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Christianity, like Shakespeare, never goes out of date

Unlike the pseudo-scripture of our age, the texts are timeless

By on Friday, 2 November 2012

Timeless     Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Timeless Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The gospel for the Feast of All Saints was that of the Beatitudes, the start of the Sermon on the Mount, which is of course the most famous gospel passage of all. It is usually cited by moral theologians as being Jesus’ equivalent of the Ten Commandments, which were delivered through Moses on a different mountain. The Sermon is, like the Ten Commandments, something that does not grow old.

All this reminded me of what Ben Jonson  said about Shakespeare: “He was not of an age, but for all time!” If that is true of Shakespeare – and it most certainly is -how much more is it true of the Gospels.

Again, I was reminded of something once said by Fr Francesco Pierli, the Comboni missionary, at a meeting I attended in Africa. “The Bible,” he said “is a moment in history that illuminates the whole of history.”

Shakespeare and the Bible are both products of their time, that reflect their time; but they are not locked into the culture that produced them. You do not need to travel back to Elizabethan England in order to understand the universal themes of, let us say, Romeo and Juliet. And you certainly do not have to enter into the world of the Ancient Near East to be able to read the Bible, which transcends history, time and place, while being, at the same time, securely anchored in all three. This is why, contrary to the expectations of so many, Christianity simply does not go out of date. So many pseudo-gospels – Marxism being the most obvious example – look very passé now; and quite a lot of modern trends will, fifty years from now, look anything but. But the Scriptures are as fresh now as when they were written.

Like all priests, I went to seminary, and like many I was disappointed by much of the teaching there. Some of it was good, but the part that really let me down, I felt, was the Scriptural part. The approach taken was something like this. To enter into the text, you need first to understand authorial intention; to understand authorial intention, you have to understand the author’s “living situation” (Sitz im leben); and to do that you have to reconstruct as fully as possible the concerns of that long dead person, which will involve understanding the language that person spoke. And so it was, before we could ever approach the Scriptures themselves, we had to spend hours and hours listening to very diffuse talk about the Hittites.

But the truth of the matter is, it seems to me, that people can engage with the text without any preamble whatever, and find it profitable. The text speaks directly. You do not have to know about the Hittites; you do not have to know about the Roman Empire to understand, for example, the accounts of Jesus’ encounter with Pontius Pilate. When Pontius Pilate asks “What is truth?” or says “Quod scripsi, scripsi” or “Ecce Homo”, these things speak for themselves.

Please do not think that I am going down the Lutheran path of Holy Scripture being its own interpretation. Rather I am saying that just as moral experience is at first hand, so too is the experience of God through the reading of the Bible. What that experience means, of course, has to be interpreted by the Church. But the foundational approach to Holy Scripture surely must be that of Saint Augustine: pick up and read. Tolle, lege!

Talking of great literature, consider this, from Book Eight of St Augustine’s Confessions, which is great theology too:

I was saying these things and weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when suddenly I heard the voice of a boy or a girl, I know not which — coming from the neighbouring house, chanting over and over again, “Pick it up, read it; pick it up, read it.” Immediately I ceased weeping and began most earnestly to think whether it was usual for children in some kind of game to sing such a song, but I could not remember ever having heard the like. So, damming the torrent of my tears, I got to my feet, for I could not but think that this was a divine command to open the Bible and read the first passage I should light upon. For I had heard how Anthony, accidentally coming into church while the gospel was being read, received the admonition as if what was read had been addressed to him: “Go and sell what you have and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me.” By such an oracle he was forthwith converted to thee.

So I quickly returned to the bench where Alypius was sitting, for there I had put down the apostle’s book when I had left there. I snatched it up, opened it, and in silence read the paragraph on which my eyes first fell: “Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof.” I wanted to read no further, nor did I need to. For instantly, as the sentence ended, there was infused in my heart something like the light of full certainty and all the gloom of doubt vanished away.

  • JabbaPapa

     For your point, you would have to show people causing violence because they have no belief.

  • GratefulCatholic

    Please JabbaPapa, ignore this cretin too. Pearls before swine & etc.

  • Richard

    “I hold several degrees” From where? They’re probably not worth the paper they’re written on if you think the theory of evolution is “religion” which “breaks the rules of science whenever convenient” What kind of institution hands out biology degrees to people who clearly know nothing about biology?

  • andHarry

     ‘if you think the theory of evolution is “religion” which “breaks the rules of science whenever convenient”‘

    Have you read ‘The Edge of Evolution’ by Michael J. Behe; and in particular Ch. 5. ‘What Darwinism Can’t Do.’?

  • TreenonPoet

     I agree that it was already known that the Earth was round (i.e. roughly spherical) by the time that the New Testament was written. (One can easily think of a number of reasons why the idea would not be readily accepted.) However, it is not just the Old Testament that is incompatible with a round Earth.

    It is not just my “interpretation” of the Bible that leads me to conclude that it is consistent with a flat Earth. It is the blindingly obvious fact that by no stretch of the imagination can certain words of the Bible be bent to make it seem as though they were compatible with a round Earth. If the Earth was round, but the sky was a dome, then on parts of the Earth there would be no sky! I don’t know why I am bothering to discuss this because even if the sky had been described as a shell, it would not have borne much resemblance to reality. If you ‘interpret’ the Bible to mean something completely different to what what the words say, then you might as well throw away the Bible.

    Take this verse from Isaiah:

    ”40:22 It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

    Have you ever tried pitching a tent on a ball? The picture painted is clearly one of a disc-shaped surface under a tent-like sky. This matches what one apparently sees when one looks around, so an attempt to describe a round Earth would have to deliberately deviate from that picture.

    I don’t see why you are disputing this as you have admitted elsewhere that the Bible gets science wrong. I only choose the flat Earth as the most blatant example. If the Bible is not intended to be a scientific work, why incorporate assertions of a scientific nature, and why get them wrong if the the Bible is meant to represent truth?

  • Richard

    His central argument for rejecting random mutation over guided (by an intelligent designer) mutation is that protein-protein binding sites are extremely unlikely to have developed by natural means. This argument ignores the fact that the majority of 10,000 binding sites in modern vertebrates are duplicate copies of each other, with there being only a much smaller number of basic binding motifs and ignores the fact that most of these basic binding motifs were developed in rapidly dividing single celled organisms with very large populations. Evidence which in fact points directly to evolution by natural selection.

  • TreenonPoet

     The scientific method is based on attempts to disprove findings. This way, anything shown to be untrue is discarded, with the result that what remains is likely to be a closer representation of the truth. Science does not claim to know the full truth, but it has been close enough to allow amazing progress in medicine, computing, space flight, etc.

    The religious method is to make stuff up and ignore any contradictory facts with the result being a pack of lies referred to as The Truth. It is bad enough to excuse the intellectual abuse of children, misogyny, homophobia, divisiveness, etc.

  • JabbaPapa

    Such arguments are very weak, not just scientifically, as you very cogently point out — but theologically and philosophically as well.

    They are made by those who do not understand the differences between First Causes and Second Causes, and the possibility of a Zero Cause.

    It is irrational to reject the massively convincing evidence that the theory of evolution is globally accurate, simply on the basis that this or that element of the current model might eventually turn out to be inaccurate or only partially true or whatever…

    Our understanding of reality is irrelevant to God’s Power to intervene therein, as and how He might choose to do so, of His own sovereign desire — those rejecting evolution for religious reasons are implicitly denying the full extent of God’s omnipotence.

  • JabbaPapa

    Rubbish !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    Good grief !!!

    So in other words, you have NOT in fact provided any evidence whatsoever to support your prejudiced claims.

    Your notion that the word “circle” MUST mean “disc” and not “globe” (or, even more simply, the circle of the horizon — ooooooh !!! cheeky, look at that, a simple common-sense interpretation, how about that !!!) is a personal interpretation ; as for the rest of your quote, it is quite blatantly poetic in nature — or what, are you the kind of person who thinks that Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll should be interpreted with a literalist approach exclusively ?

    My point — in fact — is that your attitudes to Scripture are exactly as unscientific as those that you are pretending to attribute to some other members of this discussion forum.

  • Acleron

    Eratosthenes determined the circumference of the earth in the third century BC. There was no controversy among educated people.

    Repeating nonsense because it resonates as a piece of prose is no argument.

    Ignorant people thought the earth was flat and it is reflected in the bible.

  • Acleron

    ‘You’re inventing stuff out of thin air again, to support your own a priori views.’

    But you have never been able to point out anything I have supposedly invented.

    Your response about Darwin is very telling. I’ll retract the ‘perhaps’ before discussing mutation rate and variation. You were wrong about domestication and variation and you obviously are unable to appreciate the difference between variation and mutation rate.

    I suggest you share your views on a skeptic forum, you want to be left alone in these columns so you can post your unevidenced opinions without criticism. That you don’t understand the difference between those surprises me little.

  • Acleron

    Ah, so when the bible gets it wrong, it’s called poetry. 

    Of course, far more likely, the writer couldn’t consider something coming from nothing.

  • Acleron

    Hating religion is not a definition of atheist. You should really open a dictionary now and then and actually read the words and the definitions.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    1) The belief that theism is wrong has motivated violence. Clearly. Undeniably.

    2) Glad you’ve finally settled on an accusation! Now let’s have the evidence so that we can judge the degree of culpability involved.

    3) In terms of literary and philosophical texts, what’s a ‘strict algorithm for interpretation’ when it’s at home? I’d have quite liked one of those when I was sitting examinations in humanities. Do you think I could borrow one now?

    4) On trolling, do read what I said. (Perhaps you’ve mislaid your algorithm?) I don’t make regular pilgrimages to lions’ dens such as sceptics forums because -in the face of the reality that it will quite quickly become both nasty and unproductive- I feel that I’m trolling. (And indeed will regularly be accused of doing so.) Whether I actually am or not -who knows? (Need that algorithm again!) But that’s my subjective take on the matter and that’s why I don’t do it.

    5) On consideration etc, I merely do my best. I don’t possess that strict algorithm for interpretation as I’ve admitted, so, of course, it’s not going to be up to the standards of those, such as yourself, who do.

  • JabbaPapa

    Are you *really* suggesting that Scripture was written by the “ignorant” and the “uneducated” ??

    LMAO, and if I were Anti Moly, I’d be ROF too …

    The scientific fact here is that the Bible makes no positive claim whatsoever about the shape of the world.

    Only your own ignorance and ill-education is leading you to conclude otherwise.

  • JabbaPapa

    But you have never been able to point out anything I have supposedly invented.

    ????

    You have invented the notion that the Bible Authors “deny they can possibly be wrong”…

    You have invented the notion that I did not understand Darwin’s claims about variation.

    You have invented the notion that I (and others in here) have the same interpretative strategies of Scripture as the YECs.

    … and that’s just from ONE post. None of these claims are based on anything inside material reality, and on no material evidence whatsoever, indeed on nothing apart from the contents of your own cranium. (which is what the metaphor “out of thin air” was intended to indicate)

    your unevidenced opinions

    Looked in a mirror recently ?

  • JabbaPapa

    Ah, so when the bible gets it wrong, it’s called poetry

    No — poetic texts in the Bible are called “poetry”. Do keep up …

    Of course, far more likely, the writer couldn’t consider something coming from nothing

    Your literary interpretation skills are not very good, are they…

    That entire text is a poetic illustration of something coming from nothing.

    That classical philosophical question could be rephrased as “Why does causality exist ?”.

  • JabbaPapa

    You asked about “showing people causing violence because they have no belief“. Done.

    One example is sufficient to demonstrate such, even without mentioning Stalin, Pol Pot, or China.

    Oh and doncha just luuuuuurrrrvvvve the double standards — an overtly atheist murderer of Christians, motivated specifically and clearly by his disbelief, occasions you to deny the quite blatantly obvious circumstances of this hateful religious crime because it doesn’t square up with your own preconceptions…

  • Acleron

    It is not merely the belief that theism is wrong that has caused violence, it is the minor difference between beliefs that do that.

    Sorry it has taken you that long to see the accusation. I know the sophisticated theologian would like to reverse the argument, but the accusation is that religious belief causes violence. Or are you going to tell us that that the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Middle East atrocities and the Serb-Croat war were not religiously based? Or that your own history is littered with examples of killing and torture based on a belief that you are right and others are wrong?

    ‘A strict algorithm for interpretation’ is a method, clearly stated, reasoning why certain texts in the bible should be believed as fact and others changed in meaning. That you don’t have one, is not my concern. What should concern you, is that without one, your analysis and interpretation descends into mere opinion and is therefore worthless. That different theists interpret the bible in opposite ways should be a clue to you.

  • TreenonPoet

     It seems clear that you have a religious belief that the Bible could not have got something so fundamental as the shape of the Earth so spectacularly wrong. I suspect that even if the Bible had stated “the surface of the Earth can be approximated to a planar disc”, you would interpret it to mean the surface of an oblate spheroid.

  • Acleron

    No Jabba, it clearly starts from water, or do you think that ‘water’ is an allegorical allusion to nothing?

    If you think this, then where does it say this.

    No, your first comment is more probable.

    What you don’t like, you just call something different.

  • Acleron

    Can you find this bit where I say the authors of the bible deny they can be wrong?

    You really must have led a sheltered life where you haven’t been called on such falsehoods.

    And just to restate it.

    You have never been able to point out something I have supposedly invented.

  • Acleron

    You should carefully read something before your outbursts, I’m implying that it is interpreted by the ignorant and ill-educated. Repeating creation myths is a common syndrome in all religions, your bible is no different in that respect.

    Treenonpoet cogently points out where those claims are made. Of course, to you, being able to ‘interpret the bible’ means you can wave those texts aside. Perhaps they magically become ‘poetry’ as well.

  • Acleron

    I’m glad you feel you understand ‘clearly’ the mind of a psychopathic murderer.

    Apparently, he believed that 2012 was the second coming of Christ. Now atheists are a mixed bunch of people, but none I’ve ever heard of believe in a god. I know, you don’t want to understand because it might shake your fragile beliefs, but atheism is a non-belief.

  • NewMeena

    I’ve always thought there must be some connection between Jabba and the Jabberwock.

  • JabbaPapa

    In what way does the typical atheist trick of insisting on interpreting this or that comment in Scripture in a literalist sense when it suits them, a metaphorical sense when it suits them, and various other different ways according to their own tastes not involve engaging in exactly what they complain of in others ?

    Proper Biblical exegetics involve interpreting Scripture with multiple interpretative strategies simultaneously.

    NOT whichever caricature of pseudo-literalism that the militant atheists and YEC crowd engage in alike…

  • JabbaPapa

    More baseless and non-evidence-based claptrap ?

    Why am I not surprised ?

  • JabbaPapa

    Can you find this bit where I say the authors of the bible deny they can be wrong?

    Well somebody appears to be claiming that they can’t possibly be wrong, in the context of Bible interpretation, according to you.

    Otherwise why say “Scientists don’t deny they can possibly be wrong” ?

    Was it just a random factoid ? Really ?

    OK, less rain falls from clear skies than overcast ones.

    Has anyone apart from the authors contributed any written text to Scripture ?

  • JabbaPapa

    good grief !!!

    No Jabba, it clearly starts from water, or do you think that ‘water’ is an allegorical allusion to nothing?

    Nope, it starts with In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram.

    Top tip when reading books — start with the lines at the top of the page, as one is meant to read these before those that are located beneath.

  • Acleron

    As usual and as expected, you don’t understand the thrust of the problem.

    It isn’t atheists interpreting anything. We are taking very clear statements and showing you that you have interpreted them.

    No matter how many Jesuits you use, you are changing the meaning of standard English words to mean anything you particularly want. All the scholars in the world cannot change that simple fact. Hence, you want to change the meaning of the word ‘water’ to mean something else, not for any external reason but purely because it doesn’t fit in with your belief.

    And of course the catholics are not the only ones doing it, you all are. Not surprisingly, you all change the meaning to mean exactly what each sub-cult wants to believe and they are all different.

    But as you are not good at reading, let me make it very clear, it is the quality of the work of exegetics that is poor, not the quantity. A case of never mind the quality, just feel the width.

  • JabbaPapa

    ‘A strict algorithm for interpretation’ is a method, clearly stated, reasoning why certain texts in the bible should be believed as fact and others changed in meaning

    The hermeneutics of Biblical exegetics  are nowhere near as crude as you suggest them to be.

    Sadly I can hardly educate you on hermeneutics and exegesis in a combox.

    No doubt, many online resources exist that could provide you with at least a starting point in these disciplines…

    … or books, even !!!

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    So you don’t believe theism is false?

  • JabbaPapa

    OK then :

    http://average-catholic.com/2012/08/05/romanian-catholic-martyrs/

    (I suppose you’re going to claim that the Communists in Romania weren’t really atheists or something … )

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    1) Jabbapappa’s really said everything I’d want to say about the link of atheism and violence. If you really want to deny that (some) atheists have persecuted religious believers precisely because of their desire to extirpate religion -well, you’re digging the grave of your own plausibility, so go ahead. I on the other hand am perfectly happy to admit that Catholics have committed great crimes in the name of religion: the truth of the religion does not guarantee the goodness of its adherents.

    2) Your confusion about interpretation has so many different aspects that it’s difficult to know where to start. Catholicism does not rest on just  the Bible: its primary source of authority is the living, hierarchical Church. (So other theists interpret the Bible in a different way because a) some aren’t Christians and b) some aren’t Catholics.) You equate ‘algorithm’ with method. Catholicism has a method -and the final stop of this method is the infallible teaching authority of the Church. But that’s not an algorithm -it’s not precise and explicit in the manner of a step in a computer program.

    Let’s make this simple. Pick a text which, compared to the melange of styles and genres that is the Bible, is comparatively simple: say, Hamlet. What is the ‘strict algorithm for interpretation’ for Hamlet? Do you now see the absurdity of assuming that the only two possibilities are a) having such an algorithm; or b) interpretation of the text being worthless?

  • Acleron

    You obviously don’t even read your own posts properly.

    The point about scientists was made in reply to your shouted comment that Darwin was wrong. And yes, Darwin was wrong about some minor points, just not the one you made. 

    If by authors you mean the original authors then yes, the text in the bible has been changed repeatedly, mistranslated and edited to suit. Your lot of interpreters are just the latest in a long sequence of agenda led people.

    Of course, the original story tellers mainly copied their myths from even earlier myths.

  • Acleron

    We know that light preceded solid matter. We can even see the remnants of that light. Your god is claimed to have water on the surface of the earth prior to such light. 

    It isn’t good prose, is factually wrong and doesn’t say that something came from nothing.

  • Acleron

    I wouldn’t say the exegetics were crude in their logical approach, they don’t have any logic at all. 

    If you had an external evidence to the bible to prove an interpretation, that would be a start. And the evidence shows that these were mostly stories handed down by other societies, so not even much originality. That exegetics don’t conclude that the stories are myths shows the vacuity of their ‘researches’.

    If, as happened, someone comes to me with a result showing that a protein is present in twice the quantity by mass than the mass of the original impure sample, I don’t need to examine in detail the intricate way a mistake was made. I might do, to find out why the mistake was made, but I have no interest into descending into the morass of anti-intellectualism you have built for yourself. It is sufficient to point out the error, not the method by which you arrived at the error.

  • Acleron

    Perhaps you could explain that further. I cannot see anything that I posted that could lead to that conclusion.

  • Acleron

    Get some independent facts, I can’t be bothered about a catholic site moaning about persecution, you play the victim card too often. 

    But you still haven’t shown that atheism turns people into psychopathic killers. Your best shot turned out to believe in something, so yet again a religion vs religion caused by religious differences.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    You claim that atheism is not a belief but a ‘non-belief’. But doesn’t atheism involvethe belief that theismis false?

  • Acleron

    Yes, I’ve noticed that Jabba and yourself are quite similar in certain ways.

    I don’t deny that some atheists want to remove religion, I do so myself. But that is miles away from saying that atheism causes psychopathic killers which is your continual claim by mentioning atheists (and in Jabba’s case non-atheists) who have been power mad psychopaths.

    Oh I know that catholicism isn’t purely about the bible, you’ve invented your own stories as well. But if parts of the bible are shown to be pure fiction, what about the essential parts that you do base your religion on. The life of Jesus Christ, how can you believe that text, again with no external evidence. You have cherry picked your texts from the bible just to suit your present beliefs and others have done exactly the same. When cherry picking is insufficient, you merely change the meaning to suit.

    An algorithm has logic as well as method, algorithms have to be proved to work. What you have is just a belief, which you belie by calling this belief system infallible. Well, it is all too fallible, more so because of the arrogance of that statement.

    Interpretations of Hamlet are not factual either, they are fiction which is much enjoyed or decried. Nobody sane would want to use Hamlet as a role model, even as one who has been heavily interpreted. Why should biblical scholars be taken more seriously?

    Well, they are and they aren’t taken seriously, you take them seriously because they always conclude that your belief is right (well, the catholic ones do). Surely you can see the fallibility of that approach.

  • Acleron

    It isn’t a claim, it is purely logic. 

    But in general, if something is not considered to be true then it is false, George Boole showed us that years ago.

    But I still don’t see how that has anything to do with your statement, was there a typo?

  • JabbaPapa

    Acleron : As usual and as expected, you don’t understand the thrust of the problem.

    Your posts have truly descended into caricature today …

    It isn’t atheists interpreting anything. We are taking very clear statements and showing you that you have interpreted them.

    This is just absolute rubbish, as I have amply demonstrated using the rubbish Flat Earth theory — NOWHERE in Scripture is there a “clear statement” of any such claim, ATHEISTS are the ones reinterpreting these or those verses according to THEIR prejudice, as based on no tangible evidence whatsoever !!!

    No matter how many Jesuits you use, you are changing the meaning of standard English words to mean anything you particularly want.

    Except that the ONLY person doing any such thing in here are ATHEISTS.

    All the scholars in the world cannot change that simple fact. Hence, you want to change the meaning of the word ‘water’ to mean something else, not for any external reason but purely because it doesn’t fit in with your belief.

    Rubbish !!! Rubbish !!! Rubbish !!! The claim that the creation story starts with water is FALSE — in fact it starts with the creation of Heaven and Earth by God, Genesis I, 1

    ATHEISTS are the ones twisting the actual words on the page into an interpretation that they do not support.

    And of course the catholics are not the only ones doing it, you all are. Not surprisingly, you all change the meaning to mean exactly what each sub-cult wants to believe and they are all different.

    What an incredibly bigoted statement !!!

    But as you are not good at reading

    LMAO — you lot can’t even get the first line of Scripture right !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    I see, so Darwin’s acceptance of Lamarckian inheritance of acquired characteristics leading him to conclude that for this reason, simply domesticating animals would increase the rate of variation in these animal populations is correct, is it ?

    Wow !! You should pop off to Dawkins dot com and tell everyone !!!

    If by authors you mean the original authors then yes, the text in the
    bible has been changed repeatedly, mistranslated and edited to suit.
    Your lot of interpreters are just the latest in a long sequence of
    agenda led people.

    Thank you for this demonstration of your lack of knowledge about contemporary philology.

    Oh, and your description of the genesis and evolution of Scripture is laughably inept in its inaccuracies !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    As usual, you have completely missed every single point that has been made to you.

    1) Genesis is not a scientific text

    2) The first thing that God does in the narrative is to create “Heaven and Earth”

    3) Your literalist interpretation is perfectly unacceptable from every point of view — no culture or religion has ever considered that cosmogonic myths of the origins are meant to be interpreted literally

    4) but even given your ludicrous attempts to suggest that they should be, you can’t even produce a proper literalist identification of the beginning of the narrative

    5) No but really — do you think that Jabberwocky should be interpreted literally ?

  • JabbaPapa

    You’re a joke.

  • JabbaPapa

    you’re digging the grave of your own plausibility, so go ahead

    Well said !!!

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    So you don’t even take Shakespeare seriously??

    Doesn’t surprise me, but it really does sum up the sort of intellectual, moral and aesthetic swamp Nu-Atheism is creating.

  • JabbaPapa

    And the evidence shows that these were mostly stories handed down by other societies

    I deny the scientific validity of this claim — which was conjured up in the 19th century on the basis of no evidence whatsoever.

    The fact that many authors have peddled this garbage doesn’t turn it into a credible story.

    Not in the face of the MASSIVE trove of manuscript evidence demonstrating that the wording of Scripture has been extremely stable in its contents over the course of several thousand years, notwithstanding the writing of additional books, and their gradual incorporation into canon (as additional contents — just as the film Skyfall does not modify the contents of the previous Bond films)

    the morass of anti-intellectualism

    Oh please at least TRY and give your extremely offensive bigotry a day off from time to time…