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Has the Church replaced Israel?

Posted by truthtalklive on July 21, 2008

On todays show our guest host is Dr. Michael Brown. Dr. Brown is a author and is the president of Fire school of Ministry. Dr. Brown is also the host of the Line of Fire radio show which is aired everynight at 7pm (EST). To listen live goto www.wtru.com. For more information on Dr. Brown please visit www.revolutionnow.org. For more information on the LINE OF FIRE RADIO SHOW please visit http://lineoffireradio.wordpress.com/. As always thanks for listening!!!

 

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54 Responses to “Has the Church replaced Israel?”

  1. jAsOn said

    Dr. Brown,

    I hope you plan on interacting with the material of the likes of Dr. Sam Waldron, Kim Riddlebarger and Anthony Hoekema.

  2. JAsOn,

    That’s for the callers to do! I plan on using the Word of God and taking callers who want to challenge the position I lay out from the Scriptures. If you’d like to find out in more depth what I believe about this subject, read my book Our Hands Are Stained with Blood.

    Obviously, a short radio broadcast is not the place to get into an in-depth academic discussion, but hopefully we will have some literate callers.

    I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get into the discussion on this thread here, but we’ll see.

  3. jAsOn said

    Dr Brown,

    I’m not usually able to call in during the shows, so my thoughts on the issues must be presented in this forum.

    I find it interesting at how often this topic rises to the surface on TTL.

    I would be interested in hearing your opinion (if you state it during the show I can hear the archived version) on what present theologians actually hold to the position you endeavor to critique.

    I do believe that the TTL format is one in which the truth is at least intended to be presented, however, when the scholarly critiques of one’s own position are never really dealt with, the truth is often obscured…everyone claims that they just, “plan on using the Word of God” to posit their conclusions but this often exposes a neglect of the context of all of scripture, and the hermeneutical principle of the analogy of faith, when one believes that their particular interpretation simply rises off the pages of scripture w/o any system, creed, or hermeneutic being involved, I believe then that they are blinded by their own theological prejudice.

    We must all come to terms with the fact (in this debate especially) that we ALL approach the scripture with operating assumptions; we all have hermenutical assumptions that color our interpretations of the Word of God.

  4. Jason,

    Just a break in my show now. I write in depth to deal with the scholarly issues and do talk shows to discuss them in a more cursory, but accurate matter. A blog is not the place for scholarly dialogue either.

    One word of disagrement. Many people are raised within a church or denominational structure and never step outside of that intellectually to reexamine their views, hence they do not fully base their views on the Scriptures. That’s why I challenge everyone to do this: Step back from what you have been taught and seek God earnestly through His Word and with humble prayer, asking Him to reveal blind spots. Sometimes, that rocks our world!

  5. jAsOn said

    DB,

    If a blog is “not the place for scholarly dialogue either.”, then why bother? You should look at the “Illumination” blog hosted by Dr. Sam Waldron and Rich Barcelos over at the Midwest Center for Theological Studies(MCTS). Waldron has dealt with similar issues in a scholarly manner, and in the comment format, scholarly dialog has taken place; you should look at his series answering John MacArthur’s rant against Amillennialism at the Shepperd’s Conference (which has actually been published in book for, “Macarthur’s Millennial Manefesto”), and his series answering Horner’s fallacious claims in “Future Israel”.

    I do agree with with you regarding challenging persons to step back and look at one’s traditional beliefs and what they have been taught, and measuring them against scripture…that’s how I moved from being a non-Calvinistic Dispensational Premillennialist to being a covenant Calvinistic Covenant Theologian. 🙂

  6. Jason,

    I’m glad we agree on searching the Scriptures! For me, it led to the rejection of five-point Calvinism, along with the rejection of Replacement Theology, among other things. 🙂

    As for scholarly dialogue, what I’m referring to would assume massive documentation, fluency in numerous languages, etc., and that cannot be assumed across the board. For example, if we get into a “scholarly” discussion of divine healing in the Scriptures, it would be difficult to produce here the equivalent of just my endnote discussion, which is 85,000 words long. Honestly, it would take years to work through stuff like that here. Hence scholarly journals and books!

    I don’t doubt that there are highly useful blogs, and I believe the interaction here is useful, but it can only go to a certain point — also because many others chime in with their questions and comments too — and it would not be right to assume that we could engage in scholarly interaction across many disciplines with many voices wanting to be heard, especially with the limitations of time. (BTW, I’m not a professional, full-time blogger either, but rather the president of a ministry school, where I also teach, a visiting prof at other seminaries, an itinerant speaker — with several overseas trips each year — plus an author, then the host of my daily Line of Fire radio show, plus the host of the Think It Thru TV show, plus the leader of the Coalition of Conscience in Charlotte, plus my ongoing work in Jewish evangelism and apologetics. So, my plate is full, hence my intermittent appearances online here in this blog. Even posting on my own Line of Fire blog is quite limited. I trust you understand!

  7. Boris said

    Jason said: I do agree with with you regarding challenging persons to step back and look at one’s traditional beliefs and what they have been taught, and measuring them against scripture

    Christians really should take a step further back than this one and compare what they’ve been taught and told about “scripture” and measure THAT against what science and history can tell us about the real world. The problem is just blindly accepting the Bible as the Word of God on the say so and spurious arguments put forth by other people. For instance, regarding whether the Church has replaced Israel or not first I’d like to see someone prove that the fairy tale kingdoms of Israel and Judah or any of their kings from David on down actually ever existed. The first nation of that ever existed is the one started in 1948 as far as anyone in the world can tell right now.

  8. Angie France said

    No.

  9. jAsOn said

    DB,

    Perhaps we just disagree on the breadth of “scholarly dialog”.

    I guess what I,m driving at is that, it isn’t profitable to claim the mantra, “no creed but the bible” and so on. I don’t necessarily think that is what you are promoting, but

    I did hear the first couple minutes of the show and I think you asked the question, Has the church replaced Israel; is God finished with the Jews? I don’t know if you realize that these are two different questions. The first seems to address the straw man argument that is often set up against Amillenialism (we believe that the promises God has made were fulfilled in Christ for all the elect from every age, we don’t believe that the church has “replaced” the Jews but that we as gentiles have been made partakers of those promises as we have been grafted into the same tree, thus we are part of the fulfillment of Israel, the Israel of God to whom the promises were always made, those who are Jews inwardly)…the real difference is our 2 hermeneutical structures which have us interpreting the fulfillment of those promises differently. The second question is a bit loaded. If one answers no then, b/c of your frequently fired charge of the anti-semitism, then that person instantly seems to be anti-semitic to the listeners, without any further examination of the nuances of their position.

    I still would like to hear you say what prominent teachers today, according to you, hold to the enigmatic teaching that claims to be “Replacement Theology”, and why you believe so.

    What is the “place” of a short radio broadcast, I mean, what is its purpose? I just don’t want to see a polemic against a position that either, 1) doesn’t really exist, or 2) isn’t an accurate portrayal of one’s opponent. If the purpose of a short radio broadcast is to set up straw men to burn or to poison the well so to speak against another position by spinning it wrongly in the minds of naive listeners, then I don’t think the Church has has any use for it. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the entire show but I will listen to the archive, so I don’t know all that has taken place in this conversation, but when I reflect on a previous show titled, “What is a Jew” I know that the term “Replacement Theology” was thrown around haphazardly, and this resulted in an unedifying conversation indeed. Its use is neither accurate (when applied to Amillennialist) nor scholarly, b/c it only results in provoking anger b/c of its connotations of heresy. Likewise, when (like in the fallacious arguments contained within Horner’s book) anti-semitism was spoken of in relation to “Replacement Theology”, the persuaded listener only heard that any eschatology that wasn’t Pre-Millennial necessarily leads to anti-semitism. Even if a by-product of “Replacement Theology” sometimes was anti-semitism, would that logically negate its legitimacy, no it wouldn’t. That would be like me so stressing the statements of JN Darby, CI Scofield and LS Chaffer that indicate that they believed that OT saints were saved by Law and NT saints are saved by grace necessarily negates the legitimacy of Dispensational Pre-Millennialism. Though I believe that Dispy Pre-Mil is erroneous, nevertheless I don’t say that it necessarily leads to one’s belief that there are 2 ways of salvation in redemptive history.

    I do understand that you are a very busy man…we all are very busy.

  10. Boris,

    We meet again! As for the alleged fairy tale kindgoms of Israel and Judah, it would appear that you are not well versed in the science of biblical and ancient Near Eastern archeology. A good starting point for you, that will also dispel a lot of myths, is Kenneth A. Kitchen’s book On the Reality of the Old Testament. Kitchen is one of the world’s leading Egytpologists, just FYI.

    I have worked through the very issues you mention, having studied only in secular colleges and universities through the years, having virtually everything I held dear challenged by various professors. I determined to follow the truth wherever it led — and it led incontrovertibly to the truth of the Bible and the reality of the God of the Bible.

    Again, read Kitchen’s book as a good starting point, and then get back to me after you have done that.

    One last note: In another thread you wrongly accused me of rejecting all scientific evidence. Well, let me turn the tables here: My scholarly, credentialled expertise is in ancient Semitic philology, with specific focus on the language and culture of the ancient Near East, and I can tell you as a scholar in this field that the statements you make about “the fairy tale kingdoms of Israel and Judah” are so out of whack — including the assertion that the kings spoken on in the Bible didn’t exist — they what you say can be taken only as seriously as the latest Elvis sighting. Honestly, if you have issues with the existence of God, that’s one thing and a whole other discussion. But when you claim that people and places and names that are attested in detail through archeological finds — including all kinds of stelae and osctraca and bullae, not to mention the evidence yielded by the many ancient tells in Israel and beyond — it becomes impossible once again to take any of your criticisms seriously, further undermining your whole cause here on this blog.

  11. F. L. A. said

    Perhaps the question that should be asked is…What KIND of evidences would you be willing to accept as good proof, Boris?
    What is it that constitutes as factual evidence for you in this matter? Naturally specific details concerning such people and places from the ancient past would be rather sketchy.

  12. jAsOn said

    FLA,

    I don’t understand this statement, “Naturally specific details concerning such people and places from the ancient past would be rather sketchy.” Please elaborate.

  13. Boris said

    Dr. Brown,
    I don’t need to read any more books about the ancient Near East. Have you ever read anything by Gerald Massey, Edward Gibbon or Godfrey Higgins? How about the Biblical Archaeological Revue 31, no. 1 (January/February 2005): 16-17 where it says “Archaeological data have now definitely confirmed that the empire of David and Solomon never existed.”

    Finkelstein and Silberman report that no recognizable archaeological evidence has been found of an Israelite presence in Egypt prior to the thirteenth century BCE, when most believers believe the Exodus took place, “not a single campsite or sign of occupation from the time of Ramses II and his immediate predecessors and successors has ever been identified in Sinai.”

    What really sinks the Bible as a Historical document once and for all is the fact that we can document with great detail four hundred years of Egyptian occupation of Palestine which the Bible mentions not a word about. Also a catastrophic event such as the Passover event could NOT and would NOT have gone completely unnoticed and unreported by the Egyptians in the mountain of historical inscriptions we do have from ancient Egypt. But this supposed event along with the rest of the plagues mentioned in the Bible is not even briefly mentioned by the Egyptians at all! Not a single word. What more proof does anyone need that the whole Exodus account is a fiction? Every last word of it is fiction.

    Interestingly, anthropologists can tell us about tribes of hunter gatherers that lived and traveled the areas described in the Bible 30,000 years ago but can’t find anything at all left behind from people who were supposedly there only 3000 years ago! Amazing huh?

    The hypothesis of a God who selected out a small desert tribe as his chosen people and communicated the law to them while they wandered the Sinai Desert is falsified by the absence of evidence required by that hypothesis. Case closed.

  14. Boris,

    First, archeological confirmation is limited in that it cannot confirm everything, given the ravages of time, but there is so much confirmation for so many of the details of the Scriptures — specific references, e.g., to “the House of David” in the Tel Dan Inscription and the Mesha Stele; to the “House of Omri” in an Akkadian document, along with reference to “the highands of David” in the Shoshenq I Inscription; to the siege of Jerusalem, mentioning Hezekiah by name, in the Sennacherib Stele; to the preponderance of Baal worship in Samaria as compared to Judah as evidenced by the onomastica; the list goes on and on.

    As for archeological evidence of the Israelite conquest of Canaan, biblical and archeological scholars are fully aware that there has been lively debate about the evidence for many decades now, with a “pro” school prevailing one day and a “con” school prevailing another.

    It appears, however, that the difference between you and me in terms of our study habits is that I try to immerse myself in reading authors who differ with my opinion in order to test the veracity of my beliefs, whereas you seem to read things that confirm your atheistic position. The fact is, there are often ideological concerns that drive people’s interpretation of the “evidence,” and that’s why each thesis must be carefully cross-examined, Gibbon’s classic “Rome” book being a good example. (Have you never read refutations of his thesis?). A book like the one I recommended by Kitchen blows a lot of the nihilistic OT scholarship nonsense out of the water. You’re not afraid to have your views challenged, are you? (BTW, I’ve not read Massey but I’ll check out some of his relevant studies when I get a chance. As for Higgins, if you’re referring to a 19th century author, I’m not sure how this would play in, since the information would now be quite outdated. Perhaps you mean someone else.)

    As for Finkelstein and Silberman quote, do you somehow have the impression that this statement will not be vociferously challenged by leading archeologists and biblical scholars from different backgrounds, or does the mere sound bite somehow prove something to you?

    Again, read the books that refute this kind of stuff, unless you’re not willing to be challenged. The only case closed is the one that seeks to deny God and His reality.

  15. F. L. A. said

    Greetings JAsOn, it is good to hear from you.
    I will have to get back to you, for the storm outside grows stronger with every moment.
    I shall try to elaborate the statement for you tomorrow, perhaps.
    Fare well.

  16. Boris said

    Dr. Brown you said:
    First, archeological confirmation is limited in that it cannot confirm everything, given the ravages of time, but there is so much confirmation for so many of the details of the Scriptures — specific references, e.g., to “the House of David” in the Tel Dan Inscription and the Mesha Stele;

    Boris says: A reference on a stone doesn’t prove anything about this person such as that they slayed a giant, took a census that got 70,000 people killed in one day, had one of his best friends murdered so he could walk with God, I mean marry Bathsheba daughter of Eliam (2Sam 11:3) – or was it Bathshua daughter of Ammiel who was the mother of Solomon (1Chron 3:5)? The Tel Dan inscription bears the letters ‘k bytdwd’ which was quickly read as melek byt.dwd and translated “[Kin]g of the House of David.” To read k as mlk = ‘king’ was just guesswork of course. The first part of the name, byt, can be translated a ‘House’ especially when byt has been joined to the name or epithet of a god or goddess – it can be translated ‘temple’. This is found in place names in Palestine such as Bethel (The Temple of El) and ‘beyt dagon’ (the temple of Dagon) of the Samson story. The second part of the name in the Tel Dan inscription is dwd which is only used in the Bible for this particular king. David is not the name of a god but a divine title and translated ‘ the Beloved’. This tells us nothing of a person named David who was a king in Palestine.

    You continue: to the “House of Omri” in an Akkadian document, along with reference to “the highands of David” in the Shoshenq I Inscription; to the siege of Jerusalem, mentioning Hezekiah by name, in the Sennacherib Stele;

    Boris says: Senncherib certainly would have mentioned losing 185,000 men in one night had that event actually occurred as the Bible claimed. The Sennacherib inscription certainly contrasts the Bible’s account this Assyrian incursion into Palestine.

    Dr. Brown: to the preponderance of Baal worship in Samaria as compared to Judah as evidenced by the onomastica; the list goes on and on.

    Response: There is plenty of evidence that the Hebrews worshiped a female deity by the name of Asherah also, among others.

    Dr. Brown: As for archeological evidence of the Israelite conquest of Canaan, biblical and archeological scholars are fully aware that there has been lively debate about the evidence for many decades now, with a “pro” school prevailing one day and a “con” school prevailing another.

    Boris says: The con school would deny the existence of giants or fruit so big it took two men to carry one bunch of giant grapes ever existing in Palestine. The pro school believes in the “land of the giants” and giant fruit and that city walls were knocked down by people shouting at them after going through a lot of other hocus-pocus.

    Dr. Brown: It appears, however, that the difference between you and me in terms of our study habits is that I try to immerse myself in reading authors who differ with my opinion in order to test the veracity of my beliefs, whereas you seem to read things that confirm your atheistic position.

    Response: Well, the opposite is true. I don’t read many people who I agree with. Why bother? I’ve read more Christian apologetics than just about any Christian. The very need for a thing called apologetics in the first place demonstrates the weakness of the theistic position and that is exactly what Christians do whenever they try to defend their faith.

    Dr B: You’re not afraid to have your views challenged, are you?

    Response: I’m on this site aren’t I? What does that tell you? Challenge away.

    As for Finkelstein and Silberman quote, do you somehow have the impression that this statement will not be vociferously challenged by leading archeologists and biblical scholars from different backgrounds, or does the mere sound bite somehow prove something to you? Again, read the books that refute this kind of stuff, unless you’re not willing to be challenged.

    Response: I sent you an Email. Did you get it?

    The only case closed is the one that seeks to deny God and His reality.

    Response: I’m not denying God, I’m denying what other people say about God. What’s wrong with that? Any time God wants to contact me he’s more than welcome to do so. In fact I wish he would. I’d like to tell him that he really needs to get some better representation here on Earth because the things people say about him are truly unbelievable. Then I’d ask him if he really wanted us to believe in him, what did he invent logic for?

  17. Boris,

    Thanks for the detailed response!

    For the sake of brevity in this post, I will simply quote your responses, followed by mine, leaving out my previous statements, since they are just one post up:

    Boris says: A reference on a stone doesn’t prove anything about this person such as that they slayed a giant, took a census that got 70,000 people killed in one day, had one of his best friends murdered so he could walk with God, I mean marry Bathsheba daughter of Eliam (2Sam 11:3) – or was it Bathshua daughter of Ammiel who was the mother of Solomon (1Chron 3:5)? The Tel Dan inscription bears the letters ‘k bytdwd’ which was quickly read as melek byt.dwd and translated “[Kin]g of the House of David.” To read k as mlk = ‘king’ was just guesswork of course. The first part of the name, byt, can be translated a ‘House’ especially when byt has been joined to the name or epithet of a god or goddess – it can be translated ‘temple’. This is found in place names in Palestine such as Bethel (The Temple of El) and ‘beyt dagon’ (the temple of Dagon) of the Samson story. The second part of the name in the Tel Dan inscription is dwd which is only used in the Bible for this particular king. David is not the name of a god but a divine title and translated ‘ the Beloved’. This tells us nothing of a person named David who was a king in Palestine.

    Dr. Brown: My point in citing these examples was to dispel the “complete myth” dogma you were trying to put forth, and these examples prove my point. As for alleged contradictions in the Bible, these have been dealt with by careful scholars through the years, and I’m happy to provide solid treatments for you – but alas, I fear that you will choose to ignore evidence that is contrary to your claims. As for Tel Dan, the preponderant view of the world’s top philologists is that the reading “house of David” is most accurate; I am not concerned with the reconstruction of the previous word, which does not alter the case in point. The reading you are supporting has almost no solid scholarly backing – and I don’t mean among fundamentalists. In point of fact, the authoritative, multi-volume work The Context of Scripture, edited by Lawson Younger and William Hallo states in the relevant footnote (vol. 2, 162, n. 11): “attempts to avoid any possible reference to an historical David . . . stem rather from a form of skepticism at odds with all known ancient practices.”
    Boris says: Senncherib certainly would have mentioned losing 185,000 men in one night had that event actually occurred as the Bible claimed. The Sennacherib inscription certainly contrasts the Bible’s account this Assyrian incursion into Palestine.

    Dr. Brown: First, would you kindly refer me to other Assyrian royal accounts that announce major defeats suffered at the hands of their enemies? Second, my point stands again that the biblical figures were not mythological. Third, since we know what happened to the northern tribes at the hands of Assyrians during these very decades (with the fall of Samaria dating to 721 BC), and since the Sennacherib Prism verifies that Jerusalem was also besieged, why didn’t Jerusalem fall back then? Obviously, there was a respite, and the Bible fills in the details for us. As for the 185,000, that number could be completely accurate, but there are numerous theories about the transmission of biblical numbers, and some would argue that 185,000 represents a smaller number when rightly understood. That, however, is secondary to the points we are discussing.

    Boris says: There is plenty of evidence that the Hebrews worshiped a female deity by the name of Asherah also, among others.

    Dr. Brown: Exactly! Just as the Scriptures tell us, revealing the ugly side of things and not trying to paint a false picture. And this too has been confirmed by the Kuntillet Ajrud inscription.

    Boris says: The con school would deny the existence of giants or fruit so big it took two men to carry one bunch of giant grapes ever existing in Palestine. The pro school believes in the “land of the giants” and giant fruit and that city walls were knocked down by people shouting at them after going through a lot of other hocus-pocus.

    Dr. Brown: Thus far, you were actually offering some serious – although seriously flawed – responses. This one, however, is unworthy of serious response. For the sake of other readers, though, since you refuse to read Kitchen’s book On the Reliability of the Old Testament, go to your local library, find the Anchor Bible Dictionary – certainly not a fundamentalist work – and read Kitchen’s detailed Egytpological article on the Exodus. (You might want to read Nahum Sarna’s article there on the Book of Exodus, where relevant, since he is anything but a fundie scholar.) As for walls falling down with a shout, surely this feat is not too hard for God, is it? And are you going to dictate to Him what makes sense and what does not?

    Boris says: Well, the opposite is true. I don’t read many people who I agree with. Why bother? I’ve read more Christian apologetics than just about any Christian. The very need for a thing called apologetics in the first place demonstrates the weakness of the theistic position and that is exactly what Christians do whenever they try to defend their faith.

    Dr. Brown: Glad to hear that! I stand corrected on your reading habits. The fact is, the greatest “proof” of the gospel is when someone personally encounters God, as I did and do, and as countless others have and do. As for apologetics, however, demonstrating a weakness, that argument is quite specious. After all, when any group tries to convince those who differ with them about substantive issues, they develop an apologetic. Witness the apologetic works of Dawkins and Hitchens and other atheists today. Of course, what would be comical would be a brilliant man like Dawkins turning his sharp mind against what can only be called the gods of chance and time and luck that he must believe in for his system to stand up. Now that would be worth reading.

    Boris says: I’m on this site aren’t I? What does that tell you? Challenge away.

    Dr. Brown: Great! Time permitting, I will try to do that. Sometimes, of course, people with different viewpoints could be on a site like this to “evangelize” rather than to be challenged, so I’m glad to hear that you welcome a challenge.

    Boris says: Response: I sent you an Email. Did you get it?

    Dr. Brown: I don’t receive the emails that come in to our ministry website, and very few are sent directly to me. (If they were, you would not hear me on radio or see me in this blog, since I’d spend my life answering emails.) However, I’m sure yours will reach me in the next day or two through my office.

    Boris says: Response: I’m not denying God, I’m denying what other people say about God. What’s wrong with that? Any time God wants to contact me he’s more than welcome to do so. In fact I wish he would. I’d like to tell him that he really needs to get some better representation here on Earth because the things people say about him are truly unbelievable. Then I’d ask him if he really wanted us to believe in him, what did he invent logic for?

    Dr. Brown: Again, I would encourage you to humble yourself and take the time to seek God in prayer and ask Him if He is truly there in a personal, caring way to make Himself known to you, telling that you’ll be serious about it if he does. If you’ve taken the time to read Christian apologetics, why not take the time to do this? (Hey, this is something you can do in private, so there’s no reason not to.) As for logic, I know people who became theists based on logic, and logically, I see no possible way that the universe began without an eternal, divine first cause. So, logic in itself is very positive to me. That being said, I’m also aware of the limitations of my mind and yours, hence my encouragement to you to have a humble attitude. As for your displeasure with God’s current representatives, folks like you force us to do even better! 

    And now a closing, candid thought: Really, I understand how the Scriptures can look to you from your vantage point, filled with contradictions and injustices; a capricious, moody god; stories that defy belief, etc., and I understand how my faith can look to you. My wife was a hardcore atheist when we met in 1974, and she and I have often discussed the atheist’s point of view, plus, as I stated previously, I do my read from opposing viewpoints and get into how people think. From your side of the fence, your views make some sense, and I don’t criticize you for holding to them. That’s why the greatest “proof,” as I have said, comes out of your personal encounter with God, and that is something for which I will pray. He alone knows how to touch you and reach you, since He made you, and when that happens, apologetics will play a much more secondary role.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to post in detail.

  18. Boris said

    Dr. Brown,
    There were problems Tel Dan inscription that were obvious as soon as a good photograph of the text was published. Inconsistent descriptions appeared of how and where the text had been found and to some the dating of the archaeological context seemed optimistically early; others suggested the form of writing should be dated a century or more later than had been originally proposed, perhaps even to the late eighth or early seventh century. Nothing in the inscription itself required that the word or name ‘bytdwd’ be directly linked to Jerusalem and Judah. The term ‘House of David’ does not refer to a dynasty the way the British term ‘House of Stuart’ does. There is a ‘House of Jonathan’ mentioned in the Bible though Jonathan was not a king. The ‘House of David’ that is eternal is no dynasty of a person called David, but rather the temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem.

    You said: I see no possible way that the universe began without an eternal, divine first cause.

    Boris says: what you are saying is that you cannot understand any explanation for the universe that doesn’t call for magic – a breaking of the laws of physics. We have well-confirmed empirical observations that mass-energy cannot appear ex-nihilo. Therefore we could conclude that our universe of mass-energy, in form or another, always existed. We know the universe as it exists today had a beginning but there is absolutely no reason to think that what it is made of didn’t always exist.

    I am not going to seek God in prayer because I don’t believe in telepathy of any kind. Again, that is something that people like you claim about God which I find ludicrous. Even if there is a God the idea that it can or even would read my mind is so far-fetched I could never take it seriously. Like I said, I have no reason to believe in God so I never have. If telepathy is real let God contact me and prove it. As you can see, I am perfectly satisfied with scientific explanations for everything even though they may need revision. I’m not interested in magical explanations that explain nothing.

  19. Boris,

    You are out of your league here in the discussion of the Tel Dan inscription. Check out the source I cited for more detailed discussion, and when you are fluent in the Semitic languages under discussion and well-versed in Semitic epigraphy, please raise this issue again.

    As for your claims of “magic” in terms of my beliefs in a Creator, to the contrary, you must argue for the eternity of matter and its transformation nto life — which sounds a whole lot like magic and myth. As for my view, the view that God, who is by nature eternal is the uncaused First Cauase, that is quite logical. That’s why I have met learned, non-religious people who are deists sheerly by the force of logic.

    As for your comparing prayer to telepathy, all I can do is sigh. Your talk of magic and telepathy bespeaks a profound spiritual ignorance, one that is very sad to me, giving me all the more reason to intercede with the Lord on your behalf.

  20. Boris said

    Dr. Brown,
    I’m quite sure that it is YOU who are out of your league when it comes to the Tel Dan inscription. Your assumption that I am not fluent in the Semitic languages under discussion and well-versed in Semitic epigraphy is incorrect. And again, this inscription has never been authenticated, is likely not nearly as old as people think and could very well be a fake anyway like so many other Christian “artifacts” such as the shroud and James box of bones turned out to be.

    It is you who must argue for magic and myth when you claim the universe could not exist without a breaking of the laws of physics. The uncaused first cause argument is an ARGUMENT and not evidence anyway. Arguments are NOT evidence. Where is your evidence for an uncaused first cause? Poof, you have none, only spurious and long debunked arguments.

    “Prayers may bring solace to the sap, the bigot, the ignorant, the aboriginal, and the lazy – but it is the same as asking Santa Claus to bring you something for Christmas.” – W.C. Fields
    FYI a profound spiritual ignorance is a good description of theism. I have no use for other people’s ideas about spiritualism. I’m a humanist and a materialist quite the opposite of any kind of super-naturalist or spiritualist. I don’t believe in God, Satan, angels, demons, giants, Jesus, heaven, hell or any of the other crazy things you believe in.

    The Bible says that one man killed a thousand well-armed men with the jawbone of an ass. I’m not going out on a limb to say I don’t believe this story because it isn’t true. And if that story isn’t true there is no reason to take any of the other stories in the Bible as being literally true either. Believers tell me that the spirit of the Lord came upon Samson so that he was able to attack and kill one thousand men. This is how the Bible God almost always gets things done: he has us kill each other. I don’t think children should be exposed to stories like this by people ignorant and uneducated enough to believe a fantastic barbaric myth like this is actually historical. Anyone who tells a child to believe this or any other story in the Bible is a child abuser and should be treated as such.

  21. Boris,

    If you are well versed in Semitics, wonderful. Then you should know what the best and most recent scholarship has to say on this, and you should know the weight that the Younger-Hallo collection carries (reflecting the most widely-received Semitic adn ANE scholarship), serving, as it does, as the replacement of the classic ANET. Your pop scholarship is, quite frankly, out of line here, but that will be evident to all those who are familiar with the sources.

    Now, when it comes to “magic and myth,” your posts appear to me so utterly devoid of rationality and reason, so lacking in logic, so absurd in content, that they actually make your position seem all the more bankrupt to me. And, quite clearly, that’s how my posts appear to you — which is why I will continue to pray for you, notwithstanding the W.C. Fields quote (and hopefully that hard-drinking comic is not your vanguard of spiritual wisdom and morality!).

    As for your child abuse charges, you obviously don’t know a lot of fine Christian families, with exemplary kids living moral, upright, vibrant intellectual lives, and gladly giving themselves to help others, following the clear example of the Scriptures.

    By the way, just out of curiosity, how much of you read of the works of men like Francis Collins and Gerald Schroder and Michael Behe? I’m not challenging you here, simply asking.

  22. Boris said

    Dr. Brown,
    I resent your statement about “pop scholarship” especially since if you had read my Email you would know what my academic background is. I’ll match my knowledge of the ancient Near East or the Bible with you or anyone else. Don’t criticize my logic unless you can point to specifics and explain what it is that you find illogical so I can counter you and prove you wrong.

    As far as the Intelligent Design hoaxers you mentioned I’ll just cover one of them for now. First of all ID is the most backward reasoned bunch of nonsense ever put forth as “scientific.” The ID lobby looks at life after billions of years of evolution and marvels at how complex it is completely ignoring the fact that the first life on Earth was simple cells that had no DNA. The complexity of life, cells and DNA is the result of billions of years of evolution by natural selection and did not just pop into existence as it appears today.

    One of Michael Behe’s favorite alleged examples of “irreducible complexity” is the immune system. Let Judge Jones himself take up the story:

    “In fact, on cross-examination, Professor Behe was questioned concerning his 1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fifty-eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not “good enough.”

    Behe, under cross-examination, by Eric Rothschild, chief counsel for the plaintiffs, was forced to admit that he hadn’t read most of those fifty-eight peer-reviewed papers. Hardly surprising, for immunology is hard work. Less forgiving is that Behe did dismissed such research as “unfruitful.” It certainly is unfruitful if your aim is to make propaganda among gullible laypeople and politicians, rather than to discover important truths about the real world. After listening to Behe, Rothschild eloquently summed up what every honest person in that courtroom must have felt:

    “Thankfully, there are scientists who do search for answers to the question of the origin of the immune system… It’s our defense against debilitating and fatal diseases. The scientists who wrote those books and articles toil in obscurity, without book royalties or speaking engagements. Their efforts help us combat and cure serious medical conditions. By contrast, Professor Behe and the entire intelligent design movement are doing nothing to advance scientific or medical knowledge and are telling future generations of scientists, don’t bother.

    As the American geneticist Jerry Coyne put it in his review of Behe’s book: “If the history of science shows us anything, it is that we get nowhere by labeling our ignorance God.”

    Behe’s fame rests on his 1996 popular-level book, Darwin’s Black: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. The he introduced the notion of irreducible complexity, which occurs when a system is reduced to several parts and can no longer function when any of the parts is removed. Behe argued that the individual parts could not have evolved by natural selection since they no longer have any function on which selection can operate.

    Thoroughly refuting Behe’s argument, evolutionary biologists have listed many examples in nature where an organic system changes functions as the system evolves. They have provided natural mechanisms for every example Behe presents, many of which were well known (except to Behe) before Behe ever sat down to write. The manner in which the parts of living systems change function over the course of evolution is one of those well-established facts of evolution that Behe and other proponents of intelligent design choose to ignore. Biological parts often evolve by natural selection by virtue of one function, and then gradually adapt to other functions as the larger system evolves. Many examples of organs and biological structures that are understood to have risen from the modification of preexisting structure rather than the elegance of careful engineering can be found in the biological literature. Behe is a biochemist, not an evolutionary biologist, and was unaware when he wrote his book that the mechanisms for the evolution of “irreducibly complex” systems were already discussed six decades earlier by the Nobel Prize winner Hermann Joseph Muller and have been common knowledge in the field since then. Behe cannot even be forgiven for falling into the God of the gaps trap. He did not even find a gap.

  23. Boris,

    I have not yet received your email. To which address did you send it?

    As for my pop scholarship comment, it was based on what you wrote in this thread, regardless of your credentials. Thus far, my credentials have meant little to you, and you evaluate what I have written here not based on my credentials but based on content. I have done the same with you. Is that not the right way to proceed? A case in point in your post is the suggestion that the Tel Dan inscription might be a forgery. I gave you the benefit of the doubt when I said you were relying on pop scholarship. If, in fact, you are a Semitic epigrapher and philologist, then your comment is all the more bizarre (although it does not rival for one moment your extraordinarly absurd statement in another thread that Hitler was a devout Christian!)

    In any case, is there any reason why you choose not to cite your credentials here rather than by email only?

    Thanks also for answering my question about the scientific writers whom I mentioned (which, as you recall, was simply if you read these authors). Naturally, you find it difficult to answer my question without some invective (calling them “hoaxers” and stating that ID is “the most backward reasoned bunch of nonsense ever put forth as ‘scientific.'”) But that, of course, is your prerogative. I suppose Collins is a complete idiot too?

    In any case, I appreciate you taking the time to note your strenuous objections to Behe.

    One other question: Do you believe that war is ever justified? This ties in with some of your attacks on Scripture, so your answer to this would be helpful.

  24. Boris,

    How interesting you cite Judge Jones with regard to Behe (not that citing him in itself undermines your points). Was not he the one who plagiarized an ACLU brief to write his opinion?

    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=1186

  25. Boris said

    Dr. Brown:

    If, in fact, you are a Semitic epigrapher and philologist, then your comment is all the more bizarre (although it does not rival for one moment your extraordinarly absurd statement in another thread that Hitler was a devout Christian!)

    Boris says: Several scholars have said that the published fragments in fact belong not to one but to two different, related inscriptions, while other scholars have found indications that have led them to argue that the inscriptions are forgeries. At the present this issue is unresolved and is under investigation by the Israel Department of Antiquities. “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator; by defending myself against the Jews, I am fighting for the Lord… I would like to thank Providence and the Almighty for choosing me of all people.” – Adolph Hitler. Hitler was no less of a Christian than you are Dr. Brown, but no doubt very much less of a person.

    In any case, is there any reason why you choose not to cite your credentials here rather than by email only?

    Boris says: Tell me what Email address to contact you at and I’ll answer that question.

    Thanks also for answering my question about the scientific writers whom I mentioned (which, as you recall, was simply if you read these authors). Naturally, you find it difficult to answer my question without some invective (calling them “hoaxers” and stating that ID is “the most backward reasoned bunch of nonsense ever put forth as ’scientific.’” 😉 But that, of course, is your prerogative. I suppose Collins is a complete idiot too?

    Boris says: Anyone who claims not to believe in evolution does this for religious reasons because it’s like claiming the Earth is immovable, like the Bible does. If you are going to say you don’t believe in evolution because of the Bible then you must also say the Earth is flat, never moves and is orbited by the sun or your first claim about evolution is meaningless because of its hypocrisy alone.

    In any case, I appreciate you taking the time to note your strenuous objections to Behe.

    Boris says: The lawyer who questioned Behe pointed out just how dangerous dogmatic thinking like Behe’s is to scientific method. Claiming that science can’t eventually find the answer to something, especially when it already HAD in this case, is not going to advance knowledge one iota.

    One other question: Do you believe that war is ever justified? This ties in with some of your attacks on Scripture, so your answer to this would be helpful.

    Boris says: War is absolutely never justified. Of course we live in a world where not everybody agrees with this stance. So war in self-defense naturally would be justified for the side defending itself. Now the wars to take land from unbelievers described in the Bible are not justified. I’ll tell you what would be even more unjustified if there really was a God and that would be blaming the atrocities committed by and for this tribal, burning goat flesh sniffing desert deity Yahweh, on the God of the universe. If there a God then the Bible has to be the ultimate form of blasphemy and if there really is some sort of judgment you people telling these stories would be in big trouble. That’s what I think.

  26. Boris,

    Boris says: Several scholars have said that the published fragments in fact belong not to one but to two different, related inscriptions, while other scholars have found indications that have led them to argue that the inscriptions are forgeries. At the present this issue is unresolved and is under investigation by the Israel Department of Antiquities.

    Dr. Brown: Please send the documentation on this. First, the massively prevailing consensus is that the inscription is genuine; second, what would a forgery like this prove?

    Boris: “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator; by defending myself against the Jews, I am fighting for the Lord… I would like to thank Providence and the Almighty for choosing me of all people.” – Adolph Hitler. Hitler was no less of a Christian than you are Dr. Brown, but no doubt very much less of a person.

    Dr. Brown: Again, this is such a ridiculous argument that it bears no refuting, and when you lower yourself to say that Hitler was no less a Christian than I, you demonstrate 100% ignorance of what a Christian is. I apologize if that sounds harsh, but it is completely true.

    As for Hitler’s alleged Christianity — and I only write this for the benefit of other readers, here are a few quotes, remembering also that you had the audacity to say that Hitler was a “devout Christian”!

    Here are some representative quotes from Hitler’s Secret Conversations 1941-1944 (Farrar, Straus and Young, 1953). The book was published in Britain under the title, Hitler’s Table Talk 1941-1944, which title was used for the Oxford University Press paperback edition in the United States.
    All of these are quotes from Adolf Hitler:
    Night of 11th-12th July, 1941:
    National Socialism and religion cannot exist together…. The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity…. Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things. (p 6 & 7)
    10th October, 1941, midday:
    Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure. (p 43)
    14th October, 1941, midday:
    The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death…. When understanding of the universe has become widespread… Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity…. Christianity has reached the peak of absurdity…. And that’s why someday its structure will collapse…. …the only way to get rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little…. Christianity the liar…. We’ll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State. (p 49-52)
    19th October, 1941, night:
    The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity.
    21st October, 1941, midday:
    Originally, Christianity was merely an incarnation of Bolshevism, the destroyer…. The decisive falsification of Jesus’ doctrine was the work of St.Paul. He gave himself to this work… for the purposes of personal exploitation…. Didn’t the world see, carried on right into the Middle Ages, the same old system of martyrs, tortures, faggots? Of old, it was in the name of Christianity. Today, it’s in the name of Bolshevism. Yesterday the instigator was Saul: the instigator today, Mardochai. Saul was changed into St.Paul, and Mardochai into Karl Marx. By exterminating this pest, we shall do humanity a service of which our soldiers can have no idea. (p 63-65)
    13th December, 1941, midnight:
    Christianity is an invention of sick brains: one could imagine nothing more senseless, nor any more indecent way of turning the idea of the Godhead into a mockery…. …. When all is said, we have no reason to wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug of Christianity. Let’s be the only people who are immunised against the disease. (p 118 & 119)
    14th December, 1941, midday:
    Kerrl, with noblest of intentions, wanted to attempt a synthesis between National Socialism and Christianity. I don’t believe the thing’s possible, and I see the obstacle in Christianity itself…. Pure Christianity– the Christianity of the catacombs– is concerned with translating Christian doctrine into facts. It leads quite simply to the annihilation of mankind. It is merely whole-hearted Bolshevism, under a tinsel of metaphysics. (p 119 & 120)
    9th April, 1942, dinner:
    There is something very unhealthy about Christianity (p 339)
    27th February, 1942, midday:
    It would always be disagreeable for me to go down to posterity as a man who made concessions in this field. I realize that man, in his imperfection, can commit innumerable errors– but to devote myself deliberately to errors, that is something I cannot do. I shall never come personally to terms with the Christian lie. Our epoch Uin the next 200 yearse will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity…. My regret will have been that I couldn’t… behold .” (p 278)

    Boris says: Tell me what Email address to contact you at and I’ll answer that question.

    Dr. Brown: Send it to Eric@icnministries.org. Thanks.

    Boris says: Anyone who claims not to believe in evolution does this for religious reasons because it’s like claiming the Earth is immovable, like the Bible does. If you are going to say you don’t believe in evolution because of the Bible then you must also say the Earth is flat, never moves and is orbited by the sun or your first claim about evolution is meaningless because of its hypocrisy alone.

    The lawyer who questioned Behe pointed out just how dangerous dogmatic thinking like Behe’s is to scientific method. Claiming that science can’t eventually find the answer to something, especially when it already HAD in this case, is not going to advance knowledge one iota.

    Dr. Brown: I am not at this time inclined to get into a scientific debate with you here (perhaps in the future!), but in the next post, I’ll send you the comments of a former atheist to whom I send your Behe post.

    Boris says: War is absolutely never justified. Of course we live in a world where not everybody agrees with this stance. So war in self-defense naturally would be justified for the side defending itself. Now the wars to take land from unbelievers described in the Bible are not justified. I’ll tell you what would be even more unjustified if there really was a God and that would be blaming the atrocities committed by and for this tribal, burning goat flesh sniffing desert deity Yahweh, on the God of the universe. If there a God then the Bible has to be the ultimate form of blasphemy and if there really is some sort of judgment you people telling these stories would be in big trouble. That’s what I think.

    Dr. Brown: Thanks for explaining your position, and may our merciful God forgive you for the words you speak about Him here in ignorance, just as He had mercy on Saul of Tarsus who acted in ignorance and unbelief (and on me as well in my decadent, pre-faith years).

    In any case, the reason I asked was that there were times in the Scriptures when God sent His people to do war, but it is impossible to read the Word rightly and think that, in the verbiage of one your earlier posts, we are supposed to go around killing people who differ with us. Nonsense! That’s why, with more than two billion people in the world professing to be Christians – and I have no doubt that a good half of those professions are questionable based on the criteria of the NT – it does not occur to them they are supposed to forcefully take over their countries and/or go around killing their enemies. And that’s why atrocities like the Crusades were few and far between in Church history, and provide evidence of an apostate Christianity rather than anything that resembles the NT Church.

    Interestingly, that brings us back to a moral point: The NT teaches that anyone claiming to be a genuine follower of Jesus who hates his brother or sister is a liar, and that we can test the validity of someone’s Christian profession by their actions and by their lives. The only test of an atheist, however, is whether that person denies the existence of God. How telling! There is no moral test, since there is no morality that can be attached to being an atheist.

  27. Boris,

    Here are the comments of a young man who graduated from our ministry school and is a former atheist. I was curious to see how he would respond to your Behe post (#22).

    Your interlocutor left out a big point and that is why. Why have these complex systems developed when amoeba and bacteria survive just fine without a brain, hands and eyes? What is driving the simple to strive to attain complexity while flying in the face of the second law of thermodynamics?

    The immune system is a bad choice to argue from, but the human eye has so many parts that all have to work together. There are so many reasons that one can be born blind, partially blind, impaired, color blind, etc. Problems with the optic nerve, and the iris and the cornea are common. There are around 1,000,000 nerve connections per square inch in the back of an eye. You have probably never wired a room for electricity, but it takes a while and those are very few connections, junctions, switches, and dimmers compared to that of the human eye. To suggest that these parts of the eye grew into place slowly and each one was a beneficial mutation just seems like bad math. What part of the eye developed first, where was it located, and what was it used for? Even when you get to a place in evolution there the eye missing only one key part, why does the fish with the giant useless gel blob on its head survive to reproduce and the eyeless, but normal looking fish does not? (Also, where did that fish pick up an identical gel blob sporting girlfriend?) It does not stand to reason that every part of a complex system was a beneficial mutation along the way and then these parts (unguided by an outside force or power) came together with great precision and foresight to create sight. Most mutations do not pass to the next generation and point of fact if sight did develop over millions of years with every little piece being preserved in a species through sexual reproduction and that every piece lasted and that after millions of years, and then those pieces fused together to create sight; if that is how it happened, if all those odds were beaten, it is an easy conclusion that there is something or someone guiding that evolution. It has too much purpose; someone has to be staring the ship. By the way we have two eyes so we can see depth. Does that not make the odds just that much worse?

    Theists may be guilty of falling in to “the god trap” but atheists are just as guilty of falling into “the time trap.” Those hundred monkeys will never produce the complete works of Shakespeare, because five hundred trillion years is not infinite and infinity is required for something as improbable as that to occur. When something astronomically unlikely happens the first thing to look for is the influence of an outside force. How many times in a row can I deal the atheist in a game of poker and beat him with a royal flush before he begins to believe that I am manipulating the deal? It does not make sense for me to be dealt ten strait royal flushes in a row by random chance, even though it is just as likely a combination of specific cards as any other. Our minds reject that reasoning. There must be another force at work. According to entropy, things over time, migrate away from order an towards chaos, but we are to believe that over millions the simple becomes more complex without outside influence. We are to believe that over time, rather than things degrading, they are being perfected, but there is no force or being guiding that path. All the Universe is evolving towards perfection and away from simplicity, but no one is guiding that movement. That doesn’t make sense to me.

    -Geoff

  28. Boris said

    Geoff,
    Geoff said: Your interlocutor left out a big point and that is why. Why have these complex systems developed when amoeba and bacteria survive just fine without a brain, hands and eyes? What is driving the simple to strive to attain complexity while flying in the face of the second law of thermodynamics?

    Boris says: Creationists like to attach a deeply philosophical meaning to the principle of thermodynamics, which simply means “heat movement.” Quite characteristically, creationists have distorted and misapplied this scientific principle. The second law actually states that “disorder in a closed system tends to increase.” Within the universe, however, local regions may receive an energy input, and are therefore considered “open systems.” It is exceptionally arrogant on the part of creationists to believe they themselves casually noticed a fundamental “contradiction” in the laws of physics that physicists like Albert Einstein and Stephen hawking somehow forgot to notice.

    Geoff said: The immune system is a bad choice to argue from,

    Boris says: And why is that? Because your arguments about this have all been debunked and you know it too.

    Geoff said: but the human eye has so many parts that all have to work together. There are so many reasons that one can be born blind, partially blind, impaired, color blind, etc. Problems with the optic nerve, and the iris and the cornea are common. There are around 1,000,000 nerve connections per square inch in the back of an eye. You have probably never wired a room for electricity, but it takes a while and those are very few connections, junctions, switches, and dimmers compared to that of the human eye. To suggest that these parts of the eye grew into place slowly and each one was a beneficial mutation just seems like bad math. What part of the eye developed first, where was it located, and what was it used for? Even when you get to a place in evolution there the eye missing only one key part, why does the fish with the giant useless gel blob on its head survive to reproduce and the eyeless, but normal looking fish does not? (Also, where did that fish pick up an identical gel blob sporting girlfriend?) It does not stand to reason that every part of a complex system was a beneficial mutation along the way and then these parts (unguided by an outside force or power) came together with great precision and foresight to create sight. Most mutations do not pass to the next generation and point of fact if sight did develop over millions of years with every little piece being preserved in a species through sexual reproduction and that every piece lasted and that after millions of years, and then those pieces fused together to create sight; if that is how it happened, if all those odds were beaten, it is an easy conclusion that there is something or someone guiding that evolution. It has too much purpose; someone has to be staring the ship. By the way we have two eyes so we can see depth. Does that not make the odds just that much worse?

    Boris says: Nature itself flatly contradicts the creationist’s all-or-nothing argument. For within nature, we find eyes in all stages of development. We find lifeforms with 1) no eyes at all, 2) eyes that only sense the presence or absence of light, 3) eyes that focus light extremely poorly, such as the mole’s, 4) eyes that cannot see more than a few feet, 5) eyes that cannot see color, such as most dog breeds, 6) eyes that are human-like, and, 7) eyes that are far superior to human eyes, such as the bald eagle’s. What good is 50 per cent of an eye? It enjoys a decided advantage over 49 per cent or 37 per cent or 8 per cent in the struggle for survival.

    Geoff said: Theists may be guilty of falling in to “the god trap” but atheists are just as guilty of falling into “the time trap.” Those hundred monkeys will never produce the complete works of Shakespeare, because five hundred trillion years is not infinite and infinity is required for something as improbable as that to occur.

    Boris says: Creationists keep making the same arguments that were debunked over a century ago. Molecules do NOT assemble randomly but always in the same familiar patterns as the Fibonacci sequence of numbers clearly shows. Nature is self-organizing. The monkeys on typewriters nonsense proves just how ignorant most Christians are of how nature structures itself.

    Geoff said: When something astronomically unlikely happens the first thing to look for is the influence of an outside force.

    Boris says: First you have to prove that something astronomically unlikely did happen. Scientists tell us that because of the conditions on Earth 4 billion years ago it was actually quite likely that life would form and then evolve and that life NOT forming would have been unlikely.

    Geoff said: How many times in a row can I deal the atheist in a game of poker and beat him with a royal flush before he begins to believe that I am manipulating the deal? It does not make sense for me to be dealt ten strait royal flushes in a row by random chance, even though it is just as likely a combination of specific cards as any other. Our minds reject that reasoning. There must be another force at work. According to entropy, things over time, migrate away from order an towards chaos, but we are to believe that over millions the simple becomes more complex without outside influence.

    Boris says: We don’t live in a closed system so this argument of yours is deeply rooted in your own scientific imbecility.

    Geoff said: We are to believe that over time, rather than things degrading, they are being perfected, but there is no force or being guiding that path. All the Universe is evolving towards perfection and away from simplicity, but no one is guiding that movement. That doesn’t make sense to me.

    Boris says: Just because you don’t understand science doesn’t mean that it is inaccurate. You don’t WANT to understand science, you want to believe in magic and so you will.

  29. Boris said

    1. Adolf Hitler: The Nazi Party Represents Positive Christianity

    “We demand freedom for all religious confessions in the state, insofar as they do not endanger its existence or conflict with the customs and moral sentiments of the Germanic race. The party as such represents the standpoint of a positive Christianity, without owing itself to a particular confession….”

    – Article 20 of the program of the German Workers’ Party (later named the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, NSDAP)

    2. Adolf Hitler: I am a Catholic

    I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.

    – Adolf Hitler, to General Gerhard Engel, 1941

    3. Adolf Hitler: Religious Life as the Highest and Most Desirable Ideal

    I had excellent opportunity to intoxicate myself with the solemn splendor of the brilliant church festivals. As was only natural, the abbot seemed to me, as the village priest had once seemed to my father, the highest and most desirable ideal.

    – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 1

    4. Adolf Hitler: Christianity and the Holy German Reich

    As long as leadership from above was not lacking, the people fulfilled their duty and obligation overwhelmingly. Whether Protestant pastor or Catholic priest, both together and particularly at the first flare, there really existed in both camps but a single holy German Reich, for whose existence and future each man turned to his own heaven.

    – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 3

    5. Adolf Hitler: Significance of the Religion of Love

    The more abstractly correct and hence powerful this idea will be, the more impossible remains its complete fulfillment as long as it continues to depend on human beings… If this were not so, the founders of religion could not be counted among the greatest men of this earth… In its workings, even the religion of love is only the weak reflection of the will of its exalted founder; its significance, however, lies in the direction which it attempted to give to a universal human development of culture, ethics, and morality.

    – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 8

    6. Adolf Hitler: Personification of the Devil

    ….the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew.

    – Adolf Hitler (following the position of Martin Luther), Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 11

    7. Adolf Hitler: Christians Should Deal with Atheistic Jews

    And the founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary, He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God; because then, as always, they used religion as a means of advancing their commercial interests. But at that time Christ was nailed to the Cross for his attitude towards the Jews; whereas our modern Christians enter into party politics and when elections are being held they debase themselves to beg for Jewish votes. They even enter into political intrigues with the atheistic Jewish parties against the interests of their own Christian nation.

    – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 11

    8. Adolf Hitler: As a Christian, I Feel that My Lord and Savior was a Fighter

    My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. …Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. …

    – Adolf Hitler, speech on April 12, 1922

    Read the Full Quote
    9. Adolf Hitler: Fascism is Closer to Christianity than Liberalism or Marxism

    The fact that the Curia is now making its peace with Fascism shows that the Vatican trusts the new political realities far more than did the former liberal democracy with which it could not come to terms. …The fact that the Catholic Church has come to an agreement with Fascist Italy …proves beyond doubt that the Fascist world of ideas is closer to Christianity than those of Jewish liberalism or even atheistic Marxism…

    – Adolf Hitler in an article in the Völkischer Beobachter, February 29, 1929, on the new Lateran Treaty between Mussolini’s fascist government and the Vatican

    Read the Full Quote
    10. Adolf Hitler: Compromises with Atheism Destroy Religious, Ethical Values

    By its decision to carry out the political and moral cleansing of our public life, the Government is creating and securing the conditions for a really deep and inner religious life. The advantages for the individual which may be derived from compromises with atheistic organizations do not compare in any way with the consequences which are visible in the destruction of our common religious and ethical values. The national Government sees in both Christian denominations the most important factor for the maintenance of our society. …

    – Adolf Hitler, speech before the Reichstag, March 23, 1933, just before the Enabling Act is passed.

    Read the Full Quote
    11. Adolf Hitler: Burn out the Poison of Immorality

    Today Christians … stand at the head of [this country]… I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit … We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press – in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past … (few) years.

    – Adolf Hitler, quoted in: The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872

  30. jAsOn said

    Boris,

    Not that I expect you to understand the distinction, but there is a difference in being a “Christian” and being a believer.

  31. jAsOn said

    from #15,

    Thx,

    np FLA.

  32. Boris,

    I’ll pass your comments on to Geoff re: Behe, and I’m sure he’ll respond as he has time.

    As for the Hitler stuff, obviously, you still have no clue what it means to be a Christian, which, at least, is a positive thing that that come out of this interaction.

    In any case, Hitler obviously knew how to use Christian rhetoric, which is obvious when you compare your quotes with the quotes I supplied, the latter reflecting his true sentiments. That should be the self-evident, logical conclusion. What I find fascinating is that even virulently anti-Christian, Orthodox Jewish authors recognize that both Hitler and Nazism were militantly anti-Christian, finding fault instead with the hypocritical, “Christian” anti-Semitism in Europe which prepared the way for the Holocaust — and that, of course, is a despicable phenomenon which has been rightly repudiated. Yet somehow you know better about Hitler. Just fascinating!

    One last point: If I told you someone was a staunch atheist who was also a devout polytheist, my comment would only be met with scorn and derision from you. So too, in fact, even more so, your comments about Hitler the mass murder being a Christian. Enough said. Such an absurd claim didn’t even merit the time it was given here on the blog.

  33. Boris said

    Dr. Brown: Please send the documentation on this. First, the massively prevailing consensus is that the inscription is genuine; second, what would a forgery like this prove?

    Boris says: A prevailing concensus based on Christian wish-thinking does not impress me. Even if the inscription were real it proves absolutely nothing more than how desperate Christian apologists have become now that the general public is aware that there isn’t anything from outside the Bible that could even hint that something inside the Bible even MIGHT be true. The supposed quotes from brother Adolph you supplied cannot be found in any source documents and I think are all forgeries done by Christian apologists in their attempt to hide Hitler’s Christianity. I’ll supply you with the name of the leading Christian liar in this campaign after I look it up. The University of Tel Aviv can supply you with up to date info on the Tel Dan inscription.

    Dr. Brown: I am not at this time inclined to get into a scientific debate with you here (perhaps in the future!), but in the next post, I’ll send you the comments of a former atheist to whom I send your Behe post.

    Boris says: I got my science education a good Christian college so if I were you I would avoid any discussion of science with the likes of someone like me. You might learn something and knowledge destroys faith like water on fire.

    Dr. Brown: Thanks for explaining your position, and may our merciful God forgive you for the words you speak about Him here in ignorance, just as He had mercy on Saul of Tarsus who acted in ignorance and unbelief (and on me as well in my decadent, pre-faith years).

    In any case, the reason I asked was that there were times in the Scriptures when God sent His people to do war, but it is impossible to read the Word rightly and think that, in the verbiage of one your earlier posts, we are supposed to go around killing people who differ with us. Nonsense! That’s why, with more than two billion people in the world professing to be Christians – and I have no doubt that a good half of those professions are questionable based on the criteria of the NT – it does not occur to them they are supposed to forcefully take over their countries and/or go around killing their enemies. And that’s why atrocities like the Crusades were few and far between in Church history, and provide evidence of an apostate Christianity rather than anything that resembles the NT Church.

    Interestingly, that brings us back to a moral point: The NT teaches that anyone claiming to be a genuine follower of Jesus who hates his brother or sister is a liar, and that we can test the validity of someone’s Christian profession by their actions and by their lives.

    Boris says: “Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on, a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; father opposed to son, son to father, mother to daughter, daughter to mother, mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law to mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51-53 NJB). Perhaps you shouldn’t ignore certain parts of the Bible that you don’t happen to agree with Dr. Brown.

    The only test of an atheist, however, is whether that person denies the existence of God. How telling! There is no moral test, since there is no morality that can be attached to being an atheist.

    Boris says: You are wrong. An atheist doesn’t necessarily deny the existence of God. An atheist is a person who simply has no belief in any God. A person who expressly denies the existence of God is correctly called an anti-theist. “Atheism can be the naked pursuit of truth, but anti-theism is more often the adolescent joy of upsetting and mocking religious people.” – Jim Rigby, pastor of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Austin Texas. This describes me perfectly don’t you think?

    There is no moral test for atheism because atheism is NOT a religion nor is evolution a religion either. Fundamentalists need to stop falsely identifying these things as religions just because they disagree with them. Most atheists base their worldview on scientific humanism which is a philosophy and also is NOT a religion. It can and has been demonstrated that the morals of scientific humanism are vastly superior to those of any religion but especially those put forth by Christianity. Prove they aren’t.

    As for your claims that you or your wife were ever unbelievers or atheists – they are false. You said that you and your wife wanted nothing to do with God in your “pre-Christian” years. FYI you have to think there IS a God before you can disagree with him or want nothing to do with him sir and ma’am. If I said I wanted nothing to do with lepprechans that would mean that I actually BELIEVED in these little green men and imagined them to be somehow troublesome the same way you two believed in God but found this to be worrisome or troublesome to you. You don’t even know what an atheist is Dr. Brown and your claims that you or your wife ever were atheists is just an attempt to smear atheism, something you fear only because you DON’T understand it.

  34. Boris says: A prevailing concensus based on Christian wish-thinking does not impress me. Even if the inscription were real it proves absolutely nothing more than how desperate Christian apologists have become now that the general public is aware that there isn’t anything from outside the Bible that could even hint that something inside the Bible even MIGHT be true. The supposed quotes from brother Adolph you supplied cannot be found in any source documents and I think are all forgeries done by Christian apologists in their attempt to hide Hitler’s Christianity. I’ll supply you with the name of the leading Christian liar in this campaign after I look it up. The University of Tel Aviv can supply you with up to date info on the Tel Dan inscription.

    Dr. Brown: Once again, your opening statement cannot be taken seriously. If you’re a Semitic philologist, then you know the non-Christian scholars who take the inscription seriously. Honestly, without any rhetoric on my part, your statements really disqualify you as you make them. Plus, this inscription constitutes less than .001% of the important archeological evidence and it’s only become an issue because of the sensational claims you keep making. As for contacting Tel Aviv University, shall I just drop a line to the president there?  Seriously, you made the claims here online, you back them up.

    As for the Hitler quotes, I did not get these from my own Holocaust library, so if there’s anything bogus about them, by all means, point that out. I’ll supply you with other evidence of Nazism’s anti-Christian stands. Moreover, regardless of what words were spoken, anyone who murders 11 million people is not a “devout Christian”! Once again, enough said.

    Boris says: I got my science education a good Christian college so if I were you I would avoid any discussion of science with the likes of someone like me. You might learn something and knowledge destroys faith like water on fire.

    Dr. Brown: Loud sigh once again. First, my faith has been subjected to all kinds of intense assaults for 37 years now, and by God’s faithfulness and truth, I am all the more convinced of His goodness and reality. I simply do not have time to engage in yet another discussion – even the interaction we have had thus far is way beyond my norm, but I felt it was merited – and I’m in the process of evaluating lots of different arguments from Christian and atheist sides these days, so I’m not prepared to get into lengthy discussions at this point. As I said previously, perhaps in the future!

    Boris says: “Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on, a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; father opposed to son, son to father, mother to daughter, daughter to mother, mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law to mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51-53 NJB). Perhaps you shouldn’t ignore certain parts of the Bible that you don’t happen to agree with Dr. Brown.

    Dr. Brown: I guess you’re not aware that Jesus was quoting from Micah 7 here, a passage that was then taken up in the Mishnah as well – and probably used for this purpose in Jewish tradition already in Jesus’ day – and the Lord was speaking about family divisions (the sword of division) that He would bring, and this, of course, has happened when some people choose to follow Him and others don’t. This is the same Jesus who taught us to love our enemies, to overcome evil with good; the same Jesus who calls us to be peacemakers; the same Jesus who told His disciples to put away their swords, since whoever lives by the sword dies by the sword. I’m not the one ignoring anything in the Bible, Boris. You are.

    Boris says: You are wrong. An atheist doesn’t necessarily deny the existence of God. An atheist is a person who simply has no belief in any God. A person who expressly denies the existence of God is correctly called an anti-theist. “Atheism can be the naked pursuit of truth, but anti-theism is more often the adolescent joy of upsetting and mocking religious people.” – Jim Rigby, pastor of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Austin Texas. This describes me perfectly don’t you think?
    There is no moral test for atheism because atheism is NOT a religion nor is evolution a religion either. Fundamentalists need to stop falsely identifying these things as religions just because they disagree with them. Most atheists base their worldview on scientific humanism which is a philosophy and also is NOT a religion. It can and has been demonstrated that the morals of scientific humanism are vastly superior to those of any religion but especially those put forth by Christianity. Prove they aren’t.

    Dr. Brown: In point of fact, there are many different kinds of atheists, and I was using the definition I most commonly see in terms of the denial of God’s existence. If it doesn’t fit you personally, no problem.

    Indeed, there is no moral test for atheism (part of my point!), but there are moral consequences to it, like the despising of others whom atheists deem unworthy. As for your claims about the morals test, that’s an easy one. Go around the world today and see who is doing the vast majority of humanitarian work, feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, educating the illiterate. It is Christians, not atheists! And find out which young people are abstaining from pre-marital sex and drugs and drinking. It is Christians, far more than atheists. I could go on and on, quite obviously. Thanks for the easy set up here!

    Boris: As for your claims that you or your wife were ever unbelievers or atheists – they are false. You said that you and your wife wanted nothing to do with God in your “pre-Christian” years. FYI you have to think there IS a God before you can disagree with him or want nothing to do with him sir and ma’am. If I said I wanted nothing to do with lepprechans that would mean that I actually BELIEVED in these little green men and imagined them to be somehow troublesome the same way you two believed in God but found this to be worrisome or troublesome to you. You don’t even know what an atheist is Dr. Brown and your claims that you or your wife ever were atheists is just an attempt to smear atheism, something you fear only because you DON’T understand it.

    Dr. Brown: Boris, what can I say? You keep shooting yourself in the foot to the point that anyone reading this thread (and I speak of an unbiased reader) could only scratch his or her head and wonder where you are coming from. I might just as well tell you that you never went to a Christian college or studied science or deny any other parts of your own story. What in the world makes you think that you know the facts about other people whom you have never met? It’s this same arrogant approach that vitiates any good questions you raise.

    Before my wife was ten years old, she came to the firm conclusion that there was no God, and that’s the state she was in when we met. She was quite hostile to religion and, in that sense, wanted nothing to do with “God.” He was a nothing more than a myth to her, something that weak people made up as a crutch. God made Himself real to her in a profound way, but as sure as I’m writing here today, she was an atheist when I met her. In fact, when she hears some Christians say, “There’s no such thing as an atheist,” she shakes her head in wonder. Interestingly, based on your own description, she appears to have been more of an atheist in her past than you in your present!

    As for my own life, when did I ever hint or suggest or say in any way, shape size or form that I was an atheist? I was a nominal Jew who got heavily into drugs in my teens years before a radical conversion experience at the age of sixteen. My testimony is well-known, and you, I think, are the first person who ever accused me of falsely claiming to be an atheist. Incredible! If you were simply saying that I was an unbeliever, I was! God had no reality to me in those days, and Jesus was no more important to me than Buddha or Baho’alla. I certainly was an unbeliever.

    Thanks also for your email, which I just received. In no way does it change my perspective, although I appreciate hearing more of your background, which will only encourage me to pray for you all the more.

  35. Boris said

    I’ll pass your comments on to Geoff re: Behe, and I’m sure he’ll respond as he has time.

    Boris says: If he ever gets his tail out from between his legs perhaps. What’s he going to say now?

    As for the Hitler stuff, obviously, you still have no clue what it means to be a Christian, which, at least, is a positive thing that that come out of this interaction.

    Boris says: You have still no idea what it means to be an atheist. I know that just because someone professes to be a Christian doesn’t make them a good person.

    In any case, Hitler obviously knew how to use Christian rhetoric, which is obvious when you compare your quotes with the quotes I supplied, the latter reflecting his true sentiments. That should be the self-evident, logical conclusion. What I find fascinating is that even virulently anti-Christian, Orthodox Jewish authors recognize that both Hitler and Nazism were militantly anti-Christian, finding fault instead with the hypocritical, “Christian” anti-Semitism in Europe which prepared the way for the Holocaust — and that, of course, is a despicable phenomenon which has been rightly repudiated. Yet somehow you know better about Hitler. Just fascinating!

    Boris says: The concentration camp guards who wore “God is with us” on their belts and taunted the Jews and other non-Christians as “Christ killers” before they slaughtered them were Hitler’s willing evangelical Christian accomplices. Hitler didn’t kill people, his evangelical henchmen did it for him AND Jesus.

    One last point: If I told you someone was a staunch atheist who was also a devout polytheist, my comment would only be met with scorn and derision from you. So too, in fact, even more so, your comments about Hitler the mass murder being a Christian. Enough said. Such an absurd claim didn’t even merit the time it was given here on the blog.

    Boris says: Are you kidding me? The God of the Bible himself is described within its pages as the biggest mass-murderer of all time! Hitler roasted people who disagreed with him – just like Jesus does. Your arguments are about as feeble and ridiculous as they can be!

  36. F. L. A. said

    [Spoken in a high feminine voice]Now, Now, Children….[Huge sharp-toothed grin].
    Boris, a word of advice, if I may; As interesting as it is to read the two of you duel like this, please bear in mind the delicate nature of the web site that you are posting upon.You seem like one who may have much to contribute to debates long into the future, BUT…being that this IS a Christian website,perhaps you should try…..toning things down just a tad in regards to name calling[of deities or otherwise]. A little bit is O.K. everynow and then, for it lends “spice” to the argument or perhaps helps to make a point.
    But your overall tone in regards to Christianity is rather hostile and insulting, and it may get you into trouble. There are better ways to get a point across. I understand that passion can sometimes get the better of us sometimes,but there are better ways that these things can be done. Although you do have me “scratching my head”, I would like to enjoy reading your posts long into the future.

  37. Boris,

    You continue to amaze, but unfortunately, in disappointing ways. Regarding Geoff, he will speak for himself, but the weakness of your position is evidenced by the ridiculous insults you continue to emit.

    Boris says: The concentration camp guards who wore “God is with us” on their belts and taunted the Jews and other non-Christians as “Christ killers” before they slaughtered them were Hitler’s willing evangelical Christian accomplices. Hitler didn’t kill people, his evangelical henchmen did it for him AND Jesus.

    Dr. Brown: So, the Ukranian guards with the “God is with us” belts were “evangelical Christian” accomplices? Sometimes it seems like you’re actually a believer trying to make atheists look bad. Really now, are you not aware that “evangelische” in German simply means Lutheran and has virtually no connection to evangelical Christianity today? Or are you unaware that the Ukranians whose belts you mentioned were not even Lutherans?

    Boris says: Are you kidding me? The God of the Bible himself is described within its pages as the biggest mass-murderer of all time! Hitler roasted people who disagreed with him – just like Jesus does. Your arguments are about as feeble and ridiculous as they can be!

    Dr. Brown: God is the supreme and perfect Judge and has absolute power and moral authority to give life and to take it. If you knew and understood Him, you would speak quite differently. As for Jesus, He lays His life down for our sins so we can receive eternal life and not perish. He has given you free will to refuse His gracious offer, but you will no greater love than His. And to repeat: Anyone claiming to follow Him who kills people in His name is a liar and a hypocrite.

  38. Boris said

    Dr. Brown: Once again, your opening statement cannot be taken seriously. If you’re a Semitic philologist, then you know the non-Christian scholars who take the inscription seriously. Honestly, without any rhetoric on my part, your statements really disqualify you as you make them. Plus, this inscription constitutes less than .001% of the important archeological evidence and it’s only become an issue because of the sensational claims you keep making.

    Boris says: If there were really any other archaeological evidence to support anything the Bible says we would never hear the end of it from Christians. Instead we get 27 different television programs about an obviously fake burial shroud. Now and then there is the occasional appearance of quickly debunked “artifacts” like this Tel Dan inscription or the James box of nothing. Personally I think these hoaxes are “discovered” mostly for financial gain and proving Christianity is secondary to these hoaxers. It’s the same with fossils that have been misidentified originally that creationists always point to, but once scientists were able to study them they were discovered to be hoaxes perpetrated for financial gain rather than to prove evolution.

    As for contacting Tel Aviv University, shall I just drop a line to the president there?  Seriously, you made the claims here online, you back them up.

    As for the Hitler quotes, I did not get these from my own Holocaust library, so if there’s anything bogus about them, by all means, point that out. I’ll supply you with other evidence of Nazism’s anti-Christian stands. Moreover, regardless of what words were spoken, anyone who murders 11 million people is not a “devout Christian”! Once again, enough said.

    Boris says: Every Christian has a particular version of what Christianity really is. Are Mormons and Jehovah’s Witness’s Christians? Some Protestants say Catholics aren’t Christians and so “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so” – Adolph Hitler, would mean to them that Hitler wasn’t a Christian.

    Dr. Brown: Loud sigh once again. First, my faith has been subjected to all kinds of intense assaults for 37 years now, and by God’s faithfulness and truth, I am all the more convinced of His goodness and reality. I simply do not have time to engage in yet another discussion – even the interaction we have had thus far is way beyond my norm, but I felt it was merited – and I’m in the process of evaluating lots of different arguments from Christian and atheist sides these days, so I’m not prepared to get into lengthy discussions at this point. As I said previously, perhaps in the future!

    Dr. Brown: I guess you’re not aware that Jesus was quoting from Micah 7 here, a passage that was then taken up in the Mishnah as well – and probably used for this purpose in Jewish tradition already in Jesus’ day – and the Lord was speaking about family divisions (the sword of division) that He would bring, and this, of course, has happened when some people choose to follow Him and others don’t. This is the same Jesus who taught us to love our enemies, to overcome evil with good; the same Jesus who calls us to be peacemakers; the same Jesus who told His disciples to put away their swords, since whoever lives by the sword dies by the sword. I’m not the one ignoring anything in the Bible, Boris. You are.

    Dr. Brown: Boris, what can I say? You keep shooting yourself in the foot to the point that anyone reading this thread (and I speak of an unbiased reader) could only scratch his or her head and wonder where you are coming from. I might just as well tell you that you never went to a Christian college or studied science or deny any other parts of your own story. What in the world makes you think that you know the facts about other people whom you have never met? It’s this same arrogant approach that vitiates any good questions you raise.

    Boris says: I based my comments on what you have told me. Where else would I be coming from?

    Before my wife was ten years old, she came to the firm conclusion that there was no God, and that’s the state she was in when we met. She was quite hostile to religion and, in that sense, wanted nothing to do with “God.” He was a nothing more than a myth to her, something that weak people made up as a crutch. God made Himself real to her in a profound way, but as sure as I’m writing here today, she was an atheist when I met her. In fact, when she hears some Christians say, “There’s no such thing as an atheist,” she shakes her head in wonder. Interestingly, based on your own description, she appears to have been more of an atheist in her past than you in your present!

    Boris says: If this is true then your wife likely was an atheist or agnostic at some point. But you didn’t tell me this before.

    As for my own life, when did I ever hint or suggest or say in any way, shape size or form that I was an atheist? I was a nominal Jew who got heavily into drugs in my teens years before a radical conversion experience at the age of sixteen. My testimony is well-known, and you, I think, are the first person who ever accused me of falsely claiming to be an atheist.

    Boris says: I forgot exactly what you said. Unbelief, atheism, whatever. I should have gone back and re-read your posts about this I guess. I made a mistake. Burn me at the stake.

    Incredible! If you were simply saying that I was an unbeliever, I was! God had no reality to me in those days, and Jesus was no more important to me than Buddha or Baho’alla. I certainly was an unbeliever.

    Boris says: The fact is that you did believe that God/Jesus exists though. You falsely blame your irresponsible behavior on some strange sort of unbelief which is really a lack of acceptance of God not unbelief, rather than your own immaturity and ignorance. I was an atheist as a teen who was never heavily into drugs, alcohol, driving too fast or any other bad behavior but rejected all forms of authority while still showing them their due respect. My unbelief has never gotten me into any trouble and neither did yours. We have a tendency to be our own worst enemies is what the truth of the matter is, religious or not.

    Thanks also for your email, which I just received. In no way does it change my perspective, although I appreciate hearing more of your background, which will only encourage me to pray for you all the more.

    Boris says: I know you mean well and believe it or not so do I. I have enjoyed talking with you because you are the rare fundamentalist who understands at least a little of why I am and so many people are atheists and so many more who aren’t do not take the Bible seriously either. I think you know that many orthodox Christians have a worldview so narrowed by dogma and doctrine that they cannot understand these things. Right?

    You continue to amaze, but unfortunately, in disappointing ways. Regarding Geoff, he will speak for himself, but the weakness of your position is evidenced by the ridiculous insults you continue to emit.

    Dr. Brown: So, the Ukranian guards with the “God is with us” belts were “evangelical Christian” accomplices? Sometimes it seems like you’re actually a believer trying to make atheists look bad. Really now, are you not aware that “evangelische” in German simply means Lutheran and has virtually no connection to evangelical Christianity today? Or are you unaware that the Ukranians whose belts you mentioned were not even Lutherans?

    Boris says: When George Bush ran for president 8 years ago he was hailed by almost all Christians as the good evangelical Christian he claims to be. Then after we all saw what a liar and demented moron he really is the Christians now almost all claim George Bush is no Christian. It’s excommunication by majority rule is what it is, and it’s meaningless. The support for Hitler and his racist comments in the US before World War II among American evangelicals was pretty much unanimous. Then he went George Bush on them. That’s what happened.

    Dr. Brown: God is the supreme and perfect Judge and has absolute power and moral authority to give life and to take it. If you knew and understood Him, you would speak quite differently. As for Jesus, He lays His life down for our sins so we can receive eternal life and not perish. He has given you free will to refuse His gracious offer, but you will no greater love than His. And to repeat: Anyone claiming to follow Him who kills people in His name is a liar and a hypocrite.

    Boris says: So Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samson, David and the rest of them were all liars and hypocrites then? George Bush claims to speak for and therefore kill for God too. First you have to prove something exists before you can dangerously pronounce that it has moral authority to kill people. That is what you are doing too. YOU are trying to claim moral authority for YOURSELF based on the fact that YOU believe in a divine lawgiver and others don’t. You people are only fooling yourselves.

  39. Boris,

    Geoff had a few minutes to respond to your post, so here it is:

    First of all, Boris, I was not writing a thesis paper and had I known that my e-mail would have been posted I would not have oversimplified some of my answers. Forgive my brevity, but I just wanted to quickly respond you your main points.

    1. Calling me ignorant does not make you a genius. Even if I am the dumbest person on the planet insulting me only weakens your case.

    2. Entropy aside, you never even attempted to address my main challenge which is why, not how. Why does life try to become more complex what causes life to progress like it has? Why when simple organisms still thrive did some become so complicated?

    3. Can you show me species that only have parts of an eye or a species that has an eye that is used for something other than sight? There could be one, but I am not aware of one.

    4. The mole, the hawk, the fish, etc. have the right eyes to suit their function. Different eyes are better in different environments and situations. That does not make one eye better than another, but one thing it does prove is that the eye is not evolving in the same way in every species. The eye is not always what you would call ‘better’ in the species that have evolved later in the time line.

    5. To say that conditions were such that it was unlikely for life not to form shows me that you have either never read Dawkins, you disagree with much of what he says, or you missed the entire point of his book Climbing Mount Improbable. No matter which way you slice it you will not find the majority of the scientific community on your side with that one. Honestly that argument really surprised me.

    6. Finally I just want to state my main point again: Why does life keep trying to become more complex? Survival of the fittest can only explain some of this, such as devolving camouflage colors, stronger offspring, etc. It is not adequate to explain why an amoeba eventually evolves into a man. There were plenty of stops along the war that survived just fine. The question, again, is why, not how is all life continuing down this path of development and increasing complexity. Why does man strive for achievement, race to the stars, increase his knowledge? Why do we try so hard to understand our paths both past and future? Do you really think that the amoeba became Einstein, Marx, Hitler, Churchill, and Shakespeare only because it was easier for it to find food and avoid predators?

  40. Boris,

    My time is getting quite limited with some mss. I have to finish editing and some other book projects I’m engaged, but I do want to try to complete this round of our discussion, in particular, post #38. Perhaps I can to it before the night is out. It’s a bit troubling, however, for me to read your posts and find where I refute you in one place, without admitting it (save for your one “mistake” admission, above), only to hop onto another argument. I do hope careful readers will note that accordingly, and I would encourage you once our interaction is over to review your posts and note how frequently you did that.

    For other readers here:

    Generally speaking, I’m not able to interact at this length with any one individual, but aside from the fact that Boris is loved by God and one for whom Jesus died, I thought our interaction would also be helpful for others to view. Plus, I have not written elsewhere about atheism, so this was a useful place to post our differences.

    I’m aware that one cannot hear tone of voice in posts or emails, so I want to be clear that I’m not angry with Boris in any way. I am certainly sad for him, but since I know many other former atheists, and, more importantly, I know the God who transforms lives, I will continue to pray for his redemption.

  41. Boris said

    1. Calling me ignorant does not make you a genius. Even if I am the dumbest person on the planet insulting me only weakens your case.

    Boris says: I don’t think I used the word “ignorant” but it isn’t MY case we are discussing. It’s THE case against religious dogma being falsely represented as science by Christians. This case is neither strengthened nor weakened by what either of us have to say about it let alone unrelated remarks.

    2. Entropy aside, you never even attempted to address my main challenge which is why, not how. Why does life try to become more complex what causes life to progress like it has? Why when simple organisms still thrive did some become so complicated?

    Boris says: You are asking questions that you could easily find the answers to in any library and you know it. Why do most organisms become extinct if there is an intelligent designer who made them all at once? In fact over 99 per cent of all lifeforms that were or are on Earth are now extinct. A designer with that kind of failure rate certainly cannot be called intelligent.

    3. Can you show me species that only have parts of an eye or a species that has an eye that is used for something other than sight? There could be one, but I am not aware of one.

    4. The mole, the hawk, the fish, etc. have the right eyes to suit their function. Different eyes are better in different environments and situations. That does not make one eye better than another, but one thing it does prove is that the eye is not evolving in the same way in every species. The eye is not always what you would call ‘better’ in the species that have evolved later in the time line.

    Boris says: A life form without eyes produces offspring without eyes. But suppose that a few of the offspring possess a small number of light-sensitive skin cells. (Human skin cells vary widely in their sensitivity to light.) These offspring would enjoy a competitive advantage and would perpetuate this characteristic throughout the species. Suppose now that a few offspring begin concentrating these light-sensitive cells into a single location, thus amplifying their sensitivity. Again, this competitive edge would quickly spread throughout the species. Offspring that did not display this characteristic would die without contributing to the gene pool. Next, let us suppose that a tiny percentage of offspring are produced with a slightly concave shape to their light-sensitive regions. This rounder shape would allow the life-form to better discern the direction from which the light was emanating, again producing a reproductive advantage. Cells are filled with semi-transparent liquids. So it wouldn’t be too surprising if this liquid occasionally found itself within the concave surface of the light-sensitive region. This liquid would thus serve as a very primitive lens, helping to focus light. In this manner, step by step, millennia after millennia, natural selection accumulates beneficial adaptations while disgarding the remainder. “What is impossible in a hundred years, may be inevitable in a billion” – carl Sagan. The human eye required almost four billion years to evolve.

    5. To say that conditions were such that it was unlikely for life not to form shows me that you have either never read Dawkins, you disagree with much of what he says, or you missed the entire point of his book Climbing Mount Improbable. No matter which way you slice it you will not find the majority of the scientific community on your side with that one. Honestly that argument really surprised me.

    6. Finally I just want to state my main point again: Why does life keep trying to become more complex? Survival of the fittest can only explain some of this, such as devolving camouflage colors, stronger offspring, etc. It is not adequate to explain why an amoeba eventually evolves into a man. There were plenty of stops along the war that survived just fine. The question, again, is why, not how is all life continuing down this path of development and increasing complexity. Why does man strive for achievement, race to the stars, increase his knowledge? Why do we try so hard to understand our paths both past and future? Do you really think that the amoeba became Einstein, Marx, Hitler, Churchill, and Shakespeare only because it was easier for it to find food and avoid predators?

    Boris says: Oversimplifying something to make it sound absurd is a very tired old creationist ploy. You people really need to find some new material. If you really wanted to find the answers to your questions you could take a first year biology course at any CHRISTIAN college or university and have them all clearly and concisely explained to you by Christian professors. The questions you asked are frankly so dumb an eighth grade science student could easily answer them. Even though I’ve clearly explained the evolution of the eye to you and you’ve seen your argument from design refuted, the next time you get in a similar conversation with someone you’ll throw your argument for the design of the eye up again hoping that the next person won’t know how to refute it. Again, you people really do need some new material.

  42. Boris said

    Dr Brown said:
    My time is getting quite limited with some mss. I have to finish editing and some other book projects I’m engaged, but I do want to try to complete this round of our discussion, in particular, post #38. Perhaps I can to it before the night is out. It’s a bit troubling, however, for me to read your posts and find where I refute you in one place, without admitting it (save for your one “mistake” admission, above), only to hop onto another argument. I do hope careful readers will note that accordingly, and I would encourage you once our interaction is over to review your posts and note how frequently you did that.

    Boris says: In your own mind you may have refuted me somewhere but I have meticulously responded to everything you’ve said and answered all your questions as anyone can clearly see. I don’t think anyone on this thread is all that interested in our conversation though, which is why I Emailed you privately.

  43. F. L. A. said

    I actually find you quite amusing, Boris[huge sharp-toothed grin].

  44. Barney said

    I think Dr. Brown’s condescension in deeming us worthy of witnessing this interaction with one of his peers was magnificent.

  45. Barney,

    We can always count of you for a fun comment. Thanks!

    Boris,

  46. Barney,

    We can always count on you for a fun comment. Thanks!

    Anyway, if you were actually serious, then be assured it was not condescension on my part but rather explaining why, with the purpose of this blog being what it is, I thought it was a good idea for Boris and I to go at it at such length here.

    Boris,

    In my own mind, I have answered you clearly and sufficiently, but I do not believe I have done it to your satisfaction, just as you feel you have answered me, whereas I feel you have done nothing of the sort. Do you think I would imagine that in a few short posts here either of us would influence the other, given the decades we have spent working out our own views? In any case, I could back through every post and show where you failed to answer lots of points I made, and I’m sure you could do the same. I believe that we both attempted to be thorough, and if we both felt good about our arguments. Others can weigh things on their own and come to their own conclusions. The main difference for me is that from here I will pray for you and ask God to touch your life, that being the most effective thing I can do. Also, having your personal email, I’ll get back in touch with you shortly.

    One last thing (and I’ll try to answer that one last post later tonight): I’ll pass on your comments to Geoff, who wanted me to let you know that he would be delighted to debate the issue with you in depth in an agreed upon public forum.

  47. Boris,

    At this point, I think this will be my final post in this thread, unless I come back to post some of Geoff’s responses to you.

    I did note that you failed to respond to a number of points even in your refutation, either because you didn’t have answers or you simply missed them. Either way, we move on.

    Boris says: If there were really any other archaeological evidence to support anything the Bible says we would never hear the end of it from Christians. Instead we get 27 different television programs about an obviously fake burial shroud. Now and then there is the occasional appearance of quickly debunked “artifacts” like this Tel Dan inscription or the James box of nothing. Personally I think these hoaxes are “discovered” mostly for financial gain and proving Christianity is secondary to these hoaxers. It’s the same with fossils that have been misidentified originally that creationists always point to, but once scientists were able to study them they were discovered to be hoaxes perpetrated for financial gain rather than to prove evolution.

    Dr. Brown: Actually, there have been plenty of books written detailing the archeological evidence, and even among the few items I mentioned to you – just a handful out of masses of evidence – you end up going after the Ten Dan inscription as if it was major, and then, as small as it is, you have to try to call it forgery. How specious! In any case, I provided you with one recent volume filled with important information from a top Egyptologist, but you chose to ignore it. Your claims about the alleged financial gain in discovering artifacts also betrays an ignorance of the science of archeology and what drives the archeologists. Again, when you have to engage in invective and then creative false motives, you betray the weakness of your position.

    Boris says: Every Christian has a particular version of what Christianity really is. Are Mormons and Jehovah’s Witness’s Christians? Some Protestants say Catholics aren’t Christians and so “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so” – Adolph Hitler, would mean to them that Hitler wasn’t a Christian.

    Dr. Brown: First, the fact that there are different groups that have sprung up in recent years calling themselves Christians, and that there are disputes with various Christian camps does not change a word of what I wrote. The New Testament lays down criteria that identify a Christian, and based on that criteria, you are more of a Christian than was Hitler. You can harp on this all day long if you like, and I rather like that you do, since people can conclude: The same Boris who says that Hitler was a “devout Christian” is the same man who forcefully espouses atheism, therefore we can’t take his arguments seriously.

    Boris says: I based my comments on what you have told me. Where else would I be coming from?

    Dr. Brown: I point out again that you skipped over large parts of my posts that answered and refuted some of your arguments, so I’ll just respond to this: You based your comments on a misunderstanding of what I told you and based on thinking that you knew more about me and my wife than I did.

    Boris says: If this is true then your wife likely was an atheist or agnostic at some point. But you didn’t tell me this before.

    Dr. Brown: OK. This is getting a bit absurd, but I’ll still respond. I did tell you that she was an atheist but you didn’t believe me. 🙂

    Boris says: I forgot exactly what you said. Unbelief, atheism, whatever. I should have gone back and re-read your posts about this I guess. I made a mistake. Burn me at the stake.

    Dr. Brown: Only hypocritical Christians who deny Jesus by their words and deeds burn people at the stake for mistakes. Be assured that I do not hold this mistake against you. (However, even one admission that you made a mistake will be duly noted here!) And since we’re acknowledging mistakes, I realized after I posted that I made reference to an Akkadian inscription speaking of Omri, whereas I meant to say the Mesha inscription in Moabite, of course.

    Boris says: The fact is that you did believe that God/Jesus exists though. You falsely blame your irresponsible behavior on some strange sort of unbelief which is really a lack of acceptance of God not unbelief, rather than your own immaturity and ignorance. I was an atheist as a teen who was never heavily into drugs, alcohol, driving too fast or any other bad behavior but rejected all forms of authority while still showing them their due respect. My unbelief has never gotten me into any trouble and neither did yours. We have a tendency to be our own worst enemies is what the truth of the matter is, religious or not.

    Dr. Brown: Again, I’m a bit baffled by your post. First, when did I blame my sinful behavior on being an unbeliever? I simply corrected what you said about my alleged claim to have been an atheist, for which you corrected yourself here. And for the record, the reason I did stupid things as a teenager was because of stupid choices I made. Period. I was responsible. That being said, when I came to know the Lord in a real way and recognized what His standards were and how deeply He loved me, I was transformed. Had I known Him as a child, rather than being a nominal Jew, I would not have done the idiotic and sinful things I did as a teen rebel.

    Boris says: I know you mean well and believe it or not so do I. I have enjoyed talking with you because you are the rare fundamentalist who understands at least a little of why I am and so many people are atheists and so many more who aren’t do not take the Bible seriously either. I think you know that many orthodox Christians have a worldview so narrowed by dogma and doctrine that they cannot understand these things. Right?

    Dr. Brown: Right! We actually agree! I’ve run into that narrowness at times too, and it is disconcerting. Thankfully, I don’t find it in most of the circles in which I travel, but again, we agree!

    And I’m glad you have enjoyed the interaction and recognized my motivation. I’ve enjoyed it on a certain level – I was pleasantly surprised to see the fight you have in you, since I run into lots of blather (and yes, lots of what I find in contemporary atheistic literature is just blather to me), and I find that atheistic arrogance is quite blinding – but at the same time, I have real sadness as we interact, since I do care about you as a human being whom I have just met in this blog, since I admire your passion and conviction, being a man of passion and conviction myself, and since, from my perspective, you are cut off from God’s extraordinary goodness to the point that you can only lambaste His very image. (I imagine you might have some sadness for me too, so I don’t write this in a demeaning way.)

    As for understanding why you and others are atheists or agnostics, believe it or not, I could have written most of what you wrote for you (with the exception of articulating some of the scientific points). I do understand, for sure, and I have done my best through the years to put myself in other people’s shoes to see the world through their eyes. It’s painful, but important. Also, being married to a former atheist has helped my perspective too.

    Boris says: When George Bush ran for president 8 years ago he was hailed by almost all Christians as the good evangelical Christian he claims to be. Then after we all saw what a liar and demented moron he really is the Christians now almost all claim George Bush is no Christian. It’s excommunication by majority rule is what it is, and it’s meaningless. The support for Hitler and his racist comments in the US before World War II among American evangelicals was pretty much unanimous. Then he went George Bush on them. That’s what happened.

    Dr. Brown: OK. Thankfully we’ve gotten away from the Nazi-evangelical equation and moved on to something else. As for Bush, I agree with the first part of your statement about how Christians view him; I don’t believe he’s a liar and demented moron, but I understand why others feel that way about him. (That’s one more rabbit trail that I can’t go down now. Sorry.) And I don’t know many Christians that doubt his Christianity now. Rather, they’re disappointed he didn’t do more or take certain stands, that’s all. In other ways, they have appreciated some of the stands he has taken. As for evangelical support of Hitler in the pre-war years, I’d be interested to see your documentation on that (although I am trying to wrap things up here on my end; perhaps you could email me privately?). In any case, to compare Bush to Hitler is a bit obscene to me, regardless of how you feel about him.

    Boris says: So Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samson, David and the rest of them were all liars and hypocrites then? George Bush claims to speak for and therefore kill for God too. First you have to prove something exists before you can dangerously pronounce that it has moral authority to kill people. That is what you are doing too. YOU are trying to claim moral authority for YOURSELF based on the fact that YOU believe in a divine lawgiver and others don’t. You people are only fooling yourselves.

    Dr. Brown: Please re-read what I wrote. None of these OT leaders you mentioned were Christians. They were national leaders who at times waged war against their enemies or who executed judgment on sinners, as per the role of authorities in Romans 13. While you are decidedly anti-war, I applaud the soldiers who defeated the Nazis, since they were fighting a just war. That, however, is 100% different than hypocritical Christians burning heretics at the sake or launching holy wars against the infidels, and that’s why as Christians, we read the whole Bible, recognizing that Jesus has given us an ethic by which we must live. And even in OT times, judgment was still to be measured, to the extent that God waited many generations before calling Israel to wipe out the Canaanites. Why? Because they had not gotten to the point that their sins were so grievous that they would have polluted and destroyed others. When the time came, however, the war was launched against them – and it was a war never to be repeated on that scale thereafter. Through your eyes, it’s all the same, but in fact, the differences are stark.

    As for the Iraq war, I’m not sure Bush is claiming to kill for God, but the war is a matter of debate for both atheists and Christians. In any case, you end with the expected salvo, a logical statement for someone that still doesn’t really understand who I am and who has no knowledge whatsoever of God and His ways. I honor the Lord and know that His ways are best – I have witnessed it in my own life and in the lives of multiplied tens of thousands of non-violent, committed Christians that I have met and ministered to and worked with around the world, all of whom can testify to the incredible change for good that God brought in their lives.

    I hope and pray that you will not live the rest of your life without Him. Discovering who He is really is, as humbling as it will be for you, will be the most wonderful and extraordinary thing you could ever imagine, and beyond.

  48. Alex said

    Israel should be given back to the Palestinians.

  49. Boris said

    Alex,
    Yes, yes ,yes, Israel should be given back to the Palestinians. Israel’s policy of apartheid is no less evil than that of South Africa and much more dangerous. As a Jew I cannot support Israel and I never have. This illegal land-grab by the Jews should never have been allowed.

  50. BOZO Bozarth said

    I guess we disregard the Biblical precedent that gave the Israelites more land than what they have today?

    Shoot, lets kick all the anglo-Americans out of the great U.S.A. and give it back to the tribal “native” Americans and well, we have to give the “African” Americans their 50 acres and a mule.

    Someone contact the Queen of England cause we’re being shipped out!!!!! “Momma, I’m coming home!”

    Oh!? There is a problem with me though. I’ve got Cherokee ancestry as well. So, I get to stay! I just need to learn Cherokee. I can do that, been wanting to anyway 🙂

  51. John said

    We could always dismember you and ship off the parts accordingly.

  52. Boris said

    We’re all Bozos on this bus I guess. The Bible is not some kind of authority that can give and take away land. It’s the holy book for a particular religion and has no authority other than inside that particular religion. None of the far out stories in the Bible can be substantiated as ever really happening nor can the existence of any of the major figures described in the Bible be confirmed through any kind of contemporary historical records or archaeological discoveries. Christians take these ridiculous stories on faith and they cannot expect people who are not members of their religion to believe that any of them could possibly be true. Because they aren’t, which is why they have to be taken on faith of course.

    The Jewish people had and have right to fence off a large portion of other people’s land and kick them off of it and claim it for themselves. This is an illegal land grab and has been the cause of unrest in the Middle east ever since 1948. Bozo, America is a huge country but Palestine is a tiny place and comparing the two situations is apples and oranges. When people who hate each other that much and live that close to each other there’s going to be trouble.

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