Posted by: edhensley | April 26, 2009

Take my daughter and my guest’s concubine and rape them



Judges 19:1 In those days Israel had no king.
Now a Levite who lived in a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim took a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. 2 But she was unfaithful to him. She left him and went back to her father’s house in Bethlehem, Judah. After she had been there four months, 3 her husband went to her to persuade her to return. He had with him his servant and two donkeys. She took him into her father’s house, and when her father saw him, he gladly welcomed him. 4 His father-in-law, the girl’s father, prevailed upon him to stay; so he remained with him three days, eating and drinking, and sleeping there.
5 On the fourth day they got up early and he prepared to leave, but the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, “Refresh yourself with something to eat; then you can go.” 6 So the two of them sat down to eat and drink together. Afterward the girl’s father said, “Please stay tonight and enjoy yourself.” 7 And when the man got up to go, his father-in-law persuaded him, so he stayed there that night. 8 On the morning of the fifth day, when he rose to go, the girl’s father said, “Refresh yourself. Wait till afternoon!” So the two of them ate together.

9 Then when the man, with his concubine and his servant, got up to leave, his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said, “Now look, it’s almost evening. Spend the night here; the day is nearly over. Stay and enjoy yourself. Early tomorrow morning you can get up and be on your way home.” 10 But, unwilling to stay another night, the man left and went toward Jebus (that is, Jerusalem), with his two saddled donkeys and his concubine.

11 When they were near Jebus and the day was almost gone, the servant said to his master, “Come, let’s stop at this city of the Jebusites and spend the night.”

12 His master replied, “No. We won’t go into an alien city, whose people are not Israelites. We will go on to Gibeah.” 13 He added, “Come, let’s try to reach Gibeah or Ramah and spend the night in one of those places.” 14 So they went on, and the sun set as they neared Gibeah in Benjamin. 15 There they stopped to spend the night. They went and sat in the city square, but no one took them into his home for the night.

16 That evening an old man from the hill country of Ephraim, who was living in Gibeah (the men of the place were Benjamites), came in from his work in the fields. 17 When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, “Where are you going? Where did you come from?”

18 He answered, “We are on our way from Bethlehem in Judah to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim where I live. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going to the house of the LORD. No one has taken me into his house. 19 We have both straw and fodder for our donkeys and bread and wine for ourselves your servants—me, your maidservant, and the young man with us. We don’t need anything.”

20 “You are welcome at my house,” the old man said. “Let me supply whatever you need. Only don’t spend the night in the square.” 21 So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink.

22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”

23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this disgraceful thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But to this man, don’t do such a disgraceful thing.”

25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.

27 When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.

29 When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel. 30 Everyone who saw it said, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Think about it! Consider it! Tell us what to do!”

What a lovely story. A concubine was regarded as lower than a wife, but higher than a mistress. She had some rights. As with most issues in the bible, these rights varied from time to time. Nevertheless, the Levite in this story sends his concubine outside so that the Benjaminites could rape her all night long until she dies. Then he cuts her into pieces and sends a piece of her to each area (tribe) of Israel.

This horror story is used to set up Judges 20 and 21. In Judges 20, Israel wages war against the tribe of Bejamin, killing 25,000 Benjaminites while 600 fled into the wilderness. God directly orders this war and is quoted several times directly.

In Judges 21, the Israelites at first swear “Not one of us will give his daughter in marriage to a Benjamite.” (Judges 21:!)

Later they feel sorry for the Benjaminites:

Judges 21: 6 Now the Israelites grieved for their brothers, the Benjamites. “Today one tribe is cut off from Israel,” they said. 7 “How can we provide wives for those who are left, since we have taken an oath by the LORD not to give them any of our daughters in marriage?”

In the usual Old Testament style, they kill all the men and all the non-virgin women. This would include pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.

Judges 21:10 So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and put to the sword those living there, including the women and children. 11 “This is what you are to do,” they said. “Kill every male and every woman who is not a virgin.” 12 They found among the people living in Jabesh Gilead four hundred young women who had never slept with a man, and they took them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan.

Then a very unusual method for getting wives is revealed:

15 The people grieved for Benjamin, because the LORD had made a gap in the tribes of Israel. 16 And the elders of the assembly said, “With the women of Benjamin destroyed, how shall we provide wives for the men who are left? 17 The Benjamite survivors must have heirs,” they said, “so that a tribe of Israel will not be wiped out. 18 We can’t give them our daughters as wives, since we Israelites have taken this oath: ‘Cursed be anyone who gives a wife to a Benjamite.’ 19 But look, there is the annual festival of the LORD in Shiloh, to the north of Bethel, and east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and to the south of Lebonah.”

20 So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, “Go and hide in the vineyards 21 and watch. When the girls of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, then rush from the vineyards and each of you seize a wife from the girls of Shiloh and go to the land of Benjamin. 22 When their fathers or brothers complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Do us a kindness by helping them, because we did not get wives for them during the war, and you are innocent, since you did not give your daughters to them.’ “

23 So that is what the Benjamites did. While the girls were dancing, each man caught one and carried her off to be his wife. Then they returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and settled in them.

The book of Judges then ends.

This is the craziest bunch of evil nonsense I have ever read. After reading this story, I wanted to vomit. A concubine is raped all night until she dies. Her loving master, who gave her over to be raped, cuts her into 12 pieces and sends each piece of her to each tribe of Israel. 25,000 Benjaminites are killed and the rest of Israel vows not to provide wives for the remaining survivors. They feel sorry for the survivors, so they concoct a scheme in which the Benjaminites will “seize” a wife from the girls of Shiloh while they are dancing.

I think I need to take a shower.

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Responses

  1. This is great you taking the time to post the parts of the Bible that Christians choose to ignore. IMO the Bible should have a warning label like any other X-rated book, for violence, explicit sexual content, and for being an all-around bad influence for children.

  2. This story is true and such things are still happening 2day. Don’t close the Bible and think that everyone around you is safe. Most rapists, including rapists priests and pastors, don’t read the Bible. Instead, like the Levite, they prefer 2 pretend that they are innocent. Do you consider yourself innocent? Watch out. You might be guilty of smaller sins.

  3. The purpose of both stories, IMHO, is to show just how far Israel had fallen, morally and politically, in the absence of true leadership. The whole point of the Book of Judges is to show that Israel needed a king to keep them on the right path. Hence the summary, “In those days there was no king in Israel”.
    While I can’t comment on Christian preachers, in traditional Jewish Bible classes these passeges are dealt with regularly.
    In my intro class to biblical-period history we regularly visit the sites of Gibeah and Shiloh and discuss these sections of the stories.

    Best,

    Dr. Yigal Levin
    Bar-Ilan University
    ISRAEL

    • Thank you for your summary. Christian apologists and preachers also use such summaries. I have heard them say that the second half of the Old Testament basically says “If Israel obeys God they will be rewarded, and if they do not they will be punished.” IMHO, the details of these stories reveal that the bible is not the literal word of a perfect God.

      • You say, “…the details of these stories reveal that the bible is not the literal word of a perfect God.” I do not understand how the inclusion of unsavory details of human sin necessarily points to your conclusion that the bible is not true and / or God is imperfect.

        I find the opposite true.

        Does not the cross of Christ give God’s opinion of the matter?

      • Julia,

        The cross of Christ has nothing to do with this story. Furthermore, you have no evidence that it gives an opinion.

        I have a variety of posts. Some show contradictions. Some show god doing evil. Some show absurdities in biblical law. This is an example of a story that I never heard in Sunday School. Most Christians have not read the bible and would not know that a story like this is in it. That is why I included stories like this, Lot and his daughters, god ordering his prophet to marry a whore, etc.

      • By “god ordering his prophet to marry a whore” I hope you’re not referring to Hosea? That’s the most beautiful love story and was a symbolism for gods love of Israel, despite her whoring. Also, you’re wrong. We frequently read these supposedly troubling bible passages. They’re not troubling if you understand the context and the fact that just because something happens in the bible doesnt mean god condones it. It’s an example of what happens when humanity is without god and our need to not slip into that. To clarify, so you don’t twist my words, lots offering his daughters and the Levites offering his concubine we’re not good things.

  4. […] rape reaches far into history – at least when women are prey. In the Old Testament (Judges 19:22-29) we find depraved men pounding at the door of a Levite’s home, demanding a male guest be turned […]

  5. […] rape reaches far into history – at least when women are prey. In the Old Testament (Judges 19:22-29) we find depraved men pounding at the door of a Levite’s home, demanding a male guest be turned […]

  6. This is just an example of many text that preachers tend to avoid. I do not believe this should shine a bad light on Christianity as a believe system because of this. That might be a bit hypocritical. It does however point to a trend in modern days. That of “Wellness” gospel. Sermons are either on what people want to hear (no hell, no sin) or on what they got taught at seminary. Revelations in the NT is another example. I believe that the parallels in this text between Israel’s moral decline 3500 years ago and that of man in general is obvious. I agree it is a strange tale, but a tale we can learn so much from.

  7. The cross of Christ has everything to do with this story. The story shows the moral depravity, the sinfulness, of man. The cross is God’s answer to it. The cross shows God’s opinion of both man and his sin. Your actions reveal your true opinions, do they not? I think the same is true for God.

    • If you were to take this passage to someone from another culture (such as a Hindu Asian) who had never heard of the Old or New Testament and if you were to ask them if this story has anything to do with the cross of Christ, they would so absolutely not. There is no mention of the cross or Christ anywhere in this story. Furthermore, it was written hundreds of years before the cross or Christ and this story does not claim to be prophetic in any way.

      It is my contention that this person from another culture would not conclude that this text in any way represents a story from a book written or inspired by a perject and just god. Deep inside most Sunday school teachers feel this way as well, because I never heard this story growing up, and I went to Sunday School, Sunday morning service, Sunday evening service, and Wednesday night services every week in fundamentalist Baptist churches from birth to age 24.

  8. People are really very intelligent, for the most part. Those unfamiliar with the passage just need context in their own language and, like William Tyndale’s plowboy, they can understand.

    The bible has a theme of redemption running through every book. Can there be redemption without loss? Is there not something very valuable that has been lost when men commit this kind of atrocity?

    Failure to include passages such as this one would be a stronger argument AGAINST the authenticity of scripture. I am glad this passage is there. No accident that the book of Judges (from whence this passage comes) repeats several times that “there was no king in Israel and every man did what was right in his own eyes.”

    The cross is God’s answer to our most urgent, serious problems. All of scripture, all of time (literally measured by the birth of Christ as focal point) all of history, and all that we are or hope to be, converges at the cross of Christ.

    I like your site. Thank you for letting me post. – Julia

    • Julia,

      There is no context in any language that can find any redeeming qualities in this story.

      All of scripture is filled with contradictions. All of time (literally measured by the distance of stars from the earth and the speed of light) prove that the timeline of the bible is in error. All of history contradicts the stories of the cross. All that we hope to be depends on rejecting the cross and Christian dogma, as all human progress has been achieved on the shoulders of those who rejected Christian dogma.

      Your comments reveal more about your enslaved mind than they do about any of the unsubstantiated claims you make. May your eyes someday be opened.

    • Thats an utter lie. The OT is completely about the jews and their problems with invaders and a series of laws. There are entire books in the Bible which never even mention gods name like Song of Solomon.

      There is almost no kindness in the OT. On the other hand the genocide and sheer hatred easily counters any possible scripture you can possibly provide. The ideology of the OT fits perfect with Hitler, master race, we can take, rape anyone, the world is ours …

      • Something has happened to the correspondence between the e-mail alerts and this blog. I can no longer find the persons who respond to my posts. I receive e-mail responses that do not appear to be posted. Perhaps this thread is too long? Can’t tell.

        Anyway, I remain happy rationally to discuss the bible and the logical and emotional coherence of any objections to it or to my thoughts. This endeavor has been most enlightening.

        I would start my own blog if I had time – sure appreciate Mr. Hensley’s efforts.

        May all enjoy this beautiful season when we celebrate God humbling Himself to become flesh to live and die as one of us – to reconcile us to Himself.

        Merry Christmas!

        Julia Gwin

  9. Mr. Hensley:

    You are right. My mind is held captive. We must each to our own master stand or fall. My Master is both a consuming fire and wondrously kind. Yours, not so much.

    I agree with you also, there is NO redeeming quality in this story. These people are disgusting, despicable – beyond hope of redemption; but God has redeemed worse than these people. I am glad neither of us is God.

    Julia

  10. I just finished reading Judges….and you are correct, its not often read OR even mentioned in Bible classes or at church. It’s interesting though. The whole Bible. It’s amazing that when you read the ENTIRE bunch of books put together…

    • This is a common tactic used by apologists who wish to ignore the evil and/or stupidity of the verses in question. Muslims often make the same apology for the Koran. I edited your response because this blog is about verses in the bible that Christians don’t often address. It is not a chance for people to continue to ignore these verses by discussing the verses they like.

  11. Unless I misunderstand, the basic premise of this site is as follows:

    1. The bible has many unattractive verses.
    2. These verses are largely ignored by Christian teachers.
    3. These unattractive verses reflect upon the veracity of God as the author.

    Is it just me, or is there a failure of logic here?

    I agree with premise no. 1 wholeheartedly.

    As for premise no. 2, I find more commentary by more writers than I could probably read in my lifetime. Even if premise no. 2 were true, how does this lessen the value of the biblical text? Does it not reflect on the value of the teacher whose teaching is incomplete?

    Premise 3 has the same disconnect for me. If the bible has unattractive passages, how does it follow that the Christian God is likewise unattractive? Sin and redemption are overarching themes of scripture. God would not be God if the sin issue were glossed over or inaccurately portrayed?

    As a follow on – what would you expect from God if not what is seen in scripture?

    Julia

    • Your comments on number 2 do not reflect the purpose blog. Most Christians have not read the bible, much less biblical commentary on verses they have never read. Just because you can find biblical commentary does not mean that most Christians are aware of that verse. This blog contains verses that are often ignored by preachers and Sunday school teachers. I have shown in this blog one church’s “read the bible through in a year” website that omits many of the verses of this blog, including the entire book of Song of Solomon.

      Regarding your last question, here is what I would expect from a book written by a perfect god. It would say “genocide is wrong” and would not order one group of people to commit genocide on multiple occasions. It would say “racism is wrong” instead of claiming that one group of people is god’s chosen people and all others are not. It would say “women and men should be treated as equals” instead of numerous passages to the contrary, including one passage that says a woman who is raped must marry her rapist. It would not have stories contradicted by history, such as Jesus being born in the time of both Herod (who died in 4 B.C.) and Quirinius (who started his reign in 6 A.D.). God would not have 42 children mauled to death by bears, he would not order one of his priests to marry a whore, he would not threaten priests with having feces rubbed on their faces, he would not order animals sacrifices, he would not have permitted Jephtah to burn his daughter, he would not have been pleased with Abraham’s willingness to kill his son, and he would not torture for all eternity good people who simply did not believe in an invisible being. If every person in the world were to read the word of a perfect god, they would all understand it and agree on its meaning.

      Would you not agree that the god and the book I described is much better than the Bible?

    • Dude, seriously stop responding to him. You’re wasting your time. He’s not going to think rationally about this he’s already made up his mind.

  12. First, I agree with you that many who call themselves “Christian” are very unattractive. These are either in various stages of development (“sanctification”), or are not really true Christians (“tares”). I am not going to attempt to escape your criticism of Christians because I am also developing and imperfect. But, this is not about me, ultimately.

    It seems you are especially irked by the failure of some Christian teachers to teach ALL the verses of the Bible. This is also a valid complaint. But not all Christian teachers are guilty – there are some very fine teachers who teach the “whole counsel of God.” A good example is Through the Bible – a modern radio and internet ministry that takes listeners though the ENTIRE Bible, verse by verse, explaining each verse, in 5 years. The difficult passages are never ignored. The entire program can be downloaded for free at their website: TTB.ORG. You can download any book of the Bible you want or the whole thing, together with Dr. McGee’s verse-by-verse commentary. Free!

    I want to answer your final question. I do not think I can do it justice in one short post, and I am afraid to ask you (and your readers) for the patience it would require. I do not have all the answers, but my studies have increased my trust in the goodness of God. I think you have the opposite experience.

    Finally, I agree with you: The god whom you describe in your penultimate paragraph above is unworthy of worship. I am familiar with the scriptures you reference. They greatly support your assertions in the absence of context. There are several passages of scripture you have NOT mentioned that actually give me more trouble. I have gotten to the point, however, that I am completely confident of God’s goodness and His worthiness of honor and worship. What I DO understand about God gives me confidence of His goodness even in the places I do not understand.

    As for your bible, it sounds a bit dull – having no conflict to be resolved and addressing an innately good humanity (that exists only in fantasy). It would work, I suppose, if men were angels. The testimony of history argues conclusively (and the bible agrees) that humanity struggles with deep wickedness.

    If you want to unpack our differences, circumstance by circumstance – using the texts you have chosen above or any others of your choice, I will be happy to continue a dialogue. It would have to be one verse at a time, and in proper context. That’s fair, isn’t it?

    If, however, your purpose is to bash pseudo-Christians, pseudo-Christian teachers and the false and ugly god you describe above, then we would probably both be wasting our time. Funny thing is I agree with you in the majority of what you say – but where we depart is fundamental: I say God is good. Mankind is fallen and a slave of sin / wickedness. You say God is bad and mankind is good.

    It is good that you continue to scour the scripture, though. It just might be that you will find what you most desire. At least you are not in “whatever” mode. I am unable to abide indifference.

    Julia

    • Your reply is too long and does not address the verses of my post at all. I will edit future posts, but I decided to not edit this one.

      I looked at ttb.org and noticed that it is incomplete. It does not include
      Tobit
      Judith
      Wisdom
      Ecclesiasticus
      Baruch
      First and Second Maccabees

      These books were in the 1611 King James Bible, the 1534 Martin Luther Bible, and in the Septuagint and are quoted and sourced in the books of the New Testament. Most Christians are unaware that these books were not officially removed from the protestant Bible until 1885.

      So you have failed to provide a source that discusses ALL the verses!

      Furthermore, there are hundreds of other gospels, acts, revelations, letters, and other books that were considered divine and authoritative prior to the formation of the N.T. cannon in 367 A.D. by Athanasius (after the formation of orthodox Christianity in the 325 A.D. Council of Nicea). Please read Jesus Interrupted by Bart Ehrman for more information on how the New Testament came into existence.

      My purpose is to educate, not bash.

      As far as “my” bible sounding dull and without conflict, that would not be the case. In every case where human rights are advanced there has been conflict. Do you consider the American and French revolutions “dull and without conflict”. Do you consider the Civil War and the effort to end slavery as being “dull and without conflict.” Or when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony (atheist and agnostic) were arrested for voting, was that “dull and without conflict.” How about the struggles of W.E.B. DuBois and the assassination of M.L. King? The struggle for human rights going on today in the Middle East right now?

      “My” bible would have promoted all these forms of human equality. When these ideas are promoted (with or without a divine book), the outcome is not “dull and without conflict.” The bible at ttg.org does not promote these forms of human equality. There may be some verses in some books that sometimes promote human equality, but there are so many verses that support slavery and inequality that they can not be washed away.

  13. “Would you not agree that the god and the book I described is much better than the Bible?”

    Yeah. It would be great if the purpose of the Bible were to sanitize human history and provide an easy-to-read handbook on how we ought to live. Too bad it’s more realistic than that, and asks the reader to grapple with difficult issues rather than simply gloss over them. Like Dr. Lavin, I’ve visited Gibeah and Shiloh, and to me that is an incredible connection, to see the place where this crazy story may have played out.

    • I was not referring to “sanitizing history.” I was referring to a moral framework that was not dependent upon the spirit of the times. All forms of slavery should be wrong at all times. Women should be treated as equals to men at all times. People should have freedom of religion at all times. The bible is against all of this statements of morality I have made.

      • Let us take your religion seriously and consider the consequences.

        “All forms of slavery should be wrong at all times.”
        I have a mortgage on my house. It is secured by the future earnings of my work. That is the definition of debt bondage. According to Ed’s religion, this, a form of slavery, is wrong.

      • Definitions are important, but I am using COMMON SENSE definitions. I suggest you do the same.

        Slavery is most commonly defined as someone owning another person, not just someone being in debt to another person. The Bible permits Israelites to buy slaves from other countries and own them for life. I stand by my statement that this is wrong today and has always been wrong.

  14. Early Christianity was heavily peopled (as it still is today) with the oppressed. Why did slaves and women flock to Christianity? In fact, one of the early attacks against Christianity was based upon this very fact – the Christians were just too tacky, consisting of hordes of women and slaves and uneducated lower classes.

    There is no religion where the dignity of all persons (regardless of race, gender or socio-economic status) is recognized and cherished as it is in Christianity.

    You did not post my last comment. I do not fault you. I know you are busy and have another life most likely. I also tend to be wordy. But, to re-state, I think your bible would be dull — having no redemptive story (perhaps because it fails to identify any existential problem(s) with mankind. I also think your god would fit perfectly with that bible. Definitely no consuming fire, love or holiness in your god. Sort of like a cosmic Teletubby.

    • You speak of “early Christianity” as if there was such a thing. Unfortunately, you have revealed a sever lack of knowledge on your part. There were early Christianities. There were Ebionites who were extremely Jewish and believed that keeping the Jewish law was necessary for salvation. There were Marcionites who were anti-Jewish, did not follow the Old Testament, believed that Jesus was not the god of the O.T., and did not believe the O.T. to be inspired. There were Gnostics who were varied and too difficult to explain, but would definitely be considered heretics today. Some early Christianities believed in one god, some believed in two separate gods, some believed Jesus was completely human, some believed he was completely god, etc.

      I recommend that you read Lost Christianities by Bart Ehrman.

      Your statement “There is no religion where the dignity of all persons (regardless of race, gender or socio-economic status) is recognized and cherished as it is in Christianity” is absurd. I would suggest you read Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s The Women’s Bible as just one source that refutes your claim.

      Last of all, it does not matter what I want or what you want. What matters is what is real. The Bible contradicts itself and is contradicted by history, archaeology, biology, physics, and all forms of human knowledge.

  15. Unfortunately when one reads the bible it throws up more questions than it tries to answer.The above story is one such.If i think of this story as well as many others in OT simply as Jewish mythology and not as a holy scripture full of wisdom to follow forever in mankind’s history ,then things will be fine.God of Abraham and his descendents can do whatever he wants to do with them.Afterall they are his chosen people.Somehow therest of the world has hijacked this tribal deity to be our own thanks to christianity and islam.
    God has revealed himself in the person of Jesus and atoned for sins of all the mankind and redeemed us 2000yrs ago.he is again with the Father -who continues to be the God of jews all over the world.DOES NOT THE FATHER TELL THE JEWS (they cant read NewTestament or believe in Jesus)TO SHOW THE OTHER CHEEK RATHER THAN KILL ALL WOMEN AND CHILDREN((“Judges 21:10 So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and put to the sword those living there, including the women and children.”) because He has become universal loving god and changed his rules

  16. You and I agree that REALITY is all that matters. When faith requires unreasonable or tenuous presuppositions, it cannot be trusted.

    I believe God alone is uncreated / underived and all REALITY is created / derived. Time, space, and matter (including dark matter / missing mass) are derived / created.

    Many atheists believe (presuppose) that matter is eternal (uncreated / underived) and possesses intelligence to bring order from chaos. That is, to my mind, wildly unreasonable and unscientific. When does chaos ever produce order? When does life come from non-life?

    My faith is entirely reasonable. I cannot prove dispositively the existence of God, just as you cannot dispositively prove His non-existence. So you and I are left to understand REALITY in those terms which seem most logical and rational. I have found that reality coheres and is reasonable when viewed through the lens of the Christian presuppositions I give above. If atheism (or any other faith) could do this for me, I would abandon my Christian convictions.

    Your preoccupation with slavery is right and well-warranted. A failure properly to perceive REALITY makes one a slave. Slavery can be physical, emotional, or spiritual. The Bible teaches (in many different passages) we are ALL slaves, and we will serve one master to the exclusion and even HATRED of all others. Some poor wretches live all their lives in service to their own bellies.

    Freedom is knowing truth and living in accordance with its principles. This is why the Christian paradox makes sense: the only freedom is in knowing and serving God.

    • You have no evidence that any god is uncreated and underived. You have no evidence that time, space, and matter were created. When you obtain such evidence, please publish it in a peer reviewed scienctific journal.

      Your statement about atheists believing that matter possesses intelligence is false. I know of no atheists that believes matter possesses intelligence.

      When does life come from non-life? Much research has gone on in that area. The Miller-Urey experiments in the 1950s took chemicals and created amino acids from water, methane, hydrogen, and amonia. This showed that the building blocks of life could be built from non-life. Recently Venter created a synthetic genome. He took chemicals off the shelf and built a bacterium genome that successfully activated a de-nucleated bacteria cell. As scientists are increasing the amount of human knowledge by conducting successful experiments in this area, anti-scientists are doing no research at all, but are instead promoting human ignorance founded on religious dogma.

      You admit that you cannot prove the existence of god. The burden of proof is on your side. Claiming that god exists is like claiming that Zeus, Isis, or Vishnu exist. It is also like claiming Bigfoot and the Lochness Monster exist. The burden of proof is on the person making that claim. Without any evidence, your claim is irrational.

  17. Just a quickie. Sound bites do well sometimes. How does an atheist see the current awful sexual assaults against women in Tahrir Square? Look here:

    http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2011/02/second-report-of-another-sex-attack-in-tahrir-square.html

    and here:

    http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2011/02/lara-logans-vicious-violent-gang-rape-medias-silencesanction.html

    Here are my questions:

    1. How can people do this wickedness? What IS their problem?
    2. Why does this wickedness persist if we have evolved so much?
    3. What should be done, if anything, about these crimes? Should there be any punishment? What kind of punishment? How should good men handle this?
    4. How would / should a good god handle this situation?

    Any world view or faith must be practical and workable or it is useless. Agreed?

    Julia

    P.S. I shall address your complaints in a separate post. You had so many I did not know where to begin, so I will concentrate on the ones you mention more than once.

    I shall take my own medicine, if you are interested, and answer the questions I pose to you.

    • First of all the website you mention (atlasshrugs2000.typed.com) is obviously conservative and refers to the book Atlas Shrug written by conservative icon Ayn Rand. Of course, you and other conservatives may not be aware that Ayn Rand was an atheist.

      This makes a good segue into a reply to something about values and atheist. Atheism is not a values system. It is simply a rejection of theism. Someone who is an atheist is someone without theism. That sounds pretty simple, but religious people often try to make it into something more.

      A Catholic priest published a list in a major Catholic publication that described 12 kinds of atheists. One of them was a “practical atheist.” This was someone who believed in God and Jesus but who lived an extremely sinful lifestyle. In other words, atheism was defined by the actions of an individual rather than his/her beliefs or non beliefs. This is a total perversion of the meaning of the word atheism. Atheism has to do with not believing and has nothing to do with any particular type of behavior.

      Many atheists, and some theists, are humanists. They get their values from applying human reason to situations instead of blindly following religious dogma written by unknown authors thousands of years ago. You will see how humanism is superior religious literalism when I answer your 3rd question.

      You last statement on “world view or faith” is quite revealing as well. I never heard of “world view” until I started debating Christians and creationists. I do not care about “world view.” I only care about truth. Many people believe that truth is dependent upon the correct world view. I believe that the correct world view is dependent upon truth.

      I could ramble on all day about questions 1 and 2, but I will try to be short. In summary, a mob was whipped into a frenzy due to recent events. Some men decided to take advantage of the situation and attack a foreigner (anti-foreigner sentiment can be found everywhere). Women and others intervened on this woman’s behalf. As far as your statement regarding this act and people “having evolved”, this only shows a severe lack of education regarding the topic of evolution. This is little different than Christian Nazis in Germany wearing Gott Mitt Uns (God With Us) on their belt buckles doing aweful things as they get rid of Jews, or the Christian Serbs who raped Muslim women during recent wars. If you look hard enough, you will find evil everywhere. Often it is justified by someone’s “world view.”

      As far as evil, evolution, and altruism, W.D. Hamilton and other scientists have come up with mathematical equations that explain altruism and sometimes bad behavior towards others. However, you seem to thin that evolution makes things perfect. That is not the case. Too much ground to cover in a blog response.

      3. Those who committed the crimes should be tried, convicted, and punished accordingly. However, your bible has a different response to rape. Deut 22:28-29 says “If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.” Which is better, the humanistic punishment of jail sentences or the biblical punishment of having the rape victim marry her rapist? If such a mass rape occurred during the Old Testament days, would she have been forced to marry all the men who raped her? Would her father get fifty pieces of silver from each man?

      4. If I were god, I would have paralyzed the men before they commit such acts. Christians often explain such evil as God permitting free will. So when an evil man is raping and killing a little child, the Christian God is more concerned about the free will of the murdering rapist than he is about the security and life of the little girl. The Christian God supposedly has the power to stop such evil acts, but he lets such horrific murders and rapes occur. The Christian God is therefore immoral. Yet Christians worship this evil and callous monster. I will turn the question back to you. Which would be better: a god that cares more about the security and suffering of innocent women and children, or a god who cares more about the free will of rapists and murderers?

  18. Does it surprise you that I like Ayn Rand?

    I am well aware of Ayn Rand’s atheism and I have also read and ENJOYED some of her works. I think her philosophies are very useful, even if marred by her atheism. I see any lack of truth as an impediment — a strengthening of the shackles of slavery. Her miserable personal life reflected the poverty of her beliefs about God, but her ideas about human freedom are fantastic (if incomplete).

    The owner of the website to which I sent you is Pamela Geller, whose fearless advocacy of freedom and keen journalistic insight are breathtaking. She is a Jew and she believes in G-d. She is magnificent. I check her site daily for coverage that is difficult to find elsewhere.

    I use the term “worldview” only to mean “ultimate reality” or even, simply, “truth.” It matters not what term you wish to use. I will be happy to accommodate your preferred term so long as we understand one another. I think you can agree that all of us operate with a view of reality that is demonstrated in how we think and live our lives.

    I have set out my beliefs for you (about God being the only uncreated / underived entity and all else being created and derived) so that you could understand my presuppositions thoroughly and respectful discussion on a level playing field could ensue. I still do not understand your “ultimate reality.” I assumed Big Bang, Goo to You, onward-and-upward evolution was your thing, but you have not staked out a position. I know there are different types of atheists, but all atheists share the belief in a negative proposition – there is no god. This seems without rational or logical support to me. If what you said is true – that there is no god, how can you be sure? Your limited experiences would fail to exclude all possibilities. Perhaps more perplexing is this: If there is no god, THEN WHY DO YOU DESPISE HIM? This defies logic and rationality. Or do I misunderstand?

    I like arguing with you, but you throw out too many issues at the same time. I think I overwhelm you, too.

    I propose that we stick to one issue at a time, and both resolve to be as brief as possible while remaining clear and coherent. I propose that you choose the issue, also.

    My request: A Christian should be defined one whose life and words are in keeping with the teachings of Jesus. You often ascribe to Christians actions which are in contravention of the teachings of scripture in general and Jesus in particular. I will not defend the actions of one who calls himself a “Christian” who lives in contravention to the teachings of Christ. In fairness, also, I will admit that no one is perfect – but anyone murdering for the Nazis is not living in conformity with Christian teachings.

    An admission: When I sent you the Through the Bible website, I was a bit deflated that you rejected that ministry only because non-canonical books were not included. That is not a level playing field. Canonicity is a completely separate issue and, to my mind, not relevant. There are many books that are Christian that are not in the canon of Scripture; but the Church has settled that issue long ago and the tests of canonicity were stringently followed. The truth is there IS a ministry that teaches the entire Word of God, book by book, and verse by verse, in over 100 languages and dialects around the globe. And they do it for free. TTB.ORG

    It was unfair of you to require that books outside the canon be taught in order to prop up an assertion that Christians avoid teaching the entirety of the Word of God. Scripture warns persons to not become teachers of scripture lightly (James 3:1). Teachers are also admonished to be sure to declare the entire counsel of God to avoid responsibility for the destruction of men (Acts 20:26-27). If you want to make that your first issue, then so be it.

    So, how about an agreement to discuss one issue at a time? We will stay on that one topic until each of us is satisfied that we understand the other’s position entirely and each of us has presented our best rational supports. We will each attempt to illuminate the other with respect and brevity. I anticipate that neither of us will convince the other, but we can always agree to disagree. I find there is value in testing my beliefs against someone who does not agree. I am free to receive your hard questions and to answer as well as my worldview, my ultimate reality, my understanding of truth, permits. Are you free to accept my hard questions?

    Also – I have NO INTEREST in winning an argument. I do hold my beliefs with deep conviction – but I will abandon them if you can show me a more rational, logical and better way. Can you say the same? How confident are you in your truths?

    • I assumed Big Bang, Goo to You, onward-and-upward evolution was your thing, but you have not staked out a position. I know there are different types of atheists, but all atheists share the belief in a negative proposition – there is no god.

      Your characterizations here and your statements in many of your comments show a complete lack of knowledge of science. “Goo to you, onward-and-upward evolution” reflects the ignorance of your prior statements regarding evolution having direction in morality (or anything else). Evolution does not have a pre-determined direction in morality or in anything else.

      Atheism is a rejection of theism. Most atheists do not beleive in a god, but if science were to show evidence for god, these atheists will gladly become theists. Most atheists do not claim to know with 100% certainty that there is no god of any kind. They just simply say that there is no evidence for any god. Most go a step further and reject the existence of the gods of the world’s religions, as I do. I do NOT have to be sure there is no god, in answer to your question. I have not been to every corner of the universe or outside the universe, so my experiences are limited, as you noted. But I believe in things that are demonstrated by evidence. You have been unable to provide any evidence for your belief in god.

      Then you trot out the tired old canard WHY DO YOU DESPISE HIM? I do not despise him, in the same way that you do not despise Zeus. I can not despise something that does not exist.

      The canonicity was NOT settled by the church a long time ago. The apocrypha was droped from protestant bible in 1885. Even today, Catholics and Protestants in general have different canons, but there are specific churches that still use other texts. The study early Christianity and of how the New Testament and the bible developed was what finally led me to abandon Christianity. It is important to people who want to learn the truth, even if it is not important to you.

      Your reply here seems to be a long-winded attempt to ignore my reply to your questions in the last post. You no longer ask about what should happen to a rape victim after I quoted Deuteronomy. You are the one trying to switch the subject. Once again, why do you not wish to answer your own question in light of Deuteronomy 22?

      Regarding your last paragraph, will you abandon all your beliefs for which there is no evidence? Will you abandon your beliefs if you have contradictory evidence? I will, because I already have.

  19. So, choose your issue. What do you want me to address? Do you want me to respond to your answers to my questions? I will do so, but one at a time. Do you want me to also answer the questions I posed to you? I can do that. Again – one at at time. Choose your issue.

    • This blog is not about evolution. Before you make any more comments on evolution, I want you to read Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters by Don Prothero. Your knowledge of evolution is extremely limited.

      This blog is about the specific verses in the bible. I will start with a question about these verses (the Levite and his concubine). In this verse and in the verses regarding Lot and his daughters, godly men tell an attacking mob of men who want to have sex with men in their house to instead take their virgin daughters and rape them instead. Would you follow the biblical example of these godly men and give your daughter to such a mob in order to prevent sex with your male guests?

      • Hi Ed,

        What part of the story of the Levite and concubine makes you think it is written as an example to follow?

      • As you note in a later response, I link this to a story about Lot, so I will reply there.

  20. Agreed that this blog is not about evolution.

    Disagree about need to read the text you recommend as a prerequisite. Basic issues of evolution are simple enough to understand. Hypothesize you are partially enslaved to this issue either because of 1) ignorance (incomplete knowledge) or 2) desire (due to unreasonable need to believe preferred / desired lie and suppress unwanted / undesired truth). Agree not to discuss evolution further unless you desire to make it a question for discussion.

    Will address now your single question: Would [I] follow the biblical example of these godly men and give [my] daughter to such a mob in order to prevent sex with male guests?

    First: Your question assumes / presupposes two false premises:

    1. Godly men
    2. Sex with guests

    I submit the text does not describe the men as “godly” nor does scripture support the notion of their alleged godliness. I find provocative and revealing your presupposition here. The unwillingness to engage upon a level playing field is a symptom of weakness and slavery to an idea that cannot be supported by reality / facts / truth. Only weak arguments and people will not agree to a level playing field.

    As to the second presupposition, I object that it also assumes facts unsupported by the text. The object was rape – not sex. Rape may be expressed by sex in part, but it is primarily a crime of humiliation and dominance. Sex only provides an effective and unique way of accomplishing this.

    Your question as stated cannot be answered as it assumes facts not in evidence.

    I will, however, answer the question globally: No. I would not give my daughter to a mob in order to protect men – godly or otherwise – from rape. To do so violates me, my daughter, my guests and EVEN THE WOULD-BE RAPISTS. The situation demonstrates the extreme wickedness and depravity of humanity.

    My question to you: Where does the scripture inform us the men of Judges 19 are “godly”?

    • Most of your comments on Judges 19 were addressed by my answer in another blog. I will focus on your comments on evolution.

      I am not enslaved, ignorant or a repressor of truth. Your prior comments on evolution include “onward and upward evolution” and something like “If we have evolved so much why are we evil.” You are the one who is very uneducated on evolution. No person who was educated in evolution would have made such statements. The words of Matthew 7:5 apply to you: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

      I am truly willing to admit I am in error if you provide evidence that support your claims or show that I have made statements not supported by evidence. Are you willing to do the same? Could you possibly be wrong?

  21. Sorry to post twice. The original blog post was about Judges 19. Later, you reference similar events of Genesis 19. Can we stick with one event before we go on to another? I will be happy to go to Genesis 19 next if you like. It has many similarities.

    • My blog post (the Levite and his concubine) was not addressed in any of your posts. I wanted to see if you could reply about that. I wanted to make it personal. The story was similar to Lot’s story, so I linked them. I am fine with Genesis 19. Lot had direct contact with angels who spared him and his family. He offers his daughters for sex to the men of Sodom so they would not have sex with his male visitors (the angels). Sodom is destroyed, and later Lot gets drunk and has sex with his daughters.

      Feel free to add your apologies.

  22. I stumbled upon this site during a search for strange Bible quotes. I must admit that I am really liking the debate between, yourself and Julia Gwin. The glints of wisdom are quite brilliant as I also struggle with such matters. I wish to detract not from the above argument, but only to interject that both parties keep the rebuttals civil and not personal. You both have compelling argument. Thanks for this. I am enjoying the read!

    • I have to work hard at being civil, and not all my replies have been as nice as I would later like them to be. It is very easy to write a flaming reply.

  23. You say, “I am truly willing to admit I am in error if you provide evidence that support your claims or show that I have made statements not supported by evidence. Are you willing to do the same? Could you possibly be wrong?”

    I am not interested in your admission of error so much as I am interested in how you make your reality cohere with your beliefs. I KNOW I am wrong, because I know that I am imperfect. Like you, I believe truth is all that matters. Unlike you, I believe that truth is more than what we can perceive with our senses and faculties. We are not the measure of all things.

    To understand your thinking better, I would like to ask you questions that are corollaries to my own. I laid out my core beliefs for you earlier. Here they are re-capped:

    1. God = uncreated / underived / eternal. Everything else = created / derived.
    2. God alone = good. Man = naturally depraved – any goodness comes from God.
    3. Freedom = knowing truth and living in accordance with that knowledge.
    4. Slavery = the opposite of freedom = not knowing / not living in truth.
    5. We are slaves to our desires. Desiring truth makes freedom possible.

    There it is. That is what I believe. These presuppositions form the foundation of my thinking. If we are finished with your question, then I would like for you to answer mine. I want to know your presuppositions. I would like to ask you questions as corollaries to my own 5 presuppositions above. I want to know what truths you have established as your foundation from which you draw your opinions and thinking.

    All of my presuppositions have been formed by my experiences in living an examined life and studying the scriptures. I have changed my presuppositions over the years (as my knowledge of truth increases), but these 5 are settling into a more permanent place of conviction for me. They have changed in the past and perhaps they will again. The only way I change is when someone or something shows me that my perception of reality does not cohere with truth.

    So, my first question will be a corollary to no. 1 above: How did we get here? How did the universe and life come into existence? Do you have any belief or opinion or hunch about it all? It doesn’t have to be a conviction – and I won’t hold you to it or ridicule you. Please answer only that one question, for now. I think slowly and methodically. Your answers often give too many threads to follow.

    Julia

    P.S. If you don’t like doing this, just let me know and I will go away. It’s your turf.

    • I suppose I should have asked could you be wrong about your belief in God. Your answer that you are wrong because you are imperfect is a cop-out. Could you be wrong about your belief in God? This is the third time I have asked you this question (or a related version of it).

      Your presuppositions contain conclusions not based on any evidence. Here are my presuppositions:

      1) Explanations should deal with as much of the evidence as possible
      2) Explanations should avoid contradictions, both internal and with the evidence from the physical world
      3) Explanations should be logical
      4) Explanations should make predictions that can be tested
      5) Explanations should have some utility in addressing new evidence

      Your presuppositions assume conclusions that are not supported by evidence and are in fact contradicted by evidence. Your presuppositions are rediculous. They assume Christian theology that was forged over 300 years and formally determined at the Council of Nicea. Your presuppositions are like a Mormon presupposing the Book of Mormon is true or a Muslim presupposing the Koran is true. I will relist your presuppositions and then comment in italics.

      1. God = uncreated / underived / eternal. Everything else = created / derived. You provide no evidence for god, no evidence god is eternal, and no evidence everything else is derived. You are assuming conclusions.
      2. God alone = good. Man = naturally depraved – any goodness comes from God. You provide no evidence God is good and no evidence man is naturally depraved or that goodness comes from God (See my comments below about goodness from non-Christians).
      3. Freedom = knowing truth and living in accordance with that knowledge. This definition of truth is of no use in determining what is true.
      4. Slavery = the opposite of freedom = not knowing / not living in truth. Another definition designed to put down those who disagree with you but that is not useful in determining what is true.
      5. We are slaves to our desires. Desiring truth makes freedom possible. Many people desire and actively seek truth, but that does not mean they find either truth or freedom. This is another religious teaching that has no utility in determining what is true.

      I have met many Christians who think they can presuppose anything, including the age of the earth as a corollary of a presupposition (http://creation.com/moving-forward). Presupposing the Koran to be true DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE. Presupposing the Bible to be true DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE!. Likewise with your presuppositions, presupposing that God exists DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE.

      Your presuppositions are worthless in determining truth. Please compare them with mine.

      I have stated on numerous occassions that this blog examines verses of the bible that most Christians do not read. You have continuously shown a desire to subvert this blog into something else. I have repeatedly tried to get you back on track, but you ignore all my questions and ask your own. I have told you this blog is not about evolution, and how do you respond? With the question “How did the universe and life come into existence?” My answer to that is I DON’T KNOW, AND NEITHER DO YOU! Once again, this is not what this blog is about.

      Your presuppositions are all false, but I want to focus on number 2, “any goodness comes from God.” I will start with Thomas Edison who told the New York Times in October 1910.

      Nature is what we know. We do not know the gods of religions. And nature is not kind, or merciful, or loving. If God made me — the fabled God of the three qualities of which I spoke: mercy, kindness, love — He also made the fish I catch and eat. And where do His mercy, kindness, and love for that fish come in? No; nature made us — nature did it all — not the gods of the religions

      Here is Edison in The Columbian in 1911:

      What I have denied and what my reason compels me to deny, is the existence of a Being throned above us as a god, directing our mundane affairs in detail, regarding us as individuals, punishing us, rewarding us as human judges might…Religions? They are nothing but formalities and side-issues… When the churches learn to take this rational view of things, when they become true schools of ethics and stop teaching fables, they will be more effective than they are to-day… I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God.… The thing which most impresses me about theology is that it does not seem to be investigating. It seems to be asserting, merely, without actual study.
      “It is a pity, too. There are great minds in the pulpits. If they would stop declaring the unprovable, and give their time to finding what is really Truth, the world would move more rapidly. Moral teaching is the thing we need most in this world, and many of these men could be great moral teachers if they would but give their whole time to it, and to scientific search for the rock-bottom truth, instead of wasting it upon expounding theories of theology which are not in the first place firmly based. What we need is search for fundamentals, not reiteration of traditions born in days when men knew even less than we do now… The days of miracles have passed. I do not believe, of course, that there was ever any day of actual miracles. I cannot understand that there were ever any miracles at all. My guide must be my reason, and at thought of miracles my reason is rebellious. Personally, I do not believe that Christ laid claim to doing miracles, or asserted that he had miraculous power… There is no supernatural

      Thomas Edison was NOT a Christian. When he was viciously attacked for being an atheist, he would defend himself by claiming there was a “supreme intelligence” behind the universe or that “what you call God I call nature.” Either way, he did not believe in a personal god or the supernatural. I do not know of any single church or ministry that is not using light bulbs, the invention most associated with Edison. The light bulbs of these churches are glowing with the glory of Edison’s atheistic comments! Yet, most of those who sit in those pews have been brainwashed to believe that “any goodness comes from God.” The accomplishments of non-Christians for the betterment of humanity far outnumber the accomplishments of Christians, yet you still have the audacity to make such as sweeping statement against non-Christians. Your right to vote (assuming Julia is a female) was the resulted of actions by the atheist Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the atheist/agnostic Susan B. Anthony. Perhaps you don’t think your right to vote is a good thing because it was not given to you in the bible.

      I do not want to answer any questions under your rules that your false presuppositions are assumed to be true. Do not try to avoid the verses of the bible by asking how did the universe get here.

  24. It is difficult to discern your question you wish me to answer because it is buried in so many other issues that you raise.

    My 5 presuppositions were meant to be informative, only.

    I ask you to grant good faith that I do not intend or desire to control you. I only ask that we deal with one question at a time.

    Your blog is about bible verses you claim most Christians do not read. Even that is debatable because there are many so-called Christians who are not Christians. But the point is a small one and I concede there are at least some true Christians who do not read the Bible in its entirety.

    It is my opinion that you very badly twist the bible verses you cite, and thereby misrepresent the nature and character of God. This twisting is either intentional or unintentional. Your foundational presuppositions would help me to see the source of your twisting and address it. For whatever reason, you do not wish to discuss your presuppositions and I am fine with that. Your presuppositions are apparent anyway, but I was interested in how you would respond. Even non-response is meaningful.

    If you do not desire a respectful discourse from someone who has the opposite opinion, then perhaps it is not your purpose to educate people about rarely taught or rarely read bible verses. If your beliefs cannot withstand a focussed inquiry, it is my opinion that those beliefs have no rational or scientific value. Do I not give you an opportunity to educate and show the poverty of my conservative Christian ideas?

    Now, to answer your question. I quote you:

    “I suppose I should have asked could you be wrong about your belief in God. Your answer that you are wrong because you are imperfect is a cop-out. Could you be wrong about your belief in God? This is the third time I have asked you this question (or a related version of it).”

    YES. Yes, I could be wrong about God, but I think my knowledge (limited as it is) is more right than wrong. If you or anyone shows me the error of my thinking, I will thank you for helping me obtain greater truth.

    Let’s ignore all the other stuff you mention as background noise (Mormons, Thomas Edison, the accomplishments of non-Christians v. Christians, the Koran, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony etc., etc., etc.) And get back to your stated purpose to discuss rarely read bible verses.

    Can you just humor me and give me one, or at the most, two questions at a time?

    As for me, I would really like to go back to your Deuteronomy 22 issues (sexual morality). You really misrepresented God there. But, its your blog.

    If you want me to go away, I will do it. Just tell me you don’t enjoy our exchanges and I shall disappear and wish you well.

    Julia Gwin

    • I only asked you ONE question in the last reply (my third sentence). My other question marks was a rhetorical “how did you respond?” and quotes of your question and Thomas Edison. Do not falsely claim that I asked you more than one question.

      You said

      “For whatever reason, you do not wish to discuss your presuppositions and I am fine with that. “

      You are again dead wrong. I listed 5 presuppositions and contrasted them with your presuppositions. I will list them again. I do not think you have a clue as to what presuppositions are.

      1) Explanations should deal with as much of the evidence as possible
      2) Explanations should avoid contradictions, both internal and with the evidence from the physical world
      3) Explanations should be logical
      4) Explanations should make predictions that can be tested
      5) Explanations should have some utility in addressing new evidence

      These are my presuppositions. I do not presuppose that a god exists or does not exist. My presuppositions are scientific presuppositions and are superior to your presuppositions for discerning truth. There, I have discussed them at least two times. Do not say I have not discussed them.

      I will repost Deuteronomy 22 (the portion of interest) and let you say whatever you want about it. The whole passage is a monument to stupidity, but I will ignore the stuff on wool and linen woven together and focus on the sex.

      22 If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.

      23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

      25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor, 27 for the man found the young woman out in the country, and though the betrothed woman screamed, there was no one to rescue her.

      28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

  25. Hi Ed,

    I’m sorry to see that you’re not willing to subject your views to rational discussion, specifically relating to our conversation about stemming from your post about what would make a text obviously coming from God. From editing my comments to form the easiest straw-man for you to defeat and look smart, I can see that this sort of discussion is not welcome. From the tenor of your blog I had expected more intellectual honesty. Sorry for misunderstanding your search.

    • Your posts were nothing but straw men. You equated repayment of mortgages with slavery in order to set up a straw man attack on my comments on slavery always being wrong. People CHOOSE to agree to the terms of a loan. If they fail to repay, then the bank may take possession of the home, but they never OWN the person and can never FORCE a person to do any type of labor. Another straw man attack was your equating my position on freedom of religion with permitting child sacrifices. Without asking me whether or not I approved of child sacrifices, you made statements as if that is what I had said.

      You created rediculous straw men on everything I said. I really had no desire to converse with you after that. Then you have the audacity to say I created straw men? I think Matthew 7:5 applies here.

      I work for a Fortune 500 company. Last week I meet with one Vice President of another Fortune 500 company (the parent company of multiple fast-food restaurants), 2 state senators, and 5 state representatives. I took my children to multiple sporting activities. I have had long conversations with some bloggers. But I do not want to waste my time with someone who defines “freedom of religion” as permitting people to sacrifice children and who defines slavery as paying interest to a bank.

      • Actually, you and Russell have failed to agree upon terms. Just because one enters voluntarily into a mortgage does not mean he is not a slave – at least in a sense. The mortgagor is not free to fail to pay back the money or the taxes. He has an obligation to the bank (which has replaced the Lord of the manor). He is not free to ignore it.

        Some people prefer slavery to freedom, because slavery removes the sometimes unbearable responsibilities of freedom. Look at all the poor slaves who live on welfare in this country. Their slavery is chosen either in ignorance or laziness. Yes, some are there involuntarily – but these do not remain in that slavery because their DESIRE to be free outweighs their desire for comfortable slavery.

        Who in the world is defining freedom of religion as permitting people to sacrifice their children? No doubt this still occurs, but has never been condoned by Judeo – Christian principles. That is an extraneous issue to your stated purpose to educate people about alleged arcane and unattractive bible verses. Slavery is much more than the enslavement of the body of another (which the bible condemns). You yourself have so noted when you have accused me of having an enslaved mind.

        You begin to violate your own presupposition no. 2 of internal consistency.

        Nevertheless, I think you and Russell would have no argument here if you would first define “slavery.”

  26. I find the “debate” between Julia, Ed and others interesting. However, Ed why do you need to say these things to people?

    “Your comments reveal more about your enslaved mind than they do about any of the unsubstantiated claims you make.”

    “Definitions are important, but I am using COMMON SENSE definitions. I suggest you do the same.”

    “I do not think you have a clue as to what presuppositions are.”

    “Your characterizations here and your statements in many of your comments show a complete lack of knowledge of science.”

    These quotes do not convince a person to your side of the argument, they are just attacks and turn me off. By the way Russell was using a common sense definition, just not one that was helpful to your side of the argument. You look weak when you tear others down. Enslaved mind, I think you have an enslaved heart. You are so obviously hurting and can’t even bring that topic to light. So you just rant on a blog and insult a huge group of people. Oh but that’s okay because you are smart and they have their heads in the sand about the “real” verses in the Bible. These people you insult by the way, are trying to share with you a different approach to the verses you have been sharing and your interpretation of them. You just slap them back with semantics and a harsh word about how you are right and they are uneducated. Come on, really? That’s how you want to show yourself to the world?

    Why do you need to retort so harshly when your counterparts show you respect? I can sense a serious anger in you that you aren’t really discussing and you fire it at the people that disagree. Also, saying most Christians haven’t read these verses is amazingly bold. I doubt you know most Christians, especially since you come off like you hate their God. Maybe you know some but I doubt you can name all of them or understand where they are coming from, how they grew up, how many tears they have shed, how they came to their belief etc.

    You mentioned earlier “If you were to take this passage to someone from another culture (such as a Hindu Asian) who had never heard of the Old or New Testament and if you were to ask them if this story has anything to do with the cross of Christ, they would so absolutely not.” Huh? Ed what are you talking about? Hinduism originated in India, Christianity is the third largest religion in India today. So you could say that someone shared the gospel and the rest of the Bible and it made sense to someone in Hindu Asia….

    Ed, you may not let this post on the blog and that’s okay. I’m talking to you directly. That’s the beauty of the internet I guess. I stumbled on this by accident and started to read. What I have said is my unbiased opinion as a complete stranger to you. Maybe you will value it, maybe not. As I mentioned before, you seem hurt and blame God for whatever it was. Go ahead and say I’m wrong. I don’t mind, but I know a scar when I see it. And I notice you like to edit when it doesn’t support your side. Like Danielles post. She was going somewhere with that and you cut it short. Sure sure, it’s because she was “off topic” or “too long” Nah uh, I don’t buy that crap Ed. They don’t support your painful way of reading the word so you cut them short. If I were to be fair (which I wouldn’t say I’m being) I would say it’s your blog so do whatever you want. But don’t ever lie to yourself and to the rest of us and say you are looking for truth. You can’t edit the truth.

    You might have stopped reading this by now and deleted it, but I want to finish with this. As a complete stranger I can see you are hurt, and I’m sorry for that man. I really am. And if it was at the hands of a “Christian” that’s even crappier. But Why attack others for your pains sake? I dare you to ask God honestly where he was when you were in such pain. See what happens. Go into the storm and rage, see what happens. I Hope you find peace soon.

    • I have had several people comment on how civil I am and many more people supporting this blog. But let’s examine some of your quotes in context.

      “Definitions are important, but I am using COMMON SENSE definitions. I suggest you do the same.”

      The commenter defined paying interest on a home loan as slavery. The commenter also defined “freedom of religion” as the right to perform child sacrifice. Most people do not equate slavery with repaying loans and most people do not equate freedom of religion with the right to perform child sacrifices. I stand by my request to use common sense definitions.

      “I do not think you have a clue as to what presuppositions are.”

      The commenter claimed I did not list my presuppositions when I had. The commenter’s list of presuppositions included the following:

      “1. God = uncreated / underived / eternal. Everything else = created / derived.”

      All her presuppositions contained conclusions instead of establishing a basis for how to determine what is true. I listed my presuppositions again.

      I used the phrase “lack of knowledge of science” rather than use the phrase “ignorant.” Let’s look at what Julia said about me:

      “you are partially enslaved to this issue either because of 1) ignorance (incomplete knowledge) or 2) desire (due to unreasonable need to believe preferred / desired lie and suppress unwanted / undesired truth”

      Contrast the accusations of the Christian apologist “ignorant..desire..unreasonable need to believe desired lie” with my simple statement on lack of knowledge. I believe I am being more polite.

      Now let’s look at your comments:

      “I think you have an enslaved heart”
      “I can sense a serious anger in you”
      “you seem hurt and blame God for whatever it was”
      “I don’t buy that crap Ed”
      “don’t ever lie to yourself and to the rest of us and say you are looking for truth”
      “I can see you are hurt, and I’m sorry for that man”

      I think your comments are more insulting than any of those you complained about me. When my comments are shown in context (bad definitions, bad presuppositions), they make sense. Your comments assume I am enslaved, which I am not. Your comments assume I am angry, which I am not. For the record, I thoroughly enjoyed going to church, singing in choirs, and participating in mission trips all the way up to my early 20s. It is only after reading the bible, the history of the bible, and the history of the church that I became a non-Christian. Nobody ever did anything bad to me invloving church. I do not lie to myslef, as you accuse me. I do not sell “crap”, so you do not have to worry about buying it.

      What I find most amusing is you launched your tirade just recently after another blogger described how civil I have been within the same post. This just goes to show that sometimes a person’s position on issues colors their vision on the discourse.

  27. Actually, you and Russell have failed to agree upon terms, and I think you recognize that. Just because one enters voluntarily into a mortgage does not mean he is not a slave – at least in a sense. The mortgagor is not free to fail to pay back the money or the taxes. He has an obligation to the bank (which has replaced the Lord of the manor). He is not free to ignore it. Failure to pay results in loss of the property.

    Some people prefer slavery to freedom, because slavery removes the sometimes unbearable responsibilities of freedom. Look at all the poor slaves who live on welfare in this country. Their slavery is chosen either in ignorance or laziness. Yes, some are there involuntarily – but these do not remain in that slavery because their DESIRE to be free outweighs their desire for comfortable slavery.

    Who in the world is defining freedom of religion as permitting people to sacrifice their children? No doubt this still occurs, but has never been condoned by Judeo – Christian principles. That is an extraneous issue to your stated purpose to educate people about alleged arcane and unattractive bible verses. Slavery is much more than the enslavement of the body of another (which the bible condemns). You yourself have so noted when you have accused me of having an enslaved mind.

    You begin to violate your own presupposition no. 2 of internal consistency. I do not think you have intentionally done so, but you need to establish the terms of your argument before you attempt to advance your own or criticize another’s. You cannot say that my mind is enslaved and, at the same time, hold that slavery is only the enslavement of the body of another.

    Nevertheless, I think you and Russell would have no argument here if you would first define “slavery.” You can set the terms of the debate, but don’t change the rules / definitions unless you wish to change your second presupposition.

    • I said that I supported freedom of religion and he then alleged that I supported the sacrificing of children as the Aztec’s did. I edited Russel’s comment because it was too long and full of such arguments. I do not want to waste time declaring that slavery and owing mortgages are not the same and that a generic statement supporting freedom of religion does not endorse Aztec child sacrifices.

    • The “your mind is enslaved” comment is one I would have rephrased had I written again.

  28. Understood. I won’t hold you to it.

    Do we need to define “presuppositions”? It is not necessary, but it may help us if we proceed.

    I will take the 5 you present, but these are not “presuppositions.” I was thinking of “presuppositions” as meaning that which we pre-suppose without proof. It is the beginning of observation and operational science: the formation of a hypothesis that can be tested with repeatable experiments. You and I are in disagreement about reality and truth, but I completely agree with your 5 presuppositions.

    There is no disagreement between Christianity and operational science. The orderliness of creation makes science possible. It is in the science of origins that evolutionists and creationist part. We don’t have to discuss those, but our presuppositions here will inevitably color how we think and behave.

    I am educating my 5 young children. They are now studying life science and the current chapter teaches biological evolution. I would like for them to observe our discussion, not as participants, but observers. It is my intention for them to evaluate the merits of our arguments. We can discuss the bible verses you propose. I will show my children how our presuppositions come into play as we discuss those and related issues.

    I am making a list of your 5 presuppositions and placing them alongside my own for the benefit of my children’s learning. Because my 5th presupposition claims we are all slaves to our desires, I anticipate that you might edit my posts in a manner that suppresses truth in order to advance an alternate “truth” that fits your worldview. I know this idea is offensive to you, but it is my presupposition that you can refute easily if my thinking is false. You have already been accused of unfair editing, but, as yet, you have only threatened me. If you do this, I shall have my children examine the part that was edited in order to posit why you would do this. I will inform my children that I agreed to post on your blog and that you can do whatever you like with it. I will also inform them that they should extend good faith to you – that your editing might be fair.

    I will try to stay on point so editing will not be necessary. I will list all your points that I choose to ignore (if any) as irrelevant before I answer your question(s). Feel free to object to my list.

    In fairness, I am going to create suppositions for you that I assume are acceptable to you. I do this because I AGREE with your 5 presuppositions. I believe you are an atheistic humanist, but I am not exactly sure how to categorize you and I desperately want to represent your worldview / presuppositions / mindset / ultimate reality/ fairly and honestly.

    I apologize if my words now or previously have been offensive. I have a tendency to be too blunt. My love of truth sometimes overshadows my tact.

    I will share the presuppositions I assume for you and let you edit them if you like. If this is not acceptable to you, just let me know. It is my intention to address the Deut. 22 passages when I set the stage for my children to observe.

    Is this acceptable to you?

    • I am not sure how this blog relates to your children’s education in life science and biological evolution. Several other things concern me.

      Once again, evolution is being brought into this picture. I do not see how evolution is involved in Deut 22.

      You use multiple creationist terms. Worldview. Presuppositions. And now Operational Science. Yes, these terms are used by non-creationists, but these terms are twisted and warped by creationists (http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v22/n1/creation-proof). I have debated creationists who will twist any evidence (sometimes referred to as proof) to make it fit into their presuppositions. They never consider whether or not their presuppositions could be wrong.

      I want you to THINK about your presuppositions and what you just said about presuppositions. “I was thinking of “presuppositions” as meaning that which we pre-suppose without proof.” Your first presuppostion is “1. God = uncreated / underived / eternal. Everything else = created / derived.” Therefore, using the definition you provided and your presuppostion, you pre-suppose that God is uncreated without proof. If proof (or evidence, as I prefer) is not required, then this discussion is pointless.

      I am glad that you agree with my presuppositions. I do not need any more. But for curiosity’s sake, I want to see what you think my presuppositions should be.

  29. Hi Ed,

    Thanks for clearing that up. I’m lost on where you made it clear why you think this passage is condoning the raping to death of the concubine. Can you help me out on that?

    About your statements on religion, and your judgements that a work written by a supreme being would have the unequivocal statements you wrote… The words you wrote have meanings that you don’t seem willing to accept. If you intended other meanings you should have written other words. Do you have an education in rhetoric?

    • My original post did not say anything about condoning the raping. It describes this story (JUdges 19) as a horrible story and then summarizes the rest of the Judges, inlcuding the genocide of 25,000 Benjaminites, the killing of every man and non-virgin woman of Jabesh Giliead, and the kidnapping of women of Shiloh and forcing them to be wives of the Benjaminites. In THIS story, I just see tons of immorality by many people, including those following God’s orders. I see no redeeming qualities from any group, including God.

      In the course of several replies to Julia, I linked this story to the tale of Lot (the nephew of Abraham, who was spared from Sodom and Gomorrah by God), who also said something like “take my daughters and rape them all night rather than engagge in homosexual conduct with my guests.” In that story, Lot appears to be on God’s good side since he was spared death at Sodom. He later offers his daughters up for rape, then he gets drunk and has sex with both of them.

      I referred to both Lot and the Jebuzite as “godly men”, even though there is more evidence that Lot was a godly man than the jebuzite. I do not think either man was moral. Both of these stories helped reveal to me (along with many other passages of contradictions and errors) that the bible is not the word of god. If you want to continue that these stories are part of a perfect book written by a perfect god, then you have the right to do so.

      • They were not wishing to condone in consensual homosexual sex… They were there to rape the two angels who appeared as men (or in Judges19, the man with the concubine). Rape and homosexuality are not anywhere the same. Since both stories are clearly almost the same, I will refer to Sodom and Gomorrah here… In the city, ALL the men went to Lot’s house and in a teasing, evil manner, told him to bring the men out so they could have “sex” with them. They weren’t asking for consensual sex. They were looking to rape them. Rape is about power, not lust. A straight man in prison will rape a newcomer in the showers to show who is the boss, who holds the reigns, and who the victim should fear. It’s a sign of inhospitality, which Jesus said was Sodom and Gomorrah’s major sin. If you study the history of those cities in those times, and you study what the bible says about Sodom and Gomorrah, you will come to find that they were pagan cities that performed sexual religious rituals, and that they were gluttons and greedy people that did not welcome visitors into their cities. In some terms, they feared strangers that entered their cities. And as I said, rape and homosexuality do not go together at all. A homosexual is someone who is attracted to the same sex. It’s just like being African American, or even left handed. Rape, on the other hand, is a power issue. Like I said, even a straight man will rape another man (or boy), but it does not make the guy gay. His attraction to women makes him straight. If a straight man has sex with a guy, that does not make him gay. It’s the same if a gay guy has sex with a woman. It does not make him straight. And to sum it all up, not all gay men lust and go out and have sex parties. The same with straight men. I am in a monogamous relationship with a guy for over 2 years now, and we do the same things straight couples do… Eat, sleep, work, argue, make up, chores, pay bills, spend time with family and friends, ect. I hope this opens some insight on this issue. Thanks.

      • I heard your argument while a teenager at First Baptist Church, Commerce, Texas. Dr. David Hankins then presented the counter argument that ripped your argument to shreds.

        Most Christians believe that Sodom and Gomorrah’s sins were both rape and homosexuality. Most Atheists believe the story is a myth.

      • edhensley, First it was slavery, then it was women’s rights, then it was segregation… Science proves and continues to prove each day that homosexuality is not a choice, just as much as black people are black, or hispanic people are hispanic, or hermaphrodites are hermaphrodites, left handed people are left handed, so on and so forth. I was born gay the same way you were born straight. I knew I was gay the same way you knew you were straight. If homosexuality is a choice, then that would conclude that every straight male out there had an attraction to the same sex, but chose not to follow through with it. I never had an attraction to women, and I do not go out raping people.

        Rape and homosexuality are not the same. Not all gay men “burn in lust with one another”, just the same way with heterosexuals. People use the Bible to attack something they fear, just as they did back when we had slavery, and no women’s rights. Homosexuality is seen in the animal kingdom, while homophobia is only seen in the human race. What is it exactly that you guys fear of us? Just because we’re different? It’s funny how the Pharisees said the same things about all the people Jesus walked amongst, ate with, healed, ect. God is Love. Love knows no boundaries. It is supposed to be unconditional. I love my partner of almost 2 years, probably as much as you love your wife. You can either walk with God, like the sinners, deformed, sick, ect… Or you can walk with the Pharisees and follow these foolish laws that were added to the Bible that Jesus came to abolish and reinstate the original laws… The Law of loving God and loving others.

      • Most people are aware of this when they comment, but I will state the obvious since I am not sure you are aware based on your posts and especially the question “What is it exactly that you guys fear of us?”

        I am an Atheist.

        I became an Atheist after reading the bible and realizing it was a repugnant cesspool of immoral filth. I started this blog because I want people to read verses that are not usually read in Sunday School. I want people to realize the bible is not the word of god. Most Christians have never read the entire bible.

        Since I am an Atheist, I do not believe the events of this story ever took place. Nowhere have I said rape and homosexuality are the same thing. Nowhere have I said that I fear homosexuals. You need to read things more carefully before you make comments.

      • edhensley , my apologies.

      • No problem. I realize that if taken out of context that my comment about Dr. David Hankins might be misinterpreted as me endorsing his belief. I was only expressing that Hankins’ comments on Sodom and Gomorrah are the more typical Christian interpretation.

  30. It is actually worse than you represent. Lot IS described as “righteous” in 2 Peter 7.

    The other two men are, I think, theophanic angels who accompanied the LORD (all caps, so it is God Himself) in the visit to Abraham in Genesis 18. God remains to speak with Abraham (while Abraham pleads for the life of Lot and his family) and the two angels travel on to Lot’s town, Sodom, for the purpose of destroying it.

    I don’t want you to think I am going to shy away from the worst of the worst.

    Am preparing a response to your last post, and also an analysis of Genesis 19, but I think you should know that Lot is declared “righteous” by God. Amazing.

    • Any book that defines a man who gets drunkk and has sex with his daughters as righteous is not a valid moral compass.

  31. Hi Ed,

    We have a lot of common ground. I should have said so from my first comment, if you’ll permit I’ll go back and post areas where I agree with you. To start with, yes, a book that defines a man who gets drunk and has sex with his daughters as righteous is not a valid moral compass. Agreed, definitely common ground. It’s scandalous, and offends any normal human sentiment. Why would 1/3 of the planet follow a religion derived off such a text?

  32. Here is a prime example of the necessity for defining terms and reading the scripture, in its entirety, for the purpose of understanding. In this the bible is not different from an other book. Without any other information, I AGREE that a book that defines as “righteous” any man who gets drunk and has sex with his daughters is an invalid moral compass.

    So now, to advance a productive discourse, we should understand our terms. Since we judge the bible, we should let it defend itself. This also comports with your second presupposition:

    2) Explanations should avoid contradictions, both internal and with the evidence from the physical world
.

    That being the case, we should understand what the bible means when it says a man is “good” or “righteous.” This should be verified both internally and externally.

    Agreed?

    Julia Gwin

    • There are major problems with “understanding what the bible means”. If it were clear, then we would not have over 100 different sects of Christianity.

      Go ahead and provide your opinion on what you think the bible means.

      • Hi Ed,

        Quoting:
        ——–
        There are major problems with “understanding what the bible means”. If it were clear, then we would not have over 100 different sects of Christianity.

        Go ahead and provide your opinion on what you think the bible means.
        ——–

        Isn’t that what you’re doing on this blog? Are you going to expose your hermeneutic, and apply it consistently to other ancient texts, such as Gilgamesh? It seems like the intellectually honest thing to do when making the assertions you’re making.

        I appreciate you bringing up the verses you feel are under-read, less well known. As I’m sure you know, people make emotional decisions, then begin to back them up with logic and reason. Sometimes following a church group comes unraveled when, like you, reading the Bible and trying to make the logic fit doesn’t work.

  33. I do not pretend to defend any “sects” of Christianity. My arguments will remain within the bounds of the orthodox Christian faith that has always withstood assaults against its non-negotiable basic tenets. I assume you do not require that I state these tenets, but I shall if you like.

    I told you I would list the points that I would ignore, and I shall ignore defending “sects” that are outside the bounds of Christian orthodoxy (like Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses). However, I admit failure to deal properly with the text of scripture can lead to the formation of a “sect.”

    I enjoyed very much your link to the Answers In Genesis site containing the article by Ken Hamm. I agree with almost all that he writes there, but I am not sure I can agree that facts are NOT neutral. I think facts ARE neutral.

    You were curious about the list of presuppositions I would come up with for you, and I have found a page that I think forms the basis for the foundations of your truth / worldview / faith:

    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/fred_edwords/promise.html

    Am I on the right track?

    Julia Gwin

    • Fred Edword’s post was not a list of presuppositions, but a summary on the promise of humanism, which I will summarize quoting him, “The promise of Humanism is a good life here and now.” Humanism is an approach to life that focuses on human values and concerns. This is NOT a list of presuppositions.

      You state that you agree with almost all that Ken Ham wrote. I am afraid we have too many disagreements to go any further. You are totally confusing worldviews and presuppositions (aka axioms). You are not the only creationist to do so. Ken Ham’s “presuppositions” lead him to claim regularly that kangaroos once lived in the Middle East (http://www.answersingenesis.org/e-mail/archive/AnswersWeekly/2004/0710.asp). There is no evidence that kangaroos lived in the Middle East. There are no fossils of kangaroos anywhere between Australia and the Middle East. Yet, Ken Ham makes such claims. And you agree with most of what he said about his presuppositions. I suggest we end this.

      I just wanted to recommend Lost Christianities by Bart Ehrman, head of the religious department at the University of North Carolina at Chappel Hill, in response to your comments about orthodox Christianities. You might learn something.

  34. The Promise of Humanism article is pretty nifty. The values expressed there, while not presuppositions, are nonetheless valuable. Ed, would it also be proper to boil down the promise of humanism to: “Life is not purpose, life is art.”? What would you say to the person whose heart still years for purpose?

    • I think you left off the sentence immediatley after “life is art.” “The meaning is found in the doing.”

      To the person still yearning for purpose, I would say take care of yourself and family first, then do what you can to improve your community, your state, your country, and your world.

  35. Thank you all for your comments. I have learned how to be more patient and polite, among other things.

  36. I just came across this and was reading comments and I felt as a writer I’m compelled to make this statement to you Edhensley. You seem to believe that this story stands alone, that there is no connection to anything else like the cross, I find that really offensive from a writer’s stand point, not a Christian stand point mind you because while I am Christian, that’s not where my offense lies. That’d be like saying I write a mini story within a larger story, and saying the mini story has no connection to the rest of the story. Out of context this is a horrible and gut wrenching story. But in context of the whole of the bible, it’s a stepping stone to things that will come. So to take the story itself and consider nothing before or after it, is in fact taking the story out of context.

    The story couldn’t have anything to do with the cross as it stands, because the cross had not happened yet from my understanding, however it is because of stories like this that the cross came to be needed. To me it’s a necessary story because it leads up to just why Jesus had to die for us. It saddens me that in today’s society no one is willing to discuss it and the culture of the past. Just because something is wrong -now- doesn’t necessarily mean it was wrong back then, and I believe on judging people’s actions based on their cultural climate instead of my own.

    • I have read the bible through twice, and this story has nothing to do with the cross. I have met many apologists who say “you have to read the Old Testament in light of the New Testament.” Then they feel justified in making any illogical conclusion they want. This is like Mormons saying “you have to read the New Testament in light of the Book of Mormon.”

      Furthermore, the “whole bible” you refer to is a myth. The Catholics and Protestants have different bibles, and the protestant bible was not completed until 1885 when the apocrypha was removed. Furthermore, there are many other Christian bibles (i.e. Coptic Bible, Ethiopian Bible) that are different as well. Before you can claim that a particular book is part of the “whole bible”, you must define what the whole bible is and provide evidence why your version of the “whole bible” is the one true word of God and all other versions are false.

      Just because something is wrong -now- doesn’t necessarily mean it was wrong back then, and I believe on judging people’s actions based on their cultural climate instead of my own.

      Two parts to this loaded statement. In the first part before the comma you are admitting to moral relativism. This means that you have no right to accuse atheists and other freethinkers of moral relativism. As far as the second part, I agree that when judgin an INDIVIDUAL, I consider the morals of the time. For example, there are many people (including American family fathers) who were good people who lived in times when it was permissible to own slaves. I consider the owning of slaves absolutely wrong even back then, but I do not judge some of those people as harshly as I would judge someone who advocated owning slaves today. The fact that George Washington owned slaves does not make slavery moral.

  37. I wasn’t speaking on the terms of One true god. I was speaking on terms as a writer. Whatever the variations are, they aren’t my concern in my current offence. I speak only in terms of this story in whatever version you read. Just because you -think- it has nothing to do with the cross, doesn’t mean you’re right. As I said it’s setting up for something that comes much later in the story, the story being whatever version of God’s word you have. You are meant to feel utter disgust towards these people. You are meant to feel like humans just aren’t worth saving, but yet here comes much later, a man that gives his life to prove that God wants us to be saved.

    Whether it’s true or not, the point of the story is not a direct reference to the cross. The point of the story is to show this is how horrible people are, and trust me you want truth and proof of this level read “Night” by Elie Wiesel. It’s the same concept. It uses horrible images to convey just how horrible the Holocaust was, how horrible the people were.

    It’s an emotional set up for incidences later. That’s why it’s there, I don’t know why people wouldn’t teach this part too, because it’s hard to set up a powerful emotional reaction without such things. But my offense still stands. You’ve taken a small piece out and chosen to focus solely on it without taking in the whole book and finding where the piece fits in.

    • You are entitled to your opinion. However, the Bible is not one book but is a collection of books written by different men (and possibly women) in different languages in different centuries. You act is if the bible was one book written by a single author. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  38. 2 Tim. 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God….”

    1 Thess. 2:13: “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God…you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God….”

    Heb. 1:1: ” God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son….”

    It is not an opinion. It is the claim of scripture to be authored by God.

    • You are using circular logic as the basis of your opinion. The bible is the word of god because the bible says it is the word of god. Circular reasoning is a common logical fallacy of Christians. Using your faulty logic, a Muslim could claim the Koran is the word of god because the Koran says it is the word of god. A better method to determine whether or not some text is the literal (or inspired) word of a perfect god is to examine it for errors, internal contradictions, and contradictions with external evidence.

  39. I am not using circular reasoning. I am simply making known what scripture claims about itself. Whether I believe or not does not change scripture’s claim to be the Word of God.

    Show me my opinion in my response. Show me my circular reasoning in my response above.

    • The bible claims to be the word of god, as many other scriptures make that same claim. In the context of the reply it appeared that you were claiming the bible is the word of god.

  40. If I claim to be Ed Hensley, and you also claim to be Ed Hensley, does the truth of your identity become less because I falsely claim to be you? It is non sequitur to argue in this way.

    False Christs do not lessen the value of the real Christ. Sometimes a false claim actually makes the genuine more precious.

    • I can show a driver’s license, passport, FAA security badge, FCC radio license, birth certificate, and numerous other items to prove who I am. All these documents tell who I am without contradicting each other. Jesus of the bible can not even show who the father of his earthly father Joseph is without a contradiction (Jacob in Matthew, Heli in Luke). You have not provided one shred of credible evidence that Jesus was truly god or the son of god.

  41. When have I ever tried to show you or anyone “credible evidence” that Jesus was truly God or the Son of God? This is a straw man argument on your part – very off topic.

    First, I show you the scriptures that proclaim the Bible is written by God.
    You respond by telling me I am engaging in circular logic (when I am not even making an argument at all).

    Then, you throw out a red herring that the Koran makes the same claim. Okay. And this proves what? The Bible is false? So I try to connect those illogical dots. I assert that a true identity does not become false when confronted by a false claim to the same identity. I am not Ed Hensley. But I could certainly make that claim and it would not make you less Ed Hensley.

    You respond that you can produce documentation as evidence of your identity. You confuse “evidence” with “truth.” Evidence and truth are not the same. Do these documents really prove who you are? Could not any mediocre identity thief produce the same? If I produced these documents, would it make me any more Ed Hensley than you are Ed Hensley? Would you cease to be you if all these documents were destroyed or if they contained discrepancies?

    Last, you throw out the straw man: “You have not provided one shred of credible evidence that Jesus was truly god or the son of god.” Not only is that far from the original topic, but I have never agreed or endeavored to do so. Your statement creates a false impression I have agreed to do so. You may want this or perhaps you need it – but no one can prove or disprove the existence of God.

  42. Evidence (and the scientific method) is a means of determining what is true and what is false. This entire debate between us has been about you asserting truth and me providing evidence.

    Regarding more evidence for Ed Hensley, I could get my father’s and mother’s DNA and run a test to compare their DNA with mine. I could get finger prints taken from me multiple times by the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy at different stages of my life.

    I could go on and on. But you do not care about evidence. You only care about asserting truth. Until you value looking at evidence to determine truth, you will not be able to find the truth you claim to care about.

    Evidence is what you provide in order to get other people to take you seriously.

  43. My comment is that the Christian apologists spent more time rambling about irrelevant tangents than addressing any verse or giving any interpretation. All that typing and no one has addressed the verses he brought up? Hmmmmm…

    The Bible is not solely about redemption and how bad man had fallen. There are laws and stories that clearly show God condoning heinous acts and even giving heinous laws. I’d hope that people would address these rather than commenting on evolution or who hates God, etc.

  44. Hill:

    You say the Bible is not solely about redemption and the depravity of mankind. This assertion brings me to

    Question 1: What do you believe to be a major theme of the Bible?

    Question 2: If you see no main theme or pattern, and I do, then which of us is “seeing”?

    I agree with you: God allows heinous acts. But He uses the free will of wicked men to accomplish His good purposes. The crucifixion of Christ is the supreme example of God using the wickedness of humanity to accomplish His good purposes.

    God claims responsibility for the crucifixion of Christ in Isaiah 53:10. Rev. 13:8 says the crucifixion was God’s plan even before the foundation of the world. Jesus says He goes willingly to the cross to die because no man can forcibly take His life from him. See John 10:18.

    But man is still responsible for the crucifixion of Christ. See Acts 2:23 and Acts 3: 13 – 15 (and several other places).

    God cannot be overcome by our evil and be God.
    Evil cannot exist without good. Darkness is absence of light, yet is dependent upon the existence of light. Light does not need darkness. Corruption cannot exist alone. Unbelief needs belief; it is DERIVED. Lies cannot exist without Truth. These dependent things are DERIVED (and perverted / twisted). God is not derived, but is the Uncaused Cause. This story shows the twisted perversion of mankind without God.

    Question 3: What evidence can you cite to support “God condoning heinous acts or even giving heinous laws” in this passage?

    Question 4: What evidence is there in this passage to suggest God’s responsibility for the wicked actions performed in this passage?

    The only way I can twist some sense out of the assertion that God is wicked because of these passages is to make God the grand puppeteer of human beings and remove our free will. That brings me to

    Qustion 5: Is God wicked to give men freedom?

    Cheers and blessings,

    Julia

    • Julia,

      If you were witnessing a man rape and kill a 5-year-old girl, would you do everything in your power to stop this crime or would you be more concerned about the free will of the rapist? Every person I know would do everything in their power to stop this act. The god you worship supposedly has the power to stop such rapes and murders every day, yet you admit he lets them do evil and does nothing to stop them. Any person or being who values the free will of rapists and murderers over the safety of little girst and does nothing to stop them is wicked for doing nothing.

      Your problem is that the morals you apply to men are not applied to your god. Your god can watch little girls get raped and killed and you say that is a good thing because your god is not wicked to give rapists and murderers freedom. You have previously stated that the god you worship could kill litlle girls and do no wrong because he has the right to do whatever he wants with his creation.

      May you someday be free and enlightened enough to not worship a being that is above morality.

  45. Ed – I think you explain yourself very well and that the others in this discussion failed to put forward any reasonable points.
    I kept reading, hoping to see certain things the Bible explained – but nothing was. Nothing ever is.

    I come from a devoutly Christian family. I truly wanted to stay believing in the Bible. But these questions are never answered.

    Why was the subject of rape of innocents skipped over? I’m sorry Julia, but your words sound brainwashed. Ed was talking about something damned horrible and you were just dishing out what you believe in. As a human being, couldn’t you see his heart and try to respond to that?

    Can you, as a human being, feel the pain of thousands of men, boys and women who have ‘lain with men’ being murdered? Then rape little girls and force them to live with them? Can you imagine the pain of those little girls, knowing their families were slaughtered by the man they’re forced to stay with? All by the word of God?

    Yet you give blithe answers that don’t answer anything?

    Then say that you don’t want a boring God?

    Boy are you ever going to be disappointed with life after death if there’s no murder or rape or pillage. Y’know, the type of eternity the God of the Bible promised.

    I believe in God. I can’t not believe in God. But who knows what God is? Our universe may be just a single cell in the midst of billions of other cells – and we can never know the ‘body’ or the whole.

    But I can’t see how God watches over our world and intervenes when ‘he’ wishes. Christians have no better health or luck than anyone else.

    We bicker and fight about what is true and real – when we know nothing. People hold up a book that contains the writings of men and ask that we trust the words within it. We will never all believe the same thing. Even upon the earth – all we see is a tiny part of everything in our world.

  46. Mr. Hensley:

    I apologize this response has taken so long.

    I understand sexual violation. I was that little girl. My formative experiences have shaped me and have caused me to question deeply the issues of free will and the goodness of God.

    But this is not about me.

    Using your logic, God is responsible for wickedness because He is NOT a puppeteer. He is responsible because he COULD control but does not. So, I ask:

    Can justice exist if there is no wickedness? How much wickedness should God restrain, if any? Should anyone be exempt from God’s control? Who? Would you prefer to be a puppet? If you were a puppet, would you hate God for making you a puppet?

    I believe your primary complaint stems from two erroneous perceptions: that God has done nothing, and that there is no justice.

    Let’s look at the scenario you provide that is echoed in this biblical passage from three viewpoints: 1) The rapist(s), 2) the victim / innocent party, and 3) God. First, let’s consider the rapists:

    1. The rapists

    a) The rapists are morally wrong. They are wrong because there are moral standards. Moral standards exist because there is Good and evil. If there were no Good (and thus no God), there could be no evil. Good can exist alone because it is underived. Evil cannot exist without good, because it is a perversion (a poor deriviative) of good.

    b) The rapists are free to choose good or evil.

    c) The rapists are RESPONSIBLE for the free choices they make.

    d) The rapists will receive either Justice or Mercy for the crime committed.

    e) Mercy is sometimes very ugly and costly to the victim of the crime. For perpetrators who escape justice and receive mercy, it is unspeakably wonderful.

    As an aside, God is ultimately the victim of every crime. We are His creation and do not belong even to ourselves. When we sin, we deny His image in us. When we violate others, we deny His image in them. We exist for Him alone, and for His purposes. Therefore, when David sinned by his sexual impropriety with Bathsheba and killed her husband to cover up her pregnancy, he could truthfully say, “Against Thee, and Thee only have I sinned and done [this] evil in Thy sight…” See Psa. 51:4.

    Okay. Now let’s consider

    2. The child / innocent:

    a. The child /innocent is violated in a particularly horrifying way – forced to become “one flesh” with one who hates and perverts the innocence of the child.

    b. As a result, the child / innocent may harbor hatred and unforgiveness toward the rapist (and / or God). This keeps the child a slave to the rapist and to hatred. The wounds fester and never heal.

    c. Or, the child may forgive and be free from hatred. The child is no longer the slave of the past, but can heal and live in hope. The scars may not go away, but have transformed the child into a unique and powerful minister to others who know man’s inhumanity to man. See 2 Cor. 1:4

    Okay. Let’s go to

    3. God and the wickedness He permits:

    a. Nothing escapes God’s will or permission, including the rape and atrocities that continue to be committed against innocent children to this day.

    b. The wickedness God permits does NOT mean:

    1. God is wicked; or

    2. God will not give perfect (and sometimes costly) justice; or

    3. God will not grant mercy (though costly and sometimes ugly); or

    4. God cannot work His good purposes through the evil He permits; or

    5. God cannot redeem the victim, the perpetrator, or both. Victim and perpetrator can even be reconciled in a relationship of mutual love and respect when both are transformed by God. This cannot happen without God’s direct intervention.

    c. God’s justice for the injury of children is and will be particularly severe. See Matt. 18: 6-10. It is an illusion to believe there will be no justice.

    d. All of us must receive either mercy or justice from God. Those who understand God’s holiness want mercy and fear justice. Those who misunderstand God’s holiness or their own state of depravity wrongly hope for justice for ourselves. Justice is delayed so that mercy can be extended. See Romans 2:4

    Last, let’s look at

    4. God’s relationship to His laws:

    a. God’s laws exist because goodness has been perverted. There is no law if there is no evil. See Romans 7:7-9. God’s laws are legislative morality and apply to all humanity.

    b. Because God is the author of His laws, He is not naturally subject to them. Nevertheless, God willing subjected Himself to His laws in the birth, life, suffering, death and ascension of Christ. See Galatians 4:4 – 5. This willing condescension on the part of God makes possible His mercy while satisfying the demands of His justice.

    Life is still good and beautiful, but it is not as it will one day be. For those who receive God’s justice, this life is the best they will ever know, as God patiently waits for us to come to our senses. For those who receive God’s costly mercy, this life is the worst that will ever be known.

    In the end, although we do not know everything, we know enough to say, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

    This post is long. I was not able to say it more succinctly. The topic is not a simple one. I did not know how to make it shorter.

    Julia

    • I stand by all my prior comments and have no further desire to get into conversations with you via blog posts.

    • What lunacy!

      First of all, the blogger Ed was writing about a god who watches little girls get raped and killed and does nothing. If a man were to do nothing, it would be immoral. You replied regarding the rapist, the child, and god.

      1. The rapist. “For perpetrators who escape justice and receive mercy, it is unspeakably wonderful. ” Yes, how wonderful it would be to rape and kill a little girl and escape justice. I would never describe that as wonderful.

      “Against Thee, and Thee only have I sinned and done [this] evil in Thy sight…” WHAT! David didn’t sin against the man he killed? The rapist didn’t sin against the child? They only sin against god?

      2. The child. The blogger clearly said that the child was killed, and you changed the story so that the child lived. If the child is dead, how can the child “heal and live in hope”?

      3. God. “Victim and perpetrator can even be reconciled in a relationship of mutual love and respect when both are transformed by God. This cannot happen without God’s direct intervention.”

      Victim and perpetrator can not be reconciled if the victim is dead. But if, as you claim, god can directly intervene after a rape and murder, why couldn’t he intervene before the murder?

      4. God’s relationship to his laws. “God’s laws are legislative morality and apply to all humanity.” “Because God is the author of His laws, He is not naturally subject to them.”

      Morality does not apply to god. This is the first claim of religious people who commit genocide in the name of their god. God told us to kill these people, so it is ok.

      Because Obama is the author of his laws, he is not naturally subject to them. Do you agree with that statement?

  47. Sarah:

    You say:

    “Can you, as a human being, feel the pain of thousands of men, boys and women who have ‘lain with men’ being murdered? Then rape little girls and force them to live with them?”

    I worked on my responses before I post. I try to be sensitive to Mr. Hensley’s desire for evidence and brevity. That takes time – and I can only work in bits and pieces of it. I would also think Mr. Hensley is busy and has more than this blog in his life. I posted before I read your response.

    You judge me unfairly. You do not know my feelings, and I suppose Mr. Hensley would rightly find my feelings irrelevant. Mr. Hensley requests evidence and logic. So I refrain from the feelings arena. I can happily go to that place, but I am trying to respect Mr. Hensley’s parameters and stay in the boundaries of this blog.

    My e-mail address is public on Amazon, if you (or anyone else) wish to contact me directly.

    I was a victim of prolonged sexual violation during the formative years of my childhood. I have strong feelings about the matter. I have extraordinary sympathy for others who suffer in this uniquely violent and degrading way. I know the monster very, very well. My feelings and their validity, however, should not affect the cohesive force of my arguments.

    God cannot be proved or disproved by evidence, ultimately. Logically, He is outside the realm of evidence as the Author of it, but the evidence for God is, in my opinion, overwhelming and convincing. That is why I am comfortable here pointing out inconsistencies, asking questions and allowing my own arguments to be criticized.

    The transformation that occurs in the life of people who experience God’s intervention is very strong, but subjective evidence. I would imagine that kind of thing would be off limits here.

    You say, “Yet you give blithe answers that don’t answer anything?”

    To what question do you refer and how do I fail to answer? Please ask any question and I shall endeavor to answer or tell you I have no idea. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I have spent years examining these issues and I enjoy sharpening myself with people who disagree with me. It keeps me growing and honest.

    Next you say, “Then say that you don’t want a boring God?”

    I did not say that. I said Mr. Hensley’s God was boring. He described a puppet master god in a setting in which all evil is thwarted. I should have been more accurate. His god was not so boring as the puppet people are boring. I also do not wish to be a puppet. I wish to be holy – but not a puppet.

    I think you seriously misjudge my feelings and the character of God:

    “Boy are you ever going to be disappointed with life after death if there’s no murder or rape or pillage. Y’know, the type of eternity the God of the Bible promised.”

    Do you have any evidence that God has promised this kind of eternity? If not, why to you posit this patently false idea?

    As for my feelings, why would you think I would look forward to a life of murder, rape and pillage? I will be very happy to spend eternity without the wretchedness of my own sinfulness and the sinfulness of others. I would love to discuss things with you, but it would help if you would be a little more open-minded with me.

    Next, you say:

    “I believe in God. I can’t not believe in God. But who knows what God is?”

    You are correct. It is impossible to know Who God is, absent God making that possible. I believe growing in knowledge of God will be one of the delights of eternity – for it would take eternity to do that.

    You say:

    “But I can’t see how God watches over our world and intervenes when ‘he’ wishes. Christians have no better health or luck than anyone else.”

    You have a false assumption here – that God gives Christians better health and luck than others. God is not a divine rabbit’s foot. The Bible actually says the opposite, especially as the end times draw near and progress. We are and will be treated as Jesus was treated. We will be hated as He is hated. Mohammed fails to inspire that kind of hatred for a reason.

    Next, you say:

    “We bicker and fight about what is true and real – when we know nothing. People hold up a book that contains the writings of men and ask that we trust the words within it. We will never all believe the same thing. Even upon the earth – all we see is a tiny part of everything in our world.”

    I agree with all of that except the part about the Bible being the writings of men. It is that, but it was written by men as they were moved by God, Who superintended and preserved His Word. Fulfilled prophecy alone distinguishes the Bible from all other books that proclaim divine inspiration or authority. Koran? Mormon? Tao? Nope.

    I hope you will give me a fair chance. If not, I wish you well anyway.

    Blessings,

    Julia Gwin

  48. (note: comment was edited by Ed Hensley by omitting a few words and the last sentence.)

    julia gwin

    you are sick. to you the bible is an inerrant word of god. it is Perfect.

    if the bible does not make any sense in anyway, you make up a ton of excuses to justify it, bringing up words like ‘theme’ and ‘symbols’ and ‘cross’ in anyway you can.

    everything seen through your eyes must have something to do with the cross and how jesus died to save our horrible sins. you are the one who needs saving. it is a shame that you had the opportunity to go to school while countless misfortunate kids in the world miss out on a good education. you are a superstitious degenerate.

    your whole life revolves around john 3:16.

    dog bless.

    amen.

    blessings
    ex-christian

  49. Ed- why did you edit my comments??

    for 40 years i was brainwashed into believing all this crap about how the bible (from cover to cover) is divinely inspired. it is entirely correct and can contain no error. the only error is in our interpretation of the stories. in my youth i was told to ‘just dont dig up trouble’ & ‘just read the new testament, ‘forget the old testament’ & ‘oh, you are reading it wrong’. in my teenager life, i was ignored and told the devil is leading me astray.

    the reality is christians have a teenager’s crush on god and sonny jesus. they make god and jesus so warm and fuzzy inside that nothing on earth can ever come close to them. they are celestial perfect perfect perfect. it borders on compulsive obsession/fetism.

    being a good christian means you would have to shut off your brain and hug the bible in your bed, your whole life. it is sick. christians live in a dream world where they constantly imagine the upcoming utopia where jesus will return and change the world. the world will be perfect thereafter. they cant wait to depart this earthly shell and rejoice at the arrival of the messiah. to them, this present world is sick, perverted and absolutely rubbish. the sin is everywhere!! all they want to do is sit at home and read the bible, talk to their invisible god 50 times a day.

    could jesus have just been a radical jewish rabbi who interpreted the scripture in his own way? could he have delved too deeply into the book of daniel in his youth and developed his own ideas of the upcoming apocalypse? could he be mistaken in thinking that he has a uniquely divine relationship to god?

    would it be possible that he was genuinely mistaken or clinically crazy? was it possible that he stirred up the crowd and incited hints of mutiny? was he really crucified by the authorities because he was rebelling?

    did his supersitious followers created stories of his miracles and started a cult??

    Ed- pls don’t edit this comment. you should let it stay at it is. the christians need to understand why many believers gave up their faith or why the non-believers don’t convert. sometimes, the buybull is just that. it’s a load of bull crap.

    • I edited your comments because some of them contained words or content that are not conducive to proper public discourse. It is fine to say someone is sick, delusional, wrong, misguided, etc, but to call someone a vulgar name and to refer to them in a sexual act is not something I will tolerate in this blog. You are free to create your own blog and do so.

      I did not alter your last comment.

  50. You talk about the bible as if it was really word of god… but it is not, it has been changed and edited so many times in the past, and it is so much different today compared to the “recently” discovered Dead Sea scrolls…
    Do you think that the modern bible has been changed to reflect the newly discovered old parts contained in the Dead Sea scrolls? Not at all, they left everything as it was!
    Who cares about what the bible really says or said at any point in the past, and who cares if all these versions are manipulated!
    The modern bible serves its purpose, being a tool for the religious leaders to control us, and it won’t change. Or maybe it will, and it will look perfectly normal to us. No complaints. Blind faith.
    I propose to edit it again and take out at least “Leviticus” from the bible.

  51. An interesting discourse nearly happened between Ed and Julia. A huge cudos to Ed for not giving up early in the piece and persistently responding as the conversation was dredged down by thousands of meaningless words. I would not have been able to hang in there that long. The ‘Bible’ is not the word of ‘God.’ Many passages are inexcusable. Christians who justify every term/story/phrase/parable, in what ever way is convenient is illogical and wrong. The brainwashing that occurs to young people via the infliction of the bible upon their influential minds is disgraceful. I once found this passage on my own accord flicking through the bible around 10 years ago, couldn’t remember where it was written. Thanks for helping me find it again.

    • Hanging in there with Julia was tough. Her justification always boiled down to something like “if we don’t accept the Bible as the word of God then everyone can make up their own morality.” She never permitted herself to assess whether or not the god in the bible was good, only presupposing that he must be good.

  52. I’m a Christian and am fully aware of this passage and have been for years, but thanks to those who speak for the rest of us albeit with condescension. Do you take a shower every time you read the news? As disturbing as this passage is, there have been far greater atrocities committed throughout the ages. They, in effect, are being committed right under your nose—where you live and breath— in the here and now. As for those who take the Bible literally, tell me then why Jesus spoke in parables (and don’t answer that it was prophesied)? You confuse the fact that scripture is unbroken with literal interpretation as if God is limited in the way he speaks to us. (And to you atheists—maybe you should worry more about the brainwashing the kids get from pop culture. Where did all the grownups go anyway?)

    • Keep your comments relevant to these verse.
      “Do you take a shower every time you read the news?” Irrelevant and no.

      “tell me then why Jesus spoke in parables (and don’t answer that it was prophesied)? ” According to Mark 4, Matt 13, and Luke 8 Jesus spoke in parables to confuse non-believers. This is irrelevant to the verses of this post.

      “Where did all the grownups go anyway?” Irrelevant to these verses.

  53. You said, “Jesus spoke in parables to confuse non-believers.” God is not the author of confusion. And do you forget the words: “I believe, Lord, help thou my unbelief.” My point was that he did not speak literally, regardless to what end. Outside the circle of his disciples, Jesus spoke in parables that were simple, but often beautiful, phrases that held profound truths that he delivered to the multitude.

    The report of the death of this lowly concubine has survived thousands of years, right up to this day. Who will remember us in this world, everyday and for thousands of years after our deaths? ( And besides which, Christ was beaten, tortured and nailed to a cross. Would you dare to protest that?

    • The bible (quoting Jesus) says in 3 places that Jesus spoke in parables to confuse non-believers. Read the bible.

      God is not the author of confusion? There are over 34,000 sects of Christianity, so if God is not the author of confusion then there is no god.

      I would protest any form of torture, whether it is a concubine getting ripped to shreds, any of the thousands of men and women who were crucifide, or the eternal torture of hell as a punishment for not believing something.

      • in the end, you get what you want—separation from God—which is what Hell really is. It won’t be God who puts you there. (As for your sanctimonious protests, they are of little or no effect and likely something most of us say to show how caring we are as humans.) If Hell were not real, we’d have to invent it for the torturers and murderers for whom death is too easy. Or, we could devise a plan for their redemption and salvation, got any ideas? The point of protest was that the marauding men asked for the man to rape and instead was given the concubine. This I suppose is some cause for outcry by feminists, not necessarily unbelievers. I would like to say that the act was an accurate reflection of that time, but such heinous acts as human trafficking, rape, rioting, kidnapping, genocide etc., occur today. I assert the concubine was dead, as she did not answer, before she was divided into twelve parts and sent to the twelve tribes of Israel in PROTEST and call for vengeance. Thousands of years later, we are speaking of this woman. No one will speak of you or I even a hundred years from now. Secondly, as for “confusion,” Jesus spoke in parables so that “seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not hear,” which sounds a lot like confusion. However, the confusion comes not from God but from the walking dead who Jesus described: “this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should understand with their heart, and should be converted.” You certainly are angry with God, enough to attribute all of humankind’s wrongdoing and frailty to him. You told me to read the Bible which is good advice. I advise you, likewise, that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom

      • “I advise you, likewise, that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”
        “I advise you, likewise, that the fear of Allah is the beginning of wisdom”

        What is the difference between these two statements? Only the god in question. Your Christian statement is little different than a Muslim statement regarding god and fear. I hope some day that you will no longer live with such fear.

        “If Hell were not real, we’d have to invent it for the torturers and murderers for whom death is too easy.”
        Murderers and torturers who accept Jesus as savior will go to heaven according to orthodox Christianity. Innocent people like Anne Frank (Jewish), Ghandi (Hindu), and Thomas Edison (atheist) will go to hell according to orthodox Christianity, and they did not murder or torture anyone.

  54. I won’t pretend to know any of the answers posed here. One thing is for certain; you are one arrogant man who loves the proof card as your defense. I figure when there is definitive proof there will be one religion. I think I quit reading about the 3rd time you claimed to edit someones response, when you yourself spout some really long replies and expect so many answers with proof in a few words. It is obvious here that your purposes here are drama, and to be the only right opinion in the crowd. It is also too funny how “your bible” does not include the freedom of speech or freedom of opinion. Now go ahead and edit this won’t you.

    • Nobody who follows the instructions in the About section of this blog has ever had a comment edited.

  55. “My” Bible doesn’t exist. But I know of one that does!

    In your defense you have heightened my awareness of what lack of Biblical knowledge I have.

    Doubt is an element of faith. Your blog may not intentionally be created to create doubt but serves its purpose.

    God is good
    God created everything
    God created doubt
    Therefore doubt is good

    Doubt will lead me to the Bible to further my understanding of God and what he wants for me and does not want for me.

    Again thank you for serving your purpose here….according to the will of the Almighty!

    • God created everything.
      Evil exists.
      Therefore God created evil.
      But God is good.
      Therefore evil is good.

      Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

  56. I have recently been battling with Christianity and also my recent conversion to it. I find the “Christian” replies very unsatisfying and on the contrary Ed Hensley’s replies straight forward and very reasonable. In fact, I am bitter by how foolish the “Christians” here have fought basing their arguments on personal experience and half assed theology, while in irony, blog owner Ed Hensley has based his counteracts on the Word verses.

    I have been very cautious and aware of my conversion to Christianity. I found this post because this was one of the books in the Bible that has kept me from the church and Christianity. I think I have found an answer to this, which has lead to my recent conversion. I would like to talk about it to confirm or dispute it, Mr. Hensley. Is this blog post still open, and will you be willing to talk to me through it?

  57. So the bible tells a horrific story and you balk at it as non sense. When you read of miracles God performs in the old testament why do I get the impression that you would believe that they would be non sense too?

    I suppose you have been to several sunday services across the country to make the evaluation that none of our pastors teach on this?

    Unlike self righteous men or women who view there beliefs as higher, more relevant, noble, and compassionate to set up a false image of themselves, Gods word does not do that. Gods word displays the actions of mankind with all its evil. This is why a savior was born for us.

    • First of all, I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian church and have been to many different churches, most of them being Baptist.
      I included this story because it is an example of the barbaric savagery that fills the pages of the bible and most people never hear this passage on Sunday. The name of my blog is Bible Verses Rarely Read on Sunday, not Bible Verses Never Read on Sunday, so I do not need to prove that no preacher has ever taught on this passage.
      I used to believe in the miracles in the Old Testament, but now I do not believe them. The bible is contradicted by archaeology, history, physics, biology, astronomy, and other fields of knowledge.

  58. To me this story is for us to look around and look at our world today, and the view that The ALMIGHTY takes on sexual activities that are unnatural and although we as humans know it, we use all kinds of excuses and reasons to condone it. To the point nowadays to say that homosexuality is wrong is to be politically incorrect. But look at this story, it is almost a replica as the story of Lot in Genesis and we all know what happened to the two cities. As gays are also GOD’s creations, hence they are loved equally by HIM. But they have been created to be called apart to a higher service For example, in a king’s court, having a straight guy to look after his wives. concubines or daughters will not be a good idea. It is the evilness of Man’s hearts that has caused these people to be strayed away from their true calling. Because in the book of Genesis and even in this story that we are talking about, it is the men and not gays who wanted to rape the Angels and now this guy. Twenty years ago, I would not have believed that any Head of State would legalize same sex marriage but today they will be protested against if they don’t. And with regards to the measures taken to maintain the Tribe of Benjamin, although it may seem wrong, let’s look at how the Prophet Jacob deceived his father in law to gain the sheep and cattle , also in Genesis. We are called to be as gentle as doves but wise as serpents. Hence in all cases, ultimately, we are shown the Grace of God that keeps this Human race going on.60 may die in a flood but will then bring all the other survivors together as one heart to help the community. But 6,000 will die in an air raid with no to help them to pick up the pieces. So to the guy who is making GOD out to be some kind of evil tyrant who takes pleasure in zapping people and wiping them out of the face of the earth, think again. I work as a marine surveyor and inspect ships and frankly I could call out 100 deficiencies on a new built ship if I “WANTED” to.
    Get it…..

    • As gays are also GOD’s creations, hence they are loved equally by HIM. But they have been created to be called apart to a higher service For example, in a king’s court, having a straight guy to look after his wives. concubines or daughters will not be a good idea.

      Are you saying that god made gays to watch over kings’ women?
      You do realize, of course, that when you mention the kings’ wives and concubines that you are admitting that polygamy (multiple wives) and sex outside of marriage (concubines) was practiced by multiple biblical patriarchs. Your attack on “sexual activities that are unnatural” includes a tacit defense of polygamy and sex outside of marriage that most modern Christians believe to be immoral.

  59. Just blindly throwing this out there… let me know what you think. I’ll be as terse as I can. I too grew up in church, southern baptist. I have gone through a spell of unbelief. I have sense come back into church were I am just an average guy who listens to his iPad read the bible to him. I have listened to the bible a couple of times now. I know the stories. So now you know a little of my background and my humble humanity. Follow my thoughts.

    1. If find over and over again that we are presented with a loving God who wants us to follow his will. In this will – that we have no clue as to what it is – we are to believe that God has our best interests in mind and that if we follow his commandments we will be happy. For me happiness would be learning something new each day, peaceful living with my neighbors, and I would love to have a personal relationship with the guy whom created everything.

    2. I’ll never be able to live up to God’s commandments. I’ve broken them all, and honestly… even though I am truly sorry for the bad I do… I know I’m gonna do them again just minutes – if not seconds after I have said “amen” to my own prayer. For me, maybe I am a nut, a lunatic or just brainwashed…. I find that God accepting me for who I am comforting – spots, sins and all.

    3. Lastly, I can attest to this… over my lifetime… I have chased the things that my lustful self wants. I have seeked to fill a void within me and my heart. I’ve tried money, women, and all sorts of things short of heavy use drugs… but nothing, nothing, nothing, has made me feel whole as to when I go to church, SINNER AND ALL, ask for forgiveness, sing praises to God, an listen to the scriptures from the pulpit. Nothing else does it for me.

    I have found that I am happiest when I do these things despite my bad self. Hippocrit? You bet! I relay stories to others to help them stay out of the pits that I have been in. Criminal? you bet! False witness, thief, liar and adulterer.

    Thanks for any insight you may have.

    ~Kyle

    • Kyle,

      Please discusses the verses in future comments. What is important to me is whether or not the verses are true.

  60. I only became a Christian 2 years ago and I do believe the bible as the word of God. Passages like this are obviously disturbing and I have read this one before. It’s important to keep in mind that a lot of the messed up stuff in the bible is not that which God supports but rather sin which is accurately recorded. As others have mentioned the key indicator in this is the statement: “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes”-Judges 17:6. Throughout the bible you will find the phrase: “right in their own eyes” which clearly indicates that the action in question is not ok in the sight of God even though people are justifying it. God did command them to go to war with the tribe responsible for the atrocity, which is understandable since God is a God of justice. However this does not mean He supports everything the Israelites do in the bible in fact most of the Bible is God yelling at the Israelites. As for the women being essentially kidnapped, once again CLEARLY that is the invention of the men not something God ordained. I understand your issues with stories like these but I believe the real issue is your way of interpreting the text. For example, David’s sin with Bathsheeba is accurately recorded and God definitely punishes him for it. But God doesn’t support David’s actions even though his actions are written in God’s word. And last of all the Cross of Jesus Christ has EVERYTHING to do with stories like these. I know that’s hard to understand at first, and obviously this is BC and no cross is mentioned. But all stories like this are meant to show our sin and need for forgiveness. The cross is the loudest and clearest way that God could ever say: Hey humanity your actions are sinful and you are unable to do good, but in my love for you I will send my Son to die for your sins and bear the punishment you deserve. I hope that helps, God bless you and I hope and pray that He will work on your heart and bring you into His Love! Believe me, I’m a former skeptic of Christianity but I wouldn’t trade the love that I have in Christ for anything. Take care!

    -Blaze

    • There are many passages in which the killing and other horrible acts are performed by god or by god’s followers obeying his commands.

      David’s sin with Bathsheba should have been punished with death according to the laws of the bible.

      The cross is not the “loudest and clearest” way god could ever communicate a message. I can think of many more clear methods of communicating a message. The stories of the death and resurrection in the new testament contradict each other tremendously.

  61. I really feel Like crap after reading that.
    There’s a lot of this in that book. How is it “The good book?”

  62. This part of the Bible leaves me feeling a sense of panic. Is it hopeless for women? Does God love His daughters? Is it alright for men to abuse their wives…and does God not hold these men accountable? I cannot understand why God seems to have overlooked this husbands actions. I wish someone would esplain…I feel a sense of terror at God’s silence in all of this towards that coward the Levite.

  63. This part of the Bible leaves me feeling a sense of panic. Is it hopeless for women? Does God love His daughters? Is it alright for men to abuse their wives…and does God not hold these men accountable? I cannot understand why God seems to have overlooked this husband’s actions. I wish someone would explain…I feel a sense of terror at God’s silence in all of this towards that coward the Levite.

    • Thank you for your sincere post. Sometimes people think this is a Christian website. My About section clearly indicates that I was once a Christian but am now an atheist, but some people do not read the About section and assume that I am a Christian giving my perspective on bible verses. I also shared your shock upon reading this passage, as well as others (Jephthah’s daughter was another hard one). The actions of God and God fearing men in the bible did not always make sense to me until I came to the conclusion that the bible was just a man-made book written by men of the bronze age. I wish you luck in your journey and hope that your feelings of terror will come to an end.

  64. Good day! I could have sworn I’ve visited this site before but after browsing through a few of the articles
    I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m certainly delighted I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

    • I hope to have one new post per month. However, I have been swamped with life lately. I hope you enjoy the blog.

  65. First of all, I need to declare I am not a Christian though having attended Christian schools (Methodist) for 13 years. Secondly, I have not gone trough all the comments above but wish to add my views on the weird circumstances leading to the Jabesh Gilead massacre (or more likely genocide).of the Benjamites. If I am repeating something already commented on, please excuse me.

    According to the Bible, the Jabesh Gilead massacre happened before the time of Saul, a Benjamite who became the first King of Israel. But many biblical scholars believed the alleged evil of the Benjamites at Jabesh Gilead was the worst political spin by the Davidic supporters, basically a nasty piece of badmouthing against the Benjamites to mask (or even justify) the atrocities committed by David and his followers against the Tribe of Benjamin for their opposition to his toppling of King Saul.

    David was one of the most evil men in the Bible, killing and having his very naughty ways with people’s wives along his blood stained way to the throne and thereafter. Recall he had his most loyal but cuckold general, Uriah sent into the thickest part of battle to be killed. Some biblical scholars claimed he murdered the entire family of Saul to prevent any challenger to the Israelite throne, including his lover Jonathan and his own (David’s) wife Michal. How could a man like David be God’s so-called beloved?

    Yes, he could because it was his Davidic supporters who wrote the bible in Babylon. And they made sure Saul would be seen as a mad man who fell out of favour with God, while evil David was God’s beloved who on becoming king went on to not only covet his general’s wife but made her pregnant.

    This last bit is merely speculation on my part but in all probability the Tribe of Benjamin could have been wiped out by David, which may possibly explained why this (by then only notional) Tribe remained by the side of the Tribe of Judah when all the other Tribes broke off with the Tribe of Judah after the Israelites split into two Kingdoms shortly following Solomon’s death. Commonsense tells us the first Tribe to break off with the Tribe of Judah would have been the Benjamites.


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