Daily Archives: August 18, 2012

Another Facebook Meme that Should be Destroyed

Wow.  Just wow.  So many things wrong with this graphic.  So many problems and inconsistencies of thought. . . .  So many half-truths and misrepresentations. . . .

Let’s just start left and travel right.  A word of warning — this is longer than my average blog post because it covers a variety of topics related to same-sex marriage.  It’s approaching 1800 words and I cut quite a bit of material out.  Be warned as you travel below the fold. . . . Read the rest of this entry

How to Miss the Point: A Guide to Dimwitted Discourse

Sarah Geis from Think About These Things has an awesome post that every debater must read.  It is a primer on how to argue Internet-style:

People have valued reasoned, fair disagreements and good listening skills for far too long. It is high time we dispense with those boring and outdated formalities! After all, why respect the laws of logic when you can enjoy the adventure of following your own passions? When you get the point, you can only either agree or disagree. How boring! On the other hand, when you miss the point, you open up a fallacy-filled wonderland where conversation and emotions are set free to frolic! If you wish to dispense with the authoritarian laws of logic (which care nothing about you!) and transcend the boundaries of social courtesy, then here are some suggestions for you to try on your entirely subjective journey. These primarily apply to written arguments, but can also apply to listening to a spoken argument.

My personal favorite:

12. Remember that no one has the right to criticize things you like. 
Decide right now that all criticisms of anything you like are immediately invalid. After all, we know that things and people that we like are perfect.

Thanks for a wonderful post, Sarah!  Keep up the good work.

Quick Post: Ignorant Meme

Most memes that float around are plain ignorant, and thus are fairly easy to decimate.  And this one is no different:

The first thing that we have to understand about God is that he is all three branches of our American government combined — he’s the original theocracy.  He is, in fact, referred to by titles that reflect that:

  • Lawgiver — Isaiah 33:22, James 4:12 [Congress]
  • King of kings — 1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14 and 19:16 [President]
  • Judge — Genesis 18:25, Psalm 7:11, 2 Timothy 4:8 [Courts]

When God enacts a law as Lawgiver, he has the right to be both Judge and Executioner when enforcing said law.  God, like the State, can impose the death penalty for people who transgress the law.

The commandment referenced refers to cold-blooded murder.  Acts like self-defense or capital punishment imposed by the State are not in view and are not forbidden.  So God is not transgressing his own law by imposing the death penalty on a guilty party.  God isn’t murdering anyone, he is acting as Judge and Executioner.

So we are done here.  Next meme I crush is that lovely FB floater that asks if you still oppose gay marriage, and through a series of poorly-reasoned, badly-exegeted biblical examples shows you’re some kind of bigot.  It actually shows anything but that, as we shall soon see.

Why No Archelogical Evidence of the Exodus?

It is a common charge from critics that the Exodus left no archeological evidence behind.  The Christian answer, as “convenient” as it sounds to those critics, is pretty true if you actually put on your thinking cap for a moment.

In the words of Charlie Campbell:

Another objection critics raise regarding the Exodus concerns the lack of any Egyptian records mentioning the Israelite’s departure from the land. But a lack of records should not concern us. It is reasonable to believe that the Egyptians had some written record of the Exodus but as British Egyptologist Kenneth A. Kitchen says, voluminous papyrus archives once stored in Egypt have vanished:

In the sopping wet mud of the Delta, no papyrus ever survives (whether it mentions fleeing Hebrews or not)…In other words, as the official thirteenth-century archives from the East Delta centers are 100 percent lost, we cannot expect to find mentions in them of the Hebrews or anybody else. [1]

“Well,” the skeptic says, “perhaps no written record survives on papyrus, but surely there should be something in a wall relief that mentions the Exodus.”

I disagree. As Jeffery Sheler, U. S. News & World Report religion writer, says:

Official records and inscriptions in the ancient Near East often were written to impress gods and potential enemies, it would be quite surprising to find an account of the destruction of pharaoh’s army immortalized on the walls of an Egyptian temple…Indeed, the absence of direct material evidence of an Israelite sojourn in Egypt is not as surprising, or as damaging to the Bible’s credibility, as it first might seem. [2]

“Okay,” the skeptic reasons, “perhaps there wouldn’t be a wall relief telling the story of the Exodus, but surely the Israelites would have left behind some pottery in the Sinai desert during their sojourn from Egypt to Canaan.”

When it comes to archaeological evidence for the Exodus (such as pottery), it is important to remember that the Israelites lived as nomads during their time in the wilderness. Nomads living in a desert like environment, where every utensil and tool is of great value, leave few traces in the archaeological record. The Israelite’s temporary tent encampments from 3000 years ago would not have left much behind in the swirling sands of the desert.

Former Yale professor Millar Burrows agrees: “It is hardly reasonable, in fact, to expect archeological evidence of their sojourn anywhere. We cannot expect much help from archeology in tracing the route of a people’s migration through the desert.”[3] (source)

See this article for more detail.  We wouldn’t expect much archelogical evidence to survive.  Really, nomadic people leave very little behind.  Check JP’s comparison to the Scythians in the article for information on that.

Notes:

  1. K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament, 466. Italics in original.
  2. Jeffery Sheler, Is The Bible True? 78.
  3. Millar Burrows, What Mean These Stones? 63.