Thursday, June 22, 2006

Joshua's Long Day

“Conclusive proof that the Bible is NOT inerrant! The question is, do the erroneous statements in Joshua 10:12- 13 conclusively prove the Bible is not inerrant?”

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2006/06/conclusive-proof-bible-is-not-inerrant.html

Wow! Joshua’s Long Day. Is that in the Bible? Or is it one of those ticking time bombs which the Vatican kept under wraps for all these year? I guess that this is something Westcott and Hort snuck into the Bible when no one was looking as part of their master plan to destroy the Christian faith.

Brace yourself for Ron Howard’s movie version of Joshua’s Long Day, starring Tom Hanks and Angelina Jolie.

Honestly, you have to wonder where John Loftus finds these guys. Did Paladin join the Debunkers after he flunked his audition for American Idol?

It’s funny how apostates suddenly “discover” these “shocking” revelations about the Bible. Things which Jews and Christians have known about for millennia. Our apostates then rush their discoveries to press as if no one had ever hear of them before.

"The errors in these verses would be obvious to a 6th grade science student. The error is the claim that God held the Sun still to extend the day so that Joshua could have daylight to continue his battle. The Sun is ALREADY a stationary celestial object. The Sun does not orbit the Earth, the Earth orbits the Sun, and rotates on an axis, giving the illusion that the Sun moves. If God wanted to extend the day, he would have to hold the Earth, not the Sun, stationary.”

The “error” of geocentrism is only obvious if, like Paladin, you operate at the mental level of a sixth-grader.

Actually, that’s not fair to sixth-graders. Many 10-year-old homeschoolers are far more sophisticated than he is.

An astute geocentrist would have no difficulty fielding the “obvious” objections to his position. For example:

http://www.reformation.ws/RICDiscussions/Science-Scripture/X%20Geocentricity/another_look_at_galileo.htm

http://www.reformation.ws/RICDiscussions/Science-Scripture/X%20Geocentricity/rebuttal_of_north_and_nieto.htm

“I therefore maintain that if the Book of Joshua was "divinely inspired", and dictated verbatim by God, as fundamentalists and evangelicals claim, then God flat-out lied or made an error!”

Yet another no-knowing apostate. The dictation theory is not the standard theory of inspiration in fundamentalist and evangelical circles. Rather, the organic theory, advocated by Warfield, among others, is the standard theory. Here’s a well-known and representative statement (From the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy) of what the organic theory entails:

***QUOTE***

We affirm that God in His Work of inspiration utilized the distinctive personalities and literary styles of the writers whom He had chosen and prepared.

We deny that God, in causing these writers to use the very words that He chose, overrode their personalities.

We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations.

***END-QUOTE***

As regards the passage in question, Paladin overlooks a couple of elementary considerations:

i) The narrative viewpoint is explicitly local rather than global. The sun appeared at Gibeon and the moon in the valley of Aijalon. So the description represents the perspective of an earth-bound observer.

ii) In addition, the author of Joshua is probably quoting verbatim from the book of Jashar. Scholars disagree on where the quotation begins and ends. For example, Woudstra, in a standard commentary on Joshua (p174), thinks that the quotation extends from v12 to v15.

The book of Jashar is generally thought to be a poetic and panegyric national epic.

The fact that the author of Joshua has lifted a direct quote this hortatory encomium in tribute to a military hero does not commit him to a cosmographical theory—any more than singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic commits the audience to a particular reconstruction of the Civil War, or singing Stan Roger’s Northwest Passage commits one to a particular map of the Yukon. This is martial poesy, like the Iliad or the Song of Roland.

“The God who created the Universe, stars, planets, and our own Sun, obviously wasn't aware of the very astronomical phenomena he created. If you think this is "nit-picking" what many have claimed is simply a figure of speech, then consider that when Copernicus postulated that the Earth orbited the Sun, and not vice-versa, he was branded a heretic because his claim contradicted the afore-mentioned verses, so obviously there was a time when the Church didn't consider this a "play on words" and took these verses literally.”

Yet another ignorant move on the part of Paladin. He’s reading the verse through the lens of the Copernican revolution and the Galileo affair, as if the author of Joshua were writing from the perspective of Ptolemy.

But this is grossly anachronistic. Ptolemaic astronomy was a Hellenistic synthesis of Babylonian astromancy and Greek mathematics.

The ancient Israelites took no theoretical interest in celestial mechanics.

“Another argument is that God understood that mankind didn't understand astronomical phenomanae at that time, so he used terminology people could understand. The flaws in this are that one, you are saying that God coddles ignorance, and two, by default, are admitting that God lied in the same way that a parent lies to a child by telling him/her that Santa Claus exists, and does so to 'coddle' their child like understanding of reality. Regardless, God still LIED, whatever his motivation, if he did, in fact, inspire the Book of Joshua.”

That is not my argument. However, even if it were my argument, to equate accommodation with deception is simple-minded.

For one thing, when a modern-day scientist tries to explain atomic theory or relativity or quantum mechanics or string theory to a popular audience, he will often resort to picturesque illustrations that are not literally accurate. Audience adaptation is not the same thing as a lie.

And for another thing, anyone who has a hang-up about indulging a child’s fantasy-life is seriously deficient in his parenting skills. Paladin is more uptight than a corseted, Victorian schoolmarm.

All Paladin has proven is that Loftus was able to scrounge up one more wormy, rotten apple from the bottom of the barrel.

20 comments:

  1. I don't take anyone over at Debunking Atheism seriously any more. Apparently, Loftus has now degenerated to the point where he is deleting several comments and has started to moderate them too (which is his right as blog owner, of course, but which looks really bad if you're a champion of "free thought").

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  2. Steve,

    Let me second what calvindude stated above. I used to be able to post comments freely (I've only posted comments on his blog maybe 3 times under one topic about Job), until last night when I tried to respond to something he said in response to me. He may very well end up posting my comments, but it is odd that I now have to go through his "filter". I would understand this if profanity or something like that was being used, but obviously that is not the case. I hope he posts the comments, perhaps there is some other reason he is doing this. I hope I'm wrong, but I think he is tired of having his arguments dismantled on a daily basis. He much rather prefers having a hearty band of apostates slap each other on the back as they hate God together and perish in the end. The Christian message is a thorn in his flesh and a prod to his conscience....

    --Jon Unyan

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  3. A proof against biblical inerrancy from Joshua 10:12- 13? You've got to be kidding. It's not like anyone's ever noticed this before or talked plenty about it.

    No, seriously now. They can't actually think they're posting anything substantial.

    You were far too generous to make reference to the intellectual level of junior high students on this one, Steve.

    Would-be debunkers: Really, now, this is something a pre-teen homeschooler could easily deal with. I don't even know what to say. Thanks for making unbelievers look like such simpletons?

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  4. Does this guy know that anyone can go to the heavens-above satellite tracking website, click on the data link for the sun or the moon, and those poor "dullards" have listed "sunrise" and "sunset" to describe what time the sun comes up or below the horizon? The "morons" at NASA and NOAA also speak about sunrises and sunsets. Maybe this guy ought to email them his article to inform them the earth really revolves around the sun? They are obviously misinformed or worse, lying to us.

    Fred

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  5. The sun is not a stationary object. It revolves around the center of the galaxy. Does this prove that Paladin doesn't know anything about astronomy, or does it prove that he uses the conventions of his culture to express certain facts?

    Thank goodness none of us were under the impression that God possessed the writers of Scripture and overrode their personalities.

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  6. calvindude, I am hoping you meant Debunking Christianity...:)

    With every interaction I keep asking myself, "What is DC's motivation?". I don't get it, especially since all their wonderful refutations are... refuted.

    Possible explanations:

    1. Seeing as though most DCs were nominal christians at one time, they are so angry at being 'duped' that they intend to dedicate the rest of their lives to disproving something they once believed was true. So any way you look at it they have made a decision to let Christianity dominate their lives. One would think that with their new found atheism that is the last thing they would want to dedicate themselves to. Life is too short and all that...

    2. As has been previously noted they are not really atheists but actually anti-theists. So if God does exist that want to prove him to be a liar, thief, etc. Anything but a God worthy of our complete adoration, praise and worship.

    3. They sincerely care for those of us who have remained faithful and are desparate, for our own good of course, to show us the error of our ways.

    Who knows. I think understand Gods4Suckers more (and that's a scary thought) since (1) their intention is to collectively ridicule and mock anyone who believes in God for their own personal satisfaction and (2) they are fearful of any kind of theocratic rule and have appointed themselves watchdogs and guardians.

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  7. warrenl said:
    ---
    calvindude, I am hoping you meant Debunking Christianity...:)
    ---

    Nope, I meant Debunking Atheism. It's my little way to promote Truth in Advertising, since all they have managed to do is make atheism more ignorant.

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  8. calvindude

    Excellent point!!

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  9. To follow up on what Aaron Adams said:
    Not only is our sun circling the center of our galaxy, our galaxy is also moving relative to other galaxies. Since there is no TRUE fixed point in the cosmos (as far as we know), the choice of your reference point is really arbitrary. Whichever one is more convenient.
    The advantage of a heliocentric coordinate system to a geocentric one is that the calculations for planetary motion are much, much simplier! And you STILL have to transform your results to the geocentric system is order to tell you where to actually look for the planet, satelite, etc.

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  10. Warren L. I responded to your questions here. Did you not see them?

    As far as the post goes, see what I said about it in the comments section, here.

    Paladin is the same person I wrote about here.

    And let's say he thinks this passage alone deals a death blow to inerrancy. So what? Your Calvinist God makes him believe that. Besides, no one can master everything there is to master in the whole range of issues which must be decided in order to make a decision to believe. So at what point is it okay for someone like Paladin to have enough reason for HIM to cease believing? Do you require that everyone who disbelieves must have a master's degree before they can say what convinces them not to believe? Does a child who decides at the age of 12-15 able to make an informed decision not to believe? But they do. People have varying levels of intelligence and education and they do the best that they can do based upon what they know. So? The real question is why your God makes them believe various things based upon when and where they were born. The real question is why God created the human psyche such that it makes less than informed decisions about life and death issues based upon less than adequate evidence, one way or another. Paladin's reasons are good enough for him, even if they are not good enough for you. So?

    I dare say I have studied these issues longer than most all of you, on a deeper level than most all of you. Shall I now say that YOU believe because you are uninformed? And then does the end result mean that the person with the most Doctorates and the highest IQ should figure it all out? Nonsense. If we cannot figure it all out, no matter what our level of intelligence of educational background, than there is something wrong with that God of yours, and deep down inside you know it.

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  11. John Loftus said:
    Your Calvinist God makes him believe that.

    That's overly simplistic in the first place and irrelevant in the second. It's overly simplistic because God has predestined, via means, that he will believe that. It isn't as though God has to actively make him believe it.

    It's also irrelevant. So what if God predestined him to believe it? It's still a hackneyed, juvenile objection.

    Do you require that everyone who disbelieves must have a master's degree before they can say what convinces them not to believe?

    Of course not. But one would think that if someone was going to write something to be posted publicly in order to refute a particular position that that person would have a basic understanding of the issues and would be able to wrap his mind around the topic.

    Does a child who decides at the age of 12-15 able to make an informed decision not to believe? But they do. People have varying levels of intelligence and education and they do the best that they can do based upon what they know.

    Sure. And one would think that you would find people with a level of intelligence and education sufficient to write would-be Christianity-debunking entries that aren't a complete joke.

    So? The real question is why your God makes them believe various things based upon when and where they were born.

    Because He has particular intentions for them.

    I dare say I have studied these issues longer than most all of you, on a deeper level than most all of you.

    Then you have no excuse and it's just sad.

    Shall I now say that YOU believe because you are uninformed? And then does the end result mean that the person with the most Doctorates and the highest IQ should figure it all out?

    You're conflating two different issues. We commented on the low intellectual level of the attempted refutation of Christianity, not the qualifications of the one who proffered it. No one's claiming that he didn't debunk Christianity because he doesn't have a Ph.D. We're saying he didn't debunk Christianity because he offered a stupid objection.

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  12. So Travis, are you now saying that a person cannot write about those things that have convinced them not to believe, unless they get a master's degree? I never stated that the people on my Blog have studied the issues out as much as you or I have done. I invite people on who have passion and who wish to test and defend their arguments in a public forum. They do not speak for me in every case, and I do not speak for them in every case, although we all agree that Christianity is false. If you want to judge my site, then judge each person on the site individually. Each of us assumes the burden to defend our own arguments. I'm offering them a chance to get in the ring...to learn....to grow....and to see if their reasons can stand up against your reasons. That's what most all of us are doing on the internet anyway.

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  13. John said:
    ---
    I invite people on who have passion and who wish to test and defend their arguments in a public forum.
    ---

    Unless they disagree with you. Then, suddenly, they find themselves getting comments like:

    "You are banned. Do not post there anymore about anything. And if you are a christian then you should respect my wishes." http://calvindude.com/dude/blog/2006/05/daniel-morgan-takes-a-stab-at-it/

    Or:

    "Get off your high horse and find someplace else to troll. Either try to understand what I'm saying, or if you cannot, do not comment. You're looking foolish, and you might be the only one who doesn't see it. Now go away." (Bold in the original.) http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2006/06/job-and-existence-of-good-god.html

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  14. John Loftus,

    I apologize I didn't see your response before.

    I still find it interesting that your energy (at least your intellectual energy) appears to be devoted to Christianity. So either way you look at it, the non-existent God dominates your life. Your whole worldview and life is actually defined by a negative response to Christianity.

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  15. Mr. Loftus,

    If you're really so concerned about letting your up and coming athiestic apologists get in the ring, why won't you allow Christians to get in the ring with them? Doesn't sound like a fair fight to me. Censorship from a "free thinker"? Ironic, isn't it?

    --Jon Unyan

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  16. Hi Steve,

    Excellent response. I love the depth of your knowledge on the OT and hope one day to approximate it.

    Jon mentioned the "Loftus filter" -- I've recently had posts deleted without comment as well as he and Steve. Essentially it is unsafe to post there anymore because you don't know what Loftus is going to have a hissy fit over and instantly trash. And he has the gall to keep pointing back at his policies, as if this justifies ideological censorship. Perhaps one of the DC members will take it upon himself to start a real blog where comment-based discussion is actually allowed.

    Anyway I say all this not to accuse Loftus, but by way of apology. A while back I came after you for posting in what seemed like some very harsh words about Loftus. Now that I have experienced this first hand I can see I should have respected your longer history with him, and recognized that your comments were probably accurate. I apologize for questioning you on this.

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  17. Why is it I have to continually deal with people who act stupidly? No educated person would say this:

    Jon Unyan said:If you're really so concerned about letting your up and coming athiestic apologists get in the ring, why won't you allow Christians to get in the ring with them? Doesn't sound like a fair fight to me. Censorship from a "free thinker"? Ironic, isn't it

    Intelligent Christians are indeed welcome. I invite them. But EVERYONE must read and follow what I wrote here, whether theist or atheist. Everyone must follow the same guidelines, myself included. I don't ask too much. Perhaps people are complaining because they violate the rules too much? I said if they do this they only have themselves to blame.

    Furthermore, if you think this qualifies as censorship, you're acting like an idiot in order to make a point. Newspapers do the very same things with letters to the editor, and editors across the country know their rights.

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  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  19. Mr. Loftus,

    Here's one of your "rules" that you so carefully live by over at DC, "We think that educated people can disagree agreeably. Only people not fully exposed to alternative ways of thinking will claim their opponents are stupid merely because they disagree."

    Here's a typical response from John Loftus when you respond to what someone has posted here or at his blog. "You just don't see it, you're an idiot, you're stupid, you have blinders on, etc. etc." Odd, isn't it?

    What rule would I be violating in any of my responses? Please advise, and I would like an intelligent answer beyond "you have blinders on..." Secondly, you don't even know me nor my level of education. If you're so well educated refute the argumentation with....argumentation. Thirdly, we're not sending letters to the editor, we're answering your assertions and challenging your ideas. Deleting previously posted comments, or not allowing a response to something you said, is censoring the conversation, is it not? Maybe I'm just too stupid, could you define censorship for me? Cuz I thought it was the suppression of an adverse opinion or judgement. Well, I should go now, I've been drooling on myself for the last 20 minutes and my faithful wife is here to change my bib. I look forward to your well educated response.....

    --Jon Unyan

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  20. Steve,

    This topic is of interest to many people. You can read my on views on my post at http://www.claudemariottini.com/blog/2006/06/long-day-of-joshua-in-search-of.html

    Claude Mariottini

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