Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Possible References to the Deuterocanon (aka "Apocrypha") in Romans (RSV)

By Dave Armstrong (1-11-05)

Derived from pp. 800-804 of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th edition (Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine, published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; see the web page from Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin, which reproduced the list. I have also added my own suggested comparisons and possible parallels; these will be reproduced in green (NT); otherwise NT passages listed in Nestle-Aland will be in blue, and Deuterocanonical passages in red. Alleged references listed by verse only at the end were deemed (by myself) dissimilar and questionable or non-convincing enough to not reproduce.

[Bible passages were retrieved from the RSV Bible, with Apocrypha, from the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center]

1a) Romans 1:19-32

19: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
20: Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21: for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.
22: Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
23: and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.
24: Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
25: because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.
26: For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural,
27: 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 their own persons the due penalty for their error.
28: And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct.
29: They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips,
30: slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
31: foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
32: Though they know God's decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

1b) Wisdom 13:1-10, 14:8-31
1: For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know him who exists, nor did they recognize the craftsman while paying heed to his works;
2: but they supposed that either fire or wind or swift air, or the circle of the stars, or turbulent water, or the luminaries of heaven were the gods that rule the world.
3: If through delight in the beauty of these things men assumed them to be gods, let them know how much better than these is their Lord, for the author of beauty created them.
4: And if men were amazed at their power and working, let them perceive from them how much more powerful is he who formed them.
5: For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.
6: Yet these men are little to be blamed, for perhaps they go astray while seeking God and desiring to find him.
7: For as they live among his works they keep searching, and they trust in what they see, because the things that are seen are beautiful.
8: Yet again, not even they are to be excused;
9: for if they had the power to know so much that they could investigate the world, how did they fail to find sooner the Lord of these things?
10: But miserable, with their hopes set on dead things, are the men who give the name "gods" to the works of men's hands, gold and silver fashioned with skill, and likenesses of animals, or a useless stone, the work of an ancient hand.


8: But the idol made with hands is accursed, and so is he who made it; because he did the work, and the perishable thing was named a god.
9: For equally hateful to God are the ungodly man and his ungodliness,
10: for what was done will be punished together with him who did it.
11: Therefore there will be a visitation also upon the heathen idols, because, though part of what God created, they became an abomination, and became traps for the souls of men and a snare to the feet of the foolish.
12: For the idea of making idols was the beginning of fornication, and the invention of them was the corruption of life,
13: for neither have they existed from the beginning nor will they exist for ever.
14: For through the vanity of men they entered the world, and therefore their speedy end has been planned.
15: For a father, consumed with grief at an untimely bereavement, made an image of his child, who had been suddenly taken from him; and he now honored as a god what was once a dead human being, and handed on to his dependents secret rites and initiations.
16: Then the ungodly custom, grown strong with time, was kept as a law, and at the command of monarchs graven images were worshiped.
17: When men could not honor monarchs in their presence, since they lived at a distance, they imagined their appearance far away, and made a visible image of the king whom they honored, so that by their zeal they might flatter the absent one as though present.
18: Then the ambition of the craftsman impelled even those who did not know the king to intensify their worship.
19: For he, perhaps wishing to please his ruler, skilfully forced the likeness to take more beautiful form,
20: and the multitude, attracted by the charm of his work, now regarded as an object of worship the one whom shortly before they had honored as a man.
21: And this became a hidden trap for mankind, because men, in bondage to misfortune or to royal authority, bestowed on objects of stone or wood the name that ought not to be shared.
22: Afterward it was not enough for them to err about the knowledge of God, but they live in great strife due to ignorance, and they call such great evils peace.
23: For whether they kill children in their initiations, or celebrate secret mysteries, or hold frenzied revels with strange customs,
24: they no longer keep either their lives or their marriages pure, but they either treacherously kill one another, or grieve one another by adultery,
25: and all is a raging riot of blood and murder, theft and deceit, corruption, faithlessness, tumult, perjury,
26: confusion over what is good, forgetfulness of favors, pollution of souls, sex perversion, disorder in marriage, adultery, and debauchery.
27: For the worship of idols not to be named is the beginning and cause and end of every evil.
28: For their worshipers either rave in exultation, or prophesy lies, or live unrighteously, or readily commit perjury;
29: for because they trust in lifeless idols they swear wicked oaths and expect to suffer no harm. 30: But just penalties will overtake them on two counts: because they thought wickedly of God in devoting themselves to idols, and because in deceit they swore unrighteously through contempt for holiness.
31: For it is not the power of the things by which men swear, but the just penalty for those who sin, that always pursues the transgression of the unrighteous.

[see also the rest of chapters 13 and 14, and chapter 15]


2a) Romans 1:20, 1:21

Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.

2b) Wisdom 13:1
For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know him who exists, nor did they recognize the craftsman while paying heed to his works;

3a) Romans 1:23
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.

3b) Wisdom 11:15

In return for their foolish and wicked thoughts, which led them astray to worship irrational serpents and worthless animals, thou didst send upon them a multitude of irrational creatures to punish them,

3c) Wisdom 12:24

For they went far astray on the paths of error, accepting as gods those animals which even their enemies despised; they were deceived like foolish babes.

4a) Romans 2:4
Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

4b) 2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

4c) Acts 17:30
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent,

4d) Wisdom 11:23

But thou art merciful to all, for thou canst do all things, and thou dost overlook men's sins, that they may repent.

5a) Romans 2:11

For God shows no partiality.

5b) Sirach 35:12
Do not offer him a bribe, for he will not accept it; and do not trust to an unrighteous sacrifice; for the Lord is the judge, and with him is no partiality.

6a) Romans 2:15

They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them

6b) Wisdom 17:11

For wickedness is a cowardly thing, condemned by its own testimony; distressed by conscience, it has always exaggerated the difficulties.

7a) Romans 4:13

The promise to Abraham and his descendants, that they should inherit the world, did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

7b) Sirach 44:21

Therefore the Lord assured him by an oath that the nations would be blessed through his posterity; that he would multiply him like the dust of the earth, and exalt his posterity like the stars, and cause them to inherit from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.

8a) Romans 4:17
as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations" -- in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

8b) Sirach 44:19

Abraham was the great father of a multitude of nations, and no one has been found like him in glory;

9a) Romans 5:5

and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

9b) Sirach 18:11

Therefore the Lord is patient with them and pours out his mercy upon them.

10a) Romans 5:12
Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned --

10b) Wisdom 2:24
but through the devil's envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his party experience it.

11a) Romans 9:4

They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;

11b) Sirach 44:12

Their descendants stand by the covenants; their children also, for their sake.

12a) Romans 9:19

You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?"

12b) Wisdom 12:12
For who will say, "What hast thou done?" Or will resist thy judgment? Who will accuse thee for the destruction of nations which thou didst make? Or who will come before thee to plead as an advocate for unrighteous men?

13a) Romans 9:21
Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?

13b) Wisdom 15:7
For when a potter kneads the soft earth and laboriously molds each vessel for our service, he fashions out of the same clay both the vessels that serve clean uses and those for contrary uses, making all in like manner; but which shall be the use of each of these the worker in clay decides.

14a) Romans 10:6
But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down)

14b) Baruch 3:29

Who has gone up into heaven, and taken her, and brought her down from the clouds?

15a) Romans 10.7
or "Who will descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

15b) Wisdom 16.13
For thou hast power over life and death; thou dost lead men down to the gates of Hades and back again.

16a) Romans 11:33
O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

16b) Wisdom 17:1

Great are thy judgments and hard to describe; therefore unintructed souls have gone astray.

17a) Romans 12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

17b) Sirach 7:34

Do not fail those who weep, but mourn with those who mourn.

18a) Romans 13:1

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

18b) Wisdom 6:3
For your dominion was given you from the Lord, and your sovereignty from the Most High, who will search out your works and inquire into your plans.

19a) Romans 13.10
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

19b) Wisdom 6.18
and love of her is the keeping of her laws, and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality,

23a) Romans 15:4
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.

23b) 1 Maccabees 12:9
Therefore, though we have no need of these things, since we have as encouragement the holy books which are in our hands,

See also (from Nestle-Aland list):
Romans 1:28 and 2 Maccabees 6:4

Romans 9:31 and Sirach 27:8 and Wisdom 2:11

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Round III With Ed Babinski On Profound Christian Ignorance, and Every Subject Under the Sun Except the Topic (The Psalms)

By Dave Armstrong (12-22-04)

Here's the latest development in this strange exchange, with yet more parties entering in (as I said, "make yourself at home"). Sharon Mooney, Ed's webmaster, has now started writing to me. Her words will be in green:

[E-mail of 12-22-04]

Months ago I requested of Ed, if he were engaging in correspondence, to please let me know about it, so that it might end up on his site. Namely, because I'm not a mind reader, and having no way to know what he's posted around the internet. It may seem simple to you that he would post on your blog -- and that all his acquaintances visit and read, if so, you can't appreciate my/our schedule. Speaking for myself, normally, I am in college, and sometimes it is weeks that I'll save an email (article) from Ed, before I get it on the web. I'm out of college right now for break, but using the time to catch up on other work. I asked him specifically to forward or carbon copy me everything he writes that qualifies for web material (even the seemingly insignificant stuff). You probably want skeptics to read your web page I presume, then how would they know about it, unless carbon copied in an email? I've been distracted by a good number of other issues, and haven't had time to focus on Ed's debate with you -- not yet, not right now, though I did get one web page on the site yesterday.

I have no problem with this. That's fine. What I object to is this impromptu gathering of critics, who prefer to talk about me and at me, rather than directly to me (not to mention all the unnecessary put-downs and insults -- the inevitable ad hominem attacks, in full force here). You (as far as I know) did not participate in that sort of thing, so my remarks had nothing to do with you. If Ed posts this (via you, as webmaster), wonderful. That's more than I can say for most of my dialogical opponents. I'm delighted if that many more agnostics and atheists can read my arguments. Thanks!

It seems to me if you had the intention of being fair you'd do it with your blog or by email. Already from the first paragraph of reading, it's apparent to me, you're being quite biased.

I see, but of course, Ed and the "Group" are not doing that at all, in their numerous fallacious digressions and non sequiturs, as I have been chronicling.

I plan to get the correspondence between yourself and Ed on his site, if he still wants it that way. But if you insist on being unfair, I don't know that Ed or myself would care.

Yes, I know the feeling, believe me, except that I post what happens regardless of the outcome. That's what free speech and the open exchange of competing ideas and facilitation of critical thinking in the undecided is about.

If you wanted to do the right thing you'd remove that web page you sent us the URL to and start over again with something a lot more polite. Ed is far too nice of a person for the way you're criticizing him in that web page.

I'm sure Ed is very nice. I've always found him to be so, personally. My objection is strictly to how this dialogue is proceeding methodologically. It's not personal. It's based on notions of fair play and consideration of the other, benefit of the doubt, and those sorts of concepts that I have always assumed and believed are common to atheists and Christians alike, as they are fundamental. When one sees the sort of things I am accused of, or compared to (which have nothing to do with the argument at hand), then all of a sudden, this nice man, Ed, has become a little bit not-nice insofar as his rather insulting assumptions about me, a Christian, are concerned. I haven't done that to him. As a prominent example, note how Ed condescendingly characterizes me, as if I am a mindless, intellectually bankrupt special pleader, because I believe in biblical inspiration:

The point is that Dave adores the Bible it is his beloved, a letter from God. He will defend it all, from Eden to the Flood, from the tower of Babel to the slaughter of the Canaanites, with poetry, hyperbole, and metaphor if he has to, in fact, anyway he can, to make even the vilest shit in it smell like it should be served at communion to the heavenly choir. Therefore, you can't really argue with a person whose perception is that caught up in a single book.

Or how about this gem of strikingly prejudicial, sweeping observation about all Christians, not just myself (as a proud member of that class):

Religion is a puddle from which a gnat may drink and in which an elephant may bathe. And even the weakest disputant is made so conceited by what he calls religion, as to think himself wiser than the wisest who thinks differently from him.

Try to imagine, Sharon, if these sentiments were flipped over and applied to you as an agnostic (or whatever you are; I don't know). Would you continue to say that I am the only one being unfair and impolite? This is clearly poisoning the well; a classic, textbook case (as I clearly demonstrated, right from Copi). This sort of thing is the real "vile (manure)" that is going on here . . .


The next e-mail -- also of 12-22-04 -- was sent by Sharon just to Ed and I. Since she considered it "private," I won't cite it, but I will summarize it as her questioning whether our dialogue should be put on his website because of my alleged lack of politeness and supposed slandering of Ed as "dishonest" in debate (I did no such thing). My last response was described as "awful" and her decision to post or not was conditioned upon removing it. The next letter on the same day informed the "Group" that there was one posted section now on Ed's website concerning our discussion. This section is entitled Dave Armstrong Correspondence. It states a falsehood about me (only slightly qualified, but clearly believed by Sharon herself, in her correspondence), thus poisoning the well before anyone reads a word: "This section of Ed's site was set up following a visit to Dave Armstrong's blog, which appears to malign Ed as employing dishonest debate tactics."

The first link on this page is called Dave Armstrong - Edward Babinski debate at Dave's blog site, and features the following (I think, congenial and fair) introduction from Ed which seems to suggest that he has not found me as "impolite" as his webmaster Sharon has:

Catholic convert and web-pologist Dave Armstrong has produced a massive pro-Catholic website over the years. The story of his conversion to Catholicism appears in a bestselling book of similar converts (mostly former Protestantism I think), and he has published numerous books of Catholic apologetics, all available at amazon.com, that strive to make Catholicism and its various unique doctrines and practices appear in as rational a light as possible, as well as having published in-depth counters to both Protestantism and Modernism. Dave recently composed a long web piece at his blog-site criticizing one of my shorter pieces on the psalms. He continues to write in a pretty friendly fashion and invite my response, as well as the responses of any readers of the debate, and he publishes them all at his blog-site. Most folks who read Dave's blog are Christians and respond in kind. His blog could probably use just a few non-Christian responses or even moderate Christian responses from moderate Christian university profs, to balance matters out a tad.

I agree! Note that I have repeatedly invited Ed and even his friends to come onto my blog and comment and engage in a real conversation with a real Christian. They can outnumber me ten-to-one if that is what it takes, I don't care; the more the merrier (though, again, I find this to be a dubious method of discourse when a supposed one-on-one dialogue is occurring). But thus far, they have not, preferring to chat amongst themselves and to send me the third-person observations about me. I find this less-than-ideal or (if you will) "polite" dialogue method. It's fine if observers want to enter in, but they should talk directly to me, not about me. That's the distinction I object to. I urge both agnostics and "moderate" (i.e., liberal) Christians to come around and dialogue on my blog. The water's warm, and we don't bite.

The second page featuring our debate is called Biblical Mercy, and features Ed's patented mile-long digressions into subject matter not directly on-topic. But that's fine, as long as I don't have to deal with the digressions (I skipped over most of them because I am pretty strict about sticking to the subject, and will not be distracted, because I think that considerably lowers the fruitfulness of a discussion). But Ed's posting of his complete epic-length replies allows people to see a sadly typical agnostic conversational ploy (as I have debated many in my time and can speak from experience): hitting a Christian with 50 things from the Bible at once, as if this offers some bogus appearance of strength. This is, in fact, not a matter of strength or weakness of argument or evidence at all, on either side, but about how one person can only do so much at a time, and how dialogue (like any college course) can only progress if it is narrowed down. This is a huge pet peeve of mine, but, I think, quite justified, and not at all unreasonable or over-demanding.

The short page Psalm 91 features a little snippet of our dialogue. The introduction on the main point misses what I was trying to accomplish in my replies and distorts my argument: "Inappropriate Psalm used at the funeral of a woman who died young which promises 'long life' as part of Jehovah's favor -- none of which Becca received. Dave refused to address Ed's questions which were on topic, and relevant."

To which I say, "hogwash!" I urge other biblical skeptics and agnostics to read my response. Perhaps they can offer a counter-reply that Ed has yet to produce. But I directly addressed his concerns, and defeated them, as far as I'm am concerned.

The next page, Thoughts on the Psalms, is introduced with a similarly jaded and wildly distorted comment, which only proves that Sharon either didn't read my response, or never understood the very nature of it: "Psalms and the foolish concept that worshipping Jehovah and alone Jehovah will guarantee a long fruitful life vs. a short non-prosperous one." I specifically made arguments showing that the Bible did not take this simplistic view that Ed attributes to it. Phil (here in brown; previously green) seems to think I am polite enough, contra Sharon's impressions:

Well, if we're grading, I would give both of you "A's" for "amiability, " impassioned and thought provoking discussions. I would give an "F" to the guy who sent you (Ed) the "burn in hell" hate mail posted on your site . . .

So would I. I know nothing about it. But I detest such rhetoric, and almost always regard it as arrogant and judgmental. We're not God. We don't know who will be damned. Then Thomas Cook (purple) adds (followed by Ed's comment):

Ed, Armstrong and his gang are just too mean! Talk origins is propaganda? Why isn't the stuff they write considered propaganda? I thought none of the Christians treated you with kindness. Every response was belittling to you. Perhaps Steve could also take them on? Is he still debating with Turkel? Are you going to continue to reply to Armstrong?

I thought it was interesting that in his first reply to me, Dave began with this line: "Ed's skeptical take on this is clear already: God's promises are null and void, and obviously vacant: just look at this poor woman; she was a Christian, and trusted God, but did that help her? No! Quite the contrary. God didn't do a darned thing to save her . . . Etc." Dave begins by picturing me as questioning "God," when I never said that I believed "God" wrote the psalms. I was contrasting what Psalm 91 said and promised (whether the psalms and their promises were inspired by "God" or not is another question), with what actually happened to Becca. Dave's response seems to have demonstrated Christianity's built-in defense system at work, namely that if you question the meaning, propriety, overblown pomposity/hyperbole, interpretation, or intent of a Biblical work or writer, then you are directly questioning "God" Himself.

Sheer nonsense. Ed thoroughly misunderstands the nature of my response. Of course he doesn't believe in God; he is an agnostic. What I assumed in my response is that Ed is making an argument from internal inconsistency and absurdity (a sort of reductio ad absurdum). So when I mention "God" in this context, it is as an agnostic or atheist talks about God (and they do, quite a bit, even though they don't believe in Him, and it is in precisely this sense). So again, Ed assumes I am far more ignorant than I am. In fact, my thought-process here was much more sophisticated and familiar with philosophical argument and logic than he seems to have been aware. Hopefully, now he will understand these types of statements in context. I understand full well that Ed's attempt is to paint the Psalms as incoherent, absurd, and (overall) unworthy of belief. My argument was that this was not the case, and that Ed misconstrued rather simple factors in how to interpret such literature and how in fact, the Jews historically did interpret it. Does Ed really believe I am so stupid and unfamiliar with agnostic reasoning vis-a-vis the Bible, that I would actually think either that (1) he believed in God, or (2) he believed that God wrote the Psalms? If so, then I confess that I am dumbfounded at how far off the mark he is in grasping how I argue, and what I know. But stranger things have happened. Ed reiterates the obvious (that skeptics like him are "sure" the Bible is stock-full of contradictions and moral monstrosities): 

A long-time friend of mine, Bruce Wildish, who has studied theology (though he is not a theologian), had a discussion with me years ago about certain broad differences between the theological views found in different parts of the Hebrew Bible, differences that Dave might disagree exist, or attempt to harmonize away, but which seem plain to a lot of religion professors whom Bruce has read. Whether or not you believe in "God" is not the point. The point is that the Bible remains a book whose origin and interpretations remain contested even by the world's greatest living religion professors.

The point is that we would expect these divergent interpretations, for a variety of reasons. But the bottom line is that one's presuppositions have a lot to do with how one approaches the text. The agnostic usually approaches the Bible the way a butcher approaches a hog, whereas the Christian approaches it the way that a music lover or orchestra musician or conductor views Beethoven, Bach, or Mozart.That's a world of difference. And while I freely admit that this predisposition causes a considerable bias in favor of a harmonious Bible, and hence, some special pleading and bad arguments too often among Christians, I rarely see agnostics admitting that their predisposition of hostility to the Bible often wreaks havoc on the logic or plausibility of their interpretations. Beyond that, they usually try to set forth the pretense that they know far more about the Bible than we Christians who have intensely studied it for many years (27, in my case). And that is a double standard. I freely admit that everyone is biased, and that it is foolish to deny it. But it doesn't follow that this precludes all intelligent biblical exegesis and hermeneutics, on either side. Bias is the human condition, and we will never get rid of it. I generally think agnostic biblical analysis is atrocious and filled with basic errors of fact and logic (Ed's included, in the present case), but it doesn't have to be (just by virtue of being what it is). Ed then cites Bruce, giving the usual anthropological-type, modernist take on the Old Testament. While worthy of a long discussion itself, such topical material is off the subject. I find it humorous that when I was actually on-topic, discussing how to properly interpret Psalms, Ed accused me of not answering him. But he seems to think that soliloquies about the broad range of Old Testament literature (when coming from a fellow agnostic) are quite on-subject.

More thoughts on the Psalms and God's Will feature sections that I have already included in my version of the dialogue (and replied to -- when on-topic). Agnosticism and the Christian World View consists mostly of rabbit trails. I've dealt with whatever part of it was relevant. What Catholics once Believed offers a litany of untold horrors in that religion. What this has to do with our topic remains a mystery to me. But I suppose it could be utilized as a variant of the Genetic Fallacy: "Dave is a Catholic. Catholics believe weird things, now and in the past. Therefore, we can dismiss Dave's arguments and not deal with them rationally, without fallacies and obfuscation such as this." Profound reasoning, isn't it?

The web page Bibles offers more endless tidbits and anecdotes apparently thought to be collectively damning to the rationality and believability of Christianity, but off-topic. And we have more non sequitur and noncomprehension of my arguments:

Ah yes, Phil, as you say, the need to be right. Men will die simply for ideas, and the need to justify their own, either with words or swords. I could say that Dave was the first to fire the long shot over my bow, responding to something I wrote and telling me that I was "questioning God!" I know what I was doing, and it had as little to do with "God" as I believe that particular psalm did. To Dave I am questioning "God," but in my opinion, no one has yet shown that "God" is the author of everything in the Bible. Not even moderate Christians believe that.

This silly business that I was somehow assuming that Ed believed in God or was arguing against Him has been dealt with above. Hopefully, he will "get" this now. He is just making himself look silly, the more he pursues this felt "zinger" that is 100% off-mark.

Phil chimes in with more ad hominem mockery:

He did indeed "draw you out" (as if you were some slimy Leviathan and He was Yahweh) and then try to lay the ground rules in his court -- where he reasons as a Socratic along with some "revelation" knowledge -- who can argue with that?

Ed-as-the-slimy-beast and yours truly as God. Really objective analysis . . . as stated previously, my argument does not depend at all on a presumption of the truthfulness of divine inspiration of the Bible, but rather, upon logic, sensible interpretation, historical Jewish hermeneutic and religious worldview, and internal consistency.

Revelation solves everything. Not that everybody agrees on what particular revelations say or mean or how each of them are to be applied.*smile*

Is there an actual rational argument in this that I have missed? I'll keep looking; maybe I'll locate one. Not content with ridiculing Christians, Ed at length takes on the Christian conception of God, in what I'm sure he thinks is a hilarious, knee-slapping piece of ridicule (and according to him, I take passages like this as evidence that Ed believes in God himself LOL):

Those Bible verses about God "smelling the soothing aroma" do make ya wonder though, whether God still lusts after the scent of burnt animals. Today, if He did, He'd probably have to settle for a barstool at a steak house with Zeus, Odin, Marduk and Baal by His side, chatting about the good old days, all sneaking a whiff of that old "soothing" stuff.

Course, maybe God's addiction just kept getting worse, from flaming farm animals, to His son, and now He's probably addicted to "smelling the soothing aroma" of whole planets filled with living creatures exploding into cosmic fireballs. Wait, isn't that mentioned in the book of Revelation? Quick! Call the Pope to arrange an intervention, we gotta get God into rehab! And tell Outback to double my order.

No bias at all here, of course. Ed and his cronies are utterly objective, sensible, and reasonable, while Christians are always (or almost always, at the very least) subjective, senseless, and irrational. That about covers Ed's "Armstrong Page" for now.