Blog Archives

Monica’s Longer Arguments no Better than the Tweets!, part 1

Recently, I posted that Twitter user Monicks made a supremely ignorant statement about God and moral responsibility.  In that post, I specifically mention the trouble with arguing via Twitter; namely, you get only 140 characters to make your point.

So I thought that, perhaps, Monica would argue better if she had unlimited characters to work with.  And so I checked her blog, and read the most popular post on it.

So much for that idea.  All unlimited words did for her was give her more rope with which to hang herself.

So let’s look at these 11 things that the Bible forbids, yet we do anyway.  First, Monica intelligently anticipates the main objection that will be raised, to which she unintelligently replies:

As a final note, I know that nine of these 11 cite the  Old Testament, which  Christianity doesn’t necessarily adhere to as law.

To which I say: If you’re going to ignore the section of Leviticus that bans about tattoos, pork, shellfish, round haircuts, polyester and football, how can you possibly turn around and quote  Leviticus 18:22 (“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”) as irrefutable law?

But that’s me trying to introduce logic to religious fanaticism (or, at least, trying to counter some mix of ignorance, bigotry and narcissism with logic). And I should probably know better.

Why is this unintelligent?  The short answer is in this video from Stand to Reason.

Long answer: Read the rest of this entry

Naked Archeologist Finds the Giants (Gen 6:4)

Our old friend Simcha Jacobovici is back. I’ve seen the listing for the show The Naked Archeologist several times, but I never bothered to watch. I had no idea that Jacobovici was the Naked Archeologist until I watched a show the other day on tracking down the giants mentioned in the Bible.

An obscure and usually ignored reference to giants comes in Genesis. Goliath is reputed as one; so is King Og. Here is the reference:

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. (Gen 6:1-4 KJV, emphasis added)

No skeletal remains from the ANE dating to Old Testament times or before has exceeded 6’5″. That’s not giant by anyone’s standard. So, why does the Bible contain a reference to a race of giants?

I could never understand the veneration of the King James version. Sure, it’s the most lyrical and poetic of the English translations. I won’t argue that. But, it has numerous documented mistranslations. This is one of them. Here’s the same passage, in my personal favorite Bible translation:

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. (Gen 6:1-4 ESV, emphasis added)

The ESV uses the literal Hebrew word that had been translated “giant” since the Septuagint and Latin Vulgate editions of the Old Testament. The Hebrew word nephilim doesn’t mean “giant.” It means “fallen ones.”

Jacobovici talks to a Jewish scholar who says that, according to Jewish tradition, the “sons of God” were earthly beings that resembled humans but didn’t possess a soul. Jacobovici believes that this may refer to Neanderthals, who walked the earth with humans some 60,000 years ago.

Cover of

Cover of The Exodus Decoded (History Channel)

He said that humans and Neanderthals lived in peace for a time, and suggests that they may have intermarried, thus producing the Nephilim. The Nephilim were powerful beings: the Bible describes them as people of great renown. His hypothesis makes some sense–Neanderthals would have been closer to animals and therefore very cunning and strong. Add a human intellect to that mix and you have the recipe for a man of great strength, and thus great renown.

The problem is that Jacobivici is more concerned with ratings than with truth (reference the Jesus Family Tomb incident). I happened to watch Exodus Decoded a while back. The Wikipedia entry suggested the same sorts of misrepresentations and half-truths that drove the Jesus Family Tomb documentary. While his theory has some potential validity, it’s difficult to trust his reporting.

Really Good Question

Over at the XXXChurch Confessions Blog, an anonymous man writes the following excellent question:

I have been hurt by church and don’t know how i feel about loving the God that has been presented by the christians i have met. I have struggled with lust for a long time and i have recently realized that i am using it as a form of escape. I have a girlfriend whom i am in love with and we are trying to keep our physical relationship under control but when we mess up I know i have hurt her and that kills me inside. I want to love her wholly, not just for her body and I want her to know that. I just keep beating myself up for it, because i know that this kind of behavior is not right. My problem is that I feel loved when I am touched (not in a sexual way) by someone that cares for me. How can I feel loved by God if he can’t touch me? (source)

Without knowing exactly what sort of God has been presented to him, I have to assume that he can’t reconcile a God of wrath with a God of love. The Bible says that God is love (1 Jn 4:8), however the entire Old Testament presents a God of wrath who is appeased by sacrifices.

Most likely, the Christians our guest poster was talking about were unable to articulate this fact. God’s wrath must be understood alongside his love, not in opposition to it.

The item really at issue, however, is that the writer equates love with touch. As sensual as the touch is, that is far from the only way to show love. Personally, I have fallen in love with three women solely by maintaining an Internet chat relationship with them–the last of which I married and couldn’t be happier that I did. I understand that I’m not the world, but I think a case can be made that love is more than just sensual touch.

I think a good case can be made for loving someone that does things for you that no one else can do. The second of these three women I fell in love with over the Internet held highly intelligent conversations with me, something that I definitely wasn’t getting anywhere else at that time. She remains the smartest woman (and perhaps the smartest person) I’ve ever met. So, without touching me, she captivated my heart in a way that no one had up until that point. I know that she felt the same for me, but I can’t speak as to what part of her I touched that created such lasting feelings in her.

That said, it is easy to make a case for loving God without having a love based in the sense of touch. God created the entire universe (Gen 1:1; Eph 3:9; Rev 4:11) and everything in it, seen and unseen (Col 1:16). God holds all these things together (Col 1:17). God is impartial (Acts 10:34-35) and is the source of all good gifts (Jms 1:17). This means that he also gives gifts at his discretion to even the wicked (Job 21:7-16; Jer 12:1-2) whose sin he cannot tolerate (Prv 20:23; Ps 5:4, 11:5, 37:38; Hab 1:13).

God has done all of these things, and his promise is trustworthy (Heb 13:5).

God may not reach out and touch a person, but it is easy to see all of the things that he has done for us simply by considering the blessings we have in this life. The anonymous poster should remember those gifts, and pay homage to the one who gave those gifts instead of delighting in the gifts themselves.