Politics

Conservative Christians packed an electoral punch, but can they do it again in 2016?

Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, speaks Nov. 5, 2014 at the National Press Club. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) Conservative Christians are taking credit for the Republican sweep of the U.S. Senate and GOP victories farther down the ticket in Tuesday’s midterm elections, and they predict they will prevail again in 2016.

“This is not only the largest single constituency in the electorate, but it is larger than the African-American vote, the Hispanic vote, the union vote and the gay vote combined,” Ralph Reed, one of the most recognized figures in conservative Christian politics, said Wednesday (Nov. 5) in a celebratory post-election press conference.

Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, speaks Nov. 5, 2014 at the National Press Club. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, speaks Nov. 5, 2014 at the National Press Club. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

Reed, who chairs the Faith & Freedom Coalition, which mobilizes conservative Christian voters across the nation, said politicians in both parties ignore this constituency “at their own peril.”

Reed pointed to a poll commissioned by his group that shows that conservative Christians — Protestants and Catholics — made up 32 percent of the Republican electorate, and that they overwhelmingly voted (86 percent) for Republicans Tuesday. These voters contributed 52 percent of the total votes received by Republicans, according to the Public Opinion Strategies survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

But some experts pointed out that little has changed in the religious electoral landscape.

Protestant and Catholic voters made up about the same proportion of voters as they did in the last two national elections, and they split their votes between Republicans and Democrats much as they did in 2010 and 2012, said Mark Silk, a professor of religion in public life at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

“Simply put, the more things changed, the more they stayed the same,” wrote Silk, who relied on CNN polling, in his post-election blogpost.

In  2010, Protestants voted Republican 59 to 38 percent, and on Tuesday by 60 to 38 percent. Similarly, Catholics went for Republicans 54 to 44 percent in 2010, and 53 to 45 percent this election.

So why did the conservative Christian vote hold so much sway this year?

It’s all about the context, said Daniel Cox, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute. Conservative Christians had an outsized influence in the 2014 elections because, among other reasons, deeply conservative states claimed a particularly large proportion of Senate races, with Democrats losing in Arkansas, North Carolina and Georgia, among other states.

Add to that the unpopularity of Democratic President Barack Obama and the fact that older — read “more conservative” — voters turn out in higher proportions during midterms.

“Evangelicals were playing on their home turf,” Cox said. “They had home-field advantage because they were competing in states where they make up a much larger proportion of the population.”

But while “patterns of voting among religious voters is fairly stable … and is unlikely to change in the near future,” Cox continued, evangelicals may see their influence dwindle in the not-too-distant future.

Millennials — Americans ages 18 to 29 — are less likely to identify as evangelicals, and much less likely to vote, according to PRRI and other surveys. A 2013 PRRI study shows that 10 percent of millennials identify as white, evangelical Protestants, compared to 15 percent of those 30 to 49, and 23 percent of those 50 to 64.

“In 2020 the entire millennial generation will be of voting age,” Cox said. “They are not voting in large numbers now. But they will. You settle down and you start voting more regularly.”

YS/AMB END MARKOE

About the author

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe has been a national reporter for RNS since 2011. Previously she covered government and politics as a daily reporter at the Charlotte Observer and The State (Columbia, S.C.)

102 Comments

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  • Wait a second, is this guy out of jail already?? Something about cheating Native Americans… And what else? Oh, yeah, he’s been heard saying that he advocates a violent overthrow of the U.S. government by radical Christians. If you don’t believe me, look it up. The way they’ve been going after the military, they might just do it. The older voters in this election will believe anything Pat Robertson tells them, poor saps, (“let’s buy another prayer shawl, Artie”) and let’s face it, much of this was lingering resentment over our first black president and the fact he accomplished something Bill and Hillary could never do, pass a comprehensive health care law. All the neo-cons can do is crap all over it instead of (gasp!) reading it and asking people how well it’s working (and it’s working pretty well, I hear). Let them have their sway; let’s see what they can do, because very few Republicans are even interested in our government any more, they just want to work out their own guilt and frustration from being grownups that believe in fairy tales.

  • “In every country and in every age, the preacher has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”
    -Thomas Jefferson

  • The headline says that Conservative Christians packed an electoral punch.

    The article, and probably reality, says they are claiming it. World of difference.

  • most of us who vote never heard of the .faith and freedom coalition ..I think what happened this time is people became concerned with not having jobs every thing costing so much unaffordable health care ..We don’t want our country to go broke most of us really do care that every one has health care and we do care about doing something so people can stay with their family’s with out being deported
    and also have real security at our border’s.. I THINK Obama woke every one up including us registered republicans
    to the fact our nation could help the needy more than it has.. Perhaps that what ths country needs a Democrat for president and both house controlled by republicans .. WILL SEE IF THAT WORKS OUT BETTER…. IF IT WORKS GOOD—— WE CAN KEEP IT THAT WAY.. MOST OF US JUST WANT IT TO WORK FOR THE BENEFIT OF EVERY ONE..

  • Great for those millennials of today who are less likely to vote!!!! 😀

    Why? Because God’s kingdom or heavenly government will soon put an end to all corrupt governments (Daniel 2:44), as well as all the daily problems on our planet!!

    That kingdom will put an end to all wicked ones (even terrorists), according to Psalm 37:10 11).

    It will rule with perfect righteousness, love and justice (imagine that!!!) and the animal kingdom will be at peace with one another (yes, I want to pet some tigers and hold a cobra in my hand with no fear!!) according to Isaiah 11:1-9).

    It will even put an end to old age, sickness, disease, pestilence, old age and death (Revelation 21:1-4)

    So why exactly should millennials, or any other age group, for that matter, support all of man’s governments that are already doomed (and it is quite obvious today that they are already failing?)??

  • Jack,

    That’s very odd, that some radical “Christians” would be interested in overthrowing the U.S. Government since God’s kingdom or heavenly government will soon put an end to all of man’s corrupt, selfish and greedy governments (Daniel 2:44), replacing them, and ruling with love, righteousness and justice (Isaiah 11:1-9).

    They must not be reading and/or studying their Bibles!!

  • Fran, why should we put any stock in what your bible says about the supposed kingdom of your nasty, vengeful “god” that it describes, when there is no evidence that the bible has predicted anything else correctly, and since it gets so much about the everyday world wrong?

    For that matter, why can’t you give a specific date for the prediction? The reason is that the prediction is pure fraud, and merely keeps people waiting while never delivering.

  • Fran, really, why should we put any stock in what your bible says about the supposed kingdom of your nasty, vengeful “god” that it describes, when there is no evidence that the bible has predicted anything else correctly, and since it gets so much about the everyday world wrong?

    For that matter, why can’t you give a specific date for the prediction? The reason is that the prediction is pure fraud, and merely keeps people waiting while never delivering.

    I presume you’ll be waiting at the edge of your flat-round earth under a mustard tree?

  • @Fran,

    “If fulfilled prophecy is your criterion, why do you not believe in science
    which has an unparalleled record of fulfilled prophecy?
    Consider, for example, eclipses.”

    – Carl Sagan

  • Fran, detailed study of the bible merely shows that your vengeful sky creature purportedly has some horrible, violent guidance for humans. Now get out and sacrifice that goat or your nasty sky fairy is going to smite you and torture you eternally.

  • It’s not likely that conservative Christians can repeat the success of the midterm elections in 2016. It’s not even clear that conservative Christians should be taking any credit for the 2014 mid-term results anyway.

    Ralph Reed needs to remember that if conservative Christians really had so much influence and power to boast about, the turncoat OBAMA would have not been re-elected in 2012, and America would not now be HALF-DEAD (and dying further) from the Gay Marriage Virus.

    Conservative Christians are still weakened, and the meaning of the words “Christian”, “Evangelical”, “Conservative”, are still confused and up for grabs. So this year’s election victory should be seen as a grace period in which to get Christians to start agreeing with (instead of disagreeing) with their Bibles again..

  • You have to keep in mind that when you hear Jack accusing “radical Christians” of advocating for “violent overthrow of the government”, you must be VERY careful about accepting any of Jack’s claims. For example, neither Ralph Reed nor Pat Robertson advocates any “violent overthrow of the government”, yet Jack hates them both.

    And most of all, Jack hates the Bible far far worse than ANY of those “radical Christians” do

  • Reed’s a very corrupted figure, and it’s a business with him.

    1. If you’re assessing Catholic voting behavior and you’re not drawing a distinction between Catholics who attend Mass and Catholics who do not, you’re not engaged in a serious enterprise.

    2. News flash: people’s religious affiliation varies over the life-cycle and young people without spouse or children are commonly unchurched.

    3. If you’re not alive to the actual place voting behavior has in this particular working political society, your discussions are mostly idle.

  • No, “Doc,” We Americans don’t hate these sad, deluded Christianists, we feel sorry for you.

  • Atheist Max, rather than mechanically copying and pasting from New Atheist hate sites, you should first check their accuracy.

    Case in point: Jefferson didn’t say “preacher,” but “priest.” And even were that not the case, he couldn’t have possibly meant preachers because even though he was not a Christian, he had Christian friends, including Christian friends who were preachers. Moreover, a number of these preacher friends fought side by side with him in the battle for liberty against Britain. At least one prominent preacher, John Witherspoon, signed Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence — you know, that document in which the signatories pledged their lives, fortunes, and honor for the sake of freedom.

    So involved were preachers for independence from Britain that the American Revolution used to be called the Presbyterian Revolution — because so many of the instigators were Presbyterian preachers.

  • Ben, they did pack an electoral punch, but on the other hand, there are millions of evangelicals like Fran who never vote. This ensures that they will have influence that, while significant, will be well under what their large numbers would predict. And that gives you radical lefties an opportunity to have influence well about what your small numbers would predict.

    Ben, you should thank the millions of Frans out there for making many triumphs of yours possible.

  • The problem with evangelicals is that the percentage that vote is surprisingly low. Half aren’t registered, and half of those who are registered don’t vote.

    Part of the reason is bad or poorly developed theology…..much of evangelicalism of the last century was based on a hyper-fundamentalism that withdrew from the culture rather than engaging it and confronting it when it took bizarre and destructive directions.

    The Bible’s charge to Christians is to be in the world but not of the world — to be light and salt in the world.

    If the sin of liberal Protestantism was to be both in and of the world, the sin of evangelical Protestantism for decades was to withdraw from the world. While evangelical baby boomers by the millions brought evangelicalism back into the world, leading to an American renaissance in the 1980s and 1990s, millions more remained stuck in ultra-fundamentalist separatism, refusing to vote or otherwise say anything to the time and place in which they lived.

  • Actually, Pat Robertson did explicitly call for the State Department to be blown up with a nuclear device, which more or less sounds like a violent overthrow to me:

    “‘If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that’s the answer.” — Pat Robertson, modern apostle

    As for Ralph Reed, he is a bit more clever than Robertson has ever been. He said that Americans have the duty to overthrow the government if it violates “those God-given rights” (which he implied the Obama administration was doing), then coyly added that he wasn’t “necessarily” advocating that.

  • Bob, you really don’t know what you’re talking about. One of the most obvious distinguishing features of the Bible was precisely its predictive ability — a point that has been duly noted by writers and historians for centuries and even millennia.

    One example is both the worldwide exile of the Jewish people and their eventual return to their homeland. Hundreds of years before they actually were exiled throughout the world following Rome’s destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and its crushing of the Bar Kochba revolt in 135, such exile was predicted……as was an eventual return.

    Not only that, but their previous exile by the Babylonians was also predicted almost two centuries before it happened. Not only that, but the king who brought them back from that initial exile, Cyrus the Great, was called out by name in that same prediction, before he was even born.

    Lest you think this was written after the fact (which would be like my telling you that I predict that America will put a man on the moon in 1969….obviously it happened already), writers such as the historian Josephus specifically claimed that when Cyrus conquered the Babylonians, the Jews whom they held captive showed Cyrus where he was mentioned in their prophecies.

    There have been many books written by people from all walks of life, from theologians and journalists to world-class jurists and scientists, remarking on the phenomenon of fulfilled Biblical prophecies.

  • Fran, you should look up “theocrat” in a dictionary. You are grossly misusing the word. Based on your definition, any Christian who doesn’t go AWOL on election day as you regularly do is a theocrat.

  • So by that logic, we should have arrested the Hollywood actors who said they wanted to see President Bush meet an untimely death.

    What’s needed is for people to grow up, yourself included. People who are passionate often say things that they don’t literally mean, and that they have no intention of actually doing. Welcome to politics, American style. It’s not pretty, but it’s always been this way, since the days of Adams v. Jefferson.

  • @Jack,

    “Atheist Max, rather than mechanically copying and pasting from New Atheist hate sites, you should first check their accuracy.”

    I have never seen a ‘new atheist hate site.’
    But rather than mechanically copying and pasting your bible into your brain, perhaps you’ll give a thought to showing some evidence for your god.

    “he had Christian friends, including Christian friends who were preachers.”

    And he hated their gibberish about Jesus. And he said so!

    Thomas Jefferson was disgusted by religion. He hated Christianity.
    He didn’t think the God of the Bible was remotely decent.

    GOD: “FATHERS MUST BURN DAUGHTERS TO DEATH AS HONOR KILLINGS.”

    “And the daughter…if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.” (Leviticus 21:9)

    Go ahead. Defend this. I dare you to try.
    Your God is indecent, rotten nonsense.

    And How dare you talk about freedom? When you deny it to these poor daughters?
    As you live under the direction of this Saddam Hussein dictator who demands Capital Punishment for every crime. And instead of escaping Saddam Hussein – YOU RUN TO HIM!!

    And you think someone like me is going to be impressed?

    ___
    AM
    For Peace, Humanity and The Separation of Church and State

  • @Jack,

    Let’s examine how cranky is your god:

    NO PENIS, NO CHURCH.
    The Lord Said, “He that is wounded in the genitals, or hath his penis cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.”(Deuteronomy 23:1)

    What is this nonsense?
    How does a self-respecting grown man in the year 2014 have even one second of his time for this God story!?

    And you dare to call other people cranky?
    Perhaps if the grownups around here would read their bibles and find out who god is you might finally get a glimpse of why this rotten nonsense is being abandoned by millions every day.

  • @Jack,

    “The problem with Evangelists…”
    “the sin of Protestantism”….
    “the problem with ultra-Fundamentalism…..”

    Yup.
    You are deaf to yourself!

    People like you are the reason we need
    SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.

    “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion or prohibiting the practice thereof”

    You Christians would kill each other without it!

    ___
    AM
    For Peace, Humanity and The Separation of Church and State

  • “America would not now be HALF-DEAD (and dying further) from the Gay Marriage Virus. “

    Half dead you say?
    “Gay marriage boosts NYC’s economy by $259 million in first year”
    http://money.cnn.com/2012/07/24/pf/gay-marriage-economic-impact/

    “Extending marriage rights to same-sex couples in Minnesota would bring an estimated $42 million to the state and local economy.”

    http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/category/research/marriage-and-couples-rights/

    “In the three years following legalized same-sex marriage, about half of the 103,000 same-sex couples living in California will get married and their weddings will generate about $64 million in revenue”
    http://www.dailybreeze.com/social-affairs/20140112/gay-and-lesbian-weddings-to-boost-the-local-economy-experts-say

    It looks like conservative christians want to hurt the economy in the name of the Lord.

  • “I have never seen a ‘new atheist hate site.’”

    Well, there’s a fib if ever there was one.

    For fun and games I have copied and pasted several of your favorite screeds into google and found them word for word in tired atheist echo chambers like [email protected], nogods, evilbible, and the like.

    On the other hand, who knows? Maybe Max is the basement genius behind all of them! LOL!

  • Hi Jack.

    Can’t use the Declaration of Independence as an example, you know. It’s a David Barton fabrication. ROFL!

  • @Shawnie,

    “Well, there’s a fib if ever there was one.”

    Well, then where are these sites?

    Let’s see:
    Evilbible.com
    It quotes the Bible. The selections are all truly disgusting.
    But it is not a “new Atheist hate site”.
    It is an old Atheist hate site.

    Godisimaginary.com
    Enormously eye opening site.
    It quotes the bible. The selections are eye popping.
    It is NOT a “new Atheist hate site”

    ReasonableDoubts
    A very tame and intelligent site but not
    hardly “New Atheists hate site”

    The majority of my commentary is
    based on my own research.
    These topics have all been fleshed out
    and are my own analyses.

    You won’t find it elsewhere on the web:

    1. Thomas’ placement in the canonical gospels
    proves the resurrection is a lie.

    2. How The primitive Volcano Sacrifice
    is alive and well in Christianity.

    3. The secret of the ‘Faith Trick’.

    4. The Suicide of God.

    5. How Sin, Illness and the threat of Hell proves the miracles were coerced.

    6. The nasty Manual which denies it is a Manual.

    7. The comprehensive list of the Lies of Jesus.

    8. Analysis of the Worst Parables of Jesus and why they cannot be true.

    9. The 12 proofs that Jesus lied about what prayer can do.

    10. 40 reasons not to marry Yahweh.

    11. Why God and Satan cannot be interchanged – God is much worse.

    12. How Christianity is like a cement block.

    13. Why Pat Robertson is correct that God talks in earthquakes – and how that disproves the reality of Yahweh.

    If by copy and paste you mean:
    “God is dead”
    or
    “Religion poison’s everything”
    Then I congratulate you on your keen familiarity but you must admit there is no need to copy or paste a sentence like that.

    Meanwhile, you believe that the entirety of Human decency depends on the rise of Christianity. Which is about as factual and as original as claiming the moon is made of cheese.

  • @Shawnie,

    Why don’t you ever get down to brass tacks?

    Defend Honor Killings!
    You promote them every time you promote Jesus – so let’s hear your defense.

    GOD: “FATHERS MUST BURN DAUGHTERS TO DEATH AS HONOR KILLINGS.”

    “And the daughter…if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.”
    (Leviticus 21:9)

    Jesus says we must follow “the commands” and he includes Leviticus. (Mark 10:19)

    So, by all means, explain these virtues
    which Jesus has so gifted us – tell us how Honor Killings have improved society.
    Go!

  • Hi Shawnie.

    Yes, both the Declaration and the Constitution are David Barton fabrications.

    So is the religion clause in the First Amendment……

    And of course, atheist states that commit mass murder are theocracies.

    Move over, George Orwell — here comes MaxWorld….

  • No, Atheist Max. In a free society, people naturally debate, discuss, and disagree without harming each other.

    I guess you live in a bubble where everybody thinks like you do.

  • Max, I grew up with the Bible so I know what’s in it. And you and I both know exactly what you’re doing with it. You have no idea how foolish you appear when you carry on as you do.

  • Jack, sadly, many of us also “grew up with the bible”. Some of us, though, were smart enough to realize that most of it, including the “god did it” parts are complete bunkum.

  • Jack, seriously, you are the crazier sounding one, out of you and Max. Are you not able to address the substance of what he has to say, instead of attacking his person?

  • Unlike in the Christian bubble, in which if you don’t believe in god or don’t do as he says, or voice an opinion that goes against the beliefs, god will burn you forever.

    I’d say you’re the one in the bubble. I don’t regret having to burst it for you.

  • Jack, your statement is false and your claim is flimsy, as usual. That claim about Cyrus is especially suspect, so if that is your best you can do, you fail. Isaiah is claimed to have prophesied specifically that Cyrus would be Babylon’s conqueror and would enter through gates, and that he made this prediction over 140 years before the event. In reality, that section of Isaiah was written shortly before 537 BCE, so even if the prediction was not made after the event its occurrence at least was imminent and the name of Cyrus would have been known. No prophecy required or proven there. You get a big fail whale on that one.

    Also see here: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Failed_biblical_prophecies

    “Isaiah’s reference to gates, although the actual means Cyrus used to gain entry to the city of Babylon, was nonetheless meant figuratively. This is evidenced by noting the continued use of obviously figurative language in the next verse:

    I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. (NIV)

    It should be noted that Babylon is not actually mentioned anywhere in the chapter.

    It should also be noted that “anointed” as used in Isaiah 45:1 is translated into Hebrew as “messiah” and into Greek as “Christ.” Although never admitted by Christians, this passage seems to assert that Cyrus is the messiah. ”

    Seriously, present any recent evidence for your specific god story, or any bible prophecy, with exact dates, that is verifiable now. Good luck with that; no one else has ever succeeded at it.

  • @Jack,

    “In a free society, people naturally debate….”

    You are free thanks to Atheism – as in the Separation of Church and State which does not allow anyone to claim a particular god over everyone else.

    Because Separation of Church and State forbids killing in the name of religion.

    Wherever there is religion, freedom does not exist:

    Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Texas….

    ___
    AM
    Freedom from religion is the most important freedom.

  • @Jack,

    You grew up with the Bible but you didn’t read it.

    I SHALL SLAUGHTER ALL OF THE CHILDREN WHO CALLED YOU ‘BALDY’! THEY SHALL BE RIPPED TO BITS!

    “From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them IN THE NAME OF THE LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.”
    (KINGS 2:23-24)

    America needs to be free of this god nonsense as fast as possible!

    Abandon this ridiculous nonsense.

    ___
    AM
    For Freedom, Peace, Love and the SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE

  • Bob, I note how you passed over completely the first example of biblical prophecy fulfilled — the remarkable foretelling of two exiles and two returns of the Jewish people, from and to their land.

    I guess trying to explain those away would make you look awfully silly indeed…..perhaps even anti-Semitic if you weren’t careful…..since ultimately you would be calling the Jewish people and their ancestors a group of liars who went to exceptional lengths to concoct a series of cock-and-bull stories and then foist them on the world.

    But let’s deal now with your attempts to explain away the Cyrus prophecy — the remarkable calling out of Cyrus’ name and mission in the Book of Isaiah, named after a Jewish prophet who lived nearly two centuries before Cyrus was even born.

    In your effort to debunk the prophecy, you rely on a problematic old theory about their being two — or even three or four — separate “Isaiahs”, writing the Book of Isaiah both before and after Cyrus.

    The problem is two-fold. First, the theory has an anti-supernaturalist bias, ie that foretelling the future with such astonishing precision that people’s names as well as missions are depicted, is not possible. Simply put, you’re accepting a theory which begins by trashing all pretense to scholarly objectivity.

    Second, and more disturbing, you are accepting a methodology of examining the veracity of texts that contradicts the way historians and other textual scholars normally operate.

    The way scholars normally look at old documents like Isaiah is exactly the way courts of law normally look at witnesses. Witnesses are presumed — until proven otherwise — to be seeking to relate facts and truth before the court. Likewise, when a scholar peruses the Book of Isaiah, the normal starting point is to assume that Isaiah wrote the whole book until proven otherwise. The burden is on those who insist he didn’t, not on those saying he did.

    And skepticism about people’s ability to foretell the future isn’t enough to debunk the claim. What you need is hard evidence, not speculation, indicating that there was a second or third Isaiah writing during or after Cyrus’s life. You need something either within or outside the text to indicate this. But you have nothing of the kind….all you have is, again, an anti-supernaturalist bias that says prophecies and other miracles are impossible.

    An example of internal evidence would be evidence that linguistically, the Book of Isaiah can be cut into two or more books, each with a distinctive literary style. But even then, it would have to be so distinct, it would be virtually impossible for one person to have written both or all sections. No such evidence exists. What does exist is the fact that whoever wrote the Book of Isaiah is a literary genius — his prose is among the most distinctly majestic in the ancient world…..from start to finish, it is gorgeous writing in every respect.

    So in order to claim there were two Isaiahs writing centuries apart, you would have to posit not one, but two, and maybe three or four separate literary masters of the craft, all Jewish, and in the case of the Cyrus passage, one of them clearly a sociopath, and a successful one at that, given how he convinced the entire Jewish people to believe he was writing before, not after the fact.

    And that leads to another point….Given the intelligence and literacy of the Jewish people, then as well as now, would not a single Jew have discovered the hoax, and if so, why is there not a single extra-biblical Jewish writing or tradition from that time which points to the supposed hoax?

    Not only is there no such thing, the one prominent ancient Jewish source we do have outside the Bible which discusses the Cyrus prophecy not only claims it’s true but attempt to elaborate on it. Writing 19 centuries ago, the Jewish historian Josephus mentions the Cyrus prophecy, and claims that when Cyrus entered Babylon, Jews in Babylon showed him the Isaiah prophecy. He goes on to say that this motivated Cyrus to free the Jews and allow them to return if they pleased to their homeland. Josephus even purports to quote Cyrus’ proclamation on the matter.

    I don’t expect you to abandon faulty assumptions or methodologies because you have an emotional, vested interest in your bigotry against the Bible and Biblical religion, but for the sake of others, it’s worth it to reveal them and how radical skeptics regularly deploy them when playing gotcha games with the text.

  • Cut your usual [email protected], Jack. It’s a laugh to see you try to taint someone else with “faulty methodologies” and similar labels.

    Enough with your babble already. Present any modern evidence in support of your specific sky fairy. You can’t. There isn’t any, and your beliefs in your absurd Christian myths are inappropriate and stupid.

  • No, Bob, the burden is on you to prove that there was a second writer of Isaiah who committed fraud.

    You have no proof and so the prophecy stands. Isaiah wrote about Cyrus nearly 150 years before he existed. Until you find your second or third or fourth Isaiah, or any ancient claims of one, you have nothing but creative speculation. And that is no substitute for evidence against the text.

  • Doris, before patting yourself on the back for being “smart enough to realize” that the Bible is “bunkum,” you should ask whether you’re where you’re at due to thorough investigation or negative emotions based on disappointing experiences. Thorough investigation means reading both sides.

  • So now Max has crowned himself a Torah scholar who needs not consult rabbis who have studied and commented on its text for over two millennia. And unlike the rabbis, Max knows better than they do. Max unlike them can see the insanity of it all.

    And of course, based on Max’s logic, there is no context necessary for any of what he’s posting. All of it is self-explanatory, and based on Max’s views, the Jews must be a wildly violent people to be following such a purportedly bloodthirsty god.

    What’s wrong with this picture? Everything.

    The Jews are anything but bloodthirsty, and like Christians, regularly present their God as far more merciful than judgmental, and far more willing to forgive than condemn.

    Ah….but how does that fit with Max’s portrayal of the Jewish God?

    It doesn’t.

    Someone is desperately wrong……

    So who is wrong? Max the fanatic or the Torah scholars? A rabid atheist with a million axes to grind over God knows what happened in his own life, or over two millennia of Jewish scholars pouring over the text and ending up with a God in whom mercy triumphs over judgment?

    Obviously the same may be said for Christian scholars and both the Old and New Testaments.

    Max, you can continue your charade forever, but it doesn’t change the reality of two living peoples — Jews and Christians – including their scholars who are far more knowledgeable than you will ever be on textual and historical interpretations- seeing a completely different God than you do.

    Maybe that’s because, unlike you, they don’t deliberately ransack the Bible for evidence of a bad god while deliberately ignoring the overwhelming number of verses and chapters in the Bible which show the depth of God’s goodness, wisdom and mercy, and which often put the supposed badness in its appropriate context.

    Maybe it’s because they are operating in good faith as scholars, while you are operating in bad faith as a polemical hack.

  • No, Jack, I do not. Don’t be so insulting and you might not get such negative reactions. I stated clearly one of many problems with the Christian doctrine. Now, in the bible, how many people has your god killed again, vs. even your devil? How many races does he threaten to wipe out for not doing what he says?
    Enough.

  • Jack, is your god perfect as claimed, or not? Sure sounds like he is far from it. Which makes him…

    drumroll please…

    …not a god!

  • @Jack,

    “unlike you, they don’t deliberately ransack the Bible for evidence of a bad god while deliberately ignoring the overwhelming number of verses and chapters in the Bible which show the depth of God’s goodness, wisdom and mercy…”

    Ransack?

    Open your Bible ….

    JESUS TELLS HIS ENTOURAGE TO BUY SWORDS
    AND PREPARE FOR BATTLE WITH THE ENEMY

    “Then said Jesus unto them, ‘But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” – (Luke 22:36-37)

    “CHRISTIANS MUST UNITE AGAINST ALL ARABS”
    “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God … Abraham’s seed, and all the heirs according to God’s promise.” (Galatians 3:29)
    This means the seed of Ishmael, all Arabs, are not welcome.

    God – “GO KILL THE NON-BELIEVERS”
    “everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, is to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.” (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

    JESUS HATES IT — When PEOPLE PLAN FOR THEIR FUTURE
    “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.” (MATTHEW 6:34)
    This is despicable advice!

    THE LORD SAYS, BE A GOOD SEX SLAVE. DON’T RUN TO FREEDOM!
    “Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those WHO ARE PERVERTED.” (1 Peter 2:18)

    THE LORD COMMANDS, MAKE YOUR SLAVES INTO PERMANENT PROPERTY BY BRANDING
    The Lord said, “if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him…to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.” (EXODUS 21:5)
    Despicable nonsense.

    I think it is a wonderful, joyful thing that there is no reason to believe that any of this is true!

  • @Jack,

    “Pam, you obviously live in a bubble, with your unique view that equates assertions with proofs.”

    Proof = science
    Assertions = claims

    Where is your evidence, Jack.
    200 posts by you and I have yet to see the slightest clue that you are aware of the importance of this question.

  • Bob, you went out on a ridiculous limb by saying there was no evidence of biblical prophecies fulfilled. In so doing, you put yourself squarely in the category of biblical ignoramus. Rather than walk it back, you doubled down and made a further fool of yourself.

    Now you’re trying to wiggle away by diversionary tactics ranging from empty rhetoric to a generalized hissy fit. But my posts and your non-responses speak for themselves.

    I gave two obvious examples of prophecies fulfilled. You ignored one of them — the fulfilled prophecies of Jewish return to the land from whence they were exiled. Both exile and return were prophesied…..not once, but twice. And after I refuted your bumbling response to the Cyrus prophecy, all you could do was sputter and stammer like a child caught unprepared for a test.

    Next time, do your homework before making absolutist statements about subjects about which you know little. This way, you will avoid looking silly again.

  • Pam, be real. The reason you, Max, and others attack the Bible isn’t because its standards are too low, but because they are too high. You and they object to its moral standards because you want to live and do as you please, without any accountability. What better way to get out from under those standards than to turn the tables and indict the very text that puts up a mirror to your own thoughts and behavior? You’re like a collection of rebellious teenagers who chafe under adult authority and think you can get out from under it by searching for examples of adult hypocrisy. The whole effort is childish.

    The idea that you and Max and the others object to the Bible for some high-minded reason is frankly laughable. The idea that any of you are thoughtful people genuinely agonizing over the evils of the world is about as believable as the world being flat and two and two making five.

    All of you need to grow up and act like adults. Adolescent rebellion is for adolescents, not people who are presumably middle-aged or older.

    Your problem is the same as Max’s. You think you can wish reality away. But you can’t. It is what it is, God is who He is, and all the word games and out-of-context quotes and deliberate omissions aren’t going to change that.

  • “You think you can wish reality away.”

    Nonsense.
    You are the one in the wishing business, not me.

    “Only say the word and I shall be healed.”

    Shameful foolishness. Completely immoral and irresponsible.

  • Max, if you are a joyful person, you hide it pretty well.

    And I suspect that what really bothers you and Pam and friends about the Bible are some of the 10 commandments you probably wish weren’t there.

  • Jack,

    How about you explain why God wanted mass raping of virgins to happen…

    MASS RAPE IS COMMANDED BY GOD
    The Lord said, “but save FOR YOURSELVES every girl who has never slept with a man.” (Numbers 31:18)

    JESUS WAS IMPATIENT – HE WISHED IT WAS ALREADY TIME
    TO BURN HUMANITY AND KILL EVERYTHING

    “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on Earth? No, I tell you, but division.” – Jesus – (Luke 12:49-51)

    GOD COMMANDS WOMEN TO MARRY THEIR RAPISTS
    “If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.” (Deut. 22:28)

    Every time you tell people they should believe this garbage, you owe an explanation as to why you claim your god approves of these behaviors.

    Why, Jack?
    Why are you connecting yourself so strenuously to this garbage?

    How many thousands of examples will it take to wake you up?

  • I am NOT joyful about religion. I am joyful about life.
    I hate religion – and I hate the way it lies to people about what it is all about.

    Explain yourself. Why are you believing this garbage?

  • There aren’t 10 commandments!
    There are 602!

    Death by stoning is a commandment by another name!

    Kill Fortunetellers
    “A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death.” (Leviticus 20:27 NAB)

    If your god is so perfect why is every single one of his stoning laws considered a commandment?
    And why are they not ‘perfect’ anymore? Why has humanity decided they are total nonsense?
    What good is ‘perfect law’ if it isn’t any good at any time in history?
    How can a perfect law go bad?

    You have a thousand questions to answer and instead of answering you pick on those of us who clearly see this as nonsense.

    Why don’t you answer the questions? Do you not believe this garbage after all??

  • Pam, this is not some high school popularity contest, where the goal is to get everyone to applaud. This is a place to discuss ideas and beliefs in an adult way.

    All you’ve done is parrot Max’s spam posts copied from militant hate sites. You’re oohing and aahing about texts that have been studied and commented on by Jewish and Christian scholars for over 2 thousand years. You and Max are acting like children who think they’ve somehow discovered some really cool thing the adults have been covering up….when in reality, the adults are light years ahead of you on all aspects of the supposed problem.

    If either of you had an ounce of common sense between you, you’d have figured this out for yourselves.

  • In other words, Max, you want to keep filling these message boards with spam from hate sites without anyone opposing its content or commenting on such tactics.

    How dare anyone oppose Mad Max, the Spam King of the religion boards….

  • You hardly sound joyful — nor do you sound like someone who has moved on from his former belief in the Bible. You sound rather haunted by it…..you have a rather Gothic obsession about it. How else would you explain your blizzard of hate spam copied from crackpot web sites?

  • Sorry Max, but I agree with the Declaration of Independence, that my rights come from God…..

    Maybe you should read it sometime.

  • Your statement is false as usual, Jack, and as usual your claims are full of the output of a back end of a bull. First, the “prophecy” you claim is so old and obscure that it can’t be verified, nor is it provable that the same “Cyrus” was involved, nor that the sequence is correct. Unless you can do better than that, my statement there stands.

    That claim about Cyrus is especially suspect, so if that is your best you can do, you fail. Isaiah is claimed to have prophesied specifically that Cyrus would be Babylon’s conqueror and would enter through gates, and that he made this prediction over 140 years before the event. In reality, that section of Isaiah was written shortly before 537 BCE, so even if the prediction was not made after the event its occurrence at least was imminent and the name of Cyrus would have been known. No prophecy required or proven there. You get a big fail whale on that one because you cannot present conclusive proof to the contrary. A lot of years have passed.

    Also see here: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Failed_biblical_prophecies

    “Isaiah’s reference to gates, although the actual means Cyrus used to gain entry to the city of Babylon, was nonetheless meant figuratively. This is evidenced by noting the continued use of obviously figurative language in the next verse:

    I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. (NIV)

    It should be noted that Babylon is not actually mentioned anywhere in the chapter.

    It should also be noted that “anointed” as used in Isaiah 45:1 is translated into Hebrew as “messiah” and into Greek as “Christ.” Although never admitted by Christians, this passage seems to assert that Cyrus is the messiah. ”

    Seriously, cut the crap and present any modern evidence for your specific god story, or any bible prophecy, with exact dates, that is verifiable now. Got that, yet? Modern, and verifiable now. Good luck with that; no one else has ever succeeded at it because none exists.

  • Your statement is false as usual for you, Jack, and as usual your claims are full of the output of a back end of a bull. First, the “prophecy” you claim is so old and obscure that it can’t be verified, nor is it provable that the same “Cyrus” was involved, nor that the sequence is correct. Unless you can do better than that, my statement there stands.

    That claim about Cyrus is especially suspect, so if that is your best you can do, you fail. Isaiah is claimed to have prophesied specifically that Cyrus would be Babylon’s conqueror and would enter through gates, and that he made this prediction over 140 years before the event. In reality, that section of Isaiah was written shortly before 537 BCE, so even if the prediction was not made after the event its occurrence at least was imminent and the name of Cyrus would have been known. No prophecy required or proven there. You get a big fail whale on that one because you cannot present conclusive proof to the contrary. A lot of years have passed.

    Also see here: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Failed_biblical_prophecies

    “Isaiah’s reference to gates, although the actual means Cyrus used to gain entry to the city of Babylon, was nonetheless meant figuratively. This is evidenced by noting the continued use of obviously figurative language in the next verse:

    I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. (NIV)

    It should be noted that Babylon is not actually mentioned anywhere in the chapter.

    It should also be noted that “anointed” as used in Isaiah 45:1 is translated into Hebrew as “messiah” and into Greek as “Christ.” Although never admitted by Christians, this passage seems to assert that Cyrus is the messiah. ”

    Seriously, cut the crap and present any modern evidence for your specific god story, or any bible prophecy, with exact dates, that is verifiable now. Got that, yet? Modern, and verifiable now. Good luck with that; no one else has ever succeeded at it because none exists.

  • Jack, please stop your frequent ad hominem attacks on people who disagree with you here. Such attacks just show even further how weak your case for your god myths really is. Clearly you are very frustrated, but it really is time for you to take a chill pill, you vicious, angry Christian.

  • In other words, Bob, you can dish it out but you can’t take it. That’s often the case with bigoted people. They are insensitive toward others and hypersensitive when it comes to themselves. That’s why I’ve always said that bigotry goes deeper than mere ignorance. It’s a character flaw that education can’t easily remedy.

  • @Jack,

    “Hate spam”

    Is that what you call the Bible?

    Every awful thing I am pointing out is coming out of the book
    you profess to believe in and the God you say you LOVE.

    GOD SAYS – CUT OFF YOUR WIFE’S HAND IF SHE TOUCHES ANOTHER MAN’S PENIS.
    “If men get into a fight with one another, and the wife of one intervenes to rescue her husband from the grip of his opponent by reaching out and SEIZING HIS GENITALS, you shall cut off her hand; show no pity.” – (DEUT. 25:11)

    You love this god?
    Cut off your wife’s hand? Show no pity?

    You are right that it is ‘hate’ but it isn’t spam.
    It is your god, your bible, your religion.

    There are serious negative consequences in the world for promoting a bad idea – Just ask the people who are beheaded every day under the faith-based ISIS regime.

  • Well, Bob, this looks to be at least the third time you posted your attempted debunking of the Cyrus prophecy — which necessitates the invention of a second writer (or third, or maybe even a fourth writer) of the Book of Isaiah.

    The problem is that it’s no more convincing now than it was the first or the second time.

    It suffers from the same two errors mentioned earlier.

    First, in dating the Cyrus reference in Isaiah to 537 BC, it concludes this reference was written after the fact, ie after Cyrus appeared on the scene. Why such a conclusion? Quite simply, it makes a blatantly anti-supernaturalist assumption. It assumes that foretelling the future with such precision is impossible. And that is not objective scholarship. Objective scholarship tries to guard precisely against smuggling in such biases.

    Second, it turns the common-sense rules of historical evidence on their head. Under these rules, for example, if Isaiah, the 8th century BC Hebrew prophet from Judea, is deemed the author of the book that bears his name, the presumption is he wrote all of it until proven otherwise. The burden rests on those saying someone else wrote some of it. If they can’t meet the burden, then the conclusion stands: Isaiah wrote all of it.

    The burden is met only when someone can find something either within the Isaiah text itself or outside of it that unassailably proves a second author.

    But nobody has done so……ever.

    Lots of speculation, yes. But that’s it. Creative speculation backed by nothing other than an anti-supernaturalist bias that says foretelling the future with such detail is impossible. In fact, the only reason anyone ever thought of assigning more than one author to the Book of Isaiah is because of the astonishing prediction about Cyrus is so inherently unbelievable to some people. It’s a clumsy attempt to explain away the prediction, plain and simple.

    One of the best commentaries which touches on the Cyrus issue can be found in a marvelous work by Rabbi Hertz, written way back in the 1930s, but just as relevant today as ever…..which is why many Orthodox and Conservative Jews still give it to their kids after their Bar Mitzvahs.

    Hertz was the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire and in his commentary on the Five Books of Moses and the prophets, he has a section devoted to the Isaiah authorship issue and thus the Cyrus matter.

    One of several points he makes is that virtually no writing in the history of the Jews, including writings contemporary with Isaiah or the later Babylonian exile and return, mentions the existence, let alone the name, of a second author of Isaiah. That alone is enough to make the single-author notion — and hence the Cyrus prophecy — stand. And while I’ve mentioned Josephus as corroborating the single-author notion, Hertz adds a second source that is even more ancient — namely one in the inter-testamental writings of the third century BC.

    Hertz in other words makes some of the same points that I and others have made. But he is a lot more patient than I am, so if you’re truly open-minded (which I doubt you are), you may find his an easier read.

  • Max, you still haven’t answered the obvious question. If Jews wrote the Bible, and the Bible is as you say it is, then the Jews should be worse than ISIS. Yet the Jews are probably as morally sane and as repelled by violence as any people in history.

    Moreover, Jewish biblical scholars throughout history have stressed the compassion and mercy of God, as have Christian scholars.

    Obviously, your portrayal of the Bible of the Jews is deeply suspect if the behavior of the Jews, not just today, but over the millennia, is precisely the opposite of what you’re portraying.

    One does not fit with the other in any way.

  • Enough dodging, Jack. Your statement is false as usual, Jack, and as usual your claims are full of the output of a back end of a bull. First, the “prophecy” you claim is so old and obscure that it can’t be verified, nor is it provable that the same “Cyrus” was involved, nor that the sequence is correct. Unless you can do better than that, my statement there stands.

    Now, seriously, cut your usual crap and present any modern evidence for your specific god story, or any bible prophecy, with exact dates, that is verifiable now. Got that, yet? Modern, and verifiable now. Good luck with that; no one else has ever succeeded at it because none exists.

  • Jack, you’re so spot-on it’s not even funny. The only real evidence offered for a second-third-fourth writer of Isaiah is the mention of Cyrus itself. So supposedly the thing disproves itself. Hilarious.

    Of course, it’s the same argument used to try to late-date the gospels. They couldn’t have predicted the destruction of the Temple so they must have been written afterward. Very convenient.

  • Hey Jack, are you thinking what I’m thinking?

    Both Max and Bob seem to use “disgusting” an awful lot…

  • Both Jack and Shawnie5 post ad hominem fallacies a lot…It’s clearly a common thing for typically hateful, angry Christians to do.

  • Jack, please show where I have “parroted” Max’s posts. If you cannot show that, then please be honest and take back your accusation. Thank you.

    And I honestly made my post originally. I think you are simply being a hater who does not debate fairly. Looking at your other posts here, it seems that is how you often act. It says a lot about you.

  • LoL! Ad homs like “despicable, disgusting coward?”

    I think everyone here can plainly see who’s “angry,” Max. I for one am not angry in the slightest–mostly just amused.

  • Shawnie, Bob’s post, while ad hominem, wasn’t an ad hominem fallacy. Don’t you understand the difference, dear?

  • I assure you that I am not Bob, nor am I anyone else.
    But I agree with other atheists around here that you are not answering their questions.

    And isn’t that the best way to stop atheism? Just answer the questions they put to you.

    If you don’t like Atheism – the lack of belief in a god – then please give us some reason to believe. Why not try some real evidence for a change instead of ad hominems against us all?

  • Jack,

    “if Jews wrote the Bible…then the Jews should be worse than ISIS.”

    Yes. Jewish and Christian believers are as bad as ISIS.
    “THE ONLY REMEDY FOR HOMOSEXUALS IS THAT THEY BE PUT TO DEATH..”

    – PASTOR ROBBY GALLATY
    TENNESEE MEGACHURCH
    SEPTEMBER 4, 2014

    “Moreover, Jewish biblical scholars throughout history have stressed the compassion and mercy of God, as have Christian scholars.”

    IS God’s word not clear? WHAT MERCY?
    “I AM YOUR GOD AND I HAVE NO COMPASSION FOR YOU!”
    “I have wiped out many nations, devastating their fortress walls and towers. their cities are now deserted; their streets are in silent ruin. There are no survivors to even tell what happened. I thought, ‘Surely they will have reverence for me now! Surely they will listen to my warnings, so I won’t need to strike again.’ But no!”
    (Zephaniah 3:16)

    GOD “GO AND KILL – EVEN IF THEY SAY THEY ARE SORRY “! :
    “Then the LORD said to me, ‘Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn’t help them. Away with them! Get them out of my sight!” (JEREMIAH 15:1-7)

    I am SHOWING YOU your bible, I am not ‘portraying’ it!

  • @Jack,

    “Religion…..You sound rather haunted by it”

    You bet I am.
    Because I care about people!

    I’m against killing unbelievers of all religions: your God isn’t!
    I’m against killing people of different faiths: your God isn’t!
    I’m against harming anyone for their beliefs: your God isn’t!

    ISLAM SAYS TO OTHERS:
    “The only true faith in God’s sight is Islam.” (Surah 3:19)
    Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it.” (Surah 2:216)
    “Slay them!” (Surah)
    “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.” (Surah 5:51, Q’uran)

    JUDAISM SAYS TO OTHERS:
    “Cursed be he who does the Lords work remissly, cursed he who holds back his sword from blood.” (Jeremiah 48:10)
    “Seize all the non-believers and execute them before the LORD in broad daylight…” (Numbers 25:1-9)

    CHRISTIANITY SAYS TO OTHERS:
    “To those who would not have me as their king, bring them to me and execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! …what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on Earth? No, I tell you, but division.” – Jesus (Luke 12:49-51)
    “Jesus said…Except they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death.” (Rev:1:22)

    All of this is evil.

  • @Jack,

    There are millions of Atheists.
    We outnumber many religious sects combined by a wide margin (Pew Research).

    Pam has not copied me. And Bob is arguing very forcefully.

    Your problem is that you can’t grasp the importance of the questions being put to you. Where is your god?

    You cannot tell me that your god is connected to reality if you cannot demonstrate that connection.

    god appears to be a complete fabrication of your mind. And we see that very clearly.

  • I certainly have an agenda:

    1. Question the claims of religion.

    2. educate Christians on the importance of the Separation of Church and State.

    I don’t believe your claim that god exists.
    I reject your claim that I ‘should’ believe.
    Your claims remain groundless and assertive without supports.

  • “Don’t you understand the difference, dear?”

    Yeah, “dear,” but we haven’t used those either. You must not gave been paying attention.

  • “But I agree with other atheists around here that you are not answering their questions.”

    You don’t want answers to questions, Max. All you want are excuses to hate God and convince others to be God haters like you.

    Back when I was still taking you somewhat seriously, for example, I thoroughly educated you on the Torah provisions which you claimed require women to “marry their rapists.” I patiently showed you that these provisions do not deal exclusively with rape but also with consensual premarital sex, and the choice about marriage was ultimately left up to the girl and her family. Your response? “I do not accept that.”

    Essentailly the same response as “la-la-la-can’t-hear-you.” Why waste further time on that?

    Another thing I remember going over with you was the religion of the Samaritans, an easily verifiable matter. Yet just last week you appeared on one of these threads with the same “The Good Samaritan was an atheist” claim. You don’t learn anything and clearly have no desire to. Why, again, should we, who have non-internet lives after all, bother responding to reams of cut-and-pasted nonsense which you will endlessly regurgitate elsewhere regardless of an answer?

  • @Shawnie,

    “You don’t want answers to questions, Max. All you want are excuses to hate God…”
    You have not answered the questions. Being mad at people who ask questions is not going to make the questions go away.
    Answer the questions coherently – or stop making these fatuous claims about ‘What god wants’ and ‘how god wants it.’

    “I thoroughly educated you …I patiently showed you that these provisions do not deal exclusively with rape but also with consensual premarital sex”
    And your answer was completely unsatisfactory.
    Because you gave no good reason why a God who could forbid Shellfish with the wave of his hand, would skip over forbidding slavery and rape in a similar way!
    Nowhere in the Bible does it say, “Do not have sex with someone without their personal consent”
    Yet,Yahweh bans SHELLFISH INSTEAD!
    Your answer to me was incoherent and not attentive the real question. Why does god not insist that a man get permission from the woman for a sex act?
    It is a fundamental immoral flaw of the bible. And NO, this is not cut-and-pasted from anywhere. And it shouldn’t matter anyway.

    You made the claims – now Answer the questions!

    ” the religion of the Samaritans, an easily verifiable matter. ”
    The Religion of the Samaritans was Pagan and Jewish. It is a free-for-all religion, which I pointed out.
    The point I have made is not the the Samaritan WAS Atheist, but that the Samaritan in Jesus’ parable WAS AN ATHEIST FROM JESUS’ PERSPECTIVE.

    1. Jesus is telling the story, so the Samaritan is not a Christian.
    2. The Samaritans do not comply in the Commandment of Yahweh “Thou Shalt have no other gods before me”
    3. The ONE lesson of the Good Samaritan is that the Golden Rule: ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you’ was universally understood at the time as a decent moral code – and it predates Christianity by thousands of years.

    Jesus told a moral story. Big deal! Confucius did the same thing as did the code of Hammurabi. As does Hamas today! I’m not impressed.

    “You don’t learn anything and clearly have no desire to.”
    That is not true.
    You have taught me some things which I told you I appreciated.
    You did call me out on something a few weeks ago and I specifically said you were correct and I was wrong.

    “Why, again, should we…bother responding”
    IF you want Atheists to stop their yammering – you need to produce evidence of a god.
    There is no reason to believe in a god so far.

    And your typical response to this God question is to talk about the influence of Christianity on our culture over 2000 years as an argument that it is therefor true somehow!
    And you seem unaware of the profound contradictions within that theory.

    If Jesus is true,
    why is there still so much of the world which has not heard of Jesus? What happens to their souls? Did God not care?
    Why does God need humans to spread the WORD to other humans?
    Why can’t God do it without humans?
    Why are there so many thousands of other Gods which people follow without any need of Jesus?
    Why are the most peaceful cultures the Atheistic ones? Is that what god wanted for Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Massachusetts, Washington State?
    Why are Atheists almost never in jail? That seems like a nice blessing bestowed on Atheists! Yet the jails are full of Christians who expect to be forgiven! That seems like a terrible curse god hands to the Christians!

    You insinuate that morality requires a God. But you cannot demonstrate the God part of the equation to be true.

    How can someone ‘need’ that which cannot be demonstrated to even exist ? All the evidence is against you.

  • “Why does god not insist that a man get permission from the woman for a sex act?”

    What God insists on is that a man make a MARITAL COVENANT with a woman for a sex act. Consent is of course integral to that. And there was nothing “completely unsatisfactory” about my reply. What you found unsatisfactory was nothing to do with shellfish but that Exodus 22:17 elaborates upon the premarital sex/rape situation–although why you found that “unsatisfactory” I can’t imagine unless you simply don’t want anyone to interfere with one of your favorite talking points.

    “The ONE lesson of the Good Samaritan is that the Golden Rule: ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you’ was universally understood at the time as a decent moral code – and it predates Christianity by thousands of years.”

    That is NOT the lesson of the Good Samaritan. It was universally understood at that time that you should do unto your EQUALS as you would have them do unto you (“Do not even the heather do that?”). It was unheard of that you would owe this duty to everyone regardless of familial, tribal or national ties. Even the Jews, who had the Imago Dei from the beginning, didn’t want to follow it to its logical conclusion (“And who is my neighbor?”) THAT is what Jesus was addressing.

    I have already told you, Max, I am not interested in trying to convince any of you professional scoffers of God’s existence. God’s existence is outside of science’s ability to “prove” because science deals with what can be observed within the confines of three-dimensional experience. God beyond that and you are like one of Sagan’s two-dimensional “Flatland” citizens trying to explain where “up” is.

    Part of the reason God had to become man is that He had to get down on our severely limited level for us to be able to relate to Him at all.

    And you’re right that I’m extremely interested in theology and scripture as it relates to history — and find it endlessly amusing how you can not even operate without a Judeo-Christian ethical framework that you vehemently deny is even there. Without God, you really have no solid basis upon which to call anything “disgusting” or “despicable.” What can be “evil” about the iinteractions of the various collections of cells and chemicals that make up the human race?

  • Shawnie,

    “What God insists on is that a man make a MARITAL COVENANT with a woman for a sex act.”

    But where is the woman given the choice about which man to marry? There are countless places in the bible where women are subjected to sex and no place where the woman has the right to say no to the sex – marriage comes later, she can opt out – but only after the man has done whatever he wants to her.

    The idea of applying the Golden Rule to everyone is not revolutionary. Besides, the stories show Jesus didn’t believe it himself: Of gentiles Jesus said, “They are dogs” (Matthew 15:26).
    Jesus is incoherent on the subject once you leave the Good Samaritan parable.

    “God’s existence is outside of science’s ability to “prove” because science deals with what can be observed within the confines of three-dimensional experience.”

    That is what I mean.
    These claims are purely made up. What is the meaning of ‘exist’ under these circumstances? If it is true that God is ‘beyond’ knowledge, how would anyone you ever know? Even guesswork is impossible under that definition.
    You are describing something that is so completely undetectable it would be impossible to discern it from ‘NOTHING’.

    “Part of the reason God had to become man is that He had to get down on our severely limited level for us to be able to relate to Him at all.”
    That theory is full of holes.
    The perfect God created an imperfect creation knowing it would be impossible for the imperfect creation to attain perfection – yet demanding it of him anyway?
    What sense does that make?
    And if Jesus is the way, why does he only increase the imperfections by supplying a million contradictions:
    “Love your neighbor” yet “They are dogs” ????

    “you can not even operate without a Judeo-Christian ethical framework that you vehemently deny is even there.”

    This interests me more than you seem to appreciate.
    But I don’t see the explicit dots you are connecting.
    I understand the argument which says we Atheists have climbed up the Christian ladder to modern civilization and upon arriving at democracy and civility we kick the ladder (of Christianity) away as if we never needed it. I do not believe this argument holds water.
    But That is the debate I would rather be having with you but you are not supporting your claims!

    1. Why does god have to really exist in order for Christianity to have altered society in certain positive ways?

    2. If god does not exist, why not keep the bits of Christianity which may be positive and simply admit that the philosophy has served some good? The world is full of philosophies which have had positive side effects even though the general ideas are not real.

    “Without God, you really have no solid basis upon which to call anything “disgusting” or “despicable.””
    I see it exactly the other way around. By pretending (against the evidence) that God is real, there is no limit to the evil which can be done at its command.

    “What can be “evil” about the iinteractions of the various collections of cells and chemicals that make up the human race?”
    If Evil is not about NEEDLESS HARM I don’t know what you would be talking about.
    Evil: killing a dog for no reason. killing a person for no reason. Chopping off a hand for no good reason. Inflicting suffering on others for no good reason.
    Secular Morality is completely explainable. You clearly have not looked into it.
    I would argue that if you have no evidence that God exists you cannot draw a line between moral behavior and a god – THAT WOULD BE THE EVIDENCE I WOULD NEED TO SEE. That would be the line which would connect those dots!
    You claim it is necessarily there….but then you don’t show me the line that proves it comes from the God.

  • Thanks Shawnie. Coming from you, that’s quite a compliment.

    It appears that what we’re saying is sailing over Bob’s head. It confirms how hard hearts beget soft heads.

    What we’re saying is rather simple:

    Bob foolishly claimed there was no evidence of any biblical prophecy fulfilled.

    I responded with two of them — first, the two exiles and returns of the Jewish people, and second, the prophecy about Cyrus in the Book of Isaiah, named after and traditionally attributed to the prophet Isaiah who lived 150 years before Cyrus was even born.

    Bob continues to ignore the first of these, even though the current state of Israel is living proof of it, while offering a feeble response that was refuted, after which he reposted the response several times in between fuming and sputtering.

    It is admittedly amusing…..watching overconfident skeptics charging into the intellectual battlefield and suffering the inevitable consequences.

  • Max, you’re still running away from my question and hiding behind layers of spam.

    Again, if the Bible is as horrible as you say, why are its human writers, the Jews, not operating in real life on the level of ISIS or worse? Why is their history marked not by worse, but by mostly better behavior than most of humanity through the ages? Why don’t Jews have the reputation for being as violent if not more violent than ISIS?

    The contrast between what you say the Bible commands and what the Jews actually do could not be more dramatic or stark. The chasm between them is so gargantuan, it makes you look nonsensical.

  • Shawnie, I agree that the example of skeptics’ trying to explain away Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD by dating the Gospels after that event is another great example of anti-supernaturalist bias being smuggled in.

    Of course, the problem is that the evidence strongly suggests that earlier dating of the Gospels makes more sense. For example, Luke’s Gospel had to have been written before 70 AD because the Book of Acts, its sequel, was written when Paul was still alive. He was beheaded by the Roman emperor Nero around 66 AD. That means Acts was written before 66, and Luke’s Gospel thus even earlier.

  • Your statements are false as usual, Jack. First, the “prophecy” you claim is so old and obscure that it can’t be verified, nor is it provable that the same “Cyrus” was involved, nor that the sequence is correct. Really, the “prophecy” example that you cite is an obscure, unsupportable one. You really should take a closer look at your bigoted, racist Christian superstitions, and ask yourself why your “omnipotent” sky fairy has not made a peep for >2000 years. My statement regarding “prophecy” in your nasty holy book stands.

    Now, regarding your Christian book of horrors, torture, murder, and bigotry, AKA the bible, let’s take a closer look at some of the guidance purportedly from your “god” that’s in there. Direct quotes from both foul testaments, and note the following text about context and interpretation:

    Numbers 31:17-18
    17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man,
    18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

    1 Timothy 2:11
    “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.”

    Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

    Leviticus 25
    44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
    45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
    46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

    Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don’t get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

    Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it’s in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god’s mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

    And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your “god” couldn’t come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken “out of context”, and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you’ve made for yourself.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    Seriously, cut the crap and present any modern evidence for your specific god story, or any bible prophecy, with exact dates, that is verifiable now. Got that, yet? Modern, and verifiable now. Good luck with that; no one else has ever succeeded at it because none exists.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://www.whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • @Jack,

    GOD WANTS you to kill homosexuals.

    GAY LOVE IS NOT REAL LOVE
    You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22)

    GAYS ARE JUST GREEDY THIEVES
    “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

    GAYS ARE SINNERS – THE SORT WHICH MUST DIE
    “For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:26-28)

    EXECUTE THE GAYS
    “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”
    (Leviticus 20:13)

    GAYS ARE LIKE LIARS AND MURDERERS
    “The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality…liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine..” (1 Timothy 1:10)

    GAYS ARE STUBBORN
    “Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:32)

    JESUS: ‘FOLLOW THE EXECUTION LAWS. I ENDORSE ALL OF IT. NO HEAVEN FOR THOSE WHO FAIL.’
    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19)

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