So I mistook an unbelieving Jew for an Atheist (but I’m still not sure that I was wrong)! – Part 2

This is a continuation of: So I mistook an unbelieving Jew for an Atheist (but I’m still not sure that I was wrong)!

Flewellyn:
“A true believer would not criticize the bible”, huh? Spoken like someone who has NO IDEA what Judaism is about. We do it all the time, and consider it part of our core worship: prayer and study. Study includes critique. I suggest you just shut up now.

James:
Yes, it was rude for you to tell me to shut up; but, I urge you to consider that since the Tanakh (i.e. Torah + Nevi’im + Ketuvim) is the most authoritative reference for what Judaism SHOULD be about, and the Tanakh does not mention or reflect that critique is part of worship, prayer, study or obligation, and also since study does not necessitate critique, then it follows by good and necessary consequence that your estimation that Judaism should involve critiquing God (which as mentioned earlier is also illogical) is ultimately baseless. Besides, there is no precedent in the Tanakh where a person is seen questioning or critiquing God (at least not without being rebuked in response).

One of my best friends is a Jewish unbeliever so I am familiar with the notion of associating Judaism with the right to question God (howbeit unpleasant to God’s ears); however, just because you are accustomed to doing something doesn’t mean that what you are doing is right!

Flewellyn:
Also, Jews don’t recognize Romans, or any of the rest of the so-called “New” Testament, as scripture. You should certainly know that.
So you citing it as a counterargument to anything I say is just massive fail.

James:
I don’t accept as valid the argument that Jews don’t recognize Romans, or any of the rest of the so-called “New” Testament as scripture. I know of many Jews that accept Romans and the rest of the New Testament as scripture. For instance, the Jews that are members of JewsForJesus.com or Dr. Michael Brown of http://www.RealMessiah.com or Pastor Lon Solomon of http://www.mcleanbible.org are just a couple of Jews that acknowledge the New Testament.

Perhaps what you meant to say was that SOME (so-called) Jews don’t recognize Romans, or any of the rest of the so-called “New” Testament, as scripture.

After all, you do not have a monopoly on who is and is not a valid Jew; only scripture can determine that. However, for the sake of argument, even if I were to postulate that only the Tanakh is in bounds, you must still address the verses from the OT that I provided in my previous post in addition to these verses below that parallel and corroborate the verses in Romans:

  1. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. (Jeremiah 4:4)
  2. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart. (Jeremiah 9:25-26)

These verses (like Romans 2:25-29 which you do not accept) espouse the idea that fleshly circumcision is only beneficial if it is reinforced by circumcision of the heart which is defined in Deuteronomy 30:6 as “lov[ing] the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.” Of course, if you loved God this way you would not have called Him a liar (i.e. by critiquing God’s words despite His claim of perfection in Proverbs 30:5-6).

Flewellyn:
We are not continuing this conversation. Take your attempts to proselytize and your high dudgeon elsewhere.

James:
Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
Galatians 4:16

Flewellyn:
You don’t tell any truth. You repeat nonsense from your made-up book.

James:
So let me get it straight; the most important book to Judaism (which apparently you now refer to as a “made-up book” since my most recent arguments emanated from it) namely, the Tanakh, condemns you as a liar for trying to challenge the perfection of YOUR own God (Proverbs 30:5-6) and instead of a rational response or any counter argument from the Tanakh all you can do is throw a fit (i.e. telling me to shut up, telling me to take my “attempts to proselytize and [my] high dudgeon elsewhere”, and calling the Tanakh and/or the bible a “made-up book”)?

Who or What has convinced you that you are the arbiter of truth?

Flewellyn:
You’re right, I shouldn’t be getting angry with you.

James:
Yet, after your admission that I was right about your unnecessary anger you still proceed to engage in more of the same (i.e. calling me an idiot worthy of ridicule, claiming that I’m spouting idiocy and using unnecessary phrases like “hell ass balls” etc). On the one hand, I’m encouraged that (against your earlier threat to disengage) you choose to continue our dialogue because I was hoping that you would eventually take into consideration the compelling arguments that I’ve presented to you; on the other hand, I’m discouraged because you have left most of my rebuttals and questions unanswered and have instead choose to engage in what amounts to intellectual laziness and unsubstantiated conjecture. I will elaborate on this later.

Flewellyn:
I should be RIDICULING you, for being an idiot that thinks the Bible is meant to be taken literally (it’s not),

James:
In every one of your responses so far you have resorted to using logical fallacies. A logical fallacy is an error in reasoning; when one communicates using logical fallacies it makes their presentation ineffective due to the irrational nature of the arguments being presented. One of the reasons that people communicate using logical fallacies is because they do not have any compelling arguments to present for their position. Another reason why persons resort to using logical fallacies is simply because in the past they have met no resistance when using logical fallacies so they assume that no resistance = sound argument. In this case, the logical fallacy that you have employed is commonly known as the “question-begging Epithet.” The question-begging epithet, a fallacy of presumption, is depicted by the use of biased (often defamatory or abusive) language to support a conclusion that is logically unproved. You have merely stated that the Bible is not meant to be taken literally, you haven’t demonstrated why this is to be the case. In addition, your use of words like “idiot” and “ridiculing” qualifies your phrase as an epithet. I, on the other hand, have very good reasons for believing that at least parts of the Bible should be taken literally. For example, in Exodus 20:11 God is seen taking the Genesis narrative of creation literally. If God takes the bible literally, then it follows that I should also take it literally since, after all, He is my Creator. Such examples could of course be multiplied. Incidentally, not all of the bible contains literal language; the bible also employs poetry, symbolism, typology etc.

Flewellyn:
or that it’s all the direct word of God (clearly not the case),

James:
This is an example of a another (related) logical fallacy called “begging the question”; when someone begs the question, they merely assume what they are trying to prove without presenting any reasons why their argument should be taken seriously. Your argument rephrased basically asserts that the bible can’t all be the direct word of God because it is clearly the case that it isn’t all the direct word of God. Without more information your claim is rather arbitrary; all arbitrary claims are reversible – meaning, for every arbitrary claim there is an equal and opposite arbitrary claim. Suppose I were to merely respond by claiming that all of the bible IS the direct word of God because it IS clearly the case. Such a response would be equally legitimate (and useless) as your argument since it is presented as a mere arbitrary assumption. Why shouldn’t people believe that the scriptures are the words of God? If the case is “clear” then you should be able to easily present some reasons why this is to be the case. Instead, you argue irrationally as if your intent were to insult me rather than inform me. This is what I mean by the claim that you resort to unsubstantiated conjecture.

Flewellyn:
or that God is meant to be perfect (nope, plenty of counterexamples),

James:
This is another example of the “begging the question” fallacy; I have presented reasons (in a past response) why God “is meant to be perfect”; while you, on the other hand, merely state that God is imperfect without providing an explanation why this so.

Flewellyn:
or that you have any kind of understanding of Judaism (you clearly do not),

James:
This is another example of the “begging the question” fallacy; I have presented rebuttals (in a past response) that demonstrate my understanding of Judaism; while you, on the other hand, merely state that I haven’t “any kind of understanding of Judaism” without providing an explanation why this so.

Flewellyn:
or that the cosmos is all about you (it’s not, thankfully).

James:
This is a Straw-man fallacy. The straw man is a `red herring’ type of logical fallacy. As the “straw man” metaphor suggests, the counterfeit position attacked in a Straw Man argument (in this case, the lie or misapprehension that I said the cosmos is all about me) is typically weaker than the opponent’s actual position (i.e. that your entire response is a glaring contradiction), just as a straw man is easier to defeat than a flesh-and-blood one. Of course, this is no accident, but is part of what makes the Straw man fallacy tempting to commit, especially to a desperate debater who is losing an argument.

Flewellyn:
I mean, “Circumcision of the heart”? What the hell ass balls is that? No, I haven’t had any parts of my heart surgically removed. Were you trying to make some kind of metaphor here? Because nobody Jewish talks like that, I assure you.

James:
This is an example of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. This fallacy is committed by defining a term (i.e. Jewish) in a biased and unwarranted way (i.e. people that don’t talk using the phrase “Circumcision of the heart”) thereby protecting the claim from a counter-argument. Who gave you the right to limit the semantic range of the word “Jewish?” That the author of Deuteronomy (i.e. Moses) was clearly Jewish makes it painfully obvious that Jewish persons do talk using the phrase you implied was un-jewish. Also, and as I mentioned in my last response “Circumcision of the heart” is defined in the Tanakh (Deuteronomy 30:6) as “”lov[ing] the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.” Perhaps if you spent more time actually reading and digesting my responses (and less time crafting nifty insults) you would not have such trouble recollecting the obvious. Certainly you can now see why I have accused you of intellectual laziness.

Flewellyn:
Also, you spouted idiocy like “In fact, there is no word in the dictionary that has a basis outside of the biblical God.” That alone disqualifies you from being taken seriously. I mean, really? REALLY? Find a mention of penguins in the Bible. I’ll wait here.

James:
The reason why words do not have a basis outside of the biblical God (as I’ve mentioned before) is because words (e.g. the words in the dictionary) are only possible because of distinction.  If every word had the same meaning then all words would be meaningless; likewise, if everything in the universe was black then the word black would be meaningless. Distinction, then, is only possible because it is reinforced by the three rudimentary laws of Aristotelian logic (i.e. The law of identity, The law of excluded middle, The law of non-contradiction) and is thus only possible because of logic. Moreover, logic is impossible without the Biblical God since logic is a reflection of the way that the biblical God thinks (Isaiah 1:18, 1 Corinthians 2:16); therefore, without the biblical God, words have no basis. This conclusion is a good and necessary consequence of the revealed words of God. More specifically, we have the mind of God revealed in the bible from which we are able to deduce the laws of logic; therefore, we must conclude that to be logical is (at least) an attribute of God. Man is made in the image of God (which means he has the capability of rationality) and thus has a propensity (howbeit fickle and subject to corruption) to operate in a logical fashion. This is why bible believers can have confidence that every departure from scripture will ultimately lead to a transgression of logic (i.e. contradictions); the only question really is how many contradictions will be discovered in the unbeliever’s worldview.
Incidentally, God does not have to specifically mention “penguins” in the bible in order for my assertion to be considered valid since my argument has less to do with the etymology of particular words and more to do with a person’s epistemic warrant for using words in general. Nevertheless, since in the book of Genesis (Genesis 1:21) it is mentioned that God created all of the birds, then one must necessarily deduce that God mentions penguins as well, howbeit indirectly.

Flewellyn:
So, now I shall point and laugh. HA HA!

James:
Those that believe in God’s words have a moral obligation to be rational; that is, to think in the same way that God does. Apparently you do not consider it important to employ rationality; yet, you laugh at those who attempt to do so in order to please God.

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So I mistook an unbelieving Jew for an Atheist (but I’m still not sure that I was wrong)!

Still shopping for a compact, large-print KJV bible on Amazon.com. I ran into this write-up and was intrigued by this reviewer’s naivety so I dared to respond. Below is our dialogue:

Flewellyn (wrote this Amazon.com review about the King James Bible):
The language is rather lovely, and poetic, although portions of the book do appear to resort to excessive synopsis. The third and fourth chapters, in particular, are guilty of this, with the third being a drab list of rules and regulations presented without elaboration, in a sort of authorial filibuster, and the fourth being a litany of tedious revenge fantasies. Some of the later chapters are quite interesting, and there’s a lovely romantic interlude, but the tendency towards authorial filibuster doesn’t completely disappear.

Also, the main character is a bit inconsistent, sometimes appearing kind and loving, while other times wrathful and vengeful. This dichotomy could be an interesting plot device, but alas the book never goes into detail about why the disparity exists. We are simply left to wonder at it, or just figure “that’s how it is”. Frustrating.

The book does suffer a bit from uneven editing, as well. For instance, there’s a fascinating tale about a golden bull statue, which is unaccountably buried in between two tedious and nearly identical descriptions of carpentry. What’s the deal? I admit that editing such a large work can be trying, but surely such duplication should be easy to avoid!

Overall, though, it’s not bad. I am rather disappointed that the publishers chose to bundle the inferior and hackneyed sequel with the groundbreaking and innovative original, however. Really, if the sequel can’t stand on its own merits, why include it at all?

James:
This review stinks of unoriginality. This reviewer borrows standards from the bible and then uses those standards to criticize it (i.e. only the biblical worldview can account for why kindness is to be admired and inconsistency shunned). Why doesn’t the reviewer use non-biblical standards? Isn’t it because all other standards are merely arbitrary in nature (especially in an atheistic worldview)? Why should one atheist care what another atheist thinks is right or wrong? How would the atheist reviewer go about defining what is meant by “inferior and hackneyed” without appealing to something that is not ultimately arbitrary? When the reviewer describes God as wrathful, to which standard is he/she appealing to? After all, in an atheistic worldview each person has a right to arbitrarily define their own standards especially if they think that the standard will enhance their survival, growth and reproduction. By borrowing from the biblical worldview and it’s standards, the reviewer betrays their dependency on the biblical God which makes this review all the more useless. Be original and come up with your own standards (i.e. why not give irrationality a try – admittedly you would first have to define it and then get a worldwide consensus, isn’t that how you atheist establish your mores). Why is consistency something to be admired in an atheistic worldview? What is wrong with being wrathful and vengeful in the atheistic worldview where there is no basis whatsoever for morality? A frustrated atheist is effectively an oxymoron since the word “frustrated” has no standard definition in the atheistic worldview. In fact, there is no word in the dictionary that has a basis outside of the biblical God. Like the famous atheist Richard Dawkins admits, there is no basis for an atheist’s best impulses outside of their biological framework; tragically, the material world cannot adequately account for themes like rationality and morality. If you are frustrated, it is because you are a closet theist shaking your fist at the Creator of the universe. Why does the reviewer yearn for a rational God when the atheistic worldview with its confinement to the corporeal world cannot account for the immaterial laws of logic that make rationality possible? I urge you to re-read the last book of the bible (Revelation). Your ending is already prophesied in it but it’s not too late for you to re-write it. I will pray for you Flewellyn.

Flewellyn:
You read all of that about my supposed atheism (which, by the way, isn’t; I’m Jewish) from the fact that I critiqued the bible as a work of literature?

James:
Perhaps I was presumptuous about your supposed atheism. Admittedly, unbelievers come in all sorts of flavors; perhaps you are not an atheist type of unbeliever but you are nevertheless an unbeliever (e.g. a “Jewish” unbeliever – and one who dares to judge God’s words) and so my reply is still deserved if not pertinent. A true believer would not criticize the bible; since the bible is the definitive axiom of the believer’s worldview; that is how I knew that you were an unbeliever. To do such would be crudely akin to a human criticizing the reality of air or a student trying to succeed in Euclidean Geometry by undermining Euclid’s axioms. Only an unbeliever or a fool masquerading as a believer would dare criticize the One that made him or her. Please keep in mind that these are God’s words paraphrased not mine (c.f. Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 9:10, Isaiah 29:16, Isaiah 40:13, Isaiah 45:9-10, Romans 9:20).

When you decided to “mildly” criticize God’s word did you not expect that your words would also be open to “mild” criticism as well? If the words of the perfect and Almighty God are deemed subject-able to “mild” criticism then it follows that the words of one of His imperfect creatures (i.e. yourself) is all the more subject-able to “mild” criticism. As it turns out, God’s words aren’t subject to criticism at all but that is a another matter that I will address later on.

So you think that you are Jewish? Well you may be Jewish outwardly but your words betray an uncircumcised heart. How could a real Jewish person ever call God a liar?

Incidentally, I don’t need you to tell me who you think you are; who you may think you are culturally (i.e. Jewish) is ultimately irrelevant to who you are spiritually (i.e. an unbeliever). This is not my rule but God’s and I think you should heed it. I find it easy to figure you out by what you have written. After all, in the scriptures it is written that:
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-18)

Perhaps you should heed the biblical definition of a real Jew:

“For circumcision (i.e. being Jewish) verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law (e.g. Flewellyn), thy circumcision (or Jewishness) is made uncircumcision (non-Jewishness). Therefore if the uncircumcision (Gentiles) keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision (Gentile-ness) be counted for circumcision (Jewishness)? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee (e.g. what I’m doing right now) , who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. “(Romans 2:25-29).

Now regarding your criticism of God, I must inform you that you are unqualified to criticize His writings. How can the infallible Creator of the medium that we call “words” be counseled about how to appropriately use “words” in constructing literature by the fallible recipient of the created “words”? God is perfect by definition which means that His words are also perfect; you on the other hand are imperfect so what you are attempting to accomplish (i.e. critiquing God’s words) is not only irrational and impossible, it is self-refuting. Logically speaking, your own words have demonstrated that you are a liar. Meaning, since God’s words are perfect (Proverbs 30:5-6) then God’s words cannot simultaneously be “inferior or hackneyed” so you must be a liar. Also, since God’s words are perfect (Psalms 12:6) God’s words cannot simultaneously be deemed unable to “stand on its own merits” so you must be a liar. Again, since God is perfect (Psalms 119:140) God cannot simultaneously be deemed “inconsistent” so you must be a liar. Incidentally, you shouldn’t be surprised; in the Tanakh, God said that this would happen if you tried to critique His words (see Proverbs 30:6).

Flewellyn:
You didn’t even read the review for understanding, did you? I’m guessing you saw that it was about the Bible, saw that it was mildly critical, and rather than attempt to parse the input for meaning, you just triggered a canned response from your mental pattern matcher: “criticizes Bible = angry atheist -> produce misguided and misdirected screed about atheism having no basis for morality or rationality”.

James:
What understanding or meaning did you expect me to parse from your “mild” criticism? You want me to understand that the Author “resort[s] to excessive synopsis”; OK, got it. Next, you want me parse that the Author presents “a drab list of rules and regulations…without elaboration”; check. Then I should parse that the Author overdoes it with “authorial filibuster” and a “litany of tedious revenge fantasies”; I think I’m with you so far. Also, I should parse that the main character (who also happens to be the author) “is a bit inconsistent”; I see a pattern of mediocrity, but OK. Now, I should continue by parsing that the Author is incompetent at editing since He can’t seem to steer clear of “tedious” “duplication” that “should be easy to avoid”; ok got it. It doesn’t end here because there is more parsing; for instance, I need to also understand that the Author’s latter part of the book is “inferior and hackneyed”; um, OK. Finally, I should parse that a significant part of the Author’s book is incapable of “stand[ing] on it’s own merit”; wow, such meaning, what understanding!

The meaning and understanding that I’ve parsed from your review is that there is no way that this literature could be of divine authorship, and if the author claims otherwise then He is a liar; but that’s just me.

You’ll have to excuse me if I chose not to use the white gloves when dealing with your “mild” criticism (as the graceful Bojo Payne did) but when you call my Father a liar then you have to deal with one of His kids. Now allow me to help you draw out some of the logical implications or your review:
If God’s words are as you state “inferior or hackneyed”, despite what He claims to the contrary (Psalm 199:140), then if follows that you must be calling Him a liar. Also, if you say that God’s word “can’t stand on its own merits” despite what He claims to the contrary (Proverbs 30:5-6), then it follows that you must be calling him a liar. Again, if God’s is found to be “inconsistent” when He states otherwise (Numbers 23:19, Malachi 3:6) then you are saying that He is a liar. This is the necessary consequence of what you have written. Can you not see that?

Flewellyn:
Please, I beg of you, actually THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE READING. Don’t just run your mental regular expression parser over it and run your canned reactions.

James:
Good, we are back to my original theme that you left untouched; I do not accept your evaluation that my response was canned, misguided and misdirected; but, for the sake of argument, what is “wrong” with replies that are: canned, misguided and misdirected? It is apparent that these are standards that you impose upon those that you communicate with. How did you arrive at these standards? I’m honestly curious. You “beg” me to “THINK” but you just assume that rational thought is a feature that all men are capable of turning on – why? The foundation for whatever wisdom you have is illegitimate – you should really relinquish God’s standards. You are like a grandchild who want’s to slap his/her grandfather but has to sit on His lap to accomplish the feat. The next time you want to take swats at God, try finding another lap to sit on – oh and good luck finding one.

Flewellyn:
As it so happens, the real world does not respond well to such superficial treatment.

James:
Why should I glean my understanding of the “real world” from a person who cannot account for things in the “real world” – things like logic, and morality? That doesn’t seem very rational; perhaps you have finally understood that it is OK for an unbeliever to assert irrationality as a refreshing change from the biblical worldview and to do so at no peril (since after all, you are an unbeliever – who would dare question your right to be arbitrary?).

P.S. After, all I have said, you still seem like a person who would be a valuable player on the opposing team. Why not just embrace the love of God’s truth and be transformed?

Have you Christians out there actually READ this book? – Part II

A continuation of: Have you Christians out there actually READ this book?

Stephen:
I let you get away with a lot in your first post. I even let you get away with calling me “Satan”. I was very forgiving and accommodating, but this time you have just gone too far.

James:
Please point out the sentence where I called you Satan. You won’t be able to find it because I did no such thing. Incidentally, if you can so carelessly misrepresent my arguments as you have manifestly done in this post, then how do you know that you are not misrepresenting the bible as I maintain that you have been doing all along?

Stephen:
Your implication that atheists are utterly lacking in logic and deductive reasoning skills is so bizarre and contrary to the facts that it is impossible for me to let this slide. I cannot and I will not forgive you for this.

James:
A Straw man is a `red herring’ type of logical fallacy. As the “straw man” metaphor suggests, the counterfeit position attacked in a Straw Man argument (in this case, the lie or misapprehension that I called you Satan or that I suggested “that atheists are utterly lacking in logic and deductive reasoning skills”) is typically weaker than the opponent’s actual position (i.e. atheist cannot account for logic in their worldview), just as a straw man is easier to defeat than a flesh-and-blood one. Of course, this is no accident, but is part of what makes the Straw man fallacy tempting to commit, especially to a desperate debater who is losing an argument.

Stephen:
In your first post you were kinda/sorta polite (despite calling me Satan), but your latest post is a smear, an insult and an assault on reason itself. Typically atheists are more logical and have better deductive reasoning skills than Christians. You have done an EXCELLENT job of proving that in your posts to me.

James:
And of course you know that “[t]ypically atheists are more logical and have better deductive reasoning skills than Christians” because you have interviewed all of the Atheists and Christians that have ever lived and that are presently living and also those that will in the future, then you derived this assertion from a completed induction; um probably not. As I have maintained throughout our dialogue, even atheists use logic and therefore they are rational (or at least they have the potential for rationality) but they cannot account for the reality of logic within their worldview.

Stephen:
As a logical person I can read the words “tree of knowledge of good and evil” and I think “tree of knowledge of good and evil”. You as an illogical person read the words “tree of knowledge of good and evil” and think “apple tree” or “fig tree” or maybe you just draw a blank.

James:
Well since I have never in our dialogue mentioned the things that you attribute to me, then I take it that you must think that you are a mind-reader; and of course, if you do think so, then perhaps you have got bigger problems than I previously thought.

Stephen:
You have the same problem when you read the words “tree of life” As a logical person I read the words and their meaning is quite plain and straightforward and understandable. As an illogical person you read the words and you go through exhaustive mental gymnastics in an effort to keep the words from meaning what they actually mean. The Tree of Life does not mean the tree of life, because if it did then that would mean Adam and Eve were not really immortal and you with your mental flaws cannot admit that.

James:
As I mentioned in my previous post, the bible clearly indicates that death entered the world through sin (Romans 5:12) ; therefore, since sin did not exist in the world until after Adam and Eve disobeyed God then it follows by good and necessary consequence that Adam and Eve were not subject to death until after they had disobeyed God. Not surprisingly, this interpretation fits naturally with the observation that when God warned Adam that he would die if he ate the fruit, Adam didn’t respond by saying: “Why should I be concerned about dying since I am already mortal?”. Once again, God’s admonition is no longer a deterrent if Adam and Eve were already going to die. You, Stephen, instead take the most unlikely scenario (i.e. Adam and Eve were mortal before the Fall and thus God is lying in Romans 5:12) and insist that it must be so despite the irresistible force of logic that has been on display since we began our dialogue.

Stephen:
The Tree of knowledge of good and evil doesn’t actually mean the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, because if it did that would mean that Adam and Eve were created WITHOUT the knowledge of what is good and what is evil. And you with your obvious psychological flaws cannot admit that.

James:
As I have mentioned earlier, your conclusion (Adam and Eve were created WITHOUT the knowledge of what is good and what is evil) does not follow from the premise (The Tree of knowledge of good and evil actually means the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil) that you posit so your argument fails. Go back and read my comments about why Adam and Eve had SOME knowledge of good and evil despite the fact that they had not yet partook of the Tree of the knowledge of good and Evil. As the christian philosopher Dr. Thomas Robbins once said “A consciousness conscious of nothing is a contradiction in terms.” It is furtherly thus impossible that Adam and Eve had no knowledge whatsoever of good and evil. I’m suggesting that their quantity of the knowledge of good and evil dramatically increased once they partook of the forbidden fruit. Without further revelation from God, it is impossible to quantitatively know how much knowledge was added but we have solid indications to believe that the addition was dramatic.

Stephen:
And yet while YOU enthusiastically engage in these exercises to run away from logical conclusions and avoid deductive reasoning, you DARE to accuse atheists of being the ones who are lacking in logic and deductive reasoning skills!! I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.

James:
I’m not here to be provoked by your baseless accusations. I honestly want to know how atheists can account for logic or morality in an atheistic worldview? The laws of logic are immaterial – how do you account for the immaterial in your worldview? How do you account for universal or absolute abstractions in your solely corporeal worldview? These are not insults – merely honest questions that may sound rhetorical but are only so because you do not have an answer that can withstand the scrutiny of logic.

Stephen:
You can believe in talking snakes and the dead rising from the grave and Moses parting the Red Sea and all of the water in Egypt being turned into blood, however you CANNOT embrace all these fantasies and at the same time take those of us who believe in science and accuse US of being the illogical ones! I’ve had it with you. Take your love of irrationality and go away. I’m not wasting any more of my time on you.

James:
In a world where one cannot account for logic or morality (i.e. in your worldview), I’m not sure why these things you mention (even if I were to assume them to be fantasies) are problematic since a person can both lie and be irrational in your worldview without being held accountable to a universal and invariant standard that would make such actions “wrong.”