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My Religious Conversation with Joey; Page 3
From: Chris Stuart <Chris.Stuart@valpo.edu>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 14:55:43 -0500 (Central Daylight Time)

Here we go again.  You are one of the most incoherent, illogical people I've ever had the misfortune to talk to:
   -The Tower of Babel has nothign to do with Babylon.  Take a look at those two word.  Babel is a completely different word than Babylon.  Babylon is an actual empire that existed, in a known place.  Nothing is known about Babel, most likely because it didn't exist, or God completely wiped it out.
   -There being Jewish skeletons in Egypt doesn't prove anything about the story of Moses...but bones do not show circumcision scars, unless you really really really mess them up. You still did not address why there's no record of it in Egyptian history.  Also, if pork was the most abundant food source, the Jews had not yet gone through the presentation of the laws which came in the end of Exodus and Leviticus. God had not yet told the Jews that they should not eat pork. So what the hell does any of your evidence prove? Nothing.
   -I still have not been able to find anything about Tiar, and I still haven't heard anything about the prophecy of their fall, or the actual fall which you were referring to a couple messages ago. Please enlighten me.
   -Genesis tells exactly where Eden was, naming four rivers.  (Genesis 2:10-14).  I don't know where the first two rivers are precisely, but the last two are the Tigris and Euphrates, which are definitely in the middle east; in Iraq, to be precise.  I don't know what you're talking about Africa for; Africa is in fact one of the cradles of civilization.
   -Lutheranism is a denomination, not a religion.  Lutherans are of the Christian (which, by the way, is a church named after a person) religion, but are the denomination of Lutherans.  To be Lutheran means that you understand the divine scripture as Luther explained them.  It doesn't mean that you are following the god Luther.  By the way, please tell me the passage that prohibites naming a denomination after a person.
You have yet to give me any scriptural references, while I have given you at least two or three.
   -There is no conclusive evidence to support telepathy, and most respected psychologists think it's a load of shit.
   -Lack of oxygen flowing to the brain...that's what brain death is defined as.  i don't know how she knew who jumped you...it's possible that she heard it while she was unconscious, or she was told and doesn't remember being told.  Once again, that's immaterial to our argument, because it does not prove any existence of a God. Try keeping to the argument.
nbsp;  -Noah's Ark?  How did I contradict myself about that?  Please tell me the Psalm where it states that God's scale is that big.  Besides, when God talks to us, he speaks to us in our terms.  In Genesis, those cubits are meant to be human cubits, because that's what we can measure. Noah would be completely unable to build something the "size of a country".
    -HOw do I know animals were the same size? The same way you said that they found Jewish skeletons among the egyptians. The fossil record is really easy to look at. Besides, if animals were smaller, than you'd be proving evolution as well.
   -There's nothing that says how long "God's time" is; there's nothing that claims it is different.  It's a belief that arose after scientists looked at the world and realized that it was much older than the Bible claimed it to be.  Claiming "God's time" is a way to work anything when the times don't exactly work out how you want them to.
   -On the 69th week of what the Messiah was crucified?
   -What are you talking about, the "13 year"? That has nothing to do with anything we were talking about.  Besides, Jesus started to preach immediately after being baptised. 33AD is still too late for him to be crucified.  He was born in 4-6BC (I think I might have put AD in last e-mail, if I did, then I'm sorry), because that's when it fits the historical record, with the rulers such as Quirinius and Herod still being alive.  No historians other than the Gospel writers spoke of when he was crucified.
   -My father is a ELCA pastor, and a History professor. Pontius Pilate was ruler of Judea from about AD 26-36. His existence, once again, does not prove that a savior was crucifed during his rule.
   -Occam's Razor exists...it is a test that people use, not a real "Razor".  It is a principle just as much as the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, or the Theory of Relativity. I don't need to show you evidence of it existing. It is simply a guideline for evaluating evidence...such as Calculus or Algebra.  I don't need to prove to you that Calculus exists, do I? It's a process, a tool, not a "truth." It's a subjective principle to find the best answer to a question.  "What is plausible?" Well, plausible means that it follows some test of logic and doesn't demand that you accept something based on hearsay or guess.
   -The majority of scientists do think that E.T.'s exist, but please explain to me how that violates Einstein's law of relativity?  It's believed that there are aliens out there...it's just too big of a universe out there for us to be alone.  That doesn't violate relativity.  If they have faster than light travel and they're visiting here, that might, but the existence of ETs does not mean that they're visiting here.
   -What the hell are you talking about here?  "I do not belive all the mass in an object is the exact eqazation Einstein stated I belive it is more."  That's incoherent.  E=mc^2 means, quite simply, that energy can be converted into matter and vice versa...this has been DEMONSTRATED...ask the people of Hiroshima or Nagasaki...or anyone who works at a nuclear power plant, for that matter.
   -Just because you can't explain the relation between time and mass approaching the speed of light does not mean that they're false. It's complex physics which will most likely never involve us at all. Space curving around gravity is not improvable...it's easily seen from celestial mechanics.  If you look at the New York Times science sections about every week or two they have stuff about gravity wells bending light from others stars.  It's very easy to prove.
   -One of the biggest problems in using Occam's Razor is that it is subjective...different people use different levels of logic.  Your problem is that you refuse to use logic at all...that's why Occam's Razor is difficult for you to use.
   -How am I trying to use philosophy wrong with philosophy? And why is that a problem? Kant used philosophy to contradict Hegel. "Philosophy" is not a monolithic thing. Philosophical principles are by nature contradictory. They've been fighting it out since Socrates started arguing with the Sophists.
   -Do you have any fucking clue what an atheist is? An atheist is (here's me using my Webster's College Dictionary 1991 edition) n. a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings. An ATHEIST denies the existence of a diety or of divine beings. Atheism is n. the doctrine or belief that there is no God. Well, that couldn't sum me up any better. I do not believe in God; any God whatsoever. How does that make me an agnostic. I'm not presumptious enough to say that I know how the universe came into being; but I do NOT believe in God.
   -I don't believe that God created the universe...when did I say that [I did]? Please quote me directly, and make sure that I wasn't speaking in the hypothetical third person. Find me something that says "I believe", not "some may believe" or "it may..."
   -I don't think that pastors are naturally wiser men, or anything like that.  I do know that my dad has gone through years of Biblical study, and years of reading the Bible, talking to other people who have, and reading texts about religious matters, and in that regard, I would definitely trust him about religious matters more than most people.  I have had pastors who haven't know anything about what they were talking about, but there are some who have put their life into their study.
   -How do we have a sense of right or wrong? Well, I personally consider myself a pretty moral person with God or anyone to tell me what to do. Man is a social animal, and most other animals instictively know how to deal with each other. I believe that our "moral" sense comes out of a highly intellectualized social instinct. It comes from our natural being, and millenia of experimenting on the best ways to deal with each other. There are very few things that are considered "wrong" in all countries. Immanuel Kant dealt with questions of where our morals come from, whether they are empirical or a priori, so if you want to know more, try reading "Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals"...I recommend the Hackett version (ISBN 0-87220-166-X) to get into it more. How do we decide what is right or wrong? Well, on a case by case evaluation. Is lying always wrong? If Nazis came to your door when you're harboring Jews, is it wrong to lie about them being in your basement? Probably not. "without one to decide it, how do WE decide what is right or wrong?" I do so without any outside legislation from a God. I follow what I can do in society, and what I think is right myself morally...my morals come from my social influence and from my own personal judgements.
   -You haven't proven a damn thing. You still blatantly ignore logic, you don't support your statements with anything other than "I heard" or "My dad tells me". You haven't proven my "Damned Razor" wrong at all. My one "vallid" argument in your mind: "The argument of a human growth being something that groes from simple to complex. That is ludiocris as we have been trying to crack the DNA code for decades yet are only now are coming close to it a single cell being simple?" Well, yes, it is simple, when you compare it to the organization of an entire body. Things can go from simpler to more complex. I never said that it was "simple" on it's own, I said it went from a simpler single cell to the incredible complex amalgam that is the entire human body with it's trillions of cells.
   -"God does not play dice with the universe" This was Einstein objecting to the random element at the heart of modern quantum physics (do you know anything about quantum physics?), not "how the universe could be able to allow the coincedences to exist to support life". Most scientists working with quantum physics believe that Einstein was wrong about this one anyway. Stephen Hawking said: "God not only plays dice, he also sometimes throws the dice where they cannot be seen." Neils Bohr expanded on that, "Nor is it our business to prescribe to God how He should run the world." The key of this (whether they were talking about God as a literal God, or just as a term to sum up "the laws of nature"...Hawking isn't very spiritual) is that it's saying that we can't possibly understand the whole underpinings of the unvierse, and it is not our business to make these claims. Bohr's comment menas that we need to go to science, not bring it to us. Saying something does not make it true. Scientific statements should be descriptive, not creative. Or, to put it yet another way, it is not the business of science to create the laws of the world, but to describe how they work.
   Now I'm going to resend all the questions you didn't answer or respond to.  Please do so, or I will contine to send them.

> >Animals such as the Amazonian animals would never be put on the boat,
> >since Noah would never be able to go over there and pick them up.  There's
> >not enough water to flood the entire earth (forget what you saw in
> >"Waterworld".)  There's no signs of the tremendous flash flooding that
> >must have occurred from 40 nights of rain (which wouldnt' be enough to
> >cover up the world anyway).  Flash flooding leaves very distinct marks,
> >that differ from regular flooding (I know, I've been in a flash flood
> >before). Don't point to other cultures, like The Epic of Gilgamesh, which
> >also has records of an apocoplytic flood.  The most likely explanation for
> >that is that early civilizations started around rivers, which flooded,
> >causing massive problems, so a common fear among most civilizations is of
> >a massive flood that could completely wipe them out.
> > -Give me scriptural quotes that tell about the Euro. "ten nations
> >shall have the same currency"...well, more than ten nations have
> >it...prophecy has to be precise...it says what happens...anything else can
> >just be coincidence.
> > -No, you're not using logic now.

[I have to admit that by this time I was getting a bit harsh; but you know how much blatant stupidity bothers me, and this guy was definitely showing it.]

To: "Chris Stuart" <Chris.Stuart@valpo.edu>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 21:23:49 -0700

You know not of the Bible it states that a thousand years is a day to God It also says that a church named after a person is not a Christian church in the first chapter of romans

From: Chris Stuart <Chris.Stuart@valpo.edu>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 23:37:14 -0500 (Central Daylight Time)

Where's your citings?  I need a passage...you have yet to give me any concrete evidence whatsoever. I'm looking at the first chapter of Romans, and I'm not finding anything whatsoever in support of what you are saying. And besides, that still doesn't conflict with "Lutheranism".
   And how about responding to the rest of the e-mail? it still stands...I'm waiting.

From: Chris Stuart <Chris.Stuart@valpo.edu>
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 20:19:49 -0500 (Central Daylight Time)

   I believe I found your "Tiar". The actual name of the city is Tyre, which was an incredible merchant city back in the time of the Old Testament. It is prophesied in Ezekiel 26 that "They shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down its towers. I will scrape its soul from it and make it a bare rock. It shall become, in the midst of the sea, a place for spreading nets" (Ez. 26:4-5). Later he says "When I make you a city laid waste, like cities that are not inhabited...I will bring you to a dreadful end, and you shall be no more; though sought for, you will never be found again" (Ez. 26:19,21). Now, the person sent to destroy the walls of Tyre and cast them out into the seas was King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon (26:7). This wasn't a prophesy that was aimed at something 3000-4000 years in the future. This was aimed at something that was currently going on at the time. Nebuchadrezzar never managed to destroy the city...he seiged it for 13 years, but didn't take it. What's most likely is that Ezekiel was written during the seige of Nebuchadrezzar, and the author was sure it would fall. Tyre was eventually taken by Alexander the Great, who managed to build a causeway out to the city (which was on an island). This is what people interpret as him taking down the city and throwing it into the sea...but the city wasn't destroyed. It still exists. So none of the prophesies were true. The city wasn't taken by Nebuchadrezzar, and it wasn't destroyed, and it surely hasn't been lost. Tyre as a city still exists. It's population is about 15,000. It is now known as Sour, and is part of Lebanon. Biblical quotes are from the New Revised Standard Version, the rest of the info comes from Microsoft Encarta 99, and http://www.mit.edu:8001/activities/lebanon/Map/m_tyre.html
   Now, I've provided references for my info, so you can check up on it yourself...you might try doing the same in reverse.

Chris Stuart

To: "Chris Stuart" <Chris.Stuart@valpo.edu>
Subject: Re: "Tiar"
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 03:12:40 -0700

It is now a fishing town if you research it hence A place to spread nets neither one of us is going to change our minds so lets end this whole thing.
PS: Don't Quote the English Bible I do not Belive in it. Learn yettish and Greek first than you can quote it
PPS: why do you think it was set at that time? I have seen nothing in your scriptual evidencence to support that. Plus I notice you haven't replied to my Daniel Quatation or my life after Death evidence oh well. please do not e-mail me again as I may have cancer and cannot argue anything at this time until I have been treated.

["yettish" equals "yiddish", a mix of Hebrew and German that groups of modern day Jews use (I don't know how many, and I don't know what the language of Israel is now), but the original Bible was never written in "yettish".]
To: "Chris Stuart" <Chris.Stuart@valpo.edu>
Subject: Re: "Tiar"
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 03:32:22 -0700

By the way I am quite sure the Hebrew waste is vary simmilar to the English Sour as in sour milk so therefore that is an example of The Bible predicting a coincedence involving three diffrent langauges

To: "Chris Stuart" <Chris.Stuart@valpo.edu>
Subject: Re: -- No Subject --
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 04:01:18 -0700

oops it's sour isn't it? Anyway it's a sea town now pluss it did get concurred and all the stones were cast in the sea damn impressive if you ask me anyway Goodbye
Wait maybe I should tell you..
The reason I belive the Bible has nothing to do with logic.
It has to do with an experence.
I myself have had a nde but not of a white light
Everyone who doesn't belive in God says they say we all see the same thing.  I didn't. I saw a red river of flame a place where I saw soals burning all around me. What foolish people may call Hell but what I have learned is really called Shiol. As I looked up I saw a bright light and heard laughter coming from up high as if someone was mocking me as if.. As if it were the sounds of the saved laughing at our punishment. My heart stopped one night as I slept for a few seconds my mother was scared as hell (no pun intended)
I truly belive it was God telling me to change my ways. You may think I am lieing or I am crazy or it was some hormone or dream I do not. You are welcome to belive what you like. But I saw and felt the burning and smelled the soals burnig like flesh. I had never smelled burnt flesh before but knew it than. I wish noone to see that sight so therefore that is why I argue to prove the Bible correct
God bless you

[Well, it was at this point (the last three e-mails) that I realized that this conversation had gotten really interesting, and more than a bit scary.  The polite (and intelligent) thing to do would be to just let it stop.  Well, I acted impulsively. I honestly meant just to send my condolences, and sign off...honestly.]

From: Chris Stuart <Chris.Stuart@valpo.edu>
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 14:38:00 -0500 (Central Daylight Time)

 I apologize and I hope that your treatment goes well. As much as we have disagreed, I wish only the best for you. I wil ask my Christian friends to pray for you. I will end this whole thing, after responding briefly to the points that you brought up.
 -Tyre has always been a fishing town; it is on an island right by the sea, and so fishing, "spreading nets" has always been done there, with no prophesy from God necessary.
 -I'm sorry, but I can only quote from English Bibles, since I can only read English (and a bit of German).  Can you read yiddish (which is what I assume you meant by "yettish") or Greek? I can partially read yiddish, since it is a hebrewized dialect of German. However, learning yiddish is not the proper way to get closer to a direct translation of the Bible, since the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, not yiddish. Greek would be helpful in reading the New Testament.
 -Sour (the ex-city of Tyre), is more properly pronounced as Sur, or Soor. It has no connection to the Hebrew word to the Hebrew waste (I asked a friend of mine who happens to be a Hebrew major...I know that's not great proof, but it's better than what you gave me). Hebrew and English have virutally no connection whatsoever as far as languages go. Besides, the name of the town is Lebanese (it's in Lebenon), not Hebrew. This name for the town therefore is a coincidence involving someone wanting to see the hand of God in everything. It's like saying the Russian word for soul "sertsa" sounding like Certs (the candy) means that candy is a more divine and spiritual candy.

It's been interesting talking to you. As I said before, I hope your treatment goes well.

Thank you,
Chris Stuart

[Luckily it turned out alright, and I didn't offend him to badly it seems.]

To: "Chris Stuart" <Chris.Stuart@valpo.edu>
Subject: Re: "Tiar"
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 21:56:35 -0700

Thanks I am not sure yet if I have cancer yet I hope I don't but for my final argument you must relise there are sevaral points in the Bible that are metaphorical espicially Prophetic verses I would like you to remember in Jonah there is a city God said he would destroy. He did not until sevaral books later (I belive it was Daniel but I will look that up). when I am feeling better we can cotinue this disscussion. No I do not read yiddish but there are lexicon's that can translate Yiddish and Greek words for exampl many belive that it was light created on the first day but indead it was knowledge according to the Hebrew version.
Anyway I will learn Greek and possibly Yiddish too (I know people that can but I don't completly trust that) later

And now I'm pretty sure that this conversation is over, unless he starts it up again later (which I doubt). His argument is a confusing mishmash of different theological arguments, most of them what I call "fundamentalist irrational" and not very well founded. His last example of there being "metaphorical Prophetic" passages completely undercuts his previous attempt to explain the Bible literally. Sigh...what a long strange trip it's been.

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