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October 12, 2008

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I tried to read American Thinker's article but found myself unable to proceed once he pulled out the tired Pol Pot/Stalin/Mao deflection.

I'd like to hear someone try to defend why slavery lasted for centuries under the joyous flag of Christianity (it was abolished by politicians, not clergy).

Were there no blinding revelations from the ineffable Jehovah on the undesirability of this?

"US Senator Mark Pryor, who actually said that humans didn’t know it was wrong to kill people before we got the ten commandments"

Yeah, and those commandments sure did stop the slaughter, didn't they?

Maher's clinging to irrational beliefs mirrors the same criticisms he levels at the religious. Being neither, I find this sort of "look at those crazy bastards" type of filmmaking counterproductive and polarizing.

There are some strong scientific studies which support mankind's development of religion as an outgrowth of social order. I like John Schumaker's Corruption of Reality as a basis for understanding human belief systems.

I'll pass on seeing the film out of concern that part of my ticket price would be channeled by Maher to some anti-vaccine group. Maybe I'll catch it on Sundance or IFC and donate $12 to the Randi foundation in lieu of a ticket.

Cheers

"US Senator Mark Pryor, who actually said that humans didn’t know it was wrong to kill people before we got the ten commandments"

If memory serves me correctly, not only was 'Thou shalt not kill' never included as a specific phrase in the 10 commandments but there is considerable ambiguity as to what the 10 commandments actually are.

Putting to one side for a moment the ridiculous assertion that there is a 'God' in any real sense, even the text of 'The Bible' describes a far more general set of statements from the lead character, at least 16 or 17.

Moses is (According to the bible) given the stone tablets, breaks them on the descent, is told by God to go back up to get a new copy and returns with something rather different again. Certainly nothing remotely along the lines of the commandments as are so often cited today.

The text of the Bible is in my view about as reliable as me writing out Hamlet based on my memory of 'studying' it 20 years ago in college. People who are so fond of citing scripture as truth yet who cannot even see such obvious discrepancies as the 'accepted version' of the commandments versus what is actually written in the text are quite unfathomable to me.

On the other hand the obvious logic of "don't kill people, it's bad for the species and will increase the chance someone will kill you" strikes me from a philosophical perspective as a good an argument as any against murder.

Oh, and 'Hello', by the way. First post.

eddy,

welcome!

:)

Eddy,

Yes, the whole Moses thing is hard core weird!

God turned his sister into a leper because she claimed her prophesies were as good as her brother's. God ordered Moses to organize a mob and stone someone to death for gathering sticks on the sabbath. When 250 community leaders challenged Moses' authority, God had them and their wives and children thrown into hell, via a pit that opened beneath their feet, and when people complained about this violence, God sent a plague which killed 15,000 of them. (Book of Numbers)

More bizarre stories of plagues and gruesome murders follow (all at God's bidding). After one slaughter Moses is angry that not all were killed and gives these instructions: "Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man by sleeping with him. But all the young girls who have not known a man by sleeping with him keep alive for yourselves." (Numbers 31:1-18)

"Thou shalt not kill" meant specifically that Israelites were not to kill other Israelites. Killing heathens was perfectly in order.

(From the authoritative 'Ken's Guide to the Bible', by Ken Smith.)

The whole thing is insane. Reading the Bible, it's hard to believe that Greek science flowered in the time between the Old and New Testament. The contrast couldn't be greater.

It has to be said that dissecting the shortcomings and inconsistencies in the bible is a trivial exercise for anybody with half a brain. The real challenge is getting past the "can't see, won't see" attitude adopted by the so called faithful.

I'm rather fond of this quote (often attributed to Mark Twain, though I wasn't there to hear him say it.)

"Faith is believing what you know ain't so."

Figure out how to get past that particular kink of human nature and you're really onto something...

"It has to be said that dissecting the shortcomings and inconsistencies in the bible is a trivial exercise for anybody with half a brain."

... but of course it's quite fun to do too, I should add :-p

Sorry, meant to stick the smiley in there originally to indicate a bit of tongue in cheek!

I don't quite agree on the flowering of Greek science, yakaru.

Anything that couldn't be explained just by sitting and thinking was frowned upon. A little experimentation was OK, but you generally did that to find a phenomenon to explain, not to explain a phenomenon.

Greek "science" was still plenty full of "I don't know, so I'll just make something up and claim it as fact."

The Greeks were good at geometry, although less good at maths. When Pythagoras talks about the square on the hypotenuse, he's thinking about a real square, not a number.

I believe I've read that the sweet Lord of Love in His mercy also purportedly killed and condemned to eternal torment a man for refusing to allow an honoured stranger to expedite his lust on the man's prepubescent daughter...

God in the OT at least is one super-sick puppy. Yet few hard-core Christians seem aware of these sorts of passage. Maybe the priests think it better to leave them out of sermons these days.

Anything that couldn't be explained just by sitting and thinking was frowned upon.

This is why I've always liked Aristotle. The story goes that every morning he'd meet the fishermen coming in with their fish to see if there was a new species he hadn't yet seen and taken apart and tried to understand. People, including his own students, laughed at him and said such behavior was unbefitting a philosopher, as they had more "important" things to worry about.

His response was "There are gods here as well."

May be totally false, but it's stuck with me since I heard it years ago.

God in the OT at least is one super-sick puppy.
Say what you will about OT God; at the very least once he rained fire and brimstone down on you, that was the end of things. Good and wicked alike went to "sleep with their fathers" after death. It's only in the New Testament that we get a God who metes out eternal torment for finite crimes.

"[...] US Senator Mark Pryor, who actually said that humans didn’t know it was wrong to kill people before we got the ten commandments."

One word: Cain.

HAHAHA
I just watched the movie for the tenth time and I only now saw that at 1.36 Bill is standing on a hill talking and in the left corner of the screen there is a bush burning hehe

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