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Poonis

Kick-starting Autonomous Thinking In Christians

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In my efforts to kick-start autonomous thinking in christians on the CARM forums (which I am using as a test bed to refine my ultimate goal of finding a way to intentionally bring about the deconversion of christians), I have found something (not my own discovery, but one I have fine tuned) that appears to be cutting through Faith's defense in a peculiar manner. It is in regards to the Ten Commandments, which are a major pillar of christian faith. This may be common knowledge to us, but for christians, I have found it to remain largely ignored or unrealized.

 

Exodus 34:1 - Now the LORD said to Moses, "Cut out for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered.

 

If you actually sit down and write out the commandments in Exodus 20 and Exodus 34 (the first and second sets), the first couple commandments match, but then are no longer congruent. In essense, God said the words would be the same, and they are not. I ask why this is.

 

What I have found on CARM is this:

1. At least one prominent poster has ceased posting entirely about three weeks ago after trying to compare the two in an attempt to explain it away. This poster has had thousands of posts, and the very last one was his/her attempt to reconcile the two sets in accordance with Exodus 34:1.

2. Multiple fundamentalists have admitted in both responding post and in private message that it has really made them re-examine their faith.

 

I think it is particularily effective because it is an attack on a pillar of christian Faith itself, and not just the outskirts of faith, like pointing out a contradiction of genealogies that don't match, which is not.

 

In this, it seems to have kick-started autonomous thinking within at least a few christians on the site.

 

Of course, all of this may mean nothing as well and that I am just one evil motherfucker.

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Poonis:

 

I wish you well in your endeavor and I think you expressed your goal expertly. You're not trying to coerce Christians to deconvert, you're attempting to draw the deconversion out of them. That is such a huge difference. It's been my prerogative for quite a long time that Christians who truly believe and have an unshakable faith are inthe minority. I would wager to say that the vast majority of self-proclaiming Christians run the gamut between having serious doubts and not believing a single written or spoken word about Christianity but for some reason are stuck in the church.

 

If we could bring their questions to light and help them to realize that they're not crazy for having these thoughts then I believe it would strike quite a blow to modern Christianity. That's one central thing that should be stressed: They're not crazy for having significant doubts and questions about Christianity; quite the opposite is true. That's a good sign that they're finally beginning to think for themselves.

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I've always liked the problem of the 2 sets of 10 commandments. EVERYONE knows the first 10, but the second, which has got stuff like "Do not cook a goat in its mother's milk" is conveniently ignored.

 

It's the old cherry picking bible problem.

 

I also like it because it's handy whenever xians accuse us of taking bible verses out of context - they take the 10 commandments out of context. Otherwise they would be observing the fests of weeks etc. etc.

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Let's say that even the most hard-headed still denies the meaning of "I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets..." Just change the context.

 

For example, say I wrote you a check for "one-thousand dollars" and you tear it up. I then say I will re-issue a new check, saying "I will write on the check the words that were on the former check."

 

What words will be written on the new check?

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Here is one specific post on CARM that addresses what I'm talking about:

 

I saw you post this same question in another thread about a week ago, and to be honest I've been chewing on it since then. It seems as if there has been a lot of question dodging in regards to your specific inquiry, and I must admit that I don't have an answer. I'm not sure if someone more educated than I in theology or hebrew has a simple or rational explanation for this either. I do appreciate you asking this question, for one because it has forced me to confront a very difficult passage (which to my embarrasment I never noticed before) but also because this question begs a novel interpretation of the bible that I might not have otherwise sought. I hope that this question doesn't fade into the background without real scrutiny, and that someone more versed in theology might shine some light on it for us all.

 

I think the most important verse which you quoted that hasn't yet been satisfactorily explained is "...and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered."

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Good workings Poonis.

 

Trying to compel someone to quit thinking *rightly* about his or her long held thought systems is tough.

 

I do like the way you've approached this problem, and gently led folks to the edge, allowing them to choose when and where to leap off.

 

kL

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Another poster who actually tried to match up the two sets of commandments:

 

Thank you. Well, I asked you to post the actual "contradiction". I'll go through them one by one then.

 

1. Both the same thing

2. Both the same thing

3. Could be equivalent to number 4 in the first set

4. Equivalent to number 8 in the first set

5. Same as number 4 in the first set

6.

7.

8.

9. Equivalent to number 1 in the first set

10.

 

The other ones I can't say I have an answer for. I never claimed to know everything. However, I do know that there are no contradictions in the Bible.

 

Gotta give him/her credit for at least trying.

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Let's say that even the most hard-headed still denies the meaning of "I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets..." Just change the context.

 

For example, say I wrote you a check for "one-thousand dollars" and you tear it up. I then say I will re-issue a new check, saying "I will write on the check the words that were on the former check."

 

What words will be written on the new check?

 

"ninety-thousand dollars" :woohoo:

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Good one, Poonis; getting Xians to admit the problems inherent in the plain text of their "infallible" book can be the biggest mountain to climb, but it is one of the best. Fervent fanatics will just make excuses, but less-devoted Xians will find food for thought in such things, so pointing out the glaring inconsistencies can be of great contribution.

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Let's say that even the most hard-headed still denies the meaning of "I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets..." Just change the context.

 

For example, say I wrote you a check for "one-thousand dollars" and you tear it up. I then say I will re-issue a new check, saying "I will write on the check the words that were on the former check."

 

What words will be written on the new check?

 

"ninety-thousand dollars" :woohoo:

 

I seriously doubt it. Zero thousand dollars and one cent. Like this: $0,000.01 vs $1,000.00.

 

No, that works only with numbers, not with words.

I don't know the answer but I have a hunch ninety thousand would be generous.

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Poonis, I thought there was something wrong with your presentation of the Ten Commandments. I go by Lawrence Boadt's Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction, Paulist Press, 1984. I use this book because it was the course text when I took the Old Testament courses a few years ago. I trust the biblical scholars at this institution because they use the same scientific method for reading the Bible that is also used for reading other ancient texts, such as Homer. (There will of necessity be minor differences because the texts are different.)

 

I will copy a bit from page 181 in Boadt:

 

Exodus 19-24 and 32-34: The Giving of the Covenant

 

In the present narration, Exodus 19-24 describes a first presentation of the convenant, and Exodus 31-34 tells how it was given again after Moeses broke the original tablets in anger at the people's apostasy with the golden calf. But behind this arrangement, there were originally two separate accounts of the same Sinai event, one from the E source (now in chapters 20-24) and one from the J source (now in chapters 33-34). To fit both accounts in, the editors have made two stages of one act. Chapter 19 combines the introductions to both versions. We can divide the two accounts to show the differences in outlook between the J and E sources:

 

Chapters 19, 33-34, "J"

 

24:1-2, 9-11 Moses joined by elders--all eat a sacrificial meal

34:10-26 God gives the covenant laws, many of them rituals

34:27-28 God gives the ten commandments (again)

 

Chapters 19, 20-24, "E"

 

29:21-23 Moses alone without the priests is to go to the mountain

20:1-17 God gives the ten commandments

20:18-23:33The covenant law code sums up the major demands of justice

24:3-8 People all accept Moses' law and are anointed by blood

**************************

 

That's all I'm quoting for now.

 

A simple introduction re "E" source and "J" source. I don't remember all the details, but what I do remember is that they believe there are four main sources from which the Old Testament was taken. Two of them are E and J. In Who Wrote the Bible, Richard Elliott Friedman explains about these sources, why it is believed that the OT was written by a variety of sources, what they think these sources are, and why. They give a letter to each source, too. This is traditional biblical scholars' method for studing the OT.

 

The fundamentalists rejected this theory back when it was introduced in the United States in the 1800s. This, and Darwinism, are the two main reasons over which the conservative and liberal Christians split between 1870 and 1925. I would not trust any scholar from places like Dallas Theological Seminary or Bob Jones University to accept this theory. I don't think the Westminster or Heidlburg confessions of faith accept it, either, though I have not checked them out specifically on this topic.

 

To the best of my knowledge, the scholars who accept this theory do not make claims about the Bible being infallible and inerrant, or being dictated word for word by God. Based on what I have read on the topic so far, it seems the infallible inerrant belief hardened into doctrine in response to this new theory coming out. In other words, Christians asssumed the Bible was infallible and that it was correct, but it was not a test of faith like it seems to be in some fundy churches these days. I get the impression that this only hardened into doctrine when it was challenged by critical biblical scholarship, as shown above.

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Poonis, I thought there was something wrong with your presentation of the Ten Commandments. I go by Lawrence Boadt's Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction, Paulist Press, 1984. I use this book because it was the course text when I took the Old Testament courses a few years ago. I trust the biblical scholars at this institution because they use the same scientific method for reading the Bible that is also used for reading other ancient texts, such as Homer. (There will of necessity be minor differences because the texts are different.)

 

I will copy a bit from page 181 in Boadt:

 

Exodus 19-24 and 32-34: The Giving of the Covenant

 

In the present narration, Exodus 19-24 describes a first presentation of the convenant, and Exodus 31-34 tells how it was given again after Moeses broke the original tablets in anger at the people's apostasy with the golden calf. But behind this arrangement, there were originally two separate accounts of the same Sinai event, one from the E source (now in chapters 20-24) and one from the J source (now in chapters 33-34). To fit both accounts in, the editors have made two stages of one act. Chapter 19 combines the introductions to both versions. We can divide the two accounts to show the differences in outlook between the J and E sources:

 

Chapters 19, 33-34, "J"

 

24:1-2, 9-11 Moses joined by elders--all eat a sacrificial meal

34:10-26 God gives the covenant laws, many of them rituals

34:27-28 God gives the ten commandments (again)

 

Chapters 19, 20-24, "E"

 

29:21-23 Moses alone without the priests is to go to the mountain

20:1-17 God gives the ten commandments

20:18-23:33The covenant law code sums up the major demands of justice

24:3-8 People all accept Moses' law and are anointed by blood

**************************

 

That's all I'm quoting for now.

 

A simple introduction re "E" source and "J" source. I don't remember all the details, but what I do remember is that they believe there are four main sources from which the Old Testament was taken. Two of them are E and J. In Who Wrote the Bible, Richard Elliott Friedman explains about these sources, why it is believed that the OT was written by a variety of sources, what they think these sources are, and why. They give a letter to each source, too. This is traditional biblical scholars' method for studing the OT.

 

The fundamentalists rejected this theory back when it was introduced in the United States in the 1800s. This, and Darwinism, are the two main reasons over which the conservative and liberal Christians split between 1870 and 1925. I would not trust any scholar from places like Dallas Theological Seminary or Bob Jones University to accept this theory. I don't think the Westminster or Heidlburg confessions of faith accept it, either, though I have not checked them out specifically on this topic.

 

To the best of my knowledge, the scholars who accept this theory do not make claims about the Bible being infallible and inerrant, or being dictated word for word by God. Based on what I have read on the topic so far, it seems the infallible inerrant belief hardened into doctrine in response to this new theory coming out. In other words, Christians asssumed the Bible was infallible and that it was correct, but it was not a test of faith like it seems to be in some fundy churches these days. I get the impression that this only hardened into doctrine when it was challenged by critical biblical scholarship, as shown above.

 

 

Apologetics is the means of the shape-shifter, a phantasm. Trying to nail down any concrete interpretation is no easier than trying to stamp out a cockroach once you've turned the lights on.

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Exodus 34:1 - Now the LORD said to Moses, "Cut out for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered.

 

Ah, that one.

Actually, at least the 1st commandment doesn't really line up. The essence "no other gawds" is the same (gee, so there are other gawds, eh? :fdevil: ), but the Ex 34 version is totally fucking bloodthirsty in its graphic detail on what to do to dem ebil heathens.

 

If it worked for you, good. I've tried it before, in another place, and just got one of those typical shitty "umm err butbutbutbutbut that's a different covenant blah yaddah" cultist "explanations".

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I just wish I had noticed this when I was starting to question.

 

It seems like god either turned senile or started smoking crack between Exodus 20 and Exodus 34, not only because of the differences, but because of the absurd stuff introduced in ch 34.

 

The one about cooking a young goat in its mother's milk. Yep, that took the cake. The writers really captured the central core elements for a code of morality there, didn't they? Yep, that one of the first thing I teach MY children: "Son, NEVER commit the abomination of boiling a goat in its mother's milk--and don't eat the wrong kind of bread, either. And what I may have said about not killing people? That's no big deal. Remember those Amorites, Cannanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites are heathen scum--NEVER be reasonable in any manner with them!"

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There's another inconsistency that's in the OT that I recently heard about:

 

Ex 6:3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH (JHWH) was I not known to them.

 

But yet, if you go to Genesis 24 Abraham speaks about the "Lord" and "God" and the words used there are YHWH. So according to the Bible, Abraham knew YHWH, but yet Moses heard from God that Abraham didn't know God by that name.

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There's another inconsistency that's in the OT that I recently heard about:

 

Ex 6:3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH (JHWH) was I not known to them.

 

But yet, if you go to Genesis 24 Abraham speaks about the "Lord" and "God" and the words used there are YHWH. So according to the Bible, Abraham knew YHWH, but yet Moses heard from God that Abraham didn't know God by that name.

nuh-uhhh...it doesn't say YHWH, it says JHWH! :HaHa:

 

Jehovah...Yahweh, what's in a name? Whatever name means the most to the person I guess. :shrug: I pefer no-name. :HaHa:

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nuh-uhhh...it doesn't say YHWH, it says JHWH! :HaHa:

 

Jehovah...Yahweh, what's in a name? Whatever name means the most to the person I guess. :shrug: I pefer no-name. :HaHa:

Aargh! That was my misspelling. It was supposed to be YHWH in the quote too. Darn it!

 

Blessed be the name of Nahweh (the name we are not allowed to speak or write) that guide his Wholly Sprite called Duh to help me whenever I'm attacked by the evil Oops.

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I've always liked the problem of the 2 sets of 10 commandments. EVERYONE knows the first 10, but the second, which has got stuff like "Do not cook a goat in its mother's milk" is conveniently ignored.

 

It's the old cherry picking bible problem.

 

I also like it because it's handy whenever xians accuse us of taking bible verses out of context - they take the 10 commandments out of context. Otherwise they would be observing the fests of weeks etc. etc.

 

*cough*

 

There are three sets of commandments in the bible. There are the two in Exodus and the one in Deuteronomy 5:4-6. That's the one that everyone knows. The other two are inconvenient and therefore mostly brushed under the rug. Is that messed-up or what?

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Religious Tolerance Take on the Subject

 

Notice about halfway down the page the separation of JHWH and Elohim. That's because "Elohim" is a group of dieties. The jewish religion was originally polytheistic. There were actually two versions of the creation myth found on one scroll, one was a JHWH version and the other was an Elohim version. Ironically the Elohim version had a more closely equal relationship between Adam and Eve, and they were created at the same time, no mention of anyone being subjugated by anyone else. It's just one of those places where the plaster has always been cracked in the bible.

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Apologetics is the means of the shape-shifter, a phantasm. Trying to nail down any concrete interpretation is no easier than trying to stamp out a cockroach once you've turned the lights on.

 

Poonis: When your question is answered you change the question. That answer from Boadt is scientifically sound when it comes to the study of ancient literature. I conclude that your goal is not Truth but to prove the Christians wrong. Any schoolyard bully can do that.

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Apologetics is the means of the shape-shifter, a phantasm. Trying to nail down any concrete interpretation is no easier than trying to stamp out a cockroach once you've turned the lights on.

 

Poonis: When your question is answered you change the question. That answer from Boadt is scientifically sound when it comes to the study of ancient literature. I conclude that your goal is not Truth but to prove the Christians wrong. Any schoolyard bully can do that.

 

Please pay close attention to the bold words:

 

Ex 34:1 - The LORD said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.

 

Ex 34:4 - So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the LORD had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands.

 

Ex 34:10 - Then the LORD said: "I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you.

 

Ex 34:11-26: the covenant (2nd set of ten commandments) that god "[is] making... with [Moses]"

Ex 34:27 - Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."

 

Ex 34:28 - Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant - the Ten Commandment

 

Notice the word 'and': it is not 'then' or 'after 40 days...', it means while, and verse 28 specifically states moses wrote the words of the covenant on the new tablets while he fasted for 40 days and nights, which god explicitly described in verse 11 through 26.

 

-------------

 

When Ex. 34:10 explicitly states God is making a covenenant with Moses, and 34:27 concludes the making of the covenant for Moses to write down, it can only be concluded that "the covenant" can only be that which is found between verse 10 and verse 27. If you do not think so, you are showing me a polymorphic interpretation, in which you choose to make it say something else which it does not.

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In my efforts to kick-start autonomous thinking in christians on the CARM forums (which I am using as a test bed to refine my ultimate goal of finding a way to intentionally bring about the deconversion of christians), I have found something (not my own discovery, but one I have fine tuned) that appears to be cutting through Faith's defense in a peculiar manner. It is in regards to the Ten Commandments, which are a major pillar of christian faith. This may be common knowledge to us, but for christians, I have found it to remain largely ignored or unrealized.

 

Exodus 34:1 - Now the LORD said to Moses, "Cut out for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered.

 

If you actually sit down and write out the commandments in Exodus 20 and Exodus 34 (the first and second sets), the first couple commandments match, but then are no longer congruent. In essense, God said the words would be the same, and they are not. I ask why this is.

 

What I have found on CARM is this:

1. At least one prominent poster has ceased posting entirely about three weeks ago after trying to compare the two in an attempt to explain it away. This poster has had thousands of posts, and the very last one was his/her attempt to reconcile the two sets in accordance with Exodus 34:1.

2. Multiple fundamentalists have admitted in both responding post and in private message that it has really made them re-examine their faith.

 

I think it is particularily effective because it is an attack on a pillar of christian Faith itself, and not just the outskirts of faith, like pointing out a contradiction of genealogies that don't match, which is not.

 

In this, it seems to have kick-started autonomous thinking within at least a few christians on the site.

 

Of course, all of this may mean nothing as well and that I am just one evil motherfucker.

 

Isn't Christianity built around the Platonic philosophy of trinity and immortality? The ten commandments are actually a non-issue to their beliefs, you know, Jesus fulfilled the law and all that. An evil motherfucker like you should go after the Jews with this theory that God doesn’t exist because some fool couldn’t translate Hebrew into YOUR native tongue.

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I haven't seen any fanatical jew running around yet trying to proselytize. Did you?

 

People can believe in Fraboozle the most omnipotent (whoever this might be), I don't care... as long as they don't demand that I do too.

 

(Of course, what modern Israel does to the Palestinians may well be another question... but that would be another thread)

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Isn't Christianity built around the Platonic philosophy of trinity and immortality? The ten commandments are actually a non-issue to their beliefs, you know, Jesus fulfilled the law and all that. An evil motherfucker like you should go after the Jews with this theory that God doesn’t exist because some fool couldn’t translate Hebrew into YOUR native tongue.

 

Xianity is built around the ultimatium of John 3:16 - believe in Jebus or burn in Hell forever. Spiritual terrorism is at the heart of the Xian religion.

 

Jebus never said he did away with the law. To fulfill, in the ancient Hebraic religious context of the word, means to "make clearer" - not to somehow erase. Jebus also said that not one letter of the law shall pass away. Hence, every bloody, insane commandment in the Old Testament is supposed to be still fully valid and in effect, according to the Lord Enslaver himself.

 

And if you want "evil motherfuckers," look no further than the Wholly Babble and the "almighty" god portrayed within its pages:

 

Examples of Murder being Condoned in the Babble

Examples of Rape being Condoned in the Babble

Examples of Human Sacrifice being Condoned in the Babble

Examples of Slavery being Condoned in the Babble

Jebus Lying about Prayer

Jebus the Jerk

Jebus behaving as a Cult Leader

Assorted Examples of Babblical Cruelty

Assorted Examples of Babblical Injustice

Assorted Examples of Intolerance in the Babble

 

Good thing this god isn't real :)

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Isn't Christianity built around the Platonic philosophy of trinity and immortality? The ten commandments are actually a non-issue to their beliefs, you know, Jesus fulfilled the law and all that. An evil motherfucker like you should go after the Jews with this theory that God doesn’t exist because some fool couldn’t translate Hebrew into YOUR native tongue.

 

Xianity is built around the ultimatium of John 3:16 - believe in Jebus or burn in Hell forever. Spiritual terrorism is at the heart of the Xian religion.

 

Jebus never said he did away with the law. To fulfill, in the ancient Hebraic religious context of the word, means to "make clearer" - not to somehow erase. Jebus also said that not one letter of the law shall pass away. Hence, every bloody, insane commandment in the Old Testament is supposed to be still fully valid and in effect, according to the Lord Enslaver himself.

 

And if you want "evil motherfuckers," look no further than the Wholly Babble and the "almighty" god portrayed within its pages:

 

Examples of Murder being Condoned in the Babble

Examples of Rape being Condoned in the Babble

Examples of Human Sacrifice being Condoned in the Babble

Examples of Slavery being Condoned in the Babble

Jebus Lying about Prayer

Jebus the Jerk

Jebus behaving as a Cult Leader

Assorted Examples of Babblical Cruelty

Assorted Examples of Babblical Injustice

Assorted Examples of Intolerance in the Babble

 

Good thing this god isn't real :)

 

You obviously don’t understand biblical text. John 3:16 has nothing to do with burning. It does have to do with believing. Believing that you have the opportunity to live forever. Jesus fulfilled the law, everyone who died in compliance with the law will have eternal life. The ten commandants are NOT in effect as laws. What Jesus said was that if you believe, you will not violate these laws. If you worry about laws, you’re lost and will forever be.

 

As for “evil motherfuckers” – God is not. God is about reality. Look around you man. Those of you without God are definitely not leading a peaceful existence. You’ve obviously been influenced by the PC crowd. God has always been a God of justice. Always. You don’t agree with justice? You believe wrong is right?

 

God is real dude and one badass judge. You can believe that!

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