Posts Tagged ‘Old Testament’

As promised, I’m following up on my previous blog post where I revealed the first video I’ve produced here at TheSkepticalMagician.com – “Genesis Creation Visualized – Scientifically.”  I put a considerable amount of thought and energy into creating this video, and I wanted to give you a behind the scenes look into the reasons why I made it the way I did.

Why re-write Genesis?

A common response one gets when talking to Christians about the origins of the Universe and the lack of specificity and accuracy of the Genesis account — is that the complex laws of physics would have been lost on bronze age peoples, so God had to dumb it down so humans could comprehend all that he had done.  In other words, the divine creator had to be vague, and not quite as accurate because the concepts were not there to explain it fully.  This seems to make a lot of intuitive sense to believers, and it is something that enables them to continue believing what they want to believe, so they don’t take that next crucial step that everyone should take when determining whether or not something they believe is true… They don’t try to prove themselves wrong!  And just like a scientist who submits something for peer review without first trying to disprove their ideas, if they don’t do it — someone else will.  By re-writing the Genesis account as I did (and I could have been far more detailed were it not for my time limits), I was able to show that one could give a scientifically accurate portrayal of the evolution of the Cosmos that a bronze age human could understand, while still maintaining certain poetic liberties.  Had the first 18 verses of Genesis been something similar to what I created, we in present day would have to stop and ask, “How in the heck did these bronze age illiterates know about things like fusion and the forging of the elements within stars?”  “How did they know the Earth orbits the Sun, and how did they know it rolls upon the fabric of space like it does?”  Instead of having to answer difficult questions like these, we’re left with undeniable evidence that the Genesis account of creation is just one more in a long line of creation myths.

Now, I fully admit that the Genesis account as currently written could have happened just like the Bible says, and I say as much in the video.  There is no way for me to disprove this, though I don’t think most Christians would be comfortable with what this would tell us about the creator.  If the Genesis account of the Bible is a literal, historical account of the creation of the Universe, then the creator is a deceiver.  He’s a trickster.  He’s a hoaxer.  In order for the Genesis account to be true, it would mean that creator would have had to intentionally alter time and space itself to make it look like things had occurred completely different than they actually had.  In essence,  that God is one who not only tricks people, but tricks people into not believing in him, or in his written text, which plainly goes against the idea in 2 Peter 3:9 that God is “…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

A track that many liberal Christians take is that the Genesis account is not a literal history of creation, but that it’s a symbolic or metaphoric account of man’s relationship with his creator etc, etc, etc.  Again, I can’t disprove that either, though I don’t think people who follow that line of thinking consider the greater negative theological implications for the Christian faith later on down the line.  Without a literal Genesis, or a literal Adam and Eve – there is no basis or necessity for a literal 2nd Adam (i.e. Jesus) to undo what they did in Genesis.  For these types, much of the Bible is looked at as metaphorical or symbolic, and these issues aren’t of any great concern to them, and they are happy to believe just the same.  Again, trying to disprove their perspective is a bit like trying to nail jello to a wall, and there are so many ad hoc fallacies, and so much special pleading injected into the conversation that one can find themselves quickly frustrated.  In general, these types of believers aren’t usually trying to get Biblical creation crammed into science classrooms, and are often times just as against their fundamentalist brethren in that regard as secularists are.  So while I don’t agree with their conclusions, and can no more disprove their claims than I can disprove Russell’s teapot, I can at least respect their ability to accept the clear evidence of origins instead of dogmatically clinging to ideas that are either false (my position), or the product of an omnipotent trickster. (more…)


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And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for — I give you the first video production for TheSkepticalMagician.com…

Blog post to follow in the next couple of days talking about what went into the making.  Enjoy!

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I recently finished The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine, and thought it might be a good idea to do a short book review, despite the fact that it was written in the late 1700’s.  Thomas Paine is best known for his work Common Sense, which helped to solidify colonial sentiment and fan the spark of revolution into flame.    In this book, he shouts the praises of the “pure and simple profession of Deism,” while providing his arguments against organized religion, and Christianity in particular.

Reading the book, I could easily see myself as a Deist if I had lived in the time of the revolution and the Founding Fathers.  I also think it would be quite likely that if Thomas Paine was able to find himself in this day and age, that he would be an atheist.  While some of his arguments in the book were a tad on the weak side, he also had many good points on which a theist might ponder, and considering the times it was written in, he really did an outstanding job.  Here are some of the more memorable quotes from the book (a few are a tad longer):

“What have ye still to offer against the pure and moral religion of Deism, in support of your system of falsehood, idolatry, and pretend revelation?  Had the cruel and murderous orders with which the Bible is filled, and the numberless torturing executions of men, women and children, in consequence of those orders, been ascribed to some friend whose memory you revered, you would have glowed with satisfaction at detecting the falsehood of the charge, and gloried in defending his injured fame.  Is it because ye are sunk in the cruelty of superstition, or feel no interest in the honor of your Creator, that ye listen to the horrid tales of the Bible, or hear them with callous indifference?  The evidence I have produced, and shall produce in the course of this work, to prove that the Bible is without authority, will, while it wounds the stubbornness of a priest, relieve and tranquilize the minds of millions; it will free them from all those hard thoughts of the Almighty which priestcraft and the Bible had infused into their minds, and which stood in everlasting opposition to all their ideas of his moral justice and benevolence.”  

“At the time those books were written there was no printing, and consequently there could be no publication, otherwise than by written copies, which any man might make or alter at pleasure, and call them originals.  Can we suppose it is consistent with the wisdom of the Almighty, to commit himself and his will to man upon such precarious means as these, or that it is consistent we should pin our faith upon such uncertainties?  We cannot make, nor alter, nor even imitate so much as one blade of grass that he has made, and yet we can make or alter words of God as easily as words of man.” 

“It was upon the vote of such as Athanasius, that the Testament was decreed to be the word of God; and nothing can present to us a more strange idea than that of decreeing the word of God by vote.  Those who rest their faith upon such authority put man in the place of God, and have no foundation for future happiness; credulity, however is not a crime, but it becomes criminal by resisting conviction.” (more…)

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It is not an uncommon thing for an unbeliever to be told that they are being deceived by Satan.  Many times 1 Peter 5:8 is quoted to bring the point home: “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (NASB),” which is then followed up with admonitions to not be deceived and devoured by said lion so we don’t have to spend eternity in a fiery torment.  This of course makes perfect sense when you consider how we put victims in prison who have the misfortune of being robbed at gunpoint by a thug who jumps out of the shadows, but I digress.  We are led to believe that Satan is a great deceiver who is looking to turn people from the one true God, and that anyone who is not a Christian has indeed been deceived.  I would say that if he’s that good of deceiver, then perhaps the Christian’s have something to worry about.

Lets say a little more than two-thousand years ago Satan went into the throne room of Yahweh and said, “I know you beat me on the last bet we had concerning that guy Job, but I’d like to raise the stakes a bit and offer a new wager.”  Yahweh, always enjoying a good gamble with Satan, asks what he has in mind.  “Well, Yahweh, you know how you’ve commanded your chosen people to observe certain rituals and sacrifices perpetually forever? (Exodus 12:24, 2 Kings 17:37, Ezekiel 46:14, Leviticus 23:31) … Lets say I have to convince a minimum of 1/3 of the global population to abandon your laws for a one-time sacrifice, and that while you’re only one God, I have to convince them that you have 3 parts.”

Yahweh was intrigued by this proposal, so he listened as Satan went into a little more detail: “Now obviously I’m not omnipotent, so you’re going to have to make certain concessions if this is to be a fair bet.”  Yahweh asked Satan exactly what he wanted.  “Well, first off I’m going to need you to drum up some false prophecies to set things in motion.  This isn’t asking too much, because you’ve deceived your prophets before (2 Chronicles 18:22), but make sure it’s convincing stuff.”  Yahweh agreed.

“Then I’m going to need you to let me have an earthly form and pretend I’m your son, but that I’m also you.”  Yahweh, being a bit confused, asked Satan to explain things a little further.  Satan explained, “I’m going to pretend that I’m you, but as your own son come to earth to sacrifice myself, to myself, to appease myself, which is also yourself, so people don’t have to do the things you told them they would have to do forever.  To top things off we’ll have them write a book, where if someone doesn’t agree with the deception I’ve created, we’ll say that they themselves are deceived.  It’s brilliant!”

Yahweh then requested to know how much they would be betting concerning the potential destruction of all those souls.  “The usual,” replied Satan, “one dollar.”  Yahweh, never being one to take a losing bet agreed, and as Christianity is now on the fastest decline it has ever seen (down to 770,000,000 true believers by some estimates), Yahweh is soon going to be $1 richer than he was before.

I’m sure there are some who would cry blasphemy at this point for suggesting that Jesus could possibly have been Satan in disguise.  I of course don’t hold to that position, but if Satan is such a great deceiver, that would be the greatest deception of all, and one that I think would match up a little more with the Old Testament, and seems a whole lot more “lion-like” than simply deceiving people with the evidence of the natural world.

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One of the podcasts that I like to listen to is the Reasonable Doubts Podcast They broadcast from Grand Rapids, MI (a.k.a. “The Clasp of America’s Bible Bra”) and they put together a really good program.  I happened to listen to this two part segment on the disunity of the Bible the other day, and thought I’d pass it along.  It’s well worth a listen.  Part 1 deals with the Old Testament, and Part 2 deals with the New Testament and has Robert Price as a special guest.  Enjoy!

Disunity Of The Bible Part 1

Disunity Of The Bible Part 2

Note: The Reasonable Doubts Podcast is also available on iTunes. 

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