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About Matthew

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    freethinking secular humanist/atheist
  1. Did he or did he not confess right there that he, in his own words, believes in evolution? <{POST_SNAPBACK}> Hovind should better qualify his statements. He should've said "...and this ancestor was the original plant "kind" species". If not, he could give his audience the misleading impression that he believed that plants descended from an ancestoral stock through adaptive radiations. Matthew
  2. What specifically about evolution? I interested in books on the scientific case for evolution. I read Futuyma's Science on Trial but it's not as impressive as I would like it to be. I like Godfrey's Scientists Confront Creationism. I am also devoted to reading Theobold's excellent essay on TalkOrigins and his response to Ashby Camp. Matthew
  3. For a Mormon (or Catholic) he sure seems fond of vulgar. I thought using vulgar was a big "no no" in many Churches today, especially those with a conservative bent. Matthew
  4. I need to share this with everyone here, I am feeing the sting of being single. I am not currently looking for anyone nor do I whine about being single. It's not in my character to do so. I believe that if one cannot change one's circumstances, then one should make the best out of whatever circumstances one is facing. It's not always easy to do but it makes us stronger, wiser, and we grow in character. Right now I am trying to concentrate on getting my B.A. in history and I would love to get into graduate school. But there's one thing that I cannot help. I can't help but feel the sting of being single. I'm not actively looking nor do I feel desperate but I can't hide the pain of this sting any more than I can hide the pain of a bee sting. I feel I cannot search because I am not at this moment independent. As embarrassing at this is- I still live at home although I may have an opportunity to move out as early as 6 months from now. I feel that I cannot search because I dread the ridicule of parental dependence. In my deconversion story, I remarked that I had the opportunity ( a missed one- I regret it) to follow through with my skepticism when it first started. I had an opportunity to leave the Church and dwelve into my skepticism a few years back. I think to myself that had I been braver back then, I wouldn't be in the predicament that I find myself in right now. I'd have my B.A. (well probably B.S. because I was a science major back then) and I'd be hitched and probably with a child on the way or already born by now. I didn't take it and I don't normally digress on missed opportunities except to bartenders (just kidding). More seriously, I am feeling the sting of being single. I'll be painfully honest- I don't like being single. I never have. I have been content for some time because I reasoned that I just need to be patient and delayed gratification will pay off. Back when I was a Christian, being single devastated me more than anything else in the world. I am much more happier and joyful because of joy and wonder that being a freethinker and infidel has brought me but I still don't like being single. I don't want to go back to being depressed- that was bad enough but I feel that my patience is wearing thin. I want to be with someone. I want to be in love. I want to make love. I want to be a family man and have someone to come home to and cuddle with. I am tired and nearly sick of being single but I feel that in some ways I am almost powerless to cure the sting or do anything about it. I'm not sure what to do about it. I'd love some insight or wisdom. Sadly, Matthew
  5. Jester, Welcome here! While there are numerous websites out there for the case against Christianity, against biblical errancy, etc, these sources must be weighed for their quality. While I like Paul Tobin's site, there are some sources I can only recommend to a cautious extent, and some resources I cannot in good faith recommend. Cautious examples would be Farrell Till's The Skeptical Review although Till has both good articles, mediocre articles, and some real stinkers. I would consider that The Skeptic's Annotated Bible to be another one. Carrier and Price are the best on the web while Acharya S and C Dennis McKinsey are probably among the worst out there. If you have any questions you can always ask us Matthew
  6. Yoyo, I am suprised that you are the only Christian who has ever responded to me on this one. But your response is one big non-sequitor! How the hell does anything you say answer the arguments I posted? Matthew
  7. Cynic, I appreciate your comments. I didn't originate these arguments however. I do find these arguments persuasive but I have read them elsewhere. I would name the source of these arguments but I consider the atheist who constructed these arguments to be a rather dishonorable person these days. But that doesn't mean that the arguments aren't good arguments- contrarily, they are great arguments but I just don't like the source who composed the original study of them. Matthew
  8. Not really. It all depends on the offer of "signs". A sign is a sign and it matters not if it's meant to be literal (making the Olivet Discoure a false prophecy) or as some Christians argue, figurative (such as Preterism tries to accomplish). It doesn't have to be a literal coming or something that the eyes actually behold such as Jesus coming with the heavenly host to resume judgement on us horrible heathens. Matthew
  9. False Covenants and Failed Prophecies In parts 1 and 2 , I showed how two covenants and prophecies based on these covenants failed. The prophecies failed and the covenants were shown false. Now I will show a good reason to regard these prophecies as having failed. I will now show how critical scholarship shows these covenants to be false and the prophecies to have failed. I will rely on the work of a respectable Harvard Bible scholar, Dr. Frank Moore Cross. In his book From Epic To Canon: History and Literature in Ancient Israel (Harvard Univ. Press, 1998), Cross has a chapter entitled "Kinship and Covenant in Ancient Israel" which deals with what are known as a"suzerian-vassal treaty". The Abrahamic and Davidic covenants are precisely of this nature. The subheader in which these kinds of treaties are discussed is called "Elements of Confusion in the Understanding of Israel's Ancient Covenant." In a footnote on page 14, Cross states: So, according to Cross, because of the piety of David, the throne is promised to the house of David, and ,thanks to the fidelity of Abraham, the land is promised perpetually to his seed. What's more is that this is a unconditional promise made to the heirs. The family of the faithful covenant partner (both Abraham and David in their respective cases) are bound forever in kinship bonds with the suzerain and his family. It's helpful to recall that in Cross' explanation above that "if a future son sins (rebels), he may be punished or removed, but kingship and land must pass to another heir of Ulmi-Teshup, in theory thereby creating an eternal dynasty." Thus, if a future son sins, such as in a descendent from David, that descendent may be removed or punished, but the throne must pass to another descendent, thereby "creating an eternal dynasty". In Cross' very own words we see how this applies both to the promise land and to the eternal throne of David. The verses that I showed in regards to David "always having a lamp before (Yahweh) in Jerusalem" are precisely what Cross meant when he said that "In the second type, the promise of the land and promise of the dynastic succession are unconditional". In this case the promise of dynastic succession is unconditional due to the fidelity of David. This gives historical insight into both covenants, showing that they were meant to be both unconditional and eternal. This, I hope, is sufficent enough to show any rational person the errancy of the Hebrew Bible and one of many reasons why it's not simply the inerrant, inspired word of Yahweh. I rest my case, Matthew
  10. False Convenants and Failed Prophecies Part 2 In the last part, I examined a failed prophecy that was based on a flawed covenant between the Hebrew tribal god Yahweh and the Hebrew patriarch Abraham. Now it's time to examine another failed prophecy. It, too, is based upon a flawed covenant. This covenant was made between the Hebrew tribal god Yahweh and the Hebrew patriarch David. The prophecy is that because of David's righteousness, there will be an eternal throne established. The covenant was made in 2 Samuel 7:8-16 where we read: We see that David was promised an eternal kingdom and an eternal throne, one that would be established forever. When David died, his son Solomon recieved the throne from him. Solomon sinned but because of his covenant with David, Yahweh didn't put an end to the Kingdom but let Solomon stay on the throne: We read in 1st Kings 11:11-13): The kingdom was not torn away from Solomon in his lifetime but in his son's lifetime. This was all for David's sake. In 1st Kings 11:31-38 we read: Solomon's son Jeroboam had the kingdom torn away from him. The kingdom was divided into pieces and yet Solomon and his son were left with one piece. Solomon's son was given one tribe so that David would always have a lamp before Yahweh in Jerusalem. In 1st Kings 15:1-5 we read: We see that even though Jeroboam had decided to follow in the sinful ways of Solomon, he never-the-less had one tribe so that David would always have a lamp in Jerusalem. When a descendent of David named Jehoram become king, he likewise sinned as well. We read in 2 Kings 8: 16-18: We see that even though he sinned, Yahweh was not willing to destroy Judah because of David. It says that he explicitly promised to give a lamp to David always. Likewise we read in 2 Chronicles 21:5-7: These are a few examples to show that Yahweh had intended for there always to be a descendent of David on his throne. The throne was to be established forever. The language is explicit. Lest anyone argue that the language was in any sense figurative, we only need to read Jeremiah 33:17-21: Here we read that David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne in the house of Israel. We all see that the sacrificial system shall never lack a priest to offer burnt sacrifices (This also destroys any possibility that Christ's death on the cross could've had any atoning purposes). In fact..the eternal throne of David and the eternal sacrificial system are compared to the covenant made with day and night. God established it as an eternal covenant so that if one could break the natural order of day and night in nature, only then could one break the covenant between Yahweh and David or the sacrificial system of the Levites. This prophecy has failed too. Since the fall of Jerusalem to King Nebuchadnezzar during the Babylonian, there has never been a king on Davids' throne. What's more is that the sacrificial system continued for centuries later until the 1st century C.E. In the first century C.E. we know that Judea was under direct rule from Rome and that King Herod Archelaus was the last ruler in Jerusalem until Rome disposed of him. There hasn't been a priest to perform annual sacrifices in Jerusalem since at least 70 C.E. Thus the prophecy proved false and the covenant was broken. This concludes Part 2. In Part 3, I will examine historical reason(s) why these prophecies failed and why the covenant was false. We will find the answers in critical Bible scholarship from a respectable Hebrew Bible scholar. Matthew
  11. False Covenants and Failed Prophecies One of the reasons I do not believe that the Christian faith is true or that the Bible is the verbally inspired and inerrant word of God is because of the errancy of the Hebrew Bible. One kind of errancy is that of failed prophecies. Although a case can probably be made for several failed prophecies, two in particular were based on false covenants. A false covenant was made between the Hebrew tribal god Yahweh and the Hebrew patriarch Abraham and a false prophecy based on this, and another was made between Yahweh and the Hebrew patriarch David. The former was in regards to a land promise and the second was in regards to an eternal kingdom for David. Both of these prophecies failed, thereby invalidating the covenants. I will show examples of how they both failed and give a historical reason for why they did so. Part 1: Yahweh's Failed Land Promise Yahweh swore an oath to Abraham: that his descendents would not only be numerous but would also inherit the land promised to them forever. In Genesis 13: 14-18, Yahweh states: Yahweh repeated this promise made to Abraham in Genesis 17: 4-8 where once again multilpe descendents and an everlasting promise is made: This promise was made not only to Abraham but also to Isaac and Jacob. Yahweh clearly promised that He would give the land of the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites to the seed/descendents of Abraham. In Deuteronomy 7: 17-24 it's written: The substance of this prophecy was repeated in places like Exodus 23: 20-33; Deuteronomy 4:33-39, 7:1-2, 31:1-8. In some of these passages, seven nations which are said to be mightier than the Hebrews who will clearly be driven out: the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, and the Perizzites. Joshua assumed leadership upon the death of Moses and as of such, the promise was renewed. In Joshua 1:1-6, we read: The promise was repeated right before crossing the Jordan: There is no ambiguity in these verses: the language was as detailed and specific as could be. Yahweh would drive out all the inhabitants of the land of Canaan and give it to the Hebrews to fulfill the promise sworn to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. To summarize the content of these verses we note 5 specific points: 1.) Without fail, God would drive out all the people possessing the land beyond the Jordan 2.) No man would be able to stand up against the Israelites in all the days of their lives. 3.) The Israelties would drive out the nations possessing the land and would utterly destroy them and the memory of their name from under heaven. They were to make no covenants with the nations in this land or show them mercy ( Deut. 7:2) 4.) Every place that the sole of their feet would treat upon, Yahweh would give it to them. 5.) The land to be possess would stretch from the Red Sea unto the Euphrates river and from the great sea to the going down of the sun. The land promise was also made unconditional on the part of the Hebrew's behavior. There was nothing that the Hebrews could do to void the promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We read that the promise is unconditional in Deut. 9: 3-6. We see that Yahweh was not giving the land to the Hebrews because of their righteousness. On the contrary, it was because of an unconditional promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In fact, Yahweh considered the Hebrews a stubborn, stiff-kneck people (Exodus 33: 1-6). The unconditional nature is also stated in Leviticus 26: 42-45: Time and time again, it's stated that the Hebrews would be given the land regardless of their own conduct. It was only because Yahweh had to fulfill the vow he swore. After the promise had been made, they were led by Joshua to possess it. We read that Joshua and the Hebrews thoroughly and completely subdued the land. In Joshua 10: 40-43 we read: In Joshua 11: 6-17 more of this fulfillment is recorded: Thus we read that the land promise was fulfilled: everything that Yahweh had sworn had come to pass and not a word failed. All of the seven nations had been driven out and not a man was able to stand against the Hebrews. The totality of this cannot be under-emphaized: the promise land borders extended from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, from the wilderness, to Lebanon, and to the great river Euphrates. Furthermore, the fulfillment claims state that the Israelites left none alive to breathe and that not a man of all their enemies stood against them. The seven nations driven out were the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, and the Perizzites. Everything came to pass as promised...or did it? However in Joshua 13: 1-6 we read differently: This passage flatly contradicts Joshua 11:23 which states that Joshua took the whole land, according to all that Yahweh had promised so the land had rest from war. All the promised territories singled out in this passage as land that remained to be possessed laid within the boundaries that were laid out in Joshua 1:1-6 to specify the scope of the land that Yahweh would give to the Hebrews. How could it therefore be said that "very much of the land remains to be possessed"? Much of the rest of Joshua and the better part of Judges actually contradict all the fulfillment claims outlined above. For instance, in Joshua 53:16 we read: 63 Now as for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the sons of Judah could not drive them out; so the Jebusites live with the sons of Judah at Jerusalem until this day But weren't the Jebusites one of the seven nations specifically mentioned in the promise that would be utterly destroyed? Same with the Canaanites. In Joshua 16:10 we read: 10 (10) But they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so (11) the Canaanites live in the midst of Ephraim to this day, and they became forced laborers. Once again..the Canaanites were specifically mentioned as one of the seven nations, no? Joshua 17: 12-13 we read: 12 But the sons of Manasseh could not take possession of these cities, because the Canaanites persisted in living in that land. 13 It came about when the sons of Israel became strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely In fact we read in Joshua 16:10; 17:12-13; Judges 1:1-5; 1:9; 1:21; 1:27-36; 3:1-6 we read of people the Hebrews could not completely drive out. What's more..many of these were among the seven nations promised to be utterly driven out. This is the failure of the land promise. The promise was unconditional and in one set of verses it was fulfilled and then in another set of passages it was never originally fulfilled in the first place! In my next post will come Part 2...
  12. The Sign of the Times In the gospels, the resurrection of Jesus is likened to that of Jonah and is in fact called the "sign of Jonah". The second coming of Jesus is called the "sign of the Son of Man". One thing that will post big problems for believers in biblical inerrancy is wether or not just the "sign of Jonah" would be given to the generation of Jesus' day or wether or not both the "sign of Jonah" and the "sign of the Son of Man" would be given. Let's start exactly with what Jesus is written to have promised. In Mark 8:11-12, we read: Note three things so far: the audience addressed are the Pharisees, it's to "this generation" (Greek word: genera, meaning the generation contemporaneous with Jesus), and that Jesus is believed to be talking about a "sign". Keep these three things in mind as we proceed further. In Matthew, almost in a contradictory fashion, Jesus seems to shift gears and backpedal on this absolute statement. Matthew 12:38-39 reads: Once again, the audience is the Pharisees and scribes are mentioned too. Once again there is an emphasis on "this generation". However, notice that instead of there being no sign given, that the sign of Jonah will be given." Let's examine the Olivet discourse in the Synoptics. Let's begin with Matthew 24: So all the tribes of the earth will see the sign of the Son of Man? They will see the son of man coming on the clouds of the sky? How about Mark? In Mark 13 we read: Once again, notice that the people will see a sign and the sign will be the second coming of Jesus. Mark says that people will see the Son of Man and Matthew says that people will see the sign of the Son of Man. Mark says that "this generation will not pass alway until all these things take place". Does Luke say anything about it. Sure thing! Luke says: We read that there will be signs and that on the earth there will be dismay among many nations! Furthermore we are told that ( once again!) that "[T]his generation will not pass away until all things take place" Now that we have been keeping all of this in mind, let's read a interesting piece of the trial narratives. Matthew 26 states: Note carefully who the audience is. We are told that the 1.) scribes, 2.) chief priests, and 3.) the whole Council. And what does Jesus tell them? They will see the second coming of the Son of Man. The NIV says in verse 64: What does Mark have to say about it? In Mark we read: Once again, notice who the audience is. We have chief priests, the whole Council, scribes, and elders. What does Jesus say? He sees that they shall see the son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. So here we have it. Did Jesus promise any sign will be given? In Mark Jesus says no sign will be given. In Matthew we are told that no sign will be given, except for the sign of Jonah! However we are told in the Olivet Discourse that the men of that generation will see the sign of the Son of Man. We are futhermore told at the trial that the leaders will see the sign of the Son of Man as well. So did Jesus promise a sign or not? If he did, which sign would his generation be given, just the Sign of Jonah or both the Sign of Jonah and the Sign of the Son of Man? Someone has some explaining to do and it's not the critics of biblical inerrancy! Matthew
  13. CR, I went down a similar path. I studied apologetics and some theology for a while and I found it almost impossible to connect with the faith emotionally. Then, the more I studied Christian apologetics, the more it seemed to fall apart. I saw the recent-creationist arguments fall apart and so I went into ancient-creationism. I saw McDowell's arguments fall apart and so I went into Lee Strobel works and that of James Patrick Holding. I wanted desperately for a sign that God was still there and that he still loved me. In fact, nothing short of an actual theophany would do it and it never came. Even after I initially deconverted, I was tortured with second thoughts and it wasn't until I finally read a book defending inerrancy and, subsequently, an essay by Robert M Price called "By This Time He Stinketh" that I realized that there was no turning back and that I was a Skeptic for all eternity. So, welcome to our family here. Feel free to share anything that's on your mind. As for your wife and kids- I had to go through something similar with my family. It took a couple of months for me to tell my parents. Now my family knows and I am better off for finally coming clean and telling them. Luckily, they're not the "once-saved-always-saved" crowd. But telling them was the hardest part of all. I avoid people from my former Church; I haven't spoken to them in years and I prefer it be that way. Matthew
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