Greetings, Mister Spock. Or rather, someone who pretends to be Mister Spock. It is most peculiar that you join a forum like this as a character that is often regarded as being intelligent and rational. While I do not dispute this of the character, there are multiple ways to interpret someone joining a forum as such a character. One such example is that a person may try to take the appearance of being rational by associating themselves with the image of such a character. This does not however make anyone rational so much as a cosplayer dressing up as Spock and showing up at a debate. One can resemble Spock in appearance and speech pattern and yet still lack his attributes of logic and reason. This is not to accuse you of possessing an ulterior motive, however it can certainly be interpreted in such a way.
In any case, however, welcome to the forums.
Your assumptions are logically incoherent. A "timeless" being cannot "do" anything because actions are, by definition, temporal. Christian philosophers, especially Molonists like William Lane Craig, have tried to solve this problem by suggesting some things are "logically prior" but that doesn't help because the problem is one of a timeless being acting "before" time exists.
A similar irrationality is found in the concept of omniscience. If God has always known everything, then he is incapable of every making any decision or choice. He is more like a brute non-personal fact than a free "person" who has "chosen" anyone as the Bible says. The bottom line is that such philosophical speculations are entirely foreign to the Bible and inconsistent with it.
On the contrary, timeless can simply mean not being bound by the limitations or requirements that time puts on things. So, a timeless being will be able to interact with the world about it without time having any effect upon it. The world where time exists, however, will be influenced. Time demands for things to have an origin. Time demands for things to be caused to have an effect. A timeless being, not being subject to time's requirements and limitations, can hence exist without need for being caused. Additionally, not being bound or influenced by time means that time will not have any effects on it like aging or changing. So, nothing inside of time affects it, and the necessity for a cause is unnecessary.
Spock wrote:We are not presuming to judge "God" - we are judging what a book written by men (whether inspired or not) says about God. If we cannot judge what the book says and means, then the book is utterly worthless because it would be meaningless. This applies to each person who claims to believe the Bible. The only way you or anyone can know anything about what the Bible means is to judge the meaning of the words written in it. So we have no choice - each person must judge what the Bible says and try to determine its meaning.
Now you have suggested the presupposition that anything that appears to contradict the idea that "God is good" must be rejected as a false perception due to our human limitations. That's fine, you can presume what you want. But how do you know that is the intention of God? If you had an authentically high view of Scripture, you would accept it as given and assume that the hyper-genius who wrote it had a purpose for including so many contradictions and moral abominations attributed to God. Perhaps God designed it that way to make the mind-killing scourge of biblical fundamentalism impossible for any honest and rational person. This way he could reveal his divine wisdom while confounding those who try to wrest it to their own purposes by foisting their false man-made doctrine of inerrancy upon it. There are many possibilities. It appears you simply adhere to the ones you have been taught. You need to think more independently.
God is good. He embodies goodness. Where there is an absence of God, there is evil. Quite simply, when God is at work, he exploits the actions of evil people to bring good to the benefit of people. When people do what's wrong, God takes advantage of the situation and spins it in a way that has a positive outcome and consequences for those that are evil. A good God does not leave his law unknown. He made his law known to us. We are subject to it, regardless of whether or not we want to be. God cannot just sit there and let things happen if he weren't to have consequences for the actions people make. Yet it's clear that there are eternal consequences for wrongdoing. So, it is clear that God is good by providing consequences and having a law that holds people accountable.
God is Justice. He is the judge and the one who executes consequences based on judgment. This judgment is made based upon the evidence of violations of the law. God is an objective law-giver. His role in our actions is to provide consequences for wrongdoings, not to strip us of our free will. That is the role he has chosen to take. The system is clear in that the actions of human beings are the responsibility of human beings.
You accuse him of genocide yet ignore that this was a consequence based on judgment. The peoples of Canaan violated the law, and God demanded justice. So he sent the Israelites as his means of justice. Unfortunately, the Israelites were not completely obedient, and it bit them in the butt later. You also forget that God requires that they be informed of their wrongdoing. This wasn't just a random act of violence. They violated a rule God set in place and God saw this, and delivered a consequence for it. The law was to show the sinfulness of the hearts of people, and hence also to show that the consequence for sin is death. This consequence applies to everyone.
God seeks to form a relationship with His creation and to free them from the need of judgment and consequences. He chose to write His message to us through generations upon generations of people from a primitive culture to pave the way for a deeper relationship between Himself and humanity. The people were not perfect. No one denies this. Through Jesus he fulfilled the law and its requirements, thus doing away with the need for the law of sin and death. However, people need to subject themselves to the new law. To do so, requires repentance and submission to Christ by appointing Him as authority over one's self.
Spock wrote:As for your questions about unknowable things like "do you know they're not in a better place now" - such questions lead nowhere because they reflect back onto you.
As for your assertion that the Bible is sexist and discriminates against women, I would ask you the same exact question. How exactly do you know that without the events having transpired precisely as they did in the Bible that sexism would not be much more rampant today? The fact is that you don't. For all we know women enjoy much less discrimination today because of, not despite, the events described in the Bible. Another question I would ask you is please show me where women of the time complained about discrimination (as in equality with men). You know why you can't? Because women of the time did not think the way you do today. You project modern day ideas onto a society from 2 millennia ago and you expects events of the time to conform to your standards of today. Talk about being irrational.
Bottom line is, while it's certainly been entertaining in this thread and others, neither of you brings anything new to the table.
Many authors have argued for the idea that the Bible led to western advancements like science and the respect for individual worth. That may be true. It may be false. Know one knows, so it is moot. But one thing we do know. Women had to fight tooth and nail for basic human rights and they were vehemently opposed by Christians along the way. It took them 1900 years to get the vote and they are still struggling against male bias that is largely supported by the Bible. Your suggestion that "women enjoy much less discrimination today because of, not despite, the events described in the Bible" may be true, but it seems very unlikely given the outrageous history of Christian oppression of women. And we can test it by reading history. What do we see? Here is a sampling (I could fill volumes if I had the stomach for it). Behold what the Bible has taught the greatest leaders of the Christian church throughout the ages:
- "Every woman should be filled with shame by the thought that she is a woman." - Clement of Alexandria (150?-215?)
- "Woman is a temple built over a sewer, the gateway to the devil. Woman, you are the devil's doorway. You led astray one whom the devil would not dare attack directly. It was your fault that the Son of God had to die; you should always go in mourning and rags." - Tertullian (160?-220?)
- "Woman was merely man's helpmate, a function which pertains to her alone. She is not the image of God but as far as man is concerned, he is by himself the image of God." - Augustine (354-430)
- "If [women] become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth--that is why they are there." -- Martin Luther
- "The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes." -- Luther
- "God created Adam master and lord of living creatures, but Eve spoilt all, when she persuaded him to set himself above God's will. 'Tis you women, with your tricks and artifices, that lead men into error." --Luther
- "Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children." -- Luther
- "No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise." --Luther
- "What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman... I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children." -- Saint Augustine of Hippo, Church Father, Bishop of Hippo Regius, 354 – 430
- As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence. -- Thomas Aquinas, Saint, Doctor of the Church, 13th century
- Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison to his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one's guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil. ... Thus in evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good. -- St. Albertus Magnus, Dominican theologian and Doctor of the Church, 13th century
- In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die... Woman, you are the gate to hell. -- Tertullian, 2nd-3rd century Churchfather
- John Wesley (1703-91): "Wife: Be content to be insignificant. What loss would it be to God or man had you never been born."
- Jerome (345?-420): "If it is good for a man not to touch a woman, then it is bad for him to touch one, for bad, and bad only, is the opposite of good."
- John Chrysostom (349-407): "Amongst all the savage beasts none is found so harmful as woman."
- John Calvin (1509-64): "Thus the woman, who had perversely exceeded her proper bounds, is forced back to her own position. She had, indeed, previously been subject to her husband, but that was a liberal and gentle subjection; now, however, she is cast into servitude."
This is, of course, a very short list. It shows how Christian MEN have taught Christians to think of women. Upon what did they base there revulsion and oppression of women? The Bible. Perhaps they had a false understanding and failed to follow the spirit of Christ. OK. What then does that say about the Church that they led down through the ages? Why should we believe anything they say or trust the book that we have received from them?
I've noticed something. These people all contradicted the scripture.
Genesis 1:27-28 (NCV)
27So God created human beings in his image.
In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female.
28 God blessed them and said, "Have many children and grow in number. Fill the earth and be its master. Rule over the fish in the sea and over the birds in the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
28In Christ, there is no difference between
Jew and Greek, slave and free person, male
You are all the same in Christ Jesus.
Israelite man or woman must ever become a temple prostitute.
18 Do not bring a male or female prostitute's pay to the Temple of the Lord your God to pay what you have promised to the Lord
, because the Lord your God hates prostitution
So, if these people were paying any attention to scripture, why did they miss these?
Also, nowhere in scripture is the "masculine" sex considered perfect, physical or otherwise. In fact, considering most of the focal point of the scripture was men, it never hesitated to point out the flaws of men. Men were the ones that were most dealt with in terms of sexual immorality by the ancient Hebrew law.
I suggest you take a look at this link. http://christianthinktank.com/fem02b.html
It had a lot to say on the accountability of men, not to mention many laws on sexual immorality were specifically aimed at men.
The misogynistic regard for women is a clear trait that is derived from Man's pride.
By the way, did anyone ever read Proverbs, in which Wisdom is personified as a woman? And how Solomon keeps referring to the ideal woman as someone who can actually accomplish things and work herself? See: http://christianthinktank.com/fem03c.html
There are some nice quotes of scripture here and some great application of context.
You may find some stark contrast to what the above have been saying. It seems they haven't been paying attention to these texts. Does that mean that they aren't Christian? Perhaps not. Rather, that they were foolish and they failed to recognize what high esteem God held for both men and women.