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Collection Of Arguments Against The Nt And Ot

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McDONALD

Darrel said that the context even showed that I was wrong, but he can't show anything in the context that even implies that I am wrong.

 

TILL

Okay, let me show you what is in the context that strongly implies that you are wrong. Notice the part emphasized in bold print (asterisks are used to emphasize for those who can't receive styled text).

 

Isaiah 40:22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; **who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in....**

 

If the earth were a flat disk, the heavens could be "stretched out like a curtain" and "spread like a tent" over it, but that could hardly be done to a sphere. This is probably why the JPS translated the verse as it did.

 

It is He who is enthroned above the vault of the earth.... **Who spread out the skies like gauze, stretched them out like a tent to dwell in.**

 

As I noted above, a tent could be stretched over a flat disk but hardly over a sphere, and God could sit above this and look down on the inhabitants of the earth, who would appear like grasshoppers, but this imagery would not support the view that God sat above a sphere, because from that vantage point, one could not see all the inhabitants of the earth. If, for example, he looked down on the western hemisphere, the inhabitants of the eastern hemisphere would not be visible.

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SAVE THE VIRGINS

 

mc:He gets is [sic] from the destruction of the Amalekites and the

alleged rape of the Midianite virgins. However, no one on earth can

prove that the Midianite virgins were raped or even used for sexual

pleasure.

 

 

TILL

No one on earth can prove (1) that the massacre of the Midianites

even happened or (2) that if it did happen, the order to keep the

virgins alive was made because of the value that men in those times

placed on virginity.

 

 

McDonald

No one on earth can prove that massacre of the Midianites ever

happened. However Till and those of his persuasion call it a real

moral atrocity. How could it be considered a moral atrocity if it

didn't happen? All Till can logically say is "if it did happen it

would constitute a moral atrocity." Since he says it can't be proved

that it happened he can't call it a moral atrocity.

 

 

TILL

If it never happened, then, of course, it wasn't a moral atrocity,

because that which did not happen can't be anything but a tale. If,

however, biblicists like McDonald are going to contend that it did

happen, they must bear the burden of proving that it was morally right

to kill children taken as captives in battle and to kill nonvirgins

but keep the virgins alive for themselves. Anyone who doesn't have an

inerrancy act to grind will read this story and understand that it was

obviously saying that, if it happened, the virgin girls were kept

alive for sexual reasons. For the sake of argument, however, let's

just suppose that McDonald's source [snicker, snicker] Gleason Archer

was right and that the virgins were spared just to be servants. That

still leaves him with the problem of explaining what is so morally

right about forced servitude.

 

 

--- ---

 

 

Till

and (2) if it did happen, that the virgin Midianites were kept alive

just to be servants, as McDonald's source quoted in our debate

(Gleason Archer) claimed.

 

 

McDonald

As I pointed out in our oral debate in 1991 if they were used as sex

slaves there would have been no reason at all for God to have been

angry with israel for having sex with them. The account begins in

Numbers chapter 25 where israel was led off into idolatry and

fornication by the Midianites. In Numbers chapter 31 israel was given

clear orders to kill them all. When they brought back the spoils of

both men and women Moses was angry with them and told them to kill all

the men and all the women who had known man by lying with him.

 

 

TILL

All the men had already been killed, if we are to believe this

inerrant story.

 

 

Numbers 31:7 They did battle against Midian, as Yahweh had commanded

Moses, and KILLED EVERY MALE. 8 They killed the kings of Midian: Evi,

Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian, in addition to

others who were slain by them; and they also killed Balaam son of Beor

with the sword.

 

 

The captives that they brought back, according to this inerrant story,

were women and children.

 

 

Numbers 31:9 The israelites took the women of Midian and their little

ones captive; and they took all their cattle, their flocks, and all

their goods as booty.

 

 

Some of these "little ones" were males, whom Moses ordered his

soldiers to kill.

 

 

Numbers 31:14 Moses became angry with the officers of the army, the

commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, who had come

from service in the war. 15 Moses said to them, "Have you allowed all

the women to live? 16 These women here, on Balaam's advice, made the

israelites act treacherously against Yahweh in the affair of Peor, so

that the plague came among the congregation of Yahweh. 17 Now

therefore, kill EVERY MALE AMONG THE LITTLE ONES, and kill every woman

who has known a man by sleeping with him. 18 But all the young girls

who have not known a man by sleeping with him, keep alive for

yourselves.

 

 

---- ---

 

 

For the sake of argument, let's just assume that the israelites were

justified in killing the nonvirgin females because of the incident at

Peor. To so assume, we would have to suppose that every last

nonvirgin female brought back as captives had participated in the orgy

at Peor. I will show later that this scenario is inconsistent with

the rest of Numbers 31, but to give McDonald the benefit of the doubt,

let's just assume that every nonvirgin female among these captives had

participated in the event at Peor. That still leaves the males among

the "little ones," whom Moses ordered his men to kill.

 

 

-- -----

 

 

Let McDonald explain to us the objective morality in doing that,

because these male children would not have been involved in the orgy

at Peor. Oh, I forgot! The male children were killed to "

cut off the seed of the Midianites." How silly of me not to recognize

that.

 

 

McDONALD

 

 

These women were probably killed because they could be pregnant and/or

they would lead the israelites off into fornication again.

 

 

TILL

As I pointed out in our written debate, notice how often McDonald will

resort to "probablies" and "could-bes" to explain biblical

embarrassments. I keep wondering just where someone who has so much

linguistic difficulty writing his native language could have such

amazing insights into what the Bible doesn't say.

 

 

Here is a good place to mention that Church-of-Christ preachers often

boast that they speak where the Bible speaks and remain silent where

the Bible is silent, so I would really like for McDonald to show us

where the Bible speaks about all these things that he somehow knows

about the Midianite massacre.

 

 

McDONALD

 

 

The males were killed to cut off the seed of Midian.

 

 

TILL

Oh, is that so? Is this speaking where the Bible speaks and remaining

silent where the Bible is silent?

 

 

-- ------ ---

 

 

Didn't Yahweh know that killing these male children would not "cut

off" the seed of Midian? Midianites were mentioned several times

after this, even though EVERY male Midianite had presumably been

killed either in the invasion or the massacre of the "little ones,"

so where did the Midianites mentioned later (Judges 6:2-7, 11-16;

7:1-7, etc.) come from? If there were Midianites later on, what good,

then, did it do to "cut off the seed of the Midianites" by killing

the male "little ones"? Didn't the omniscient Yahweh not know that

killing the males among the "little ones" wouldn't "cut off the seed

of the Midianites"?

 

 

You won't forget to answer that, will you?

 

 

-- ---------------- --

 

 

I assume that everyone is noticing that McDonald is willing to defend

the most despicable of human acts in order to defend his precious

inerrancy belief.

 

 

McDONALD

 

 

The only ones that were allowed to live were the women who had not

known man by lying with him (virgins). Now if God was going to allow

the israelites to have sex with these virgins, if sex was on the

agenda, he would have punished the israelites and the Midianites for

no reason because they were being punished for committing

fornication. Virginity had nothing to do with qualifying them for

servitude, but it had everything to do with qualifying them for life.

God had strict laws against having sex with someone outside of

marriage. He just didn't allow it. Why would he break that edict in

this matter?

 

 

TILL

Is this speaking where the Bible speaks and remaining silent where the

Bible is silent? I have a simple question for McDonald. If this is

really what Moses meant, i.e., just servitude, when he told his

soldiers to keep the virgins alive for themselves, then why didn't he

just say, "Keep the virgins alive to be your servants"? Shouldn't we

have the right to expect an omniscient, omnipotent deity to guide his

inspired ones to communicate in clear language so that disputes like

this one would never arise?

 

 

That aside, I would now like to ask McDonald to point out where this

text said anything at all about these virgins working as servants. I

will urge him in his answer to speak where the Bible speaks and remain

silent where the Bible remains silent.

 

 

-- ----------- ---

 

 

Finally, let's have a look at McDonald's claim that the nonvirgins

were killed because they had led the israelites into idolatry and

fornication. If we are to believed the inspired, inerrant word of

God, only 24,000 israelites were killed for having participated in the

orgy at Peor Num. 25:9). If we assume that each of the 24,000 had

each had a Midianite sexual partner--or maybe they were Moabites (see

Num. 25:1)--that would mean that there had been 24,000 Midianite

participants in the orgy. The tale in Numbers 31, however, tells us

that 32,000 virgins were kept alive that day (to be servants, of

course). Are we to assume then that the young virgins were more

numerous than the nonvirgins, whom we could reasonably assume were of

various ages ranging from adolescence to old age? One would

certainly think that a tribal society would have had more nonvirgins

than virgins in its population. In other words, even if there had

been as many as 24,000 Midianite women involved in the Peor orgy, we

could hardly imagine that all of the nonvirgin captives had been

involved in this incident. To so imagine, we would have to assume

that the israelite men had had multiple partners or that the nonvirgin

captives were fewer than the younger virgins.

 

 

All that aside, I have been curious for some time to know how that

israelites were able to determine which women were virgins. Maybe

McDonald can tell us.

 

 

-- ----------- ----

Till

In my reply to Archer's "servant explanation," I pointed out that (1)

if these females were kept alive just to be servants, there was no

reason at all to kill the nonvirgins (as if nonvirgins couldn't work

as servants)

 

 

McDonald

As I pointed out in 1991 I will point out again. Virginity had

nothing to do with qualifying them for servitude; it had everything to

do with qualifying them for life. Nonvirgins would be more apt to

lead the israelite men off into fornication again and eventually into

idolatry.

 

 

TILL

And in what way was McDonald able to determine that this was Yahweh's

reason for having the nonvirgins massacred? Is he speaking where the

Bible speaks and remaining silent where the Bible is silent. Anyway,

given the importance that men in those ancient societies placed on

virginity, wouldn't a pretty young virgin have been more tempting than

a nonvirgin who had been around the block a few times?

 

 

Till

and that (2) the cultural emphasis that societies then placed on

virginity would be a more likely explanation for why the virgins were

spared (if this event actually happened). In support of this view, I

pointed out (1) that when a successor was chosen for Queen Vashti,

only virgins were considered as candidates to fill the position

(Esther 2:1-4),

 

 

McDonald

Yes the culture did place an emphasis on virginity just as our culture

used to and some are trying to get back to that idea. When a

successor was chosen for Vashti virgins were brought before him. Not

because having sex with a virgin was so pleasurable, but because

virgins were considered sexually pure and the Kings servants didn't

want to bring a woman to him who was not sexually pure.

 

 

TILL

Is everyone noticing how McDonald always knows the motivating factors

in biblical stories, even when there is nothing in the stories that

even implies what he is saying? Is this what he calls speaking where

the Bible speaks and remaining silent where the Bible is silent?

 

 

Till

that (2) when David lay on his deathbed, the virgin Abishag was

appointed to lie in bed with him to keep him warm (1 Kings 1:3).

 

 

McDonald

Yes, this is true, but a virgin was brought to him so no scandal could

be started. If she was a virgin and known to be a virgin then people

would not go around talking about her lying with David to keep him

warm.

 

 

TILL

See what I mean? McDonald always knows everything that was involved

behind the scenes in these stories. I could just as well say that

they provided a virgin for David just in case he should regain some of

his former sexual vigor. In such an event, he would have been

rewarded with a female worthy of his stature. That observation would

be just as valid as McDonald's.

 

 

McDONALD

 

 

Only a woman who was considered sexually pure could do this. If David

was so sick that he needed someone to place her body next to his to

keep him warm, I doubt that he was going to be much interested in sex

anyway.

 

 

TILL

Is this speaking where the Bible speaks and remaining silent where the

Bible is silent? I cited this example merely to emphasize the

importance that men in those days attached to virginity. I didn't cite

it so that McDonald could show us how he knows everything that went

on the behind the scenes in this tale. I have shown that the

importance attached to virginity in those days is a very reasonable

explanation for why the nonvirgin Midianite captives were killed but

the virgins kept alive for the men... er, excuse me, to be servants to

the men.

 

 

Till

I don't recall without reviewing the manuscripts if I mentioned any

other examples, but there are plenty in the Bible that could be

cited. If McDonald doesn't know the value that males in biblical

times put on virginity, then he really has no business trying to be

an apologist. Anyone who doesn't have an inerrancy axe to grind can

look at he text and see the obvious probability that Moses told his

soldiers, who ould all have been males, to keep the virgins alive for

themselves for

sexual reasons.

 

 

McDonald

You can bring up all the accounts that you please, but you can't prove

that these virgins were used for sex.

 

 

TILL

The text certainly implies it, and you can't prove that they were not

so used. Until you can explain why Moses told the men to keep the

virgins alive "for yourselves" rather than to keep them alive to

become servants, reasonable readers will assume the more likely

meaning.

 

 

McDONALD

 

 

I do know the value that males in Biblical times placed on virginity,

but it wasn't because having sex with a virgin was so pleasurable. It

was because virgins were considered sexually pure and if a man was

going to find a wife, he would want someone who had not been with

another man.

 

 

TILL

Well, I won't dispute that. To put a little frosting on the cake of

my position in this matter, I will cite the case of Reuben and Bilhah.

 

 

Genesis 35:22 While israel lived in that land, Reuben went and lay

with Bilhah his father's concubine; and israel heard of it.

 

 

Because of this, Jacob later pronounced a curse of sorts on Reuben.

 

 

Genesis 49:3 Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might and the first

fruits of my vigor, excelling in rank and excelling in power. 4

Unstable as water, you shall no longer excel because you went up onto

your father's bed; then you defiled it--you went up onto my couch!

 

 

Jewish literature indicates that this offense was so grievous that

Jacob (israel) never had sexual relations with Bilhah again.

 

 

And now, children, love the truth, and it shall preserve you. I

counsel you, hear ye Reuben your father. Pay no heed to the sight of

a woman, nor yet associate privately with a female under the authority

of a husband, nor meddle with affairs of womankind. For had I not

seen Bilhah bathing in a covered place, I had not fallen into this

great iniquity. For my mind, dwelling on the woman's nakedness,

suffered me not to sleep until I had done the abominable deed. For

while Jacob our father was absent with Isaac his father, when we were

in Gader, near to Ephratha in Bethlehem, Bilhah was drunk, and lay

asleep uncovered in her chamber; and when I went in and beheld her

nakedness, I wrought that impiety, and leaving her sleeping I

departed. And forthwith an angel of God revealed to my father Jacob

concerning my impiety, and he came and mourned over me, and touched

her no more ("Reuben's Testament" in Testaments of the Twelve

Patriarchs).

 

 

The guys took sexual purity seriously in those days, and that ancient

attitude is sufficient to explain why the israelites were told to keep

the virgin Midianites alive for themselves.

 

 

This is enough for McDonald to chew on for a while. I will continue

my reply in part (2).

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