Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Age of Reason



A relatively small excerpt from Thomas Paine's "Age of Reason..." While I may not always agree with Paine, he makes many perfectly rational points that are sustained by simple, common reason and, thus, I find I agree with Paine a great deal.

...Each of those churches show certain books, which they call revelation, or the word of God. The Jews say, that their word of God was given by God to Moses, face to face; the Christians say, that their word of God came by divine inspiration: and the Turks say, that their word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from Heaven. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.

As it is necessary to affix right ideas to words, I will, before I proceed further into the subject, offer some other observations on the word revelation. Revelation, when applied to religion, means something communicated immediately from God to man. [emphasis, mine]

No one will deny or dispute the power of the Almighty to make such a communication, if he pleases. But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and consequently they are not obliged to believe it...

I'm not sure of any reason, rationally or biblically, to disagree with this common sense observation.

36 comments:

Marshall Art said...

Straw man argument, as you have never been informed that anyone has been the beneficiary of direct, divine revelation. That is, not in any on-line discussion in which I've seen you participate.

What you HAVE experienced is a number of people explaining why a position held is a direct result of Scriptural teaching. Good explanations for which you routinely fail to provide even a bad counter argument. Well...except for "Nyuh uh".

Dan Trabue said...

? What's a strawman argument? I have not said, nor has Paine in his famous essay, that anyone is claiming to have received direct, divine revelation. That's exactly Paine's point. You HAVE NOT had a divine revelation. You have the Bible which you interpret using your human reasoning.

But, as Paine notes, we are not obligated to cede to you the authority to tell us that you have got it right. Why would we?

I'm not sure what your point is, but it appears you are not understanding the words in Paine's essay.

Marshall Art said...

More likely you're not understanding me. But nonetheless, the final statement is especially curious:

"It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and consequently they are not obliged to believe it..."

If your wife was told by a friend that he took a fall and broke his arm, you would not be obliged to believe her. But as it was revealed to her and you regard her as trustworthy, why wouldn't you? So the question is, to whom was the revelation originally given? In one case, revelation has been given to Moses. Why wouldn't or shouldn't we believe him? Take any other notable character in Scripture who received revelation from God. Which one is a chronic liar and untrustworthy?

So, this all goes to the reliability of Scripture wherein we have recorded for us revelations from God. This notion of Paine's seems a good one for providing loopholes for use in disregarding that which is inconvenient. But it seems before one might choose to question any revelation recorded in Scripture, it is incumbent upon one to provide some sound reasoning why the revelation should not be regarded as revelation. Obliged to believe it? Maybe not. But obliged to give reason why one shouldn't? Absolutely.

Dan Trabue said...

But as it was revealed to her and you regard her as trustworthy, why wouldn't you?

I would. And if I could question her about it to clarify that I understood her correctly and she understood the first fella correctly, even more so.

So the question is, to whom was the revelation originally given? In one case, revelation has been given to Moses. Why wouldn't or shouldn't we believe him?

In this case, however, it's not a matter of not believing Moses. At all. It's a matter of believing the fella that, 4,000+ years later tells us that what Moses MEANT when he said X was A, B and C. We're saying that, if Moses was inspired, how do we know that the fella telling us what Moses meant or is rightly understanding Moses and his meaning? We are under no obligation to trust Mr Smith in 2015 is rightly understanding whether Moses was inspired and what he meant when he wrote what he wrote.

You see, the difference in your example of my wife and Moses is that I personally know my wife, I can personally ask her to clarify what she meant. On the other hand, no one can clarify if Moses wrote what is assigned to him or what he meant by it. See the difference?

Take any other notable character in Scripture who received revelation from God. Which one is a chronic liar and untrustworthy?

We're not doubting any of them, we are doubting you, Mr Smith, Billy Graham or anyone else who claims to be able to speak authoritatively as to Moses' intent. Do you see the difference?

Do you understand what Paine is saying? We are under no obligation, rationally speaking, to assume that you are rightly understanding who is and isn't inspired or your interpretation of that supposed inspired text.

this all goes to the reliability of Scripture wherein we have recorded for us revelations from God.

Maybe for Paine. For me, it goes to the reliability of those who'd presume to speak on God's behalf. I doubt they are half as accurate as they give themselves credit for. It has nothing to do with the reliability of scripture, but with our human nature.

But obliged to give reason why one shouldn't? Absolutely.

I can give plenty of reason why I am obliged to disregard human hunches about biblical texts and human theories about what God does and doesn't want. Beginning with moral problems with the claims and moving on to rational problems with the claim, the latter which, I believe, is the point of Paine's essay.

Look, I read the Bible and hold opinions about the meaning of the texts. Are you obliged to think that my interpretations are perfectly understood "words of God..."? I'm sure your answer is no. That's the same for me. We almost certainly agree with the general point Paine makes. We are NOT obliged to trust human claims about perfect understandings of what God does and doesn't want.

Marshall Art said...

"I would. And if I could question her about it to clarify that I understood her correctly and she understood the first fella correctly, even more so."

My hypothetical matched the limitations of Paine's comment. You don't get to change the goal posts to your satisfaction. Leaving it off as "I would" would have improved your integrity.

"It's a matter of believing the fella that, 4,000+ years later tells us that what Moses MEANT when he said X was A, B and C."

This would have been better said in response to my first comment, which you suggested was missing Paine's point. But thanks for validating the point of my response...that Paine was providing that license to dismiss what was revealed if inconvenient. What's more, the same judgement of credibility applies to those who are explaining what was revealed to Moses. On what basis can you question their integrity and the accuracy of their explanation? It isn't a matter of obligation to believe, but obligation to provide some legitimate and evidence based ("hard data" if you will) argument to reject those whose understanding you don't like.

"For me, it goes to the reliability of those who'd presume to speak on God's behalf. I doubt they are half as accurate as they give themselves credit for."

Yet, you've thus far been both unable and unwilling to provide the same level of "hard data" to justify questioning the accuracy of those with whom you disagree. Your doubts are based on your personal preference for what you want a given passage, verse or chapter to mean, rather than any real substantive reason for holding that position. This is where you obligation lies.

"I can give plenty of reason why I am obliged to disregard human hunches about biblical texts and human theories about what God does and doesn't want."

Yet you don't. What you regard as "moral problems" or "rational problems" are wholly subjective and also merely that which strokes your personal preferences. That is, you must provide "hard data" and a substantive explanation for what constitutes the immorality and irrationality of that which you oppose. You don't.

"Are you obliged to think that my interpretations are perfectly understood "words of God..."? I'm sure your answer is no."

My "no" answer is immediately supported by "hard data" that you reject due to the conflict that data and explanation has with your preferred position. What is missing is your own body of evidence and "hard data" that suggests you have the better understanding. Even a "hunch" requires a reason for its existence. As such, your positions never rise to that low level. I don't see why you even bother with Scripture, as nothing about it has authority with you if it conflicts with what you prefer. You're way to devoted to being the epitome of James 4:4.

Dan Trabue said...

that Paine was providing that license to dismiss what was revealed if inconvenient.

You don't understand. It has nothing to do with convenience. It has to do with reason and morality and if YOU can't make your case with your words, we have no obligation to believe that you are uniquely inspired to tell us what God wants. IF you want to presume to speak for God, the onus is on you to provide some hard data to support the rather unbelievable and quite frankly, delusional sounding claim.

You have ZERO hard data, Marshall for your grandiose claims/delusions. That is reality.

Marshall Art said...

"You have ZERO hard data..."

You keep saying this, but it's a bald-faced lie. Depending upon what you're asking, I've provided the appropriate "hard data". But more importantly, YOUR absurd positions fly in the face of thousands of years of tradition and understanding. As such, it is YOU who needs to provide "hard data" to support those absurd positions in order to give some reason why YOUR wildly different opinions, understandings and/or interpretations make more sense, have more validity, or should be given the time of day by anyone who sincerely seeks the truth. You can't simply fall back on your cowardly "that's my opinion and I've never said it was more" since an opinion needs some supporting evidence for it to be valid. Otherwise, it is not an opinion about what a given passage means. It's simply your injection of your personal biases and wishes about what you WANT it to mean.

I've more than made my case each and every time you've attempted to challenge my positions. You simply reject the case I've made with no true counter argument, or in too many cases, not even a counter interpretation that could possibly be more accurate.

And by the way, I don't need to be "uniquely inspired" to relate God's clearly revealed Will for us. I simply read that clearly revealed teaching and pass it on. Most of Scripture is not the least bit mysterious or difficult to fathom.

So, yeah. The problem isn't with my positions on what Scripture teaches. It's that what Scripture teaches is inconvenient for such as yourself and no "hard data" is sufficient for you to man up and accept reality. You prefer pleasing the world to pleasing God. But hey, anytime you feel you can muster the courage to provide your "hard data", then the debate can truly proceed.

Dan Trabue said...

YOUR absurd positions fly in the face of thousands of years of tradition and understanding.

Yes, opposition to slavery, support for equal rights for women, the ideals of human rights as we know it today and other ideals are in opposition to thousands of years of tradition. I don't care. I think those traditions are/were immoral and irrational and a blow against human liberty and religious liberty and basic decency so I will oppose those traditions and others that don't strike me as rational or moral.

I would hope you'd do the same.

As such, it is YOU who needs to provide "hard data" to support those absurd positions in order to give some reason why YOUR wildly different opinions, understandings and/or interpretations make more sense, have more validity, or should be given the time of day by anyone who sincerely seeks the truth.

Well, I have done so, Marshall. I oppose slavery because it is a violation of human rights and decency. I oppose the criminalization of homosexuality because it is a violation of human rights and decency. I support gay folk getting married because loving committed marriage relationships are a good (the best, in my opinion) place to express our sexuality and just a good way to live. I disagree with the notion of sola scriptura because I believe it is a rationally self-defeating argument.

Etc, etc. I've provided my reasoning for holding these positions repeatedly. You are free to disagree with my reasoning, but you can't say I have not done so, nor can you say I've done so for evil ideals (after all, supporting human rights, opposing oppression, etc, these are great moral ideals, even if you ultimately disagree with their application...)

I will ALWAYS oppose tradition when I think tradition is wrong. I can do no other.

And again, you provide no hard data for you hunches. You provide hunches and claim that they are hard data. But your mere insistence that you speak for God or that we should heed your "revelation" is not evidence that we should buy your hunches. We are not obliged to heed your claims to revelation or your claims to accurately interpret God's revelation to other people. You are obliged to make your case IF you want to claim to speak for God.

You consistently fail to do so. Empirically so.

Dan Trabue said...

You simply reject the case I've made with no true counter argument, or in too many cases, not even a counter interpretation that could possibly be more accurate.


Let me show you where you are entirely factually mistaken...

Marshall's argument:

I. I don't think that God thinks that gay guys or gals getting married is a good thing.
II. I hold this opinion in part because that's what my church has always believed - an appeal to tradition;
III. I also hold this opinion because, in my opinion, the handful of verses that seem to touch on some form of gay behavior are condemning of all gay behavior;
IV. The Bible doesn't directly say this and I have no hard data to say that I'm correct, but it's my hunch that it's the case;
V. Given those handful of verses, I add to that another handful of places where God/the Bible talk about marriages and, given that they never speak supportively (or negatively) of marriage between gay folk, and that strengthens the case for me, in my personal human opinion, that God does not approve of gay folk marrying;

Is that not a completely fair representation of your hunches on this matter? Your "data" or input that leads you to your human hunch, your unprovable opinion?

In response, Dan's argument is:

I. I think getting married is just as good an idea for gay folk as it is for straight folk, and for the same reasons;
II. Marriage is a safe, more healthy place to exercise one's sexuality; Married couples/families tend to make for stronger communities than places where there are no commitments to family;
III. Given that marriage - committing to a loved one to be faithful, supportive and loving - has good, moral groundings, it seems to me obvious that it is, all in all, a good and moral thing in and of itself and this is true, gay or straight;
IV. Given that it tends to be a good moral thing, I tend to think that it's reasonable that a good, moral God would support it and I have no reason to think otherwise;
V. I acknoweldge that many faith traditions hold the opinions that God wouldn't approve of it, but they do so, in my opinion, based on poor biblical reasoning - ie, they look at a very few verses that talk about some form of gay behavior and they extrapolate out that because those forms of gay behavior being condemned apparently by God in those few places and instances, that God must be opposed to all gay behavior, even in committed, loving marriage situations. The Bible does not say this, to be clear, it is an extrapolation out of an opinion people hold, not something that God has said or told them;

So, given no reasonable moral or biblical reason to think that God would oppose something as healthy and moral appearing as marriage relationships between consenting loving adults, I have no reason to give much credence to human hunches to the contrary.

Those ARE counter arguments, Marshall. Whether or not you think they are reasonable, they ARE counter arguments. In the real world, as a point of fact.

Marshall Art said...

Not much time here, and I'll be responding in greater detail later. But for now, one thing jumps out like a mugger from behind a dumpster (where trash like your position is deposited). You demand from me "hard data", yet expect me to consider what passes for your as "reasoning" in lieu of "hard data" from you. Typical. What you "think" isn't "hard data" by a long shot. All the verses and passages I cite ARE "hard data" for supporting the truth I defend regarding God's will for human sexuality. You "think" long-standing traditions are based on poor biblical reasoning, but offer no "hard data" defend this claim, nor for what you want to believe is a more accurate reflection of God's will.

You continue the world pleasing nonsense about "some form of 'gay' behavior", when the Bible speaks only of "gay" behavior, as opposed to any form, context or scenario in which in might take place. You can't even defend THAT satanic aberration. You simply assert without basis.

more...much more, later.

Dan Trabue said...

The difference, Marshall, is that I am clear in what I'm offering: I'm offering reasonable opinion, not facts. I'm not speaking for God what God hasn't said. I'm telling you what I believe is way more reasonable than your hunches and opinions and for reasons that I have made clear an abundance of times. Of course my opinions are not hard data, any more than your reasons are.

The difference is that I understand the difference and am upfront about it.

It doesn't matter how many times you repeat your extrapolations and hunches about what God might have meant, maybe, in your opinion. It remains an unsupported opinion, naught else.

There is nothing satanic about love, Marshall. Love is of God. If you have a problem with love, it's not from God that you have that problem.

Irony.

Dan Trabue said...

All the verses and passages I cite ARE "hard data" for supporting the truth I defend regarding God's will for human sexuality.

No, Marshall. They are not. They are lines from an ancient text that you put your spin on, telling us, based on YOUR interpretation of those ancient texts, what YOU THINK God's "will" is for human sexuality. That is ALL subjective opinion, start to stop. There is not one single word in all of your hunch that is anything BUT human opinion.

Repeating "but the Bible says..." won't ever make your hunches anything more than candy ass, evil, ugly, hateful and grade-school ignorant hunches and it won't ever make it a fact or "God said." It just won't.

Sorry to break it to you so brutally, but facts are hard things, Marshall. If I were factually mistaken, you could easily disprove me with actual facts. You can't. You just can't.

Marshall Art said...

"No, Marshall. They are not."

From this point on it is clear that you have successfully muddied the discussion. What exactly do you feel requires "hard data"? If it is a teaching of Scripture, then chapter and verse IS hard data. If it the meaning of said chapter and verse, then "hard data" comes from all manner of commentary regarding the original language, how it was perceived by those who regulated their behaviors by that original language (customs, practices and the like) as far as archaeology and scholastic study has ascertained. To date, you've provided nothing that contradicts any of this beyond your own subjective preferences. Thus, I've totally supported my positions. You've simply employed the childish "nyuh uh" defense, but no legitimate "hard data" of your own.

So from this point, we'll need to pick one or two positions of mine (actual positions, not imagined positions you need to believe I hold) in order to move this along properly and truthfully. As I said, at this point, you've muddied things up so expertly that I'm no longer sure where you believe I've failed to provide "hard data".

Dan Trabue said...

Hard data to support your hunch that two verses in the OT that say, "men shouldn't lie with men" mean that God is opposed to two guys marrying. Something that demonstrates with evidence that this is God's opinion and does so authoritatively. Not merely pointing to the text and a few others and saying, "Therefore, I think this indicates that God is opposed to guys marrying..."

Hard data. A sworn affidavit from God. Personal testimony directly from God. A letter from God to a friend where God states unequivocally that God is opposed to guys marrying.

Hard data. Not mere subjective and unproven opinions.

Go.

Marshall Art said...

"Hard data to support your hunch that two verses in the OT that say, "men shouldn't lie with men" mean that God is opposed to two guys marrying."

Well there ya go. More evidence that your comprehension skills are poor, as you once again see what you want to see. I've never said that those two verses mean that God opposes two homosexuals from marrying each other. I've said that those two verses are hard data for my position that God would and could not approve. Those verses mean that men should not lie with men as men typically lie with women. Those verses refer to the sinfulness of homosexual behavior. As such, since God does not approve of sinful behavior, He could not possibly approve of relationships that involve sinful behavior. See how this "hard data" and evidence thing works?

For YOU, you need to actually understand the arguments put forth. Then perhaps you will understand how, say, a verse of Scripture can be hard data to support a position. When you assert that I've said something I haven't said, and argue against it, you're pissing in the wind.

Now your response is that the two verses in question only speak of "some form" of homosexual behavior. What "hard data" can YOU provide to support that purely speculative and subjective personal preference? An opinion requires something to validate it as an actual possibility, even to one's self. You've provided nothing but your own desperate hope that the verses might mean that, if we only hold our breath and cross our fingers. Until you can provide ANYTHING, to pretend it means more than simply a prohibition against a particular behavior...homosexual relations...you are inserting meaning that the text itself does not and cannot imply. Go ahead. Bring something.

Dan Trabue said...

Then perhaps you will understand how, say, a verse of Scripture can be hard data to support a position.

Well there you go. You got no hard data, Marshall. You just don't.

It appears, Marshall, that you do not understand the concept of hard data. Of fact vs opinion. Let me know when you do. Until then, there's no point in continuing. You can not and have not and will not (because you factually can not) provide any hard data to support your immoral and irrational hunches and I can not change my position without some hard data.

So, lacking any hard data, this conversation is over.

Go read and understand more about hard data. When you realize you have none, you can come back and admit as much. Then we can talk about your hunches more, recognizing them AS hunches, if you want. But don't come back without that acknowledgment or without hard data (which again, you can't).

http://www.objectivity.com/hard-data-vs-soft-data/

https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070802112225AAopoxw

Marshall Art said...

You must have been great at dodge-ball.

I looked at both of your links and nothing I've presented falls short of those definitions of hard versus soft data. YOU, on the other hand, seem to favor offering the softest of soft data while demanding an incredibly stringent standard of hard data from everyone else.

And again, I need to know just what position you question and for which you demand "hard data". You can't even do that. When you can muster the spine to be specific (remembering that it must be something I actually have said, as opposed to your corrupted version of what I have said), then we can move forward. At this point, you've so muddied the conversation that we must start from the beginning. You seem much too cowardly to truly engage. But I have patience. Anytime you can find that spine, you let me know.

Dan Trabue said...

ANY of your hunches, Marshall. You hold a hunch about Adam and Eve being literal people in a story that happens pretty much as it is literally portrayed in the Bible, am I right? Defend it with hard data.

You hold a hunch that God would not approve of two gay guys or lesbian gals getting married (and, in that context, having sexual relations), am I right? Defend that hunch with hard data.

Go.

Marshall Art said...

"You hold a hunch about Adam and Eve being literal people in a story that happens pretty much as it is literally portrayed in the Bible, am I right?"

Not quite, but this statement stands as hard data that you lack integrity, honesty and the grace you insist upon in others. My ACTUAL position is that I see no reason why one should reject outright the Genesis stories. What those like yourself, who lack true conviction, cannot handle is the clash of certain interpretations of data with what Genesis says. You can't handle being regarded as unsophisticated before your peers, so you are quick to reject Genesis for fear of such regard. I'm not so easily pressured and influenced by such fears.

At the same time, there is evidence, the hardness of such likely to fall way below what your "of the world" persona would accept. The work of Hugh Ross and Fazale Rana stand as evidence of an actual Adam and/or Eve. Conclusive proof? I wouldn't say that. But evidence?

"You hold a hunch that God would not approve of two gay guys or lesbian gals getting married (and, in that context, having sexual relations), am I right? Defend that hunch with hard data."

I've done this thousands of times using Scripture's unambiguous teachings on the subject of human sexuality, marriage and family. YOU have done NOTHING to support your wild assertions of an alternative understanding. On THIS subject, the ball is clearly in your court and has been for years. You do NOTHING but fantasize about things like "some form" of homosexuality, without every having done a single thing to support the possibility that verses like Lev 18:22 don't speak about homosexuality...PERIOD. No. You pretend without evidence that it doesn't speak to "loving, committed, monogamous" relationships. IF this is so, there must be something that supports the notion. You've provided nothing but wishful thinking. Don't pretend the onus is on me to support the clear wording of Scripture. It is on you to support the notion that the words don't mean what they clearly do and have done since they were written down in the Old Testament.

Go.

Dan Trabue said...

this statement stands as hard data that you lack integrity, honesty and the grace you insist upon in others. My ACTUAL position is that I see no reason why one should reject outright the Genesis stories

Marshall, if you're just looking to fight, move on. I very clearly asked that as a question, "I think this is your position... IS this your position..." There is not a single thing lacking in integrity, honesty or grace in THINKING that someone holds a position and asking them to verify.

Now, before you do anything else, I need you to understand this and just calm down a little bit. Do you recognize that there is not a single thing in the world in what I just said that can be called dishonest or graceless?

First answer that question.

THEN, deal with this...

see no reason why one should reject outright the Genesis stories.

Do you understand that either taking Adam and Eve as literal or taking them as metaphor/figurative... that NEITHER of these options is "rejecting outright" the Genesis stories? They are simply applying different understanding of the genre involved, which is not "rejecting" no matter which genre you think fits best.

Do you understand that?

Please answer those two questions. Thank you.

Dan Trabue said...

As to this...

I've done this thousands of times using Scripture's unambiguous teachings on the subject of human sexuality, marriage and family.

No, Marshall. You haven't. If you have, by all means, present one bit of hard data again to me, so we can see what you mean by "hard data." I simply don't think you understand the term. What hard data do you have that demonstrates that God does not approve of two guys marrying?

If you merely cite five verses in the Bible, you fail.

So, three tasks before you, Marshall. Demonstrate to me that you are rational, not delusional.

Marshall Art said...

"There is not a single thing lacking in integrity, honesty or grace in THINKING that someone holds a position and asking them to verify."

Sure there is.

---I've stated on numerous occasions in a variety of places that I hold no definitive position on the Genesis stories regarding creation other than the fact that I believe God is fully capable of creating all things in any manner of His choosing.

---I've also stated many times that I do not deal in "hunches" unless stating clearly and emphatically that I'm only offering a hunch or an opinion. So for you to constantly, routinely and with malice aforethought label every statement of fact I make as a "hunch" is insulting and graceless and is an indictment of your integrity and honesty.

What's more, pretending that putting a question mark at the end of your utterance mitigates the clear implication is rank bullshit. Try this: "You're just a dickhead, am I right?" How does that sound to YOU, Dan. Like an honest question?

And what makes you think I'm not calm? What's with you lefties that compels you to assume your opponent is ever more than calm? Is that gracious way to confront a firm correction?

As regards your second "question", until you can provide something more than this feeble crap about Genesis not being literal and accurate record of the events it depicts, then you are rejecting it. To make matters worse, you've never provided a clear explanation for what it IS saying if not how all things were created. It is your "hunch" that it is metaphor, mythic writing, poetry...but you offer nothing substantive to back up the assertions. Why shouldn't we take it as a record of actual events? Because you think imperfect man has come up with a better explanation that is no more provable than the Genesis story itself? Because it doesn't sound sophisticated enough to impress your non-religious acquaintances, and thus you can't handle their reaction if they knew you totally believed it exactly as written?

I'll get to your last comment later on. But until then, I must comment on one line in particular that is testament to your corruption:

"If you merely cite five verses in the Bible, you fail."

Those five verses are the initial pieces of "hard data" and you disqualify them outright. Talk about irrational and delusional!!! They aren't the only verses or passages I can bring to bear, but truth begins with those verses...actually just one of them...But truth to you is like sunlight to a vampire, or water to the Wicked Witch of the West, or facts to a liberal.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall, your comments appear so full of rage and bile that it seems you are no longer able to converse reasonably with me. Your comments no longer make any sense in the context of what was actually written. I don't know what to do with that.

I hope you have a happy new year. Peace.

Marshall Art said...

"Marshall, your comments appear so full of rage and bile that it seems you are no longer able to converse reasonably with me."

You're incredible...in a far less than charming and gracious way. There is no rage, no "bile" and no lack of reason in any of my comments that you've ever been able to expose or demonstrate. Indeed, I quite firmly believe I've demonstrated the ideal of gracious patience with you in continuing to engage with you after all these years of your tap-dancing and self-serving rules and regs, all of which you never follow yourself or impose upon yourself when visiting other blogs. That my comments do not make sense to you is not the result of my inability to make myself clear, but the consequence of trying to keep up with your consistent tactics of deflecting away from your own responsibilities to support your positions.

As to providing "hard data" yet again for that to which I've responded so many times, I'm taking time to decide just how I feel best to answer. I may do it at my blog so that I can do so without being distracted by you asking the same old questions over and over while I'm still in the middle of it all. What's more, these comment boxes only allow for no more than a little over 4,000 characters, so starting a new one to carry on leaves you opportunity to jump in before I've finished. As if that isn't enough, there is all sorts of ways to provide "hard data" that requires some consideration about how much to bring to bear. REAL Christians only need Lev 18:22. REAL Christians don't presume it means more than it says in order to provide a loophole for personal friends. But since that isn't good enough for the likes of you, I need to consider how to tie together all the disparate data that leaves no doubt for normal, rational people. I fear, with very good reason, that the more I provide, the more I'll have wasted my time. Not because it won't do the job, but because you will simply, once again as per usual, disregard it without the least bit of counter data.

Nonetheless, do not consider this question abandoned.

Marshall Art said...

Something just occurred to me whilst checking for responses to my last comments. It's something on which you can chew as I formulate my response, and might actually mitigate the need to do so.

You like to say that Lev 18:22 refers to "some form" of homosexual behavior, but not necessarily "committed, loving and monogamous" homosexual relationships. Why would you suppose it would refer to any other kind? That is to say, if marriage is the only appropriate context for "sexual expression", then what makes you think this prohibition concerns itself with any non-marital (or "non-marital-like") scenario? It would be like saying that God prohibits adultery if one is not married to the one with whom one engages in adultery. I don't know why this most obvious angle didn't occur to me before, as the prohibition does not make sense otherwise.

Thus, the context in which homosexual behavior might take place is totally irrelevant to the prohibition as there is only one possible context in which sexual behavior is ever appropriate.

Dan Trabue said...

That is to say, if marriage is the only appropriate context for "sexual expression", then what makes you think this prohibition concerns itself with any non-marital (or "non-marital-like") scenario?

The rule (from God, if that's the case) specifically to the ancient Israel nation is what it says it is. It has absolutely nothing to say to us about what God's will is for gay folk today. I think marriage is good, for gay or straight, because it promotes healthier, stronger families and communities. On the face of it, healthy marriages are a good thing. I support marriage for that reason. I'm not sure what your question means, in relation to that. Clearly, factually, literally, that rule is not a universal rule for all times and all people, according to the text.

"This prohibition" specifically, literally, only to ancient Israelis in their literal circumstances, appears on the face of it to be directed towards practices of surrounding pagan peoples. It appears, literally, factually, specifically, biblically NOT directed to instances of marriage relationships between modern gay or straight people. Would you mind, then, clarifying your question, because I don't know what you mean, other than it seems that you are pre-supposing that this is a literal rule for all people and all times and all situations. Clearly, it isn't.

Take your time to address the problem of your missing hard data. If and when you ever find some (you won't, it doesn't exist) please let me know. Conversely, when you realize you can't provide hard data, please be man enough to admit it.

Happy new year.

Marshall Art said...

Your response is pathetically inane. While the prohibition was amongst that which was handed down to the people of Israel, you ignore the fact that behavioral laws are universal. We can see this in the very chapter this prohibition is found. Lev 18:3...

"You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices."

Apparently, by your "logic and reasoning", the sexual behaviors prohibited Israel were just peachy for everyone NOT in Israel. Yeah. That makes perfect sense.

This demonstration that God was not keen on the practice of homosexual behavior, as with all others listed in the chapter, is reiterated later in verse 24...

"Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled."

Engaging in these behaviors defiled the people of the other nations. I guess, however, if your "reasoning" is to be trusted, that from this point on, it was A-OK for other nations, but not the tribes of Israel, to indulge themselves in these ways. Of this we can be absolutely certain based on all of the "hard data" you have yet to present, which will bear this out. So despite the fact that in verse 27 it says...

"...for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled."

I see. Such behaviors only defiled Egypt and Canaan and other nations that God would drive out before the 12 tribes, yet somehow, it is OK for people today to get jiggy with the wife of one's father, or any of the other sexual behaviors forbidden Israel.

Clearly, factually, literally, that rule is indeed a universal rule for all times and all people, according to the text. This is even more apparent than the prohibition against murder, as it does not refer to this behavior as a reason why God was driving people out of their lands, destroying them or that murdering defiled the people and the land itself. But the sexual sins of Leviticus 18 did just that.

So you think marriage is good for reasons that are never listed anywhere in Scripture for why ANYONE should marry. Nothing in the text mentions the promotion of "healthier, stronger families and communities" as a reason for uniting. No "hard data" is provided for this fantasy wish. You assume it without Scriptural cause of any kind.

But let's assume it is the case. Where in Scripture can we look to find any hint that "marriage" could possibly mean the union of merely any two people, rather than what the word actually means...the union of one man and one woman? Where's the "hard data"?

Lacking, as you do, that, where's the "hard data" that suggests God's will for homosexuals today would be any different than it was back then? It's not "marriage" you support. It's sexual immorality.

Dan Trabue said...

you ignore the fact that behavioral laws are universal.

Prove your "fact" with data, please.

This is the hole in your reasoning, Marshall. You want to conflate your dumb-as-a-brick and hateful-as-hell assumptions, presumptions, opinions and wild-ass guesses with "fact." Stop it.

Present hard data to support your hunches or, when you can't, admit as much.

Failing that, move on. You're done here.

Marshall Art said...

"Prove your "fact" with data, please."

I just did that, Liar. Note again the verses to which I referred. They indicate that God's position on those behaviors was already in place. No later verses have ever so much as hinted that His position has ever changed. There's no "assumption" about His position when He had said that engaging in those behaviors even defiled the very land in which they lived. That's pretty severely sinful. Therefore, I demand that you present the verses that suggest that God has changed His mind on the severity of the sinfulness of any of the prohibited behaviors of Lev 18, particularly homosexual behavior.

I also demand that you demonstrate anywhere in Scripture that even hints that "marriage" could possibly allow for any arrangement other than one man/one woman. I've presented facts that support my position. I can provide more, but really, why should I when you refuse to provide just one...EVER...for anything you wish was true regarding SSM.

The true hateful-as-hell attitude and positions are yours by suggesting my positions are "dumb-as-a-brick and hateful-as-hell assumptions, presumptions, opinions and wild-ass guesses" simply because the truth is inconvenient for you. When will you demonstrate the grace you insist is so important by doing ANYTHING you demand of others? I don't see that ever happening because you cannot support any opinion you hold, and haven't the courage to simply admit that you reject the clear teachings of Scripture on this matter.

Thus, I can only admit the truth: I've presented data hard enough as it is. You've done no more than simply, like a small child, denied, rather than like an adult, countered with ANY data, hard or soft, of your own. You're a clear and obvious liar and defender of sexual immorality, and thus not the least bit a devoted follower of Christ. And your own comments stand as "hard data" for that fact.

Dan Trabue said...

Again, and for the last time, pointing to verses is not hard data. Further, pointing to your interpretations of passages is ONLY pointing to yourself.

And you ain't god.

And your hunches are not hard data.

Goodbye.

Marshall Art said...

"Again, and for the last time, pointing to verses is not hard data."

Of course and absolutely it is if the what it proves is what Scripture says (or what God says) about a given point. If you wish to rebut my hard data, you need to bring your own to demonstrate why the interpretation I know is accurate is actually not. You never do this, but merely assert that what I've presented is no more than my own opinion or hunch. But you've got nothing but your own assertions that what I present is only hunch or opinion. You're not only a liar, but a cowardly one at that. More so, a childish cowardly liar, defaulting to "Nyuh uh" rebuttal and simply denying that the hard data I present is hard data. Not nearly good enough for someone who claims he seriously and prayerfully studies Scripture and uses reason to figure it out. Let's see some of that reason upon which you rely so heavily to contradict God's clearly revealed teachings.

Dan Trabue said...

you say "absolutely it is if what it proves is what scripture says (or what God says);about a given point."

And that's the problem. No one is disputing a text says what it literally says. What is in question is what meaning do we attach to the literal text.

You say it means that God thinks one two or three. that is your claim that is not supported by data.

Where is your hard data to prove that the text means what you think it means about what God's opinion is?

Marshall Art said...

Well, we who strive to be honest and honorable people of character don't worry about attaching meaning because the meaning is so clear, based on the words used and the order in which they appear in the sentence, as well as how that sentence fits in with the context that surrounds it. In short, only one who does not like what it actually and truly means would dare suggest that anyone needs to wonder about what meaning should be attached to the text.

Where is your hard data to prove the message the words convey is in any way in doubt?

Your infantile argument is that while the text literally says one thing, it means something else. OK. Is the statement a metaphor for something else? Prove it. Is allegorical, hyperbolic, a figure of speech, all to put forth some meaning other than "do not engage in homosexual behavior"? Let's see your hard data. The verse says not to engage in a specific behavior because it is an abomination. What else could it mean if it doesn't mean that one shouldn't engage in that specific behavior?

In typical Dan fashion, I provide hard data for which you want hard data. Perfect.

Dan Trabue said...

don't worry about attaching meaning because the meaning is so clear, based on the words used and the order in which they appear in the sentence, as well as how that sentence fits in with the context that surrounds it.

The point is, Marshall, you do not take every word in the Bible literally. Jesus said to sell your belongings, give it to the poor and follow him, but you have not sold your belongings to give to the poor, have you? Jesus literally said do not store up for yourself treasures here on earth, but you probably have no problems with bank accounts to store up your treasures, or with investing to store up treasures here on earth. You do not take every line literally, not even when it's Jesus saying it. You INTERPRET.

The same goes for your favorite five-ish verses that seem to say something about some gay behaviors in some contexts. You interpret it to mean something it does not say - that God opposes gay guys marrying. But you have no data other than your interpretation to support it. You and those who agree with you THINK - you GUESS, you SURMISE, you BELIEVE, you INTERPRET it to mean what you think it means, but that you all do that does not make it a fact, nor does it make those words you thus interpret to be hard data.

As I pointed out, people can point to the Bible or the Quran and GUESS or SAY that "therefore, this means X" but that does not mean that it DOES mean it. You would not think so when someone says that about the Quran, why do you think you should be given a pass when you put forth some crazy-sounding hunch about the Bible? On what basis?

It's a given that it's not the basis that "just because that line is there in the Bible, we can know my interpretation and extrapolation of that line is valid" because YOU DO NOT THINK THAT. If someone points to Jesus' "Do not store up treasures" and extrapolates, "no savings" YOU DO NOT THINK that is hard data to support the conclusion. On what basis is your hunch more reliable than the other person's hunch?

You have no hard data. Not any. You do not appear to understand the meaning of hard data.

Marshall Art said...

"The point is, Marshall, you do not take every word in the Bible literally."

You demonstrate once again that you have no idea what it means to "take the Bible literally". It does not require taking every metaphor, every rhetorical flourish, every bit of hyperbole (commonly used method of teaching back then) literally in order to take the Bible literally. What you're doing is not accidental. It is a willful attempt to be deceptive or to disparage those of us who are serious about abiding God's will.

"Jesus said to sell your belongings, give it to the poor and follow him, but you have not sold your belongings to give to the poor, have you?"

Why would I? He was talking to the rich young man. You really should read the Bible sometime.

"Jesus literally said do not store up for yourself treasures here on earth, but you probably have no problems with bank accounts to store up your treasures, or with investing to store up treasures here on earth. "

Because I actually read entire chapters, not just bits from some socialist playbook. In doing so, I know the point is, as He says, "but first store up treasures in heaven". This I strive to do, as imperfectly though I may. Thus, I am taking the lesson literally.

"The same goes for your favorite five-ish verses that seem to say something about some gay behaviors in some contexts."

No. They don't talk about "some" homosexual behaviors. That's what YOU want and need it to mean. Those verses merely talk about homosexual behavior...PERIOD.

"You interpret it to mean something it does not say - that God opposes gay guys marrying."

Again, no need to interpret what is crystal clear. And from that crystal clear teaching, we can know that God would not then bless, condone, celebrate or be happy about two homosexuals committing to each other in a manner common to normal people who marry each other. It would be, and is, illogical.

"As I pointed out, people can point to the Bible or the Quran and GUESS or SAY that "therefore, this means X" but that does not mean that it DOES mean it."

As I stated in the other post, I KNOW what Scripture says and what I know is supported by thousands of years of scholarship. Therefore, I do not merely insist any verse means what it says merely because I say so (though in this case, there's nothing more that I need given how crystal clear the prohibition is).

Marshall Art said...

"You would not think so when someone says that about the Quran, why do you think you should be given a pass when you put forth some crazy-sounding hunch about the Bible?"

Two problems here:

1. I do not equate the Bible with any other alleged "holy book" of any other alleged religion. So if someone wants to cite the quran (which spelling do you want to use now?), they'd be lacking for having no evidence that their god is real. Basing beliefs on a falsehood is not compelling. But...

2. There's nothing "crazy-sounding" about acknowledging what a verse is clearly teaching us. And here, I'm citing Scripture because I'm supposedly about what God does or doesn't oppose speaking to someone who claims to be a Christian. What's crazy is suggesting without the slightest shred of evidence, that the verse does NOT speak only of the act of homosexual behavior. You want it to mean "some form" of homosexual behavior, but you have no evidence, certainly no "hard data" to support that demonic wish.

"On what basis is your hunch more reliable than the other person's hunch?".

Regardless of how badly you need it to be, it is not a hunch. It is an accurate and faithful representation of what the verse says and means.

"You have no hard data. Not any."

At this point you likely know that isn't true, but you will still contend that all that has been offered is not hard data. This won't be because it actually isn't, but because you simply can't have any hard data that proves your unholy beliefs are wrong and directly in rebellion as regards Christian teaching on the subject of homosexuality.

I will not be responding to your childish denials with regards to my hard data and evidences. I will respond to hard data of your own, if you can actually provide any.