753 reputation
39
bio website
location New York City
age 41
visits member for 2 years, 10 months
seen 6 hours ago

A Christian would probably say I'm an atheist, and an atheist would say I am religious. I read the new testament, and much of the old-testament. I also translated a few old-testament books from Hebrew to English.

I find Bible literalism repugnant. God doesn't ask you to lie about physics, biology, or history, nor about the textual history of the Biblical texts.

I like Christian theology because I think it is the most progressive of all the old-world religious systems. I am very impressed with the way that Christians can denounce bad past practices, while keeping the core message alive.


Feb
3
comment What is the specific meaning of “day” in Genesis 1?
@SoftwareMonkey: It didn't change at all, because it wasn't really a living language, it was just preserved through this text, so it was completely frozen for 2500 years. Modern and ancient Hebrew only differ as much as Shakespeare's English and Modern English, which is to say, only a little. This is surprising but true. Schools in Israel teach Bible in the original with less need for notes than Shakespeare required. I am not telling you nonsense, it is known by all Hebrew speakers.
Oct
8
comment “Hell's Best Kept Secret” from a Calvinist Perspective
@DavidStratton: There are no nuances, you are confusing the issue of determinism with "lacking a choice". This is just a logical fallacy, and it is implicit in predestination doctrines that it does not preclude free choice, despite people's intuition.
Oct
5
comment Does the Bible support slavery and (White) Superiority in the context of American Slavery?
The Bible does not support white supremacy except in anachronistic 19th century American readings. It might be argued to support some form of semitic supremacy, since the sons of shem are favored, and these includes the semitic tribes, but this is difficult considering the even-handedness with which it treats tribes. The real bigotry in the old-testament is against Canaanites, and in the new testament it is against pagans. The white/black issue is not present in the Bible, it's a product of the 18th century slave trade.
Apr
2
comment What scholarship exists behind the WikiSource translation of the Bible?
@waxeagle: I just finished doing it, because I have no problem with it, but you are not right--- it is personal. I am shocked that Christians, like you folks, have been able to tolerate honest people like me for so long on this site, it is in my experience unprecedented. I can't believe I haven't been banned yet. People like me cannot be tolerated in religious communities, this is why science and religion don't mix, and never have. This is why religion and the internet don't mix--- the internet is too honest. Religion asks you to lie, science demands honesty.
Apr
2
comment What scholarship exists behind the WikiSource translation of the Bible?
@waxeagle: You just don't like me, but that's ok, I enjoy being disliked! I will do as you ask. Please don't point me to policy, as I do not follow policy.
Apr
2
comment What scholarship exists behind the WikiSource translation of the Bible?
@waxeagle: The wikisource translation is not different materially from any other translation--- it's not astro-turfing exactly, it's just plugging my own stuff.
Apr
2
comment In light of Mark 10, how can Christians in good conscience purchase luxury items?
The example of luxury items you bring up is unfortunate, as Jesus himself is asked by Judas why wash his feet at the last supper with oils, when the money could feed the poor. Jesus answers that the poor will still be there, but the son of man is only here for a little while. So this means that there are circumstances where luxury is ok. But the question of how a Christian can justify wealth is important--- it is a conflict between capitalism and Christianity that has been there for a while, so +1.
Apr
2
comment Should women give sermons?
I opened a discussion regarding the erasure of the only attempt here at a Christian Feminist answer : meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/1036/… .
Mar
21
comment Why is the word “Ark” used for Noah's boat and the Ark of the Covenant?
I prefer transating "Aron ha-edut" as "crate of the testimony", reserving the word "Ark" for Noah's boat. I think it is somewhat wrong to translate Hebrew words with different connotations into the same English word.
Mar
17
comment Does the Bible espouse moral absolutism or moral relativism?
Ok, not murder: here's a form of genocide--- suppose you knew of a tribe whose child-rearing, if it were your children, you would consider to be child abuse. Would you take all the children away, to raise in good Christian homes? This is not a hypothetical question in Australia. Genocide can be cultural, and missionary work can annihilate local customs. We need to preserve Cultures, languages, traditions, even if Christian philosophy starts to spread within them. Many people can come to believe that God tells them to wipe out a culture. But it is better for the culture to evolve organically.
Mar
17
comment Does the Bible espouse moral absolutism or moral relativism?
-1 for advocating genocide. Genocide is wrong, even if God comes down from heaven and commands you to do it, and tells you He will send you to hell on the spot if you don't. I wish I could give you -100. The Bible agrees with you, by the way, and that is a shameful stain on that book.
Mar
17
comment Does the Bible espouse moral absolutism or moral relativism?
The 10 commandments are not illuminating here. They don't say "don't lie", they say "don't bear false witness", which is an admonition not to lie in court. Further, don't murder/steal/commit-adultery are common to all ancient ethical systems--- they are not controversial. The only reason they are there are to make the nontrivial things seem natural. It's the same construction as "life,liberty,property": nobody disputes life and liberty. The nontrivial content of the 10 commandments is "do not make figurative art", "do not work on saturday", "do not put other gods first".
Mar
16
comment Can I believe in evolution and still be a Christian?
@Grapth: You are excluding in your options the most common mainstream idea: God exists, God is active in the world, but the Bible is just wrong in its primitive creation story, because the Bible is only a pale shadow of the word of God. By the way, life started like this: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/4200/… ). but this is irrelevant--- you should question your own unjustified belief in Biblical inerrancy. Just because God exists, that doesn't mean the Bible is always, or even mostly, right.
Mar
16
comment Per Ecclesiastes 7:16, Does the Bible want me to sin?
@Affable Geek: I thought it was obvious in context--- Ecclesiastes is telling you to not be too much of a goody goody, but to do something (a little) bad once in a while, just to experience life. I agree that both Job and Ecc are Jewish/Christian, I mean, obviously, look at where they are. But the theology they espouse is somewhat outside the mainsteam of thought in Christian religion, and also of Jewish religion (or any religion I know, really, it's unique). I believe that they were both disputed during the canonization debates. The moderation philosophy echoes Aristotles Nichomachean ethics.
Mar
15
comment Per Ecclesiastes 7:16, Does the Bible want me to sin?
This philosophy is that of the Gospels, but it is not supported by the text of Ecclesiastes, which has a different, more pagan, philosophy (although it is strictly monotheistic in its religious references, of course). Ecclesiastes is not warning against over-legalism, the philosophy is that if you try too hard not to sin, you won't enjoy yourself, and you won't experience all of life, and this is no good. But if you sin, you wear yourself out, and invite God's wrath. So Ecc says be mostly good, but sin a little. Whether this is consistent with the rest of the Bible is up to you to decide.
Feb
29
comment Does the Bible espouse moral absolutism or moral relativism?
The fact that Jewish law does not apply to Christians does not mean that morals aren't absolute. It just means that the absolute morals are contingent on circumstances. If you happen to be tall, then you might be compelled to help a short guy to get a box off the shelf, while if you are short (or if the guy is tall) then you might not be ethically compelled. Contingency on circumstance is not the same as relative ethics. There is still a right answer. Paul's absolute position is that if you were a Jew in this and such a time, it is imperative for you to follow Mosaic law, but no longer.
Feb
29
comment Does the Bible espouse moral absolutism or moral relativism?
The Bible doesn't just mention slavery--- it tells you how to beat your slaves, when to set them free, and when to pawn them for money. This is not a neutral statement.
Feb
29
comment Does the Bible espouse moral absolutism or moral relativism?
@Affable Geek: The Bible is not being descriptive. It is simply wrong. The morality is absolute, the Bible is just wrong about it. It's as simple as that.
Feb
26
comment Is there a Christian perspective on the matter of “delusion”?
Some of the anti-atomists were delusional. In particular, Ernst Mach's constant repudiation of atoms throughout the first decade of the 20th century, even after being shown individual alpha-particle scintillations, borders on pathological skepticism. Those that denied the Bohr model were similarly delusional. Thankfully, young people took over who were not bound to follow the elders dogma to be accepted in the field.
Feb
17
comment Is “the ends justify the means” compatible with Christianity?
@Narnian: Yes, religious people offended me--- two of my answers on this site, one relating to Mormonism, the other on Abraham and Sarah's incestuous brother/sister business, which I put some thought into, and which said things that are difficult to find anywhere else, were deleted! I don't mind downvotes, but deletion is offensive to me. I am sorry if I seem uncivil. I have no faith in supernatural things. I believe in God, not magic.