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

  1. Sergio Monte says:

    Dear James,

    I have a very dear Jewish friend, he is in his late 70’s does not believe in Jesus as the Messiah.
    What verse/s of the bible (old and NT) would you suggest I send to this man.
    I would love to see this man come to the Lord.
    I know he has a great zeal for God, but it does not include His Son Yeshua.

    Thanks

  2. 1john22 says:

    Dear Sergio,

    I believe that the most compelling chapters in the Tanakh (Old Testament) to a Jewish unbeliever are Isaiah 53 and Daniel 9. These passages clearly teach that God’s Messiah would suffer and die but not for Himself; He would die for the sins of the world. Furthermore, Daniel lays out the time table ((7 + 62) x 7 = 483 years from King Cyrus’s decree – the GOING FORTH of the commandment to restore Jerusalem) for the Messiah’s arrival showing that the Messiah should have come around the time when Jesus showed up on the scene. There is just no way around it. The time has elapsed for the coming of the real Messiah. I suspect that your Jewish friend is familiar with Maimonides and his 13 principles of the Jewish faith. One of these principles is that Jews have an obligation to “believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah.” If your Jewish friend still believes and is waiting for the Messiah to arrive, in light of what I have written above, your friend is faced with a real dilemma:

    Either God was telling the truth in Isaiah and Daniel which means that the only person who could qualify as the Messiah is Christ OR God got the details wrong in Isaiah and Daniel in which case He is not to be trusted in any other matter of history or faith that is recorded in the scriptures. If your friend chooses the latter then he must simultaneously admit that all of Judaism (which is based primarily upon the Tanahk) is based on unreliable testimony from God who is it’s author.

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