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Today’s Issues, From a Biblical Perspective!

Should the Bible be “THE” textbook for all education?

Posted by truthtalklive on February 6, 2008

Todays guest: Dr. Karl D. Coke www.karlcoke.com , author of “A Proper Education” www.andybooks.com.

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80 Responses to “Should the Bible be “THE” textbook for all education?”

  1. John said

    AALLLLLL education? Are there not enough theological based schools already?
    I can only imagine what medical and law schools would be like[shiver..shiver..].
    Hey Tripp,if this started to pass in society, would you be willing to stand at my side and help me fight against THIS threat…. to educational democracy?

    If any other religion was promoting such an agenda,[like Santeria,can you even imagine?! HA!] such a roaring riot I bet it would cause in Christian society.
    I listen to Christian radio and hear Fundamentalist accuse the Muslim-themed classes in California of trying to infiltrate and indoctrinate[they love to use that word] Americas school system all the time. Before them it was the “New Age Movement”, as if “THEY” wanted every child to become someone like…me[Oh No!], eventually.But it’s O.k. for Christianity to try this, ehhh?

  2. John said

    And by the way,…..Happy Ash Wednesday!
    If anybody here cares about it, that is.

  3. Chris C. said

    I respect that this is largely a place for Christians to debate and so I try to lay low. However, as the resident atheist, I am really troubled by this topic. I only caught about 15 minutes of the show today. In that time the idea that the bible be used as a basis for all education was advanced by the guest.

    First of all, our education system is non-deminational … actually completely secular. It is not designed to promote any religion whatsoever. Therefore making the bible the basis of education is a direct affront to the entire US education system.

    I fully agree the bible should be taught — in comparative religion classes — along with other religious texts. Hundreds of english phrases, ideas, and literature are drawn from biblical texts and allusions. Without a knowledge of Biblical literature, one truly is poorly educated. However, to suggest that this collection of writings, compiled 2000 years ago, can possibly used for all our educational needs is preposterous. Do we want US kids, already poorly educated in science and math, to be taught at a level of knowledge preceding the scientific revolution, the enlightenment, the industrial revoluton, and the proposition of such grand theories as Germ Theory, Relativiy, Quantum theory, and the theory of evolution. The world is incomprehensible enough as it is. We needed make it more mysterious by basing all our science on a 2000 year old book.

    Thats enough. I’m sure there are many Christians out there who both believe the truth of the bible (which I do not), and yet are conflicted about using it as an educational text in a secular education system like the US has. How do you all feel about this?

  4. Fred said

    That was well stated, Chris. I am not an atheist, but I agree with you.

  5. Inoffensively Named Wille said

    I think the Bible should definitely be used as the primary textbook in all schools. I am tired of these godless biologists suppressing the evidence for unicorns (job 39) and giants (genesis 6).

  6. F. L. A. said

    ARE YOU SERIOUS WILLE? DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE DRAGONS, SEA MONSTERS, AND SPIRITS, HA! HA!

    IT IS GOOD TO HEAR FROM YOU AGAIN CHRIS C.
    I AM GLAD TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE STILL HANGING AROUND.
    AS FOR THE TOPIC AT HAND, YOU KNOW, “THEY” COULD ALWAYS PRINT OUT A NEW ADDITION, A NEW VERSION, OF THE BIBLE SO THAT IT IS MORE APPLICAPLE TO TODAYS SOCIETY, AND USE THAT. AT LEAST TO A CERTIAN POINT.

  7. Chris C. said

    F.L.A. :

    Nice point (all though I don’t know if you meant it in this way). Which version of the Bible would be used? The KJV, NKJV, NIV, NRSV, NASB, TEV, CEV, NLT, or perhaps The Message?

  8. Mike S said

    Aside from the TEV (never heard of that?), the NLT and the Message are a little watered down in my opinion, those are all great translations that all say essentially the same thing. ESV is a good one too. Do you think they say different things? They don’t. Especially the critical doctrine such as John 14:6! Check it out for yourself on Biblegateway.com.

  9. Chris C. said

    Today’s English Version, also known as the Good News Bible.

    I guess, my point was that if something is to be used as the basis for all education, there should probably be an agreed upon version. I know that the ‘ideas’ in all these versions is basically the same. But the words are different.

    Admittedly the choice of translation is tangential to the issue at hand. What’s your opinion on the idea (of the Bible as a basis for all education) in general, Mike?

  10. John said

    Among my collection is a Jehovah’s Witness version of the Bible.
    They have their own version of the New Testament.Have you ever read it, Mr. Sears? It’s….fascinating.I may be wrong, but I don’t think that you’d want this version used.
    My point with this is that, as some words are changed within certain types of Bibles, the context of the message changes too, subtly perhaps,but it’s still a change, and they do add up.

  11. Mike S said

    To allow it to be used as a reference text book sure. That is what I understood from the program. As a basis for all education? It really depends on the context. To use it in a wooden literal sense no. But it certainly has helped me in understanding things such as human nature and many other things.

  12. Mike S said

    BTW. I don’t think our educational system is secular at all. They teach the religion of evolutionism and humanism in a big way. Yes those are religious philosophies. They (many educational professionals) are now trying to implement and inject the worship of homosexual behavior to our kids.

  13. John said

    Worship of homosexual behavior?
    I thought that they were[we are playing a game of topic tag Mr. Sears.Did you notice?] just trying to teach tolerance of homosexual behavior.[?]

  14. Mike S said

    Some are just trying to teach tolerance yes but many are actually promoting the lifestyle. It’s one thing for the entertainment world to do so, but not in our schools!

    Principal bans parents
    from pro-‘gay’ seminar
    Public district students offered
    guidance on being homosexual

    ——————————————————————————–
    Posted: March 15, 2007
    1:00 am Eastern

    By Bob Unruh

    Administrators at North Newton High School in Newton, Mass., have held a seminar for students that explained how to know they are homosexual, but banned parents from attending.

    “It’s absolutely insane,” parent Brian Camenker, who also is chief of the Mass Resistance organization, said. “I met with the principal. She told me no parents are allowed. She said only by invitation. I asked, ‘Can I be invited.’ She said, ‘No.'”

    The event, called “ToBeGlad Day,” was the school’s “Transgender Bisexual Gay Lesbian Awareness Day,” and students were given a pamphlet that explains what it means to be “gay,” tells students how they are supposed to know if they are “gay,” and responds to the question, “Will I ever have sex?”

    News of the event comes just a day after WND reported on a case at Deerfield High School in Deerfield, Ill., where school officials ordered their 14-year-old freshman class into a “gay” indoctrination seminar, after having them sign a confidentiality agreement promising not to tell their parents.

    “This is very, very scary stuff,” Camenker said. “The pamphlet also lists places kids can go to meet homosexuals. How would something like this affect a kid who might be going through a confused and vulnerable time in his life? Well ? the school isn’t interested in what YOU think.”

    North Newton High Principal Jen Price

    The Newton principal, Jennifer Price, didn’t return a message WND left seeking a comment on the event.

    But Camenker said it supports his argument for the state’s Parents Rights Bill, S2063, which would toughen the state’s parental notification requirements, an issue he’s urging state lawmakers to act on as soon as possible.

    He said the information about the brochure, a copy of which is available at the Mass Resistance Website, already has been e-mailed to each member of the Massachusetts Legislature.

    “We’ve gotten a reaction from representatives who have gotten calls,” he said. “At least one is angry at us for the vehemence of the call [the representative got from a constituent]. I explained I didn’t tell people to be rude.”

    “But if this is going on in public schools, you can’t be surprised [if people are upset],” he said.

    “It’s absolutely insane.”

    He said some of the topics of the seminar, as reported by the student newspaper, included: “It’s natural to be gay,” “Nature vs. Nurture,” and “Fabulous Gay History.”

    That report from the student publication, he said, was the only way for parents to get information about what is going on, since they were banned on orders of the principal from attending.

    “The first step in coming out is to tell yourself that you are gay and say, ‘That’s OK,'” the brochure tells students. “Later you may want to tell someone else ? someone you trust to be understanding and sympathetic?”

    Certainly not one of those homophobic religious people, however. “I had to reject a lot of negative heterosexual and religious programming that made me feel lousy about myself as a gay person,” said a testimony from “Bill, age 18.”

    The school also promised help there. “Many faculty members have joined Bridges, a faculty/student group devoted to eliminating homophobia and making our school a more accepting place,” it said.

    “No matter what people say, you are normal,” said a testimony from “Nathan, age 19.” “God created you, and you were made in this image. If you are non-religious, you were born and you have a purpose, and being gay is only part of it.”

    The school’s information also included some very practical advice. “Do not shoot up drugs? Avoid anal intercourse? Use condoms whenever you engage in anal or oral sex (or vaginal sex if you have sex with women)?.”

    But of course, “Sex should only happen between mature individuals who care about each other. You will know when the time is right.” The brochure was written with the help of the Boston Alliance of Gay and Lesbian Youth and produced by The Campaign to End Homophobia.

    A second brochure included 16 pages of Website addresses, telephone numbers and other information through which students can reach “gay” organizations, law firms, advocacy groups, support clubs and others.

    It was made available through the National Youth Advocacy Coalition, which calls itself a “social justice organization that advocates for and with young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning?”

    “It is very scary,” Camenker said.

    He also said coming on the heels of the David Parker court case, this is what parents in Massachusetts should expect from their public schools.

    In that case, U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf dismissed a civil rights lawsuit brought by Parker and ordered that it is reasonable, indeed there is an obligation, for public schools to teach young children to accept and endorse homosexuality.

    The lawsuit was brought by parents of children in the Lexington, Mass., Estabrook Elementary School alleging the school violated state law and civil rights by indoctrinating their children about a lifestyle they, as Christians, teach is immoral.

    Camenker’s group called the ruling “every parent’s nightmare.”

    “In the ruling, Wolf makes the absurd claim that normalizing homosexuality to young children is ‘reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy.’ According to Wolf, this means teaching ‘diversity’ which includes ‘differences in sexual orientation.’

    “In addition, Wolf makes the odious statement that the Parkers’ only options are (1) send their kids to a private school, (2) home-school their kids, or (3) elect a majority of people to the School Committee who agree with them. Can you imagine a federal judge in the Civil Rights era telling blacks the same thing ? that if they can’t be served at a lunch counter they should just start their own restaurant, or elect a city council to pass laws that reflect the U.S. Constitution?” the organization said.

    Lawyers for the families said they already had planned an appeal of the judge’s opinion.

    Wolf concluded that even allowing Christians to withdraw their children from classes or portions of classes where their religious beliefs were being violated wasn’t a reasonable expectation.

    “An exodus from class when issues of homosexuality or same-sex marriage are to be discussed could send the message that gays, lesbians, and the children of same-sex parents are inferior and, therefore, have a damaging effect on those students,” he opined.

    Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues for Concerned Women for America, called the Deerfield case unbelievable.

    “It’s not enough that students at Deerfield High are being exposed to improper and offensive material relative to unhealthy and high-risk homosexual behavior, but they’ve essentially been told by teachers to lie to their parents about it,” he said.

    The situation, according to district Supt. George Fornero, was partly “a mistake.” He said the confidentiality agreement wasn’t right, and the district would be honest with parents in the future.

  15. Mike S said

    “Worship” = to love and admire greatly.

  16. Chris C. said

    I would agree that parents should have right as to what their children are taught in school, and their children should have the right to be exempted from certain school functions. Additionally, that is a major reason why we have private schools in this country.

    The fact is that homophobia (like racism and sexism) remains rampant in this nation. By educating our youth, we can slowly eliminate ignorance of the homosexual lifestyle. Young men and women should never be made to feel as though they are somehow inadequate because they are attracted to the same sex. There exists enough bullying, negativity, and popularity concerns in high school as it is.

    Although this topic seems a bit irrelevant to te original post, I think it makes a nice point about how our educational system handles issues now versus how the same issues would be dealt with were the Bible to be used as a basic educational text.

    Homosexuals would be made to feel as though they were inferior. I know that many Christians are respectful and loving of people who are gay, but they usually support the individual, not their lifestyle. And of course there are scores of religious people who are outright disrespectful towards gays — and this hatred for the lifestyle does have scriptural basis. Our nation has made great progess in the last century by incorporating (and equalizing) women and ethnic minorities in schools, voting processes, and government. If it takes some special attention to provide homosexuals with the same level playing field, I’m all for it.

    BTW, the English word Religion comes from the Latin word Religio which means “reverence for God or the gods; careful pondering of divine things.” I’m sorry but science (evolution being an accepted scientific theory) and humanism do not qualify as religions under the definition as they do not make claims about a deity.

  17. Mike S said

    Well written and thought out Chris. My point is that everyone is “religious” and is “worshipping” something or someone. For most people it is them self. For many it is an idea or belief system.

    American Heritage Dictionary – re•li•gion (rĭ-lĭj’ən) Pronunciation Key
    n.

    1. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
    2. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
    3. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
    4. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
    5. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

    Many don’t understand that the underpinnings of evolutionism, and any other “ism” are philosophical. A widely used college textbook, Evolutionary Biology makes this claim, “By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of life process superfluous.” Another example is a 1995 statement by the National Association of Biology Teachers whereby they assert that all life is the outcome of “an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process.” Here you have so called “scientists”, the same ones who say that creation or Intelligent Design is philosophical or religious, making dogmatic philosophical/religious (“purpose” or at least the lack of) claims and passing it off as science.

    I know, off topic again… I guess those who use the Bible as a “text book reference” at least have a source for their “philosophical beliefs”. While many desire to be liberated from the source…

    Atheistic thinker Hobart Mowrer, one time president of the American Psychological Association, committed suicide in his eighties. He was one time professor at Harvard, instructor at Yale, earned a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins, and he wrote these powerful words: “For several decades we psychologists looked upon the whole matter of sin and moral accountability as a great incubus and acclaimed our liberation from it as epoch making. But at length we have discovered that to be free in this sense, that is, to have the excuse of being sick rather than sinful, is to court the danger of also becoming lost. This danger is, I believe, betokened by the widespread interest in existentialism, which we are presently witnessing. In becoming amoral, ethically neutral and free, we have cut the very roots of our being, lost our deepest sense of selfhood and identity, and with neurotics, themselves, we find ourselves asking, ‘Who am I, what is my deepest destiny, what does living really mean?’”

  18. Inoffensively Named Willie said

    A nice load from the quote mine. Here’s another one:
    “And to the others [The Lord] said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and woman: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” (Ezekiel 9:5-6)
    Have a nice day.

  19. ADB said

    From what I heard of the show I have real questions about how Dr. Coke was using scripture. It seemed to me that some of what he said didn’t represent good exegesis. Using the Bible as part of an educational curriculum is no problem. Using it instead of established science or history texts represents misusing scripture IMHO. For example, I just don’t think that the trees by the river of life that are for “healing of the nations” is intended to be a reference to pharmaceuticals. There is verifiable history in the Bible, but the point of the Biblical authors was theological. There are references to ancient peoples- Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Hittites, etc. but it is wiser to use a true history text that will give a more complete picture of these peoples.

    Mike S., I second your point about the ESV. I think it’s about the best there is as far having enough majesty to be read out loud in worship, literal enough for good study, and not too difficult to read. My two cents worth!

  20. Chris C. said

    I would concede, in a broad sense, that science is based on a belief system. That is, science uses inductive logic to make claims about the validity of hypotheses. In fact, humans use this same system every day. We use our knowledge of the past and of our experiences to determine if we will need an rain-coat; which way we should drive to work, etc. We trust that the sun will rise, that we will get sleepy and go to bed, etc.

    But all of this (this ‘beleif system’ if you wish to call it that) only holds up so long as all of our evidence confirms our ongoing hypothsis. Our modeling of the future (and our behavior to match) is based on inductive logic. In other words, this is not something humans have made up, but something we have discovered to be true over time after repeated validation. The same is true of scientific theories. They have been repeatedly validated by numerous sources of evidence and so we ‘accept’ them.

    As oppsed to religion (in the more commonly used, narrow sense of the word), for which there is no emprical evidence nor any good reason for beleif in one deity over another. This is why we teach science in schools, and not religion. At least, thats how I see it.

  21. Mike S said

    Chris
    You seem like a reasonable and intelligent guy. I like the way you write. Very matter of factly without alot of rhetoric.

    Have you ever looked intently at the historical evidence that Jesus existed? Was crucifed? And the hundreds who witnessed Him after his death? And the explosion of change in the culture that resulted from His life, death, and resurrection? That is still felt today?

    I think if you were to honestly look at the evidence, you would come away with a different view of proof for a diety.

  22. Inoffensively Named Willie said

    Have you ever looked intently at the historical evidence that Jesus existed?

    There isn’t any.

    Was crucifed?

    Negative.

    And the hundreds who witnessed Him after his death?

    Name one.

    And the explosion of change in the culture that resulted from His life, death, and resurrection?

    You mean like the explosion of change in culture that resulted from the virgin birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Buddha, or the revelations of the prophet Muhammed?

    That is still felt today?

    See previous.

  23. Tripp said

    Haha! Hey Willie – are you a comedian or something? You don’t think anyone on here is going to take that post seriously, do you? Ever heard of Josephus?

  24. Chris C. said

    The passage in Josephus’ “Antiquities” that refers to Jesus as The Christ is widely considered to be a forgery, and has been considered as such by textual scholars since the 18th century.

    I am no expert on the Historicity of Jesus. But I do know that there are no contemporaneous documents which chronicle the man’s life. Everything written about him is second-hand, third-hand, passed-down information. My personal opinion is that, given Jesus’ mention in several 1st and 2nd century writings (Tacitus, Seutonian, Pliny) a man similar to who we think of as “Jesus” probably did exist. But there is no compelling evidence that I see that he was anything but a man.

    Additionally, the fact that an entire culture sprung up in the 2nd and 3rd centuries surrounding a man who called himself Christ, is not terribly surprising. The same has happened, as Willie hinted at, following the prophet Muhammad, Siddhartha Gautama, Jospeh Smith, and John Frum (google “Cargo Cult”). Each one of these religious figures had or has a following just as passionate and just as certain of their religious beleifs as early and modern Christians. I don’t suppose you accept this as evidence of their religions’ validity?

  25. Mike S said

    “Everything written about him is second-hand, third-hand, passed-down information.”

    Isn’t the majority of all history defined this way? I guess it all depends on which resources one chooses to believe are accurate. Otherwise, why would anyone pay any attention to ANY history at all and try to learn from it?

    The Bible is an amazing record of historical events. Many of which have been proven by archelogical finds.

  26. Inoffensive Willie said

    Isn’t the majority of all history defined this way?

    No.

    I guess it all depends on which resources one chooses to believe are accurate.

    Translation: You just don’t WANT to believe.

    Otherwise, why would anyone pay any attention to ANY history at all and try to learn from it?

    False Premise: All history is of equal reliability.
    False Dilemma: “History” in general is either reliable or unreliable.

    The Bible is an amazing record of historical events. Many of which have been proven by archelogical finds.

    Dogmatic assertion of irrelevant claims.

    Never addresses the issues Chris C. raised. Why not just quote John 3:16 and be done with it.

  27. Anonymous said

    Willie
    Talk about the pot calling the kettle dogmatic…

    ALL of your posts are irrelevant and basisless. Not to mention the opposite of your screen name. Is your last name Clinton? Just asking… 🙂

  28. Inoffensively Named Willie said

    basisless.

  29. Anonymous said

    Thanks for confirming that for me.

  30. Anonymous said

    Thanks for agreeing and confirming that for me.

  31. Brother M said

    I’ve got a question- how come TTL seems never to interview any skeptics or atheists? Did I just miss those shows?

  32. Fred said

    Brother M, they do occasionally have the Triad Skeptics Club on, or they used to. That is how I found the program. Come to think of it, it has been a long time since the TSC was on.

    Maybe Stu couldn’t handle the pressure?

  33. Jack said

    First: That title was made to incite and looks like it did.

    My understanding of the progress of education through the years,is rooted in Christians being called to explore our world and expand our knowledge. Atheists have burned far more books than we have,and snuffed out more lives. Christians are obligated to allow choices in thought, not choices in action ie. abortion. We are also obligated to evangelize, to make sure all hear the Truth of the Cross but not with the edge of a sword against the neck of the nonbeliever. But ultimately its up to the individual to get on the narrow path to heaven.

    I struggled for a while about the harshness and mocking of the “resident atheists” but figured out that once again the Bible was right we will see persicution… I can come here to get my RDA recommended daily allowance. But look to the verses that talk about how, you’re name is written in the lambs book “before” you are even born.

  34. ADB said

    There has been a suggestion here that deserves a response. Some have questioned whether Jesus ever actually existed at all. This, historically, is beyond question. Leaving the Bible aside, as atheists don’t believe it anyway, there can be no doubt that he lived and died. Within a generation of his life there were followers who were beginning to be noticed by Rome, and within two generations had emerged from Judaism proper and were made ‘scapegoats’ by Nero for Rome’s disastrous fire in the mid 60s. This much can be found in any secular history text that covers the 1st century. A figure who is entirely mythical may develop a following, but it simply doesn’t happen that rapidly. This question is entirely unrelated to who he was. Was he a Jewish prophet, a cynic of the Greek mold, a Jewish revolutionary, or was he who he said he was, Christ and Son of God. This last question is to my mind most important and one that each has to answer for himself/herself. The resident skeptics/atheists may take any view of Jesus they want, but they must also be intellectually honest.

  35. Fred said

    I have to say that the historic Jesus is not beyond question. He is questioned by scholars everywhere. It is welcomed by those who want a better understanding of the historic Jesus.

    Did Jesus exist? It’s debatable, too. How can it be beyond question? Is there evidence for early Christianity before the second century? I am not a scholar. I am interested in the answers though.

    Here is an interesting discussion going on in a parallel universe:

    http://iidb.infidels.org/vbb/showthread.php?t=236198

    And as for myths developing over time, how much time did it take Joseph Smith’s myths to find a following? Certainly less than two generations, right?

  36. Inoffensivley Named Willie said

    This, historically, is beyond question.

    It’s not certain that Jesus existed. Probably he did, but not certain at all.

    A figure who is entirely mythical may develop a following, but it simply doesn’t happen that rapidly.

    Says who? Anthropology expert Gary Habermas? Try Googling John Frum or Cargo Cult as Mr. C previously suggested.

    Was he a Jewish prophet, a cynic of the Greek mold, a Jewish revolutionary,

    …or was he entirely legendary, like Hercules?

    was he who he said he was, Christ and Son of God.

    Assuming he existed, how do we know what he said or didn’t say? (cf. Ehrman “Misquoting Jesus” and “Orthodox Corruption of Scripture”. Also Bruce Metzger’s “The Text Of The New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, And Restoration”)

  37. Mike S said

    Well put ADB.

  38. Chris C. said

    Not sure this is factually accurate. Although it may well be impossible to determine the numbers exactly, I think we can put the biggest totals in perspective. First of all, the Catholic Church banned (and likely burned) hundreds of books from 1543-1966. Most of these books contained scientific discoveries, philosophical works, and social opinions which dissented against the Church’s views. I know that The Bible has been burned or banned in many countries, but most of them were Muslim or Buddhist-Communist nations. The USSR is the only nation I know of which banned the book as a non-religious nation. I will grant you that between Mao and Stalin over 130,000,000 people were murdered. But Hitler (not an atheist) was responsible for 20,000,000, and the crusades 10,000,000. It should be added that the actions of people who either believe in Jesus or not has no bearing on the truth of their beliefs. This site: http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstatz.htm#RelCon is a nice link. It estimates the total numbers of deaths due to religion since the birth of Christendom to be roughly 800,000,000 . Although this number includes all religious wars, I think it serves to show that Atheism has not been responsible for nearly the amount of death (much less suffering) that religion has.

    Sir, America is a secular democracy. We do not have a state religion. If you want to legislate your religious beliefs into law so that you restrict freedom of action, you are welcome to find a country where this is possible. But not in America. Try Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria…

    Have I come across as mocking? I hope not. I am respectful of all people, though not all beliefs. 92% of Americans claim belief in God (Fox News Opinion Dynamic poll 2004). 55% (also in 2004) believed that God created humans in our present form. 59% of Americans believe the prophecies in Revelation will come true (2002 CNN poll). My point is, you probably hold all of these three beliefs — beliefs shared by the majority of Americans. You are not in the minority. You are free to practice your religion in any church you wish, and in any way you see fit in your home and your community, so long as it does not infringe on others’ rights. Religious freedom is more ‘free’ in America than any nation on earth. So please, do not pretend to be victimized or persecuted. We’re just debating. If you find it so threatening, perhaps you need to reevaluate your beliefs.

  39. Chris C. said

    Sorry that post got messed up with quotes, here it is w/o the messy formatting:

    JACK SAID: Atheists have burned far more books than we have, and snuffed out more lives

    Not sure this is factually accurate. Although it may well be impossible to determine the numbers exactly, I think we can put the biggest totals in perspective. First of all, the Catholic Church banned (and likely burned) hundreds of books from 1543-1966. Most of these books contained scientific discoveries, philosophical works, and social opinions which dissented against the Church’s views. I know that The Bible has been burned or banned in many countries, but most of them were Muslim or Buddhist-Communist nations. The USSR is the only nation I know of which banned the book as a non-religious nation. I will grant you that between Mao and Stalin over 130,000,000 people were murdered. But Hitler (not an atheist) was responsible for 20,000,000, and the crusades 10,000,000. It should be added that the actions of people who either believe in Jesus or not has no bearing on the truth of their beliefs. This site: http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstatz.htm#RelCon is a nice link. It estimates the total numbers of deaths due to religion since the birth of Christendom to be roughly 800,000,000 . Although this number includes all religious wars, I think it serves to show that Atheism has not been responsible for nearly the amount of death (much less suffering) that religion has.

    JACK SAID: Christians are obligated to allow choices in thought, not choices in action ie. abortion.

    Sir, America is a secular democracy. We do not have a state religion. If you want to legislate your religious beliefs into law so that you restrict freedom of action, you are welcome to find a country where this is possible. But not in America. Try Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria…

    JACK SAID: I struggled for a while about the harshness and mocking of the “resident atheists” but figured out that once again the Bible was right we will see persicution… I can come here to get my RDA recommended daily allowance.

    Have I come across as mocking? I hope not. I am respectful of all people, though not all beliefs. 92% of Americans claim belief in God (Fox News Opinion Dynamic poll 2004). 55% (also in 2004) believed that God created humans in our present form. 59% of Americans believe the prophecies in Revelation will come true (2002 CNN poll). My point is, you probably hold all of these three beliefs — beliefs shared by the majority of Americans. You are not in the minority. You are free to practice your religion in any church you wish, and in any way you see fit in your home and your community, so long as it does not infringe on others’ rights. Religious freedom is more ‘free’ in America than any nation on earth. So please, do not pretend to be victimized or persecuted. We’re just debating. If you find it so threatening, perhaps you need to reevaluate your beliefs.

  40. John said

    If he didn’t really once exist, then he certainly does now, as over two millennia of belief to empower him would make this so.
    So….why bother arguing over it?

  41. Chris C. said

    Well, I’ve given up that argument (on Historicity). I’m not well-read enough to debate details. All I can say for sure is there exists lots of scholarly debate on the subject to this day. The historicity of Jesus (not to mention his possible divinity) is still, as far as academics are concerned, being debated. I’ve already said I think it likely that a man (whom we now think of as Jesus) probably did exist in roughly that time frame. That’s about all I’m willing to sweat to right now.

  42. ADB said

    Regarding the historicity of a person named Jesus, one who would deny that he even existed must answer some basic questions. First upon what basis do you make the claim, given that a movement exists that bears his name, and that there are numerous ancient sources both Roman and Jewish that presume his existence? Additionally, what is your view of history in general? I.e. is it possible to know anything with certainty in the past? By the way one needs to be very careful in answering this question.

    This question is entirely different than the “historical Jesus” in that any quest for the “historical Jesus” presupposes that such a person actually existed. As is well known there have been several different quests, each producing somewhat different results. Reimarus a deist of the 18th century initiated the first quest, then this was followed by liberal protestants in the 19th century whose picture of Jesus was remarkably similar to 19th century ethics professors. Albert Schweitzer wrote a seminal work in the early 20th century portraying Jesus as a Jewish apocalyptic prophet. More recently there has been a new quest exemplified by E.P. Sanders, Crossan, and the Jesus Seminar though the seminar’s work is often discredited by other scholars.

    This question is also entirely different from New Testament textual criticism, and is unrelated at all to this discussion because I stated in my premise that I am not relying upon the Christian New Testament for evidence for my position. To do so is to create a nice circular argument. That discipline is entirely devoted to sifting through the thousands of New Testament mss to discover what is probably the most original and authoritative.

    A couple of related comments- I have never read Habermas, though I have heard of him. Yes I have heard of the “cargo cult” phenomenon and this phenomenon in the South Pacific seems to be too different in time, culture, to be an apt analogy to Christian origins. Using Joseph Smith in this context is a red herring, there is no doubt that a New York farmer named Smith lived in the early 19th century. What some, including myself, question is the veracity of his claims about receiving new scriptures from a god/(G)od.

    Best wishes.

  43. Chris C. said

    ADB: Regarding your comment on cargo cults, what makes you think that humans today are so vastly different today than we were 2k years ago? I would venture to say that the scientific knowledge and literary understanding of indigenous pacific islanders is somewhat similar to people in palestine 2k years ago.

    I was not trying to make a direct comparison from Joseph Smith to Jesus. I was simply rebutting the claim that an “explosion of change” in religious culture and doctrine should be at all considered evidence for the veracity of said religion’s claims. Mormonism certainly exists, and has come about in the last 200 years. Whether it started with Jospeh Smith or someone or something else is irrelevant.

  44. Willie said

    the historicity of a person named Jesus,

    About the only thing we can say for certain about him is that his name was not Jesus. Scholars differ on what it actually was, but nobody believes it was “Jesus”. So if we don’t even know the guy’s name how certain can we be of his other biographical details?

  45. Mike S said

    Again… It all depends on which sources we choose to believe as reliable.

  46. Mike S said

    Chris
    Just because the Bible says: “Do not murder” does not mean that we are legislating religious beliefs by taking a stand that innocent lives should not be killed for convenience… (Abortion) It is just a matter of right and wrong, just like it is unlawful to steal. There are basic principles of right and wrong on which laws are established.

  47. Willie said

    It all depends on which sources we choose to believe as reliable.

    Yeah, because all sources are basically equal right? You just grab whatever appeals to you off the world-view buffet. Is that what you are contending?

  48. Mike S said

    Yes, I am contending that is exactly what you are doing. Buffet truth. I like that. You must visit often. How’s your diet? I bet you’re thin feast on all those empty theories! 🙂

  49. ADB said

    Willie,
    I think your previous post actually conceded your point, as you post as if Jesus was an historical figure. That is my only contention in our little debate. It is true as I mentioned above that different people have come up with different results in assessing the “Jesus of history” as opposed to “the Jesus of faith.” Regarding his name. Don’t tell me you are going to haggle over Yeshua or Jesou the Aramaic and Greek forms of the name rendered “Jesus” in English. Perhaps you are getting confused over christos vs. christus, the Greek and Latin versions of the word meaning “anointed one.” I would like to hear an answer regarding your criteria for judging historical sources. Which sources should be regarded as being reliable? Upon what basis does a modern historian disbelieve an historical source whether ancient or modern? Further, is it possible to know anything historically speaking?

  50. Chris C. said

    “There are basic principles of right and wrong on which laws are established”

    Well, we agree. But I think these principles are not (and should not be) made on a religious basis. You seem to indicate that abortion should be universally regarded as murder (the taking of one individual human life by another). Obviously it is not seen this way by many Americans or by the court system. I’m not going to go into my thoughts on the subject because I think that’s a can of worms best left for another discussion. Point is, abortion (like almost every so-called ‘moral’ issue) is not simply a matter of right vs. wrong. It is a matter of judging where each case falls on a continuum — some thing being seen as more acceptable to others.

    Christians (broadly speaking) have their own idea about where certain actions fall on this continuum. Buddhists, Jains, Muslims, and non-theists often have different views. In this country, you do not have the right to create legislation simply based on your own set of morality.

    Also, it seemed to me that the original post spoke very broadly. “Christians are not obligated to allow choices in action.” Abortion was only provided as an example. I think, should rolls be reversed and Christians occupy a small minority of this nation, you would all be quite glad for the protections of secular government.

  51. Mike S said

    Chris, I bet we really are not that far apart in our beliefs when you get down to the nitty gritty truths. “In this country, you do not have the right to create legislation simply based on your own set of morality.” Ok, I agree and let’s go with that. Upon whose or what principles do we start from? General opinion? Majority rules? Or some certain standard based upon something…? and that something is…???

  52. Mike S said

    Don’t “Liberals” have their own set of morality that they try to impose and legislate too? Are they not legislating morality by saying homosexual marriage is moral? By whose standards are they speaking? There own?

  53. Mike S said

    “But I think these principles are not (and should not be) made on a religious basis.” And by whose or what standards are you making this claim? And why is it you believe this is wrong, philisophically speaking? How do you come to that conclusion?

    To deny legislating on the basis of morality is in a sense, legislating on the basis of morality, because you believe it is wrong to legislate morality. Yes I am talking in circles here. It doesn’t make sense to me either. 🙂

  54. Chris C. said

    It’s an interesting point, Mike. I have class at 3 so I can’t say much but here are my thoughts:

    My own personal view of the roots of morality stem from evolutionary biology and development. A fascinating discussion of this is found in the book “The Selfish Gene”. At any rate, I would agree we do have similar views. In fact, almost all of our moral code is the same. We seem to only see the conflicts, but overall we agree lying, stealing, cheating, murder (of a human being, not a fetus at least), and almost all other matters. Our laws are based on our culture’s understanding of what:

    A) Is Most generally accepted as moral. I know this is vague, but consider that many nations disagree on morality. That is why each has slight variations in laws.
    B) Provides the greatest good for the greatest number. Utilitarianism is a strong concept in the basis of laws.

    Ultimately the Bible is in agreement (as well as is Christianity — although modern christianity and the Bible do have substanitive moral differences) with our current law (moral code). The few places it is dramatically different (aboriotn, equal rights, (hopefully) homosexual equality, educational standards) are places where modern science and understanding has surpassed former religious superstitions on which we based former morality.

    Perhaps I hit on too much at once there. I’ll see where the conversation leads.

  55. F. L. A. said

    JOHN’S BROTHER SUMMER SAID THAT SAME COMMENT ABOUT MORALS AND ETHICS ON THE “DOES THE CREATION/EVOLUTION DEBATE MATTER WHEN IT COMES TO POLITICS” SITE LISTED UNDER “CHRISTIANITY”, POST #7.
    MONKEYMAN AND BRAD FUSSED ABOUT AND REJECTED IT. PERHAPS YOU WILL BE BETTER RECEIVED,CHRIS.
    GOOD LUCK.

  56. Chris C. said

    One quick think I failed to mention in response to Mike.

    You mention the example of liberals wanting to legalize homosexual marriage because we (Yes, I’m a liberal as well) think it is moral. I, for one, am unconcerned with the morality of something like marriage. What matters, legally, is the equal protection guaranteed under the law of the constitution. Right now, some would argue homosexuals being prohibited marriage is contrary to the idea of equal protection. On the surface, at least, this is not a moral issue but a legal one.

  57. Mike S said

    OK Chris, but on what basis do you (or anyone else) establish this (equal protection) (not really sure what is being protected here) as a legal position? Why is something determined legal or illegal?

    We return to the question, on what basis should we legislate or establish laws? I think we both agree that the basis should be on what is right and what is wrong but we face a real dilemma here. With varying opinions of “right & wrong”, or “good & evil” where do we start? Is there a root basis out there?

    You said: “Our laws are based on our culture’s understanding of what:
    A) Is Most generally accepted as moral. I know this is vague, but consider that many nations disagree on morality. That is why each has slight variations in laws.
    B) Provides the greatest good for the greatest number. Utilitarianism is a strong concept in the basis of laws.”

    I will have to agree with you that A) is too vague. Especially considering at times through history, certain cultures accepted the practice of sacrificing children as a good thing to do. (Wait a minute, that is already happening in our culture, children ARE being sacrificed at the altar of “CHOICE”) Sorry, I couldn’t help it. I realize that you don’t think that a fetus is a child. I agree that a child is not an adult either but I don’t think that makes it ok to terminate them. I digress from my topic.

    Let’s look at B). Right out of the gate we face the same dilemma. You used terms “greatest” and “good”. How are those determined? Is there a basis of good to which you are measuring something being greater than something else?
    You say “good” is something that has developed through evolutionary biology? Would you mind expanding on that one? I have a hard time wrapping my mind around such a concept.

    Let’s also look at the concept of utilitarianism as a basis of establishing laws. So, if we, as a scientific society, determined that there were 100,000 people in a city of 10,000,000 that were very sick and costing the other 9,900,000 alot of money, time, pain and effort to care for. (some of them are even contagious) They are within a year or so of dying anyway. If the culture decided that it was the “greater good”, to go ahead and terminate them, would that be ok? Which is the greater good? Who or what determines it? Sound like the 1940’s?

    Let’s say that the 100,000 were all determined contagious but only when they engaged in certain activities that spread the disease to others. Would it be in the greater good to isolate these people or outlaw the activities or would that infringe on their freedoms? Which is the greater good? Protecting the 9,900,000 or the freedoms of the 100,000? See, even “liberal” philosophy does not work with utilitarianism.

    There must be a basis out there don’t you think? An absolute truth? An ultimate greater good? What is good? 🙂

  58. ADB said

    Great post Mike.

  59. Mike S said

    Thanks!

  60. educated dawg said

    I don’t see in the Scriptures where it says for Christians to send their kids to a public institution to be educated – seems God had the father’s in mind to train up their own kids according to the Bible.

    Lets worry about our own kids 1st. The public school system was pushed forth as a way to keep Christians from “indoctrinating” their own kids. Basically, it was a way to take the rights away from parents and put it into the hands of a secular/Godless government.

    Should the Bible be “the” textbook for all education? As a Christian, I say yes as far as my education and the education of my child is concerned. Thus, my wife and I homeschool our child.

  61. Willie said

    God had the father’s in mind to train up their own kids according to the Bible.

    my wife and I homeschool our child.

    I’m sure your kids will turn out every bit as educated as yourself.

  62. Joe said

    Willie – That was un-called for. How would you feel if someone hurled an insult at your children? How did the Moderator let that slip by?

  63. Chris C. said

    Mike, I have to agree, that was a nicely argued post.

    By equal protection I mean that two people in the exact same situation should be treated the exact same despite gender, racial, religious, or sexual-preference related differences.

    You asked: “With varying opinions of “right & wrong”, or “good & evil” where do we start? Is there a root basis out there?”

    I say: No, there is no root basis. Just cultural evolution over time. A fluid moral sense driven by evolution (I’ll get to this in a sec) and later by our unique cultural development. So there, I admit, I have no permenant, universal basis for morality. Yes, certain cultures had/have weird ideas of morality. You mention abortion. I will mention slavery and polygamy, misogyny, and ethnic cleaning (all of which the bible seems to allow in certain places). These all seem abhorrent to us now. Our morals have changed. I’m sure this seems terribly unsatisfactory as an answer or position but it is the best way I can explain our current moral sense. Science has demonstrated that men and women are equals, blacks and whites as well; straights and gays; asians and europeans, etc. We no longer rely on superstitions and paranoia to dictate our morality. We now, based on scientific and cultural findings, treat people (or strive to) equally.

    I will admit utilitarianism is a very hard concept to swallow, and no I don’t know of a case where it has been employed as the sole source of law. Your example provides a nice reason why this would be appalling to humans. But there are many parts of our law (genocide conventions, welfare, immigration policy, civil rights) which all strive to increase ‘goodness’ or reduce suffering. Very vague, of course. John Stuart Mill was far more eloquent in his discussions of this philosophy than I am. Perhaps he could offer a more palletable answer.

    It is a bit frightening to think we all have to be big boys and girls. There are no cosmic police to tell us when we’ve broken the Ultimate Moral Code. No, we have to figure these things out on our own as a species. Often it is confusing, painful to some, and muddy. However, this does not mean we must invent some greater reality to satisfy our fears or need for moral enforcement. It means, to me, we must be honest with ourselves; honest about the challenges we face and the indefferent path we must walk in this universe.

    Really, (and this comes as no surprise), I think we’ll agree to disagree.

  64. Chris C. said

    Oh, and on Evolution. Basically, as a species we evolved altruism because it increased the liklihood of our gene surviving to another generation. In other words, if mother X is kind to her children, parents, siblings, etc. then her genes or those very similar to them will be more likely (through her altruistic behavior) to make it to the next generation. Books have been written to explain what I just butchered in 2 sentences, but I hope that makes some sense.

  65. Mike S said

    “By equal protection I mean that two people in the exact same situation should be treated the exact same despite gender, racial, religious, or sexual-preference related differences.”

    I agree completely with this statement. Any man is afforded the exact same right to marry any other woman and vice versa. A man wanting to marry a man is not “the exact same situation”. It is different all together. That is why the oppositions stance is against “redefining’ an existing institution. Personally, if society determines the need to establish some type of arrangement to protect the rights of two people in the exact same situation regardless of gender, racial, religious, or sexual-preference related differences, I’m all for it.

    Example, if someone wants the same rights and privileges as a doctor, and fights for the rights to be considered as a doctor without actually being one, he/she really wants to redefine what a doctor is. Should a man fight for the rights to enter a woman’s dressing room because he ought to have the same rights as the women? He doesn’t realize that HE DOES have the same rights to go to the men’s dressing room. What our liberal society wants to do is blur all of the lines. If someone does not want to work for a living they can take a free ride on the government. I had a friend (notice past tense because after I witnessed this we were no longer friends) who played the unemployment system for about 2 years. He actually bragged about his abilities to play the system for all he could.

    Sorry for digressing way off topic here.

  66. Mike S said

    What if 10 people (all consenting adults) who genuinely love each other, all want to share in the same rights that a married couple has? Should we consider their situation an equal rights claim? Should a 10 person marriage be allowed? If the lines keep moving through “evolution” of morals, where are we headed?

  67. Chris C. said

    I guess we’re going to disagree on gay marriage because of differing beliefs regarding the legitimacy of same-sex attraction as a natural (normal, acceptable, etc.) condition. The reason is see this as different from polygamy (and men/women marrying animals as the slippery-slope argument is often advanced) is that there is no reason to believe polygamy is an intrinsic condition. People do not just wake up and realze, “Oh goodness, I’ve been needing three more wives all my life!”

    As an aside, what do you oppose in same-sex marriage? I do understand your position (regarding the redefining of an institution) but how would two women or men marrying one another really devalue or harm your marriage? If you’re not married, nevermind.

    “Should a 10 person marriage be allowed? If the lines keep moving through “evolution” of morals, where are we headed?”

    I don’t know, but I’m sure it will seem totally acceptable to us when we arrive.

  68. Educated Dawg said

    Willie,

    Thanks for your support. It would have been helpful to you if you had asked about my educational background before making your statement however. I am a product of the public educational system. Inner city that is.

    One question for the skeptics: Why do most homeschooled children do better in school curriculumn and tests than public school children? You do know that both homeschooled and public school children take the same courses of study – math, reading, Science, etc.?

  69. Mike S said

    Willie and Joe
    Your veiled jabs at people’s intelligence are neither funny nor amusing. Maybe respect for others has yet to evolve here?

  70. Brand Willie said

    How would you feel if someone hurled an insult

    How did the Moderator let that slip by?

    Your veiled jabs at people’s intelligence are neither funny nor amusing.

    You guys are the biggest bunch of crybabies. You play in your spiritual sandbox, insulting anyone who doesn’t conform to your fundie world-view, but as soon as one of US makes an untoward comment you go running for the moderator.

  71. Mike S said

    Willie
    You apparently you missed Joe’s attempt at tongue in cheek humor. That too was a jab at “Dawg’s” intelligence.

  72. Fred said

    Just a quick thought, and pardon the interruption but it occurs to me that in this our year for national election we should all reflect on our good fortune here in the USA to be able to be reasonably certain that we shall never be ruled by fundamentalist Christians, if we are vigilant and if we exercise our franchise.

  73. Anonymous said

    Fred your paranoia over Christianity is amusing

  74. Joe said

    All I am saying is that we should leave people’s kids out of this. I thought what Willie said about someone’s kids was a low blow and did nothing but put a damper on the debate. Wow, it seems several on here really have it out for the Christians. Maybe they should exhibit the same disdain for the REAL threat…Islam.

  75. Kevin said

    I would agree to the use of the scriptures as text, but only if a decent translation was used.

    Aluding to Unicorns, is a perfect example Unicorns was the KJV’s erroneous translation of the Hebrew word “qeren”.

    (qeren – brilliant flashing rays
    of light similar to lightning from a supernatural source; symbolic of power, status,and might; a trumpet for signaling a message, and was the summit of a mountain).”

  76. Chris C. said

    Joe:

    The irony of your post is amazing. You seem to indicate that Islam is somehow the REAL threat we should all be shaking in our boots about, not Christianty.

    I imagine then, you don’t believe in Islam. Why? Probably because there is no evidence that it is true, its holy book contains passages which are repulsive to any modern sense of decency, is militant in its need to convert or kill apostates and unbelievers…

    Thats funny becuase those are the same reasons why I see Christianity (at least its fundamentalist form) as a threat. And yes, I agree, Islam is very much a threat to freedom and peace as well.

  77. W Willie said

    Here’s a question: How many of you people believe that wrestling is real? Be honest. Do we have any WWF apologists here?

  78. F. L. A. said

    NOT W.W.F. WRESTLING.
    IT’S AS FAKE AS MICHAEL JACKSON’S MASCULINITY.

  79. Mike S said

    I believe that you are wrestling now Willie. If you ever get a hold of the ultimate truth, hold on and don’t let go. 🙂

  80. […] Show will not be available online tonight but will be tomorrow 5/1/08 but click here for a link to the previous show we did with Dr. Coke in […]

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