5 Things Everyone Should Know About America’s Religious History

Why we need to retell the American story.

Peter Manseau is a journalist, historian, and novelist. His most recent book, One Nation, Under Gods: A New American Historyis a deeply researched account that challenges standard Christian perspectives of the country’s story. Here, he offers a list of counter-intuitive facts about religion in America.

1. Islam was here from the beginning.

Far from a twenty-first century problem, the fraught relationship between Islam and Christianity shaped the earliest interactions between the Old World and the New. In the shadow of the Reconquista — the reconquering of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors — the Spanish established laws to prevent Islamic influence from reaching the Americas, yet made use of enslaved Muslim converts to Catholicism in the explorations that opened the continents to European influence.

Oblivious to the fact that many of these converts might have changed faith in name alone, the conquistador Francisco Vazquez Coronado led an army of them deep into lands later known as Texas, New Mexico, and Kansas. Nearly a century before other religious travelers dreamed of building a “city upon a hill” in Massachusetts, they were the first of a forgotten Muslim population that later included 20 percent of all Africans sold into bondage.

Allah was here from the beginning, brought in chains.

ONUG-cover2. Indigenous beliefs shaped American religion for centuries.

From the first arrival of Europeans until deep into the nineteenth century — longer than the United States has existed as a republic — the beliefs of those already living in North America transformed every new faith brought to its shores.

From Roger Williams cataloging the dozens of gods he counted among the Narragansett, to the Indian slave woman Tituba who lit the fuse of the Salem Witch Trials, to Joseph Smith writing an entire new scripture to reconcile the lore and legends of Native America with those of the Bible, the story of Christianity’s introduction to the continent was not merely one of indigenous conversion, but of mutual influence.

3. Christianity in America was transformed by slavery.

In the beginning of slavery in the English colonies, it was assumed that Christians should not be slaves. Christian servants might work for a predetermined period under indenture, but the duration of their servitude was limited by definition. Only non-­Christians could be trapped in bondage for life.

This arrangement proved untenable, however. If slavery was defined in relation to belief, then conversion would become a potential path to freedom. Colonial laws were rewritten out of religious and financial necessity: “The conferring of baptisme,” a Virginia statute of 1667 states, “doth not alter the condition of the person as to his bondage or freedom.”

The legal possibility of keeping Christians as slaves only gradually translated into the conversion of an entire people. Many of the beliefs and practices the enslaved had brought with them endured, and later were smuggled into the dominant faith in the forms of worship styles that spread widely during the Second Great Awakening.

4. Atheism helped set the stage for the American Revolution.

Atheism has always been as much about politics as belief. Long before “atheist” was a label proudly worn by some, it was an insult used to call into question one’s moral rectitude. As a colonial sketch of the “character of an atheist” put it: “An atheist is an overgrown libertine . . . and therefor is as constant to his word as the wind.” Such sentiments can be seen even today in several state constitutions that still require office holders to believe in God.

Yet in the middle of eighteenth century, with Enlightenment ideas gaining ground in the colonies, the possibility of applying reason to religion gave the word “atheist” a hint of the forward­-thinking intellectual, and this too had political implications. “The Atheist is a man who doubts of the King’s Right to the Crown,” another colonial scribe wrote, “and during the Doubt, refuses the Oath of Allegiance, or pays no Obedience to Supremacy.”

The line separating belief from non-belief is far less static than we might think; it is situational, shifting with the religious associations of those in power. In the second century, the followers of the upstart faith known as Christianity were called “atheist” because they refused to acknowledge Roman gods. On the eve of the American Revolution, it became a bold protest in favor of reason and self-rule.

5. Belief in America is frustrating for both believers and non-believers, and it should be.

To be part of a religiously pluralistic society is to engage in a paradox: Belief matters both very much and not at all, because we have the right to believe as we please. No one is immune to this paradox’s occasional frustrations. Those who believe that religion is, as Salman Rushdie put it recently, “a medieval form of unreason” are asked to appreciate that it is nonetheless what the theologian Paul Tillich called “a matter of ultimate concern” to many. Those belonging to one creed or another are called upon to act as if faith, no matter the grandeur of its claims, is not so ultimate after all.

Despite the ideological distance between these positions, we live in unspoken agreement that we are bound together by something more significant than our individual beliefs. We do so in the hope that the challenge of making a nation of peoples professing many faiths and no faith can also be a strength. Members of groups with conflicting commitments may have their identities, their sensibilities — and, too often, their bodies — assaulted by proximity to those with radically different ideas, but all are joined in the inevitability that they will be enriched and transformed by difference as well.

Peter Manseau
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  • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

    To Muslims who believe the Quran, “enslaved Muslim converts to Catholicism” are not fellow believers no matter what secret faith they “might” still cherish.

    • drlem93

      Just as to fundamentalist Christians one cannot be considered a Christian unless one adheres to a particular narrow doctrine. Fortunately, one’s beliefs do not rely on other people’s acknowledgement of those beliefs. Nor, I would think, would it keep the enslave Muslims from practicing and passing on their beliefs.

      • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

        Unlike Islam, Christians — fundamentalist or otherwise — don’t have the authority to kill other Christians who have left the faith.

        • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

          Unlike Islam, Christians — fundamentalist or otherwise — don’t have the authority to kill other Christians who have left the faith.

          Actually they do, but christians these days ignore those parts of the bible. In fact it’s the first of the ten commandments: “you shall have no other gods before me”, and the punishment for breaking this rule is detailed in deuteronomy: “take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death”

          The best we can hope for is muslims to cherry-pick the good and ignore the inconvenient parts, like many modern christians and jews do.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            Apparently Islamists cherry-pick the 100 or so “Sword verses” of the Quran, which abrogate all the more peaceful verses before them.
            And as for stoning, Deuteronomy is in the Old Testament; Christianity is the New Testament.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Christianity consists solely of the new testament? That’s an interesting perspective. You know why I don’t get tired of talking to theists, you just never know what they’re going to say next.

            Can I assume you’ve also dumped the ten commandments, since those were some of the oldest parts of the old testament?

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            Posters who assume are often the first three letters, and you’re not talking to a theist, you’re talking to yourself because I never said “Christianity consists solely of the new testament”.

            And if you insist otherwise, you’re a liar as well.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            I never said “Christianity consists solely of the new testament”.

            “Deuteronomy is in the Old Testament; Christianity IS the New Testament.” emphasis mine

            Unless this quote is just poorly worded and doesn’t reflect your actual views. Though if it’s not intended to separate christianity from the old testament, you would have to explain how it’s a theological refutation of the laws in deuteronomy.

            In addition you have yet to explain why the laws of deuteronomy and the laws of exodus would be separately relevant to christianity. Either they’re both equally irrelevant (the view of the marcionites, who saw yahweh as an evil deceiver and christ as the only true god) or they’re equally relevant.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            No one has to bother to explain the Bible a self-avowed atheist trolling this thread.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            “old” in the context of the old testament refers to the collection of folk tales which were passed orally for a very long time before being written down many thousands of years ago; the basis of judaism. “New” from the title ‘new testament’ refers to a slightly less old collection of tales that were passed down orally for some decades before being written down a bit less than 2000 years ago. Judaism and christianity are intimately linked in that they both believe in the existence of and worship the same god: yahweh. Christians believe the stories about jesus christ’s actions and character fulfill a messianic prophecy from judaism while jews (and muslims incidentally) think of jesus as just one more prophet, not the messiah or son of yahweh.

            But I guess I’m just an “atheist troll” who “can’t understand” this stuff. What would I know? By the way, calling someone a troll and running away from the conversation does not chalk up to a substantive response.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            “running away” from you to watch the super bowl?
            And from previous encounters, we both know that you are an atheist who lives to troll religious threads on this forum, even though he thinks the Bible is just a collection of “tales”.
            But now that you have suddenly discovered the difference between new and old, you should now be able to understand that, for the Christian, the newer biblical covenant supersedes the older one.
            Here endeth the lesson.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            “Running away” from my question, which you refused to answer and instead insulted me. Although based on our previous encounters this is precisely the behaviour I expect from you so it no longer surprises me.

            The bible is obviously a collection of stories, I have no idea why you would dispute that. You believe those stories accurately describe reality and I don’t.

            This is hardly what I “live for”, I enjoy reading the articles on this site and commenting on them as one of my lighter hobbies. Gaming, jogging or biking, and listening to debates, lectures, and audio books take up most of my free time.

            Why do you think the new testament overrides the old testament? That’s not theologically justified, in matthew 5:17-18 jesus specifically addresses this by saying “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished” By “the Law or the Prophets” he’s referring exactly to the old testament prophets like moses and the laws they gave the israelites.

            Nice condescending parting shot there buddy, but I’d guess I’m more bible literate than you. Atheists typically are.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            Atheist trolls typically aren’t.
            You claim to be biblically literate, yet you still don’t grasp that for the followers of Christ, the New Covenant supersedes the older one by fulfilling it, not negating it.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            You’re just regurgitating a rationalization you heard at one point for one of your pre-conceived beliefs, simply because it’s convenient for you.

            Do you mean to tell me that you honestly read this sentence: “until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law” which clearly indicates the primacy of the laws of the torah, and somehow by an honest mistake you inverse the meaning to the exact opposite? No, this is pure dishonesty at play. You know you’re wrong and don’t care because it would be very inconvenient for you to take the torah as an instruction manual, as you recognize how barbaric it is.

            I know many christians ignore the old testament because it’s inconvenient, and they make up rationalizations for their position even going so far as to directly reverse the meaning of a clearly stated sentence. If you’ll recall, that’s what I said in my very first post on this thread. Next you’re going to tell me that by “god hardened pharaoh’s heart” what they really meant was “god did not harden pharaoh’s heart”.

            By the way, you still haven’t answered the question of why the exodus laws (the twenty commandments included) would be treated differently than the deuteronomy laws which you don’t follow. In fact I’ll throw in a little prediction since I’ve talked with you so many times: in your next post you’re going to 1. refuse to answer this question, 2. call me a troll or idiot or some other insult, 3. dodge most of the points I made above by ignoring them, and 4. make an assertion without providing evidence or argument to support it. For the record, I would be overjoyed if my prediction turns out wrong and you decide to actually engage in an honest discussion for once.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            There can be no honest discussion with a dishonest troll.

            That said, for the Christian, every letter and stroke of the OT law is fulfilled in Christ, whom atheists like yourself continue to ignore.
            And though you claim to know so much about the entire Bible, you still can’t see that both the old and new covenants point to Christ.
            Epic fail on your part.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Every single one of my predictions came true. It’s a sad state of affairs.

            Whether the entire bible or just the new testament points to christ is a theological topic to be debated between jews and christians. Regardless of which one of you is correct, the exact words of jesus christ were that the OT Laws will not be ignored “until heaven and earth passes away” and “until all is accomplished” which are both clear references to the end times jesus preached about as they use the exact same phrase “heaven and earth passes away”. So whether you think christ is the messiah or not, he told you not to belittle the torah “until heaven and earth passes away”. The only way you can attempt this absurd complete reversal of meaning is by spinning the word ‘fulfill’ like an expert politician. I’m not the one ignoring christ, you’re the one who’s literally trying to take a sentence where he basically says ‘you can’t disobey the torah’ and tell me it means ‘you can disobey the torah’. Are you going to play this idiotic farce with the entire bible now? “thou shalt not kill” really means “thou shall kill”, etc

            You still haven’t answered why the laws of deuteronomy and the laws of exodus would be treated differently. Are you pretending that if you keep ignoring this point you won’t have to deal with it? Anyone can see that you’re dodging this question, sticking your head in the sand is not helping you here.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            So, supposedly “every single one of your predictions came true,” and now you think you’re a prophet?
            Anyone can see that you’re not, but if you were, that would surely be a sad state of affairs for a self-avowed atheist.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Your entire reply is tangential. You did not answer the question I put to you, nor did you respond to my main point about christ’s statement. You’re attempting to deflect the conversation again because you cannot answer honestly and you know I’ll point out dishonesty when I see it. Come on, we’ve talked enough times for me to understand how you ‘argue’, you think this trick is going to work?

            Regarding the technical semantics of law vs punishment, I get a kick out of your ignorance. Punishments are typically written into law as well for all justice systems in the world I know of, including the system presented by the torah. Deuteronomy 12:1 starts by saying this: “These are the decrees and laws you must be careful to follow in the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you to possess”, and then goes on to list all the “decrees and laws” up to and including deuteronomy 17:3 which I quoted earlier. Yes it’s a punishment, and it’s in law. Are you sure you read the bible? Because it seems like you’ve just listened to preachers.

            For the sake of keeping your toes to the fire, I’ll restate the points you must either address, concede, or continue to dodge them like an intellectual coward: Whether the entire bible or just the new testament points to christ is a theological topic to be debated between jews and christians. Regardless of which one of you is correct, the exact words of jesus christ were that the OT Laws will not be ignored “until heaven and earth passes away” and “until all is accomplished” which are both clear references to the end times jesus preached about as they use the exact same phrase “heaven and earth passes away”. So whether you think christ is the messiah or not, he told you not to belittle the torah “until heaven and earth passes away”.

            and: You still haven’t answered why the laws of deuteronomy and the laws of exodus would be treated differently.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            If you get a “kick” out of ignorance, you must really enjoy your own.

            Because, when it comes to religion, atheists as yourself really don’t know what they’re talking about, which is all the more amusing as their cluelessness is painfully obvious to everyone else, with the exception of yourselves.

            The fact is that the “laws” of Deuteronomy and those of Exodus aren’t treated differently; In proper English, your question would be: why are the punishments in Deuteronomy for the commandments in Exodus treated differently from those in the Quran, e.g., why do Jews and Christians no longer kill one another in God’s name, because Muslims still do?

            The answer to the above is as obvious as your own obliviousness: we no longer live in the days when there was no king in Israel and everyone did that which seemed right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25).

            Judeo-Christianity exists in the 21st Century where — in civilized society — everyone is subject to a higher, secular authority (Romans 8:1) and those who take the law into their own hands are the ones who are punished.

            But according to Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, whenever your eyes see something that is wrong, you must fix it with your own hands (Hadith 34). That’s why even today, more than 90 percent of all honor killings worldwide are done by Sunni Muslims, even though the home of Islam, Saudi Arabia, has its own king whose kingdom performs official beheadings.

            In Islamic groups such as ISIS, Boko Haram and al-Qaeda, Muslim jihadists kill Jews, Christians, other Muslims, and yes, even clueless atheists like yourself.

            But don’t let that stop you from continuing to make a fool out of yourself by criticizing Judeo-Christianity for not being as blood thirsty as Islam.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Changing my question so you don’t have to answer it is not a sufficient response. I asked why the laws in deuteronomy and those in exodus would be treated differently because the initial ten commandments, as well as the next ten commandments and many other commandments come from exodus. If the ten commandments are theologically valid to you then the laws of deuteronomy are equally valid. If the laws of deuteronomy are irrelevant then so are the ten commandments. Don’t change this question and pretend like you’re answering it, I want you to deal with the actual issue I’ve presented rather than invent a strawman for you to knock down.

            Do you know nothing about the bible? Judges 21 is the chapter following the benjamin tribe’s almost complete massacre for having committed an atrocity. 21 is when the benjamites, having lost all their women, go out to another village and kidnap their women so the benjamin line can continue. The final line in 21, judges 21:25 “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” was a comment on why the benjamites were capable of acting so terribly, as there was no ruler for the 12 tribes of israel. How did you even think this line was defending your theological position? Did you ask someone who also hasn’t read the bible how to counter my argument, or just search for a specific phrase online or something?

            The exact quote from romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” which, unlike jesus’ quote from matthew, does not directly address whether or not to follow OT laws. Romans was written by paul some decades after jesus’ supposed death. According to christianity jesus christ was the son of god and a perfect man; in theological terms his words supercede paul’s, and he was directly addressing this issue while paul was at most indirectly making a related comment, and most likely was only speaking vaguely about how to approach one’s life in general.

            I’m not “criticizing judeo-christianity for not being as blood thirsty as islam”. From my very first post I acknowledged that christians and jews have changed their behaviour by making theological excuses to circumvent their barbaric holy books. It’s difficult to argue which out of every single possible positions are theologically justified because all these books are very contradictory, however there are some cases where the theology is clear (such as following OT laws in christianity, as jesus made an explicit statement about that). I’m criticizing their theological rationalizations because they’re not justified according to the internal logic of their holy books. I’m quite happy many jews, christians, and muslims are taking pains to leave behind the barbarism even going as far as making up excuses, it shows a sense of moral acuity.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            The “actual issue you presented” is still based on the false premise that Deuteronomy and Exodus are treated differently and that crime and punishment are one and the same, but they’re not — even today they are dealt with during different phases of a trial when the jury arrives at a guilty verdict.

            And if you can’t understand that Jews and Christians living in the 21st Century refuse to take the law into their own hands, you never will.

            Romans 8:1 was supposed to be 13:1, but “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” appears exactly in both Judges 21:25 and 17:6; it’s not a reference to any one tribe, but a theme that runs throughout the entire book, right to the very end.

            Finally, there is no “sufficient response” for an atheist who trolls religious forums just to justify his own godlessness.

          • Guest

            The “actual issue you presented” is still based on the false premise that Deuteronomy and Exodus are treated differently and that crime and punishment are one and the same

            False on both counts. I am not assuming that deuteronomy and exodus, and for that matter genesis, leviticus, and numbers, are treated differently. I am putting to you that you are treating them differently, because you respect the first ten commandments but not the laws which are inconvenient to you in deuteronomy. I also didn’t assume that crime and punishment are the same thing, but rather that they are both matters of law. I’m not assuming they’re identical, but that they both exist within the category of law, which is addressed in the torah and upheld by jesus.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            The “actual issue you presented” is still based on the false premise that Deuteronomy and Exodus are treated differently and that crime and punishment are one and the same, but they’re not — even today they are dealt with during different phases of a trial when the jury arrives at a guilty verdict.

            False on both counts. I’m not assuming that deuteronomy and exodus, or for that matter genesis, leviticus, and numbers, are treated differently, but rather that you are treating them differently by respecting the first ten commandments and ignoring the laws in deuteronomy which are inconvenient to you. I’m also not assuming that crime and punishment are identical but that both exist within the category of law, which the torah establishes and jesus upholds.

            And if you can’t understand that Jews and Christians living in the 21st Century refuse to take the law into their own hands, you never will.

            Again, a strawman of my position. I understand that most jews and christians do not currently take the law into their own hands, that’s obvious. We’re talking about whether their stance is theologically justified, ie whether their holy books do or do not endorse specific laws and demands to action.

            Romans 8:1 was supposed to be 13:1, but “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” appears exactly in both Judges 21:25 and 17:6; it’s not a reference to any one tribe, but a theme that runs throughout the entire book, right to the very end.

            Judges is about the falling away of israelites from yahweh, and during this time they didn’t have a king. The recurring theme of judges is how bad it goes when you stop worshipping yahweh, so those lines could be a reference to yahweh as their spiritual king, or just a literal reference to a human king for the 12 tribes. Either way it’s solved when saul is made king and the israelites return to yahweh. So how exactly does judges validate choosing not to follow the laws of the torah?

            Romans 13:1-7 is actually about following a theistic government, not a secular one. Even in that paragraph alone paul refers to them as being yahweh’s servants and having been established by yahweh some 7 or 8 times. This was believed to be true of kings and emperors at the time, and is of course not the case now. If paul were alive today he would be one of those christians campaigning to change all the laws to suit his religion. Which, by the way, is how modern jews and christians actually “take the law into their own hands”, not by just doing stuff personally but by trying to get their religious values inserted into government authority.

            Finally, there is no “sufficient response” for an atheist who trolls religious forums just to justify his own godlessness.

            I know keeping track of all your biases must be difficult, but try to remember that our conversation here has been about the internal logic of christian theology, we haven’t been arguing about the epistemological basis of theism. A troll (from fishermen trawling) is someone who posts inflammatory things to get attention. That you call anyone with a different opinion a troll says everything about you and nothing about the person you’re trying to insult, and this fact is plain for anyone to see. Also onfaith is not a ‘forum for religious people’, it’s a ‘forum about religions’. My participation would only be excluded by a bigot.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            For a troll to complain that his opinions are not being appreciated is like the fictional Boris Badenov complaining that Rocky and Bullwinkle are being unfair to Local 12: Villains, Thieves, and Scoundrels Union.
            And I said “religious forums,” not “a ‘forum for religious people'”; that’s just you talking to yourself.

            “So how exactly does judges validate choosing not to follow the laws of the torah?”
            It doesn’t; that’s your fallacious opinion, not mine.
            And Paul’s “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities …” doesn’t make a distinction as to what that authority is, secular or religious, e.g., “… the powers that be are ordained by God” are not specifically defined, but are all inclusive.

            “I’m not assuming that deuteronomy and exodus, or for that matter genesis, leviticus, and numbers, are treated differently, but rather that you are treating them differently by respecting the first ten commandments and ignoring the laws in deuteronomy which are inconvenient to you….” is another false theme you keep returning to.
            Christians don’t ignore Old Testament laws; as I previously posted, they are fulfilled and superseded by the New Testament in Christ.
            Christians are not under law, but under grace: the PUNISHMENTS in Deuteronomy for breaking the LAWS of Exodus were paid once and for all by Christ’s vicarious sacrifice and atonement on the cross for those who believe in Him.

            It’s a debt we all owe that was paid by someone else on our behalf; we are reminded of this annually during the Lenten season, which will soon be upon us.
            Jews have an annual Day of Atonement, but you will have to ask a Rabbi about that.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            There you go again, creating a false dichotomy between punishment and law because it’s convenient for you in this conversation. Crime and punishment both exist under the category of law, and the main purpose of the torah is to establish laws while telling a story.

            Christians don’t ignore Old Testament laws; as I previously posted, they are fulfilled and superseded in the New Testament by Jesus Christ.

            You have the memory of a goldfish. Hey, remember last time when you pulled this same line out of your ass and I quoted jesus from the sermon on the mount literally telling you not to belittle the OT laws until the apocalypse? Notice how the apocalypse hasn’t happened yet? That means theologically christians are still bound to the torah laws. Anything you say otherwise is just a rationalization to escape the barbarism of your holy book.

            Therefore, Christians are not under law, but under grace: the PUNISHMENTS in Deuteronomy for breaking the LAWS of Exodus were paid once and for all by Christ’s vicarious sacrifice and atonement on the cross for those who believe in Him. So the debt we all owe was cancelled out by Christ’s actions on our behalf; we are reminded of this annually during the Lenten season, which will soon be upon us.

            None of this is justified in your theology. This is a bunch of crap pulled straight out of your ass and you know it, you don’t even bother trying to defend it from the bible.

            The torah establishes laws intended for governance. Saying you’re free from torah laws would be similar to saying you’re free from federal laws, where in fact jesus’ sacrifice supposedly atones for others’ spiritual crimes, taking the spiritual punishment away not the physical punishment. Murderers and adulterers were still executed after jesus’ death; christians believe he saved them from yahweh’s punishment (hell) not from human punishment. Although eternal torture in a lake of fire is peculiar to the new testament so it’s more like a problem invented in order to sell the solution, but that’s beside the point.

            Paul’s “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities …” doesn’t make a distinction as to what that authority is, secular or religious.

            So blatantly false I don’t know why you bothered to say that. I guess I should educate you, apparently you didn’t read what you quoted.

            Romans 13:1-7 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

            “So how exactly does judges validate choosing not to follow the laws of the torah?”
            It doesn’t; that’s your fallacious opinion, not mine.

            It’s like I’m speaking to a petulant child. ‘I’m rubber and you’re glue, anything you say bounces off me and sticks to you!’ My position this whole time has consistently been that the internal logic of the bible commands followers to respect the laws of the torah. You are the one who does not think christians have to respect the laws of the torah, and you are the one who defended your position by quoting judges. Try to at least keep up with your own statements from just a couple posts ago, even if you only see my statements as assaults from an out-group member to be ignored or refuted.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            Don’t talk to me about pulling crap out of my ass when your atheist apologetics stinks to high heaven, e.g., “Saying you’re free from torah laws would be similar to saying you’re free from federal laws….” is outrageous BS, but you’ve been peddling it on this forum for so long that your nose has become deadened to the smell.

            Once again, Christians have been freed from the penalties of the OT law by being put under grace, or do YOU have the memory of a goldfish?

            Well, here’s some scripture to help you remember what I think of you the next time you decide to reply to any of my posts:
            “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn and tear you in pieces.”
            That’s the problem with atheists such as yourself; because human dignity derives from being made in the image of the very God you deny, you have no respect for anything or anyone but your sorry selves, so it’s time for you to slither back under the rock you came out from.

            Or doesn’t the rock want anything to do with you either?

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Don’t talk to me about pulling crap out of my ass when your atheist apologetics stinks to high heaven, e.g., “Saying you’re free from torah laws would be similar to saying you’re free from federal laws….” is outrageous BS

            I meant that according to the bible, torah laws are governmental laws. I admit it was a poorly worded sentence and could reasonably be interpreted with a meaning I didn’t intend.

            Once again, Christians have been freed from the penalties of the OT law by being put under grace

            Once again, you repeat this claim while providing zero evidence of its theological backing. Evidence is so far gone from your world view that it’s even disappeared from your theology.

            That’s the problem with atheists such as yourself; because human dignity derives from being made in the image of the very God you deny, you have no respect for anything or anyone but your sorry selves

            Another version of “you can’t be good without god”. Just so you know, our dignity actually derives from our capacity to have experiences as sentient beings. It has nothing to do with our outward appearance regardless of what your special book tells you. Also just because I don’t respect some of the ideas you accept doesn’t mean I don’t respect you, and just because I don’t respect you doesn’t mean I don’t respect anyone. Not that it’s any of your business but I’ve made some costly choices in my life for the betterment of others.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            Not only is it none of my business, Boris, but you couldn’t convince me even if it was.
            And Israel hasn’t been a theocracy for millennia; try the Islamic Republic of Iran and its Quran.
            Romans 6:14 ESV: “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

            And to be made in the “image of God” is not to look like him; not even en evangelical fundamentalist would say anything so foolishly literal.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Romans 6:14 ESV: “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

            Right but recall that romans is paul’s word, not jesus’.

            Actually I’ve had a few creationists tell me “image of God” means precisely that. Whether it does or not is irrelevant, those are still just empty assertions from a book while the reality is about the experience of sentient beings.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            So Boris, which book of the Bible did Jesus write?
            Paul’s words about Jesus make up most of the canon of the New Testament.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            We both know none of the books were written by jesus or anyone who would have been a contemporary of his. Which makes it even more difficult to believe the claims are true but that’s neither here nor there. Why are you calling me Boris?

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            I’m calling you Boris because you must think I’m your Natasha.
            And according to Boris, the oral testimony of the witnesses passed down before the New Testament was actually written and established as canon are unbelievable claims?
            So when Matthew records Jesus’ words about satisfying the requirements of the law (5:17) you can just dismiss it, reminiscent of the way a Muslim can dismiss anything I quote from his Quran because I read it in English and not the original Arabic.
            After all, we both “know” that the Quran can only be truly understood in Arabic.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            I had to look up that reference… sorry, never watched that cartoon.

            We don’t have record of oral testimonies, or even oral stories. We can only deduce that if any part of the jesus stories are true ie if there was at least a preacher named jesus, then there must have been oral stories. What we have are manuscripts written by people who could not have been eyewitnesses because the dates are many decades apart, which were then translated and transposed by hand many many times causing a great deal of mistakes and fabrications like the entire “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” story.

            Yeah they’re claims for sure, and unbelievable I’d say. Claims are validated by evidence; extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. When people claim magic exists they’d better have some pretty good evidence to back it up, and old stories about someone else’s eyewitness account doesn’t even come close. Eyewitness accounts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on anyway, millions of people alive today can give you their eyewitness account of being abducted by aliens but we still don’t believe aliens are regularly visiting earth.

            You really do have the memory of a goldfish. I’m the one who first quoted matthew 5:17-18 to you, remember? I did it to demonstrate the point in the bible where jesus specifically addressed following torah laws, because what he says is that you have to follow them until the apocalypse comes. He says: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished”. You’re not going to honestly tell me you actually think this passage means you can ignore the torah? That after reading this passage you spin the one vague word “fulfill” like a talented deceiver in an attempt to completely reverse the clear meaning? Jesus thought the end times would come in the lifetime of his apostles. His words “until heaven and earth pass away” is the same phrase he used talking about the apocalypse, and “I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” likely also refers to the apocalypse, where jesus was supposed to rise again and zap up all the christians to heaven. Since the apocalypse hasn’t happened yet, theologically christians are still bound by the second half of that quote, “until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished”. I quoted this to you in the first place, and you never addressed it you just ignored it and went on about exodus and deuteronomy. Now you have the gall to say I’m the one dismissing it.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            Speaking of gall, Boris, when did you become an “end times” expert, e.g., “‘I did not come to abolish but to fulfill’ likely also refers to the apocalypse …”?
            “likely” clearly shows that you don’t seem very sure of your amateurish, atheistic exegesis, do you?
            According to H. L. Ellsion, “until heaven and earth pass away” is the equivalent of “until all is accomplished” at the end of the same verse, but like a simple street preacher you have taken the saying literally and even inferred it to the apocalypse!

            And Boris, you must really have the memory of a goldfish if you don’t remember your friends at Local 12, the fictional union that represents “villains, thieves and scoundrels”.

            And after you assertion that “Eyewitness accounts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on anyway,” criminals will be glad to know that the evidence of any eye witness who identifies a suspect out of a lineup, or testifies against a defendant under oath in a court of law is now meaningless because you have declared how worthless all their accounts are.

            So now, according to you, we can just scrap our entire legal system as well as all our oral histories, secular and religious, even after they are eventually written down and recorded.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            And after you assertion that “Eyewitness accounts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on anyway,” criminals will be glad to know that the evidence of any eye witness who identifies a suspect out of a lineup, or testifies against a defendant under oath in a court of law is now meaningless because you have declared how worthless all their accounts are.

            I’m glad you brought this up, it’s an opportunity to educate you. Yes we have in fact discovered in the past few decades how very fallible eyewitness testimony is in court cases, which is why there’s a modern push for better kinds of evidence such as high quality security camera footage and DNA matching.

            (I had links here to studies and psychological analyses demonstrating and explaining the eyewitness unreliability phenomenon, but links are blocked so you’ll have to search “studies on eyewitness reliability”, there’s a ton of data from the past three decades and a clear professional consensus on it. I could still paraphrase an explanation for you if you find yourself unable to do the research yourself.)

            So now, according to you, we can just scrap our entire legal system as well as all our oral histories, secular and religious, even after they are eventually written down and recorded.

            While it’s a simple fact that oral histories are generally highly distorted, and that eyewitness testimony is not reliable, this is why historians use multiple lines of evidence that corroborate one another to increase confidence in what events happened and when. History by nature produces foggy answers at best so you won’t see professional historians reach an extremely high level of confidence most of the time. We can be pretty sure most of the major events for famous leaders or nations from history because there’s archaeological evidence, multiple lines of written works, art depicting events, which all form concordance on certain events. However for smaller events or peoples we really can’t know much with confidence, which is simply a natural limit of the discipline of history. This is why ancient history is not a good field to try and prove miracles in the first place, but that’s tangential.

            According to H. L. Ellison, “until heaven and earth pass away” is the equivalent of “until all is accomplished” at the end of the same verse, but like a simple street preacher you have taken the saying literally and even inferred it to the apocalypse!

            No, I explained this twice already. I haven’t simply taken it literally, I compared it to its other usage in the manuscripts, the exact same phrase “until heaven and earth pass away” is used when jesus talks about the apocalypse in matthew 24:29-35, he even uses the same word “fulfill” as well: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

            And the same passage appears in Luke 21:25-33, with the same usage of “fulfill” and “until heaven and earth pass away”. The reason christians ignore this is because they believe the stories are true and are therefore unable to read the text frankly, they have to try and bend it to fit their worldview. This is why you can read the qur’an more honestly than a moderate muslim, and why extremist muslims can read the qur’an more honestly than moderate muslims; because the qur’an honestly read fits better with their fundamentalist worldview. If you have a problem with your religion’s fundamentalists, you have a problem with your religion’s fundamentals.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            Boris, as an anti-evangelist who previously posted that Jesus will resurrect in the apocalypse — as if the rest of us had never heard of Easter Sunday — you’re not in a position to educate anyone about New Testament theology .

            And as a self-avowed atheist, you are not an expert on, but a biased critic of Christianity. In fact, your convoluted attempts to explain away your bizarre exegesis are laughable.
            On the other hand, the late H. L. Ellison had both a B.A. and B.D.; he was a college lecturer and author who, even after his death, still knows more about the Bible than you do.

            And as for your legal expertize, be sure and let us when American jurisprudence takes your “sage” advice and removes all eye witness testimony from our courts.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Eyewitness testimony need not be removed, it simply needs to be treated as the weak evidence it is: it’s not worth much so you need multiple lines of corroboration to reach an acceptable level of confidence even for mundane, current events. And even then we still have mistaken convictions which the Innocence Project has been clearing up by examining the much more definitive evidence like blood splatter DNA matching.

            I’m not an expert on christianity, though I have studied the bible and its history. There are some theological matters which are clear, and which christians fabricate simpering rationalizations to avoid because they need to bend their theology to match what they want to believe since they think their theology equates to reality. Such as the biblical position on slavery which is consistent from the old testament through to the new testament, including being supported by jesus.

            You told me ellison’s position without giving his reasoning. I’ve given you my reasoning: a textual comparison of the exact language. You just quote an authority figure and expect me to believe he’s correct because of his credentials? Sorry buddy, truth doesn’t bow to authority. If you think he has better arguments than me, present them. If he does I’ll change my mind. I’m guessing you don’t know his arguments at all and just did a google search for a theologian who believes as you do.

            I don’t understand you bringing up easter sunday. Yes, in the bible jesus resurrected after being tortured to death, and then ascended to heaven. So? What does that have to do with the apocalypse, where jesus said he would come again?

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            So?
            So Jesus doesn’t have to resurrect twice just because you didn’t get the Easter memo.
            And though the signs of the times may be apocalyptic, Jesus said the end is not yet (Matthew 24:4) and that his return would be unexpected (v. 42).

            And after we empty all the jails because you consider eyewitness testimony to be “weak,” can we relocate these former convicts into your neighborhood?
            BTW, of what use was hard DNA evidence during the OJ Simpson trial?

            And speaking of the truth, the truth is that, unlike Ellison, you have no biblical credentials.
            Sorry Boris, but like the announcer said: TV villains never get top billing.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            You’re a brick wall.

            I give you a nuanced couple paragraphs explaining how to properly treat eyewitness testimony in court now that we know from data how unreliable it is (seriously, look up the studies. You need to stop being ignorant about this), and you spit some pithy, irrelevant joke back.

            I kindly inform you that truth and the merit of an argument is unmoved by credentials or authority, and you tell me I’m not authoritative enough to make that statement. Have you ever thought independently in your entire life? Your brain is like an atrophied muscle up there, all it does is follow orders from authorities and regurgitate other peoples’ words.

            Actually you misquoted and misunderstood the piece of scripture. Matthew 24 is the chapter where jesus tells his disciples what events harbinger the end times. He starts listing things at 24:3, continues on for a while, and at 24:6 says “see that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.” Then he continues to list more stuff from 24:7-13 until at 24:14 he says “and this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

            So the part from 24:7 is obviously just a break in the listing of what’s going to happen, until 24:14 is reached which is the conclusion. If you’re going to play this silly contextless cut-and-paste game with jesus’ words, I can quote from matthew 5:20: “you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Theology is the determination of the internal logic of a text; what the authors most likely meant by what they wrote, without context you can’t understand what the authors likely intended.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            “you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” sounds somewhat comical coming from a self-avowed atheist like yourself.

            And as for “nuanced,” to be “possessed of multiple layers of detail, pattern, or meaning” doesn’t really describe your eclectic posts, which range from the alleged uselessness of eye witnesses to an amateurish exegesis of end times theology.

            Everyone has and is entitled to their opinions, but I don’t accept legal advice from juvenile jurists, or get my theology from atheists.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Everyone has and is entitled to their opinions, but I don’t accept legal advice from juvenile jurists, or get my theology from atheists.

            Here, allow me to translate this sentence from a pompous statement about getting legal advice into what it actually means regarding our conversations:

            I refuse to openly consider your arguments or points because you’re my tribal enemy; you’re simply an entity to be refuted or ignored. You can’t make me engage my mind and I don’t want to.

            You haven’t found sufficient counter-arguments and so you’ve degraded to fallacious appeals to authority and disengaging again. It bothers you that you have no thoroughly considered response to what I’m saying because you’ve never seriously considered the issues I brought up, while I have, including every argument you tried to make which is why I had ready-made responses. You’ve satisfied yourself with simple, and false, interpretations of the bible which agreed with your preconceived beliefs on the surface level and you don’t want that overlap of theology and worldview to be disturbed, so you’re not even slightly open to the possibility that I’m correct. You can only see my comments as something to be refuted, ignored, or overcome by faith, and you can only see me as a self-centered and foolish atheist because otherwise I don’t fit into your worldview. As evidenced earlier; you said you’d sooner believe I was a liar than a good person.

            Your only response to my arguments this time is “I don’t get my theology from atheists”, another tactical statement which, rather than address my arguments, is an attempt to attack my credibility. You’ve hit a wall and can’t come up with a legitimate response, so your first shot was a fallacious appeal to authority, and when I pointed out that wasn’t valid you’ve stooped even lower to ad hominem, likewise with calling my exegesis “amateurish” instead of presenting a counter-argument.

            You know, it’s perfectly fine to say “I feel stumped, but that doesn’t mean you’re right it only means I don’t know whether you’re wrong. I’ll think and research more and come back later”. This would be tantamount to admitting defeat in a formal debate but we’re not in a formal debate. We both know you’re grasping at straws having run out of prepared responses, take some time to think about it.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            “… grasping at straws “?
            Boris, all you really do is rephrase the words of others into straw man arguments that you think you are able to refute.

            And you’re not my tribal anything; you’re just my junior who, despite his inexperience, can be very long-winded.
            Brevity is still the soul of wit.
            Try it.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Again, no serious responses. You abandon any point you can’t argue and seem to think others don’t notice your cowardly evasions.

            I don’t rephrase the arguments of others, I’ve always responded to your arguments as presented. I rephrased an ad hominem attack you made once to demonstrate the euphemism for what it was, as exposing hyperbole and euphemism makes everything more clear to all parties.

            Brevity may be the soul of wit but I’m not a comedian. I’m concise, I just have a lot of content to cover.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            Boris, you’re not a lot of things.
            And if you don’t find my responses to be serious enough, its simply because you’re the only one here taking your nonsense seriously.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            I know you’re not taking me seriously, I told you that just a few posts ago:

            I refuse to openly consider your arguments or points because you’re my tribal enemy; you’re simply an entity to be refuted or ignored. You can’t make me engage my mind and I don’t want to.

            You don’t want to engage your mind and I can’t make you. You have too much social and political sunk cost in these precious beliefs to even consider the possibility of being wrong. It’s unfortunate, though very human, that your beliefs are based on something other than an honest attempt to learn what’s true.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            Anyone can be wrong, even you, but that possibility continually eludes you as you continue to project your own thoughts and words unto those whom you can’t mold into your own hollow image.
            Oh, the irony of watching an atheist trying to play god.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Haha, all I did was tell you why you’re unable to be open minded. It’s a common fact of human psychology that we form beliefs first and then rationalize our way there after, this is how we form beliefs almost all the time. It’s also normal for one’s beliefs to conform to their social circle, and for sunk cost to compound over time making one even less open to being convinced otherwise. This is all standard stuff, and you’re telling me I have a god complex for saying it? That’s just your reaction to being accurately analyzed.

            Though I’ll give you credit, this is the very first time I’ve seen you come close to mentioning you might be wrong by saying “anyone can be wrong”. That’s a good first step but there’s a lot of painful revelations ahead if you care more about truth than remaining cloaked in your comfortable safety blanket of beliefs.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            “Haha”? Are you channeling Nelson from “The Simpsons”?

            And no, Maxwell not so Smart, I said you’re playing god by trying to remake people into your own image, and you have proved it by again paraphrasing my words it into another of your own straw man arguments.

            And when you point out that “… for sunk cost to compound over time making one even less open to being convinced otherwise,” the rest of your fingers are pointing back at you.

            And you have yet to come even close to admitting that you can be wrong.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Thank you for using my name finally, the boris thing was getting old.

            “Haha”? Are you channeling Nelson from “The Simpsons”?

            It was funny because I told you something standard about human psychology and you got all upset.

            And when you point out that “… for sunk cost to compound over time making one even less open to being convinced otherwise,” the rest of your fingers are pointing back at you.

            It’s actually the opposite, many of the people I know are religious and disagree strongly with my view of christianity. Whereas for you I can almost guarantee most of the people you spend most of your time with are religious and agree with you on this; they’re friends you might lose or at least be on opposite sides if you changed your mind. Though it’s probably telling that you fantasized about me being hypocritical rather than denying the accusations yourself.

            And you have yet to come even close to admitting that you can be wrong.

            False, I said this seven posts ago: “You told me ellison’s position without giving his reasoning. I’ve given you my reasoning: a textual comparison of the exact language. You just quote an authority figure and expect me to believe he’s correct because of his credentials? Sorry buddy, truth doesn’t bow to authority. If you think he has better arguments than me, present them. If he does I’ll change my mind.

            I’m always open to following the evidence where it leads, unlike you I try hard to fight against my biases and evaluate the arguments and evidence on their own merits.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            You have surrendered to the “merits” of your own arguments long ago; apparently atheism has been so hard-wired into your head it has become a religion that believes in nothing , so any claim about you being open minded is sadly comical.
            Ellison’s textual argument was presented, and as usual you simply dismissed it.
            And as you can’t guarantee anything on your own behalf, don’t even try guaranteeing anything about anyone else.
            It’s just not smart, Max.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Atheism is not a system of beliefs (aka religion) or even a single belief, I’m pretty sure I explained this to you some time ago. Theism is the assertion that a god or gods exist and atheism is the state of not being theistic. Atheism describes the absence of a single belief and need not even imply the absence of religious belief, for example buddhists are atheists as buddhism has no gods, though some of them would say it’s a philosophy not a religion.

            It’s more accurate to say I evaluated theistic arguments and found them lacking. The only atheist argument I’m aware of is the one about the incoherence of the term “all-powerful”. I’m an atheist because I don’t believe any gods exist, not because I believe gods don’t exist.

            And as you can’t guarantee anything on your own behalf, don’t even try guaranteeing anything about anyone else.

            Are you saying that most of your social circle are not religious and don’t agree with you, or are you just deflecting? If my statement was correct why are you getting ticked about it?

            Ellison’s textual argument was presented, and as usual you simply dismissed it.

            That’s not true, you just brought up his name and told me he disagreed with my stance, you never presented his argument for why that’s the case. When I immediately called you on your fallacious appeal to authority, you told me “Ellison had both a B.A. and B.D.; he was a college lecturer and author who, even after his death, still knows more about the Bible than you do.” When I called you again on this second fallacious appeal to authority, you made the same mistake for a third time: “And speaking of the truth, the truth is that, unlike Ellison, you have no biblical credentials.”

            Lying about what was said in the past only works in situations where people have to rely on their memory. You won’t get away with it online, this entire conversation is permanently recorded and can be accessed at any point.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            Boris, I posted Ellison’s succinct exegesis five days ago for all to see, so don’t accuse me of lying because, brief as it was, you didn’t even bother to read it.
            And for you, atheism has become a belief, albeit a belief in nothing.
            Well, maybe nothing is all you have because you adhere to it like it’s all you’ve got.
            Sadly pathetic.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            I posted Ellison’s succinct exegesis five days ago for all to see, so don’t accuse me of lying because, brief as it was, you didn’t even bother to read it.

            You mean this? “According to H. L. Ellsion, “until heaven and earth pass away” is the equivalent of “until all is accomplished” at the end of the same verse,”

            That’s not an exegesis or an argument, it’s the conclusion to an argument. As I explained above, where I also mentioned that snippet, an argument is composed of premises and a conclusion like so:

            P1: cucumbers are 95% water
            P2: jesus could walk on water
            P3: I can walk on cucumbers
            C1: I am 95% jesus

            Obviously this is a joke which is both invalid and unsound but it demonstrates the structure of an argument. What you gave me was ellison’s conclusion without mentioning any of his premises, and you told me to believe it’s true because of ellison’s credentials. That’s known as the argument from authority fallacy, which I pointed out to you many times immediately after you made the error and just now when you brought it up again.

            P.S. I “adhere to nothing” because you and I disagree about christianity? That’s quite silly of you to say. In your mind do all non-christians “adhere to nothing” then?

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            Yes, Boris, I mean exactly that, and for the record it’s a literary device called synonymous parallelism: the first half of a verse will make a statement and the second half will restate it, but in different words, e.g., until the end of the world, until all is accomplished, or simply “fulfillment”.

            Hebrew prose often uses synonymous parallelism, e.g., Psalm 120:2
            “Save me, O Lord, from lying lips
            and from deceitful tongues.”

            And that reminds me — now that I think of it, you do adhere to something: your tongue’s deceitful lies.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            See my response two posts ago and my initial exegesis from a while back – both of those phrases “until all is fulfilled” and “until heaven and earth pass away” were used in jesus’ speech about the apocalypse, which I also quoted in the initial exegesis. My argument already assumes they both refer to the same thing so I don’t need ellison to agree with me, nor would ellison saying so be a refutation of my position. Why don’t you get back to google and look up some other theologian who actually has a stance opposed to mine?

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            Your “apocalyptic” exegesis doesn’t change the fact that it’s parallelism, but takes it out of context, which is called contextomy: “an informal fallacy and a type of false attribution in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning.”

            When intentional, the argument — or in your case, the wrong assumption — drawn from a contextomy often takes the form of a straw man, something which you are known for on these forums.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            You’ve really lost sight of your bias. Contextomy means quote mining, such as what you did when you quoted matthew 24:6 as jesus having said “but the end is not yet.” By ignoring the context of the surrounding verses you were trying to slip a fast one past me as if jesus were saying the apocalypse would never come.

            I’m not ignoring the context of jesus’ statement about following the torah laws, I quoted the entire relevant passages including the passage where jesus talks about the apocalypse. Our disagreement is not about context, it’s because you think the one word “fulfill” means christians can ignore the torah laws, whereas I think the phrases “until all is accomplished” and “until heaven and earth pass away” as well as the word “fulfill” are all references to the passage where jesus talks about the apocalypse because he uses the phrases “until heaven and earth pass away” and “until all is fulfilled” to refer to the end. After all, he was an apocalyptic preacher who thought the end would come within the lifetime of his contemporary disciples and therefore it’s of utmost importance to make converts. Though that’s another point of theology I despair convincing you of short of you leaving faith behind.

            Can we both agree as long as you’re a person who thinks these stories are true and direct your life, you’re incapable of accepting that jesus wanted christians to follow torah laws? If this is the case we’d need to be having a different conversation or I’m just talking to a wall.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            No, Maxwell, this has not been a conversation since nothing has actually been exchanged.
            Jesus was not an apocalyptic preacher; that misconception — along with the rest of your erroneous conclusions arrived at through various logical fallacies — all flow from a deliberate ignorance of both Jesus and the Bible that speaks of him.
            And once again, a law whose penalty is fulfilled, i.e., paid in full by no less than crucifixion, is obviously not being ignored, which is why Christendom is currently remembering it during Lent.
            It’s like talking to a wall.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            I’ve given you my reasoning many times – including quotes from various sections of the bible where jesus preaches about the apocalypse – and you keep coming back to baldly asserting I’m wrong while insulting my character rather than dealing with the argument. Which of us is deliberately sticking their head in the sand?

            In the bible jesus never said he came to fulfill the laws by his crucifixion, you’re just assuming that because it’s convenient for you to ignore the torah laws. My argument has been that the intention behind the verse “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.” is that “fulfill”, “until heaven and earth pass away” and “until all is accomplished” refer to the apocalypse, as those are the same exact phrases he used in that sermon. In other words jesus is saying he’s the messiah whose appearance heralds the end of the world as we know it, and the torah laws can be disregarded only after the end of the world.

            It’s probably true that nothing has been exchanged: you refuse to seriously consider me (as you stated earlier), and I’ve already seriously considered the few arguments you’ve used.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            How can anyone take a biblically illiterate “know it all” seriously?
            That’s not character assassination, but an observation of your posts on this forum.

            Frankly, if sand was deliberate ignorance, more than your head would be buried in it.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            I’ve lost count of how often you’ve ignored the content and chosen to insult me instead, this is something like the twentieth or thirtieth time?

            You should be taking your own attitude into critical analysis and think seriously about why you dodge and pout and insult so much instead of engaging. It makes you very unpleasant.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            Your “content” consists of a repetition of logical fallacies based on your deliberate ignorance of the Bible, but if you truly believe that my continued rejection of that ignorance is an insult to your intelligence, why do you keep coming back for more?

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            The “actual issue you presented” is still based on the false premise that Deuteronomy and Exodus are treated differently and that crime and punishment are one and the same, but they’re not — even today they are dealt with during different phases of a trial when the jury arrives at a guilty verdict.

            And if you can’t understand that Jews and Christians living in the 21st Century refuse to take the law into their own hands, you never will.

            Romans 8:1 was supposed to be 13:1, but “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” appears exactly in both Judges 21:25 and 17:6; it’s not a reference to any one tribe, but a theme that runs throughout the entire book, right to the very end.

            Finally, there is no “sufficient response” for an atheist who trolls religious forums just to justify his own godlessness.

  • Sam

    Hear, hear.

  • norias

    Of the 1.6 billon Muslims on the planet, we would be surprised how many are trapped in Islam. For them, to leave Islam for another belief another way of life is too often persecution unto death. Many people in Muslim countries kneeling on their prayer rug, pray not to the god of Islam but to the Christian God.