Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Free John Gardner?



John Gardner was sentenced about a month ago to life in prison for the rape and murder of two teenage girls.

In a televised interview a month before sentencing, click above to view, he explained "I could not stop myself. I was — had a major rage, and (was) pissed off, and pissed off at my whole life and everybody that’s hurt me."

Can any atheist explain to me: Why should he be punished? Isn't he indeed correct - none of us actually has a soul or free will and therefore we are not in control and therefore no punishment is appropriate? A distinguished biology professor wrote recently "a belief in free will is nothing other than a continuing belief in vitalism—something biologists proudly believe they discarded well over 100 years ago."

If the purpose of punishment is not because society has the right to retaliate against wrongdoers, but rather the purpose of punishment is merely to deter future criminals, then why must the punishment fit the crime and why must the accused be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt before being punished? No one is actually guilty anyway. Rather a team of sociologists should simply determine what level of government sponsored terror will do the most good with the least cost and the police should follow those guidelines. Perhaps summarily hanging each year a few hundred likely suspects would overall be more beneficial and inexpensive than the massive and costly criminal justice system we have today. (The Soviet government actually did do this in the late 1930's.)

If a tornado kills two people, it's hardly noticed. It's just a force of nature. According to atheists, Gardner is no different.

The tragedy is that once atheists convince themselves of this insanity, as Gardner did, then they can and will indeed kill and with no guilt.

Personally, I agree with the more old fashioned opinion of Maurice Dubois, father of 14 year old victim Amber Dubois "He will burn in hell for the acts he's committed."

146 comments:

NoLiveGod said...

True or false: in that article you reference by Anthony Cashmore--his INAUGURAL article in PNAS--Cashmore advocates punishing criminals.

The answer is TRUE. See page 5. This also gives the answer to your "Can any atheist explain to me" garbage.

It's really that simple.

You, on the other hand, think it's better to just imagine that Gardner will have his magic soul magically transported to a magic place where bad and brutal thinks will happen to him eternally. And it's all magic!

jewish philosopher said...

"Cashmore advocates punishing criminals."

Professor Cashmore is an old man who is supposedly an expert in the chemical makeup of plants. The conclusions which he reaches in his article make no sense.

So again, from your point of view, how is Gardner any different than a tornado for example? Isn't he correct in saying "I had no control. I had to do it."? If a doctor could give him medication or perform surgery (castration?) and certify that he is now no more dangerous than anyone else, is there any reason to keep him in prison?

NoLiveGod said...

"Professor Cashmore is an old man who is supposedly an expert in the chemical makeup of plants."

Your right. He is probably no more qualified than you. Hey, have you found a job yet?

"is there any reason to keep him [Gardner] in prison?"

Yes, in the atheist view there are at least five good reasons:
(1) To protect society from Gardner.
(2) To protect Gardner from angry mobs.
(3) To provide Gardner with appropriate psychiatric help
(4) To deter other potential criminals who would not want incarceration and who would see that a criminal code was present and working.
(5) To alleviate the pain of the
victim.

Now, according to the Jewish view, how does hoping he will burn in hell help?

Also, according to the Jewish view, how would he have been tried? Would he have committed a crime, or would he have simply needed to pay the girls' fathers some cattle? Or would he have gotten to marry the girls and have your rosy-cozy sex-in-marriage situation.

Please tell us, oh sage, what Judaism adds to the discussion!

Shalmo said...

Good post JP!

The irony is this is exactly what gay activists do.

Science tends to be heavily committed to naturalism, to a deterministic worldview. Only religion can provide man with a sense of free will.

jewish philosopher said...

"in the atheist view there are at least five good reasons:
(1) To protect society from Gardner."

Why not use medication or surgery?

"(2) To protect Gardner from angry mobs."

That's his problem, not the taxpayer's.

"(3) To provide Gardner with appropriate psychiatric help"

He won't get that.

"(4) To deter other potential criminals who would not want incarceration and who would see that a criminal code was present and working."

If the purpose of punishment is not because society has the right to retaliate against wrongdoers, but rather the purpose of punishment is merely to deter future criminals, then why must the punishment fit the crime and why must the accused be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt before being punished? No one is actually guilty anyway. Rather a team of sociologists should simply determine what level of government sponsored terror will do the most good with the least cost and the police should follow those guidelines. Perhaps summarily hanging each year a few hundred likely suspects would overall be more more beneficial and inexpensive than the massive and costly criminal justice system we have today.

"(5) To alleviate the pain of the victim."

They're dead.

Judaism holds people responsible for their behavior because they have a soul and free will and are freely choosing evil and therefore should and inevitably will be punished, in this world or the afterlife.

NoLiveGod said...

You don't like the atheist view because of your commitment against it. That's fine. You asked for the reasons to keep Gardner in prison and I gave five good ones to you (#5, by the way, refers to the family members. Incarcerating Gardner is one way that society can responsibly help alleviate their pain).


Is Judaism's only point that people should be punished because of free will? By Judaism's logic, then, if an insane person commits even the most heinous crime, that person should NOT be punished because that person's free will was compromised and that person was therefore not responsible for his actions.

Judaism would have Gardner on the street right now, probably somewhere in New York.

jewish philosopher said...

"(#5, by the way, refers to the family members. Incarcerating Gardner is one way that society can responsibly help alleviate their pain)"

Counseling would probably help them more and be less expensive.

"By Judaism's logic, then, if an insane person commits even the most heinous crime, that person should NOT be punished because that person's free will was compromised and that person was therefore not responsible for his actions."

That's absolutely true. An imbecile is exempt from all responsibility as are children. Claiming however "my anger made me do it" would not cut it .

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/practices/Ethics/Our_Bodies/Themes_and_Theology/Mental_Illness.shtml

jewish philosopher said...

In addition to this is the issue of guilt and responsibility.

If an atheist, for example, rapes, tortures and murders 50 little girls just for the fun of it, he can tell himself, according to his beliefs "I had to do this. My brain chemistry, hormones, childhood experiences, etc made me do it and I had no choice. This was just a natural event determined by the laws of nature, no different than a tornado or an avalanche."

NoLiveGod said...

"If an atheist, for example, rapes, tortures and murders 50 little girls just for the fun of it, he can tell himself, according to his beliefs "I had to do this. My brain chemistry, hormones, childhood experiences, etc made me do it and I had no choice. This was just a natural event determined by the laws of nature, no different than a tornado or an avalanche."

Weak. If you commit the crime, you'll either say God told you or that you were trying to help the girls repent and find God. This is exactly according to your beliefs: no guilt and no responsibility. After all, in your view people don't have freedom of action, remember?

I love watching you sink into the quagmire or your irrational and goofy beliefs!

jewish philosopher said...

No, not really. As I Jew I would have to repent for having chosen to sin. This would include:

regretting/acknowledging the sin;
forsaking the sin;
worrying about the future consequences of the sin;
acting and speaking with humility;
acting in a way opposite to that of the sin (for example, for the sin of lying, one should speak the truth);
understanding the magnitude of the sin;
refraining from lesser sins for the purpose of safeguarding oneself against committing greater sins;
confessing the sin;
praying for atonement;
correcting the sin however possible (for example, if one stole an object, the stolen item must be returned or if one slanders another, the slanderer must ask the injured party for forgiveness);
pursuing works of chesed and truth;
remembering the sin for the rest of one's life;
refraining from committing the same sin if the opportunity presents itself again;
teaching others not to sin.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repentance_in_Judaism

Just incidentally, I know of only one Orthodox Jew ever convicted of murder in the entire history of the United States; a man in Cleveland who over twenty years ago shot his ex-wife’s father during a dispute. In Israel I also know of only one Orthodox murder conviction - Yigal Amir. I don't know of one Orthodox Jew ever convicted of forcible rape.

However, let's hear a former atheist talk about his crimes of rape, torture, murder and cannibalism:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjW7bezdddE

Anonymous said...

NLG:

Orthodox Jews believe that G-d communicated exactly how He wants humans to behave. If a person's behavior does not conform to G-d's instructions, how can he say G-d told him to?

Dave Smith said...

"Weak. If you commit the crime, you'll either say God told you or that you were trying to help the girls repent and find God. This is exactly according to your beliefs: no guilt and no responsibility. After all, in your view people don't have freedom of action, remember?"

Judaism believes in free choice, moron. A person is capable of choosing to do the right or wrong thing at any given time. Torturing and murdering little girls is not allowed, either.

You get more incoherent as you go on.

jewish philosopher said...

A lot of times, atheists just go on automatic pilot and repeat some Marxist-Leninist anti-God nonsense they heard somewhere. Sometimes it's applicable to a different religion.

NoLiveGod said...

"Judaism believes in free choice, moron."

JP has himself stated that Judaism believes in freedom of choice and NOT freedom of action. JP, please direct befuddled Mr. Smith to your statements.

Mr. Smith, you'll notice I wrote "freedom of action' in my comment because, unlike you, I know what I am talking about.

Your rage betrays your guilt.

Mr. Smith said...

"Your rage betrays your guilt."

You're self-destructive approach to living does not fill me with rage, but rather bemusement.

Moreover "guilt" is a term that is applied to people who exercise free choice to commit a sin, something which you appear not to believe in.

"JP has himself stated that Judaism believes in freedom of choice and NOT freedom of action."

JP certainly believes that it is within the capacity of an individual to choose to rape, murder, steal, etc. Whether or not they are permitted to do such things is an altogether different story.

Misrepresenting the opinions of others in a feeble attempt to increase your odds of winning an argument is a sign of low intelligence. You are a moron.

NoLiveGod said...

"You're self-destructive approach to living"

What a silly thing to say! You know nothing about how I live my life. In fact, I was up at 5:00 this morning for a 4-mile run.

Then you say, "Misrepresenting the opinions of others."

I am not misrepresenting JP. Decide for yourself. Here are JP's actual words. Please look in the comments to his post, "Crime and Punishment":

JP on 5/18/2010, 5:37 AM: "We have the freedom to mentally make a choice and God can decide whether we will have the means to carry it out."

JP on 5/18/2010, 9:20 AM: "We have freedom of choice, not action."

JP on 5/18/2010, 11:35 AM: "you choose and then God decides if you will be able to follow through or not."

JP on 5/20/2010, 10:35 PM: "Let's say I want to kill someone but it's not his time to go. God might cause the gun to jam. Alternatively I may choose to save someone. However it is his time to go. So the ambulance breaks down.

I make the choice. I am rewarded or punished accordingly. However God decides the outcome."

JP on 5/21/2010, 7:58 AM: "I never said we have total free will and each person can choose to do anything imaginable."

Mr. Smith, when you grow up, you may learn to restrain yourself from commenting with the adults when you don't know what the fuck you are talking about.

Your friend Dave said...

Let's return to your original claim, genius.

"If you commit the crime, you'll either say God told you or that you were trying to help the girls repent and find God. This is exactly according to your beliefs: no guilt and no responsibility"

Kind of hard to swallow, given much of his blog consists of criticizing people's behavior, including homosexuals, murderers, rapists, and atheists who choose to write nonsense on blogs such as this.

"In fact, I was up at 5:00 this morning for a 4-mile run."

Or you're a twenty year old couch potato, who masturbates 15 times a day.

Anonymous said...

"Or you're a twenty year old couch potato, who masturbates 15 times a day."

Ha Ha Ha. This is Stein responding incognito to his own raging stupidity. His true pathological identity is so easy to resolve. He's so easy to decipher. What an idiot.

jewish philosopher said...

I really never write anonymously. If it's something worth saying, I will proudly sign it.

Anonymous said...

http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201007011410/NEWS03/7010398

Is this a neighbor of yours??? That's funny, he doesn't look Goyish!

jewish philosopher said...

Well, I guess this totally refutes the idea that Orthodox Jews never turn in Orthodox Jews to the police; obviously the victim here dialed 911.

As far as the perpetrator goes, how do you know he's not one of those hundreds of secret Hassidic rebels out there, who like lice hide in the Orthodox community, benefit from the warm social atmosphere while privately doing whatever they want to?

David Smith said...

"Ha Ha Ha. This is Stein responding incognito to his own raging stupidity. His true pathological identity is so easy to resolve. He's so easy to decipher. What an idiot."

Actually, it wasn't JP who wrote this--it was me!

Truthfully JP has said similar such retorts to our resident atheists in the past, without altering his identity, so I don't see why he would start doing so now.

I'll grant that some of our putative compulsive masturbator's quotes paint a picture of JP as a man who does not believe people have any ability to determine their actions.

This view is difficult to reconcile, however, with JP's final statement, at the end of this post: "Personally, I agree with the more old fashioned opinion of Maurice Dubois, father of 14 year old victim Amber Dubois "He will burn in hell for the acts he's committed."

Why should Mr. Gardner be held accountable for "the acts he's committed," if our acts are solely in the hands of God? I'll let JP address that if he so chooses, but I prefer to believe that a man who has spent so many years in yeshivah, agrees with the normative orthodox position that human beings are to be held accountable for their actions. My desire to put on tefillin every day counts for very little, if I don't actually make the effort to do it. God always has the capacity to thwart our intentions. But we are frequently allowed to act in accordance with our free will decisions, so we can benefit from, or suffer from, the fruits of our choices.

jewish philosopher said...

We have freedom to choose, but not freedom to act.

"All is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven" (Talmud, Berachot 33b).

http://www.come-and-hear.com/berakoth/berakoth_33.html#PARTb

David Smith said...

A person may choose freely, and certainly God may limit his options.

None the less, the onus is on the individual to COMPLETE the performance of a mitzvah that is presented to him.

See Rashi at the top of this link:

http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/704623/jewish/When-Does-One-Complete-the-Mitzvah.htm

NoLiveGod said...

"A person may choose freely, and certainly God may limit his options."

Then God is partly responsible. Or are we just supposed to let God off because of "Rashi"?

If God can stop murder and chooses not to, he is culpable too.

If God murders, and he has, he is culpable.

If God commands people to kill other people, and he has, he is culpable.

Is this really so hard to grasp?

If you want to worship a prick, then go ahead. Just please spare us the nonsense that he's "good" or "perfect." He's quite clearly not.

God and Gardner, by your logic, are both responsible for Gardner's murders. You should be wishing that both God and Gardner roast together in hell.

I would wish this, but God is imaginary. Therefore, if Garner is found guilty of performing the crimes, he should meet an appropriate punishment--and I've provided five good answers for why to punish him.

You, on the other hand, have danced around the self-righteous bonfire of theology, socially sanctioned bullshit. You feel that your lives are no more valuable than tornadoes. That's your problem, not mine and not atheism's. You don't know the first thing about atheism because you are too limited to see that your God is unnecessary.

jewish philosopher said...

Anyone who dies was destined to die by God's will. However that does not exempt the murderer.

"He also saw a skull floating upon the water. Said he to it: Because you drowned others, you were drowned; and those who drowned you, will themselves be drowned."

Ethics of the Fathers 2:6

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2011/jewish/Chapter-Two.htm

It's all fair in the end.

"you are too limited to see that your God is unnecessary."

Provide a plausible, reasonably convincing proof that the Biblical God does not exist and/or that evolution created us.

Anonymous said...

What exactly is the basis for your morality, and what is your basis for saying it applies to G-d?

David Smith said...

"If God murders, and he has, he is culpable."

A murderer is a human being who unlawfully takes the life of another human being. The Bible does not ascribe this quality to God, for good reason: we are only capable of understanding the motives of an infinite being to the extent that this being wishes to make His will known to us.

We can readily appreciate such a notion, by analogy, even in our daily lives. If my son stabbed my daughter with a sharp object, he would be punished for inflicting unjust suffering on his sister.

The next day, however, I might take him to his doctor for his scheduled immunizations. My son might conclude from this that I am an incredible hypocrite for sanctioning an act today that I decried yesterday.

The answer of course is that my son's understanding is limited. He does not realize that there is an underlying positive purpose to his receiving his immunizations. All he understands is the pain, and the apparent injustice. Such an explanation might not satisfy him, as his understanding is limited, but that is the explanation none the less.

We (believers, but particularly orthodox Jews) don't presume that God is a murderer as you say. There are many disturbing things that can happen to a person in this world, but this does not inescapably lead to the conclusion that God is a hypocrite, or unjust, or unkind, or whatever negative appellation you or people such as Christopher Hitchins choose to apply to God.

Incidentally your above argument is solidly emotional in character.

Anonymous said...

@David Smith-

"Incidentally your above argument is solidly emotional in character."

Pot...meet kettle.

NoLiveGod said...

"A murderer is a human being who unlawfully takes the life of another human being."

Perhaps. In law, murder often involves premeditation and intent. If God can premeditate to kill someone and can intend to kill someone, then God can be a murderer.

Is this not so?

But really the discussion is academic. I don't believe that there's been any evidence of sufficient worth to establish the existence of the supernatural or gods generally, let alone the one specific God that, through centuries upon centuries of cultural evolution, you now claim to worship.

My points have been straightforward:
(1) Law and morality proceed just fine without free will. Heck, even Time magazine is starting to admit that free will has been nothing but a convenient illusion.
(2) One can reason about real-world crime and punishment in a non-theistic frame than in a theistic frame because (a) God is a ready-made excuse and (b) God himself is reported to be responsible for genocide, misogyny, pettiness and general ugliness. God's a dick.

An objective, sober account will lead you to the inescapable determination of God's awfulness. All you need to do is write down some of the behaviors that show goodness and evil. Just make a list, Dave Smith, just make a list. Then read the Tanach.

Let me give you just one example. American football player Michael Vick recently left jail after having been convicted of animal cruelty--this related to a dog-fighting ring that he was involved in.

Now, we can agree that it is wrong to make animals aggressive for the primary purpose of having to animals fight and maim/kill one another. We can probably accept that this behavior is cruel to the animals and of relatively little value to humans.

It's reported that the Deluge killed not only every human being on Earth (except Noah and his family) and all of the animals on the planet (except for those that--all around the world, from Australia to North America to the Arctic--somehow made the trip to Noah's house) drowned in the Flood.

I submit to you that even if you think that all of humanity, including babies and peoples that never knew of God, will killed with good reason then you still cannot think there was good reason to kill all of the animals. Was it not cruel to drown all those animals? Was it not unnecessary, since God could have simply sent the Angel of Death around the world?

This is but one example of a much greater case that can reasonably be made to suggest that the God of the Tanach is one of the most horrible characters of all, which is saying something because many of the gods are selfish and brutish in extreme ways.

Just make a list, Dave. That's all you need to do. No emotion, no bias. Just make a list.

Tell me what you find.

jewish philosopher said...

Regarding human suffering, as I have explained, God is kind but fair.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/08/kindness-of-suffering.html

Regarding animal suffering, since animals were created merely to serve man, when man sins, they suffer as well. All creation was created for and is linked to man.

http://ohr.edu/ask/ask250.htm

From the atheistic point view, of course people are merely soulless, worthless bags of chemicals. Giving them any importance is pure superstition. Such nonsense perfectly suits hedonists and murderers.

Anonymous said...

Wahy exaclty is the bais for your morality, and for saying that ot applies to G-d?

David Smith said...

"Pot...meet kettle."

It's often best to be brief, anonymous, because if you actually attempted to elaborate on the above, it would become apparent that you don't know what you're talking about.

NLG:

"(1) Law and morality proceed just fine without free will."

Law and morality are based on the concept of free will. The fundamental basis of our legal system is that people are to be held accountable for the choices they make.

"(2) One can reason about real-world crime and punishment in a non-theistic frame than in a theistic frame because (a) God is a ready-made excuse"

Excuse for what?

"(b) God himself is reported to be responsible for genocide, misogyny, pettiness and general ugliness. God's a dick."

See my above comment. You've made your perspective clear, but there are other ways of looking at things.

NoLiveGod said...

JP and Anon. -

Please let Dave make his list without distractions.

God's alleged "kindness" and "fairness" is precisely the issue. These terms need to be defined clearly and unambiguously so that we can see whether God's behavior measures up.

We would not want, for example, a definition of "kindness" that allows us to construe Gardner's crimes as acts of ultimate kindness.

Anon., I don't get what you are asking. What is it you see as the basis for human morality? Is there only one basis or are there options? Does one need a basis for morality?

Dave Smith said...

"(1) Law and morality proceed just fine without free will."

Law and morality are predicated on free will. People are presumed to be responsible for the choices they make, and are punished accordingly for crimes they choose to commit.

The burden of proof is on the atheist to prove that free will is merely apparent and not real.

"(2) One can reason about real-world crime and punishment in a non-theistic frame than in a theistic frame because (a) God is a ready-made excuse"

Excuse for what?

"(b) God himself is reported to be responsible for genocide, misogyny, pettiness and general ugliness. God's a dick."

Rampant emotionalism. My general remarks on theodicy are as above. The lack of an explicable reason behind any one of God's decrees does not constitute an argument against the existence of God, nor a definitive argument against God's goodness.

Anonymous said...

NoliveGod:

One does not need a basis to act morally. I understand you to be saying that G-d is immoral, and the Torah is immoral. I would like to know the basis for theose claims.

Ans while there appears to be a lot of bad things happening, that we don't understand, there is also a great deal of gratuitous goodness. For example, humans like looking at sunsets. G-d did not have to creat humnas so they enjoy looking at sunsets. The fact that he did IMHO demonstrates G-d's goodness.

NoLiveGod said...

"I understand you to be saying that G-d is immoral, and the Torah is immoral."

Well, I'm saying God, as reported, is a murderer and hardly worth worship even if he did exist. My basis for this is the Torah itself. Just read it.

I wonder what your basis is for the arch-dodge, "we don't understand." How do you know we don't understand? Why don't we understand? Is there a way for us to understand if not now then in the near future?

"We don't understand" is utter rubbish and base cowardice on your part. Perhaps the reason YOU don't understand is because the concept YOU have invented, God, doesn't make sense next to reality. Have you ever even considered that it's all invented? That you are plain wrong and that God does not in fact exist?

Personally, I try to consider if I'm wrong--this is the obligation of any intellectually honest person. But there is no compelling argument for God, not one (not Kalam, not watchmaker, not the ontological argument, not Kuzari). Any honest, sober person who considers the merits and flaws of these arguments has to conclude that they do not lead one to assert confidently that God exists, any God. And when we look at the physical evidence, special creation goes out the window and some version of evolution remains as the only range of possibility.

JP decided not to post my remarks to Dave Smith--and he probably will not allow this post--but I am thoroughly unimpressed with theodicy. Theodicy merely recognizes that God is a dick and tries to rationalize it.

I'm sorry if you don't like my language, but I want you to see clearly the character that you think everyone else--including me--ought to venerate. That character is a monster.

jewish philosopher said...

This is all merely wishful thinking. You can imagine whatever you like. You can imagine that the Holocaust is a hoax or that President Bush was behind 9/11, but all evidence indicates the opposite.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wishful_thinking

NoLiveGod said...

"This is all merely wishful thinking."

I'm not sure how you conclude this. True, I have wishes; so do you. But I don't think I have any particular wishes relating to God. As I said, there is no compelling reason to believe. If there were, I'd have my kippah on now!

jewish philosopher said...

Wishful thinking is the formation of beliefs and making decisions according to what might be pleasing to imagine instead of by appealing to evidence, rationality or reality.

This is the basis of atheism and all false religions.

"There is no God and evolution created me."

You wish.

NoLiveGod said...

No, I'm neutral as to the outcome. I don't care how I was "created."

True or false: you wish that God exists.

jewish philosopher said...

I'm totally neutral.

However your denial of God and belief in evolution are purely wishful thinking, just as much as any Christian's belief in Jesus or Muslim's belief in the Koran.

They also have volumes of "proofs" which are easily debunked. Really, they simply believe whatever is pleasant to imagine and the proofs are then dreamt up.

NoLiveGod said...

"your denial of God and belief in evolution are purely wishful thinking"

I wonder how you reckon this. Do you just keep asserting it in the hopes that it will magically be made true?

I don't deny God. I simply haven't encountered or conceived a reasonable case for God. I'll hold out until someone's able to bring forth evidence.

Now your post was on punishment, and that's been answered--your points defeated. The evidence against free will is overwhelming, so you're going to need to do the things we Jews (at least we naturally born Jews) do: change the understanding of the Bible to match reality. This process is why we got 'nach, then Talmud, etc.

jewish philosopher said...

Every organelle in every cell of every living thing proves God. A design always has a designer. The fossils prove that life did not evolve by a very gradual, natural process of trial and error.

If there is no free will, then we should use a Stalinist style system of terror to control society. There is no need to prove guilt since no one is actually guilty. Just arrest thousands of likely suspects and shoot them as examples.

NoLiveGod said...

"Every organelle in every cell of every living thing proves God."

Proves? Proves? Are you serious that this is direct and unambiguous PROOF? You say it's proof and I am simply supposed to accept your say-so?

I ask JP's readers and lurkers: All of you folks, IS THIS PROOF? Do you buy this as proof? Dave Smith? Nat? Hello?

To me it looks like your logic is: "The knee is incredible, therefore God designed it."

Please let me know if this is the reasoning you use to get specifically from the knee to God himself.

Anonymous said...

NLG:

You deny the truth of the Torah, so how can you use it against G-d?

And the Torah says, "Lo Bashomayim Hi" it isn't in heaven, so it doesn't apply to G-d.

And the atheist favorite answer to questions abotu origins is "we don't know." So if atheisys can address the origin of the universe with "we don't know," why can't theists use it to address the much smaller problem of G-d's seeming evil.

Anonymous said...

NLG:

You deny the truth of the Torah, so how can you use it against G-d?

And the Torah says, "Lo Bashomayim Hi" it isn't in heaven, so it doesn't apply to G-d.

And the atheist favorite answer to questions abotu origins is "we don't know." So if atheisys can address the origin of the universe with "we don't know," why can't theists use it to address the much smaller problem of G-d's seeming evil.

jewish philosopher said...

How do I know that a person wrote that last comment and not some cat who jumped on a keyboard somewhere?

How did I get from "meaningful sentence" to "person"?

NoLiveGod said...

JP,

A philosopher will gladly show the reasoning from the premise ""The knee is incredible" to the conclusion "The knee is incredible, "God designed it."

You are not being asked to provide anything that other philosophers are not also required to provide.

Anon., I am simply forming an opinion based on what the Torah reports. When I read the Iliad, I form opinions of the gods and warriors. When I read a newspaper, I form opinions of the reported events and the actors involved. I am allowed and justified to form an opinion of the character God, am I not? Is it OK with you if I do not find him to be especially pleasant?

Either you can work out the reasoning or you cannot. From what I read, you cannot. Hence, you try to evade the question with a meaningless straw man.

I have no problem with an "I don't know" answer, but that's not what theodicy is. Theodicy is an attempt to explain away God's responsibility for evil, pain, and suffering. All I'm asking is that you consider two additional hypotheses that you cannot disprove: (1) That God is actually evil and not good [or at least, that he is flawed], and (2) that God does not actually exist.

With respect to the origins of the universe, you want me to keep "an open mind" that God could have done it. I am simply asking you to keep an open mind too, that God didn't do it, that he doesn't exist.

Deal?

jewish philosopher said...

"A philosopher will gladly show the reasoning from the premise ""The knee is incredible" to the conclusion "The knee is incredible, "God designed it.""


How do I know that a person wrote that last comment and not some cat who jumped on a keyboard somewhere?

How did I get from "meaningful sentence" to "person"?

NoLiveGod said...

LOL, I guess that means you are incapable of working out the logic.

Oh, look! A piece of dirt on the ground...therefore...God. Whoa, my mouse has a little red light on the bottom...therefore...God. Hey, JP is unemployed...therefore...God.

Yep, that explains everything.

jewish philosopher said...

Appeal to Ridicule

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-ridicule.html

NoLiveGod said...

It's analogy, not ridicule.

jewish philosopher said...

Not really, however if it is, then it's a false analogy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_analogy

It's pretty obvious how you've reached your beliefs, or your wishful thoughts, as I would prefer.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/07/jewish-skeptics-and-sex.html

Must we run through the entire catalog of logical fallacies?

NoLiveGod said...

It's pretty obvious you have no idea how to recognize a logical fallacy.

It must suck for you not being able to explain your reasoning. Perhaps it's time to remove the "Philosopher" tag.

How about "Jewish Sophist"?

Or "Jewish Asserter"?

Or "Jewish Declaimer"?

In any case, I really wanted to talk with Dave Smith. You're argument has already been demolished and you keep blathering on the same stupid points. Why don't you post something more interesting?

I'm trying to help you after all.

Anonymous said...

NLG:

Then yoru basis for saying G-d is bad is just your opinion. Okay, you're entitled to an opinion.

And one approach to theodicy is to say that G-d's evil is really good in ways we don't understand. So if expressing ignorance and leaving it at that is good enough for atheists to address big problems of origins it should be good enough theodicy.

Now, I think G-d is good because I see so much gratuitous goodness. For example, humans enjoy sunsets. G-d did not to have create us so we enjoy sunsets, but he did.

And there are so many things the existance of which there is no good naturalistic explanation. So I conisder supernatural explanation, i.e. G-d did it.

jewish philosopher said...

It's sad to see someone locked in a cycle of denial and addiction, ashamed to identify himself or show his face.

Atheism is the Penis Philosophy.

onlyajew said...

NLG--you never really addressed the substance of the comments below except to say the argument is weak and then jump all over G-d...Let me explain:

JP: "If an atheist, for example, rapes, tortures and murders 50 little girls just for the fun of it, he can tell himself, according to his beliefs "I had to do this. My brain chemistry, hormones, childhood experiences, etc made me do it and I had no choice. This was just a natural event determined by the laws of nature, no different than a tornado or an avalanche."

NLG:Weak. If you commit the crime, you'll either say God told you or that you were trying to help the girls repent and find God. This is exactly according to your beliefs: no guilt and no responsibility. After all, in your view people don't have freedom of action, remember?

I love watching you sink into the quagmire or your irrational and goofy beliefs!

Now NLG it is sort of obvious that you purposely ignored addressing the issue raised by JP and instead chose to attack his beliefs without actually addressing the direct issue he stated. Is the problem that he is right about what the atheist would have to say and you can't really explain it? Or is it you purposely chose to deflect his response and then virtually laughed at him hoping no one would see that you failed to actually address his point?

I'd be interested in hearing you address his point and refute him as any good atheist would.

Thank you

NoLiveGod said...

Anon.,

My basis for saying that God commits wicked acts is based on two things: (1) Passages in the Torah reporting the words and deeds of God (and God's authorized followers), which are taken by believers to be true and accurate; (2) Our reasonable agreement that some behaviors can be classified as good or bad. On this second point, I hope that we can agree that deliberately killing small children is wrong. I hope that we can agree that it's wrong to commit rape or to condone rape.

So, yes: I am giving my opinion about the behavior that's reported in Torah. Yet this opinion is grounded in the primary source of information and an appeal to common standards (i.e., shared understanding between us).

Perhaps you can explain the grounding of your theodicy.

Nevertheless, there is an important difference between theodicy and scientific approaches to origin of life/universe (I don't know why you make this an atheist problem). An indispensable part of a scientific hypothesis is an understanding of what would render the hypothesis wrong. There are several hypotheses being developed and pursued concerning the beginning of the universe (if this expression even means anything), and each comes with this falsification clause.

What is your falsification clause for the hypothesis that God's apparent evil is good in ways we don't understand? In other words, when does it no longer seem reasonable to defend God as all-good?

We can both agree that sunsets are enjoyable. We can both ask why it is that people enjoy sunsets, or recognize some things as beautiful and some things as ugly. There are scientific studies out there that try to understand how we process things in this way and where that processing comes from. Terrific if you want to thank God for our faculties of appreciation, but I think there are much more interesting questions to pursue on the whys, hows and wherefroms of this appreciation. God cannot provide this.

Finally, I understand the turnaround you are making on me when you say "there are so many things the existance of which there is no good naturalistic explanation," but the problem is that no supernatural explanation does a better job than even a poor naturalistic one. Perhaps you have examples that cast this statement in doubt. If so, let's here them.

Usually, s supernatural explanation is presented this way: "This is really, really complex. Scientists marvel at the complexity. It's much more complex than previously thought. How could have evolved? An intelligent agent designing seems much more reasonable."

If I have given a fairly accurate representation of the logic (and not too much of a straw man), then the key flaws are obvious.

jewish philosopher said...

NLG, as far as I can tell, your position seems to be "Since God does not always do what I want Him to do and since He does not always justify His behavior to me, I can safely conclude that there is no God."

This again is just wishful thinking.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wishful_thinking

NoLiveGod said...

onlyajew-

Fair enough. As you quote, JP says this: ""If an atheist, for example, rapes, tortures and murders 50 little girls just for the fun of it, he can tell himself, according to his beliefs "I had to do this."

My response is that one does not need to be an atheist to rationalize evil behavior. A theist can do it just as well.

There's nothing "in" atheism that says it OK to kill or OK to do anything at all. A world without gods is still a world of laws, customs, and communities.

So this above is my answer. Plus, I find it highly ugly and offensive that JP thinks that the only two possibilities in the world are cowering in fear as God's judgment or unbridled anarchy.

Does this provide an adequate response to JP's initial point?

onlyajew said...

NLG here is the difference between what you say about good and evil and your perception of it and how I see the same exact situation and our differences can be summed up in short by this--you believe our life here on earth is all we have and I believe there is something else to experience once I leave this earth.

It is because of that, that you see the G-d of the Torah as wicked, mean and whatever else you called Him. I would agree with you that if I believed that all we have is our time on this earth. However, I acknowledge quite openly that unlike some of the people in the blogosphere, I do not know all there is to know and recognize that my life is but a fleeting moment on the timeline of earth and I do believe that there is something after my time here. Therefore I don't see the same problems with G-d as you do. Things that you perceive as evil and wicked, I see as merciful and just. I believe that we are here to fix ourselves on earth, you don't. I believe once that fixing is over, you are done with what you needed to do and it's time to go home. You don't. So in truth you are coming from a whole other realm of belief than JP---the only difference as I see it is you are much more willing to name call and attack him instead of addressing his points straight on.

jewish philosopher said...

"I find it highly ugly and offensive that JP thinks that the only two possibilities in the world are cowering in fear as God's judgment or unbridled anarchy."

Common sense and extensive historical data proves that atheists are merely chimpanzees with nicer clothing and better weapons.

I explain this here in detail:

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/10/god-save-king-why-we-need-both.html

NoLiveGod said...

onlyajew,

"It is because of that, that you see the G-d of the Torah as wicked, mean and whatever else you called Him."

False.

My understanding of whether or not an afterlife exists is separate from my assessment of God's moral character.

onlyajew said...

NLG-I appreciate your responding and I understand what you say.

"There's nothing "in" atheism that says it OK to kill or OK to do anything at all. A world without gods is still a world of laws, customs, and communities."

I will take your word for that as I don't really understand the logic of atheism so I defer to you. I would ask you though wouldn't morality be subjective in that case? one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter? One man's child is another man's bride--it all depends on where you live and where you were educated doesn't it?

onlyajew said...

"My understanding of whether or not an afterlife exists is separate from my assessment of God's moral character."

But your assessment of His moral character is anchored by your belief that all we have here is this. If not anchored that most definitely influenced--how can you claim otherwise as you have put your own limitations on G-d based on your own understandings of how the world works. Please explain,

NoLiveGod said...

onlyajew,

I addressed JP's points head-on at the outset. It's right there: 5 clear reasons why incarcerating criminals makes sense.

Now, I notice that JP has called me a chimpanzee "with nicer clothing and better weapons."

Are you willing to chastise him for his name calling?

What about his evasion when I asked him to explain his reasoning? After all, he calls himself a philosopher. I nicely requested that he expand on his reasoning and this was his evasive response: "How do I know that a person wrote that last comment and not some cat who jumped on a keyboard somewhere?"

I recognize your good intent, but you are discounting the poor manners and intellectual dishonesty of JP.

jewish philosopher said...

It's amazing that atheists are such fragile flowers. They will call God every obscenity in the dictionary, however if you imply that there is something wrong with them - that's completely unacceptable.

Maybe that's part of narcissism?

Anonymous said...

NLG:

You don't consider the Torah an accurate source of morals or history, so saying G-d is wicked based on the Torah makes no sense.
And the same Torh that says G-d did these things also sys that the Torah does not apply to G-d.

And why are universally agreed stamdards relevent when they are not grounded in logic, they are just things people do?

My point about sunsets was a response to your asking me why I feel G-d is good. He provided us with gratuitous goodness.

And I don't know of anuy evolutionary reason why humans should enjoy sunsets. It is another question that can't be answered without bringing in G-d.

And if a supernatural explanation answers questions, then it is better than an "I don't know" which doesn't answere anything. Unless you have an apriori bais against supernatural explanations.

NoLiveGod said...

Onlyajew,

"I would ask you though wouldn't morality be subjective in that case? one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter? One man's child is another man's bride--it all depends on where you live and where you were educated doesn't it?"

Just because you believe in God or defer to the Torah does not make your morality objective. There are at least four reasons for this:

1. People have a tendency to attribute their own moral view to God. See the study, "Believers' estimates of God's beliefs are more egocentric than estimates of other people's beliefs," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., [2009 Dec 22] 106(51):21533-8.

2. When moral views change, people say that the new view has been God's view all along.

3. People can find moral justification for many different and even contradictory actions from the Bible.

4. Once an action is thought to be sanctioned or prohibited by God, then that allows God's people to enforce it ruthlessly.

NoLiveGod said...

Onlyajew,

I need to get back to my job, so this will probably be my last comment on this.

You say: "But your assessment of His moral character is anchored by your belief that all we have here is this."

This is not true. My assessment of God's moral character is anchored on reading the Bible. God's behavior there is reprehensible.

If there is an afterlife, God is still wicked for (to take one example) sending bears (yes, bears) to kill 40+ kids because a couple of them made fun of a man's bald head (see 2 Kings). If there is an afterlife, I still think it was evil of God to authorize the genocide of the Canaanites in Deuteronomy. If there is an afterlife, God was wrong to flood the entire world and make the people and animals alike suffer.

If there's an afterlife and God exists, He would still have plenty to answer for.

onlyajew said...

NLG,

I had not read his post before I wrote mine but I will let JP answer for himself although I don't see that as pertaining to you vis a vi name calling inasmuch as it is the logical evolutionary track which I think most darwinians would have to agree with.

I did see your five reasons and saw Jp's responses which is why I was attracted to your response because he had answered you by addressing each point and you had failed to respond to him which is why it was brought to my attention.

As for his Cat comment I do not see that above but surely you must admit there is a major difference between calling someone a cat and calling someone stupid isn't there?

I did have a question though and I am curious as to what your response would be--understand I am rather new to this orthoprax/atheist debate and am still trying to wrap my head around it---but can we take the Zohar for a minute and I was hoping you could help me understand your way of thinking.

I will grant you for argument's sake that Rabbi Shimon didn't write the Zohar, but I think it is fair to say that even if he didn't, certain claims inside were made well before the rest of the world discovered them and I would be interested in how you make sense of that.

Example--in Vayikra he says the world is round like a ball-long before colmbus--or that people walk on one side of it and on the bottom of it and don't fall off--gravity --well before Newton---there is a place in the world where it is only dark for a very short time--where you live can effect the color of your skin...there is more but I'm curious just so I can understand the debate--how do you attribute that information which was commented on by rabbis long before it was discovered by the real world thereby dating its veracity somewhat--the Zohar tells the reader where he learned it from, but I'm curious to how you feel he would know that information when no one else in the world was claiming at that time?

onlyajew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
onlyajew said...

"Just because you believe in God or defer to the Torah does not make your morality objective."

Maybe not but it clearly defines the baseline. Nevertheless, how did that answer the question I asked you above?

Doesn't that make morality subjective?

onlyajew said...

NLG--work calls me too, but again your answer is color by your perception of wicked. If I told you that I was watching a man about to take a knife and stab another man in the chest, you would tell me to stop him asap--then if I told you that the man I was watching was performing open heart surgery, you might think differently.

You have attributed your limitations to G-d due to the prism you choose to look through is all I am saying. Who are you to say that wiping out the canaanites was wicked and evil?

I'll ask you this---if you had the knowledge in 1934 what Hitler would do to the world within the next ten years and you had a chance to kill him and save millions of lives, would you do it?

NoLiveGod said...

Onlyajew,

"Doesn't that make morality subjective?"

yes.

"Who are you to say that wiping out the canaanites was wicked and evil?"

I am a human being. If I cannot say that God's actions are evil, who are you to say they are good?

I understand that my perceptions, that human perceptions, are limited. That's why we all have a responsibility to ask for evidence and to ask that people making assertions back up their statements.

I have met my burden by. If we agree that genocide is wicked, that there is never a satisfactory reason to justify the indiscriminate killing of all the people of a nation, then wiping out the Canaanites is wicked.

You may not like this reasoning, or you may question the applicability of some terms, but this reasoning MUST be much better than what you are asking: Assume God's goodness at all times; whenever his behavior seems good it is, and whenever it seems evil it means we don't know enough about his intentions and plans.

Now I really need to sign off.

onlyajew said...

"Doesn't that make morality subjective?"

yes.

Therefore does it not stand to reason that your morality may be different than another and what you consider wicked and evil as a human being, someone else-also a human being living in a different country, may consider it merciful and just.

So your offer of evidence is by it's very essence your own and to use the argument "well most people think this way" ...well most people thought the world was flat as they had done for centuries...

"You may not like this reasoning, or you may question the applicability of some terms, but this reasoning MUST be much better than what you are asking: Assume God's goodness at all times; whenever his behavior seems good it is, and whenever it seems evil it means we don't know enough about his intentions and plans."


You assume that is what I would say--as a matter of fact I would not make that distinction at all. I would agree that all is good and we do not understand His ways whether they are perceived to be good--clearly subjective---or seemingly bad---also subjective....but at the same time, I am not bound by my own definition of morality making all things subjective. I am very clear between what is right and what is wrong--no grey needed for me so I can say conviction that what is good is good and what is bad is good and I do not need to rationalize things away. That being said, I don't live in a pie in the sky world as you can see if you read my older posts on my blog which has been laying dormant nor do I bequeath deity status to humans such as tannas or amoras etc, but I do acknowledge my lack of understanding of a complex world which most psedo intellectuals have an amazing grasp of.... and while you may say that this evidence is overwhelming or that evidence is overwhelming does not make it necessarily so--as an example gravity was an unknown for centuries and it wasn't until newton could explain it til we understood it...does that mean it wasn't there? It just means that til that date in time, we didn't have a perception of it...(I refer to Shimon bar yochai who explained it long before) Therefore is it fair to say that when you live in a subjective reality with subjective morality based on total randomness, there really is no real good and evil is there?

NoLiveGod said...

Onlyajew,

"does it not stand to reason that your morality may be different than another and what you consider wicked and evil as a human being, someone else-also a human being living in a different country, may consider it merciful and just?"

I agree. My personal morality may be different than another person's. This is hardly surprising. In fact, people don;t have exactly the same moral values. Neither do cultures. Some cultures, for instance, legally require certain kinds of dress while other cultures find this sort of practice as violating basic civil liberties.

And in fact we today do not live exactly by the morality encoded in the Bible. We see that over the centuries, biblical morality becomes understood and enforced in different ways.

So, you are making my argument, that appealing to God does not give an objective moral standard. Your morals are just as subjective as mine. You have no clearer view than I do about what is good and what is bad.

You also seem to think I--or atheists generally--claim to know everything about everything. This is a common slur against atheists. Yet, if you look above at earlier comments you'll see that I am very comfortable with knowing that we don't know.

Intellectual honesty is what it is all about: what do we actually know? How well do we know it? What inferences can reasonably be drawn from what we know? What inferences cannot?

One thing you have not answered is why the words of the Torah should be immune from criticism and judgment. You call me close-minded for daring to have an opinion. Yet you claim to have a black-and-white understanding of good and evil: "no grey needed" for you!

Why is it that reality is black-and-white, while the Torah is gray? Could it be because you are closed to the idea that the Torah is just like all the other holy books you already call "false"? That is, could it be that you fail to seriously consider that the Torah was written not by the divinely inspired but by mystically oriented (yet otherwise ordinary) people?

Have you ever scrutinized your own beliefs the same way you scrutinize Islam or pantheism or Jainism or Hinduism or Christianity?

onlyajew said...

"You call me close-minded for daring to have an opinion."

I did? Where and when did that happen? Please source that for me I might have forgotten that I did that.

"That is, could it be that you fail to seriously consider that the Torah was written not by the divinely inspired but by mystically oriented (yet otherwise ordinary) people?

I have thought about that aplenty. Where I have been you don't want to go.

"Have you ever scrutinized your own beliefs the same way you scrutinize Islam or pantheism or Jainism or Hinduism or Christianity?"

Very much so. I have been where you are and then some. If you read some of my older posts on my blog you will see that I am no lamb vis a vi Judaism. In my younger days, when faced with questions I could not answer I actually ignored any rabbinical advice and or opinion and began to search myself--through study--I wanted proof like every other human. I studied aristotle darwin hawking etc but there was always the question they could not answer as well. (ie where did that first cause come from-how come everyone accepts that that loose end being a "work in progress" is acceptable, but alternatives are dismissed out of hand) I also studied Torah and questioned it to the point of abuse. I did not jump at the first idea--hey this looks weird, this doesn't make sense, why didn't it say this...then asked myself other questions like the one you chose to ignore above about the zohar--how could he have known that? ...or about Kima, or wonder why it was that the land that the Torah said would not vegetate for anyone but the Jews, over 2000 years didn't vegetate for anyone but the jews-see twain-- and that rings true today--which mystical man could have predicted that and assured it to be true some X number of years later? -or I asked myself when was it that Pesach actually started? ie when did we first celebrate Pesach? When did we first eat matzah? I couldn't figure how such a stubborn people would have bought into something so ridiculous that actually hadn't happened to them even though it was supposed to?.... as evidence of our variety of opinions I offer of course the vast number of stubborn people who debate subjects such as these ad nauseam....

"You have no clearer view than I do about what is good and what is bad."

Only according to the premise that the Torah has no validity---a premise that I am not sure even for the sake of argument I need to subscribe to simply to make you feel better. Clearly I do have an understanding of right and wrong based on Torah--the fact that you choose to invalidate that based on your own opinion does not mean that the baseline is subjective. On the contrary. My baseline is defined clearly while yours is seemingly plainly arbitrary.

"You also seem to think I--or atheists generally--claim to know everything about everything. This is a common slur against atheists. Yet, if you look above at earlier comments you'll see that I am very comfortable with knowing that we don't know. "

I would not say it is a slur, just a hypothesis based on the commentary of its defenders. On the contrary, I am confident that most atheists are ignorant of Torah among many other things. By that I mean, because of their disdain for anything G-d, they refuse to attack aggressively both sides of the knowledge equation and rely on the work of others who were themselves predisposed to ignore Torah instead of doing as I did and actually get my hands dirty. I am quite secure in the knowledge that I know nothing, but am able to recall source material in both disciplines.

I hope you can find the time to answer my Zohar question as it is something that has bothered me for quite some time and I'd be very interested in what an atheist had to say about that sort of information.

NoLiveGod said...

Onlyajew,

I cannot answer your Zohar question without a quote from the source, in proper context.

However, it seems you want to make several claims about Zohar:
(1) It makes statements about the world that agree with science.
(2) It makes statements that are unusual or are contrary to then-accepted mainstream views of the world.
(3) It demonstrates a level of knowledge beyond then-current science and technology.

If I have these wrong, please correct and let me know exactly what claims you are making. Otherwise, color me unimpressed. People try all the time to interpret the vague phrasings of the Bible or of Nostradamus into a specific scientific or prophetic message.

It doesn't matter whether the Torah is valid or not for your morality to be subjective. I am sure you are aware that ever since Plato's Euthyphro dialogue, philosophers have agreed that gods are simply irrelevant to morality, regardless of whether they exist or not. You can assert all the live-long day that you "do have an understanding of right and wrong based on Torah," but I see no evidence of this.

I also think you err in framing atheists as disdaining anything God. That's just not my observation of atheist behavior. Even I don't have contempt or scorn for "anything God." Truly, I think God's a bad character. I feel the same way about Shakespeare's Iago. I've always found it curious that anti-atheists characterize us as having such intense hatred and loathing for God--and/or we're baby-eating hedonists bent on a new world order. I've never been able to make a dent in anti-atheist prejudice, unfortunately. I suppose it's something that theists need to think.

onlyajew said...

I do not need to think anything about atheists other than I think nothing of them either way.

As far as the Zohar--I would say that none of your 3 claims would be correct. I am saying that the Zohar had information that was not readily available to the general public including the great greeks. (Even if one wants to falsely claim that the greeks had known of the round world before the rabbis, no one to date had ever made the claim that people lived beneath them--on the other side of the world without falling off-gravity---or there was limited darkness in certain parts of the still unexplored world)....Furthermore the Zohar states where his source material is from so there is no guessing for the reader as to where he got it. Most everything I see from atheists is show me the source as if wanting to learn something new rather than challenging their premise that we are making things up---there is no need--the source is Vayikra 10--have at it and enjoy...


As a side note--philosophers all had the bible that acknowledges G-d at their disposal well before them so in order to make their claims without G-d in the equation, they need to make that claim--furthermore by ignoring such evidence it is easy to say none exists and all morality is subjective....my apologies for the lack clarity--the wife awaits

Anonymous said...

The fact that the worst mass murderers in history, Stalin and Mao were atheists might have something to do with it. Also the fact that a disproportionate number of mass murderers were atheists and vise versa and everytime atheists run a country, they wind up with mass murder. I find that a little scary.

NoLiveGod said...

Onlyajew, "I do not need to think anything about atheists other than I think nothing of them either way."

Ah, yes. The love that religion so often seems to inspire.

"As far as the Zohar--I would say that none of your 3 claims would be correct. I am saying that the Zohar had information that was not readily available to the general public including the great greeks."

Let's say for sake of argument that you are correct. The Zohar contains information not readily available to the general public--so what?

I dutifully re-read Vayikra 10. It opens on a rather repugnant note. What exactly am I supposed to be seeing? I'm sorry, but it's hard for me to grasp your argument if you don't want to work the sources with me.

Your last paragraph is completely unclear to me.

Anon., if you believe in God then God is the biggest mass murderer in history. Please remember also that according to JP, we don't have freedom of action, so God is responsible for all of the murders committed by all the murderer. It's your logic, take it to its end.

jewish philosopher said...

The first principle of Jewish faith is:

I believe with perfect faith that G-d is the Creator and Ruler of all things. He alone has made, does make, and will make all things.

http://www.ou.org/torah/rambam.htm

While the Talmud teaches:

Everything is in the hand of heaven except the fear of heaven (Berakoth 33b)

http://www.come-and-hear.com/berakoth/berakoth_33.html#PARTb

NoLiveGod, I'm sorry to jump in in the middle of all this. I haven't been following this discussion too closely. However the impression I get is that you simply refuse to accept the idea of a God Who will probably not listen to your prayers, Who is going to make huge demands of you and if you don't toe the line 100%, He will (eventually, in His own good time) kick your ass so hard you will explode.

This is simply an argument from incredulity: P is too incredible (or I can't imagine how P could possibly be true) therefore P must be false, which is a logical fallacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance#Argument_from_incredulity_.2F_Lack_of_imagination

onlyajew said...

NLG-Sorry you were so repulsed by Vayikra but I should have stipulated Vayikra 10a in the zohar.

"Ah, yes. The love that religion so often seems to inspire."

As you wish it makes no difference to me-you asked a question and I answered it--so it should be you had been willing to do the same. I am assuming that you are Jewish-I do not know you to be sure, but that being the case I believe I have made my thoughts on atheists are quite clear. Sorry to disappoint you, but I don't really give any of you much thought.

"Let's say for sake of argument that you are correct. The Zohar contains information not readily available to the general public--so what?

Well quite honestly I don't really expect you to look at it with an open mind as your above comment seems to indicate that what it says there means nothing to you either way. Which really leads me back to my original point that you say you want evidence, but it won't matter what that evidence is because even judging you from your own "intellectual honesty" argument, you are predisposed by the above quote to dismiss it out of hand regardless. Which begs the question is it intellectual honesty you are after or are you just someone who knows a minimal amount of Torah but dismisses it because its en vogue or b/c it helps you feel superior when entertaining us non enlightened cattle?

I love to listen to people who can't pick up a talmud on their own without Adin Steinsaltz or artscroll and then disparage its contents based on what they think they know.

I find it fascinating how a Rabbi in the first century was able to know that Kima had 100 stars in it--when to the naked eye on a great night you might see 6--and he sources his information...., or that Rabbi Gamliel can pinpoint with miniscule accuracy the time of the new moon--and he sources his information--btw forget trying to pass off the greeks knew argument vis a vi Rabbi Gamliel--it truly is beneath anyone who desires to be taken seriously as an intellectual--- or that the prophets told the Jews that the land without them would be barren--it was the fertile crescent--no matter who tried to populate it those glaring predictions have been amazingly accurate and the information is sourced by the prophets--pretty good call I would say....


I dutifully re-read Vayikra 10.

Vayikra 10a in the Zohar-see above.

Rabbi Shimon sources his material in Vayikra on page 10a--he is not afraid and knows information he could not have known otherwise--even the great greeks were clueless about what he writes--if you are intellectually honest or the search for truth is what you are after, study it and draw your own conclusions--I'd be interested to know what you think....

Anonymous said...

NLG:

Murder is the illegal taking of a life. Laws don't apply to G-d, so it isn't illegal when G-d takes a life.

onlyajew said...

NLG

" if you believe in God then God is the biggest mass murderer in history."

Let's address this with facts we can both agree are already in evidence. what anon says about Stalin and Moa is correct--historical fact I assume you acknowledge. To address his argument you quote from a source you are adamant has no truth in it whatsoever. So you bring a source that you yourself claim has no validity as a counter argument to a historical fact that you acknowledge. ( I think it would be hard to argue otherwise)

You can't really have it both ways. You want to use the Torah which you don't believe is true, to prove that G-d was a bigger mass murderer than moa or stalin. So in order to counter his argument you put into the record information you believe is fictional and to underline your argument you want to apply YOUR logic to a belief system that doesn't contain your logic. You can't say its not true then say G-d's a mass murderer based on your own assessment of information you believe to be fictional. People who have actually studied Torah and know a little something about it, would argue something completely different about that information. The very source you use to make your claim testifies against you. Along comes you and says "well its not true and if it was true then I say he's a bigger murderer...really? That's an intellectually honest argument? In order to make your argument, you take the fictional and apply YOUR standard as a evidence of the outcome.

If you want to be intellectually honest, counter the moa/stalin argument with proof that what he says is not true, not with something you claim to be fiction and then apply meaning to it, that is not there.


" It's your logic, take it to its end."


No it's not his logic. It's YOUR logic. The very Torah you use to counter his argument, tells you that your argument is 100% wrong. So the source you use is either correct or it's not. It can't be both.

Do you guys actually get away with this stuff?

Silly.

NoLiveGod said...

"Sorry to disappoint you, but I don't really give any of you much thought."

I'm not disappointed. You have much in common with all sorts of believers in all religions who "know" the Truth™. You all seem to care only about protecting your ideology, not people.

"Well quite honestly I don't really expect you to look at it with an open mind as your above comment seems to indicate that what it says there means nothing to you either way. Which really leads me back to my original point that you say you want evidence, but it won't matter what that evidence is because even judging you from your own "intellectual honesty" argument, you are predisposed by the above quote to dismiss it out of hand regardless."

This is complete nonsense. You think having an "open mind" is supposed to mean "ready to believe"? You think that your way of reading the--ahem--evidence is the only way it can an should be done, that "God" is the only possible conclusion? What utter rubbish! But this is why I have repeatedly asked JP to break down his logic, and he is afraid to do it, just like you are afraid to provide a quote (in proper context) of your sources.

You and JP are just the same: all talk but no backup. When you are pressed to reveal the step-by-step processes that get your from premise A to conclusion Z, you duck and dodge and insult and get all self-righteous.

I know exactly why you won't work out your logic: because your logic stinks. Your whole logic is based on "If you already believe, the world seems to conform to the belief." It works for Judaism just as it does for fundamentalist Islam or wackaloon teabaggers.

How about you at least give me the courtesy of a web link to the material you would like me to read with "an open mind." Would you like to tell me in advance the conclusion I should reach with "an open mind"? I sincerely want to answer your question, and do a good job, so how about you give me a fair chance to do it?

"Let's address this with facts."

What is it with you guys and your lack of reading comprehension? If YOU believe the Torah is true (not me, but YOU), then God is the biggest mass murderer in history. If YOU believe Torah is true and that God is in control, then God governs people's actions--JP himself stipulates this--and wills the deaths of the mass murderers' victims. This is your theology and its implications. Face it.

Mao and Stalin killed for political reasons. Is this not true?

Now, they may have been atheists. If so, I think you need to show a direct link between atheism and their actions. Otherwise, we could just as well say "These two terrible mass murderers were vegetarians--vegetarianism permits mass murder!" or "These two terrible mass murderers were men--being male permits mass murder!" So, the burden on proof belongs to you to determine the cause-effect relationship.

Now, we all know that genocides and mass-murders can be caused by religion and religious factors. We have plenty of examples of this in history and recorded in the Bible. So is your point with Stalin/Mao a "pot...kettle" thing? If so, then fine. Atheism isn't recipe for utopia. I'm not claiming it is. I'm just saying it's more reasonable and more probably true than the one supreme being of the entire f-ing universe revealing himself to a stupefied desert warlord millennia ago.

NoLiveGod said...

"Sorry to disappoint you, but I don't really give any of you much thought."

I'm not disappointed or surprised, really. In your words, you are like the true believers of all True Religions™. You seem to care more about preserving your ideology and sense of self than people--and you see nothing wrong in this.

"Well quite honestly I don't really expect you to look at it with an open mind as your above comment seems to indicate that what it says there means nothing to you either way."

I am looking at things with an open mind, unless to you an open mind means "wanting to believe." Yes, I have no prior commitment to or investment in the Zohar. That's what intellectual honesty is, in part. It would not be honest for me to want to believe and then have the text "confirm" the thing I want. That's easy to do. Every religion does it.

But this is why people need to show their sources and reveal their logic, as I have repeatedly asked JP to do. He has refused.

You people are all talk but no backup. Whenever someone asks you to work out your logic step-by-step, you hem and haw and duck and dodge. We all know why: because your logic usually stinks. Your premises often make unwarranted assumptions and your conclusions rarely follow from the premises. Then you all talk about the mean atheists being close-minded, or depraved, or ignorant of the Bible. It's all defensive Hogwash. It you could really support your reasoning, you would have done it by now.

So, please give me a web link to go read your source. Or please give me a relevant quote in proper context.

Finally, the Stalin stuff. You people need to learn to read. If YOU--not me--take the Torah to be true, then God is a mass murderer. He is. That's an indisputable fact if you are a believer. God killed most everyone in the world and most all the land animals. As the person in charge of people's actions--this is ADMITTED by JP--he determines who gets killed and who gets saved, so he's responsible in part for the mass murders and genocides committed by others. This is YOUR logic, the implications of your beliefs. Please don't get mad at me for what you believe. If you want to think it's OK for God to kill indiscriminately, that's your business. Just don't ask me to regard your view as moral or sensible.

So if you want to cry Stalin and Mao, that's great. I suppose you're trying to make a "pot...kettle" argument because you also know that religion itself has historically been great force for murder and mayhem.

If you want to argue that atheism was a primary or secondary cause of the murders that Mao and Stalin committed/authorized, please show me the evidence. Otherwise, your argument has not more force than pointing out that Mao and Stalin were both vegetarians or both males. Show me the cause and effect. My sense of the matter is that these two killed for reasons of political power, not because "atheism made them do it."

jewish philosopher said...

Where didn't I cite sources?

NoLiveGod said...

"Where didn't I cite sources?"

You didn't reveal your logic. Instead you provided snarky non-answers.


I asked for you, o philosopher, to break down your specific reasoning--your premises and conclusions--here:

(1) Wednesday, July 07, 2010 1:21:00 PM
(2) Wednesday, July 07, 2010 2:58:00 PM
(3) Wednesday, July 07, 2010 3:13:00 PM [note: this is more a comment, not really a request]
(4) Wednesday, July 07, 2010 3:47:00 PM [My snark on your evasive tactics]
(5) Thursday, July 08, 2010 8:00:00 AM [note: mentions your unwillingness/inability to explain your reasoning]

Please don't worry yourself with the request. It's obvious you don't know how to answer. Besides, you're not obligated to answer every question, especially the ones that might distress you.

Have fun. I'm off to New Hampshire with the family.

Anonymous said...

NLG:

Murder is the illegal taking of life. Laws don't apply to G-d so it isn't illegal and it isn't murder.

If there is a strong correlation between mass murder, and atheism, and there is, then it is a pretty good chance that there is a causal connection as well.

And since religion was actively persecuted by the various atheist regimes, then spreading atheism was a motivating factor in a lot of the mass murders.

And if you succeed in yoru quest of making the world atheistic, we can expect to see a marked increase in mass murder. I find that a bit scary.

jewish philosopher said...

NLG, I'm terribly sorry, however I have cut you to pieces with your my razor sharp reasoning.

I think your basic problem is simply emotional immaturity. You cannot accept the concepts of commandments, punishment and discipline. Instead, you just rant about how it's impossible to imagine a God who could be so "cruel", therefore there is no God, therefore you are going to do whatever you want to do provided that it won't get you arrested and that's that.

onlyajew said...

"You people are all talk but no backup. Whenever someone asks you to work out your logic step-by-step, you hem and haw and duck and dodge."

Please explain how I refused to show logic--I showed you the source and where to look--do I need to walk to your home and teach it to you as well? I would have thought someone with your superior intellect would have been able to decipher things on your own...I apologize for giving you too much credit.

"We all know why: because your logic usually stinks."

Ah yes. I suppose when you compare it to--your book says this but its not true--here let me show you why I'm right and your wrong from your book...no no ignore the whys and the where's-- I'm right because my logic is superior. Now how can any one stand up to logic as solid as that?

"Your premises often make unwarranted assumptions and your conclusions rarely follow from the premises."

Please cite an example for me and from me to support this claim.

"It you could really support your reasoning, you would have done it by now."

Again please cite where I have not addressed the issues you have supposedly asked me to logically defend... Do you always do this? Accuse without substantive support for the accusation?

"You people need to learn to read If YOU--not me--take the Torah to be true, then God is a mass murderer.

Uh...no. Let me explain again so you can understand. If YOU want to bring evidence from MY source-a source which YOU don't acknowledge as true, then how can YOU attribute facts to it that ARE CONTRADICTED BY THE VERY EVIDENCE YOU SITE.

"That's an indisputable fact if you are a believer."

Just because you say so doesn't make it true. (you do have a habit of that) Logically, you cannot only take from the book that which you want to make your point while ignoring the underlying foundations of the very book you offer in evidence. To the believer it is far from an indisputable fact. Those who actually adhere to the book understand the consequences for both following and ignoring its precepts and understand the subsequent information that follows. Additionally, anyone who believes he can understand the Book on its own, has no idea what the book is talking about. The book itself address that very issue. YOU can apply YOUR logic to a book that contradicts YOUR logic and testifies against YOU just because YOU want to. However, actual argument does not work that way. You're gonna have to work a little harder.

"This is YOUR logic, the implications of your beliefs."

Again you want me to explain something that you reject out of hand. The fact that YOU reject the logic does not mean it is illogical or I have been unable to support it. My logic I was very clear about G-d is good and all He does is good. You reject that because you don't like that. I can't help you there. You reject an afterlife thereby rendering everything in the book to the here and now with nothing else. THAT is contrary to the evidence in the book. If you want to cite the book, even on MY behalf, please cite all of it--its meaning and foundational principles just like a believer and then we can say it is MY logic. To take just what YOU want from the book you consider fiction to prove MY logic, and then claim I must believe that, is fallacious and again, intellectually dishonest.


Now that you brought up the ducking of questions let's refer to a few I asked you way back that you chose to ignore-again...

Please explain to me when the Jews of the bible first celebrated Passover? When was the first year they did that? You obviously have a belief that the book was fabricated...about when did that happen?

So now on you table are three questions that you have ducked and dodged above that you now have the opportunity to answer---I dutifully await your response

onlyajew said...

"you seem to care more about preserving your ideology and sense of self than people--and you see nothing wrong in this."

You don't even know anything about me--how can you make a statement like that unsupported? Please show me what you use to draw that conclusion.

NoLiveGod said...

"Laws don't apply to G-d"

Sez who?

"I think your basic problem is simply emotional immaturity."

Yawn. Desktop psychology from JP. Ooh. I-am-devastated!

"I showed you the source and where to look--do I need to walk to your home and teach it to you as well?"

Yeah, you need to teach it--though do it here in the comments. That's your obligation. You're points are only self-evident to yourself. At least, provide a web link.

"If YOU want to bring evidence from MY source-a source which YOU don't acknowledge as true, then how can YOU attribute facts to it that ARE CONTRADICTED BY THE VERY EVIDENCE YOU SITE."

It's very simple logic. If the Bible is true then God killed people. This is a valid premise that doesn't require me to accept the validity of the Bible. That "if" is a powerful word. The question then becomes what defines a murderer. I asked Dave Smith about this already and he ran screaming to become an atheist.

"the ducking of questions let's refer to a few I asked you way back that you chose to ignore-again...

Please explain to me when the Jews of the bible first celebrated Passover? When was the first year they did that? You obviously have a belief that the book was fabricated...about when did that happen?"

Sorry, I didn't know I was ducking these questions. My direct response to all three is "I don't know." I believe the Bible was composed roughly according to the documentary hypothesis. In my opinion it's the best explanation encompassing the widest array of data from different fields.

Now please explain to me your evidence that any event in the Torah actually happened. Were the Jews slaves in Egypt? Was there an Adam and Eve? Was there a Flood? If so, PROVE it.

"You don't even know anything about me--how can you make a statement like that unsupported? Please show me what you use to draw that conclusion."

Sorry to ruffle your feathers. You said "I don't really give any of you much thought." I found this to be a typical statement from religious people who talk of a good god while themselves being heartless. I made a judgment on your words, and I carefully phrased my response to indicate this.

Anonymous said...

The Torah says "Lo Bashomayim Hi" so it doesn't apply to God.

And the Torah says that sometimes taking life is permitted, or even required, so G-d may be taking lives when it is permitted.

The Egyptian do mentions Haburi slaves, sounds like
Haivri. And the Ipuwar papyrus sounds a lot like the exodus story. And the Mycenae grave Stelle look exactyl like a child drawing of Krias Yam Suf.

And scientists have found unconsolidted ocean floor sediments all around the Indian Ocean, there is evidence of massive catastrophic flooding in several northwest states, the coastline of the Black Sea suddenly got bigger in historic times, geologists are having trouble explaining the origin of the Grand Canyon, there are thick flood deposits in Mesopotamia of about the right age, and hundreds of cultures all over the world have flood legends that closely parallel the Bible's so maybe there is some evidence for the Mabul.

NoLiveGod said...

"The Torah says 'Lo Bashomayim Hi'"...Big deal, the Torah says that it's authentic. I have an email chain letter that says if I don't forward it to 10 people my wishes won't come true. You'll need to do better than this.

"And the Torah says ...so G-d may be"...maybe, maybe, maybe. God may be fictional too.

"The Egyptian do mentions Haburi slaves"...this demonstrates your wishful thinking. JP loves wishful thinking.

"And scientists have found unconsolidted ocean floor sediments all around the Indian Ocean"...that's nice. I wonder if you know what it means to cite sources?

It's pretty clear that all of you are refuted and out-maneuvered. You simply cannot be intellectually honest with yourselves, it seems to me based on your responses here. I've tried to be direct and forthright with you, while you weave around and then--in a case such as with Anon., bring in hokey unrelated "facts" without sources.

Anonymous said...

NGL:

You sited the Torah as a source for saying that G-d is a mass murderer because he violates the Torah. I sited a Torah source that says that the Torah does not apply to G-d. Please explain how my logic is flawed.

You asked for evidence that there was an Egyptian slavery. I supplied it.

Anonymous said...

Here's a link:


http://discovermagazine.com/2007/nov/did-a-comet-cause-the-great-flood

Happy now?

NoLiveGod said...

"Please explain how my logic is flawed."

I don't think it is. I am simply observing that your source is not necessarily reliable or objective, which is something that I concede also in my citation of Torah. I think your case would be stronger with a neutral source explaining why the Torah does not and should not apply to God.

I asked for evidence that the Jews of the Hebrew Bible were slaves to Pharaoh and then escaped after a series of plagues. In other words, tell me about the independent accounts that support the Exodus story, specifically regarding Hebrew slavery in Egypt.

I find no sources whatsoever on "Haburi." Is this spelled correctly? Although Ipuwer has some parallels with the plague stuff of Exodus, there are also some conflicts. As "proof" of the Exodus, it's dubious at best--I should think we can both agree on this?

The Mycenaean swirls are very common in art of that period (1600 BCE) and often in a context that excludes its identification with water.

And so on... the target is slaves/slavery.

Anonymous said...

Here's the wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habiru


The Grave stellae are series of pictures that show a charioteer (pharoh?) chasing a man with a stick (Moshe?). They look exactly like a child's drawing of Krais Yam Suf.

NoLiveGod said...

Anon.,

Thanks for the link with the proper spelling. I see some scholars saying there's no connection whatsoever between the Habiru and "Hebrews." Others disagree.

Similar problems with the Grave stellae.

It does not seem like either of us has anything much better than speculation and foggy notions based on piecemeal data.

If we're talking about God generally, it sure would be nice to have something more recent and more incontrovertible than our quibbles over Hebrew slaves in Egypt.

NoLiveGod said...

"Happy now?"

Sure, I guess. It seems Bruce Masse has had trouble finding evidence for his hypothesis, however.

onlyajew said...

NLG

"It's very simple logic.

Ummm no it's not...

If the Bible is true then God killed people. This is a valid premise that doesn't require me to accept the validity of the Bible."

No but if you want to use it as proof you can't take it out of the context in which it was written/given with all it's meanings and then claim that your view is the correct one--sort of like saying I saw rabbi lipshitz the other night and then accuse me of cursing...actual logic and argument doesn't work that way--I mean it does when you aren't intellectually honest but for people who don't just talk about intellectual pursuit but actually chase it, it doesn't wash--so which is it? You just talk a good game but whittle under scrutiny or do you actually care about intellectual honesty?

"I asked Dave Smith about this already and he ran screaming to become an atheist."

I don't have a clue who dave smith is...snore

"Sorry, I didn't know I was ducking these questions."

Surely.

"My direct response to all three is "I don't know." I believe the Bible was composed roughly according to the documentary hypothesis."

Interestingly enough you demand archeological proof for every instance in Jewish history but here you accept on faith the word of wellhausen who offers NO PROOF ARCHEOLOGICALLY of any one of the documents (JPED) he sites not does he offer who he believes is the redactor. (Ezra?--laughable) I find it interesting that you yell and scream about all that hasn't been proven from 3500 years ago, but with all his great protestations, wellhausen of a redactor who supposedly was able to get all these different peoples into accepting this bible with no proof of dissent, (from jews no less) any meeting that discussed the formulation of this, no letters, no agreements, no independent sources who witnessed or acknowledged its redaction--just an acceptance of the premise which offers no proof of its validity based on the same standards you REQUIRE and bellyache about for events found in the Torah. I would suggest the double standard you apply is once again quite intellectually dishonest. How can you be so naive'? So gullible?

"In my opinion"

uh huh

" it's the best explanation encompassing the widest array of data from different fields."

With scant evidence at best.

onlyajew said...

"Now please explain to me your evidence that any event in the Torah actually happened. Were the Jews slaves in Egypt? Was there an Adam and Eve? Was there a Flood? If so, PROVE it."

Were you alive in 1776? Can you prove that Jefferson wrote the declaration of independence? Are you going to rely on the words of the people who it is assumed were there, but we have no actual prove of their existence in Philadelphia? Even if they say they were there isn't that a circular argument?

You know how I know they were there? Because we as a Nation have celebrated our independence every single year for that day forward as the anniversary of our freedom- in 1000 years from now, will we need to show evidence that we actually declared our freedom in 1776? and if we do and some pseudo intellectual demands proof that it actually happened---all we can offer is the supposed document in question, our own history books, the tradition that was passed down from generation to generation plus volumes upon volumes of work on the subject and in all his bombastic glory our pseudo intellectual will cry the proof is shaky at best as other historians and academics disagree with its validity and tops that statement off with the pompous "I think we can both agree on that" as if his belief of his superior intellectualism makes his statements so just by the power of him being him.... with all that being said, just because he disagrees and ignores evidence that he calls questionable, doesn't mean we didn't declare our freedom on July 4, 1776 all his protestations notwithstanding.

What evidence do you have that the holocaust happened? In 200 years do you think it will be believed? "they have pictures" Photoshop...They have movies...the jews run hollywood....but what we also have is yom Hashoah as a commemoration and testimony that this event took place and we have celebrated it every year since. To that end, we have celebrated as a people passover for some 3500 years without interruption--even in the time of Ezra. My mezzuza testifies to it, my teffilin, the shema I recite PROUDLY three times a day just as my ancestors have done since the event occurred. You suggest this is not so. Please explain then when WE as a people started to celebrate passover and did we wear teffilin first? Did we fulfill the mitzvah of mezzuzah before we celebrated passover? Please according to you----and "I don't know" is not a sufficient answer in that WE DO CELEBRATE IT so it is not a fact in question even according to you..so when did we start to do all these things?

Sorry to ruffle your feathers.

Laughable--you did no such thing--you made an unsupported claim--as you seem to do a lot--and I just wanted evidence (the same type you bellyache for) of that which of course you failed to deliver on. So please cite.

"You said "I don't really give any of you much thought." I found this to be a typical statement from religious people who talk of a good god while themselves being heartless."

You find the fact that I don't think about atheists heartless? Let me ask you. How often do you think about the aztecs? How about Wisconsin football? What about the plight of the aborigines? Not much? And here I thought you deep thinking intellectuals were weighted down by all the world's problems. How cruel and heartless you are...

"I made a judgment on your words, and I carefully phrased my response to indicate this."

Read it I poorly phrased my response.

NoLiveGod said...

Onlyajew,

The DH has come a long way since Wellhausen. There are about 7 main lines of evidence upon which the current hypothesis is built. See Richard Friedman's work for an explanation of the evidence and how it plays out in the hypothesized architecture of the Torah.

Now, Whybray thought that the evidence for the DH was lacking and proposed an alternative. I am unaware of any non-theological arguments made for Mosaic and/or divine origin of the Torah. But I am not an expert by any stretch in this area, so feel free to enlighten me.

When you respond to my question with "Were you alive in 1776?" then you are evading me. If you don't know the answer, just say it. Then tell me what we do know.

Anonymous said...

I just finished "Who Really Wrote the Bible" by Eyal Rav-Noy and Gil Weinreich. They demonstrate how the suppossedly different documents use the same terminology as often as they use different terminology, and that there are very real reasons for the differences that don't support multiple authors, and the parshios and the seforim have a complex structure that would be not be possible with multiple authors.

And the only time the documentary hypothesis methodology was actually tested was the Amber Witch hoax, which showed the hole thing to be a crock.

Anonymous said...

Here's a computerize statistical analysis of the DH:


http://acl.ldc.upenn.edu/J/J86/J86-4006.pdf

It does not support multiple authors. And its all scientific and stuff.

onlyajew said...

NLG,

"See Richard Friedman's work for an explanation of the evidence and how it plays out in the hypothesized architecture of the Torah."

I'll accept any link to archeological evidence from friedman-the same type of evidence you ask the bible thumpers to PROVE to you. If that is your standard then let's apply it to DH--interestingly enough like Evolutionary theory, DH seems to change with the wind but none of these "scholars" who have shaped your world view has ever produced evidence of J E D P R or whatever else they will try. Surely being that we have documenst that go as far back as BCE, someone in this great work of factual study has come up with one of these documents...can I see J? Maybe E? How about P show me P.....? any link will do please...

They act as if they were the first people to ever ask these questions on Torah ignoring of course 3000 years of scholarship on exactly this very issue by people who actually understand and studied Torah all day long. I am puzzled why you--as intellectually honest as you claim to be--- require physical archeological evidence of Torah--for which there is plenty--and require only theory from DH...hmmm wonder why?

"Now, Whybray thought that the evidence for the DH was lacking and proposed an alternative."

So did Moses

"I am unaware of any non-theological arguments made for Mosaic and/or divine origin of the Torah. But I am not an expert by any stretch in this area, so feel free to enlighten me."

Are you claiming by your rejection of Torah that you are an expert in Torah and it is through that paradigm that you freely reject It? Explain please why a non theologian would make an argument in support of Torah? That's nonsensical but unfortunately not a surprising claim from you. The entire DH movement was started by wellhausens own anti semitic views and for Jews to now espouse his ridiculous unsubstantiated claims must make him turn over in his grave laughing.

see next post....

onlyajew said...

"When you respond to my question with "Were you alive in 1776?" then you are evading me. If you don't know the answer, just say it. Then tell me what we do know."

Can you not read? I answered the question without delay. But I will copy and paste it again as I see actual logic and reasoning escapes even the intellectuals--the question is why do you yet again fail to respond to my actual question? Perhaps I struck a nerve? Now see if you can read the entire thing this time...good luck and let's try not to duck the question until wikipedia helps you out again?

Now follow the entire thing okay?

Were you alive in 1776? Can you prove that Jefferson wrote the declaration of independence? Are you going to rely on the words of the people who it is assumed were there, but we have no actual prove of their existence in Philadelphia? Even if they say they were there isn't that a circular argument?

You know how I know they were there? Because we as a Nation have celebrated our independence every single year for that day forward as the anniversary of our freedom- in 1000 years from now, will we need to show evidence that we actually declared our freedom in 1776? and if we do and some pseudo intellectual demands proof that it actually happened---all we can offer is the supposed document in question, our own history books, the tradition that was passed down from generation to generation plus volumes upon volumes of work on the subject and in all his bombastic glory our pseudo intellectual will cry the proof is shaky at best as other historians and academics disagree with its validity and tops that statement off with the pompous "I think we can both agree on that" as if his belief of his superior intellectualism makes his statements so just by the power of him being him.... with all that being said, just because he disagrees and ignores evidence that he calls questionable, doesn't mean we didn't declare our freedom on July 4, 1776 all his protestations notwithstanding.

What evidence do you have that the holocaust happened? In 200 years do you think it will be believed? "they have pictures" Photoshop...They have movies...the jews run hollywood....but what we also have is yom Hashoah as a commemoration and testimony that this event took place and we have celebrated it every year since.

LOOK DOWN HERE!!!!!

To that end, we have celebrated as a people passover for some 3500 years without interruption--even in the time of Ezra. My mezzuza testifies to it, my teffilin, the shema I recite PROUDLY three times a day just as my ancestors have done since the event occurred. You suggest this is not so. Please explain then when WE as a people started to celebrate passover and did we wear teffilin first? Did we fulfill the mitzvah of mezzuzah before we celebrated passover? Please according to you----and "I don't know" is not a sufficient answer in that WE DO CELEBRATE IT so it is not a fact in question even according to you..so when did we start to do all these things?

onlyajew said...

NLG,

I did however have a question on DH that has always bothered me. When people point to writing styles of the Torah, who are they comparing that style to? A single human author?

Do you know what a Divinely book would actually look like? How can you compare a book written by the Infinite and compare it to a Human? Who has the requisite knowledge to say what the Divine's Book looks like or should look like? You? Hardly... Friedman? Wellhausen? I 100% agree with you that it is impossible for the Torah to have been written by one human author.

Which author would list the foibles of their patriarchs and ancestors to their very emotional essence? All their warts and humanness exposed? Please explain why would any people make up such things about Abraham, Issac and Jacob...about the stiff necked people..?

Can you also explain to me why the authors would write such a book or as you say such an evil wicked book? Why would the redactor not have censored all of it...why would he warn against lying and deceit and then do that very thing to the people?

I await your responses....

NoLiveGod said...

Onlyajew,

True enough, I ask for archaeological evidence, if it's available. If it's not, it is good to know that, too. There are other kinds of evidence also: independent reports, linguistic data, geological studies.

Let's calm down the debate a bit. Mainly I am asking "Is there independent evidence?" If so, what is it? This is a fair question, is it not?

So you give me these three posts with lots of questions. Do me a favor, just list the specific questions in a single post and I'll try to answer.

It seems that your answer to my request for evidence of biblical validity was to claim an uninterrupted chain of celebrating Passover from the biblical Exodus down to present day. Do I have this correct as to what you are asserting? I do want to get this correct.

You make a specific claim: "we have celebrated as a people passover for some 3500 years without interruption--even in the time of Ezra. My mezzuza testifies to it, my teffilin, the shema I recite PROUDLY three times a day just as my ancestors have done since the event occurred. You suggest this is not so."

My question is very simple: How exactly do you know "we" have celebrated Passover "some 3500 years without interruption"? What is the basis for this claim? You may be entirely correct, or you may not be. But should I simply accept your claim as true only because you tell me it's true? Is that what you want?

And if the claim is indeed true (or probably true), does that tell me that the entire Exodus story is accurate as to what actually happened?

Am I allowed to ask these questions and to desire satisfactory answers without having to posit a comprehensive alternative theory?

You ask a number of questions, and I am honestly not sure which ones to answer. Perhaps you can help me out with a simple list of them in one post.

But I have the same question as you: "Do you know what a Divinely book would actually look like? How can you compare a book written by the Infinite and compare it to a Human?"

I don't have any litmus test that separates human text from divine text. Do you? If we cannot meaningfully distinguish the human from the divine, then should we consider the Torah ALL divine? Is that the reasonable thing to do? Should we consider none of it to be divine? How do we venerate a text and grant it a supreme authoritativeness in our lives if we really don't know what it is?

To me, the most outstanding feature of the text is its historical veneration. At some point in its history--I don't know when--it went from a book to the Bible. It became understood as containing information beyond the literal level of the text, meaning that needed to be explained and elaborated and commented upon. It became the pre-text for cultural status and the engine for communal wisdom. This is all very interesting, but as far as I can tell, we have only darkness regarding the historical nature of the events related in books such as Exodus.

onlyajew said...

I will answer you but it will have to take the form of a few posts as these posts are limited to 4096 and as you see I can be a tad verbose, but only b/c I want to be as clear as I can...and b/c I am a tad verbose.

"True enough, I ask for archaeological evidence, if it's available. If it's not, it is good to know that, too. There are other kinds of evidence also: independent reports, linguistic data, geological studies."

So let us agree on this one thing--there is and has never been any such archeological evidence to prove DH theory. That being said, everything after that is conjecture at best. We will disagree as to why the Torah is written the way it is and I at least can not claim to have any insight to the Creator's ways other than this. When I am sick I go to the doctor. When I have issues with my teeth, the dentist. My finances-my accountant. To understand Torah I do not admittedly rely on as much modern scholarship as I have my own issues with current rabbinical leadership and the evolution of the community. Nevertheless, I rely on those who have dedicated their lives to knowing The Divine. Not a few years, but their entire lives in scholarship just to be closer and to understand the ways of the Creator. Do I ascribe to them Deification? No. am I humbled by the vast amount of knowledge they have that I unfortunately will never acquire? Most definitely. I look to Nachmonidies, Maimonidies, Rabbi shimon bar yochai, Rabbi Akiva etc. I KNOW I know nothing when I compare, even with all our advanced information, my knowledge to theirs. More than that there was no reason for them to act as "apologists" for Torah as the only ones who were asking these questions on Torah thousands of years before wellhausen were the rabbis themselves which is what the talmud is all about in the first place.

"Let's calm down the debate a bit."

I hope you see I have attempted to do so.

"Mainly I am asking "Is there independent evidence?" If so, what is it? This is a fair question, is it not?"

Very fair question. NLG I would suggest that all of Torah scholarship is based on asking questions. As for the question of independent sources let me first go back to one thing and offer an explanation that is possible. Not as the definitive truth, but clearly as possible in the instance I am about to relay as DH. The famous Hamarabi (?) code and its similarity to Parshat Mishpatim. Critics claim this is clear evidence of the Torah copying another set of laws. These same scholars set the time frame they guess at about the time of abraham in Mesopotamia. I accept for the purpose of this discussion, that premise. Why does it not trouble me as a G-d fearing Jew? Good question. My answer however relies on Jewish tradition passed on down from the ages well before biblical criticism was an idea in the general world. Tradition tells us that the Non Jewish world is responsible for the 7 nohadite laws in their service of G-d. Rashi, during the story of Jacob and his brother, comments that when the Torah says his mother inquired of Hashem, she did so at the yeshiva of shem v'aiver. Shem being the son of Noah. What did they study at that Yeshiva if there was no Torah yet and where tradition tells us Jacob studied for years as he got older? I have wondered that for a long time and although I was comfortable with the answer, I think it is possible--possible and to me very possible that the hamarabi code--in Mesopotamia where Abrham lived--was exactly the sort of things that were studied in the School of Shem. The Noahidite laws included a system of justice....I offer that to you as a possibility...

To be continued in the next post...

onlyajew said...

NLG,

"Mainly I am asking "Is there independent evidence?" If so, what is it? This is a fair question, is it not?"

Again yes it is fair. I would offer a few answers not the least of which the current above ground dig going on in Israel from dirt the arabs moved, has found a wealth of things from the city of David and subsequently solomon. Additionally, the talmud relays in discussion of Abraham's family name and offers the name Korbano or something like that--I will do my best to source this for you. Within the last 15 years or so, there were recent findings in Iraq that referred to a royal family of the same name that lived around the time of Abraham. I will try and get you the sources for these--I won't leave you hanging. But on top of that I would suggest to you that the Torah and Tenach offer up its own "predictions"/prophesies as evidence to support the Torah's validity. I understand the issues you have that we've discussed in this post. I will offer this one b/c I think it is way out there and has in truth been spot on for two millennia. The prophets warned the Jews that if they did not heed their words, that they would be banished from the land. You've heard that before. But what they also say is this. The LAND which was known as the fertile crescent, will yield vegetation so long as the people are there. However when the people are not there, the land will be empty and worthless...grow no vegetation for anyone else and ultimately turn to waste. The Romans conquered the fertile crescent and attempted to populate the land but to no avail as it did not provide sustenance. Same with every other conquering army that expelled the Jews. History confirms that in the middle ages the land was barren and as recently as 100 years ago, Twain commented exactly that. "Jerusalem sits in sackcloth and ashes". Yet on their return, Israel has been an agricultural miracle inventing new ways to make the dessert bloom and the evidence proves itself everyday. As far as when the land is void of the jews---see gaza and its inability to reproduce the previous success of Gush Katif. This is about the land...how could the authors of this possibly know what was going to happen over the next 2000 years and then have the nads to affix its harvest directly to the jewish people?

I will come back to this point later as I have to get some sleep. Before I go however, I want to confirm this for you.

"It seems that your answer to my request for evidence of biblical validity was to claim an uninterrupted chain of celebrating Passover from the biblical Exodus down to present day. Do I have this correct as to what you are asserting? I do want to get this correct."

Yes that is but one piece of evidence. The testimony of an entire people who since they were STILL in the land of Egypt, celebrated passover and have continued to do so for 3500 years. Questions to answer--if not, then what year did we start? Even the most uninformed Jew can tell you he has been at a seder on passover. How did and when that happen?

onlyajew said...

"My question is very simple: How exactly do you know "we" have celebrated Passover "some 3500 years without interruption"? ?

True I said that.

What is the basis for this claim?

"First Torah, subsequently, the volumes of commentary from BCE on the passover offerings that were brought to the temple. I don't think you debate the existence of the temple as it has plenty of overriding evidence of its existence even now on Titus arc? We have information on how the process was done by whom and when. Then, we have the very testimony of the celebration itself that we do now. We can trace that back to BCE as well. Do you suggest otherwise? And if we can go back that far, is it not fair to assume that the Jews before them taught those Jews and those before them etc? Judaism is about the Exodus from Egypt. Without the Exodus we have nothing. When the Torah speaks of Revelation and the giving of the law, it does not say "I am the Lord your G-d who created the heaven and the earth." Why not? Instead it says "I am the Lord your G-d who took you out of Egypt..."

You may be entirely correct, or you may not be. But should I simply accept your claim as true only because you tell me it's true? Is that what you want?"

No it is not what I want. I think you should attempt to find the answer on your own instead of relying on others. When did we celebrate passover the first time? Clearly we celebrate it now. When did we do it first. Don't take my word for it. Research it,. Not just from Friedman or wellhasuen who I dont think even address it, but from Jewish and non jewish sources.


I will try and finish in the morning--my eyes are tired and the wife awaits!

onlyajew said...

"And if the claim is indeed true (or probably true), does that tell me that the entire Exodus story is accurate as to what actually happened?"

That is my claim yes. I have no reason to believe that a people who would have been witness to the event, would have celebrated and perpetuated through the generations facts that of course were totally fabricated by celebrating the anniversary commemorating the event each and every year. I think this gets to the heart of Wellhausen's motivation.

Let's take his premise that the Torah is fabricated. If you believe that to be so, then you would have to believe that the people who perpetrated this fraud, did so for what reason? Why would they enslave their future generations to a meaningless life of servitude to a deity that did not exist? More than that--let's assume like Friedman that Ezra is the redactor. Ezra in this instance, would go from saving the Jewish people, to enslaving them. Furthermore, history tells us that the Jews of Babylon were steadfast in their adherence to the Torah testified to by the entire work of rebbi--in the Mishnah and subsequently the Talmud..where does Ezra redacting the Torah fit into this equation? It's just not plausible. Wellhausen wanted to undermine the Jews which was sport in Germany back then His writings are full of anti-semetism following in the footsteps of the Protestant church. What better way to do it then to invent an unprovable theory that cuts the legs out from under them?

"Am I allowed to ask these questions and to desire satisfactory answers without having to posit a comprehensive alternative theory?"

I don't see why not if you view them consistent and fairly. In other words you cannot demand of the Jews physical archeological proof of the existence of any thing on record and then accept theory as absolute fact with no proof brought in that same vein. It must be apples to apples not apples to cars.

You ask a number of questions, and I am honestly not sure which ones to answer. Perhaps you can help me out with a simple list of them in one post.

My next post.

"But I have the same question as you: "Do you know what a Divinely book would actually look like? "

I do-yes-I study it every day.

"How can you compare a book written by the Infinite and compare it to a Human?""

I have never tried to--to me it seems ridiculous.

"I don't have any litmus test that separates human text from divine text. Do you?"

No-I don't see any need

"If we cannot meaningfully distinguish the human from the divine, then should we consider the Torah ALL divine? "

But what if we can? Are you willing to investigate that?

"How do we venerate a text and grant it a supreme authoritativeness in our lives if we really don't know what it is?"

We study it in depth to find out what it is and what it expects from us. To not study it and then pass judgement on it, is most definitely intellectually dishonest.

"At some point in its history--I don't know when--it went from a book to the Bible."

When was it ever a history book? The Torah has nothing to do with history other than to teach us from it. Who ever made the claim that Torah is a history book?

"It became understood as containing information beyond the literal level of the text, meaning that needed to be explained and elaborated and commented upon."

When was it not?

"but as far as I can tell, we have only darkness regarding the historical nature of the events related in books such as Exodus."

Again, when did the Jews ever make the claim that Torah is a book of history?

NoLiveGod said...

I think we are getting somewhere. I can concede that I am not aware of any specific archaeological evidence that bears upon the DH one way or the other. However, I disagree that in the absence of such evidence we are left to “conjecture at best,” if by this you mean conjecture without other sorts of data to back it up. For the DH, evidence of the composite character of the Bible includes inconsistencies, repetitions/doublets, and stylistic differences. Now, please don’t take a term like “inconsistency” to mean something like “flaw.” I think we can agree that there are such things than can neutrally be called “inconsistencies.” Early biblical commentators and sages recognized them and felt they deserved discussion and elaboration, after all.

But my point is merely that we can base conjectures on information, and the DH is such a conjecture. However, the other part of the point is that it’s fair to ask for archaeological evidence where we would expect it. I would not necessarily expect it for the DH, but I might for Egypt in the time of Hebrew slavery and for other events in the book of Exodus. I am not saying that absence of such evidence is evidence of absence, of course.

Also, I am not knocking Rashi, Maimonides or other sages because they are theists or because they are not modern. Their learning and inventiveness are indisputable. But I think we also want to consider approaches by learned people who are not invested in the religion, not assuming articles of faith, and who are aware of additional information that bears on the biblical texts.

Two final points. One, I feel that I have studied Torah and that my judgments, while always evolving subject to new information/approaches, are reasonable. Two, I have not made the specific claim that the Torah is a history book or that someone else has claimed this. I was talking about the history of the development of Torah. But I think it’s fair in fact to claim that Torah was first written and first read to be understood as relating actual history. My real point in all of this, however, was that the way you and I may understand the Torah now is not the same way it was understood 500 years ago, which is not the same way it was understood, 1500 years ago, which is not the same way it was understood 3200 years ago. I think that people’s ideas of what Torah “means” or “teaches” has changed in response to new cultural conditions, new knowledge of the world, and new evaluations of religion and religious life.

The larger point of all this is that it’s a very tenuous thing to stand on the Torah and proclaim the abject evil of atheists, as JP is wont to do. It’s one matter to say, “Yeah, I believe and I have good reasons for it.” It’s a different matter to assert that full-fledged orthodox Jewish belief is the only logical conclusion—not that you have claimed this—and that “apostates” should be abandoned and hated.

Anonymous said...

Where does the Torah say "Lo Bashomayim Hi"?

Anonymous said...

can I see J? Maybe E? How about P show me P.....? any link will do please...


Someone actually has a book on this. "The Bible With Sources Revealed"

onlyajew said...

@Anon please forward me the link

@NLG I will hopefully be able to respond in the morning-I hope

Anonymous said...

Link, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Elliott_Friedman

onlyajew said...

@Anon--Do me a favor please don't wikipedia me for evidence and secondarily Documentary archeological evidence is what I am asking for not opinions on a website

NLG

”Early biblical commentators and sages recognized them and felt they deserved discussion and elaboration, after all."

Yes they did but for congruency not apologetics. Interestingly enough, most "pshotim" actually fill the bill and are deep thought out, highly inquisitive, responsa that has stood up to scrutiny even now.


"But my point is merely that we can base conjectures on information, and the DH is such a conjecture."

I do think that Wellhausen's conjectures were dealing from incomplete information and stated it as fact. Example--he claimed the names Abraham and Sarai were not common names or that camels were not domesticated, or there was no trade back then. He has been archeologically proven wrong on all three accounts. So not only does he not have evidence to support J E P etc, but he was dead wrong about the Hities and the above claims as well.

"However, the other part of the point is that it’s fair to ask for archaeological evidence where we would expect it. I would not necessarily expect it for the DH,"

How can you actually claim this though? DH is not only traced back supposedly to Ezra the redactor but with all the scrolls that have been found, there are ZERO documents supporting not only JEPDR but even the hint of an R. Theoretically we are talking about at least 1000 later when writings were much more pervasive. Hasn't it at least bothered you that there hasn't been even a scent of physical evidence?

I have a question I thought of this morning for you and this would sort of be an imperative one to answer as it is right at the heart of the above question you asked. I don't think it is up for debate-or ever has been but you can correct me if I am wrong--that the Meorat hamachpaylah is the resting place for Sara, Abraham etc. If that is not archeological evidence enough, isn't Rachel's tomb also evidence that she existed?

I did wonder also how you felt about the Septuagint
and the claim by the greeks that it is the translation of the hebrews "ancient religious document"? so what is that about 250ce?

"but I might for Egypt in the time of Hebrew slavery and for other events in the book of Exodus."

The jews entered Israel around 1270 and about 100 years after we have a Pharaoh called Merneptah mention that he fought a war against the nation of Israel (already called the nation of Israel back then) in the land of cannan. So all the way back then, just after revelation there is mention of the people of Israel. Here I will rely on a scholar who knows something about this:

An explanation offered by Michael G. Hasel, director of the Institute of Archaeology at Southern Adventist University, is that Israel was already a well established political force in Canaan in the late 13th century BCE:

"Israel functioned as an agriculturally based or sedentary socioethnic entity in the late 13th century BCE one that is significant enough to be included in the military campaign against political powers in Canaan. While the Merneptah stela does not give any indication of the actual social structure of the people of Israel, it does indicate that Israel was a significant socioethnic entity that needed to be reckoned with."

So I do not think there is any doubt that the Nation of Israel existed.

TBC in the next post

onlyajew said...

"But I think we also want to consider approaches by learned people who are not invested in the religion, not assuming articles of faith, and who are aware of additional information that bears on the biblical texts."

I understand where you are coming from so let me ask you if looked at what Rabbi Mordechai Breuer had to say on the subject of DH and breaking down instead of JEPD by different classification where E and J are used not by different authors but within different classifications quite beautifully by the same author in a most brilliant way and that structure was passed on to tenach.

I say that simply because of this. We have two sides of an argument. One side offers tradition and history as its background and the other offers theory. I usually fall on the side of tradition and history because it is 99 out of 100 proven in time to be more reliable than theory. Why did you choose to side with theory instead of tradition and history?

"the way you and I may understand the Torah now is not the same way it was understood 500 years ago, which is not the same way it was understood, 1500 years ago, which is not the same way it was understood 3200 years ago."

I'm not sure at least from my perspective how you say that being that I use Rashi in most everything I learn. Plus if anyone studies Talmud, they would be learning the same way as we had some 2000 years ago with the same Pshat, processes etc. Maybe I am missing something but I dont see that ...

“Yeah, I believe and I have good reasons for it.”

This is my stance. So let us continue from there....

Anonymous said...

Other people have collected their holy books. But they did not do this strange sort of redaction that involved cutting and pasting and rearrainging until the works are not recognizable. The books of the New Testimate and the Suras of the Koran ust compiled into a book without this strange sort if interleaving. This violates the pattern.

onlyajew said...

@anon: Making sense would be key here....

Anonymous said...

onlyajew:

Is your post addressed to my 7/16 5:03 PM post?

My point is that when people compile their holy books, they don't interleave them the way the supposed redactor of the Torah did with the source documents. The DH does not follow the pattern. Its not what people do. It's another problem for the DH.

NoLiveGod said...

Onlyajew,

"I do think that Wellhausen's conjectures were dealing from incomplete information and stated it as fact."

Perhaps, but as I said we're a long way from Wellhausen even though some of the defining characteristics of the DH remain the same. Scholars make conjectures, sometimes strongly worded ones, but every scholar understands that our picture of the past is subject to revision when new information comes in.

I also note with a bit of irony your objection to a conjecture stated as fact when just a short while ago you were very confident about your own morality: "I am very clear between what is right and what is wrong--no grey needed for me so I can say conviction that what is good is good and what is bad is good and I do not need to rationalize things away" (8 July, 9:24 AM).

"I have a question I thought of this morning for you and this would sort of be an imperative one to answer as it is right at the heart of the above question you asked. I don't think it is up for debate-or ever has been but you can correct me if I am wrong--that the Meorat hamachpaylah is the resting place for Sara, Abraham etc. If that is not archeological evidence enough, isn't Rachel's tomb also evidence that she existed?"

Has the Cave of Machpelah been examined to see if there are remains in there, if the contents of the cave match the claims made about it in the Bible and historically? As far as I know there still remains NO DIRECT EVIDENCE that the Israelite matriarchs and patriarchs existed.

If there was a real warlord named Abraham with a wife named Sarah, does this mean the Bible is all true and zero invention? That a nation of Israel existed--has existed--for a long, long time is indisputable.

I am not, as you claim, siding with "theory." I'm siding with evidence. The DH is not a theory but a conjecture that deals with (1) the Hebrew language of different periods in the Torah, (2) the use and quantity of terms in the sources, (3) consistent content (such as the revelation of God's name, (4) the narrative flow of each source, (5) the connection between parts of the Torah and other parts of the Bible, (6) the relationships of the sources to each other and to history, and (7) the convergence of the different lines of evidence.

One final point: The Epic of Gilgamesh was interleaved the way the Bible was. The post by Anonymous on 18 July, 2:02 PM is bunk.

Anonymous said...

As far as I can tell, theer were different version of the Epic of Gilgamesh written over centuries. There were changes. But I haven't seen any mention of a strange interleaving of source documents as per the DH. Maybe you could provide a source.

NoLiveGod said...

"Theer were different version of the Epic of Gilgamesh written over centuries."

This is essentially the Documentary Hypothesis, which postulates that the different sources of JEPD were compiled and woven together over 500 years or so, from 922 BCE to 400 BCE.

A useful link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_of_Gilgamesh

onlyajew said...

This is essentially the Documentary Hypothesis, which postulates that the different sources of JEPD were compiled and woven together over 500 years or so, from 922 BCE to 400 BCE.


and yet no source material whatsoever to confirm this. NLG it is without a doubt a theory especially since there is no documentary evidence to confirm it.

I saw the Ibn Ezra this weekend and reviewed all his issues with "the 12" and after seeing comments like "this meaning is esoteric" Which all commentary refers to kabbalah, it's hard to make the argument--near impossible that he felt things were changed in Torah--especially since his writings and in them-the reverence with which he treats His Creator, it's more than a reach to make such a claim as spinoza did---especially since his own life testified against spinoza

Tisha b'av is here and in that spirit, I hope you have a reflective and easy day to'row

Anonymous said...

The Epic of Giglamesh was copied a number of times over the centuries. Teh different versions were nit then recomiled and redacted.

The DH says tha opposite happened. Different documents were interleaved in a strange way tho make the Torah.

NoLiveGod said...

Anon.

"Different documents were interleaved in a strange way tho make the Torah."

Your claim for the "strangeness" of the Torah composition is just bunk.

What about the Egyptian Book of the Dead? What about the NT Gospels? Or how about Beowulf, 10th c. CE -- two stories of the hero sewn together.

Weaving together stories is hardly a surprising phenomenon throughout history. There's plenty of information available.


Onlyajew,

"and yet no source material whatsoever to confirm this."

Who's talking about confirmation? I'm not. I'm just saying that the DH is an empirically-based conjecture.

My turn for questions to you: Are you claiming "confirmation" of anything? What's the empirical basis behind your attachment to "tradition"?

Anonymous said...

The Gospels of the New Testimate, like I mentioned above, where bound into one volume, without the DH style interleaving redaction. Beowulf is just two incidents in Beowulfs life, written in oen volume.

And the Amber Witch hoax demonstrated that the DH methodology is bunk.

NoLiveGod said...

No, the Gospels are redactions and interleaves of earlier episodes and sources. Boewulf shows the common practice of suturing together texts. And you haven't brought up the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

I fail to see exactly what your claim is about what's so unique about Torah. Besides, uniquesness is not a criterion affecting the quality of the DH.

Please clarify also what you say the "Amber Witch" hoax demonstrates, and how this relates specifically to Torah and DH.

Far be it for me to make an argument by consensus, but one might consider that virtually all scholars of the Hebrew Bible/Torah--the people who do primary research and study of the texts--agree that the DH is a legitimate hypothesis that makes reasonable claims which are not dispelled by apologetics.

Personally, I am not wedded to the DH. If you know of an alternative hypothesis that is supported equally well by the empirical data, please inform everyone.

Anonymous said...

The Amber Witch was a book written by a nineteenth century clergyman who claimed to have found a manuscript from the sixteenth century, then edited it. He challenged the proponents of the DH to find out which parts were originals, and which where redactions. They proceeded to do so using DH methodology. The problem was that the same person wrote the whole book.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't any scholarship that says that the Individual Gospels were redactions and compilations of others documents. The only question whether Mathew and Luke borrowed from Mark. But each gospel has one author. No strange interleaving of separate documents.

NoLiveGod said...

Anonymous,

I still don't see your point. The Amber Witch hoax had been revealed in the 1840s.

While DH ideas had been around for a long time, Wellhausen's work doesn't come out until 1876. And as I have said a few times, we have come a long way since Wellhausen.

You continue to press the point that the Torah's composition is "strange." I don't think it is, and I don't think our ideas of what's "strange" has much bearing on the empirical evidence I have listed a few times before.

Anonymous said...

The DH style methodology has been arond since the 1700's. It was first applid to the Iliad.

And what is strange is this interleaving of entire chapters, paragraphs, and individual passages. Why do that? And it does not follow the pattern that most people followed when compiling their holy books. they just bind them into one volume, without the interleaving.

And the empirical evidence yuo site is based on the text. There is no external corroboration. And the text itself says the Torah is from G-d. So the empirical evidence points toward a single author.

Also, statistical analysis of the text by computers does not support multiple authors.

NoLiveGod said...

"The DH style methodology has been arond since the 1700's. It was first applid to the Iliad."

Yes, I know. I made this point and responded to it already.

"And what is strange is this interleaving of entire chapters, paragraphs, and individual passages. Why do that?"

I would say interesting more than strange, but why quibble over semantics. However, I wonder about your "Why" question, which seems to me to be akin to the intentional fallacy. When we read a text, we cannot isolate the author's intended meaning. Even if we could, we need not assign that intended meaning with any special weight.

However, we know that the Bible appears to be interleaved. We are on very speculative ground to ask why it is so, but we are on firmer ground to ask how it came to be so. The DH presents a statement about how it happened and uses empirical data to support it.

Is it a definitive, unproblematic statement? No way. I'm not saying it is.

But I have asked before and I will ask again: What is the alternative hypothesis you are championing? You recognize this strange interleaving of the Torah, so what is the explanation for it in your hypothesis?

Anonymous said...

The Torah is not interleaved. That is the claim made by the proponents of the DH. The points they use as support for the claim of interleaving multiple texts can easily be addressed. See "Who Really Wrote the Bible." My point is that of the DH is true, then the redactor did something nobody in history did.

Anonymous said...

The Torah is not interleaved. Tjhe proponents of the DH claim that it is interleaved. The evidence they site from the text is easily dealt with, e.g. the different names of G-d are not different names. The Ado-nai is a name, El-him is a title. Obama is a name, President is a title.

NoLiveGod said...

"My point is that [i]f the DH is true, then the redactor did something nobody in history did."

Which would prove what? First, we're talking about texts that take many centuries to come to their final form in 400 BCE. Let the distance of the date 400 BCE sink in for a moment. Second, you mention 'redactor' and it's important to remember that we are not (AFAIK) talking about a single individual but about communal, collaborative re-working and shaping of the text(s). Third, it's bad logic to appeal to consequences: the truth of the DH--if all or some of it is true--has nothing to do with the number of other ancient and modern texts that you don't consider interleaved in just the right way.

It's funny, though: you seem to recognize that scholars do identify "interleaving" and see it as something needs explanation. What is your description of the phenomenon? What is happening that makes scholars erroneously see "interleaving"?

NoLiveGod said...

"The evidence they site from the text is easily dealt with, e.g. the different names of G-d are not different names. The Ado-nai is a name, El-him is a title. Obama is a name, President is a title."

This objection folds against two points. One, this little point about the names of God is just one item in 7 broad strands of evidence that I have listed previously. Two, explaining a name-versus-title distinction almost completely misses the point. It's not just that different names are used, but it's more "the different sources have a different idea of when the name of YHWH was first revealed to humans" (Friedman, _Bible with Sources Revealed_, p. 10ff).

Anonymous said...

All the points are addressed in the book I mentioned.

NoLiveGod said...

"All the points are addressed in the book I mentioned."

I'm sure they are. I'll have to read that book.