"But That's The Old Testament"

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

evanman
 
Reply Sat 18 Nov, 2006 01:38 pm
The point is Joseph wasn't under the law either!
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Sat 18 Nov, 2006 03:52 pm
evanman wrote:
The point is Joseph wasn't under the law either!

Well, if that was your point, then it has nothing to do with the current debate. But thanks for adding your 2 cents anyway. Smile
 
evanman
 
Reply Sun 19 Nov, 2006 01:53 pm
Quote:
You're probably going by the NIV translation,

I tend not to go by the NIV. Genesis chapter 1 is a preamble, Chapter 2 goes into things more deeply.

Quote:
. It is not present nor implied in the Hebrew text


The fact that in the previous chapter we are told the order of things created implies that.

Quote:
Genesis 2:18-22 is clearly sequential. Adam is lonely (18 ) so God creates the animals and brings them to Adam (19). When Adam doesn't find a suitable partner (20), God creates the woman (22).


You seem to be caught up in the details. You are reading into the narrative things which are not there. We have already be told in chapter one the order of creation, on the sixth day God created the animals first, then Adam.

Quote:
Genesis 1:25-26 is also clearly sequential (as is all of Chapter 1).

The sequentiality of chapter one does not imply that chapter two is a follow on. The narrative in chapter two has a different purpose, it goes into details that chapter one dcoesn't. though you may perceive a contradiction, there is none.

Quote:
Both sequences cannot be right. My argument remains valid.


It is your conclusion that is not valid, your understanding of what is being said is incorrect.

In any case the whole point of the narrative is to show about how humanity fell away from the creator.

Quote:
Since when is eating rabbit meat in the same category as adultery?

The point is not whether or not eating rabbit meat is in the same category as adultery the point is that men knew that sexual immorality was a sin even before there was the written commandment, which contradicts Berg's ascersion that as these things are contained in the Law then as followers of Jesus we are no longer under these things. The so-called "Law of Love" is Berg's invention.

Quote:
I challenge you to find independent proof that mankind was vegetarian before Noah's lifetime.


Independant from what? Genesis?--If that is so then we are at an impasse as Noah's story is a Bible narrative.

Quote:
The fact that he was born approximately halfway between The Jewish year 0 and 0 BCE does tend to be confusing. Either way (1950 BCE or 1950 years from Adam's creation), it's more or less accurate. Scholars place his birth between 2166 BCE and 1637 BCE.


It is confusing, and other scholars dispute the dates that you have quoted also. I will concede that Abraham did visit Egypt and that my previous ascetion about predating Egyptian civilisation was plainly wrong. However I do not accept that Abraham got the idea to circumcise himself and all the males of his household from Egyptian practice.

Quote:
I take it you're attempting to argue that God invented circumcision and Abraham was the first to practice it? If so, then why not just say so? Trying to pick apart the dates is not going to lend much to this debate.


Abraham was given the rite of circumcision from his God, it's meaning to Abraham was totally different from that of the Egyptians. It seems strange to describe this as an "invention", it's not like a watch or the wheel. But I guess it'll do.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Sun 19 Nov, 2006 09:03 pm
evanman wrote:
I tend not to go by the NIV. Genesis chapter 1 is a preamble, Chapter 2 goes into things more deeply.
Can you demonstrate this with references, please?

Most Bible scholars accept the hypothesis that the Torah was compiled from at least 3 accounts (the Elohist, the Jahwist, and the Preistly Source).

Based on this hypothesis, the newer Priestly source begins at Genesis 1:1 and continues through Genesis 2:4a while the older Jahwist source picks up at Genesis 2:4b.

Therefore, it is entirely possible that, as you stated, "the narrative in chapter two has a different purpose [than chapter one]", but unlikely that it was intended to expound on the first.

evanman wrote:
You seem to be caught up in the details.
Precisely. The truth always lies in the details.

evanman wrote:
You are reading into the narrative things which are not there.
On the contrary. I am basing my argument solely on exactly what is written. When God says, "It is not good that the man should be alone", I take that to mean that Adam was alone--that there were no other creatures. This is emphasized by the fact that God created "help meet[s]" for him and brought them to Adam.

You, on the other hand, read into the narrative what is not there: that God created the animals before man. If this was so, the author could easily have mentioned the creation (or at least the existence) of the animals before going into the details about the garden and man's creation. He/she did not. Therefore, I argue that the text can only be taken literally and no chronological order may be read into it, other than what is written.

If I wanted to read into the text, I would also have to deduce that God created only the male animals first. Obviously, God hadn't yet considered that Adam would be "alone" and would need a female companion, thus it would imply that he (we'll assume that pronoun for the moment) had not considered it when he created the animals. It would have been quite a "Doh!" moment for God if he had thought of creating a female chimpanzee but failed to create a female human, so surely the divine creator created only the male animals first and the female animals later.

But, as I said, I would have to read into the text to argue that position.

evanman wrote:
The sequentiality of chapter one does not imply that chapter two is a follow on.
I argued no such connection. Rather, I demonstrated the sequence in each narrative based on its own content.

Please make sure you understand my arguments before attempting to counter them.

evanman wrote:
It is your conclusion that is not valid, your understanding of what is being said is incorrect.
evanman, I think you've stepped into this debate a little late to know what's going on. The arguments I am presenting are not my conclusions. I am merely adopting one perspective for the sake of my debate with Acheik's friend.

Conclusions are things I avoid whenever possible.

evanman wrote:
The point is not whether or not eating rabbit meat is in the same category as adultery the point is that men knew that sexual immorality was a sin even before there was the written commandment, which contradicts Berg's ascersion that as these things are contained in the Law then as followers of Jesus we are no longer under these things. The so-called "Law of Love" is Berg's invention.
In that case, it has no relation to this debate. My argument was regarding the distinction between clean and unclean animals. Your interjection of an unrelated topic is not appreciated.

evanman wrote:
Independant from what? Genesis?--If that is so then we are at an impasse as Noah's story is a Bible narrative.
Yes, evanman, independent from Genesis. Notice I said, "Noah's lifetime". Considering the Bible places Noah around 2900 BCE (give or take a few centuries), you should be able to find plenty of independent material supporting to your claim that mankind was vegetarian prior to 2900 BCE.

evanman wrote:
Noah's story is a Bible narrative.
Care to polish up your knowledge of the Qur'an or the mythology of the Great Flood?

evanman wrote:
It seems strange to describe this as an "invention", it's not like a watch or the wheel. But I guess it'll do.
"Invent" has multiple definitions (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/invent). My intended use of it was, "to produce or create with the imagination".

evanman wrote:
However I do not accept that Abraham got the idea to circumcise himself and all the males of his household from Egyptian practice.
And you reject this view based on what independent evidence?
 
Acheick
 
Reply Mon 20 Nov, 2006 02:33 pm
WalkerJ wrote:

Not so in religion where the laws of cause and effect are arbitrary. Experiments performed on religious concepts cannot be expected to produce the same result every time. There are no tangible parts that may be examined and singularly defined. Correct answers become a matter of personal preference.


Oh, you mean, there is nothing spiritual in science? It only happens in religion?

Quote:
In short, the argument I am making, is that religion is an abstract. It is not even so much as a hypothesis. Therefore, it cannot be analyzed using the scientific methods. Until the concept of God and its effects become tangible or predictable in some way, it is a futile venture to try to define it scientifically or even hypothesize about it
.


Oh well, this explains everything. I do not think in concrete terms, my brain prcoesses everything in the abstract, which would explain the more creative side of me - I would think. (Although I am meticulous at details and am finding a life passion in research - go figure) Maybe this is why a belief in a creator (however you want to think of that creator) makes more sense to me then the explanation of evolution in place of a creator.


Quote:
Until such a time (I remain hopeful) I am content to accept only the existence of the arbitrarily defined concept of God. However, I cannot justify accepting the existence of a divine being merely because of my preference for one of those definitions.


I still don't see it as a preference. Can you explain to me the absolute mind-boggling experience when I prayed a little prayer to ask the savior into my life (pre-F, BTW)? I had no preconceived idea about it, I grew up in a strictly orthodox church that never heard or believed in such a thing. This shocked me so much that I found I had to follow this inanimate being or spirit. Science anyone? Concept?

Acheick wrote:
Science may be made up of facts a preponderance of the time, but a lot of the time it is based on theory and presumptions, waiting to be proved or disproved.

Quote:
Are you sure you're using the term 'theory' correctly? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory)


This may be a problem of semantics. I must take time to think about it and perhaps rephrase the statement. Thank you for your jostling my brain around. It's good mind exercise.[/quote]
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Mon 20 Nov, 2006 04:07 pm
Acheick wrote:
Oh, you mean, there is nothing spiritual in science? It only happens in religion?
Any phenomena that cannot be explained by contemporary science is not, by default, a spiritual one. What may now be considered a spiritual phenomenon by some, could be the subject matter of a 1st-grade science class in a few centuries.

Humans are superstitious by nature, and the tendency is to paint the inexplicable with the broad brush of spiritualism. If you could bring electricity back in time 500 years, people would have likely called you an angel or a witch (most probably the latter). It is this facet of human nature that causes people in TF, for example, to claim that a person suffering from bi-polar disorder is under the influence of demonic spiritual beings.

The "spiritual things", as you say, that happen in religion, may well have a simple scientific explanation.

Acheick wrote:
Oh well, this explains everything. I do not think in concrete terms, my brain prcoesses everything in the abstract, which would explain the more creative side of me - I would think. (Although I am meticulous at details and am finding a life passion in research - go figure) Maybe this is why a belief in a creator (however you want to think of that creator) makes more sense to me then the explanation of evolution in place of a creator.
As I see it, there is nothing wrong with that belief. The problems arise when you let the abstract laws of the spiritual govern the tangible.

Acheick wrote:
I still don't see it as a preference. Can you explain to me the absolute mind-boggling experience when I prayed a little prayer to ask the savior into my life (pre-F, BTW)? I had no preconceived idea about it, I grew up in a strictly orthodox church that never heard or believed in such a thing. This shocked me so much that I found I had to follow this inanimate being or spirit. Science anyone? Concept?
Taking a purely biological perspective, the feelings and emotions you experienced were the product of chemicals and firing synapses in the brain--nothing more.

If you claim they were spiritual, I am in no position to contest that. I'm sure you're aware that similar experiences have been had by believers of religions you dismiss.

Regarding my use of the term "preference", think of it this way: Would you hold the same beliefs you do now if you had not had that experience? Would you have converted to another religion if saying one of their prayers had produced the same or similar experience? Has your good experience with Christianity influenced your perspective on God?

It's human nature to establish comfort zones. We prefer that which we are familiar with.

Admittedly, "preference" may not the best term to use, but I cannot yet think of a better fitting English word. What do you call the distinction between what one accepts and what one rejects?

Acheick wrote:
Thank you for your jostling my brain around. It's good mind exercise.
And thank you for the opportunity to question my own perspectives in these matters.

On the subject of mind exercise, there's an oft-used tag line written by the otherwise unknown Stephen F. Roberts that got me thinking when I read it. It says, "I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
 
Cookie 2
 
Reply Mon 20 Nov, 2006 04:13 pm
great quote, WalkerJ!
 
Acheick
 
Reply Mon 20 Nov, 2006 05:37 pm
WalkerJ wrote:
Any phenomena that cannot be explained by contemporary science is not, by default, a spiritual one. What may now be considered a spiritual phenomenon by some, could be the subject matter of a 1st-grade science class in a few centuries.

Humans are superstitious by nature, and the tendency is to paint the inexplicable with the broad brush of spiritualism. If you could bring electricity back in time 500 years, people would have likely called you an angel or a witch (most probably the latter). It is this facet of human nature that causes people in TF, for example, to claim that a person suffering from bi-polar disorder is under the influence of demonic spiritual beings.

The "spiritual things", as you say, that happen in religion, may well have a simple scientific explanation.


Well, true, and people were convinced the world was flat. But that shouldn't dismiss spirituality or spiritual phenomena. Doesn't it make you wonder why people are superstitious by nature? Even with all we know today, there are people who believe we were dropped here by aliens (Scientologists), white people were created by a disgruntled African scientist to punish his peers (Nation of Islam), GWB purposesly blew up the New Orlean levies because he hates black people (just about everybody else). I'm talking everyday normal people who attend school along with everybody else, and some highly schooled people as well. What I'm trying to say here is how human beings have a spiritual quality to them that often defies reason, why is that?


WalkerJ wrote:
As I see it, there is nothing wrong with that belief. The problems arise when you let the abstract laws of the spiritual govern the tangible.


And what would that problem be?

WalkerJ wrote:
Taking a purely biological perspective, the feelings and emotions you experienced were the product of chemicals and firing synapses in the brain--nothing more.

If you claim they were spiritual, I am in no position to contest that. I'm sure you're aware that similar experiences have been had by believers of religions you dismiss.


Yes, I am certainly aware. I was shocked to see such things when I attended a Hindu ritual with devotees carrying kevatees (sp?) on their heads using fish hooks in their bodies. They get into a trance and lose track of pain and rarely even bleed. Even little children. I believe it's a spiritual thing with the mind, but not a good spiritual thing. Today, there are people in Las Vegas who have also mastered the techinique and perform for street audiences. I don't see the correlation with what I went through. I had no idea such a thing was possible, I was not attempting to go into a trance, singing songs, dancing in circles, etc. I said a simple, short prayer, that was it. I didn't think anything would come of it. It hit me by surprise.

WalkerJ wrote:
Regarding my use of the term "preference", think of it this way: Would you hold the same beliefs you do now if you had not had that experience? Would you have converted to another religion if saying one of their prayers had produced the same or similar experience? Has your good experience with Christianity influenced your perspective on God?

It's human nature to establish comfort zones. We prefer that which we are familiar with.


Ahem, Walker, I had some pretty bad experiences with Christianity in TF that nearly turned me into an agnostic. Certainly, I was full of doubt and questioning and even today, I cannot walk into a church and sit comfortably. I am not in my comfort zone. But as I study Christianity itself without all the human traps, I find it still to be the best religion, the religion of forgiveness, of a closeness to God, if people follow it in truth. I simply cannot sit and look at the world around me and think it was just a happening, or that aliens dropped us here, or whatever people try to think of what happened and why we live and breathe and love and have emotions. I cannot think of every single child I gave birth to, what a miracle to experience, and not think of a loving God.

WalkerJ wrote:
Admittedly, "preference" may not the best term to use, but I cannot yet think of a better fitting English word. What do you call the distinction between what one accepts and what one rejects?


How about process of elimination? IDK, just kidding.

WalkerJ wrote:
On the subject of mind exercise, there's an oft-used tag line written by the otherwise unknown Stephen F. Roberts that got me thinking when I read it. It says, "I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."


Hmmm...ok, but I don't dismiss all the other gods. Actually, it only proves the bible to me even more. The bible speaks about how God has put in every person to know him. So, these many ways are man's attempt to find his creator. Why would nearly every culture be trying to worship something, even if it's the sun or the moon? They have an innate understanding that they are small in the big scheme of things and that someone or something has created their life. This only reinforces what I already believe.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Mon 20 Nov, 2006 06:21 pm
Acheick wrote:
And what would that problem be?
Problem was a poor choice of words on my part. Conflict would have been better.

The conflicts that arise would be similar to those experienced in the middle ages or in fanatical religious groups, in fact, in any environment where people have grown accustomed to making decisions based only on their spiritual beliefs or where individuality is suppressed by the demands of the spiritual.

Acheick wrote:
But as I study Christianity itself without all the human traps, I find it still to be the best religion, the religion of forgiveness, of a closeness to God, if people follow it in truth.
Those same values are held by almost every other religion. So what is it about Christianity specifically, that makes you choose it above, say, Islam or Hinduism? Is it the implied cultural differences of those religions? What is it about the Christian definition of God that you believe to be more accurate than the "Shiva" or "Zeus" definition?

Acheick wrote:
Hmmm...ok, but I don't dismiss all the other gods. Actually, it only proves the bible to me even more. The bible speaks about how God has put in every person to know him. So, these many ways are man's attempt to find his creator.
Are you aware of the circular logic in your reasoning?

Furthermore, the fact that everyone is looking for something is by no means proof of that thing's existence.

Acheick wrote:
Why would nearly every culture be trying to worship something, even if it's the sun or the moon?
Because we as humans have an instinctual fear of death. We cannot come to terms with the concept that we are not in control and that our lives are inconsequential. We detest the notion that the human mind, the acme of our planet's evolution, is trapped within a vehicle that is nothing more than an infinitesimal speck in the universe; its potential wasted inside a fragile human shell.

Therefore we believe in things we cannot prove and trust in things we cannot see. We find comfort in superstitions, and settle for half-baked answers merely so we can create a reality for ourselves in which we feel that we are in control of our destiny and that our life has meaning.

It all stems from primal fear. The same fear that has kept both man and beast alive since the dawn of time.

Man, however, has evolved to the point where he is able to suppress that fear. This is possibly one of the main things that distinguishes us from our nearest relative in the animal kingdom.

How's that for a motivational speech?....NOT Razz
 
winter 1
 
Reply Thu 23 Nov, 2006 10:32 pm
I suppose that realizing you are not in control of yourself would be the first step to gaining control, It is difficult to realize that your life is tossed about by the tides of time and circumstance, but to place yourself in the position you desire is even more challenging.

A very important question to ask is: will I or will I not continue to exist after I die? Or perhaps: Will I be self-aware after I die?

I will now speculate:
Questions like these are perhaps currently at the root of religion and superstition. I do not think death is currently the main fear. Once humans became aware of the concept of "awareness" or "life" beyond this physical life, then they began to fear that they would not exist or perhaps have a miserable experience after they die. Based upon their own experiences of the physical life and how actions have consequences, perhaps they began to see that their lives actions will continue to have consequences after they die. The views of heaven and hell have adapted accordingly - rewards and punishments.

Whether we continue to exist after we die or not, does not remove the positive values that exist in our lives. If we create our reality, then, even so, we may create our world that continues after we die. If it doesn't, then will the dead care or be disappointed?

I would think that to see your own actions and realize that you have control over them and have power over how you act is growth and power. Perhaps there is a balance between the internal and external realities. There is a world inside my mind and a world that I share with life on this planet. How many intersecting worlds do I live in? I'm not quite sure. I have friends who may have their own internal universe as well. When these worlds agree together at their intersections, there is honesty and sound judgment. Therefore I say it is good to not only believe yourself but to consider the worlds of others.

TF very well may all die and drift off together into their own heaven that does not intersect with many other worlds. Their intersecting minds and worlds will be their "heaven." Will this place really exist just because they believe it does? Sure why not? Will they dare to leave it? Probably not. They will also probably remorse getting excommunicated and therefore all be subject to those who hold the power over them - the leaders.

OK, enough speculation. I have to go do something.

Ciao.
 
Acheick
 
Reply Tue 28 Nov, 2006 08:07 pm
To Walker from Torah follower
WJ - my friend asked me to apologize for her long delay, she was ill, but is feeling better now. In any event, here's her response. I'm thinking about what you wrote to me, I will get to it soon, also.

Quote:
Before I present my response to your claim of "inconsistency" or "inaccuracy" in Torah, let's understand the nature of the text.

We look to the Torah for Life Lessons on man's relationship with God; man's relationship with each other; and man's relationship with nature.

The Torah begins with the Creation Story taught in two pedagogical formats, each of which presents creation from a different perspective and with a different focus. We refer to the first format as Perek Alef (chapter one) and the second format as Perek Bet (chapter two).

Chapter One presents creation from the perspective of all-of-each-creation's-potentialities-all-at-once, and with a God-centric focus.

Chapter Two presents creation from the perspective of creation-as-perceived-by-man-within-man's-environs, and with a homo-centric focus.

Rich in metaphor and meta-physics, the Creation Story is one of the most complex portions of Torah. Its depths are comprehendable really only after a solid foundation has been built on the rest of Torah. Just as a math student can not hope to master Einstein's theories without first mastering the rest of mathematics. The non-advanced student can reasonably expect to catch just a glimpse, a hint, a foretaste of full comprehension.

As a non-advanced student, my response to you will be based upon a plain understanding of the original Hebrew text within the context of perspective and focus of Chapters One and Two (as outlined above).



Chapter One

On the third day, the SEED of every herb ("herb-yielding seed") and the SEED of every tree ("tree-bearing fruit") came into existence (verses 11-12). On the sixth day, MAN was created (verse 27). The SEED precedes MAN.

Remember that Chapter One presents creation from the perspective of all-of-each-creation's-potentialities-all-at-once.

From this perspective, along with the existence of the seed of each vegetative species, the entire spectrum of each vegetative species existed - in the sense that the full potentiality of each SPECIES was encompassed within each seed's creation. For example, all of the lifecycle stages of each vegetative species (such as the mature stages that we call plants, herbs, and trees) were created along with the creation of each seed.

From this perspective, along with the existence of the adult of the human species, the entire spectrum of the human species existed - in the sense that the full potentiality of the human SPECIES was encompassed within the adult's creation. For example, all of the lifecycle stages of the human species (such as the youthful stages that we call fetus and infant) were created along with the creation of the adult.

Creation of the vegetative SPECIES precedes creation of the human SPECIES.



Chapter Two

"All the trees of the field were not yet on the earth and all the herbs of the field had not yet sprouted, for Hashem God had not sent rain upon the earth and there was no man to work the soil." (verse 5)

Remember that Chapter Two presents creation from the perspective of creation-as-perceived-by-man-within-man's-environs.

From man's perspective, seeds GROW into trees and herbs after man works the soil and after the rains fall. However, this is just a GROWTH process, from seed stage to plant stage, not an act of new CREATION.

CREATION of the vegetative species precedes CREATION of the human species. There is no internal inconsistency between Chapter One and Chapter Two.


Which of your other claims would you like me to address next?
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Tue 28 Nov, 2006 09:52 pm
Re: To Walker from Torah follower
Acheik, please pass on my thanks to your friend for her reply. I'm glad she is feeling better and hope she rested well over the holidays (assuming she is in the US).

Quote:
We look to the Torah for Life Lessons on man's relationship with God; man's relationship with each other; and man's relationship with nature.

Rich in metaphor and meta-physics, the Creation Story is one of the most complex portions of Torah.
So, if I understand correctly, portions of the Torah such as the Creation Story are not to be taken so much as literal history, but rather as metaphor and moral guides. If that is so, then scientific logic is clearly useless in this debate.

Quote:
Its depths are comprehendable really only after a solid foundation has been built on the rest of Torah.
Let me see if I can explain why this statement makes no sense from my adopted perspective: The very essence of the Torah is devotion to a divine creator. Man was created by God, therefore man is expected to worship God. Without a creator, there is nothing to worship or aspire to fellowship with in the afterlife.

The Jewish faith exists because of Genesis 1 and 2. Without those chapters, the rest of the Torah loses all validity and its claim to superiority is fair game for ridicule.

I maintain that the Creation Story is the sole foundation of the entire Torah. Thus, to say that one must gain a solid understanding in the rest of the Torah before understanding the story of creation is akin to saying one must build the house before one builds the foundation. Do you disagree?

Quote:

Chapter One

On the third day, the SEED of every herb ("herb-yielding seed") and the SEED of every tree ("tree-bearing fruit") came into existence (verses 11-12). On the sixth day, MAN was created (verse 27). The SEED precedes MAN.

Remember that Chapter One presents creation from the perspective of all-of-each-creation's-potentialities-all-at-once.

[...]

Chapter Two

"All the trees of the field were not yet on the earth and all the herbs of the field had not yet sprouted, for Hashem God had not sent rain upon the earth and there was no man to work the soil." (verse 5)

Remember that Chapter Two presents creation from the perspective of creation-as-perceived-by-man-within-man's-environs.
I don't dispute the chronology of the creation of the plants. Regardless of the perspective, both narratives have them created (in seed form or otherwise) before man was created.

My issue is with the creation of the animals. In chapter 1, they are created before man, in chapter 2 they are created after man. One sequence is inaccurate ergo it must be the product of an imperfect being.

When I posted my arguments, it was late at night and I realized only the next morning that I had posted a passage in error. That passage may have been the portion of the narrative regarding the plants. If so, and you read the uncorrected version, I apologize for the confusion.

Quote:
Which of your other claims would you like me to address next?
If you don't mind, since my first argument remains unaddressed, I would still like an answer to it.
 
Acheick
 
Reply Sun 3 Dec, 2006 01:07 am
Torah Girl responds
To Walker:

Quote:
Walker wrote: "So, if I understand correctly, portions of the Torah such as the Creation Story are not to be taken so much as literal history, but rather as metaphor and moral guides. If that is so, then scientific logic is clearly useless in this debate."


By "scientific logic," do you mean the following?


"We need to be aware of a distinction between what some call 'natural logic' or common sense and 'scientific' logic. We all have an internal sense of what is logical and what is not, which we generally refer to as 'common sense.' This 'natural' logic we have learned from the moment of birth, through our personal experiences in the world and through our acquisition of language. Scientific logic, on the other hand, is simply our natural logic trained and developed to expertness by means of well-established knowledge of the principles, laws, and methods which underlie the various operations of the mind in the pursuit of and attainment of truth." ~ Logic and Critical Thinking
by Jonathan Dolhenty, Ph.D.


If this is what you mean by "scientific logic," then I do think that scientific logic is useful in the discipline of Torah study.

For example, I maintain that the Creation Story is neither random nor arbitrary; rather, it is a coherent and consistent system of thought, expressed through a text which (through its particular linguistic structure) signals the system's paradigm and boundaries. Scientific logic can be applied to TEST this thought system's internal consistency and coherency.

Are you agreeable to this sort of testing, which would make scientific logic useful in this debate?




Quote:
Walker wrote: "...Without a creator, there is nothing to worship or aspire to fellowship with in the afterlife....

"I maintain that the Creation Story is the sole foundation of the entire Torah. Thus, to say that one must gain a solid understanding in the rest of the Torah before understanding the story of creation is akin to saying one must build the house before one builds the foundation. Do you disagree?"


I disagree.

The deepest metaphors and metaphysics within the written Creation Story are an important source of intimate (within human limits) knowledge of God. And a solid understanding in the rest of Torah is indeed a prerequisite to this knowledge.

However, such intimate knowledge of God is not necessary to grasp the notion of God-as-Creator. The plain text of the Creation Story is sufficient for an understanding that God is Creator of all.

In Torah Judaism, the single most important foundation of the entire Torah is the demonstration at Sinai.


Quote:
Walker wrote: "I don't dispute the chronology of the creation of the plants. Regardless of the perspective, both narratives have them created (in seed form or otherwise) before man was created.... When I posted my arguments, it was late at night and I realized only the next morning that I had posted a passage in error. That passage may have been the portion of the narrative regarding the plants. If so, and you read the uncorrected version, I apologize for the confusion."


I see. Yes, I received the uncorrected version. But, no problem, it has given us at least a point of agreement.


Quote:
Walker wrote: "My issue is with the creation of the animals. In chapter 1, they are created before man, in chapter 2 they are created after man. One sequence is inaccurate ergo it must be the product of an imperfect being.... If you don't mind, since my first argument remains unaddressed, I would still like an answer to it."


Okay, I plan to address the "creation of the animals" in my next response, hopefully early next week. Meanwhile, thanks very much for your "get well" wishes and have a good weekend. Smile

Acheick speaking: Sorry about the confusion, I'm having a bit of a hard time keeping up - Rolling Eyes
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Wed 6 Dec, 2006 02:42 pm
Re: Torah Girl responds
My apologies for the delay of this response. Project deadlines and freelance work have been taking up the better part of my schedule that is not dedicated to my full-time job.

Quote:
By "scientific logic," do you mean the following?

"[...] Scientific logic, on the other hand, is simply our natural logic trained and developed to expertness by means of well-established knowledge of the principles, laws, and methods which underlie the various operations of the mind in the pursuit of and attainment of truth." ~ Logic and Critical Thinking by Jonathan Dolhenty, Ph.D.

If this is what you mean by "scientific logic," then I do think that scientific logic is useful in the discipline of Torah study.

In this particular quote, Dr. Dolhenty gives a very broad definition of the term. Although the exact definition of "scientific logic" appears to be widely debated, it is better described in the metaphor of a bi-polar rule with opposing degrees of probability. Indeterminability dominates the middle and finiteness on either side depends on whether the philosophies of universalism or relativism are applied.

So, really, the question should be which of the two philosophies should be applied to the logic presented in our debate.

Either way, we still run into difficulties when testing metaphors and metaphysics.

Metaphors have no empirical entities upon which such a rule may be enforced. They are mediums of communication that lend themselves entirely to the interpretation of both the author and the reader. Likewise with "Life Lessons". While metaphysics may arguably offer some small room for debate using empirical science, it is certainly not enough to detract from the main thread of this debate which concerns divine vs. human authorship of the Torah.

Metaphors and metaphysics are irrefutable. According to Popper's equation, this makes them non-scientific.

Quote:
Scientific logic can be applied to TEST this thought system's internal consistency and coherency. Are you agreeable to this sort of testing, which would make scientific logic useful in this debate?

I think you misunderstand my objective here.

My objective, as stated at the onset of this debate, is not to study the Torah or to "test this thought system's internal consistency and coherency" it is to test its external consistency and coherency in order to demonstrate that "no religion based on the texts can rightly be referred to as anything other than a faith and therefore cannot be analyzed using scientific logic".

It is practically a given that the Torah contains a general internal consistency--be it coherent or abstract--else all faith in it would have dissipated long ago. Pick any well-written novel off the shelf and you will find internal consistency to which scientific logic may be applied. Any ostensible flaws in the logic may be easily rectified through extrapolation upon the existing text. Yet it remains a work of fiction. What determines a concept's degree of probability is independent analysis.

This debate is a futile venture if I am going to attempt to debate the Torah from the outside while you counter with internal logic. If we are to have a productive debate, we must use the same methods of logic and apply them to the same subject matter.

I am agreeable to debating these passages based on their external empirical properties only. A debate of the Torah's authenticity based solely on its own contents leads quickly to circular reasoning. Besides, that's what God created Rabbis for. Smile

Do you have any objections to this?
Quote:
The deepest metaphors and metaphysics within the written Creation Story are an important source of intimate (within human limits) knowledge of God. And a solid understanding in the rest of Torah is indeed a prerequisite to this knowledge.

So then we have come full circle to my earlier question: Where is the line drawn between what is metaphor and what is litteral? If the line is so blurred that the distinction is indeterminable, then no scientific logic can be successfully applied and I rest my case. If there is a distinction, then why can the learned men and dedicated students of your faith not come to an agreement on where it is? If every claim of ostensible inconsistency is attributed to unfamiliarity with esoteric metaphors then application of scientific logic is, again, futile and again, I rest my case.

Quote:
In Torah Judaism, the single most important foundation of the entire Torah is the demonstration at Sinai.
No. It is only the single most important foundation for Judaism's claim to superiority. It has nothing to do with defining Judaism's core concepts. Take out the manifestation at Sinai and the Torah loses little theological value. Take out the Creation story and you have lost most of it.

The Torah's definition of God is accepted by several main-stream religions that reject many of Judaism's other fundamental beliefs. This strongly indicates that there are more basic building blocks to Judaism than the events at Sinai.

Quote:
I see. Yes, I received the uncorrected version. But, no problem, it has given us at least a point of agreement.
To be clear, my objective in this debate is not to establish points of agreement. It is to question my own logic as well as that presented to me. But common ground offers a welcome repose every now and again.

I look forward to your reply.
 
Acheick
 
Reply Wed 6 Dec, 2006 07:16 pm
Hey Walker, my GF (she resides in the U.S. BTW), is down for minor surgery and told me to let you know that she will respond when she is on her feet again.

Don't worry about taking your time. We're all pretty busy - me too. And it's the holidays on top of all the rest of the stuff. I've been put on double duty so I'm pretty bushed these days as well. I had every intention of getting back to you on your circular logic accusation, but I've basically shelved it for now. I apologize too.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Thu 7 Dec, 2006 11:09 am
Acheick wrote:
Hey Walker, my GF (she resides in the U.S. BTW), is down for minor surgery and told me to let you know that she will respond when she is on her feet again.
Thanks. I appreciate it.

I don't pray, but I'll be keeping her surgery in my thoughts and will send positive vibes in her direction (or whatever it is we agnostics are supposed to do Smile ).
 
Day 1
 
Reply Fri 8 Dec, 2006 09:47 am
WalkerJ wrote:

I don't pray, but I'll be keeping her surgery in my thoughts and will send positive vibes in her direction (or whatever it is we agnostics are supposed to do Smile ).


I wonder what the appropriate term is for that.
 
Acheick
 
Reply Fri 8 Dec, 2006 01:45 pm
Day wrote:
WalkerJ wrote:

I don't pray, but I'll be keeping her surgery in my thoughts and will send positive vibes in her direction (or whatever it is we agnostics are supposed to do Smile ).


I wonder what the appropriate term is for that.


hahaha - sounds very 60ish to me! Does this mean we've come full circle???? Shocked
 
Acheick
 
Reply Fri 8 Dec, 2006 01:57 pm
Torah and alleged inconsistencies Part 3
Torah girl is up and running and she thanks you all for your vibes and what not - 8)

Here's her reply to Walker's --

======================================================
Quote:
Quote:
In Torah Judaism, the single most important foundation of the entire
Torah is the demonstration at Sinai.


"No. It is only the single most important foundation for Judaism's
claim to superiority. It has nothing to do with defining Judaism's
core concepts. Take out the manifestation at Sinai and the Torah
loses little theological value. Take out the Creation story and you
have lost most of it."
======================================================

I repeat, in Torah Judaism, the single most important foundation of the entire Torah is the demonstration at Sinai. Without the Sinai demonstration, we have no logical reason to accept the rest of the Torah as True. Take out the Sinai demonstration, and the whole Torah loses credibility in the eyes of the Jew.

On the other hand, take away Genesis Chapters One and Two, and the rest of Torah still contains all of Judaism's core theological value. For proof, simply read Maimonides's "Thirteen Principles of the Jewish Faith." There is not a more authoritative description of core Jewish theology. Every one of the 13 Principles is based on Torah verses OTHER THAN Genesis chapters one and two. Here is an outline summary:

Torah Sources for Principle 1: Exodus 20:2; Deuteronomy 5:6

Torah Sources for Principle 2: Deuteronomy 6:4

Torah Sources for Principle 3: Deuteronomy 4:15

Torah Sources for Principle 4: Deuteronomy 33:27

Torah Sources for Principle 5: based in the prohibition against idolatry about which much of the Torah deals

Torah Sources for Principle 6: There are numerous verses in the Torah which attest to the prophecy of the prophets

Torah Sources for Principle 7: Numbers 12:8; Exodus 25:22; Numbers 12:6-8; Exodus 33:11; Numbers 9:8

Torah Sources for Principle 8: Numbers 16:28

Torah Sources for Principle 9: Deuteronomy 13:1

Torah Sources for Principle 10: Genesis 6:5; Genesis 18:20

Torah Sources for Principle 11: Exodus 32:32-33

Torah Sources for Principle 12: Numbers 24; Deuteronomy 30:3-5

Torah Sources for Principle 13: Exodus 6:4; Deuteronomy 31:16; Deuteronomy 4:4

This is an interesting discussion, and I'm eager to resume it at a later time. At this time, however, I wish to refocus our attention back to the debate.



Given the time elapsed between resonses - and the possibility that you are simultaneously debating other people, which is possibly causing confusion for you - I feel the need to recap the debate between us, up to this point.

At the onset of our debate, you presented your statement of position and arguments (see below).

And I signaled to you that I'd like to begin with your "inconsistencies and inaccuracies argument." I signaled this choice in two ways.

First, I added bold and underlined emphasis to your "inconsistencies and inaccuracies argument," in order to visually focus your attention to that particular argument. Here is the quote:

======================================================
"for the sake of this argument, I will take the position that the Torah is the product of human authors who were inspired by nothing other than their personal agendas and influenced by nothing other than their environment and human nature.

"I will argue that the inconsistencies and inaccuracies contained in their writings support the hypotheses of human rather than divine authorship.

"I will argue that because there is no independent support of many of the events described in the Torah, that these portions cannot be relied upon for historical accuracy, and therefore could not be divinely inspired.

"I will compare the history of the Jewish religion and holy books with those of other religions in order to establish patterns in their evolutions.

"I will argue that because divine authorship cannot be proven, no religion based on the texts can rightly be referred to as anything other than a faith and therefore cannot be analyzed using scientific logic."
======================================================

Second, I wrote, "Good. Let's begin. Please provide an example of 'inconsistency' or 'inaccuracy' in the Torah." This was an explicit reference to focus your attention upon your "inconsistencies and inaccuracies argument."

You responded with examples, beginning with "plants" as follows:

======================================================
Quote:
1a. Man is created before the plants:

Quote:
Genesis 2:4-7
In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
======================================================

I prefaced my next response by stating that - although the Creation Story is rich in metaphor and metaphysics - "MY RESPONSE TO YOU WILL BE BASED UPON A PLAIN UNDERSTANDING OF THE ORIGINAL HEBREW TEXT." I am using the plain text - NOT METAPHORS. And I did use the plain text to refute your claim of internal inconsistency between chapters one and two (regarding creation of plants).

You responded that you had listed the "plants" argument in error and that you "don't dispute the chronology of the creation of the plants." And you requested that I next address your "animals" argument.

I responded affirmatively, and I planned to address your "animals" argument.

But your latest response (below) seems problematic to me.



Quote:
======================================================
Walker wrote:
My objective, as stated at the onset of this debate, is not to study
the Torah or to "test this thought system's INTERNAL consistency and
coherency" it is to test its EXTERNAL consistency and coherency...".

[capitalization added for emphasis, by Torah Friend]
======================================================


As I noted above, one of your arguments is that there are "INCONSISTENCIES AND INACCURACIES CONTAINED IN [TORAH]." In other words, they are INTERNAL.

The logical method for refuting your claim of INTERNAL inconsistency is to test the INTERNAL elements in question, against each other. Thus, I am presenting the plain text (not metaphors) of those Torah portions that you claim are inconsistent, and I am testing those portions of plain text against each other.

Now, one of your claims may be that the Torah is EXTERNALLY inconsistent (in addition to being INTERNALLY inconsistent). And I am willing to debate this claim as well.

However, I am NOT willing to jump back and forth from one argument (INTERNAL inconsistency) to the other argument (EXTERNAL inconsistency). NOR am I willing to leave the first argument (INTERNAL inconsistency) until I've had opportunity to refute each of the following three examples you provided as follows:

Quote:
======================================================
Walker wrote:
1a. Man is created before the plants [sic; you meant "before the animals"]:
1b. Man is created after the animals:
Argument: Even if this inconsistency is due to the compilation to two written accounts, the chronological orders cannot both be right. One is inaccurate. A superhuman being must above committing such an error.

2a. Noah is told (twice) to take one pair of every kind of animal, bird and insect:
2b. Noah is told to take seven pairs of all clean animals and birds
Argument: A divine being would have no inerrant reason to contradict him/herself in a matter regarding the life and death of all of his/her creations.

3. God makes a covenant (a formal agreement) with Abraham, promising to give him "all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession" if he and all descendant males will be circumcised.
Argument: The ritual of circumcision predates Abraham's time (supposedly @1950 BCE) by at least a full millennium. A divine being would have been aware that Abraham's religious (idol worshiping) counterparts, the Egyptians, were already mutilating their males in this manner and that the practice of this ritual would not make Abraham's lineage any more special than the Egyptians. A human author, on the other hand, could be excused for such an erroneous assumption.
======================================================



Now, I concede that internal consistency DOES NOT prove the text is factual. As you wrote, "Pick any well-written novel off the shelf and you will find internal consistency to which scientific logic may be applied."

Nonetheless, showing that your claim of internal inconsistency is unsupported by the evidence DOES cause one of your initial arguments to fall apart. I am speaking about your ARGUMENT that "inconsistencies and inaccuracies contained in [Torah] support the hypotheses of human rather than divine authorship," which is dependent upon the PREMISE that internal inconsistencies and inaccuracies exist. If you can't prove your PREMISE, then your argument logically falls apart.

Therefore, I will continue debating that PREMISE. I have already addressed the "plants." In a future response, I plan to address the "animals."



Quote:
======================================================
Walker wrote:
This debate is a futile venture if I am going to attempt to debate
the Torah from the outside while you counter with internal logic. If
we are to have a productive debate, we must use the same methods of
logic and apply them to the same subject matter.
======================================================


I will continue to apply INTERNAL logic to refute your examples of INTERNAL inconsistency.



Quote:
======================================================
Walker wrote:
I am agreeable to debating these passages based on their external
empirical properties only.
======================================================


EXTERNAL empirical properties are of no use while debating INTERNAL inconsistency. Therefore, I am willing and eager to debate EXTERNAL elements - but only after we finish debating the INTERNAL elements.



Quote:
======================================================
Walker wrote:
A debate of the Torah's authenticity based
solely on its own contents leads quickly to circular reasoning.

======================================================


Once again, I concede that even an internally consistent text DOES NOT prove its authenticity (i.e., Truth). Nonetheless, as I said before, disproving your examples of internal inconsistency DOES mean that one of your initial arguments is based on an UNSUPPORTED PREMISE.

Again, to recap, here is YOUR ARGUMENT that I am currently debating with you:

"I will argue that the inconsistencies and inaccuracies
contained in their writings support the hypotheses of
human rather than divine authorship."

The PREMISE of your argument is that inconsistencies and innacuracies exist within the Torah. To support your PREMISE, you gave three examples:

(1) Animals: created before AND created after man
(2) Noah: told to take one pair AND to take seven pairs
(3) Covenant with Abraham: circumcision is not new

I will continue to refute your examples, by applying INTERNAL scientific logic to the plain text (not metaphors).


Quote:

======================================================
Walker wrote:
If the line [between what is metaphor and what is litteral]
is so blurred that the distinction is indeterminable, then no
scientific logic can be successfully applied
======================================================

This was not a problem in my refutation of your "plants" argument (because I did not use metaphors). Nor do I anticipate it being a problem in my refutation of your other arguments (because I don't plan to use metaphors). If you feel it does become an actual problem, then please bring up your question again, at that time.

Meanwhile, have a great weekend. And I will plan my next response regarding your "animals" argument. Smile
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Sat 9 Dec, 2006 12:10 am
Re: Torah and alleged inconsistencies Part 3
Quote:
I repeat, in Torah Judaism, the single most important foundation of the entire Torah is the demonstration at Sinai. Without the Sinai demonstration, we have no logical reason to accept the rest of the Torah as True. Take out the Sinai demonstration, and the whole Torah loses credibility in the eyes of the Jew.
And I repeat: "I will compare the history of the Jewish religion and holy books with those of other religions in order to establish patterns in their evolutions."

I'm looking at this from the perspective of all religions that accept the divinity of the Torah or, at the very least, accept it as historically authentic. You are looking at it from the perspective of Judaism.

Remember, I am debating the Torah, not Judaism. My intent was to establish the Torah's (in particular Genesis') importance to many of the contemporary religions. To relate to you, I made references to your faith. If I was debating with Christians, I would have made the same argument using their religion as a reference point.

Quote:
On the other hand, take away Genesis Chapters One and Two, and the rest of Torah still contains all of Judaism's core theological value. For proof, simply read Maimonides's "Thirteen Principles of the Jewish Faith." There is not a more authoritative description of core Jewish theology. Every one of the 13 Principles is based on Torah verses OTHER THAN Genesis chapters one and two.
Actually, my argument was based in part on Maimonides' first principle, "To know the existence of the Creator", particularly where he states, "And if you could contemplate a case, such that He was not to exist…then all things would cease to exist and there would remain nothing."

That said, I did not anticipate the volume of discussion we've had on this side issue nor did I intend to distract from our original debate, so I am content to continue it at a later date and return the focus to my previous arguments.

Quote:
Given the time elapsed between resonses - and the possibility that you are simultaneously debating other people, which is possibly causing confusion for you - I feel the need to recap the debate between us, up to this point.
Not the case but appreciated, nonetheless.

Quote:
I prefaced my next response by stating that - although the Creation Story is rich in metaphor and metaphysics - "MY RESPONSE TO YOU WILL BE BASED UPON A PLAIN UNDERSTANDING OF THE ORIGINAL HEBREW TEXT." I am using the plain text - NOT METAPHORS. And I did use the plain text to refute your claim of internal inconsistency between chapters one and two (regarding creation of plants).

[...]

But your latest response (below) seems problematic to me.

[...]

As I noted above, one of your arguments is that there are "INCONSISTENCIES AND INACCURACIES CONTAINED IN [TORAH]." In other words, they are INTERNAL.

[...]

I will continue to apply INTERNAL logic to refute your examples of INTERNAL inconsistency.

[...]

EXTERNAL empirical properties are of no use while debating INTERNAL inconsistency. Therefore, I am willing and eager to debate EXTERNAL elements - but only after we finish debating the INTERNAL elements.
I think we're both on the same page. By external, I mean that I will be taking the Torah at face value and that any arguments based on interpretation of metaphors hold no value for me in this debate.

Your primary response to my arguments was to state, "We look to the Torah for Life Lessons on man's relationship with God [...] Rich in metaphor and meta-physics, the Creation Story is one of the most complex portions of Torah." I became concerned that this would be your method of countering my logically formulated criticisms. Since you have not yet countered any of my first three arguments, I am (or was until now) uncertain of the logic you would use and I cautioned against the use of metaphor.

However, if, as you said, you will use your understanding of the plain text as the basis for your arguments, we should get along just fine.

When I say internal logic, I am referring to deeper interpretations and exegesis. What you refer to as internal is what I am referring to as external. At this point, it is a matter of semantics I am willing to overlook.

For an example of what my definition is, I offer the following:

    [b]External (face-value) property:[/b] Opposing sequential differences in two narratives of the same event. This property is testable in that one of the sequences can be demonstrated as incorrect.
    [b]Internal (metaphoric) property:[/b] God's creation of light before the creation of the stellar bodies. This property is not testable because the meaning of "light" is likely metaphoric or metaphysical and may possibly remain undefined even when a comprehensive knowledge of the Torah is applied.
Quote:
Now, I concede that internal consistency DOES NOT prove the text is factual. As you wrote, "Pick any well-written novel off the shelf and you will find internal consistency to which scientific logic may be applied."

Nonetheless, showing that your claim of internal inconsistency is unsupported by the evidence DOES cause one of your initial arguments to fall apart. I am speaking about your ARGUMENT that "inconsistencies and inaccuracies contained in [Torah] support the hypotheses of human rather than divine authorship," which is dependent upon the PREMISE that internal inconsistencies and inaccuracies exist. If you can't prove your PREMISE, then your argument logically falls apart.
I fully agree--which is why I will attempt to prove those hypotheses (or premises, as you put it).

So, on the flip side, if one cannot prove the premise of divine being's existence, then logically one's claim of divine authorship also falls apart. Correct?

Quote:
Once again, I concede that even an internally consistent text DOES NOT prove its authenticity (i.e., Truth). Nonetheless, as I said before, disproving your examples of internal inconsistency DOES mean that one of your initial arguments is based on an UNSUPPORTED PREMISE.
Premise, yes. Unsupported, no. If it was unsupported, then there would be no contest. I am certainly not the first to criticize the Torah's authorship, nor will my arguments necessarily be the best there are. Debates on this topic have already be "won" and "lost" by both sides, depending on the strength of the arguments used.

This particular debate will not produce a winner--only more knowledgeable participants on both sides.

Quote:
This was not a problem in my refutation of your "plants" argument (because I did not use metaphors).
I made no such argument, nor did I contest those passages ergo there was nothing to refute.

But I certainly look forward to your responses to the arguments I did make.

Have a great weekend. Glad to hear you're doing well after your surgery.
 
 

 
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 03/08/2021 at 10:34:01