Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday Coldblogging: An Eventful Week

Man, it is cold out today. The thermometer on my front porch says 25 degrees, but the wind is howling over that snow out there, and it is a good day to be indoors listening to the radio.

This has been a pretty busy week in Montgomery County county, really. Three things. The nuts are going full speed, trying to make it legal again to discriminate on the basis of gender identity. They had a court hearing this week which is sort of a last gasp for stopping the new sex-ed curriculum. And word is that the tenth grade classes have been taught; we got a little bit of feedback from a teacher at the Yahoo group about that.

The Citizens for a Responsible Whatever have been making robo-calls to random houses, trying to get people to sign their petitions to make it legal again to discriminate against transgender people in Montgomery County. That strikes me as the rudest, most desperate measure ever. Random, recorded phone calls. We saw a blog this week where the person got a call, and in the comments we had a reader who got one. The blogger had a beautiful line:
Aaaaahhhhhh craziness. *headdesk*

I love it that there is a word "headdesk," that indicates that the speaker is beating his or her head on their desk. A beautiful word, and a perfect summary of this situation.

Another of our readers confronted a person standing outside a Giant store in Gaithersburg trying to get signatures on a petition to keep men out of women's restrooms. I don't know how the Board of Elections handles these things, but there must be a law about misrepresenting the petition you are passing around. Whatever, they said Giant ran the person off. Nobody was signing it anyway.

The big story this week is the very suspicious sighting of someone with muscles and big hands in a dress in a ladies locker-room in Gaithersburg. The gym's management can't confirm that the incident happened, but the CRW and other nutty web sites are pretending that this is a challenge to the new antidiscrimination law. Well, they need signatures. I'm not saying I know that they staged that incident, it's just that the timing is perfect for them. And it gave us an insight into what news sources can't be trusted: Channel 7, The Examiner.

Since the first days when we got involved in this fight, reporters and interested people have asked us to explain why anybody would be so viciously opposed to teaching about something like homosexuality or gender identity differences. Early on, a reporter asked me, "What do you think motivates them?" and I tried to answer, but I quickly learned not to. It's inexplicable. Why would anybody go to that length to organize groups, to stand out in the cold with petitions, to contact and work with the press, to fabricate incidents, just to preserve the right to discriminate against people who don't feel they are the gender that matches their biological equipment?

The statistics tell us that it's about one person out of a thousand who really feels this way; they don't ask for this to happen to them, in fact you can imagine it is a frightening and upsetting realization. You have to deal with it -- almost everybody pretends they match their plumbing at first, only a few go ahead and make the transition. It isn't a sex thing, it has nothing to do with behavior in the bedroom, it's not a Rocky Horror thing, it's a guy with a real personal feeling that he is a woman, or a woman with the real feeling that she is a man. I don't know why they feel that way, and to tell you the truth there are bigger questions out there. This falls under the category "individual differences," and I'll let somebody else figure it out. All that matters to me is that it does no harm.

This week the CRW went to court to try to force the state school board to review everything they complained about in the new sex-ed curriculum. I wouldn't presume to guess what the judge will decide. The main question, it seemed to me, was whether it makes sense to take a question like this to the courts. The school board is elected to do a professional job, and if there is a question in the county the state school board can step in. So why would you have to waste the court's time on something like this?

The CRW whined complained in court about two specific things in the curriculum. They didn't like the classes saying that sexual orientation is innate, and they didn't like the idea that the video says to wear a condom during anal and oral sex. They based their argument about innateness on a ruling called "Conaway v. Deane." The CRW described that case in court as if it ruled that homosexuality is not innate. The lawyer kept saying "innate and immutable." He said that for a reason. The Nutty Ones like to think you can stop being gay, so the issue of mutability is important to them. If the schools were saying that your sexual orientation can't change, they would attack it ferociously. Unfortunately for them, the word "immutable" does not appear in the curriculum in any form: immutability, immutably, immutabilatiousness... none of it. The classes actually don't say sexual orientation is immutable.

Conaway v. Deane talks about immutability, and that word does not appear in the classes; the classes talk about innateness, and that word does not appear in Conaway v. Deane. It's as simple as that. The words are not synonyms. Hair color, for instance, is innate but not immutable.

The curriculum does say sexual orientation is innate, in part. That is, there is some component of sexual orientation that is not learned, not chosen, it's just part of you. It is ridiculous to try to argue against that. Lots of personality characteristics seem to have an innate component, from intelligence to sense of humor to ... lots of things. The CRW wouldn't have a problem with heterosexual people's orientation being innate, and if they were smart enough to think about it, they would know that everybody's orientation is. But they do something really dumb. They change the word -- the lawyer literally said "innate and immutable" a whole bunch of times -- and then oppose it. You can't win that way.

They also want the judge to rule that saying you should wear a condom for anal and oral sex is "teaching erotic techniques." The state school board already said it isn't, which was the wrong answer for the CRW, so they're trying again, this time in court. Of course that's a thin thread to hang all of this on, and it would be really weird if the judge overruled both the county and state school boards on something like this. He might, I don't know, stranger things have happened, but it is a strange kind of theory to try to prove in court, that saying a word is the same as teaching a technique. Like one of the school district lawyers said, it isn't like they're making kids read the Kama Sutra.

Actually, the best news -- the tenth grade classes have now been taught and they went fine. The TeachTheFacts Yahoo group got a message from a health teacher at Einstein who said:
PLEASE-

These lessons went on without a hitch. Very little discussion except for thanks from some students for finally addressing the topic. The condom lesson was overkill- we were already teaching how to use a condom (since 1993). Talk to the people who are in the trenches. 97 percent overall opted in. 100% at my school opted in. Can we move on?

We have heard privately that some teachers think there is too much information in two days of classes, that it's hard to teach it from the script, and some other comments, which is normal for a new class. But nobody sees it as controversial or anything. Because it's not.

The eighth grade classes were taught before the Christmas break, and they went fine too. The fact is, this is a done deal. The CRW -- then RecallMontgomerySchoolBoard.com -- started fighting this in 2004, we jumped into it in about December of that year, and it has gone fast and furious since then. They have done everything they can to undermine the implementation of a new health curriculum, and there is more to come, but really the momentum is lost. They had a moment, right after the 2004 elections, when they could have claimed to have a "mandate" along with the rest of the religious right's nutty stuff, but that day is gone. Nobody wants that junk here.

Right now WPFW is playing a pretty nice version of Django Rheinhart's "Nuages." Some guitarist is doing a really nice job on it. By the echo and the clarity of the recording I'd say this is a recent recording. I'd like to know who this is, and see how he does some of these things with his right hand.

It is ridiculously cold outside. I bought a new book yesterday, and I think I'm going to light a fire in the fireplace and read for a while. Tomorrow's a day off, if there's something that really needs to be done I'll do it then.

58 Comments:

Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Ridiculously cold Jim? 25 degrees. You're spoiled. We've been hitting -30 and its overall been a mild winter. On the few days its gotten up to 25 degrees here it feels like spring.

January 20, 2008 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

Randi, I've been wondering what the weather must be like for you up there.

I'm in Florida, but I can't appreciate it because I'm in the "winter of my discontent."

Which is way worse than actual cold...

January 20, 2008 12:48 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

I can see Emproph huddled under the covers in Florida, watching the Existential Weather Report. "Today is going to be gloomy and self-destructive, with spells of false optimism interrupted by the return of dread..."

JimK

January 20, 2008 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

**WARNING, the link provided is NOT for the squeamish. Watch at own risk.**
::::
JimK said…
the tenth grade classes have now been taught and they went fine…a health teacher at Einstein who said:

"These lessons went on without a hitch… 97 percent overall opted in. 100% at my school opted in."

The eighth grade classes were taught before the Christmas break, and they went fine too.
::::
In response to the news, the CRC issued this brief statement:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1ThC0Fxa40&NR=1

January 20, 2008 12:57 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Good one! I used to have a friend who thought Scanners was the greatest movie ever!

JimK

January 20, 2008 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

OK cool, I couldn't resist that "head exploder."
-------
JimK said...
I can see Emproph huddled under the covers in Florida, watching the Existential Weather Report. "Today is going to be gloomy and self-destructive, with spells of false optimism interrupted by the return of dread..."

That's clever, reminds me of the sentimental pawn shop on SNL.

January 20, 2008 1:12 PM  
Blogger Tish said...

The eighth grade classes have been taught twice - once for each of the first two quarters. My son had the classes on Monday and Tuesday of last week. He found them to be not-earth-shaking. "It's not like they have a whole lot in them," he said. Of course, with his religious education, these MCPS classes are all old news. I can only speak for my son's middle school, but so far there has been no sudden outbreak of 13 and 14 year-olds deciding to self-identify as transgender.

January 20, 2008 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Of course, with his religious education, these MCPS classes are all old news."

Where did he get religious education similar to the MCPS curriculum?

January 21, 2008 8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Another of our readers confronted a person standing outside a Giant store in Gaithersburg trying to get signatures on a petition to keep men out of women's restrooms."

That's nice. Democracy in action.

"I don't know how the Board of Elections handles these things, but there must be a law about misrepresenting the petition you are passing around."

Who said they did? The store manager didn't know that was what it was for? He didn't bother to look at the petition when they asked for permission? Face it, business owners simply avoid controversy. Bad for business. He was fine with it until someone complained.

"Whatever, they said Giant ran the person off."

Ask them to leave. Jim tends toward the inflammatory language of an extremist.

"Nobody was signing it anyway."

Is that why TeacherMan was so worried?

January 21, 2008 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put a skillet over medium heat and drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil gets hazy, add 1 medium onion (chopped) and cook, stirring until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 pound of lean ground beef, breaking it up with the back of a spoon, and cook until nicely browned, about 10 more minutes. Stir in 1 cup ketchup, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard and simmer for 15 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the coleslaw. Combine 1/2 head of Savoy cabbage (washed and shredded), 1/2 red onion (sliced), 1/2 cup mayo, juice of 1 lemon, some extra virgin olive oil and toss together. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator until you're ready to use.

Heat the grill to medium heat. Add a couple of garlic cloves to a pot of water and heat to a simmer. Dunk hot dogs in the water for about 5 minutes, until they are plump and juicy. Take them out of the water, pat dry, and throw them on the grill -- just long enough to leave a nice grill mark.

Brush the insides of hot dog rolls with olive oil and lay them face down on the grill, and cook until toasty.

To serve, put a dog in each roll and top with chili and a big scoop of creamy coleslaw.

January 21, 2008 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Teacher Man said...

I was not worried at all, AnonFreak.

I just didn't think that Giant would publicly (or otherwise) support discrimination. I thought it was my civic and democratic duty to truthfully inform the manager of who these people are and for what they were really petitioning.

Honesty and genuineness wins.

January 21, 2008 11:32 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Mr. Teacher man said ""I don't know how the Board of Elections handles these things, but there must be a law about misrepresenting the petition you are passing around."

Red Baron/anon said "Who said they did? The store manager didn't know that was what it was for? He didn't bother to look at the petition when they asked for permission?".

They lied to the store manager about what the petition was about. He said ""They didn't tell me that THAT was what they were petitioning for.". Read Mr. Teacher man's post in
http://www.teachthefacts.org/2008/01/there-they-go.html#comments

at January 19, 2008 5:47 PM

January 21, 2008 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I just didn't think that Giant would publicly (or otherwise) support discrimination."

Ignorant liberal mindset. If you don't want something to be illegal, you support it. I don't think homosexuality or cigarette smoking or laughing at fat people should be illegal. I still don't support those things. Take some responsibility for yourself and stop expecting government to tell you (and everyone else) how to act.

"I thought it was my civic and democratic duty to truthfully inform the manager of who these people are and for what they were really petitioning."

No, you didn't. You thought it was your duty to the homosexual agenda.

January 21, 2008 11:55 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron/anonymous, the gay agenda is equality for all. Supporting this is foundational to democracy and the civic duty of all decent people. People like you follow the agenda of hate and are a disgrace to fair minded people everywhere.

January 21, 2008 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They lied to the store manager about what the petition was about."

I seriously doubt that.

January 21, 2008 12:01 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Turns out Huckabee is a supporter of white supremacists. Huckabee gave a speech to the Christian white supremacist group The Council of Conservative Citizens. The speech was "extremely well received".

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Huckabee_gave_speech_to_white_supremacists_0118.html

January 21, 2008 12:03 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, if they told the manager it was a petition to keep men from going into the ladies room, would you consider that a lie?

JimK

January 21, 2008 12:03 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

When I pointed out that the discrimination petitioners lied to the store manager about what their petition was for Red Baron/anonymous said "I seriously doubt that.".

Living in the fantasy world that you do you doubt much of reality. Just like when you lied and said there were no Christians who believed the bible was meant to be taken literally and were rudely slapped in the face by the reality that 54% of regular church goers believe "the bible is to be taken literally word for word"

http://www.christianpost.com/article/20070525/27615_Poll:_1_of_3_Americans_Say_Bible_Should_be_Taken_Literally.htm

January 21, 2008 12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I thought it was my duty to overturn your Red Neck Agenda, AnonFreak.

January 21, 2008 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon, if they told the manager it was a petition to keep men from going into the ladies room, would you consider that a lie?"

No, I wouldn't. Do you think that's what happened?

January 21, 2008 1:12 PM  
Anonymous the red baron said...

"Living in the fantasy world that you do you doubt much of reality. Just like when you lied and said there were no Christians who believed the bible was meant to be taken literally and were rudely slapped in the face by the reality that 54% of regular church goers believe "the bible is to be taken literally word for word"

Are you still going on about this? One of your big fantasies is that if you keep saying the same thing, your point is established. No Christian who has read the Bible believes that the Bible is meant to be taken literally word for word. Why do I say that? Jesus himself explained some of his parables, at his disciples request, and said he was using representations in the stories to demonstrate moral principles. Other times it's even more obvious. When he says he's a Lamb, he's not really. He's using metaphoric language. His hearers were not actually hiding their light under a bushel and weren't really salt. These are non-literal uses of the language.

Of course, this all came up when you said that Jesus wanted Christians to go kill gays. Your problem there was not literalness but context. Alone among world religions, Christianity is based on reason. This is why science, as we know it today, was invented by Christians. Reason dictates, among other things, that one look at everything someone says before reaching conclusions. The world has seen many dangerous cults which started with someone who took one verse of scripture out of context to support devious intentions. Have they welcomed you to their club?

As for your ridiculous assertion that Jesus wants his followers to kill gays, how does his famous statement "judge not, that you be not judged" fit in? How could someone kill someone for being gay and that not be considered a judgment?

As I remember, you were also spouting off delusions last week that Christianity is in decline. Truth is, in the past couple of decades, Christianity has become the first global religion. It is a major factor on every continent. Subsaharan Africa is now 50% Christians. China has 100 million Christians. Evangelicalism and Charismatic Catholics have revitalized South America. The only place on Earth where it has been excluded is in the Mideast countries where Christians are routinely executed for their religious beliefs.

The religion that you claim as the fastest growing is in no way comparable. Islam was spread in the past by force and currently only by reproduction. It is not a significant force in the Western Hemisphere or Australia, representing half of the world's continents.

Christianity, meanwhile, spreads both by reproduction and conversion. Reason and moral suasion are producing new converts daily. It's international.

Atheism, on the other hand continues to whither. Having failed years ago to convince the world by intellectual argument, a new spurt of evangelicalistic atheists are attacking Christianity on moral grounds. The main arguers are now in retreat, though, refusing to debate anymore with those whose scripture says, "Come now, says the Lord, and let us reason together."

January 21, 2008 2:06 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

That's a nice fantasy you have Red Baron, too bad you've got nothing (naturally) to back up your wild-eyed claims.

Fact is Atheism is growing at a faster rate than any religion and Islam is clearly growing faster than Christianity. Unlike you I've got the facts to back me up:

http://richarddawkins.net/articleComments,956,Why-the-Gods-Are-Not-Winning,Edge-Gregory-Paul-amp-Phil-Zuckerman,page1#36316

"The evangelical authors of the World Christian encyclopedia lament that no Christian "in 1900 expected the massive defections from Christianity that subsequently took place in Western Europe due to secularism…. and in the Americas due to materialism…. The number of nonreligionists…. throughout the 20th century has skyrocketed from 3.2 million in 1900, to 697 million in 1970, and on to 918 million in AD 2000…. Equally startling has been the meteoritic growth of secularism…. Two immense systems have emerged at the expense of the world's religions: agnosticism…. and atheism…. From a miniscule presence in 1900, a mere 0.2% of the globe, these systems…. are today expanding at the extraordinary rate of 8.5 million new converts each year, and are likely to reach one billion adherents soon. A large percentage of their members are the children, grandchildren or the great-great-grandchildren of persons who in their lifetimes were practicing Christians".

Since 1900 Christians have made up about a third of the global population, and are edging downwards. No growth there. Hindus are coasting at a seventh the total, no significant increase there either even though India adds more people each year than any other nation. The WCE predicts no proportional increase for these faiths by 2050.

One Great Faith has risen from one eighth to one fifth of the globe in a hundred years, and is projected to rise to one quarter by 2050. Islam. But education and the vote have little to do with it. Generally impoverished and poorly educated, most Muslims live in nations where democracy is minimalist or absent. Nor are many infidels converting to Allah. Longman was correct on one point; Islam is growing because Muslims are literally having lots of unprotected sex. The absence of a grand revival of Christ, Allah and Vishnu worship via democratic free choice brings us to a point, as important as it is little appreciated — the chronic inability of religion to recruit new adherents on a consistent, global basis.

It is well documented that Christianity has withered dramatically in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The failure of the faith in the west is regularly denounced by Popes and Protestant leaders. Churches are being converted into libraries, laundromats and pubs. Those who disbelieve in deities typically make up large portions of the population, according to some surveys they make up the majority of citizens in Scandinavia, France and Japan. Evolution is accepted by the majority in all secular nations, up to four in five in some.

In his paper "Christianity in Britain, R. I. P." Steve Bruce explains that the recent rise of pagans is not nearly sufficiently to make up for the implosion of the churches, which are in danger of dwindling past the demographic and organizational point of no return. A commission of the Church of England agreed, proposing that little attended Sabbath services be dropped, and concluding that the advent of modern lifestyles "coincides with the demise of Christendom." The church commissioned Making Sense of Generation Y study advised the clergy to "avoid panic." Perhaps that response would be appropriate considering the absence of quantitative evidence of a significant Christian revival in any secularized democracy. God belief is not dead in these nonreligious democracies, but it is on life support. The ardent hopes of C. S. Lewis and John Paul II to reChristianize Europe have abjectly failed.

Doesn't America, the one western nation where two thirds absolutely believe in God, and nine in ten think there is some form of higher power, show that religion can thrive in an advanced democracy? Not necessarily.

A decade and a half of sampling finds conservative (thought to be about two thirds to four fifths of the total of) evangelicals and born-agains consistently stuck between a quarter and a third of the population. The majority that considers religion very important in their lives dropped from over two thirds in the 1960s to a bare majority in 1970s and 1980s, and appeared to edge up in the Clinton era. But instead of rising post 9/11 as many predicted, it is slipping again.

Those who feel the opposite about religion doubled between the 1960s and 1970s, have been fairly stable since then, but have been edging up in recent years. American opinion on the issue of human evolution from animals has been rock steady, about half agreeing, about half disagreeing, for a quarter century. What has changed is how people view the Bible. In the 1970s nearly four in ten took the testaments literally, just a little over one in ten thought it was a mixture of history, fables, and legends, a three to one ratio in favor of the Biblical view. Since then a persistent trend has seen literalism decline to between a quarter and a third of the population, and skeptics have doubled to nearly one in five. If the trend continues the fableists will equal and then surpass the literalists in a couple of decades.

As few as one in four or five Americans are actually in church on a typical Sunday, only a few percent of them in megachurches.

In his Foreign Affairs article Mead noted that conservative Southern Baptists constitute the largest church in the states, and they are among the most evangelical. Mead did not note that a Southern Baptist church release laments that "evangelistically, the denomination is on a path of slow but discernable deterioration." The greatest born again sect is baptizing members at the same absolute yearly rate as they did half a century ago, when the population was half as large, and in the last few years the overall trend has been downwards.

One group has experienced rapid growth. In the 1940s and 50s 1-2% usually responded no asked if they believe in God, up to 98% said yes. A Harris study specifically designed to arrive at the best current figure found that 9% do not believe in a creator, and 12% are not sure. The over tenfold expansion of Amerorationalism easily outpaces the Mormon and Pentecostal growth rates over the same half century.

America's disbelievers atheists now number 30 million, most well educated and higher income, and they far outnumber American Jews, Muslims and Mormons combined. There are many more disbelievers than Southern Baptists, and the god skeptics are getting more recruits than the evangelicals.

The rise of American rationalism is based on adult choice—secularists certainly not growing via rapid reproduction. The results can be seen on the bookshelves, as aggressively atheistic books such as Sam Harris' The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation, Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, and Daniel C. Dennett's Breaking the Spell, break the mainstream publishing barrier onto the best-sellers lists.

What is actually happening here and abroad is a great polarization as increasingly anxious and often desperate hard-core believers mount a vigorous counterrevolution via extreme levels of activism to the first emergence of mass apostasy in history. No major religion is expanding its share of the global population by conversion in any circumstances, much less educated democracy. Disbelief in the supernatural alone is able to achieve extraordinary rates of growth by voluntary conversion.

As to your despair over most church going christians taking the bible literally ("When he says he's a Lamb, he's not really."), saying the bible is meant to be taken literally is not saying that there are no figures of speach in it or that Jesus never talked in parables. What it means is things like a 6 day creation, a 6000 year old earth, and the commandment to put gays to death are meant to be taken literally. You're not in any position to be telling other Christians what to think or what they think and the majority of serious Christians state unequivocably that "the bible is meant to be taken literally word for word".

January 21, 2008 3:21 PM  
Anonymous the red baron said...

Thanks for your "thoughts" from Dawkins.net.

Yes, Randi, everyone agrees that Western "Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand" have seen a signicant loss of believers in the last 150 years. Despite your ethnocentric suggestion, however, this part of the world is not more important than the rest. Remember, as I showed last week, these are the very parts of the world where the birth rate will not sustain the current population. The loss of purpose has consequences. Hedonism is ultimately not much motivation.

America? Well, there's about 100 miles of the coast between DC and Boston and the West Coast where there's some secularization and the rest of the country is pretty firm. Randi's analysis gets a little hazy there.

As I said, Christianity is the only major player on every continent. Randi completely ignores Africa, Asia, Latin America, Russia. Randi had to ignore it. Why? There's nothing about it on Dawkins.net!

Then there's this wonderful work of wobble by Randi:

"As to your despair over most church going christians taking the bible literally ("When he says he's a Lamb, he's not really."), saying the bible is meant to be taken literally is not saying that there are no figures of speach in it or that Jesus never talked in parables. What it means is things like a 6 day creation, a 6000 year old earth, and the commandment to put gays to death are meant to be taken literally."

I'm not in any kind of despair over the issue. I simply have told you a fact, which I can see you are now starting to realize is true. Look back and you will see that I said no Christian believes EVERY word in the Bible is meant to be taken literally. Look back and you will see that you said there are Christians who believe EVERY word in the Bible is meant to be taken literally. As I said from the beginning, EVERY Christian believes some parts of the Bible are meant to be taken literally and some aren't. I gave you several examples of parts of the Bible that no Christian takes literally. If you had said, 54% believe the creation story happened in six days or six thousand years ago, I'd say that sounds reasonable. There are, in fact, a majority of Christians who believe the creation story actually happened, although there is disagreement of the time period. That is not a literalness issue but the fact that the Hebrew word translated as "day" in Genesis can be used to denote other periods of time as well. Indeed, it is clearly used in several ways just in the first three chapters of Genesis. So, the creation time frame is a translation issue, reflecting an ancient language that was not as precise as the languages we speak today. It has nothing to do with literalness. Most Christians, more than 54%, believe the Creation story is to be taken literally.

As for the Leviticus verse, this is a totally different matter. You have failed to distinguish the Law from its penalties. As I posted several passages and could post many more showing you, Christians are not bound by the Law according to Scripture. Further, as anyone can see from reading the gospels, Jesus rejected legalistic application of the law and summarized the moral meaning into two commandments, appealing to his followers to apply the law by reason, considering the moral principles involved. The Christian's mission can be seen as spreading mercy not judgment. Of course, you might not get that if you are browsing for something else or if you're just looking where Richard Dawkins directs you to.

"You're not in any position to be telling other Christians what to think or what they think and the majority of serious Christians state unequivocably that "the bible is meant to be taken literally word for word"."

Actually, most Christians would agree with me. Sorry to disappont you. You were mislead by your poll.

January 21, 2008 5:20 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

January 21, 2008 6:28 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron said "As I said, Christianity is the only major player on every continent. Randi completely ignores Africa, Asia, Latin America, Russia. Randi had to ignore it. Why? There's nothing about it on Dawkins.net!".

You're totally deluded Red Baron, the article and the statistics I gave related to the ENTIRE world, not just Europe and Canada. Christianity is far from "the only major player on every continent", Christians make up less than 1/3 of the population on the planet - Christians are the minority.

I never posted the sections of the article that pertained to Africa, Asia, and Russia because the article is quite long and you can read it for yourself and see what the truth is about those parts of the world:

http://richarddawkins.net/articleComments,956,Why-the-Gods-Are-Not-Winning,Edge-Gregory-Paul-amp-Phil-Zuckerman,page1#36316

Get away from your fantasy world for a few minutes, read the whole article and learn something - nowhere is Christianity winning any converts by argumentation and reasoning, people are taught religion when their too young to think rationally and objectively and they accept it without question because they don't know any better. If you had been born in Saudi Arabia you most certainly wouldn't be thinking Christianity is the one true religion. People don't come to their religious believes by way of logic, they come to them due to the accident of geography of birth. Only atheists come to their beliefs by a rational and logical approach to reality.


Red Baron said "Look back and you will see that I said no Christian believes EVERY word in the Bible is meant to be taken literally.".

No, this began in this thread

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=9797121&postID=137384820192398078

when Robert said "I agree with the anonymous "Red Baron": centuries of Christian thought indicate that scripture is not to be taken literally."

and you replied

"I agree with you, Robert, that scripture is not always meant to be taken literally".


Those statements were made in the context of my pointing out that the bible specifically demanded that gays be put to death. You and Robert both denied that that was what was meant.


Red Baron said "As for the Leviticus verse, this is a totally different matter. You have failed to distinguish the Law from its penalties. As I posted several passages and could post many more showing you, Christians are not bound by the Law according to Scripture.".

LOL. Its you that's failing to distinguish law from penalties. What your attempting to argue (but failing miserably at) is that the law is no longer in effect, you quoted Romans 7:6 "But now we are released from the law", by your own arguments gay sex is no longer against the law, Romans 7:6 says NOTHING about the penalties for the gay sex law being mitigated, it says THE LAW IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT. Of course that leaves you with the monumental problem that it doesnt' refer specifically to the anti-gay law, it refers to the law in general. Your argument says that the law in general is no longer in effect, that its no longer against the law to rape, murder, or steal. Of course if you want to argue that "being released from the law" only refers to the anti-gay law you've got a pretty tough row to hoe as Romans 7:6 nor anywhere in the bible does it give a list of laws you are "released from" and laws you aren't. And this is entirely excluding the fact that earlier in Romans 7 it makes clear that you are only released from the law once you are dead. You're on extremely weak theological ground to put it mildly.

Red Baron said "EVERY Christian believes some parts of the Bible are meant to be taken literally and some aren't... Most Christians, more than 54%, believe the Creation story is to be taken literally.".

You have nothing to back this up but your own forlorn opinion. Gallup on the other hand did the research and what Christians said themselves DIRECTLY CONTRADICTS YOU.

http://www.christianpost.com/article/20070525/27615_Poll:_1_of_3_Americans_Say_Bible_Should_be_Taken_Literally.htm

"54% of weekly church goers say the bible is to be taken literally word for word"

You think Gallup got it wrong then go to your local secular (unbiased) university and ask them for help in setting up your own poll, contact 1000 randomly selected people and ask them specifically what they believe. Until you do that your opinions about what "no Christians" or "most Christians" believe are nothing but hot air.

January 21, 2008 6:34 PM  
Anonymous the red baron said...

"What your attempting to argue (but failing miserably at) is that the law is no longer in effect, you quoted Romans 7:6 "But now we are released from the law","

It's not that the law is no longer in effect, Randi. It's that no one has ever been able to follow it. Everyone is already condemned under the law. There is no sense attempting to reconcile yourself with God by following the law. It's too late.

"by your own arguments gay sex is no longer against the law, Romans 7:6 says NOTHING about the penalties for the gay sex law being mitigated, it says THE LAW IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT."

It doesn't say that it is no longer in effect. It says Christians have been released from it. Their mission of Christians is now to spread that condition around, not to seek to enforce the law.

"Of course that leaves you with the monumental problem that it doesnt' refer specifically to the anti-gay law, it refers to the law in general. Your argument says that the law in general is no longer in effect, that its no longer against the law to rape, murder, or steal."

This is no problem at all, Randi. The Christian out of gratitude seeks to please God. No one trying to please God will rape, murder or steal. Hopefully, they won't have gay sex either, although I know alot of false doctrine is going around so I won't judge anyone who has been deceived into thinking God is nonchalant about this. If sincere, I'm sure they will come to see God's plan for their life eventually.

"Of course if you want to argue that "being released from the law" only refers to the anti-gay law you've got a pretty tough row to hoe as Romans 7:6 nor anywhere in the bible does it give a list of laws you are "released from" and laws you aren't."

Actually, the verse I had posted from Acts does something like that. Some of the laws are not clearly moral but more ceremonial so the apostles tried to provide some guidance about laws it might be wise to adhere to strictly.

"And this is entirely excluding the fact that earlier in Romans 7 it makes clear that you are only released from the law once you are dead."

Read that with an open mind, Randi. If gave the analogy of a wife being released after her husband dies to marry another and said that Christians have similarly died to sin and thus are released from the law.

"You're on extremely weak theological ground to put it mildly."

Virtually all of the greatest theolgians hold this view.

January 21, 2008 7:29 PM  
Anonymous the red baron said...

"nowhere is Christianity winning any converts by argumentation and reasoning,"

Actually, you're probably right about that. Converts are coming worldwide but it's more that God is miraculously working rather than good debating techniques.

"people are taught religion when their too young to think rationally and objectively and they accept it without question because they don't know any better."

This is not true about Christianity. It's moved into many areas where it was virtually non-existent in fifty years ago. People who weren't raised to believe it. Don't believe everything Dawkins tells you. He's not really objective.

"If you had been born in Saudi Arabia you most certainly wouldn't be thinking Christianity is the one true religion."

Well, if I did I wouldn't be around long. Saudi Arabia violently persecutes non-Islam religions. I personally don't think the US should be allied with them.

"People don't come to their religious believes by way of logic, they come to them due to the accident of geography of birth. Only atheists come to their beliefs by a rational and logical approach to reality."

The atheist position is not rational, Randi. Every physicist in the world will tell you are universe appears to have been designed. What is rational about not accepting the most likely explanantion for that? God is the most likely explanation for the Big Bang, DNA, conciousness and morality.

January 21, 2008 8:13 PM  
Anonymous the red baron said...

"You have nothing to back this up but your own forlorn opinion. Gallup on the other hand did the research and what Christians said themselves DIRECTLY CONTRADICTS YOU."

Bring forth the individual. We'd all like to hear from this person who believes EVERY word in the Bible is meant to be taken literally.

January 21, 2008 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
But M.N.Anon, of course, they would lie about what the petition was about. They lie all the time-and don't pretend you don't know they do. Just part of the pathetic
nonsense that is Recall/Citizens for Real Crap.

January 21, 2008 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

ftb said...
"BTW, have you yet found anyone, anyone at all, who believes every part of the Bible is meant to be taken literally?"

the red baron said...
"Bring forth the individual. We'd all like to hear from this person who believes EVERY word in the Bible is meant to be taken literally."
--
That's the whole point, especially in regard to the poll, and in regard the inaccuracy of anyone who claims that their morality is actually based on the Bible.

It's not possible to take the Bible literally, at least not word for word.

Meaning that it's ALWAYS selective literalism at play. Meaning that it's ALWAYS the person who-claims-literalism that makes the selection-of-literalism. And that includes me.

Meaning that the claim of literalism has less to do with the Bible, than with the person claiming that it does.

Further undermining this person's position (where it may actually be credible) is the understanding that this person does not even realize that their beliefs both conincide with AND fundamentally contradict the Bible.
--
So ftb and RB, you've admit as much. Who then are you to claim which parts are to be taken literally and which parts are not?

Who are you to know better is the question. Meaning HOW do you know better than the rest of us.

Is that a fair enough question?

January 22, 2008 7:52 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron said "It's not that the law is no longer in effect, Randi. It's that no one has ever been able to follow it.".

Wrong. The passage you quoted says 'we are released from the law", not that no one has ever been able to follow it. If you're going to accept your bible you have to accept what it actually says, not make up stuff about what you'd like it to say which is what you are doing.

Red Baron said "It doesn't say that it is no longer in effect. It says Christians have been released from it".

When you are released from a law it is no longer in effect - case closed.

Red Baron said "Their mission of Christians is now to spread that condition around, not to seek to enforce the law.".

Nonsense. Christians believe laws are to be enforced - we wouldn't have a society if we didn't enforce laws.

Red Baron said "The Christian out of gratitude seeks to please God. No one trying to please God will rape, murder or steal.".

False. Throughout the bible god commands the Israelites to rape, murder, and steal and they do. God asked Abraham to kill his own son and Abraham was willing to do so.

I said "Of course if you want to argue that "being released from the law" only refers to the anti-gay law you've got a pretty tough row to hoe as Romans 7:6 nor anywhere in the bible does it give a list of laws you are "released from" and laws you aren't."

Red Baron replied "Actually, the verse I had posted from Acts does something like that.".

What a liar you are! There is no such list in Acts. Nowhere in the bible does it say the law against gay sex is repealed or that the death penalty for it is revoked. You can dance around all day and claim this or that means something it doesn't but you'll never find a clear statement to that effect, because it isn't in there.

Red Baron said "Some of the laws are not clearly moral but more ceremonial so the apostles tried to provide some guidance about laws it might be wise to adhere to strictly.".

Yes, I've heard this BS before. Unless you're saying the law against gay sex is ceremonial you have no basis for saying it is no longer in effect or the penalty is mitigated - NO WHERE in the bible does it say the death penalty is revoked for gay sex.

Red Baron said "If gave the analogy of a wife being released after her husband dies to marry another and said that Christians have similarly died to sin and thus are released from the law.".

No, Nowhere does it use the phrase "died to sin". And even if it did that certainly wouldn't make the case that the law against gay sex is repealed or the penalty revoked WHEN THAT IS NEVER MENTIONED.

Leviticus is clear, gays must be put to death, and Jesus is clear - the law will never pass.

You can lie about your bible until the cows come home but in the end you're still promoting a book that calls for genocide against gays and you're telling people that this is to be their guide to morality - evil.

January 22, 2008 1:39 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron said " Converts are coming worldwide but it's more that God is miraculously working rather than good debating techniques.".

Obviously not. If you'll look at the graphs in the link I posted you'll see that the vast majority of the world isn't Christian. The percentage of Christians in the world has not increased at any point while the percent of Muslims has. Christians make up 1/3 of the world population and that fraction is slowly declining. Look at the facts I posted Red Baron, don't just rely on your fantasies.

Red Baron said "The atheist position is not rational, Randi. Every physicist in the world will tell you are universe appears to have been designed.".

LOL, could your lies and wishful thinking get anymore outrageous?! EVERY physicist - please, give me a break. 93% of the members of the academy of science don't believe in intelligent design, its a damn rare physicist that thinks the universe appears to be designed. The idea that the universe was designed for us is shown to be absurd by the mere fact of the existence of billions of other stars and galaxies. No intelligent designer would make a unviverse almost inconceivably large and empty just to house this one planet.

Red Baron said "What is rational about not accepting the most likely explanantion for that? God is the most likely explanation for the Big Bang, DNA, conciousness and morality.".

Nonsense. There is no evidence for a god, never has been and never will be. None of the explainations we've found for the existence and functioning of the universe require supernatural intervention and for that reason there is no reason to assume that such has taken place. Much of the DNA found in living organisms is junk that serves no purpose. Obviously that is something an intelligent designer would not have done.

People once believed the weather was caused by god, the bible says it rains when god opens a window between the waters above and the waters below. The bible says disease is caused by demons. We now know that these things have natural explanations and this is the unbroken pattern of all goddidit theories, as we learn they are proven to be primitive superstitions based on a lack of understanding. This pattern will inevitably continue.

January 22, 2008 1:54 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron said "Bring forth the individual. We'd all like to hear from this person who believes EVERY word in the Bible is meant to be taken literally.".

Right here Red Baron:

http://www.christianpost.com/article/20070525/27615_Poll:_1_of_3_Americans_Say_Bible_Should_be_Taken_Literally.htm

54% of regular church goers said "the bible is to be taken literally word for word".

January 22, 2008 2:07 PM  
Anonymous ftb said...

"54% of regular church goers said "the bible is to be taken literally word for word"

Stop wallowing in your ignorance, Randi.

Jesus said "I am the vine."

Find us a Christian who thinks Jesus is a plant and you'll have something.

January 22, 2008 7:14 PM  
Anonymous ftb said...

Red Baron said "The atheist position is not rational, Randi. Every physicist in the world will tell you are universe appears to have been designed.".

Wrong Randi said "LOL, could your lies and wishful thinking get anymore outrageous?! EVERY physicist - please, give me a break. 93% of the members of the academy of science don't believe in intelligent design, its a damn rare physicist that thinks the universe appears to be designed"

Randi, there's a word you should consider: extrapolation. You do it all the time. Red did not say that every physicist believes in intelligent design. For one thing, IT refers to the creation of life not the physical universe. Further, Red said that every physicist recognizes that the universe APPEARS designed. They do. Without exception. It's recognized as one of science's greatest paradoxes by secular scientists. Oh, they have devised some really ridiculous theories to explain it without God but, nonetheless, they agree that the universe appears design.

Try to do some reading outside the atheist websites.

January 22, 2008 7:30 PM  
Anonymous ftb said...

"Much of the DNA found in living organisms is junk that serves no purpose. Obviously that is something an intelligent designer would not have done."

There you go again, Randi. Speaking of that which you know not. Biologists continue to find purpose for DNA segements they previously considered junk. This pattern will inevitably continue. Ha-ha-ha! You appear to be an atheist of the gaps.

The point about DNA is that it has the same structure in all living things and apparently has from the beginning. Biologists are at a loss to explain this. How could such a complicated structure have sprung forth from random molecules? Why don't simple forms of life have simple DNA? Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, theorized life was planted on Earth in the past by a advanced alien civilization.

Anything to avoid believing in God. It's an atheist thing- I'm sure you understand.

January 22, 2008 7:41 PM  
Anonymous ftb said...

BTW, Randi, concerning the Bible stuff, we're getting a little sick of your lies about the Bible. Here's a few examples:

"Nowhere does it use the phrase "died to sin"."

"the bible god commands the Israelites to rape,"

"There is no such list in Acts."

Further, you continue your favorite trick: extrapolation. No one ever said the law against "gay sex" had been "revoked". The moral principles still apply. Gay sex is sin. As with all sin, the Bible teaches that "the wages of sin" is death.

What Red said was that Jesus does not want Christians to kill gays. This is your ridiculous assertion which deserves no further discussion.

January 22, 2008 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

ftb said...
"Anything to avoid believing in God. It's an atheist thing- I'm sure you understand."

And with the example that you and Red Baron provide, that's perfectly understandable.

You prevent the possible understanding of God.

But hey, I'm a Christian, and I DO believe in God.

So why don't you come pick on someone your own size?

January 22, 2008 8:00 PM  
Anonymous ftb said...

"If you'll look at the graphs in the link I posted you'll see that the vast majority of the world isn't Christian. The percentage of Christians in the world has not increased at any point while the percent of Muslims has. Christians make up 1/3 of the world population and that fraction is slowly declining."

Wrong, Randi. Christianity is the only religion with global reach and the only one with significant movements toward it by conversion rather than reproduction. It is a major factor on every continent. No other religion can say that. It's biggest setbacks in the last hundred years has been violent persecution and attempted extermination by force in atheist regimes across a large section of the globe in the middle part of the 20th century. Those regimes are either gone or now acknowledging Christianity. The arc of history is clear.

January 22, 2008 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

ftb said...
"What Red said was that Jesus does not want Christians to kill gays. This is your ridiculous assertion which deserves no further discussion."

Actually it's God's "ridiculous assertion," as per Leviticus 20:13:

"If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."

Yet you take issue with an atheist who doesn't even believe in a god. That's a joke in itself!

Good God man, think about it! God OBVIOUSLY knew that you me and Randi would be hashing this stuff out, right here and right now, at-the-very-time-he-was-writing-the-Bible, yet chose specifically to confuse the situation further by not being clear about whether or not he approves of killing the innocent.

How is this something you do not understand as being unacceptable?

January 22, 2008 8:21 PM  
Anonymous ftb said...

The only ones confused are you and Randi. No one is talking about killing the "innocent". Gays are guilty of sin. What we are talking about is who can kill the guilty. Only the innocent are qualified to execute justice on the guilty. No Christians qualify. They are all people who have been convinced of their own sin.

The message of the Bible is that no one is qualified to judge another. No one is righteous. God will judge those who haven't received salvation. No one will be saved by following a bunch of rules.

Sorry you're so bewildered but thanks for providing opportunities to discuss biblical truths.

January 22, 2008 8:48 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron said "Find us a Christian who thinks Jesus is a plant and you'll have something.".

As I explained to your dense self previously Red Baron, saying the bible is meant to be taken literally is not saying there are no figures of speach in it. Those such examples are obvious and are not whats meant by the bible being literally true word for word. What that means is that ideas like the world being created in 6 days, hell being a lake of fire, and Jonah being swallowed and living inside a whale are true.

Red Baron said "every physicist recognizes that the universe APPEARS designed. They do. Without exception.".

That's such an obvious lie. No physicist thinks the unviverse "appears" designed other than the rare deluded religionist that's managed to make it to some lower rung of the scientific ladder. Show me the quotes from "every" physicist that back up your claim. Show me a poll of physicist's that back up your claim. You've got nothing but your fantasies and wishful thinking.

January 22, 2008 9:34 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron said " Biologists continue to find purpose for DNA segements they previously considered junk. This pattern will inevitably continue.".

Oh, there have been a few examples of this, but the fact remains that the majority of DNA doesn't code for anything, it doesn't have a purpose, not something an intelligent designer would do. Ditto for all the galaxies, stars and planets in the sky. An intelligent designer wouldn't have wasted his time producing so much useless junk extraneous to this planet.

Red Baron said "The point about DNA is that it has the same structure in all living things and apparently has from the beginning. Biologists are at a loss to explain this.".

LOL, god of the gaps, got it. People like you once argued that the existence of disease or the weather proved there was a god. As science proved such things wrong you've increasingly retreated to other things we don't know to back up your "godditit" claim. The pattern is clear and unchanging, over and over things people once assumed were done by god are found to have ordinary natural explanations.

January 22, 2008 9:43 PM  
Anonymous ftb said...

"As I explained to your dense self previously Red Baron, saying the bible is meant to be taken literally is not saying there are no figures of speach in it. Those such examples are obvious and are not whats meant by the bible being literally true word for word. What that means is that ideas like the world being created in 6 days, hell being a lake of fire, and Jonah being swallowed and living inside a whale are true."

Saying that you mean something other than what you said is meaningless. The point is there is no Christian who doesn't have some part of the Bible that they don't take literally. You're now starting to use my exact words when you say which parts are obvious. They are indeed, as I've said all along. This whole thing proves you will simply argue about anything.

Here's some obviouses for you:

"the world being created in 6 days,"

literal, though the word "day" is probably mistranslated

"hell being a lake of fire,"

metaphorical

"and Jonah being swallowed and living inside a whale are true"

literal

January 22, 2008 10:00 PM  
Anonymous ftb said...

As for cosmology and DNA, Randi, come back and talk about when you've done some reading and talking about the subjects.

January 22, 2008 10:02 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron said "BTW, Randi, concerning the Bible stuff, we're getting a little sick of your lies about the Bible. Here's a few examples:

"Nowhere does it use the phrase "died to sin"."

"the bible god commands the Israelites to rape,"

"There is no such list in Acts."".

Its you lying about the bible, not I. Nowhere in Romans 7 does the phrase "died to sin" appear. The paragraph you said means Christians have died to sin does not say that, it says "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.". You lied - not I.

"the bible god commands the Israelites to rape"

Numbers 31:14-18 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle. And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

Deuteronomy 20:13-16 And when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself;

Judges 21:10-12

10And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children.

11And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.

12And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.

"There is no such list in Acts".


There isn't. By all means produce such a list which says which laws you are "released from" and which you aren't. You can't because it doesn't exist. And all of this is superfluous to the fact that NOWHERE in the bible does it say the death penalty for gay sex is repealed. You've meandered about this for days now and you've got nothing but the most tortured and convoluted logic to make the weakest of cases that this is so. There is NOTHING in the bible to contradict the death penalty laid out for gays in Leviticus 20:13


Red Baron said " No one ever said the law against "gay sex" had been "revoked".".

That's the only possible meaning one can take from your quotes and talk about being "released from the law". Being "released from the law certainly in no way implies that the death penalty for gay sex has been revoked.

January 22, 2008 10:19 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron said "Christianity is the only religion with global reach and the only one with significant movements toward it by conversion rather than reproduction. It is a major factor on every continent. No other religion can say that.".

Not true Red Baron, that's just wishful thinking on your part. The reality is that Christianity makes up less than 1/3 of the world population and that proportion shrinks everyday. The only religion that is growing its percentage of the population is Islam. Don't take my word for it, check out the facts here:

http://richarddawkins.net/articleComments,956,Why-the-Gods-Are-Not-Winning,Edge-Gregory-Paul-amp-Phil-Zuckerman,page1#36316

Just because you want something to be so won't make it so. Accept reality Red Baron, Christians are the MINORITY in the world. Christianity is winning no converts, only atheism is growing by convincing people with reason and logic, atheists aren't growing by reproduction, rather solely by argument.

January 22, 2008 10:24 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron said "No one is talking about killing the "innocent".

Your god does that throughout the bible, brags about it even:

Exodus

23. God will make sure that Pharaoh does not listen to Moses, so that he can kill Egyptians with his armies. 7:4

31. God will kill the Egyptian children to show that he puts "a difference between the Egyptians and Israel." 11:7

33.After God has sufficiently hardened the Pharaoh's heart, he kills all the firstborn Egyptian children. When he was finished "there was not a house where there was not one dead." Finally, he runs out of little babies to kill, so he slaughters the firstborn cattle, too. 12:29

Numbers

131 God punishes the children for the failings of their great-great grandfathers. 14:18

162 God hardened the heart of the king of Heshbon and so that he could have him and all of his people killed. 2:30

170 God instructs the Israelites to kill, without mercy, all the inhabitants (strangers) of the land that they conquer. 7:2

1 Chronicles

403 God kills his faithful servant Uzza for trying to keep God's sacred ark from falling. 13:9-10

410 God kills 70,000 men because David had a census. 21:7

Psalms

475 God is praised for slaughtering kings, nations, and little babies. 135:8, 10

Proverbs

485 God made bad people for the pleasure of punishing them. 16:4

Fools are meant to be beaten. 18:6

Isaiah

508 God will slaughter children "for the iniquity of their fathers." 14:21

Jeremiah

527 God tries to "correct" people by killing their children. 2:30

563 God will kill children if their parents worship other gods. 16:10-11

579 God will destroy "the peaceable habitations" and make the land desolate "because of his fierce anger." 25:37-38


Ezekiel

628 God deceives some of his prophets and then kills them for believing his lies. 14:9

630 God will burn the inhabitants of Jerusalem to show everyone that he is the Lord. 15:6-7

635 God will kill everyone -- good and bad, just and unjust. 21:3-4


I could go on, but you get the picture. The bible in no way can be considered any example of morality.

January 22, 2008 10:32 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron said "
"hell being a lake of fire,"

metaphorical".

Fraid not Red Baron. There is nothing in the bible that would lead you to believe that that was anything other than intended to be literal. The pope has said so himself:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article1572646.ece

"Hell is a place where sinners really do burn in an everlasting fire, and not just a religious symbol designed to galvanise the faithful, the Pope has said."

And 54% of regular church goers agree with him.

http://www.christianpost.com/article/20070525/27615_Poll:_1_of_3_Americans_Say_Bible_Should_be_Taken_Literally.htm

January 22, 2008 10:42 PM  
Anonymous ftb said...

"Fraid not Red Baron. There is nothing in the bible that would lead you to believe that that was anything other than intended to be literal. The pope has said so himself"

I never said there was unanimous agreement about which passages are meant to be taken literally. The Catholic Church is notorious for not being able to distinguish literal from figurative language. Think the Middle Ages and transubstantiation. Still, there are parts of the Bible that Catholics don't take literally.

Passages about hell fire are metaphorical for a type of suffering that there are not words to describe, the horror of being cast out of God's presence. It also, in some passages described as bitterly cold. The common theme is that sinners are cast to someplace outside of the place where God's people reside.

"Hell is a place where sinners really do burn in an everlasting fire, and not just a religious symbol designed to galvanise the faithful, the Pope has said.

And 54% of regular church goers agree with him."

I wouldn't be surprised if that were correct but still Bring me anyone of those 54% and I'll find things they don't take literally.

January 23, 2008 1:47 AM  
Anonymous ftb said...

"Red Baron said "No one is talking about killing the "innocent".

Your god does that throughout the bible, brags about it even:"

We were specifically referring to the Leviticus passage showing the law against homosexuality. As is common, you took a statement out of context.

Still, the verses you cited, and we all noticed they involved the ancient nation of Israel where God was creating civilization in the midst of barbarism, you haven't established anyone's innocence. Do you really think the Pharoah was innocent until God hardened his heart? God did so to accomplish his purposes but Pharoah wasn't the benevolent and wise ruler before that.

Furthermore, God is the giver of life and freely chooses when to give it and for how long.

"I could go on, but you get the picture. The bible in no way can be considered any example of morality."

Every verse you cite here demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding on your part. I'm not going to go down a list you obviously copied from somewhere.

I really do think, however, that you are insane.

January 23, 2008 2:02 AM  
Anonymous ftb said...

"The reality is that Christianity makes up less than 1/3 of the world population and that proportion shrinks everyday."

I've never made any claims about what specific % of the population Chrsitianity constitutes so I don't know why you keep citing this statistic. I also don't know about whether % is going up or down.

What I do know is that sheer numbers of conversions are rising faster for Christianity than any other religion, including atheism. I also know that Christianity in the last twenty years has reached a status enjoyed by no other religion: it has a significant presence on every continent on Earth. Islam barely knows conversion at all.

"The only religion that is growing its percentage of the population is Islam."

Islam's only growth is through reproduction.

"Don't take my word for it, check out the facts here:

http://richarddawkins.net"

only atheism is growing by convincing people with reason and logic, atheists aren't growing by reproduction, rather solely by argument."

It isn't happening, Randi. Mr Dawkins has sold you a bill of goods.

Do remember that any comparison over the last hundred years must take into account the forcible conversion to atheism of well over a billion people in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Red China and the other Communist Asian regimes.

January 23, 2008 2:20 AM  
Anonymous red baron said...

"That's the only possible meaning one can take from your quotes and talk about being "released from the law". Being "released from the law certainly in no way implies that the death penalty for gay sex has been revoked."

You continue to press on, saying that I said things I didn't. To be clear: homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible; there are many other sins and everyone has committed sins; the wages of sin are death according to the Bible; forgiveness is available through faith in Christ; the task Christ has given to his disciples is maximize the number who receive forgiveness; God will decide when the offer of forgiveness expires, not any man.

January 23, 2008 8:54 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron said "Passages about hell fire are metaphorical for a type of suffering that there are not words to describe, the horror of being cast out of God's presence.".

There is nothing in the bible that would lead you to believe that. Just like with the bible's promotion of slavery Christians like you have decided that the bible is too ugly for your tastes so rather thant repudiating what it says you try to twist, contort, lie and claim it says something it doesn't. Similarly some Christians have decided that the bible is too ugly in the way it treats gays and they claim it does not oppose gay sex. They have a much stronger case to make because the passage in Leviticus actually refers to ritual religious gays sex in temple prostitution and the passages that refer to "homosexuals" were mistranslated as the word "homosexual" never existed until the 1800's.

The fact is, you've NEVER been "in god's presence", and you most certainly aren't suffering, are you. NOWHERE in the bible does it say that hell is merely seperation from "god" - you're a liar.


Red Baron said "It also, in some passages described as bitterly cold.".

It is NEVER described that way, stop lying about the bible.

The fact is that you've got no basis whatsoever for saying the clear descriptions of hell are anything other than literal. If you want to argue that something like that is not meant to be taken literally you've got no basis for saying ANY of the bible is meant to be taken literally

January 23, 2008 12:52 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron said "We were specifically referring to the Leviticus passage showing the law against homosexuality.".

Gays enjoying their sexuality are hurting no one, they are entirely innocent. Your bible evily calls for the murder of those who harm no one.

Red Baron said "you haven't established anyone's innocence. Do you really think the Pharoah was innocent until God hardened his heart? God did so to accomplish his purposes but Pharoah wasn't the benevolent and wise ruler before that.".

You've certainly come up with some dumb crap here. That's profound idiocy - guilty until proven innocent by your logic, I'd like to see you end up in court and see how you whine if they took that approach.

Your god didn't kill pharoah, he killed all the innocent first born. And your god hardened pharoah's heart so he wouldn't let the jews go - your god is responsible for pharoah not letting the jews go and he used that as an excuse to kill thousands who had nothing to do with pharoah's god driven actions. Pharoah was innocent of holding the jews captive - your god caused that. That can only be described as profoundly evil.

Your god commands the Israelites to entirely wipe out cities, men, women, children, and babies regardless of whether or not they try to make a peace treaty - babies are totally innocent your suggestion that somehow they are not innocent is insane.

Your god killed 70,000 men because David had a census. David was "guilty", not them - what in your twisted mind do you think those men were guilty of?! You're so desperate to call evil good and cover for your evil bible its utterly pathetic. And your pathetic excuse for not facing the evil of the bible is that I "copied it from somewhere else". Of course I did you moron, I had to, I didn't write your bible.

January 23, 2008 1:07 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron said "I've never made any claims about what specific % of the population Chrsitianity constitutes so I don't know why you keep citing this statistic. I also don't know about whether % is going up or down.

What I do know is that sheer numbers of conversions are rising faster for Christianity than any other religion, including atheism."

LOL, if you don't know the percentage of Christians in the world and if you don't know whether the percentage is rising or falling you obviously can't know the rate of conversions - you're a bald faced liar. You make up what you want to believe and proclaim it the "truth" with nothing to back it up. Please, give us a break, you're not fooling anyone. Its a fact, Christianity isn't rising as a percentage of the population because it isn't converting anyone.

Red Baron said "Islam's only growth is through reproduction".

Ditto for Christianity - read the article. If Christians had been converting anyone their percentage of the earth's population would be growing, not shrinking. Its nearly holding its own strictly through reproduction.

I said "only atheism is growing by convincing people with reason and logic, atheists aren't growing by reproduction, rather solely by argument."

Red Baron replied "It isn't happening, Randi. Mr Dawkins has sold you a bill of goods.".

You're in denial. From a miniscule presence in 1900, a mere 0.2% of the globe, atheists are today expanding at the extraordinary rate of 8.5 million new converts each year, and are likely to reach one billion adherents soon. Atheists have grown over one-hundredfold in the past one hundred years, no religion remotely matches that growth rate. And Dawkins didn't write this article, Gregory Paul & Phil Zuckerman did.

Red Baron said "Do remember that any comparison over the last hundred years must take into account the forcible conversion to atheism of well over a billion people in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Red China and the other Communist Asian regimes.".

Stop being such a profound moron. You can't force anyone to believe something they don't want to. NO ONE was forcibly converted to atheism. As it stands 75% of the Soviet Union is atheist and no one's persecuting Christians there anymore.

January 23, 2008 1:22 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

I pointed out to Red Baron "That's the only possible meaning one can take from your quotes and talk about being "released from the law". Being "released from the law certainly in no way implies that the death penalty for gay sex has been revoked."

Red Baron replied "You continue to press on, saying that I said things I didn't.".

No, I didn't. What I pointed out was that the quotes you used to argue the death penalty has been revoked in no way suggest such a thing, at best they might suggest that the law in general has been revoked(a foolish idea). To say you've presented a flimsy argument in favour of the death penalty being revoked would be to give you far, far too much credit. You've put on a shameful display of distorting your bible and lying about what it says.

Red Baron said " the wages of sin are death according to the Bible;".


Once again you contradict the position you've taken that the death penalty for gay sex has been revoked - you just said its still in effect. Stop with this circus act already.

Frankly the Christians that say the bible does not condemn gay sex make a much more convincing argument than you have that it is still condemned but not punishable by death. They say you have to take the bible in context, note that Jesus was love and that he would never condemn an act that harms no one. Maybe you should think about that.

January 23, 2008 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

ftb said...
The point is there is no Christian who doesn't have some part of the Bible that they don't take literally.

How sincerely profound. And here I’ve been thinking all along that you all just based your eternal salvation on Biblical figuratism.

As for cosmology and DNA, Randi, come back and talk about when you've done some reading and talking about the subjects.

I’m interested too. Would that be reading and talking about the subject under Creation Science criteria, or actual reality based Science Science criteria?

I never said there was unanimous agreement about which passages are meant to be taken literally.

An offshoot of my last question - How exactly are we to know which particular human beings can know the mind of God in regard to the multitude of variables that comprise every aspect of the Bible?

The Catholic Church is notorious for not being able to distinguish literal from figurative language. Think the Middle Ages and transubstantiation. Still, there are parts of the Bible that Catholics don't take literally.

Wow. The child rapist protecting Catholic Church doesn’t even know what God means or doesn’t actually mean in the Bible?

Your point ftb?

January 25, 2008 8:52 AM  

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