Any bible scholars out there?

Can a christian deny the old testament?

Abrahamic religion, you know, the one with the cross...

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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#121  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 24, 2017 12:26 pm

Thomas, whatever "pretense" I choose, is my business... as is your pretense your own. Be that as it may, I really just don't care what you have to say. That should have been obvious pages ago.
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#122  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 24, 2017 12:40 pm

PensivePenny wrote:Thomas, whatever "pretense" I choose, is my business

You're missing the point. I meant you won't get away with it.

PensivePenny wrote:Be that as it may, I really just don't care what you have to say. That should have been obvious pages ago.

It would have been, had you kept your word and stopped responding to me.
Instead you did the exact opposite, not only keep responding to me, but also with increasingly personalised remarks.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#123  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 24, 2017 1:02 pm

Thomas Eshuis wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:Thomas, whatever "pretense" I choose, is my business

You're missing the point. I meant you won't get away with it.


Thomas, no. You're missing the point. Ranting isn't a means to gain respect or an audience receptive to your remarks.
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#124  Postby John Platko » Apr 24, 2017 2:07 pm

PensivePenny wrote:
John Platko wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:John, the itemized response is appreciated. I think you've given me a fair grasp of your position. I won't respond in like kind for brevity and only because I accept most everything you've written. Nothing unreasonable.

I will however respond to a few of the points. If I fail to respond to something in you're particularly interested in hearing, let me know.

Alright, so we can agree that "something" can be learned from human behavior based on how people react to a story. For that matter, we can add to a "story", a sneeze, a crying infant, a Mormon evangelist knocking on the door, or the pizza delivery arriving late. All those are opportunities to learn about human behavior.


Yes, one can learn from all of those situations. The crying infant is an interesting case. But that's perhaps another story for another day.


Personally, I don't see much to be learned from it that can't be learned in about a minute. That is an exaggeration. Some might find it more interesting topic than others, but I seriously doubt there is much value to be gained. But, say I'm wrong. For example, tell me what you think the lesson is that people believe in a virgin birth?


I think just about every kind of human interaction one could have is to be found in the four gospels and the way people deal with them. And it's helpful that there are four versions of the same story. The virgin birth wouldn't be my choice of where to start sussing out what we can from the story but, since you've been so polite in your responses I will honor your request.

You've given me no reason to be impolite. We obviously have differing opinions and views. That doesn't mean we can't benefit from a conversation. If anything, there's little to gain from a conversation where there is little disagreement.

The bullet points of the virgin birth story are:

Mary, a young girl, was engaged to Joseph
Before the wedding Mary was found to be pregnant
Joseph didn't want to disgrace her so he decided to quietly remove himself from the situation
But Joe had a dream where an angel appeared to him and the angel told him no need for that the baby is holy.
When he woke up he followed the message from his dream and took Mary as his wife and accepted the baby as his own.

There's a bit more to the story but lets just see what we might learn from that part - which is plenty to chew on.

So we have an unwed mother - and the fiancé doesn't seem to think he's responsible. :no:
He's a good guy, he doesn't want to get her in more trouble, he's thinking, "I'll quietly slip out the back door". - like a lot of us might.
But then he has a dream - now that's interesting. But can we learn anything from a dream? Some say :no: some say obviously :nod:, dreams give us a window into our unconscious processes - albeit an imperfect and often irrational window. And what does Joe learn from the dream? He learns that Mary and her baby aren't tainted, they're holy - there's no reason from him to abandon her. That's not what the God of Joseph's unconscious imagination (the part of Joe that created the dream) thought was right.
And Joe had the courage and wisdom to follow up on these ideas that were created deep within himself - with high expectations of who this child could grow up to be, what he could accomplish - in spite of what others might say about these "questionable" circumstances.

Which I could say more about but perhaps that's enough for now. From this story we can learn something we're talking a lot about in a thread on free will - why we should be more compassionate and loving to others because they are not in control of all that they do and that happens to them. :no: And Joseph modeled that behavior because he was trying, as much as he could, to be the best person he could be.

Again, there's more to be learned from this story but that's a start. For example how people deal with the "questionable' birth circumstances. It's almost like they had their very own Sean Spicer shouting out: "Joseph believed she was a holy virgin - period.
Why does that sort of thing happen? What can we learn from that?

Okay... trying to think how I might approach this. I hope you'll grant me a tiny bit of latitude.

I accept your "bullet points" of the story of the virgin birth as hitting most of the important points. Your summation that follows it is very close to an objective accounting (of the story). Obviously where many would disagree with you (and why I say your account is "objective), again no surprise to you, is that the angel was real and the dream was induced directly by God the Creator through that angel. Well, that is one of many possible interpretations.


But what does it mean to say the angel was real and the dream was induced by God?

Are we to believe some creature with wings was flying about? I see no reason to think that's a reasonable explanation of the story. Angels were messengers from God. That's the mode of explanation they had for these ideas that they believed to be significant but they didn't consciously conceive. Today some might credit their unconscious for creating the dream. Some might credit an intuition. There are other modes of explanation but the important part is something, somehow made Joe think, I shouldn't abandon this girl and her child.


Point is, you are doing a bit of interpreting. Nothing wrong with that, I'm only pointing out that subjectivity is required.


Interpretation of a story like this is required. But many accounts of history require interpretation. I certainly don't feel like I'm going out on a limb by thinking that no actual winged creatures were involved, and no sky daddy or anything of the like was involved. The probability of that is essentially 0.


Once that happens, all manner of divergent interpretations emerge, nearly unique to the number of believers.


Accepting for the sake of argument that Jesus was a historical figure, what other reasonable or likely interpretations of the story can you think of?


IF, big IF, the interpretation is an accurate account, then what derives from that can be no more accurate. In other words, your interpretation is only true, if it's true.


I don't think we're dealing with something that we can call true. We know the story is filled with errors, we know how babies are conceived, we're dealing with something more akin to a Colombo episode, it's a mystery. We're dealing with circumstantial evidence - what plausibly could have happened, what fits with the behavior we can see in other humans. And what if anything can we learn from the story.


What might be learned from that story about human nature is only possible if it IS true.


I don't think that's true. ;) I could come up with an interpretation of the story that fits well with the behavior of people I have experienced in my life and develop an explanation for certain behaviors that I could use to make predictions that are testable about human behavior and yet the reality of the story could be very different. It could, for example, be a completely made up story based on bits and pieces of other stories that themselves contains some data about human behavior. The notions that our dreams can be communicating something to us that we can't quite consciously grasp and that treating someone with compassion who is in a difficult circumstance, even if doing so may not reflect well on us because of the culture we are in are things worth learning from that story - even if it was made up.


Otherwise, it is fiction and may not be human nature at all, rather only the musings of an author with an imagination. I can't accept that a story tells us ANYTHING about human nature if humans never behaved that way. It isn't evidence to me.


But you can test what you learn from the story. Do people look at someone in difficult situation and assume they are responsible? Do they assume they are bad and to blame? Do they protect themselves from the consequences of helping that person? Do they try hard to see deeper into the issues and go against their cultural expectations and help them? What one gets out of an interpretation of a story like this is only as good as it can provide explanatory value, i.e. help make sense, in what one experiences in their own life. And that's why I like the JC story, it helps me develop a mode of explanation which helps me understand the behavior of the people I encounter in my own life.


However, my question wasn't what the story told us about human behavior. I took your previous posts to mean we could learn about human behavior by witnessing, with our own eyes, how people reacted to the story. I grant you there is much to learn in such a case. I was just curious what YOU thought could be learned by those personal observations. If I didn't make that clear earlier, I apologize.


Yes, there's so much we can learn about human behavior from how they read and interpret the story.

From my experience, most people input the story as it is told to them and don't really scrutinize the details. So their brain gets programmed to believe some magic beyond the known laws of nature happened and some sky daddy with the help of winged creatures and a holy ghost impregnated a young woman. As bat shit :crazy: as that is. The obvious take away from that is that many people, pretty much all the people in my life until I went to college are in some part :crazy: . There is something seriously wrong with their mental functioning. That magic story is, what you called super incredulous - yet they stuff in in the brains of young children with every expectation that they will believe it, making clear that the child is somehow bad if they don't. I can't remember how old I was before I stopped believing it, I have no crisp memory of that day but the older I got the less I believed that and the other equally super incredulous stories that went with it.

You can also learn form the experience of confronting people with this story and see how they react to having their "programming" challenged. Just be prepared for more bat shit :crazy: stuff.

There's probable something to be learned about human behavior from my approach to the story too. Not to mention the approach often displayed by other members of the forum.





"Flimsy" was a poor word choice. My comparison of Hamlet and the bible was merely to suggest that any value gained in learning human behavior would be more or less equal, of only modest value, and in the end so subjective as to further reduce it's value. The "flimsy" was just meant to say that if one wants to learn about human behavior there are far better ways that are more scientifically valuable and more objective.


Such as? I find our knowledge of human behavior in 2017 to be pretty flimsy. I know of no psychological system that can really sus out what's afoot at the psychological extremes. There's a reason they call psychology, and anthropology soft sciences.



"Such as?" First, I agree with the soft science remark. It is highly subjective, even under the best circumstances, in clinical settings, studying human behavior in the most stringent double blind studies. How the data is interpreted can lead to all kinds of inaccurate thinking. I hardly think there is an equivalency in analyzable data in a story written two millennia ago, which may or may not be fictional, chock full of all manner of incredulous disregard of the laws of physics. Is there something the bible can tell us about human nature? Okay, some modest bits, perhaps... highly subjective. Nothing on the order of Prison Simulation Experiment for example.

I don't understand why you'd think anything I said in the post you referenced was "unfair." I think I was perfectly fair and reasonable, but will entertain your opposition. Is it because I (paraphrased) said the bible is fiction?


I don't have a problem with parts of the Bible being called works of fiction - for many parts that's a perfectly reasonable description.

Ah. But, which parts!? This is where the disagreement really begins in "interpretation." One has to decide what is real, fiction, or parable based pretty much solely on other parts of the bible which are likewise subject to real, fiction or parable. Uncertainty supported by uncertainty. At some point, some basic interpretations MUST be assumed because there is no concrete objective truth on which to build.


Yes, and for that reason, if someone was from a cultural or family background where this story was essentially irrelevant then I wouldn't suggest trying to sort through the mess. My assessment is that, given the difficulties involved, a persons effort is better spent elsewhere. However, if you been subjected to the story, especially from an early age, and family emotions and essentially all your neural functioning got wrapped up with these bits of knowledge that have a way of effecting unconscious activity, well then it may very well be worth putting in the effort to sort it out. In that case, it may be necessary for your own sanity. But while it's difficult there are concrete objective truths to rely on as guides. People don't come back to life after they are dead. Bread and fish don't suddenly materialize out of thin air. We know how babies are conceived. We also know a lot about all kinds of strange psychological experiences that people have - dissociative experiences, etc. etc.. And you can do experiments, you can see how people react to the different interpretations.




But given that the majority of scholars assess Jesus to have been a historical figure, it's unfair to evaluate that story as a work of fiction- I think calling it a noisy (heavily corrupted) historical account is closer to the truth - at least that's how I approach it. And I give that sort of thing a little more weight than a work of fiction, especially one produced by a single author. But in the end, it's the explanatory value of either story that matters to us today. But I feel more sympathy for an actual person who actually lived who was a good guy unjustly killed than I do for a fictitious character.




I can appreciate that. When I watch or read a story, I want to know how closely it aligns with reality. It is far easier to relate to the characters if they actually existed.


That's how I feel about stories. My sister was visiting this weekend and we watched some movies together, Jackie, and Diana, we know some parts of those stories were fiction but we still got involved in the experiences they were going through.



I'm not one of those people who think the bible must be ALL true or ALL false. Whether Jesus lived or not is of little relevance, imo. However, the evidence is equally compelling that Jesus didn't live as it is that he did.


That's not the general assessment of the scholarly community.





When I said "compelling evidence," I meant compelling to me. I am no scholar, biblical or otherwise.

To me the compelling evidence is that I can read that story and learn a lot about how the people in my life interpret what is happening and react to situations. I can see all those characters appear and disappear in my life, and at times I've been some of those characters. And although one can learn a lot from the JFK story, I don't think I learn as much.



That being said, one of my favorite shows on TV right now is Black Sails. If you aren't familiar with it, it's a period piece from the 17th century about the waning years of the golden age of piracy in the Caribbean and Bahama region. It is chock full of historical figures. A fair accounting of them is done. BUT, there are also several fictional characters stolen from other works of fiction like Treasure Island. Once these elements are introduced into a story, it becomes fiction. When a fictional character and a non-fiction character interact, what exactly is that supposed to achieve? Besides entertainment? This kind of fiction is commonplace and has been probably since the beginning of the written alphabet... it is a genre all unto itself, known as "Historical Fiction." The bible falls into that genre. I do hope you agree with that. Whether this or that character actually existed is irrelevant. We already agree that at least some parts are fictional (supernatural stuff, you said), so the source (the bible) is a discredited witness. That doesn't mean that it is all fabricated, but enough is known to be fabricated that it ALL must be suspect.

<ETA: So much for "brevity." Sorry about that.>


Knowing actual history is difficult. My wife and I often disagree about what happened the day before. Once in a while I'm even shown to be wrong about what I think happened. ;) We don't have to have a perfect account of what happened to learn important things form history.

We're in agreement on the first part. While I can partially agree in principle with the last sentence, it does get pretty complicated. What are we calling "history?" Is it the stories we tell our children? Or the reality? If some unnamed drunkard penned the US Declaration of Independence on the purloined apron of some bar wench an hour before last call and the whole story about Adams and Jefferson and the Continental Congress is a fabrication, then "history" is just a fabrication. Are we really learning anything? Or are we just fueling some feeling, satisfying some missing emotional need? If a drunk nobody wrote the Declaration, the reality would fill us with disappointment. The lie would fill us with joy, pride, patriotism... To me, what I would learn about human nature wouldn't come from the story, rather the willingness of human nature to satisfy emotions at the expense of reality. Choosing fantasy over reality really does tell us a great deal about human nature. I'm just not sure what it tells us or how useful it really is. The scorpion stings the frog. Quelle suprise.


To me, the important part of the Declaration of Independence is the idea that at some point people may need to assume their own authority and separate themselves from another group. It's sad that they didn't think that applied to all people. The other historical aspects are interesting but even if TJ wrote it drunk at last call - the words are great - they stand on their own.


The fact that the Jesus story had such legs through history is something that I think needs explaining. Why? What is it about that story? I think it reaches something deep inside of people and even though they might not be able to articulate why, they feel there's something important there. To me, it's a revelation of human dynamics and psychological processes. Maybe someday neurology will have better explanations and ways of explaining human behavior - but not today.

We don't need to go back 2000 years for this. There are plenty of examples of it today, happening in real time. How did trump get elected? What has compelled so many to follow him? He's created a movement that defies logic. I don't get it. Does it tell us anything about human nature? Sure. I'm not sure what exactly. Lots of people try to explain how he was elected and none of them have the definitive explanation... and we don't have the handicap of having to go back to a time when relatively little of history was being documented, whereby to collect anywhere near the data we can on the trump election. I don't disagree we can learn something from history. But I think in the end, we learn less about human nature from history, and significantly more about our own personal nature in our own response to it.


Sure, there's plenty of stories we can learn from all around us. I got interested in this at a time of my life when I thought I had left religion and religious stories behind me. I was interested in trying to understand the odd behaviors I was seeing in the people of my life. Why they would believe things that I knew were not true. How they didn't even remember where they learned the things they were believing. As I was trying to sus those things out these stories from my childhood bubbled up from my unconscious and helped to shed some light on what was happening in my life. But for others, as I said, they might not be so helpful - they are rather baggage laden. The basic mechanisms of human behavior continue, we can see things happening in the Trump story that could have been happening thousands of years ago. Even though there's been social progress, we're still stuck with a lot of the basic human mental processing problemsn
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#125  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 24, 2017 4:03 pm

John Platko wrote:
But what does it mean to say the angel was real and the dream was induced by God?

Are we to believe some creature with wings was flying about?
I see no reason to think that's a reasonable explanation of the story. Angels were messengers from God. That's the mode of explanation they had for these ideas that they believed to be significant but they didn't consciously conceive. Today some might credit their unconscious for creating the dream. Some might credit an intuition. There are other modes of explanation but the important part is something, somehow made Joe think, I shouldn't abandon this girl and her child.



The conversation is becoming cumbersome with quotes within quotes. So, I'll respond in small bites from here.

You ask very good questions here... IF the story of the virgin birth (which is what we're discussing) was the one and only story referencing the supernatural. It isn't. The bible is 90% supernatural, if not more. Even under the most liberal interpretation AND assuming that the story is based in truth (a big IF) one has to respect that it was written as "supernatural" because the authors couldn't explain what they were writing about in ways they themselves could understand. It all seemed like magic. So we have authors who are our ONLY link to what truly happened who DO believe in spirits and magic, who write about what they see with that bias. One difference between you and I is that I consider the source of information, on its own, to be so grossly tainted as to be invalidated in virtually every manner. Why give more weight to its value than a comic book story? At least the comic book is a more culturally relevant source than anything written in any culture so far removed from our own as to lack a meaningful cultural reference.
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#126  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 24, 2017 4:28 pm

John Platko wrote:
Accepting for the sake of argument that Jesus was a historical figure, what other reasonable or likely interpretations of the story can you think of?



Take your pick.... any theist posting their interpretation on youtube. Point is it isn't objective. Any semblance your interpretation may have to objectivity in YOUR mind is roughly equal to that, that others' interpretations are to themselves. Ones certainty of a thing should be proportional to the subjectivity of the thing. And there are few things extant that are as subjective as the bible.


I don't think we're dealing with something that we can call true.
Well we agree on that.

We know the story is filled with errors, we know how babies are conceived, we're dealing with something more akin to a Colombo episode, it's a mystery.
Or, it's a complete fabrication

We're dealing with circumstantial evidence - what plausibly could have happened, what fits with the behavior we can see in other humans. And what if anything can we learn from the story.

Any damn thing we want because it all depends on how we interpret it. What can we learn from brer rabbit about human nature? Obviously rabbits can't talk but surely there must be something of importance Uncle Remus was trying to tell us. And since Uncle Remus was inarguably a wise old sage, we should give him the reverence he deserves. But, we'd be revering a fictional character as he was no more real than the talking rabbit. Time has yet to culturally distance us from Uncle Remus, but perhaps in 2000 years, humans will be worshiping him, wearing a briar patch around their necks. :dunno:

"What plausibly could have happened?" The funny thing about plausibility is that it goes up the scale relative to gullibility. So what is plausible to billions is that Jesus was the son of a supernatural god. You may not be at the same point as them on the scale, but you are still on the scale. Without tangible evidence, all we have is speculation... and to me that has little value.
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#127  Postby John Platko » Apr 24, 2017 4:30 pm

PensivePenny wrote:
John Platko wrote:
But what does it mean to say the angel was real and the dream was induced by God?

Are we to believe some creature with wings was flying about?
I see no reason to think that's a reasonable explanation of the story. Angels were messengers from God. That's the mode of explanation they had for these ideas that they believed to be significant but they didn't consciously conceive. Today some might credit their unconscious for creating the dream. Some might credit an intuition. There are other modes of explanation but the important part is something, somehow made Joe think, I shouldn't abandon this girl and her child.



The conversation is becoming cumbersome with quotes within quotes. So, I'll respond in small bites from here.

You ask very good questions here... IF the story of the virgin birth (which is what we're discussing) was the one and only story referencing the supernatural. It isn't. The bible is 90% supernatural, if not more. Even under the most liberal interpretation AND assuming that the story is based in truth (a big IF) one has to respect that it was written as "supernatural" because the authors couldn't explain what they were writing about in ways they themselves could understand.


I think that's true. They couldn't understand the story as they knew it.


It all seemed like magic. So we have authors who are our ONLY link to what truly happened who DO believe in spirits and magic, who write about what they see with that bias. One difference between you and I is that I consider the source of information, on its own, to be so grossly tainted as to be invalidated in virtually every manner. Why give more weight to its value than a comic book story?


For me personally, I think originally, because the story was pounded very graphically into my brain when I was a young child. Even though much of the story is not really appropriate for a young child. Is it appropriate for a child to be seeing a man bloody, beaten, and crucified on a cross every week? Would parents let their young children watch Road Warrior every week on Sunday morning - while inducing trance like states? And as I was forced to unravel this, I saw how interesting a story it is.

And everybody in the JC story didn't think magic was afoot. We have JC's own family thinking he was :crazy: . Isn't that interesting. I find it very hard to believe that Joe actually thought God was giving him a message in his dream, but who knows? It seems more likely to me that when he got over his :o and thought about the situation he knew what the right thing to do was - but a dream could have been involved. And a dream is a great part of the story. It let's us know that the unconscious is afoot.


At least the comic book is a more culturally relevant source than anything written in any culture so far removed from our own as to lack a meaningful cultural reference.


I don't know about your culture, but my culture won't let that old story go - and that gives it a relevance of its own.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#128  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 24, 2017 4:37 pm

John Platko wrote:
I don't think that's true. ;) I could come up with an interpretation of the story that fits well with the behavior of people I have experienced in my life and develop an explanation for certain behaviors that I could use to make predictions that are testable about human behavior and yet the reality of the story could be very different. It could, for example, be a completely made up story based on bits and pieces of other stories that themselves contains some data about human behavior. The notions that our dreams can be communicating something to us that we can't quite consciously grasp and that treating someone with compassion who is in a difficult circumstance, even if doing so may not reflect well on us because of the culture we are in are things worth learning from that story - even if it was made up.


Emphasis mine! That sums up everything I could say to disqualify the bible. At the center of it is all YOU doing all the WORK based on your OWN experiences. We don't have to use a 2000 year old text, it's unfathomable cultural differences and nuance for that. To do so is to invite the introduction of error into whatever conclusions might be drawn. It is far more beneficial to use less subjective personal and scientific observations for that purpose. It is clear that YOU have a personal affinity for the bible. I find it interesting in as much as I might find the discovery of a broken pot being excavated from the ruins of that period. But IMO you give it far more weight than it deserves.
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#129  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 24, 2017 4:48 pm

John Platko wrote:
I don't know about your culture, but my culture won't let that old story go - and that gives it a relevance of its own.


Keep at it, you might be surprised one day that you managed to let it go. It took me a long time. Parts of it are still there, I suppose... like a wolf in the treeline I was once more fearful of than warranted. I grew up in a very religious, non-denominational church that grew out of the American reformation that spread in the 19th century. No bloody images though... that was idol worship. ;)

I haven't been to church since I became a self-identified "agnostic" only because of the fear I felt at being an "atheist." :o It took me 15 or so years to get to that point and another dozen or so to where I am today. I was excommunicated ultimately... including my own family. Undoing the damage done by all the brainwashing is the greatest challenge I've faced in my life. One must be diligent at recognizing the leftover remnants and work to dispel them, but it is worth it.
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#130  Postby John Platko » Apr 24, 2017 5:00 pm

PensivePenny wrote:
John Platko wrote:
Accepting for the sake of argument that Jesus was a historical figure, what other reasonable or likely interpretations of the story can you think of?



Take your pick.... any theist posting their interpretation on youtube. Point is it isn't objective. Any semblance your interpretation may have to objectivity in YOUR mind is roughly equal to that, that others' interpretations are to themselves. Ones certainty of a thing should be proportional to the subjectivity of the thing. And there are few things extant that are as subjective as the bible.


But the interpretations matter. If the interpretation involves a magical winged creature and an all power old "man" in the sky, and a supernatural conception of a child then we're dealing with :crazy:. On the other hand if the interpretation involves complex psychological behavior of the type we can see around us today - that's a very different thing.




I don't think we're dealing with something that we can call true.
Well we agree on that.

We know the story is filled with errors, we know how babies are conceived, we're dealing with something more akin to a Colombo episode, it's a mystery.
Or, it's a complete fabrication


Mayyyyybe, but - if you were fabricating a story about the super savior of the world would you include a pregnant unwed mother? Wouldn't you think that might raise a few eyebrows. It seems to me that sort of thing would more likely end up in a story where there was some explaining to do. That the questionable birth circumstances were know by more than family, that rumors abound. But I also think there was more to the story. I don't think the angel coming to Mary and all that was just pulled out the air - of course it could have been - we can't know. But it strikes me as the kind of thing that could have happened, the sort of thing that sometimes happens to people under stress.






We're dealing with circumstantial evidence - what plausibly could have happened, what fits with the behavior we can see in other humans. And what if anything can we learn from the story.

Any damn thing we want because it all depends on how we interpret it. What can we learn from brer rabbit about human nature? Obviously rabbits can't talk but surely there must be something of importance Uncle Remus was trying to tell us. And since Uncle Remus was inarguably a wise old sage, we should give him the reverence he deserves. But, we'd be revering a fictional character as he was no more real than the talking rabbit. Time has yet to culturally distance us from Uncle Remus, but perhaps in 2000 years, humans will be worshiping him, wearing a briar patch around their necks. :dunno:


I think we could learn things from brer rabbit and Uncle Remus - we don't need to have only one source for learning. :no: But as good as brer rabbit stories may be, they haven't had the impact on human society that the Bible has. The neurons of Western minds have stuck to the Bible like brer rabbit stuck to briar fox's tar baby. And that makes it an interesting story to try to unravel. Why do so many minds get stuck to the JC story?


"What plausibly could have happened?" The funny thing about plausibility is that it goes up the scale relative to gullibility. So what is plausible to billions is that Jesus was the son of a supernatural god. You may not be at the same point as them on the scale, but you are still on the scale. Without tangible evidence, all we have is speculation... and to me that has little value.


I think gullibility plays a roll but there's more to it than that. I've watched how people react to this story, a lot of their reaction is feeling bad about a baby being born homeless - why did that happen. Or how an apparently good man got betrayed by his friend and killed because he had ideas that some didn't like. And then there's the unreasonable way people deal with the story. Yes, there's some of what you might call speculation on my part. I call it puzzling out the pieces, what could have plausibly happened given reality and what I know about human behavior from my own experiences. The supernatural is super incredulous - so I pretty much take that out of consideration. But psychological experiences that people consider to be some sort of connection with something supernatural (most likely because that the best explanation they can come up with) is on the table. And sure, it's subject to interpretation, like a song, or a work of art - or somebodies a comment in a forum. We do that sort of thing all the time.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#131  Postby John Platko » Apr 24, 2017 5:30 pm

PensivePenny wrote:
John Platko wrote:
I don't think that's true. ;) I could come up with an interpretation of the story that fits well with the behavior of people I have experienced in my life and develop an explanation for certain behaviors that I could use to make predictions that are testable about human behavior and yet the reality of the story could be very different. It could, for example, be a completely made up story based on bits and pieces of other stories that themselves contains some data about human behavior. The notions that our dreams can be communicating something to us that we can't quite consciously grasp and that treating someone with compassion who is in a difficult circumstance, even if doing so may not reflect well on us because of the culture we are in are things worth learning from that story - even if it was made up.


Emphasis mine! That sums up everything I could say to disqualify the bible. At the center of it is all YOU doing all the WORK based on your OWN experiences.


:nono: At the center of the story is the story. Surrounding that are the stories people built around that for 2000 years. It's me doing the work of trying to wrap my head around all of that - which is a lot :scratch: . But I'm not alone in trying to do that. A lot of people have worked at trying to make sense of that story. When Jefferson wrapped up the D of I and other work he was busy trying to rationalize the Bible. As many many others have also done as best they could.


We don't have to use a 2000 year old text, it's unfathomable cultural differences and nuance for that.


You're right, we don't have to. And I don't recommend anyone who hasn't been abused by people who unwittingly force nonsense in other peoples head to pay too much attention to it. I feel sad every time I type that but that's my considered opinion. But for those of us who had it crammed into our head and/or have family that believe this stuff - it makes sense to me to roll up your sleeves and try to make sense of it all.


To do so is to invite the introduction of error into whatever conclusions might be drawn. It is far more beneficial to use less subjective personal and scientific observations for that purpose. It is clear that YOU have a personal affinity for the bible. I find it interesting in as much as I might find the discovery of a broken pot being excavated from the ruins of that period. But IMO you give it far more weight than it deserves.


How much weight we give something depends on our understanding of it. I might find a broken pot lying about and kick it and move on, another person might see that pot in a very different way. But anyone taking a serious look at Western history who doesn't see how important that Book and those stories have been isn't paying attention.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#132  Postby Alan B » Apr 24, 2017 5:58 pm

I never was subjected to religious brainwashing to the extent some people have written about on this forum. O.K., there was the usual prayers at school assembly and we had RI (religious Instruction) which we thought was a bit of a laugh.
I can't imagine what it would be like to be in such a controlled situation. I somehow feel privileged that I missed all that stuff.
I have NO BELIEF in the existence of a God or gods. I do not have to offer evidence nor do I have to determine absence of evidence because I do not ASSERT that a God does or does not or gods do or do not exist.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#133  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 24, 2017 6:25 pm

John Platko wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:
John Platko wrote:
I don't think that's true. ;) I could come up with an interpretation of the story that fits well with the behavior of people I have experienced in my life and develop an explanation for certain behaviors that I could use to make predictions that are testable about human behavior and yet the reality of the story could be very different. It could, for example, be a completely made up story based on bits and pieces of other stories that themselves contains some data about human behavior. The notions that our dreams can be communicating something to us that we can't quite consciously grasp and that treating someone with compassion who is in a difficult circumstance, even if doing so may not reflect well on us because of the culture we are in are things worth learning from that story - even if it was made up.


Emphasis mine! That sums up everything I could say to disqualify the bible. At the center of it is all YOU doing all the WORK based on your OWN experiences.


:nono: At the center of the story is the story. Surrounding that are the stories people built around that for 2000 years.


Yes, I get that. We have had 2000 years of a myth influencing an entire culture. Muslims have the same thing. Clearly their culture is just as fucked up as the christians'. It's really nothing to boast about.


It's me doing the work of trying to wrap my head around all of that - which is a lot :scratch: . But I'm not alone in trying to do that. A lot of people have worked at trying to make sense of that story. When Jefferson wrapped up the D of I and other work he was busy trying to rationalize the Bible. As many many others have also done as best they could.


Exactly! Billions of people have trod down that same path 'trying to make sense of the story' that only leads back to its beginning in a never-ending cycle, accomplishing nothing, yet influencing absolutely everything. It is mind boggling how much collective time has been wasted in that endeavor. After 2000 years one would expect that one of those billions of people trying to sus out the bible would have finally "figured it out." If that had actually occurred at any point, it would be the E=mc^2 moment for christianity. Everyone would have gone, "Ohhhh, yeah... that's the right of it. Gee, now I'm glad I can spend my time on more fruitful endeavors... like, I don't know, trying to figure out a way to vaccinate people in 3rd world countries."



We don't have to use a 2000 year old text, it's unfathomable cultural differences and nuance for that.


You're right, we don't have to. And I don't recommend anyone who hasn't been abused by people who unwittingly force nonsense in other peoples head to pay too much attention to it. I feel sad every time I type that but that's my considered opinion. But for those of us who had it crammed into our head and/or have family that believe this stuff - it makes sense to me to roll up your sleeves and try to make sense of it all.


Why does it make you sad? Contemplate that thoroughly. What I'm hearing is that you experience a negative emotion speaking truth.

I had it "crammed" into my head to. I was as strong a believer as you could get. But the more I learned about god, the more I realized he isn't someone I'd want for a friend. I was taught to behave a certain way and he was the opposite. Of course, at the time "god" was an anthropomorphized version of something. Now I see it as a that... just a story, much like you do.



To do so is to invite the introduction of error into whatever conclusions might be drawn. It is far more beneficial to use less subjective personal and scientific observations for that purpose. It is clear that YOU have a personal affinity for the bible. I find it interesting in as much as I might find the discovery of a broken pot being excavated from the ruins of that period. But IMO you give it far more weight than it deserves.


How much weight we give something depends on our understanding perception of it.

FIFY. And we all know how reliable our perceptions are...

I might find a broken pot lying about and kick it and move on, another person might see that pot in a very different way.

That's a false analogy. We know the pot is real. It has a use. I can make soup with it, bale a sinking boat, keep rain off my head or shovel shit with it. Can't do any of those things with a bible or the stories in them. A more proper analogy would be seeking the meaning in chicken entrails... I might see a 7 course meal in them, but if I try to eat it, I may end up with salmonella and die.... if I can get past the first course ;)

But anyone taking a serious look at Western history who doesn't see how important influential that Book and those stories have been isn't paying attention.

FIFY again... I don't know anyone who denies the bible has had (and is having) a HUGE impact on the world. So did Hitler.... who is also revered only by nutters. If you don't like the Hitler analogy, maybe you'll agree the Koran is more apropos. It has also had a HUGE influence on a culture. What can we learn from THAT story??? We learn that it is possible, in just a thousand years or so, to magically transform one of the most advanced cultures in the world into the most mathematically and scientifically illiterate. Almost biblical how THAT happened.
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#134  Postby John Platko » Apr 24, 2017 6:26 pm

PensivePenny wrote:
John Platko wrote:
I don't know about your culture, but my culture won't let that old story go - and that gives it a relevance of its own.


Keep at it, you might be surprised one day that you managed to let it go. It took me a long time. Parts of it are still there, I suppose... like a wolf in the treeline I was once more fearful of than warranted. I grew up in a very religious, non-denominational church that grew out of the American reformation that spread in the 19th century. No bloody images though... that was idol worship. ;)


Oh you got a watered down dose, no kissing wounds on pictures of corpses like the alter boys are doing at the end of this:




I haven't been to church since I became a self-identified "agnostic" only because of the fear I felt at being an "atheist." :o It took me 15 or so years to get to that point and another dozen or so to where I am today. I was excommunicated ultimately... including my own family. Undoing the damage done by all the brainwashing is the greatest challenge I've faced in my life. One must be diligent at recognizing the leftover remnants and work to dispel them, but it is worth it.


Ahhh. So that's what you're doing here, trying to scrub the last bits off? I'm quite sure indelible ink was used to imprint my Catholicism. The best I can do is reimagine the image and go from there. And it's not all bad, in fact, the best lessons I ever learned in life came via my religion - in spite of the garbled way that lesson was taught.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#135  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 24, 2017 6:30 pm

Alan B wrote:I never was subjected to religious brainwashing to the extent some people have written about on this forum. O.K., there was the usual prayers at school assembly and we had RI (religious Instruction) which we thought was a bit of a laugh.
I can't imagine what it would be like to be in such a controlled situation. I somehow feel privileged that I missed all that stuff.


I've always imagined the UK having a bit more realistic approach to religion being akin to Cuba's Mariel boatlift as an opportunity to rid themselves of criminals. The difference with the UK it was Puritans they were ridding themselves of. Thanks mate. George's revenge. Joke's on us. :eh:
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#136  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 24, 2017 6:34 pm

PensivePenny wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:Thomas, whatever "pretense" I choose, is my business

You're missing the point. I meant you won't get away with it.


Thomas, no. You're missing the point. Ranting isn't a means to gain respect or an audience receptive to your remarks.

Q.E.D. more baseless accusations and projecting of emotions.
I haven't ranted in the slighest and I'm not interested in a popularity contest. All I am interested in is a rational discussion on the topic of this thread.
Something which you consistently fail to accomodate, instead opting for increasingly personalised flaming while pretending to be the reasonable party.

I've repeatedly asked you to drop this peurile derail and to get back to an honest and rational discussion.
All you've responded with is personalised comments and lies about not engaging with me anymore and not being interested in what I am saying anymore.

There's basically three ways you can go from here Penny:
1. Continue with your disengenuous flaming, thereby damaging the very respect and receptiveness you're referring to. Not to mention possible moderator intervention.
2. Keep your to your earlier claim and ignore me. Which won't prevent me from pointing out the flaws and other issues in your posts.
3. Start having an honest, rational and impersonal discussion on the topic of this thread with me.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#137  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 24, 2017 6:37 pm

John Platko wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:
I haven't been to church since I became a self-identified "agnostic" only because of the fear I felt at being an "atheist." :o It took me 15 or so years to get to that point and another dozen or so to where I am today. I was excommunicated ultimately... including my own family. Undoing the damage done by all the brainwashing is the greatest challenge I've faced in my life. One must be diligent at recognizing the leftover remnants and work to dispel them, but it is worth it.


Ahhh. So that's what you're doing here, trying to scrub the last bits off?

No, not at all. This place will confuse the hell out of you as much if not more than church sometimes. LOL. Besides, you catholics just had to go to confessional on Saturday and you were "scrubbed" clean of everything. Ours we had to carry with us. ;)

I'm quite sure indelible ink was used to imprint my Catholicism. The best I can do is reimagine the image and go from there.

Sounds like you were raised in 15th Century Spain... how old are you again?? :naughty2:


And it's not all bad, in fact, the best lessons I ever learned in life came via my religion - in spite of the garbled way that lesson was taught.


That's just the Stockholm Syndrome talking. ;)
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#138  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 24, 2017 6:49 pm

Thomas Eshuis wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:Thomas, whatever "pretense" I choose, is my business

You're missing the point. I meant you won't get away with it.


Thomas, no. You're missing the point. Ranting isn't a means to gain respect or an audience receptive to your remarks.

Q.E.D. more baseless accusations and projecting of emotions.
I haven't ranted in the slighest and I'm not interested in a popularity contest. All I am interested in is a rational discussion on the topic of this thread.
Something which you consistently fail to accomodate, instead opting for increasingly personalised flaming while pretending to be the reasonable party.

I've repeatedly asked you to drop this peurile derail and to get back to an honest and rational discussion.
All you've responded with is personalised comments and lies about not engaging with me anymore and not being interested in what I am saying anymore.

There's basically three ways you can go from here Penny:
1. Continue with your disengenuous flaming, thereby damaging the very respect and receptiveness you're referring to. Not to mention possible moderator intervention.
2. Keep your to your earlier claim and ignore me. Which won't prevent me from pointing out the flaws and other issues in your posts.
3. Start having an honest, rational and impersonal discussion on the topic of this thread with me.


Want us to call a cop for you? Is someone there holding a gun to your head and making you respond to this thread? Blink twice if yes. :lol:

Dude, I never said I was ignoring you. I said I was no longer going to respond to your comments. Which if you've noticed, I've not been addressing anything you've specifically posted for several pages.

I don't sulk when verbally abused or bullied. I always hold my ground. So, if you try any of those things, don't expect me to submit like a sad puppy with my tail between my legs. I got over my daddy issues a long time ago.
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#139  Postby John Platko » Apr 24, 2017 6:52 pm

PensivePenny wrote:
John Platko wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:
John Platko wrote:
I don't think that's true. ;) I could come up with an interpretation of the story that fits well with the behavior of people I have experienced in my life and develop an explanation for certain behaviors that I could use to make predictions that are testable about human behavior and yet the reality of the story could be very different. It could, for example, be a completely made up story based on bits and pieces of other stories that themselves contains some data about human behavior. The notions that our dreams can be communicating something to us that we can't quite consciously grasp and that treating someone with compassion who is in a difficult circumstance, even if doing so may not reflect well on us because of the culture we are in are things worth learning from that story - even if it was made up.


Emphasis mine! That sums up everything I could say to disqualify the bible. At the center of it is all YOU doing all the WORK based on your OWN experiences.


:nono: At the center of the story is the story. Surrounding that are the stories people built around that for 2000 years.


Yes, I get that. We have had 2000 years of a myth influencing an entire culture. Muslims have the same thing. Clearly their culture is just as fucked up as the christians'. It's really nothing to boast about.


But it is something worth :scratch: trying to understand. And while there are many things to point to and criticise, it's not all bad.




It's me doing the work of trying to wrap my head around all of that - which is a lot :scratch: . But I'm not alone in trying to do that. A lot of people have worked at trying to make sense of that story. When Jefferson wrapped up the D of I and other work he was busy trying to rationalize the Bible. As many many others have also done as best they could.


Exactly! Billions of people have trod down that same path 'trying to make sense of the story' that only leads back to its beginning in a never-ending cycle, accomplishing nothing, yet influencing absolutely everything. It is mind boggling how much collective time has been wasted in that endeavor. After 2000 years one would expect that one of those billions of people trying to sus out the bible would have finally "figured it out." If that had actually occurred at any point, it would be the E=mc^2 moment for christianity. Everyone would have gone, "Ohhhh, yeah... that's the right of it. Gee, now I'm glad I can spend my time on more fruitful endeavors... like, I don't know, trying to figure out a way to vaccinate people in 3rd world countries."


I think there's something very interesting in the fact that hasn't happened. I think it tells us something very important and rather startling about the state of humanity.





We don't have to use a 2000 year old text, it's unfathomable cultural differences and nuance for that.


You're right, we don't have to. And I don't recommend anyone who hasn't been abused by people who unwittingly force nonsense in other peoples head to pay too much attention to it. I feel sad every time I type that but that's my considered opinion. But for those of us who had it crammed into our head and/or have family that believe this stuff - it makes sense to me to roll up your sleeves and try to make sense of it all.


Why does it make you sad? Contemplate that thoroughly. What I'm hearing is that you experience a negative emotion speaking truth.


I think it's sad because the story of a child born in questionable circumstances who grew up to be an exceptionally wonderful and loving person, although perhaps a bit - ummm :scratch: let's just say "out there" at times, who did his best to help people, telling truth to power etc. etc. which eventually caused that power to turn on him and brutally kill him, is a story that says a lot about our world and how people really treat each other. Not to mention the interesting psychological states we can observe and try to induce in ourselves - not that I recommend to much of the last part. :nono:


I had it "crammed" into my head to. I was as strong a believer as you could get. But the more I learned about god, the more I realized he isn't someone I'd want for a friend. I was taught to behave a certain way and he was the opposite. Of course, at the time "god" was an anthropomorphized version of something. Now I see it as a that... just a story, much like you do.




I don't see God just as a story but more as a psychological experience that one can learn to induce in their imagination. Which could be better or worse than a story depending on what one manages to induce.




To do so is to invite the introduction of error into whatever conclusions might be drawn. It is far more beneficial to use less subjective personal and scientific observations for that purpose. It is clear that YOU have a personal affinity for the bible. I find it interesting in as much as I might find the discovery of a broken pot being excavated from the ruins of that period. But IMO you give it far more weight than it deserves.


How much weight we give something depends on our understanding perception of it.

FIFY. And we all know how reliable our perceptions are...

I might find a broken pot lying about and kick it and move on, another person might see that pot in a very different way.

That's a false analogy. We know the pot is real. It has a use. I can make soup with it, bale a sinking boat, keep rain off my head or shovel shit with it. Can't do any of those things with a bible or the stories in them. A more proper analogy would be seeking the meaning in chicken entrails... I might see a 7 course meal in them, but if I try to eat it, I may end up with salmonella and die.... if I can get past the first course ;)


I think an alien visitor to our planet could learn a lot about us if they read the Bible. Of course, it might give them the evidence they needed to decide to put us in a pot and eat us ...



But anyone taking a serious look at Western history who doesn't see how important influential that Book and those stories have been isn't paying attention.

FIFY again... I don't know anyone who denies the bible has had (and is having) a HUGE impact on the world. So did Hitler.... who is also revered only by nutters. If you don't like the Hitler analogy, maybe you'll agree the Koran is more apropos. It has also had a HUGE influence on a culture. What can we learn from THAT story??? We learn that it is possible, in just a thousand years or so, to magically transform one of the most advanced cultures in the world into the most mathematically and scientifically illiterate. Almost biblical how THAT happened.


But the set of people who still think of Hitler in a positive way is very small. Not so with the set of people who find meaning in the JC story which is a good chunk of the planet. I can't speak for or about the Muslim experience, I don't think I could ever understand what that's about because I didn't have the experience of it from youth with strong family emotional connections associated with it.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#140  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 24, 2017 6:58 pm

PensivePenny wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
You're missing the point. I meant you won't get away with it.


Thomas, no. You're missing the point. Ranting isn't a means to gain respect or an audience receptive to your remarks.

Q.E.D. more baseless accusations and projecting of emotions.
I haven't ranted in the slighest and I'm not interested in a popularity contest. All I am interested in is a rational discussion on the topic of this thread.
Something which you consistently fail to accomodate, instead opting for increasingly personalised flaming while pretending to be the reasonable party.

I've repeatedly asked you to drop this peurile derail and to get back to an honest and rational discussion.
All you've responded with is personalised comments and lies about not engaging with me anymore and not being interested in what I am saying anymore.

There's basically three ways you can go from here Penny:
1. Continue with your disengenuous flaming, thereby damaging the very respect and receptiveness you're referring to. Not to mention possible moderator intervention.
2. Keep your to your earlier claim and ignore me. Which won't prevent me from pointing out the flaws and other issues in your posts.
3. Start having an honest, rational and impersonal discussion on the topic of this thread with me.


Want us to call a cop for you? Is someone there holding a gun to your head and making you respond to this thread? Blink twice if yes. :lol:

I see you've chosen to continue with your peurile inflammatory derail.
All this will accomplish is demonstrate that you, not I, are unwilling to act reasonably.

PensivePenny wrote:Dude, I never said I was ignoring you. I said I was no longer going to respond to your comments.

'I never said I was hitting you. I said I was going to hit you.'
You didn't keep you word, you kept responding to me. Thereby also refuting your later claim that you weren't interested in what I post.

PensivePenny wrote: Which if you've noticed, I've not been addressing anything you've specifically posted for several pages.

Except that you have, again, in this very post and you're still responding to my posts.
More-over, ignoring valid questions and sound demonstrations of errors in your post, is irrational.

PensivePenny wrote:I don't sulk when verbally abused or bullied.

I don't drink coffee when I go for a swim.

PensivePenny wrote: I always hold my ground.

So what?

PensivePenny wrote: So, if you try any of those things, don't expect me to submit like a sad puppy with my tail between my legs. I got over my daddy issues a long time ago.

Physician heal thyself.
I'm not one who questioned the mental sanity of the person I'm responding to, you did.
I am not the person who asserts that his interlocutor can't add anything productive to the discussion, you are.
I am not the one who repeatedly projects all manner of nefarious motives onto my interlocutor, even after their motivation has been clearly presented. You are.
I am not the one who repeatedly projects emotions and behaviour onto my interlocutor, you are.

It's your perogative to ignore this and pretend you're the victim, but the record (ie your responses to me in this thread) demonstrate otherwise.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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