abrahamic faiths, I understand what goes on in their psyche.

      Garbage in, garbage out.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. 🙂

      Like

      • Thank YOU, Victoria. I’m so glad you found your way out of that numbing mindset. And I agree with Phil as well about finding it impossible to believe that a being who could create and exist beyond our comprehension would need a fan base to appease a need for recognition and loyalty — and there far too many “examples” of that in The Bible for me to wholeheartedly follow or believe in.

        Great piece, today, Victoria. It made me think of things I hadn’t in a while, and offered an opportunity for re-affirmation within myself.

        Holy crap, I think I was just baptized… 😉

        Like

        • LOL — Glad to have been of some assistance. 😀

          Like

        • Question, Ned – while you’re here and while I have about an our before the person I need to see, gets free – and this is absolutely NOT intended in the spirit of argumentation, rather I simply want your take on it.

          You and I may be in agreement regarding many of the myths in the Bible, but obviously, as any kind of Catholic at all, you must surely believe in the resurrection. The Jewish religion had a provision for a “sin offering,” an unblemished lamb was expected to be offered as such a sacrifice. In fact, these lambs were even raised in a special place, called Migdal, a tower located just outside of Bethlehem, which is another reason (besides the so-called “City of David” prophesy) that the Gospel authors had to create a story that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, rather than Nazareth. In the Migdal (from which we get Mary, the Migdalene), lambs were birthed in what we, today, would think of as a “clean room – you could eat off the floor – and immediately after birth, in order to be sure they didn’t break any bones (also why the guards broke the legs of the thieves, but not Yeshua) until they got strength in their legs, newborn lambs were wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. Hmmmmm —

          My question is – assuming you also accept the concept of the Trinity (and one would think you would, since your church started it), why would a god feel the need to offer himself, TO himself, as a sin offering. And PLEASE don’t go with, “God works in mysterious ways” —

          This has always been one of my favorite memes! I think you might appreciate it —

          Like

          • Sorry for the late reply, but I was on deadline today; I have to answer to my editor god first. Now that I have been sacrificed, I will try to answer your question, keeping in mind that I am not your traditional Catholic. In regard to the Jesus and the Resurrection, I have never bought completely into immaculate conception and resurrection in the literal sense. I believe in Jesus of Nazareth and that he was an inspired being filled with a Holy spirit from God and guided to impact the people of his time, much like Mother Theresa or the Dhali Lama. I also believe Mary Magdalene was more than a follower and played a much bigger role in things than the male-dominated church has given her credit for, including giving birth to his child.

            Because of this, the Holy Trinity to me has always been representative of God’s presence everywhere, from father and son to a Holy Spirit within and around all of us.

            Therefore, I don’t think of Jesus as God offering himself, for himself, as a sin offering he already has the power to forgive. To me, it is a contrivance of man as a way to scare people into following and saving themselves. Man has always done this and always will.

            By the way, that meme… I have it in my camera roll 😉

            Like

    • Dear Victoria,
      What Ned said 🙂
      (and, oh my google…how did I not know about any of this?? Was probably too busy practicing Latin verb conjugation)
      xo

      Like

  4. I’m in the process of berating a Christian right now who’s trying to justify Luther’s hate. It’s a sickness; this method of justifying the unjustifiable, and tolerating the intolerable.

    (And yes, it’s official: i’m in love with Phil!)

    Like

  5. Is there anything left for me to add other than to say that Abe is a paragon of virtue, that such a person ceased to be rational eons ago or has a brain that has misfired and needs all the help, psychiatric and all he can get.

    Like

    • Indeed, Noel. That children are taught at a tender age (as was the case with me) to find this inspiring and righteous, is the epitome of psychosis.

      Like

      • And it sickens me there are adults who rationalize these things. When I believed, I just believed. The day I started to ask the first question, there was no way this was going to make sense even with 1K apologists

        Like

        • I had questions, alright, but feared asking them or questioning the madness, because we were taught to obey authority, especially religious authority, and that their word was the final word.

          Like

          • It didn’t occur to me for so long there were questions to be asked. We went to church on Sunday and once in a while went for confessions. Prayer before meals and before bed time when mum was in the mood. Maybe we lived as atheists praying only on occasion

            Like

            • My parents didn’t indoctrinate me. They allowed the clergy to do it. And I knew very well where I stood in the hierarchical social structure.

              Like

              • Mine just expected us to go to church. And our priests were simple men who just wanted us to do god’s will which included offerings. It wasn’t bad compared to what I have read elsewhere

                Like

                • I do see that, for the most part, it’s about the money. Attempting to do the will of the Abrahamic god made the religious hierarchy filthy rich. Is it any wonder they don’t want us asking questions? But subconsciously, it has affected the psyche of those who were indoctrinated. It also played a role in how we view others.

                  This belief that we are all sinners and unworthy, and that it took great suffering and blood sacrifices to redeem us is really diabolical and quite primitive. And here we are in the 21st century and this primitive mindset is still accepted as rational.

                  Like

                  • We have you drumming it in our heads that it is wrong to believe such crazy things in the information age.
                    The world will be better because you are.

                    Like

                    • *smiles* You are so kind. And speak for yourself, my friend. We are both curious and have a thirst for knowledge. Having this thirst for knowledge was what saved us, I think.

                      Like

                    • Myself? Just a simple village boy rambling in cyber space making friends with really nice people 😀
                      Knowledge is a good thing. Philosophy better still, it prepares a man for death or to live whichever you prefer

                      Like

                    • I never studied philosophy, per se. I studied neurology, biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, archeology, cosmology, and primetology. And, well, of course, the Bible Different strokes for different folks, but we both pretty much landed at the same place in the end. 😀

                      Like

                    • I have read philosophy away from school. In architecture school we learnt to think and be creators. Then I have become what I have by reading and learning from giants like you and my good friend arch. His site was one of those I read when I was just out of the faith

                      Like

                    • “His site was one of those I read when I was just out of the faith.”

                      Oh, really? I didn’t know that. As I told Arch, his site has excellent content. One of the things that hit me square between the eyes during my deconversion was that I had never been taught critical thinking skills in school. Why is that, I wonder? 😉

                      Like

                    • It is detrimental to religion, and not in the interest of either the political or theological class

                      Like

                • I should also mention, that as an adult, I asked these questions of the clergy, pastors, elders and was always quoted scripture from both the NT and OT, “Lean not on you own understanding”, and “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD”.

                  Like

  6. I just watched the video. How nice! That should be played in every church just before every service, maybe we will get them to think sooner

    Like

    • Would be awesome, wouldn’t it? The video is inspiring, but it is also sobering. That last question at the end is powerful. Research shows that sometimes the brain needs to be shocked before some neural circuity that was deactivated due to religious indoctrination, will reactivate.

      Like

  7. “His site was one of those I read when I was just out of the faith.”
    REALLY! I had no idea you had just freshly made the transition – hope I helped.

    Like

    • It was eye opening. How men created gods.

      Like

      • Even more eyeopening —> their success in duping the masses.

        Like

      • You are up very late, my good friend.

        Like

      • Well, thank you Mak.

        I am having a problem with it however – the company I lease the site from plans to discontinue the format. I have only a little more than two weeks to find another company and move everything to a new location, or all is lost. Fortunately, I’ve archived everything.

        Like

        • Arch, are you serious? Did they sell out to the corporate demons?

          Like

          • Arch, does this mean you will lose your Google ranking, too? I am just stunned over this bit of news.

            Like

            • Probably not, as I own the domain name, and I suspect the Google ratings are based on that, in-His-own-image.com. But I’m going to have to scramble to get everything moved.

              Like

          • I’m not sure – I plan on speaking with them over the weekend, to see what my alternatives are. I had to laugh out loud when I got their email, telling me this, and offering me WordPress instead!

            Bat barf!

            Like

            • LOL — well, I had a website for 8 years, and was quite happy with it. I had never blogged before. I got a lot of traffic, and had more bells and whistles, but I have no regrets closing it, even though I lost my ranking. Coming to WordPress more than made up for it. To each his/her own, I suppose. I just don’t understand your negativity about WordPress to the point it makes you barf. For crying out loud, they have at least a 100 nice looking templates that are free. I was paying at least $250.00 for my website annually and I was the webmaster. Seriously, what’s your beef?

              Like

              • Can I post an image to your WP site? No. Can I underline a book title? No. Can I delete a comment I just made and rewrite it if I see the need? No. I could go on —

                Like

                • Who cares if you can’t post an image in the comment section. A minor thing given that it’s free to be here.

                  Yes, you can underline a book title

                  “Can I delete a comment I just made and rewrite it if I see the need?”

                  You can if it’s your comment on your blog. I don’t like the idea of someone else having the ability to delete or rewrite a comment when there is discourse/debate involved. WP will probably eventually have an option for commenters on your blog to edit within a certain time frame. But, you as the author of your blog can.

                  So again, what’s the big deal? You hardly get any feedback on your blog? On WP, there’s a vast community and a fantastic support system, not only with the staff but with other bloggers.

                  So again, what is your beef?

                  Like

                  • “Can I delete a comment I just made and rewrite it if I see the need?”

                    You can if it’s your comment.
                    No, you can’t – at least on Ning sites, there’s a little “x” in the upper right, above the comment, whenc the commenter can click on, which will then ask if he/she wants to delete the comment, or edit it – then one chooses.

                    “Who cares if you can’t post an image in the comment section.”
                    I do – I can’t count the times I’ve wanted to post an image to a WPP site, and had to my mailbox of Think Atheist, create an email to someone on my “friend” list who is no longer an active member, upload the image in email to him, send it, then go to my “Sent” folder, open the email, click on the image, which takes me to a blank webpage with only the image on it, copy the URL, then bring it back to the WP site and paste it in my comment. And I can only imagine how many MORE images I might have posted to my comments, if posting one weren’t such a pain in the ass.

                    “Yes, you can underline a book title”
                    That’s what Nate told me, when I first started posting on his site. In fact, to accomodate me, and other WP newbies, after our email discussion, he even created a section, “How To Use HTML On WP Comments” – I tried following his instructions for underlining, and reported back to him that it didn’t work – he tried it, and agreed that it doesn’t.

                    I want those who comment, to have the same options that I, as a commenter, would want.

                    “You hardly get any feedback on your blog – that’s because no one has enough interest to read it all the way through – Mak, another friend, Strega, and my dear, late, Suzanne Olsen-Hyde are the only ones I know of, who have read it from beginning to end, which is why I’ve not posted in a long time – what good is having the information, if no one reads it? Do you REALLY think it more likely that it would be different if the logo on the bottom said, “Powered by WordPress”? How would that increase attention spans?

                    Like

                    • I was in a hurry, and didn’t proof my long comment as I should have, so I made a number of mistakes – but no matter, I can just copy it, take it into a text program, correct my errors, copy it again, paste it back into your blog page, and delete my old comment, can’t I? Oh, wait – no, I can’t!

                      Like

                    • “You can if it’s your comment.
                      No, you can’t – at least on Ning sites, there’s a little “x” in the upper right, above the comment, whenc the commenter can click on, which will then ask if he/she wants to delete the comment, or edit it – then one chooses.”
                      —-
                      Yes you can. Reread my comment which you repeated. I said YOU can do it because you are the author — but others can’t and when you are in discourse, as in a debate, this can be beneficial because you might counter someone and they come back and say “I never said that”.

                      Regarding underlining a book title, I’m not not sure, then, what you are getting at. You link it and then underline it, using the options. Now it may be that Nate’s template does not allow you to both link and underline, but I’ve never had issues with it on my blog, both in a post and in the comment section of my own blog.

                      “I want those who comment, to have the same options that I, as a commenter, would want.”
                      —–
                      Again, to each his/her own, but in debate, that isn’t always wise. See my above comment as to why.
                      —-
                      ” that’s because no one has enough interest to read it all the way through ”

                      Not true. If you were on WP, you would get a lot of feedback because of the community involvement. What you have to share is something that shouldn’t be hanging out in a dark corner of the Internet. Come into the light — we have cookies. 😉
                      —-
                      “Suzanne Olsen-Hyde are the only ones I know of, who have read it from beginning to end, which is why I’ve not posted in a long time”

                      I spent the better part of a day reading your blog. I commented maybe once. If you had been on WP, I would have certainly commented more and so would have others who support your work. Bottom line, your website is simply not community friendly because it’s isolated.

                      Come to WP, Arch. You will have more exposure, readers and more feedback. Trust me from someone who had a website for 8 years. 🙂

                      Oh wait — I forgot how you work. DON’T COME TO WORDPRESS.

                      😛

                      Like

                    • What do you mean, “You link it and then underline it, using the options.” – it’s in my friggin’ bookshelf! How do I “link” it to a book in my bookshelf? Not everything is online —

                      “Oh wait — I forgot how you work. DON’T COME TO WORDPRESS.”
                      Oh, shut up, SnotBox!

                      Like

                • Also, if someone wants a comment removed on your blog or wants a quick edit due to a typo, etc, they can ask the author. No big deal.

                  Like

                  • (Remember the old TV commercial?)
                    “Please, Mother – I’d rather do it myself!”

                    I can’t ask someone to run around correcting my mistakes!

                    Like

                    • “I can’t ask someone to run around correcting my mistakes!”

                      Are you effing kidding me? I am the queen of typos. But sometimes, if I think it will make a difference I will ask someone on very, very rare occasions to change it. (edit – addition added — Otherwise I just make a correction in the following comment.) Most people like me are human — we make typos, and for the most part, the WP community is very forgiving of that. Beside that, you don’t make that many typos, so I’m thinking there is much more to this “WP sucks” drama than you are letting on.

                      Like

                    • “What’s in a name? Would not that which we call a nose, by any other name, smell as sweet?”
                      Kinda loses something with that typo in there, doesn’t it?

                      Like

                    • Tell you what Arch, I have a suggestion.

                      Since WP is free, why don’t you transfer your data to a template that is discourse worthy — meaning the nesting section doesn’t get crazy narrow, and the font is of a size that is welcoming to most readers.

                      Do that as an extra storage of your data — to get more exposure and then work on finding another host that suits your other needs. But at least your work will get a lot of exposure here, and will have a great chance of getting feedback from those of us who appreciate what you do.

                      It’s not that difficult or that time consuming to do a c/p and transfer your information.

                      Then you can see the difference and compare the feedback with the other site you share your info on.

                      And about the typos, again, people are not that stupid. They understand what “correction” means when you do a second reply.

                      Like

                    • “And about the typos again, people are not stupid. They understand what ‘correction’ means when you do a second reply.” But the flow, the rhythm of the prose is gone, as the typo creates a mental “jar”.

                      Your idea is not an altogether bad one – what I will do is talk to my web host tomorrow (their CS people are there 24/7) or Sunday – they may just be trying to force me to trade up to a more expensive program – and see what my alternatives are, and if they’re not satisfactory, I’ll take your advice – AS A TEMPORARY STOPGAP!

                      Thanks, he said grudgingly, for offering it.

                      Like

                  • And how long will they have to wait, if I’m working in the yard, gone shopping, or passed out drunk? And how many, who have read the mistake-ridden comment, are going to ever go back and reread the corrected one? You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

                    Like

        • At least it is good you have it archived?
          Have you thought of hosting it on wordpress or ning like au?

          Like

          • I spoke with Doone about Ning – unless I’m mistaken, TA uses Ning as well, but they charge too much. And as I’ve often said, WP sucks.

            Like

            • WordPress takes up approximately 22% of the Internet and the exposure you would get would more than make up for your insignificant need to post an image on someone’s comment section.

              Seriously? I am stunned that this is such a big deal to you.

              Like

              • I’ve had literally hundreds of occasions to include images in my comments on TA and AU – it is an EXTREMELY big deal.

                Like

                • Well, Arch, if posting an image in someones comment section or yours is more important than the actual data you post in the OP, then I know where your priorities lay. We all managed to adapt to clicking on the link.

                  Like

                  • “if posting an image in someones comment section or yours is more important than the actual data you post in the OP, then I know where your priorities lay” – nay, nay, not so! They go T-O-G-E-T-H-E-R – an image adds a thousand words to the comment.
                    (oh, and it’s “lie,” not “lay” – you, as the authoress, may want to correct that – but then you’ll need to correct my reference to your need for a correction – gets complicated, doesn’t it?)

                    Like

                    • Well, I have enough cooth to not correct (point out) someone’s spelling or grammar errors unless they specifically ask me to. I do have a few people I’ve asked to help me when that happens. You are not one of them.

                      Enjoy your evening. Good night.

                      Like

                    • “You are not one of them.”
                      Oh, ya GOTTA love THAT!

                      G’nite, Brat!

                      Like

                    • Oh, if X-Rated drops by tonight – which I wouldn’t expect, as his Sabbath begins at sundown – feel free to inform him that I do not wish to be disturbed.

                      Ah’m whuppin’ up some ham and eggs and waffles and toast and gravy, and I have no intention of doing anything but relax.

                      Like

  8. “I had never been taught critical thinking skills in school. Why is that, I wonder?”
    “Except ye be as a child –”
    (translation: blissfully ignorant)

    Like

    • Sadly true. Add ‘trusting’ to the Molotov cocktail of faith. You’re taught to trust to these people and you’re often fucked if you do.

      Like

      • It should be understood (but usually isn’t) that the audience these people played to, were 90+% illiterate. Yeshua himself likely couldn’t read, he was the son of a carpenter – fortunately for him, the Torah was read aloud in the Synagogues. I’ve seen him portrayed as quoting those characters in the first five books, but you don’;t see him referencing any of the Bible’s later characters.

        Like

  9. Duhhhh I heard that!

    Like

  10. It’s a cobra!

    Like

  11. Fascinating article from another website I subscribe to and occasionally post on (as does Mak), but too lengthy to paste here:
    http://atheistuniverse.net/group/science/forum/topics/science-bits-news-videos?commentId=6381005%3AComment%3A352788&xg_source=msg_com_gr_forum

    Like

  12. Abraham was not at all a Man of Faith, he was a Man of Reason! At no point in the story of Abraham in the Hebrew Bible is Abraham motivated by faith. Ever! At every single point in the story Abraham is motivated by reason! By the evidence he sees in front of him. See here a detailed article on the story of Abraham in the Hebrew Bible which demonstrates this much-misunderstood story: http://www.geopolitics.us/abraham-the-man-of-reason/ .

    Also, the quote from James 2:23 (“And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.”) is a gross distortion of Genesis 15:6. Genesis 15:6 actually says: “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” (see for yourself: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+15%3A6&version=NIV ). The original verse in the Hebrew Bible does not say “IT was counted to him (Abraham)” or “IT was credited to him.” No. The original says “HE credited it to him.” Why is this significant? Because it is not “He (God) credited it to him (Abraham) as righteousness.” That doesn’t even make sense in the context of Genesis 15. In fact, Genesis 15:6 says: “Abram believed the Lord, and he (Abraham) credited it to Him (God) as righteousness.” In other words, Abraham believed God, and credited God’s blessings and promises to God’s righteousness and generosity. Abraham was a very humble man and did not think he was deserving such fantastic blessings.

    Finally, the binding of Isaac had absolutely nothing to do with faith. It was a test of reason (see here: http://www.geopolitics.us/why-the-binding-of-isaac-was-not-about-faith/ ). Which means that anyone who is “inspired” by the Binding of Isaac to actually go and murder their own children is by definition a psycho, and anyone who teaches others that it was a “test of faith” simply doesn’t understand the text and is criminally negligent.

    Like

    • Hi TBP,

      Thanks for taking the time to reply. The attempted murder of a child is not rational no matter how you try to justify your god’s actions or Abraham, for that matter. But if you really want to look at the big picture, then perhaps you need to study up. The story of Abraham is fiction. The period of the patriarchs as devised by the writers of Scriptures never existed. Since Jesus mentioned them, as well as Paul (and Mohammad), this undermines their credibility.

      Like

      • “The attempted murder of a child is not rational no matter how you try to justify your god’s actions or Abraham, for that matter.” Attempted murder? That’s ridiculous. Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXXF2C-vrQE and tell me, is the professor there “attempting suicide” or just demonstrating a principle of physics? By your logic what he’s doing is an unjustifiable attempt at suicide. But you can immediately see why that’s nonsense.

        Also, how is the claim that the story of Abraham is fiction relevant to the discussion? I already showed that James 2:23 undermines the credibility of the Christian Bible, since it makes a claim that is nowhere to be found in Genesis 15. So of course if they make claims that are contrary to the facts (and moreover, contrary to the Hebrew Bible, which they claim to derive their legitimacy from) then surely it undermines their credibility.

        Like

        • “and tell me, is the professor there “attempting suicide” or just demonstrating a principle of physics? By your logic what he’s doing is an unjustifiable attempt at suicide. But you can immediately see why that’s nonsense.”

          I don’t know if you are trying to be funny here with your comment/video demonstration or you are dead serious. I laughed out loud loudly at his drama queen demonstration. I’ve seen Neil DeGrasse Tyson do this many times and no drama was necessary. 😀

          “Also, how is the claim that the story of Abraham is fiction relevant to the discussion?”

          Again, are you being serious? It is absolutely relevant. If people learn that the there were no patriarchs, that it’s fiction, then what James, or Jesus or Paul or Abraham said/did (as represented in the Bible, is completely irrelevant. Also, people who hear voices and think it’s God speaking to them,, think they are chosen of God, are special, etc, will be more likely seek out a mental health specialist rather than clergy.

          Like

          • “I don’t know if you are trying to be funny here with your comment/video demonstration or you are dead serious. I laughed out loud loudly at his drama queen demonstration. I’ve seen Neil DeGrasse Tyson do this many times and no drama was necessary. :D”

            Is the professor trying to commit suicide or not? It’s a simple question. Is there a reason why you refuse to answer a simple question?

            Like

            • The question is irrelevant, though the professor, with all his melodrama, was quite entertaining. 😉 I will repeat — the Pentateuch is a work of fiction.

              Like

              • So I understand you cannot answer a simple question. Fine. Then the same applies to your claim that Abraham attempted to murder his son. It was nothing but melodrama (that demonstrated a principle in metaphysics). If Abraham attempted to murder his son, then the professor attempted to commit suicide.

                Like

                • “It was nothing but melodrama (that demonstrated a principle in metaphysics).”

                  An 85-year-old man, taking a 12-year old boy to a mountain, to cut his throat and burn his body, demonstrates a principle in metaphysics? What planet are you from – no, really –?

                  Like

                  • “An 85-year-old man, taking a 12-year old boy to a mountain, to cut his throat and burn his body, demonstrates a principle in metaphysics? What planet are you from – no, really –?”

                    I refer you to the same question I asked Neuro..

                    Like

                    • You just don’t get it, do you X – along with SO many other things – yes, Neuro and I (and a dozen or so learned Jewish Biblical scholars) are saying Abe and little Ike never existed, but YOU are not only saying that he did, but that his behavior demonstrated some metaphysical, deterministic, reasoned approach. We are merely using the “if — then” approach to a mythical character, that you appear to have convinced yourself is real.

                      So the statement you made to Neuro, as well as your effort to point me to it, are both, as is much of what you’ve said, irrelevant.

                      Like

                    • “You just don’t get it, do you X – along with SO many other things – yes, Neuro and I (and a dozen or so learned Jewish Biblical scholars) are saying Abe and little Ike never existed, but YOU are not only saying that he did, but that his behavior demonstrated some metaphysical, deterministic, reasoned approach. We are merely using the “if — then” approach to a mythical character, that you appear to have convinced yourself is real.

                      So the statement you made to Neuro, as well as your effort to point me to it, are both, as is much of what you’ve said, irrelevant.”

                      And where exactly did I say that Abraham or Isaac were real? Hmmmm.. Let’s think. Oh, that’s right. Nowhere! I merely said that the metaphysical claims in the HB are consistent with a pantheistic view of Nature. I also used the text of the Hebrew Bible to demonstrate that the character, Abraham, was never motivated by faith – which too is consistent with the view that God is Nature, since Nature doesn’t need our faith in it, Nature is evident. No character in the Hebrew Bible was ever motivated by faith, they were all motivated by evidence – by reason. This is demonstrably true.

                      You, on the other hand, use faith to make baseless assertions about the Hebrew Bible, and the characters in it. I say “faith” because your claims are not based on evidence. And I say “baseless assertions” because you clearly failed to substantiate any of your claims in the text.

                      Like

                    • “And where exactly did I say that Abraham or Isaac were real? Hmmmm.. Let’s think. Oh, that’s right. Nowhere!”

                      On your blog – you spent an entire page failing to demonstrate that Abraham used reason, rather than faith, in making his decision to kill his son. Nowhere did you ever state: “Abraham and Isaac never existed, BUT IF THEY DID, this is how it would have gone —

                      Like

                    • “Nowhere did you ever state: “Abraham and Isaac never existed, BUT IF THEY DID, this is how it would have gone”

                      So your evidence for the claim that I think Abraham and Isaac are not fictional is that the blog post I linked to never said that they are fictional? That’s ironclad logic right there. Explain to me again how you’re different from the theists?

                      Like

                    • “So your evidence for the claim that I think Abraham and Isaac are not fictional is that the blog post I linked to never said that they are fictional?”
                      Had I assumed otherwise, THAT would have been illogical. You should really quit while you’re behind, you’re embarrassing yourself.

                      Like

                    • “Had I assumed otherwise, THAT would have been illogical. You should really quit while you’re behind, you’re embarrassing yourself.”

                      The problem is that you assume. Even though I stated very clearly that a) I don’t believe anything, and b) it makes no difference to me whatsoever who wrote the HB, when it was written, or whether it is based on historic events on myths. The only thing that matters to me is the metaphysical claims the HB makes, which are consistent with the view that God is Nature, and inconsistent with the view of a supernatural god.

                      Like

                    • “I stated very clearly that a) I don’t believe anything, and b) it makes no difference to me whatsoever who wrote the HB, when it was written, or whether it is based on historic events on myths.”

                      Then why are you weighing in on a discussion of Abraham, who, being a mythological character, lends no credibility to your pantheistic theory?

                      Like

                    • “Then why are you weighing in on a discussion of Abraham, who, being a mythological character, lends no credibility to your pantheistic theory?”

                      You are a slow learner, aren’t you. Let me repeat this for the millionth time: the metaphysical and ethical claims about God and about the world made in the Hebrew Bible are consistent with the view that God is Nature, and inconsistent with the view that God is supernatural.

                      The idea of a relationship with Nature that is based on faith is absurd. Nature does not require our faith, it requires our understanding (and obeying its Laws). That’s why the claim that Abraham was motivated by faith (and not by reason) is a misconception and misunderstanding of the text (as we demonstrated in the post I linked to: http://www.geopolitics.us/abraham-the-man-of-reason/ ). Abraham, and all other characters in the Hebrew Bible for that matter, were not men of faith, the were all men (and women) of reason. They were all motivated by the evidence in front of them. The concept of faith, of accepting something without evidence, is antithetical to what the Hebrew Bible says. So that is the point I am making.

                      So again, it makes no difference if the stories are fact or fiction, the metaphysical claims are still the same.

                      Like

                    • “…it requires our understanding (and obeying its Laws).” – no, it doesn’t.

                      What you appear to be doing, is looking at the Rorschach that for you, has become the Bible, and seeing what you subjectively want to find.

                      Like

                  • ““…it requires our understanding (and obeying its Laws).” – no, it doesn’t.
                    What you appear to be doing, is looking at the Rorschach that for you, has become the Bible, and seeing what you subjectively want to find.”

                    You don’t need to obey Nature’s laws? You can walk into walls and jump out of a plane without a parachute safely knowing that you won’t get hurt? That Nature will not punish you for trying to defy its laws?

                    You don’t need to obey principles of engineering when you build something? A building will still stand whether or not it was constructed in accordance with principles of engineering? Sorry, but there’s a price to pay for trying to disobey Nature’s laws.

                    Like

                  • “Nature doesn’t write Bibles or lay down rules for Humans to live by.”

                    So evolutionary biology isn’t real? The laws of physics are imaginary? Engineering also?

                    Like

                    • “So evolutionary biology isn’t real?” – of course it is, but irrelevant to your premise. A member of a species has a mutated gene that gives it a survival advantage over others of its species, and lives longer, to pass on more copies of its gene to its offspring – at no point does Nature provide rules for it to live by -“Now don’t eat pork! Oh, and especially, don’t pick up sticks on the Sabbath!”

                      “The laws of physics are imaginary?” – again, irrelevant – show me the laws of physics in the Bible – in ANY alleged “Holy” book —

                      Fortunately for Humankind, we keep searching for ways around the laws of physics – imagine if you had told Newton that we knew how to loft a multi-ton piece of metal high in the sky, send one to the moon even – he would have laughed you out of town.

                      Again, you’re trying to assign consciousness to Nature – ain’t happenin’ —

                      I see you don’t observe Shabbat. Nature’ll get you for that! Soon, I hope.

                      Like

                    • “Fortunately for Humankind, we keep searching for ways around the laws of physics – imagine if you had told Newton that we knew how to loft a multi-ton piece of metal high in the sky, send one to the moon even – he would have laughed you out of town.”

                      Do you even have the faintest clue of what you’re talking about? Newton is the one who said that if you shoot a canon ball with enough force it would leave the earth’s gravitation pull and go into orbit around it. Without Newton we wouldn’t have rockets.

                      Also, you think rocket scientists “work around” the laws of physics?! They said to themselves that if they send the rocket to the moon at night the laws of nature might not apply to it? The exact opposite is the case, it is by understanding the laws of physics, and discovering principles of ENGINEERING (yes. engineering. the part of my premise you conveniently left out) to work WITH (not “against” or “around”) the laws of physics, that we are able to create all the fantastic things that make our civilization prosper. Engineering is not something we invent, it is something we discover about Nature. Or, in your words, these are the rules Nature “laid down” for us.

                      The same exact logic applies to ethics. All living organisms are essentially naturally bio-engineered – we all work according to certain principles that Nature has “laid down” for us through evolutionary biology. Therefore, by understanding the laws of Nature we can discover principles of ETHICS (ie. the mindsets and practices to live by). By adhering to these principles of ethics life can flourish. So the exact same logic that applies to engineering also applies to ethics.

                      Now, obviously none of this necessitates Nature being “conscious” in any way. Just like Nature doesn’t have to be conscious for us to discover engineering principles.

                      “Again, you’re trying to assign consciousness to Nature – ain’t happenin’ –”

                      No. You’re trying to make a strawman argument which you can refute, since clearly you cannot refute the argument I’m ACTUALLY making (since my argument has nothing to do with any form of consciousness attributed to Nature).

                      Like

                    • I can’t help noticing how often you keep returning to the subject of engineering, which could possibly mean that you have some affiliation to that field in whatever passes in your case, for real life. Clearly you’re not bright enough to actually BE an engineer, possibly the boy who runs the original drawings out to be printed. Who knows, who cares?

                      You WERE right to correct me in one instance – I meant to say, “we keep searching for ways around the PERCEIVED laws of physics.” Whether or not Newton said what you say he did about a cannonball, there’s no doubt in my mind that he could not possibly imagine that Humankind would ever develop a force that would propel a multi-ton airplane fast enough to lift it off the ground. In developing jet propulsion, we found ways around what was then the perceived laws of physics. Had pure Einsteinian physics held sway, Bohr would never have developed workable theories regarding quantum mechanics, and you would not have the very computer you are using to foist your nonsense onto others. Bohr “worked around” the perceived laws of physics du jour. One of the many beauties of science, is that just when we think we know all there is to know, we find another layer to explore.

                      RE: “we all work according to certain principles that Nature has ‘laid down’ for us through evolutionary biology” – if by that, you mean living creatures have certain instincts seemingly “hard-wired” into us, that appears to be entirely true of those lifeforms with no, or less primitive brains, and lessen by degree the larger and more multifaceted the mental capacity – a cockroach, for example, can have its head amputated, and the body will still run around doing cockroach things, with the obvious exception of course, of eating.. So far, unless something new has recently been discovered, humans, on the other hand, have been found to have only two natural instincts – the suckling instinct, and an innate fear of falling, so it would appear that your good buddy, Nature, didn’t dispense those “certain principles” equally. The remainder of the principles by which humans live are derived through trial and error, and what works for some, other have found not so useful, hence the many varied rules and regulations that vary widely among the different cultures, past and present.

                      RE: “the argument I’m ACTUALLY making (since my argument has nothing to do with any form of consciousness attributed to Nature).” Yet you keep referring back to the Hebrew Bible – are we to infer by this, that you believe the Tanakh, or even merely the Torah, to represent the instinctual principles that Man has deciphered, regarding the laws of Nature, and that these Bronze Age men intended those rules to be immutable and last for all time?

                      The problem is, that your replies are so ambiguous, and self-refuting, that I’m not sure anyone here knows exactly what it is that you’re trying to say (nor cares, for that matter). Which brings me to the REAL question: why are you here, when it should be obvious to any but an idiot, that you haven’t a chance to convince anyone of anything by your arguments? When you can see for yourself, that no one but I, has any interest in even responding to you, and I am quickly getting bored by the futile activity myself?

                      Like

                    • “I can’t help noticing how often you keep returning to the subject of engineering, which could possibly mean that you have some affiliation to that field in whatever passes in your case, for real life. Clearly you’re not bright enough to actually BE an engineer, possibly the boy who runs the original drawings out to be printed. Who knows, who cares?”

                      For someone who hasn’t yet made even one coherent argument to refute a single point I made you seem to be very judgmental of others.

                      “You WERE right to correct me in one instance – I meant to say, “we keep searching for ways around the PERCEIVED laws of physics.” Whether or not Newton said what you say he did about a cannonball, there’s no doubt in my mind that he could not possibly imagine that Humankind would ever develop a force that would propel a multi-ton airplane fast enough to lift it off the ground. In developing jet propulsion, we found ways around what was then the perceived laws of physics. Had pure Einsteinian physics held sway, Bohr would never have developed workable theories regarding quantum mechanics, and you would not have the very computer you are using to foist your nonsense onto others. Bohr “worked around” the perceived laws of physics du jour. One of the many beauties of science, is that just when we think we know all there is to know, we find another layer to explore.”

                      I don’t see how this is relevant to the discussion. You seem to be confusing the laws of nature (ie. the Laws that actually govern our world), and what we perceive as the laws of physics at any given time. The laws of nature do not change. Only our understanding of these laws changes (and hopefully improves over time).

                      “RE: “we all work according to certain principles that Nature has ‘laid down’ for us through evolutionary biology” – if by that, you mean living creatures have certain instincts seemingly “hard-wired” into us, that appears to be entirely true of those lifeforms with no, or less primitive brains, and lessen by degree the larger and more multifaceted the mental capacity”

                      No. That is not at all what I meant. I meant the principles that promote the flourishing of life, and which are universal to all living beings. These principles apply on the genetic, behavioral, and conceptual level, and they are best described by Evolutionary Game Theory as ESS (evolutionary stable strategies – ie. strategies that, if adopted, can perpetuate life indefinitely).

                      ” – a cockroach, for example, can have its head amputated, and the body will still run around doing cockroach things, with the obvious exception of course, of eating.. So far, unless something new has recently been discovered, humans, on the other hand, have been found to have only two natural instincts – the suckling instinct, and an innate fear of falling, so it would appear that your good buddy, Nature, didn’t dispense those “certain principles” equally.”

                      Strawman argument alert.

                      “The remainder of the principles by which humans live are derived through trial and error, and what works for some, other have found not so useful, hence the many varied rules and regulations that vary widely among the different cultures, past and present.”

                      All evolution is a process of trial and error. However, just because some cultures adopted one set of principles while another culture adopted a different set doesn’t mean that there is no one underlying set of principles that works universally. What applies to engineering applies equally to ethics (after all, all living beings are naturally bio-engineered. So engineering, which advances our civilization, is in fact an extension of ethics – of bio-engineering). Just like we don’t have self-contradictory engineering principles, we cannot have self-contradictory ethics.

                      “RE: “the argument I’m ACTUALLY making (since my argument has nothing to do with any form of consciousness attributed to Nature).” Yet you keep referring back to the Hebrew Bible – are we to infer by this, that you believe the Tanakh, or even merely the Torah, to represent the instinctual principles that Man has deciphered, regarding the laws of Nature, and that these Bronze Age men intended those rules to be immutable and last for all time?”

                      No. And I already answered this question before (here: https://victorianeuronotes.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/two-questions-for-those-of-the-abrahamic-faiths-faiths/#comment-1728). So let me paste it here for you:

                      “let’s not delude ourselves that this ethical code is eternal. It isn’t. This is the code that was a major step in human evolution 3500 years ago when it was said to be introduced. But ethical principles are like engineering principles, they have to be refined over time, otherwise humanity will stagnate (developmentally in the case of ethics, and technologically in the case of engineering). Now that doesn’t mean that the ethical principles in the HB won’t work if they were applied today. They would work, just like the engineering principles that we had 3500 years ago would still work today (and will always work). But they’d only get you to a certain level of societal development (which hopefully, 3500 years later, we’d want to surpass).”

                      “The problem is, that your replies are so ambiguous, and self-refuting, that I’m not sure anyone here knows exactly what it is that you’re trying to say (nor cares, for that matter).”

                      That’s simply not true. You just want it to appear that way. But if you insist, please show me two claims I made that are self-refuting.

                      “Which brings me to the REAL question: why are you here,”

                      I already answer that question too (see here: https://victorianeuronotes.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/two-questions-for-those-of-the-abrahamic-faiths-faiths/comment-page-1/#comment-1824). If you actually read the responses, instead of making baseless claims, it would save everyone a lot of time.

                      “when it should be obvious to any but an idiot, that you haven’t a chance to convince anyone of anything by your arguments?”

                      I’m not sure what you’re getting at. I made a clear and well-substantiated argument for why Abraham was motivated by reason, and not by faith. I have not seen you or anyone else here presenting any well-substantiated counter-arguments to refute my argument. You did make several attempts, but your arguments could not be supported by the text (ALL of the text). That’s because the argument I presented is entirely consistent with the whole story of Abraham, while yours wasn’t. So I don’t know what you mean by I wasn’t able to “convince anyone.” I wasn’t trying to convince anyone. I merely presented the evidence.

                      “When you can see for yourself, that no one but I, has any interest in even responding to you, and I am quickly getting bored by the futile activity myself?””

                      Again, I’m not sure what you’re getting at. My one comment from above generated multiple conversations and dozens of replies. That’s hardly no interest.

                      Like

        • “It’s been decades since we’ve known – what’s the hold up?” asked Israel Finkelstein, the chairman of the Archaeology Department at Tel Aviv University. “The period of the patriarchs, exodus, conquest, or judges as devised by the writers of Scriptures never existed,” asserted Robert Coote, Senior Research Professor of Hebrew Exegesis at San Francisco’s Theological Seminary. “The Genesis and Exodus accounts are a fiction,” noted the biblical scholar Niels Peter Lemche of the University of Copenhagen.

          “The actual evidence concerning the Exodus resembles the evidence for the unicorn,” concluded Baruch Halpern, Professor of Jewish Studies of Pennsylvania State University. “The patriarchs’ acts are legendary stories, we did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, we did not conquer the land.

          Those who take an interest have known these facts for years,” declared famed Israeli archeologist, Ze’ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University. “Scholars have known these things for a long time, but we’ve broken the news very gently,” explained one of America’s preeminent archaeologists, Professor William Dever of the University of Arizona… an admission which then inspired Christianity Today’s Kevin D. Miller to concede: “The fact is that not one shred of direct archaeological evidence has been found for Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob or the 400-plus years the children of Israel sojourned in Egypt. The same is true for their miraculous exodus from slavery.”

          The world’s leading biblical archaeologist is Prof. Ze’ev Herzog. This is what he says:

          “The patriarchs’ acts are legendary stories… The Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Most of those who are engaged in scientific work in the interlocking spheres of the Bible, archaeology and the history of the Jewish people and who once went into the field looking for proof to corroborate the Bible story now agree that the historic events relating to the stages of the Jewish people’s emergence are radically different from what that story tells.”

          This is Professor Magen Broshi, head Archaeologist at the Israel Museum:

          “I think there is no serious scholar in Israel or in the world who does not accept this position. Herzog represents a large group of Israeli scholars, and he stands squarely within the consensus. Twenty years ago even I wrote of the same matters and I was not an innovator. Archaeologists simply do not take the trouble of bringing their discoveries to public attention.”

          This is Rabbi David Wolpe:

          “The rejection of the Bible as literally true is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis.”

          This is from a recent article in Israel’s oldest leading daily Newspaper:

          “Currently there is broad agreement among archaeologists and Bible scholars that there is no historical basis for the narratives of the patriarchs, the exodus from Egypt and the conquest of Canaan, nor any archaeological evidence to make them think otherwise.”

          —————————————–
          Looks like Jesus, Paul and the rest of the chain gang have some explaining to do. It undermines their credibility. More

          Like

          • “Looks like Jesus, Paul and the rest of the chain gang have some explaining to do. It undermines their credibility.”

            Sure. No disagreement there.

            But whether the Hebrew Bible is fiction or has some historic validity does not invalidate the metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, or political claims made in the Hebrew Bible. It only invalidates those religious texts/religions who base their validity on the historic truth of the Hebrew Bible.

            Like

    • ‘Scuse me, Mr. PictureX, I just came from your website where I noticed you said you had PROVED the existence of god – something most of us have been asking theists to do for years – and I thought we might just run through that post, if you have a minute and don’t mind.

      You state that you define your god as an, “omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and benevolent Being,” then elaborate on that.

      Omnipresence – you list the laws of Nature as being something that is omnipresent, I have no problem with that.

      But when you discuss Omniscience, you resort, not to evidence, but to a “thought experiment” involving a “closed system” – an imaginary scenario, existing only in your mind (as I have reason to believe, do a great number of other fallacies), in which you manipulate the details of the imaginary scenario to produce YOUR desired result. Gonna have to take a pass on that, but you DO propose that “Nature stores in itself absolutely all the information about itself,” and although you seem to be assigning agency to something entirely inanimate, it’s a thought we could certainly come back to.

      Although this is irrelevant to your basic premise, I mention it only because it alludes to credibility, or rather your lack of it: “<em?it is not possible for Nature not to have all knowledge about itself, since it always stores all information about itself.” That’s simply incorrect – Nature has stored information about itself in myriad of lifeforms that have gone extinct, and have not passed down that information. All information that is sucked into Nature’s vacuum cleaner, a Black Hole – or the Grand-Daddy of all Black Holes, the one that precipitated the Big Bang – is lost forever, so nature does not always store all information about itself.

      Then you come to Omnipotence, which, for the sake of your argument, you redefine – rather than being all-powerful and able to do ANYthing, by your definition, “It means being able to do anything within the realm of possibility,” – which I take to NOT include, say, walking on water, turning water to wine, or, I don’t know, bringing dead people back to life, as you, yourself ask when you once again to Nature, “Can anyone defy the Laws of Nature even for a fraction of a second? Of course not! (emphasis, yours).” You then conclude – again, emphasis, yours: “Nature is, and by necessity must be, omnipotent.” Which up to this point, definitely places you in the camp of the Nature Worshippers, which means I should look for you at the next Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert, surrounded by lots of little Hippy chicks – hmm, that doesn’t sound so bad, once you think about it.

      Then you delve into benevolence, maintaining that Nature has certain inviolable laws – again, indisputable, but then, you make your leap of logic: “Nature (or God) is perfectly Good and Just in applying Its Laws; It is perfectly Good because it allows all life to live in perfect peace, joy, and harmony.” I’m sure those are the exact thoughts of the gazelle, into whose jugular the lion’s fangs are ripping. Perfect peace, joy, and harmony.

      Your fallacy lies in equating Nature with any sort of deity. And you’ve certainly not linked it with any deity espoused by the Judeo/Christian Bible, which makes me wonder why you chose linking your “proof” to a discussion of Abraham and the Judeo/Christian god, Yah-something-or-other —

      (whisper): Neuro, his god’s gonna get you for this!

      Like

      • “(whisper): Neuro, his god’s gonna get you for this!”

        I’ve already taken on the old codger. He (his Abrahamic god) is a backboneless, irrational, conniving, deceptive, manipulative, territorial, aggressive, insecure, misogynist, wimp, who obsesses over sex, status, acknowledgement and is scared chitless of women. 😉

        Excellent counter, btw.

        Like

      • Arch wrote:
        “Then you delve into benevolence, maintaining that Nature has certain inviolable laws – again, indisputable, but then, you make your leap of logic: “Nature (or God) is perfectly Good and Just in applying Its Laws; It is perfectly Good because it allows all life to live in perfect peace, joy, and harmony.” I’m sure those are the exact thoughts of the gazelle, into whose jugular the lion’s fangs are ripping. Perfect peace, joy, and harmony.”

        Reminded me of this clip with emphasis on gaining perspective (putting it in context):

        But then again, he’s been programmed to believe that a woman (the first sinner) was the cause of all the evil in the world, hence, why the lion doesn’t lay with the lamb unless he’s eating it.

        Like

        • “But then again, he’s been programmed to believe that a woman (the first sinner) was the cause of all the evil in the world, hence, why the lion doesn’t lay with the lamb unless he’s eating it.”

          First you claim to be able to assess the neurological makeup of what you claim to be a fictional character, and now you claim to know what I’ve been “programmed to believe” without having the faintest clue about who I am. Clearly you haven’t been taking your medication.

          Also, I never claimed to support the ridiculous notion of Intelligent Design, so how is this relevant?

          Like

          • I’ll try this again because you don’t see the big picture of that statement. 😀 You said:

            First you claim to be able to assess the neurological makeup of what you claim to be a fictional character, and now you claim to know what I’ve been “programmed to believe” without having the faintest clue about who I am. Clearly you haven’t been taking your medication.”

            There is no contradiction and if you had watched the video and read all the comments, you would have perhaps understood the jest of this discussion. The story was written by someone and/or multiple writers who created fictional characters that resemble the neurological makeup of (“God”) a psychopath, and (Abraham) hyper-religious — a neurological disorder where he thinks he’s special — called of god — hears voices — and attempts to murder his son. Neurologists who have evaluated his behavior published their findings in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, based on biblical accounts of his religious experiences and behavior. Here’s what it states:

            He is described as having had interactive mystical experiences of an auditory and visual nature, that influenced his behaviors throughout most of his life. This phenomenology closely resembles that described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). Applying the DSM-IV-TR paradigm, Abraham’s auditory and visual perceptual experiences and behaviors could be understood as auditory hallucinations (AH), visual hallucinations (VH), delusions with religious content, and paranoid-type (schizophrenia subtype) thought content. These psychiatric features occur together as a constellation in psychotic disorders of both primary psychiatric origin and secondary to medical and neurological conditions.” http://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=1476850

            Since you don’t appear to have watched the video, I’ll quote Phil Hellenes, the producer of the video:

            “Dear children of Abraham or those who emulate the faith of Abraham; I’m not saying that there wasn’t a creator. I just can’t believe a mind that could or would make this universe would share exactly the same insecurities, the same need for respect and recognition, the same demand for loyalty, submission and obedience and the same murderous rage of the worst of human kings and your average alpha chimpanzee.

            Hope that clarifies things. You can go on and on about how the HB is all about pantheism, and that the god in the HB is representative of nature, but the majority of the world who follow the Abrahamic faiths, do not view it from your perspective.

            Like

            • He doesn’t view it that way either, or he’d toss the HB in the trash and celebrate by going out to a nice restaurant and ordering the fattest, juiciest porkchop on the menu, with a side order of shellfish.

              Like

              • Well, he comes across as a walking contradiction and then accuses me of contradicting myself. I agree, just trash the damn book and go out in nature — look up at the stars — be in awe at the wonders of nature; but watch out for lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my, because you just might end up on their dinner plate.

                Like

                • He’s had a couple of courses in logic, in college or Rabbinical school somewhere, and decided he’s an expert. And some of the steps he took were indeed logical, until he decided to take flying leaps and decided that the OT supported pantheism. I suppose, had he continued, he would next have told us that the 600+ Jewish laws were prescribed by Nature, as being what Humans needed to follow for our species to survive. I’d like to hear his justification for the one about not stewing a kid (baby goat) in his mother’s milk.

                  Like

                  • Yeah, he’s got a lot of explaining to do.

                    Like

                  • “I suppose, had he continued, he would next have told us that the 600+ Jewish laws were prescribed by Nature, as being what Humans needed to follow for our species to survive. I’d like to hear his justification for the one about not stewing a kid (baby goat) in his mother’s milk.”

                    It’s called cruelty to animals.

                    But here is something you might appreciate (well you’d appreciate it if you were someone who truly adopted a spirit of inquiry and skepticism, and not just someone who replaced theistic prejudices and superstitions with reactionary anti-theistic prejudices and superstitions – though the latter seems to be more likely at this point):

                    Since atheists always ask “where is your evidence” for the existence of your god? Because every religion simply gives you a supposed code of conduct, and then tells you that if you don’t obey it you’d go to hell (or, like the Aztecs, that if you don’t perform human sacrifices continually the world will be destroyed). What all these have in common is that it is impossible to VERIFY such claims.

                    Now, consider what the Hebrew Bible tells you about the reward and punishment when it comes to following its ethical code: this is stated most clearly in Deuteronomy 28 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+28)

                    Well, if you read the entire chapter carefully you’d see that both the reward and punishment are EXCLUSIVELY in this world. There is absolutely nothing there about some delusional realms like heaven or hell. So what does this tell you? It tells you that the ethical code in the Hebrew Bible is entirely VERIFIABLE! You can test it and see if the claims are correct or not.

                    But let’s not delude ourselves that this ethical code is eternal. It isn’t. This is the code that was a major step in human evolution 3500 years ago when it was said to be introduced. But ethical principles are like engineering principles, they have to be refined over time, otherwise humanity will stagnate (developmentally in the case of ethics, and technologically in the case of engineering). Now that doesn’t mean that the ethical principles in the HB won’t work if they were applied today. They would work, just like the engineering principles that we had 3500 years ago would still work today (and will always work). But they’d only get you to a certain level of societal development (which hopefully, 3500 years later, we’d want to surpass).

                    Like

                    • “It’s called cruelty to animals.”

                      Please explain how,
                      1. the dead kid cares what it’s dismembered body parts are stewed in?
                      2. the mother goat knows (or cares) what you do with her milk after you relieve the pressure on her udder?

                      Like

                    • Please explain how,
                      1. the dead kid cares what it’s dismembered body parts are stewed in?
                      2. the mother goat knows (or cares) what you do with her milk after you relieve the pressure on her udder?

                      They don’t. The point is to raise your awareness (so you’re more considerate toward animals), not theirs.

                      Like

                    • Which has nothing to do with neutral, inanimate Nature, that has no consciousness to care if we humans are more considerate toward animals, unless, of course, you’re assigning agency to Nature, and I would love to see your evidence for that.

                      You know, your rhetoric is really beginning to bore all of us, why don’t you scurry back to your own website and fend off your myriad of visitors there. How many would that be?

                      Like

                    • I said scurry, I meant slink.

                      Like

            • “He is described as having had interactive mystical experiences of an auditory and visual nature, that influenced his behaviors throughout most of his life. This phenomenology closely resembles that described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). Applying the DSM-IV-TR paradigm, Abraham’s auditory and visual perceptual experiences and behaviors could be understood as auditory hallucinations (AH), visual hallucinations (VH), delusions with religious content, and paranoid-type (schizophrenia subtype) thought content. These psychiatric features occur together as a constellation in psychotic disorders of both primary psychiatric origin and secondary to medical and neurological conditions.””

              Whatever supposed “psychiatrists” (or whoever) wrote that article should be stripped off their medical credentials and barred from practicing medicine ever again.

              Are they suggesting that Abraham’s “visual and auditory hallucinations” were so powerful that even his wife saw them? That’s certainly a novel concept in psychiatry. These hallucinations were so powerful that his 90-year-old wife was able to bare a son, just like his hallucinations told them? Or was his son a hallucination also? In which case I don’t see the big deal you’re making about Abraham supposedly trying to kill a hallucination (that’s not even a crime).

              These authors might as well write an article about Barack Obama’s “hallucinations, delusions, and megalomania” because his behavior is consistent with someone who thinks he’s the head of the most powerful military in the world and the leader of the Free World.

              “I just can’t believe a mind that could or would make this universe would share exactly the same insecurities, the same need for respect and recognition, the same demand for loyalty, submission and obedience and the same murderous rage of the worst of human kings and your average alpha chimpanzee.”

              So the author does not believe in the existence of the universe. Because the laws that govern the universe – the Laws of Nature – demand our “respect, recognition, submission, and obedience.” Try to violate these laws (say, by jumping off a cliff without a parachute, or by walking into a wall) and you’ll see what the universe will do to you (ie. the universe’s “murderous rage”).

              “You can go on and on about how the HB is all about pantheism, and that the god in the HB is representative of nature, but the majority of the world who follow the Abrahamic faiths, do not view it from your perspective.”

              I don’t deny that. That’s why the title of our series is called “Hebrew Bible Myths – why nearly everything you thought you knew about the Hebrew Bible is wrong” and not “Hebrew Bible Myths – what everyone believes about the Hebrew Bible is correct”

              Like

              • “Whatever supposed “psychiatrists” (or whoever) wrote that article should be stripped off their medical credentials and barred from practicing medicine ever again.”

                OK — I’ll drop them a line and tell them you said so. 😉 They will certainly enjoy the hit of dopamine from laughing. Btw, as many as 60% of those with schizophrenia have religious grandiose delusions consisting of believing they are a saint, God, a prophet, Jesus, or some other important person. About 1.5 million people are diagnosed with schizophrenia each year, worldwide

                The writer in Genesis may have had mental illness himself, or knew of someone who did and wrote that into the character of Abraham. Lewis Carroll had temporal lobe epilepsy and incorporated his neurological symptoms, including hallucinations, in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”

                Picture this — Abe said to Sarah, “look, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s superman”, and viola — she sees. Between April 1968 and May 1971 hundreds of thousands of people reported seeing apparitions of the Virgin Mary over a Coptic Orthodox church in Zeitoun, near Cairo, Egypt. —> Power of suggestion. Scientists that investigated stated that the descriptions of the phenomena revealed that their details reflected the religious background and indirect reinforcement from history of the multitude seeing the apparitions. Oh, but my favorite hallucination story is when men thought their penises were getting smaller and disappearing all together. An epidemic struck Singapore in 1967, resulting in thousands of reported cases.

                “So the author does not believe in the existence of the universe.”

                You completely missed his point, but I get your point.

                “I don’t deny that. That’s why the title of our series is called “Hebrew Bible Myths – why nearly everything you thought you knew about the Hebrew Bible is wrong”

                Too late, the damage has already been done. It will most likely take generations for people to accept the Christian Bible, the Hebrew Bible, and the Qur’an as myths even though we’ve known for decades now. But I can’t blame you for trying. Good luck.

                Like

                • “Picture this — Abe said to Sarah, “look, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s superman”, and viola — she sees. Between April 1968 and May 1971 hundreds of thousands of people reported seeing apparitions of the Virgin Mary over a Coptic Orthodox church in Zeitoun, near Cairo, Egypt. —> Power of suggestion. Scientists that investigated stated that the descriptions of the phenomena revealed that their details reflected the religious background and indirect reinforcement from history from the multitude seeing the apparitions. Oh, but my favorite hallucination story is when men thought their penises were getting smaller and disappearing all together. An epidemic struck Singapore in 1967, resulting in thousands of reported cases.”

                  Again, you can make any theory you want about the Hebrew Bible. You can say that it was written by aliens from the planet Zulu five minutes ago and was implanted in our minds. You can say that you’re actually the one who wrote the HB and that’s how you know it was written by someone with a mental illness. Whatever. The problem is that any such theory has to be consistent with the text – ALL of the text. You can’t just pick and choose whatever verses fit your favorite theory and then pretend like it’s a perfect match for the entire book. It isn’t, and that’s not how serious scholarship is done.

                  This psycho-theory simply doesn’t fit the data. It doesn’t explain why ALL these supposed hallucinations perfectly matched what happened in the story. It doesn’t explain how Abraham’s supposed hallucinations predicted things that are extremely unlikely (the birth of a child to a 90-year-old woman who could not have children, or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah). So this theory has absolutely no relation to the text. Which means that whoever came up with it clearly didn’t know what he was doing. Or worse, purposefully mislead people.

                  “Btw, as many as 60% of those with schizophrenia have religious grandiose delusions consisting of believing they are a saint, God, a prophet, Jesus, or some other important person. About 1.5 million people are diagnosed with schizophrenia each year, worldwide”

                  That’s like diagnosing Barack Obama with the Napoleon Complex because he thinks he’s the leader of the free world. And then providing a statistic on how many people suffer from the Napoleon Complex to back up such diagnosis. It just isn’t serious.

                  Like

                  • “This psycho-theory simply doesn’t fit the data. It doesn’t explain why ALL these supposed hallucinations perfectly matched what happened in the story. It doesn’t explain how Abraham’s supposed hallucinations predicted things that are extremely unlikely (the birth of a child to a 90-year-old woman who could not have children, or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah). “

                    Gee, it was about 2 hours ago you were going on about it all being myth. So which is it? 😉

                    Like

                    • A story is a story. Whether fact or fiction, if you make claims about it these claims have to be at least consistent with what the story says. It’s a shame that too many “scholars” think it is acceptable to have such a casual relationship with the facts in the story. That contributes very little to the discussion.

                      Like

                    • That’s one of the big disadvantages to Schizophrenia, when each personality holds a different opinion – they tend to argue with themselves a lot.

                      Like

                    • “You never did answer my question as to whether or not you’re on Prosac”

                      And you never answer my question as to whether you stopped beating your wife.

                      Like

                  • “It doesn’t explain how Abraham’s supposed hallucinations predicted things that are extremely unlikely (the birth of a child to a 90-year-old woman who could not have children, or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah).”

                    He DIDN’T predict those things, because:
                    1. he didn’t exist,
                    and,
                    2. he didn’t exist!

                    The Yahwist Source author, who wrote the Abraham fiction, SAID that he predicted those things!

                    Like

                    • Yawn. This is getting very boring very quickly. Is it really so difficult for you to understand the concept that when you make claims about a particular story (whether fiction or non-fiction), these claims have to be consistent with the text of that story, and you cannot just make any claims you want and say that they are consistent with that story? Seriously, grow up.

                      I’m just curious, are you the kind of person who stands up in the middle of a movie and screams: “this isn’t real! This is not true! He wasn’t really shot! He’s wearing makeup!”?

                      Like

                    • “This is getting very boring very quickly.”

                      Yeah, that ADD can really be a handicap, can’t it? You leave me with the impression that your comprehension skills are so impaired, that you can’t even understand what I’m saying. You never did answer my question as to whether or not you’re on Prosac —

                      Like

              • “Are they suggesting that Abraham’s “visual and auditory hallucinations” were so powerful that even his wife saw them?”

                1. Abraham never existed.
                2. Those who wrote about Abraham lived 1300 years after Abraham allegedly lived, and would have no way in hell to know what the non-existent Sarah saw or didn’t see.
                3> The remarkable fiction writing abilities of those authors was amply demonstrated when they invented a Pharaoh who couldn’t keep his hands off Abe’s 89-year old sister/wife!

                Like

      • “You state that you define your god as an, “omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and benevolent Being,” then elaborate on that.
        Omnipresence – you list the laws of Nature as being something that is omnipresent, I have no problem with that.
        But when you discuss Omniscience, you resort, not to evidence, but to a “thought experiment” involving a “closed system” – an imaginary scenario, existing only in your mind (as I have reason to believe, do a great number of other fallacies), in which you manipulate the details of the imaginary scenario to produce YOUR desired result.”

        That’s a somewhat disingenuous statement. First, you’re probably confusing a logical argument/proof (which is what we presented) and a legal case. The claim is that God is Nature, so if you want evidence for the existence of Nature, look outside the window (or anywhere else, really). Second, the fact that we presented a “thought experiment” doesn’t invalidate our argument. No more than Einstein’s “elevator to space” thought experiment invalidates the Theory of Special Relativity (which is somewhat based on that thought experiment), just because it is “imaginary.” The world is necessarily a “closed system.” I didn’t see you present any sensible argument to the contrary.

        “Gonna have to take a pass on that, but you DO propose that “Nature stores in itself absolutely all the information about itself,” and although you seem to be assigning agency to something entirely inanimate, it’s a thought we could certainly come back to.
        Although this is irrelevant to your basic premise, I mention it only because it alludes to credibility, or rather your lack of it:”

        Actually, it alludes to the fact that you’re trying to dispute my credibility by making baseless assertions and without providing any evidence to justify your claims (as I’ll demonstrate).

        “<em?it is not possible for Nature not to have all knowledge about itself, since it always stores all information about itself.” That’s simply incorrect – Nature has stored information about itself in myriad of lifeforms that have gone extinct, and have not passed down that information."

        That's a ridiculous assertion. The universe is entirely deterministic. No information ever goes lost. Are you seriously claiming that the atoms and molecules that make up "extinct lifeforms" vanish from the world after these species die? No, the atoms are still there. Guaranteed. And because the universe is entirely deterministic, all the particles that existed at the big bang perfectly determine what planets, life forms and TV shows will exist in the universe.

        "All information that is sucked into Nature’s vacuum cleaner, a Black Hole – or the Grand-Daddy of all Black Holes, the one that precipitated the Big Bang – is lost forever, so nature does not always store all information about itself."

        Another baseless assertion that is inconsistent with the laws of physics. You should read up on black holes before making such absurd claims. No information goes lost. All black holes "evaporate" over time (through something called Hawking radiation, that's due to quantum processes) and the information (all the particles) is slowly released back to the universe. But even if it wasn't, just because YOU can't see that information doesn't mean it ceases to exist.

        Like

        • “Then you come to Omnipotence, which, for the sake of your argument, you redefine – rather than being all-powerful and able to do ANYthing, by your definition, “It means being able to do anything within the realm of possibility,””

          That is not a redefinition, since no theologian in the history of religion ever claimed that an omnipotent God can do “anything.” Even the Hebrew Bible explicitly states that God cannot lie and cannot change. Does that make God not omnipotent? Of course it doesn’t.

          ” – which I take to NOT include, say, walking on water, turning water to wine, or, I don’t know, bringing dead people back to life, as you, yourself ask when you once again to Nature, “Can anyone defy the Laws of Nature even for a fraction of a second? Of course not! (emphasis, yours).” You then conclude – again, emphasis, yours: “Nature is, and by necessity must be, omnipotent.””

          Our argument for the existence of God has nothing to do with the Christian Bible, so I see no need to respond to that question. We make it very clear that our view of God is that God and Nature are one and the same – this is the pantheistic view. This means that heaven, hell, an afterlife or resurrection are delusions. They are not real. This also means that miracles CANNOT violate the laws of Nature (this view is entirely consistent with what the Hebrew Bible says, since the HB says that God does not violate the laws of Nature – see here: http://www.geopolitics.us/miracles-dont-violate-laws-of-nature/ ).

          “Then you delve into benevolence, maintaining that Nature has certain inviolable laws – again, indisputable, but then, you make your leap of logic: “Nature (or God) is perfectly Good and Just in applying Its Laws; It is perfectly Good because it allows all life to live in perfect peace, joy, and harmony.” I’m sure those are the exact thoughts of the gazelle, into whose jugular the lion’s fangs are ripping. Perfect peace, joy, and harmony.

          Apparently you don’t understand what the word “allows” means. The laws of nature allow you to win the lottery. But that doesn’t mean that these laws guarantee that you’ll win the lottery. I don’t see how the existence of gazelles or lions contradict the metaphysical argument we make here. Also, the argument we’re presenting is most definitely NOT a leap of logic. We present a very line of reasoning for every claim we make.

          “Your fallacy lies in equating Nature with any sort of deity. And you’ve certainly not linked it with any deity espoused by the Judeo/Christian Bible, which makes me wonder why you chose linking your “proof” to a discussion of Abraham and the Judeo/Christian god, Yah-something-or-other –
          (whisper): Neuro, his god’s gonna get you for this!”

          There is no “Judeo/Christian god.” The metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, and political claims made in the Hebrew Bible are very different (and at time antithetical) from those made in the Christian Bible. The view we presented in our proof for the existence of God (ie. that God and Nature are one and the same, see here: http://www.geopolitics.us/proving-god-exists/ ) is entirely consistent with the claims made in the Hebrew Bible. The HB does NOT assert at any point that God requires your faith. The HB never asserts that there is an afterlife, heaven, hell, or a resurrection. In fact, it explicitly states several times that there is nothing after you die – you simply cease to exist. It says that both the righteous and sinners all go to the same place after they die. The HB also asserts that both the punishment and reward for our actions are exclusively in this world. In other words, the conception of God in the Hebrew Bible is equivalent to the conception of Nature being God.

          Like

          • “We present a very line of reasoning for every claim we make.”
            You may have deluded yourself into thinking that, personally, I didn’t find it very compelling – or even coherent, for that matter. Take your sentence above, for example – what exactly is “a very line of reasoning”?

            So you’ve concluded that nature is god – since we already have Nature, and you must admit it’s rather – natural – we really don’t need a concept for god, we can just throw the whole Torah and Tanakh in the garbage, where they belong.

            That works for me, glad we could reach an agreement. (BTW, you don’t really “pray” to nature, do you? Because that would seem kinda weird –)

            Like

            • “So you’ve concluded that nature is god – since we already have Nature, and you must admit it’s rather – natural – we really don’t need a concept for god, we can just throw the whole Torah and Tanakh in the garbage, where they belong.”

              No. We certainly don’t need the concept of God if we accept the fact that Nature is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. But it does help to know that this pantheistic concept did not originate with Spinoza in the 17th century, but rather had a much older origin.

              It also helps to know that it is possible to definitely prove to those who reference the Hebrew Bible for their claims for the existence of an afterlife, heaven, hell, or a resurrection (as nearly all theists who believe in such nonsense reference the Hebrew Bible for this), that their claims are baseless, since such claims are entirely antithetical to what the Hebrew Bible says.

              Like

              • “such claims are entirely antithetical to what the Hebrew Bible says.”
                says, as it is totally irrelevant, vis-à-vis your own assertions. Nature Rocks! Nature rolls! Nature rules! No need for gods, Nature is everything – right?

                Like

              • Sorry, some letters simply disappeared – let’s try it again:

                “such claims are entirely antithetical to what the Hebrew Bible says.”
                But what the Hebrew Bible says, is totally irrelevant, vis-à-vis your own assertions. Nature Rocks! Nature rolls! Nature rules! No need for gods, Nature is everything – right?

                Like

                • So, get off your knees, toss out your prayer rugs, trash your yarmulkes – ladies, lose your headscarves, your hijabs, your burqas, your bras — Nature does not require such nonsense. In fact, Nature requires nothing, but if you want to survive as a species, you need to follow Jerry Springer’s advice and, “Be good to yourselves, and each other.”

                  And we need to thank Mr. BigPictureX – Malcom’s younger brother – for our liberation! Yay, Nature!

                  Like

        • Heighdy-ho, Mr. X – SO kind of you to drop by and condescend to respond to me.

          I get the impression that you may well be Jewish – if so, that must have been quite the kick in the head to see all of those Jewish experts that Neuro posted, saying that there’s no evidence that any of your patriarchs ever existed! Sucks to be you!

          “Are you seriously claiming that the atoms and molecules that make up ‘extinct lifeforms” vanish from the world after these species die? No, the atoms are still there”

          Absolutely, do not disagree – but can you tell me exactly what percentage of those atoms exhibit the DNA genetic blueprint that was the life-form they originally combined to create? I ask, only because unless you can, that information is lost forever.

          “All black holes ‘evaporate’ over time (through something called Hawking radiation, that’s due to quantum processes) and the information (all the particles) is slowly released back to the universe.”

          Partially correct – I’m quite familiar with Hawking Radiation, it would appear that you know just enough about science to use it to make a fool of yourself. Yes, the Black hole does indeed evaporate over time, but the energy is released in a radiation soup, from which no information can be recovered.

          You should really consider staying in school. Oh, and don’t do drugs!

          Like

          • “I get the impression that you may well be Jewish – if so, that must have been quite the kick in the head to see all of those Jewish experts that Neuro posted, saying that there’s no evidence that any of your patriarchs ever existed! Sucks to be you!”

            Assumptions, assumptions.. Also, I already responded to that.

            “Absolutely, do not disagree – but can you tell me exactly what percentage of those atoms exhibit the DNA genetic blueprint that was the life-form they originally combined to create? I ask, only because unless you can, that information is lost forever.”

            I still don’t see how you demonstrated that Nature is not deterministic here. Because if Nature is deterministic then from the moment of the Big Bang it can already derive every single object, phenomenon, or event that will occur from the beginning of time and to eternity. The fact that YOU or I cannot do that does not invalidate this fact. Also, the Laws that govern Nature clearly allow for atoms and molecules to form into DNA and form living beings. So this is already built into Nature. You seem to be confused between information YOU have and information that’s contained in Nature. I never claimed that you’ll be able to know exactly what made up the DNA of any extinct living-being, but that information is contained in Nature.

            “Yes, the Black hole does indeed evaporate over time, but the energy is released in a radiation soup, from which no information can be recovered.”

            That “soup” itself IS the information. Again. It makes no difference what you can assemble from it. Nature contains the informations that went into the black hole, and contained that information from the beginning of time. That information does not vanish.

            In any case, here’s another way to think of Nature’s omniscience: every movement you make – for example, if you throw a ball into the air – the Laws of Physics (aka. the Laws of Nature) act on this movement absolutely. In other words, nothing you do goes undetected by the Laws of Physics. So Nature knows and acts on every think you do (or think, because your neural processes are not exempt from the Laws of Physics either).

            Like

            • “I never claimed that you’ll be able to know exactly what made up the DNA of any extinct living-being for making that particular life-form.” – so you’re in agreement with me that the blueprint required to make that particular life-form – i.e., information – is lost forever, good to know.

              You’ve personified and attributed agency to nature – how foolish.

              Like

              • “so you’re in agreement with me that the blueprint required to make that particular life-form – i.e., information – is lost forever, good to know.”

                It’s not lost because the universe is deterministic. I didn’t see you counter this fact. That information could be derived from the particles that existed at the beginning of time.

                Like

                • “That information could be derived from the particles that existed at the beginning of time.”
                  How? Describe the procedure.

                  Like

                  • “Describe the procedure.”

                    You really don’t understand the concept of determinism? Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determinism

                    Like

                    • Read it – and noticed that it also said: “Determinism rarely requires that perfect prediction be practically possible.”

                      Now, back to my question – regarding the DNA blueprint of extinct lifeforms, you said, “That information could be derived from the particles that existed at the beginning of time.” and I asked, “How? Describe the procedure.”

                      So either describe the procedure as to how you would extract the DNA encoding of a – oh, I don’t know – archaeopteryx from the particles that existed at beginning of time, or admit that that information would be lost with the last archaeopteryx.

                      (spellcheck keeps telling me I’ve spelled archaeopteryx wrong – I know it as well as I know my own name! Stupid spellcheck!)

                      Like

                    • If you have all the particles at the beginning of time, and you know with perfect certainty their position and arrangement, and you know all the laws that shape their interactions, then, moment by moment, from the beginning of time and to eternity you can extrapolate how these particles will interact, how the universe will evolve, and the genetic composition of any life-form that would evolve or go extinct. You know this because the laws that govern our world are entirely deterministic.

                      But, as I already said, a simpler way to think of Nature’s omniscience is this: every movement you make – for example, if you throw a ball into the air – the Laws of Physics (aka. the Laws of Nature) act on this movement absolutely. In other words, nothing you do goes undetected by the Laws of Physics. So Nature knows and acts on every think you do (or think, because your neural processes are not exempt from the Laws of Physics either).

                      Like

                    • RE: “If you have all the particles at the beginning of time, and you know with perfect certainty their position and arrangement, and you know all the laws that shape their interactions, then, moment by moment, from the beginning of time and to eternity you can extrapolate how these particles will interact….”

                      But you can never have that, can you? Because to retrieve that information, you would need to travel 14.5 billion years into the past, so that information is lost to you forever.

                      Like

                    • “But you can never have that, can you? Because to retrieve that information, you would need to travel 14.5 billion years into the past, so that information is lost to you forever.”

                      And how exactly is this relevant to the argument? Did I say that YOU can be omniscient? No. I said that Nature is. And since Nature was clearly there at the beginning of time it also has all the information about all the particles.

                      Like

                    • Once again, you’re trying to animate an inanimate object, or concept – Nature.

                      Like

                    • “Once again, you’re trying to animate an inanimate object, or concept – Nature.”

                      Are you saying then that the laws of physics do not take into account your every movement? Can you do anything that would go undetected by Nature? There is no need to “animate” Nature for its laws to work everywhere, and to take into account everything.

                      Like

                    • For Nature to “detect” ANYthing, it would need to possess a consciousness, ergo, animation.

                      Like

                  • “For Nature to “detect” ANYthing, it would need to possess a consciousness, ergo, animation.”

                    Nature needs consciousness for its laws to act on physical bodies? Does it need consciousness so the earth can go around the sun? Of course not.

                    Like

                    • Neither of those has anything to do with detection, a conscious act.

                      Like

                    • “Neither of those has anything to do with detection, a conscious act.”

                      And yet, the earth canont evade Nature’s laws and goes around the sun. You cannot evade Nature’s laws either, and nothing you do can change that.

                      Like

                    • Which has nothing to do with detection, a conscious act.

                      Like

                    • Hmmm – looks like the sun may have gone down wherever our Hebrew Nature Boy lives, and that he’ll likely be in hibernation mode for the next 24.

                      Like

                    • “For Nature to “detect” ANYthing, it would need to possess a consciousness, ergo, animation.”

                      You’re just playing semantic games. The point is that there is nothing you can do to evade the laws of nature. Every action you take, no matter how subtle, will immediately be taken into account and reflected in nature. Without any need for consciousness whatsoever.

                      Like

    • You’re right about that: “At no point in the story of Abraham in the Hebrew Bible is Abraham motivated by faith.” – which makes it once in a row!

      Abe was motivated by fear. “Reason” was the last thing on his mind.

      I don’t know how familiar you are with Louis Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews – in the 19th century, Ginzberg compiled hundreds of legends he foujnd among his Jewish people, in their books, and elsewhere, that arose out of the characters in the Tanakh (the Jewish Bible). One of those was that Abe’s father Terah, owned an idol shop in Ur, or Ur-fa, whichever the case might have been, in which he sold idols of all of the Mesopotamian gods. Want a god in your home? Come by Terah’s idol shop where they’re slashing prices to the bone! Take home El-lil today, he can be yours for only 19.95 plus tax!

      But little Abie, according to the legend, had already been contacted by the one, true god (or, according to your website, Nature), who told him to destroy the false idols. So one night, little Abie sneaked in and set fire to the shop, and his older brother, Haran, rushed in to save his father’s livelihood, and was burned to death in the fire, leaving little Lot fatherless. I know, it’s only a legend, much like the first five books of the Bible, still, you gotta wonder exactly why Abe was so vehemently set on Isaac not going back to Haran personally, to look for a wife.

      Gen 24:5 “And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must needs I bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest?”

      Gen 24:6 “And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bringest not my son thither again.” (emphasis, mine)

      Gen 24:8 “And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear of this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.” (again, emphasis, mine)

      I dunno – the legend may or may not have a grain of truth to it, but your own Bible firmly supports that Abe was extremely concerned that his only son not go back to the area from which they came.

      Then, of course, old Abe was so concerned about his own life, that he sanctioned a deal with his sister/wife – what, you didn’t know that? To give her to Pharaoh (funny how none of those Pharaohs ever had any names – you’d think those guys would be intimately known, unless of course, the one writing the story had no actual knowledge of Egypt or Egyptian history), to do with as he pleased. In case anyone ever really wanted to know how old it was, Abe originated the Henny Youngman joke: “Take my wife — please!” And he pulled the same stunt again, with Abimelech.

      The man spent his life, fearing death, which prompted him to twice trade his wife and nearly murder his son – one must wonder how much of a life he really had Shakespeare once wrote, “The coward dies a thousand times before his death, the valiant taste of death but once.”

      Like

      • “Abe was motivated by fear. “Reason” was the last thing on his mind.”

        Agreed. Neurological studies, including fMRI scans, show that the right amygdala (fear) lights up like a Christmas tree, and the prefrontal cortex (home of reason and logic) looks like a darkened, baron, desolated landmass. Abe was no well trained Navy Seal. Like you pointed out, he was a coward. Actions speak louder than words.

        Like

        • “Abe was no well trained Navy Seal. Like you pointed out, he was a coward. Actions speak louder than words.”

          Again. Baseless assertions. Abraham went to fight kings who defeated several cities – and triumphs! (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2014&version=NIV). Hardly the character of a coward.

          Like

          • Pssst — the Pentateuch is fiction. 😉

            Like

          • O Xie – you know SO little about your own superheros, it’s pathetic. Not only have you already had the opportunity to read about all of the Jewish biblical scholars who announced that Abraham never existed, you’re getting your information from Chapter 14 of Genesis. Chapter 14 wasn’t even written by any of the four groups who wrote the Torah – in fact, the author wasn’t even Jewish, as evidenced by the fact that he referred to Abraham as a “Hebrew.” In those days, the term, “Hebrew” was a very negative term, much like any of the other derogatory racial slurs with we, today are familiar – no Jew would call another Jew a “Hebrew.” Chapter 14 is a farce anyway – 80-year old Abe and what we can only assume were 300 ninja-shepherds, took on five organized, battle-hardened armies, and won. And after you just said that your nature-god can’t do the impossible. You shame yourself.

            Like

            • Oh, I see. So you take the approach of “I don’t like these facts so I’ll pretend they don’t exist. Now let’s cherry pick some verses to make our case.” How very reasonable and non-religious of you.

              I don’t care who wrote the Hebrew Bible, or whether the stories are fiction or not. All of this is completely irrelevant to the fact that the metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, and political claims made about God and the world in what was canonized as the Hebrew Bible is perfectly consistent with the view that God is Nature. That’s all.

              Yet you seem to be obsessed about repeating these irrelevant points as if they add anything to your case. They don’t.

              Like

              • Hey, YOU’re the one touting Abraham and his 300 ninja-shepherds, and how they defeated five armies – I certainly didn’t bring that up. Maybe you should go somewhere and sit down until you’re feeling better. Are you on prozac?

                Like

                • “Hey, YOU’re the one touting Abraham and his 300 ninja-shepherds, and how they defeated five armies – I certainly didn’t bring that up. Maybe you should go somewhere and sit down until you’re feeling better. Are you on prozac?”

                  You said that Abraham was a coward and was constantly motivated by fear. Then when I bring up the fact that he went to war and defeated five armies (which utterly disproves your assertion) you pretend like you have no idea what I’m talking about, and claim that Genesis Chapter 14 is “a farce.” Sorry, just because you don’t like what the text actually says, because it doesn’t fit your little theory, doesn’t mean you can just wish it away.

                  So again, whatever claims you make about Abraham or anyone else in the Hebrew Bible has to be, in the least, consistent with the text. Otherwise, your claims are entirely faith-based.

                  Like

                  • RE: “Sorry, just because you don’t like what the text actually says, because it doesn’t fit your little theory, doesn’t mean you can just wish it away.”

                    “14:13 ‘Abraham the Hebrew;’ elsewhere in the Old Testament, until the last pre-Christian centuries, the term ‘Hebrew’ is used only by non-Israelites, or by Israelites speaking with foreigners, since it evidently had disparaging connotation – something like ‘immigrant.’ The account in this chapter may, therefore, have been taken originally from a non-Israelite source, in which, Abraham, a war-like sheik of Palestine, appears as a truly historical figure of profane history.”
                    — The New American Bible —

                    Like

      • “You’re right about that: “At no point in the story of Abraham in the Hebrew Bible is Abraham motivated by faith.” – which makes it once in a row!
        Abe was motivated by fear. “Reason” was the last thing on his mind.”

        And what do you base this baseless assertion on? Abraham had absolutely no problem confronting God before. For example in Genesis 18:23-25:
        “Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[a] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”” (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+18%3A23-25&version=NIV).

        Abraham actions were motivated by reason at every point throughout the story (as we’ve demonstrated here: http://www.geopolitics.us/abraham-the-man-of-reason/). Now he was suddenly and inexplicably acting out of fear? That’s simply inconsistent with the text.

        “Gen 24:5 “And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must needs I bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest?”
        Gen 24:6 “And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bringest not my son thither again.” (emphasis, mine)
        Gen 24:8 “And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear of this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.” (again, emphasis, mine)
        I dunno – the legend may or may not have a grain of truth to it, but your own Bible firmly supports that Abe was extremely concerned that his only son not go back to the area from which they came.”

        I see that you conveniently excluded the one verse between Genesis 24:6 and Genesis 24:8 (you know, Genesis 24:7) which clarifies why Abraham doesn’t want Isaac to go back. It is not that he doesn’t want him to go back – he simply doesn’t want him to leave the land that God promised him:
        “The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+24%3A7&version=NIV)

        You see this again when God speaks to Isaac when he’s about to go down to Egypt because of a famine:
        “The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham” (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+26%3A2-3&version=NIV).

        Was God also afraid of something when he told Isaac not to leave the land? Of course not. Again, instead of actually reading what the text of the Hebrew Bible says you resort to unrelated myths and legends to support your baseless assertions.

        “Then, of course, old Abe was so concerned about his own life, that he sanctioned a deal with his sister/wife – what, you didn’t know that? To give her to Pharaoh”

        Actually, if you read our post (http://www.geopolitics.us/abraham-the-man-of-reason/) you’d see that the reason Abraham was fearing for his life when he went to Egypt was because he wasn’t sure if God would protect him in Egypt too (since, technically, God only promised to bless him in Canaan). This also explains why he didn’t want Isaac to leave the land of Canaan. Thus, making your argument void.

        Like

        • RE your effort to use Abe’s wheeling and dealing in the Sodom and Gomorrah story to invalidate my premise – fail. Abe’s life wasn’t at risk in this instance, only Lot’s.

          RE your explanation about Abe’s reason for not wanting Ike to return to Haran – so now, you’re saying that your personification of Nature actually talks to people? Hmmm —

          Once again – and listen very carefully – they didn’t exist —

          Like

          • “Abe’s life wasn’t at risk in this instance, only Lot’s.”

            And was his life at risk when God tested him? Nothing in the text to indicate that.

            “RE your explanation about Abe’s reason for not wanting Ike to return to Haran – so now, you’re saying that your personification of Nature actually talks to people? Hmmm –
            Once again – and listen very carefully – they didn’t exist –”

            So I understand you cannot counter my argument. It’s good that you make this clear.

            Like

            • In the one instance, he was haggling for the lives of people a considerable, comfortable distance away – lives not his own.

              In the second, he had been given a direct order – totally different motivational factor.

              “So I understand you cannot counter my argument.”
              Are you kidding? There wasn’t enough of an argument to counter!

              Let’s go over it again – they – did – not – exist —

              Like

              • “In the one instance, he was haggling for the lives of people a considerable, comfortable distance away – lives not his own.
                In the second, he had been given a direct order – totally different motivational factor.”

                So… your evidence that he feared for his life is where? “different motivational factor”? Sorry, that doesn’t quite cut it. He’d have a lot more to fear for directly confronting an omnipotent God and saying:
                “Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

                Your assertion that he feared for his life also doesn’t square with the fact that – if he really thought he’s going to kill his son – he did not tear his clothes or prepare his son for the event (as should be expected in such an occasion, as is evident in the story of Jepthath, for example, who tore his clothes and told his daughter that he’d have to sacrifice her: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=judges+11&version=NIV). Clearly he did not think he’d have to sacrifice his son (in fact, he KNEW he wouldn’t have to sacrifice his son), which was exactly the case. So again, your claim has no basis in the text.

                Like

                • X – big secret, lean close – he didn’t exist —

                  Like

                • Sorry, I haven’t been able to read all your comments here and your blog is a bit odd for me. One question. Are you Christian?

                  Like

                  • Ark, I asked him what he believed in when I suspected that he may be Jewish, and this was his response:

                    “I don’t believe anything. I accept the pantheistic view of Nature, which is consistent with the view in the Hebrew Bible.”

                    Like

                  • From all indications, Ark, he’s Jewish, but that’s irrelevant, as according to him, god is nothing more than Nature, so naturally, there would be no more religious denominations. – no more lopping off foreskins, right X-Man?

                    Like

                    • “there would be no more religious denominations. – no more lopping off foreskins, right X-Man?”

                      Of course not. Besides where does it say in the Hebrew Bible that circumcision is a moral obligation? Nowhere. This is a purely cultural thing.

                      Like

                    • Good to know – i really wasn’t looking fore-ward to unhooding the Cobra.

                      Like

                  • Is that question directed to me? No. I’m not a Christian.

                    Like

                    • @TheBigPictureX

                      Do you follow any religion. or are you a deist?

                      Like

                    • To summarize, knowing how busy you doubtless are, what with all of the bees and butterflies in your back yard and all, he’s a Jewish pantheist, who maintains that god and Nature are one and the same, but that the OT, or in his culture, the Tanakh, regardless of whether fact or fiction, nevertheless contains Nature’s/god’s explicit instructions for how Humans should live.

                      Like

                    • Actually, I don’t think you’ve pegged him right Arch. Not saying I know myself what he believes, but the “contains Nature’s explicit instructions” part doesn’t seem to match with some of his comments. Of course I skipped over some of his comments and some of his comments have been confusing and vague, so hopefully he can clarify. (Yeah, I’ve been lurking 😉 )

                      Like

                    • This is why I earlier suggested schizophrenia, as some of his points diametrically opposed others – my synopsis for the Arkster was intended only to collect the most lucid of those.

                      Like

                    • Howie, from what I can gather, based on reading his posts on his site, PictureX believes he demonstrated that Abraham’s actions were motivated entirely by reason. That Abraham knew with absolute certainty that he would not have to sacrifice his son even though God commanded him to do just that as a “test”. He further states that because of that, Abraham was certain that God would provide the sacrificial offering for Abraham and Isaac, then states — “that is exactly what happened.”

                      Keep in mind that X believes that this god (Nature) is an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent Being.<— Again, he states that the act of obeying God in itself was not an act of faith and that it was not unreasonable. He further states that the "binding of Isaac was a test of reason – not of faith – and Abraham was commended not for acting on faith over reason, but for acting on reason over emotion!"

                      He also states in his Abe of Reason post:

                      “It is easy to see how any person in Abraham’s position would have refused to obey God’s command; the feeling of having to sacrifice your beloved child – even when you know with certainty that the child will not get hurt – is just too overwhelming. Therefore, only a true Man of Reason could have overcome such emotion and obeyed God’s command. And that is precisely what Abraham did and was commended for.”

                      So in conclusion, if this god is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and a benevolent Being, as X claims, and Abe knew that he didn’t ‘really’ have to sacrifice his son, then why all the drama in the first place? It looks like one big mind game they were both playing with each other. Does any of that seem reasonable to you?

                      Like

                    • I suppose if I understood what he meant by it I could say. X seems to have different definitions for a lot of words than most other people, which is unfortunately a very confusing thing for people who might actually be interested in understanding what he is trying to say.

                      Like

                    • Frankly, I can’t possibly imagine who that might be.

                      You know Howie, there are those rare occasions during which I wish I could be as nice as you, but then I remember all of the fun I’m having being me and just say no to nice.

                      It fits you – me, not so much.

                      Like

                    • You know that I’m not always nice though – I think you’ve seen my sarcastic side. 🙂 But I do try because I do feel better when I’m not fighting people.

                      Like

                    • Are you kidding? Your “sarcastic side” is nicer than some people’s “nice”! Take Neuro’s “walking suppository” and Ark’s “pimple on the ass of the world” descriptions of me – and these are my “FRIENDS”!!!!

                      But I know they meant it in the most loving kind of way —

                      Like

                    • Maybe so about the sarcasm – I can never tell how it comes across.

                      And you know Ark and Victoria are both in love with you Arch, but those 2 endearing terms were both not what I wanted in my mind right before dinner! 😉

                      Like

                    • Bon Appetit.

                      And the “in love” is stretching it a bit there Howie. 😉

                      He’s got a big heart, though.

                      Like

                    • “He’s got a big heart, though.”
                      Are you sure about that spelling?

                      Like

                    • “Are you sure about that spelling?”

                      ??

                      Like

                    • Yeah, well, they’re not so bad themselves —

                      Except Ark.

                      OK, even Ark.

                      Like

                    • @the big picture x
                      Why do get involved with religion and appear to try to justify biblical text if you are not religious?

                      Like

                    • “@the big picture x
                      Why do get involved with religion and appear to try to justify biblical text if you are not religious?”

                      “religious” for me, just means someone who accepted a set of beliefs on faith. I do not accept ANYTHING on faith or just because it benefits me to believe it. I’m much more interested in the reality – in Truth. So I read carefully through the holy books of the major religions, tried to understand the “view of the world” each of these religions presented (ie. the metaphysical, ontological, epistemological, ethical, and political claims these religions made), and tried to assess how sensible (and enlightened) these were. I found that some (like the Hebrew Bible and Zen Buddhism) were far more sensible then others in their view of the world.

                      I also found that some texts are highly misunderstood (like the story of Abraham). As this post demonstrates, such misconception can lead to tragic results. So I think it is important to show that the common view that God’s test of Abraham was a “test of faith” has to be challenged, since it has no basis in the text itself. Even if you don’t accept the alternate view of the story (that Abraham was in fact a man of reason, whose actions at no point in the story were motivated by faith), the fact that you have a plurality of views can somewhat relieve the chokehold of credulity and superstition, and hopefully slightly reduce the possibility of people trying to emulate Abraham’s supposed “blind faith” by murdering their children.

                      If someone really wants to emulate Abraham he’d need to examine the situation in front of him, and accept things as true (ie. believe things) only on the evidence. So if a voice in their head tells them to kill their child, that voice better have a demonstrated track record of making accurate predictions that no one else could for at least forty years, and demonstrate with absolute certainty that it is impossible for the child to get hurt. Then we’ll talk.

                      Like

                    • “So in conclusion, if this god is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and a benevolent Being, as X claims, and Abe knew that he didn’t ‘really’ have to sacrifice his son, then why all the drama in the first place? It looks like one big mind game they were both playing with each other. Does any of that seem reasonable to you?”

                      We explain this point here: http://www.geopolitics.us/why-the-binding-of-isaac-was-not-about-faith/

                      Like

  13. Yes! If you worship a God that requires the blood sacrifice of animals, children, entire cities of people, the entire globe save one family, and even his own son, how can you deny violent acts done in his name?! People want to talk about Jesus changing all the violence, but Jesus wasn’t totally peace and love. Even if he was, the Bible (and the Torah and Quran) are still full of God condoned and sanctioned violence. He demanded it time after time.

    People are horrified when things like this happen, but they ignore the fact that they are anxiously hoping for others to be murdered or tortured. The idea of hell and Armageddon are rarely seen as allegory. I find it hard to take seriously people that are horrified by modern murders done in the name of faith. You cannot logically hold the two beliefs at the same time.

    Of course, faith is the absence of logic and people compartmentalize. I just don’t understand how they can glorify Abraham and vilify this woman. It is literally the same exact thing. When believers are shown the reality of their ghastly faith, they deny and excuse. It’s unforgivable.

    Like

    • Exactly right, Madalyn. The god of Abraham is no different than a testosterone/dopamine engorged alpha male chimpanzee or baboon. If you play by the ape’s rules, you live. If you don’t, you die. In Revelation 19, the wrath of this alpha ape god shows his antisocial ass. and a blood bath ensues upon unbelievers. People, like you and me will be murdered by Jesus and his army of holy angles and the birds will gorge on our flesh. Yet, people will fall to their knees and worship such an ape. Boggles my mind. Jesus made it clear: If you don’t follow him you die. If you do, you live. Monkey see, monkey do.

      Like

  14. This is an excellent post.
    However, I think it is time that we all stop fueling the fiction-fire by trying to demonstrate why the actions of these characters were wrong and how much of a bastard YHWH was.

    We all know this. and it is unlikely that non-believers will ever convince the believers of the abhorrent morality present on the Old Testament – and the New for that matter. This results in cherry picking and some version of divine command theory.

    I believe a lot more focus needs to be placed on demonstrating the fact these characters are pure fiction.

    What that mother did to her kids simply because she believed 100% in what she had been told regarding Abraham clearly demonstrates how far even an erroneous belief will carry a person, ( 9/11 always spring to mind)
    It’s unlikely she would have acted in a similar fashion over something she’d heard about Donald Duck. It’s not impossible but not likely.
    Church authorities need to step up to the plate and state that these biblical characters are fictitious.
    And until they do, it is up to the secular world to try to demonstrate as best they can.

    Like

  15. “Church authorities need to step up to the plate and state that these biblical characters are fictitious. And until they do, it is up to the secular world to try to demonstrate as best they can.”

    Bravo. But you know what Ark? — people have been so brainwashed to believe that they can’t be prosocial unless there is a god looking over their shoulder 24/7. We have these authoritarian religions to thank for that. So while we are on this subject, and I was hoping you or John would bring it up, I’ll post a little of what’s been discovered and what we’ve known for decades now. The clergy are not going to tell us this because they have gotten filthy rich off the ignorance of the people. They, the filthy rich religious hierarchy, have everything to lose. So as you and John say, let’s cut to the chase: (Thank you John)

    ——————————————

    ““It’s been decades since we’ve known – what’s the hold up?” asked Israel Finkelstein, the chairman of the Archaeology Department at Tel Aviv University. “The period of the patriarchs, exodus, conquest, or judges as devised by the writers of Scriptures never existed,” asserted Robert Coote, Senior Research Professor of Hebrew Exegesis at San Francisco’s Theological Seminary. “The Genesis and Exodus accounts are a fiction,” noted the biblical scholar Niels Peter Lemche of the University of Copenhagen.

    “The actual evidence concerning the Exodus resembles the evidence for the unicorn,” concluded Baruch Halpern, Professor of Jewish Studies of Pennsylvania State University. “The patriarchs’ acts are legendary stories, we did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, we did not conquer the land.

    Those who take an interest have known these facts for years,” declared famed Israeli archeologist, Ze’ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University. “Scholars have known these things for a long time, but we’ve broken the news very gently,” explained one of America’s preeminent archaeologists, Professor William Dever of the University of Arizona… an admission which then inspired Christianity Today’s Kevin D. Miller to concede: “The fact is that not one shred of direct archaeological evidence has been found for Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob or the 400-plus years the children of Israel sojourned in Egypt. The same is true for their miraculous exodus from slavery.”

    The world’s leading biblical archaeologist is Prof. Ze’ev Herzog. This is what he says:

    “The patriarchs’ acts are legendary stories… The Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Most of those who are engaged in scientific work in the interlocking spheres of the Bible, archaeology and the history of the Jewish people and who once went into the field looking for proof to corroborate the Bible story now agree that the historic events relating to the stages of the Jewish people’s emergence are radically different from what that story tells.”

    This is Professor Magen Broshi, head Archaeologist at the Israel Museum:

    “I think there is no serious scholar in Israel or in the world who does not accept this position. Herzog represents a large group of Israeli scholars, and he stands squarely within the consensus. Twenty years ago even I wrote of the same matters and I was not an innovator. Archaeologists simply do not take the trouble of bringing their discoveries to public attention.”

    This is Rabbi David Wolpe:

    “The rejection of the Bible as literally true is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis.”

    This is from a recent article in Israel’s oldest leading daily Newspaper:

    “Currently there is broad agreement among archaeologists and Bible scholars that there is no historical basis for the narratives of the patriarchs, the exodus from Egypt and the conquest of Canaan, nor any archaeological evidence to make them think otherwise.””

    ——————————
    Seems Jesus and Paul (Mo too) have got a little explaining to do:

    http://thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/well-this-is-a-little-embarrassing-isnt-it/

    Like

    • Yeah, I’ve been beating this drum for a few years. And john has been right there too. But we doo tend to bet sucked into arguments about “Proving God and all that other es aitch one T.
      I discovered Herzog about 5 years ago.
      Recently , John was in communication with a whole bunch of Jewish scholars, pretty much all of whom acknowledge it is fiction.

      But what is equally as important…if not more so, is the fact that the character Jesus of Nazareth mentions Abraham and Moses…er….how many times?
      And just why would the Son of God( sic) reference a fictitious law established by a fictitious character?

      Like

  16. If all of them have faith in only one ‘God’, why are there so many different faiths and religions? Boggles my mind. Just shows you how messed up they are. How can this ‘loving God’ of theirs ask anyone to kill their child and how can these followers be so stupid as to believe in such a ‘God’? I am sure Abraham was stoned or something. I think most of them were and still are.

    Great post and very interesting reading Victoria. 😀

    Like

    • *waves to Sonel in South Africa*

      Thank you, my friend. What boggles my mind is how anyone would even justify this behavior because their god said so. Seriously. These religions were cultivated by cunning, alpha males with the brains of chimpanzees and baboons. However, they were good observers and knew just what it took to con and control people en masse to do their dirty deeds for them.

      Promise them eternal life, permission to rule over and own women, and plunder other people’s property and possession, and voila — instant loyalty. Sure, Moses came down from the mountain top with the 10 Commandments, but did he follow them? Hell no. Why? Because his god gave him permission not to.

      http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+31

      Heil Dopamine. 😉

      Like

      • Even the Chips and Baboons I raised were more clever than these a-holes Victoria. Watching a series called ‘Salem’ where it shows clearly how men of those times used religion to kill ‘witches’ and how they wanted power for themselves.

        Moses can be glad I wasn’t there. I would have shoved him down that mountain with that commandments where he didn’t want them!

        hahahaha! Heil Dopamine! 😆

        Like

  17. Through the magic of British television, we can look back and see just how these events transpired. It should give us insight on just how we ought to think of Abraham.

    Like

  18. For my very bestest buddy, X-Ray —

    Like

  19. Victoria!

    I should have a bit more time now to write/blog, visit/read your blog and a few others, and hopefully add significant comments. 🙂

    So, for my most impactful significant commenting of this subject, Abraham, I give you this clip you probably have already seen via me or someone, one of my all-time favorite scenes from a favorite film: “Couldn’t we pierce our ears or something!?”

    Like

  20. A minister, a priest and an astronomer were discussing finances.

    The minister says, “I draw a circle on the ground, then I take the collection and throw it in the air, and whatever lands inside the circle belongs to God, and whatever’s outside, goes to me.

    The priest says, “I do the same thing, but whatever lands OUTside the circle belongs to God, and whatever’s inside goes to me.”

    The astronomer says, “People just GIVE you money?”

    It would be funnier, if it weren’t true.

    Like

  21. Uhm, I do not quite know how to put this – because I have started to really care for you and therefore your feelings: why quote scripture to fight scripture. Really it is all just invented – people create stories to make sense of chaos. Stories can be used for good or evil. If used long enough, loudly enough people believe them to be the truth.
    So, I believe if you want to move away from the evil of the church you have to create alternatieve stories.
    I would even understand if you would highlight the beauty and compassion that can be found in the sciptures – if you should choose to, but I cannot understand why you would keep alive what you think should be left behind.
    So instead I say: did Abraham have a son? I don’t know – someone wrote that down ages after it was supposed to have happened. How much do we know about what happened in the beginning of the last century – what do we really know of someone even as remembered as Stalin or Franco?
    Stories – some deserve to be told…others to be forgotten and replaced….

    Like

    • AC, I understand that you don’t understand the dynamics going on in America and in other countries due to belief systems like the Abrahamic faiths which are affecting our laws. I’m certain that you don’t pay attention to what’s happening here. You live in a country that pretty much doesn’t have to deal with any of these issues. I could spend hours posting the negative side-effects.

      Did you watch the video? Did you see the positive message? The point of this post is to make people think and to bring awareness about the repercussions of said beliefs. You mentioned that we should be finding alternatives. You forget we live in a very religious country who believe the stories are real. Many if not most believers of the Abrahamic faiths are not well read on their belief system. They are cultural Christians. Like one commenter said, she had no idea that story was in the bible, yet Abraham is esteemed highly in the Abrahamic circles. If you were up on news in our country I doubt you would have made such a comment.

      But there is much more going on. These discussions are vital. You see, AC, children are still being indoctrinated about hell. They are not being told it’s pretend. They are told that Jesus had to suffer horribly and die a brutal death because humans sinned. They actually believe this, RC.

      Please take the time to review these articles about Religious Trauma Syndrome which were published in the British Associations for Behavioral and Cognitive Psychotherapies: http://www.babcp.com/Review/RTS-Its-Time-to-Recognize-it.aspx

      It states that “religious indoctrination can be hugely damaging, and making the break from an authoritarian kind of religion can definitely be traumatic. It involves a complete upheaval of a person’s construction of reality, including the self, other people, life, the future, everything. People unfamiliar with it, including therapists, have trouble appreciating the sheer terror it can create and the recovery needed.” It further states:

      Key dysfunctions in RTS are:

      **Cognitive: Confusion, difficulty with decision-making and critical thinking, dissociation, identity confusion

      **Affective: Anxiety, panic attacks, depression, suicidal ideation, anger, grief, guilt, loneliness, lack of meaning

      **Functional: Sleep and eating disorders, nightmares, sexual dysfunction, substance abuse, somatization

      **Social/cultural: Rupture of family and social network, employment issues, financial stress, problems acculturating into society, interpersonal dysfunction”

      Please take the time to view this graph produced by the mental health community regarding the psychological harm done due to childhood indoctrination.

      Please take the time to visit sites like Ex-Christian.net and see the harm that religious indoctrination of the Abrahamic faiths have done to the people who share their personal stories.

      “The internet is starting to overflow with stories of RTS and cries for help. On forums for former believers (such as exchristian.net), one can see the widespread pain and desperation.
      ~Dr Marlene Winell

      Please take the time to read these comments and reread my post “Misled by Beauty” and realize that I and others have stressed that these are made up stories and provided the sources. Bringing awareness is a slow process. In most churches today in America, they are still being led to believe that these are REAL, even though pastors are admitting that they were taught otherwise in seminary. How is the average person suppose to know if awareness is not brought to the forefront? Who’s going to do it if the clergy, clerics and rabbis won’t?

      I get emails from Christians thanking me for the information I post here. This morning I was talking with a Christian on the phone who also thanked me and said that she had learned so much. She also told told me she was not offended by my approach and the data I’ve shared.

      I get emails from people who told me that their loved ones were hearing voices and the clergy told them it was the voice of God, when in fact it turned out to be a neurological disorder, or these voices with religious undertones were caused by strokes that affected specific regions of the brain. In one such email a lady told me that her father started hearing voices and thought god told him to kill her mother and himself. She said that because she had read posts I published on other forums or comments sections — she knew to insist on asking the doctors to do EEGs and MRI scans. Her father got very religious before this happened.

      My husband committed suicide after he was told by clergy, that very day he died, that he was being attacked by demons (as promoted in the bible), when in fact his hallucinations were caused by a traumatic brain injury which brought on a seizure disorder. Because his disorder had progressed, and his ability to think critically was compromised, it pushed him over the edge.

      So I really would appreciate it if you would educate yourself on these issues before opposing something you appear to know very little about. I understand that you believe that we should be focusing on the virtues of religion, but how many more people are going to be harmed and die while we take the time to make up other stories? I don’t mean to be curt, and I, too, have grown to care for you — but it appears that you are viewing this through your own filter and your own culture, and not seeing the bigger picture of what its like to live in a religious country with very few mental health facilities who can help people get the help they need. We have to become our own advocates and advocates for others. As I posted in my part 2 of religious experiences, neurologists state that these mental disorders are frequently misdiagnosed.

      Thank you for your understanding.

      Like

    • @Afracooking, you’re not the only one I’ve encountered who has not understood the dynamics, but there are many more out there who do.

      An example of the emails I’ve received. Posted with permission. The person’s name will not be included:

      —–
      Sent 01 September 2009 – 11:02 AM

      “HIya Victoria,

      Great to see you back. I had noticed you left for a while. I left also but came back for one reason and that was to read your posts, lol and to thank you. Your posts taught me soo much regarding how the brain and illnesses can affect us. I was so intrigued that i started on a new course to learn more. (Unfortunately though and its strange how things turn), as you will learn from this letter my father became ill in January. Confusion . loss of short term memory . delusions . hallucination etc etc … no symptoms of any of this prior. Luckily I knew the signs and got him to a hospital. He was admitted to a psychiatric unit . yet was released weeks later after they said a blockage in his neck had caused the problem .

      Just four weeks ago he became exceptionally religious all of a sudden ( no previous of this before either ). Again delusions of grandeur . an incessant need to help others and humankind. To cut a long story short he thought he had seen the light and found god and that he was being called. He tried to take his own life and attempted to take my mother with him .. luckily both survived . He is now locked up in a medium security hospital for his safety .

      The whole point of this letter though is not to give you my life story or my problems but too thank you for what you do on these boards .. reading your links enabled me to be able to ask questions of the professionals that i would never have thought of before ie . push for MRI scans and eeg’s so that he wouldn’t be thought of as just another madman, and to give him the best shot at finding the correct problem and treatment. They are now looking into the fact that he may have had a series of mini strokes.

      If you just help one person it makes it all worthwhile. Don’t be disheartened by some who can’t see what it is that you are trying to do. There are many more out there including me who appreciate it sooo much.”
      —-

      Since that first email, she sent me updates, and her father has received the necessary neurological rehabilitation, and is home with his family.

      Like

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s