8/12/94

I have been reading a certain individual's posts in this conference for a couple of months now, and cataloging the errors as I go...I thought now would be a good time to write a good natured spoof of his work, to illustrate the general types of errors that occur. See if you can guess who it is...(the numbers in brackets refer to the explanation of the type of error at the bottom of the selection)...
BIBLE CONFIRMS THAT GOD IS A WORM!

The 'holy bible' of Christians unequivocally teaches that the trinitarian God of Judeo-Christian religion is actually a worm.

Consider first Jesus. In Job 25.6 the phrase "son of man, who is only a worm!" occurs. We know that "Son of Man" was Jesus's favorite phrase for himself, occurring over 40 times in the gospels, clearly identifying himself with the passage in Job. [1],[2],[3]

Then consider the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is, of course, the ultimate author of Holy Writ--Heb 3.7;9.8;10.15;2 Pet 1.21; II Tim 3.16--and so, in Psalm 22.6 the author of Scripture--God--says: "But I am a worm and not a man". How much plainer could this be?! The author of scripture expressly states that he is NOT a man, but a worm (and in case you're reading this, glenn miller-lame and deceptive apologist that you are--the word used here for 'worm' is toleah which means "worm, maggot, larva" and is NEVER ONCE TRANSLATED AS MAN! see TWOT p 971, TDNT/VIII p. 453,454,455). [4],[5]

And finally, God the Father. Jesus describes plainly, in his picture of the afterlife, "where their worm dieth not"--IMMORTAL WORMS! But elsewhere, the New Testament talks about the "God, blessed and only Ruler, who ALONE is immortal". So, let's see--these worms in the afterlife are immortal and only God the Father is immortal...hmm, ergo, God is a worm! Right from the pages of that holy book the Bible. [6]

And even in this arena, the Christian "worm-god" was a copycat of divine-worm-motifs of thousands of years earlier! In the epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh refused to believe that Enkidu was dead "until a worm fell out of his nose" (ANET, p. 80). [7],[8],[9]

And even the health practices are questionable. Even though that popular folk-theologian Bill Cosby warned us about 'eat worms and die', still the silly Christians with their cannibalist doctrine from Jesus ("Except ye eat my flesh, ye shall not live") [10] even went so far as to name one of their most famous meetings in history the "Diet of Worms" (1425)! I shudder to think of being in their shoes when they stand before their true Worm-King (he wasn't very forgiving in the Dune series either!). [11]

And what kinds of stupidities would you expect from a Big Worm?! The Bible is riddled with stupid contradictions and impossibilities that even the dumbest of humans wouldn't make. [12] For example...

The ark was big enough to hold 8 people and 2-to-7 each of probably close to 20,000 species of animals "of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, there went in two and two unto Noah in the ARK" (Gen 8.8-9) But in I Samuel 6:10-12 the ark is small enough to fit on a cart pulled by two cows!: "and the men did so, and took two milch kine, and tied them to the cart...and they laid the ark of the Lord upon the cart...and the kine took the straight way up to Bethshemesh" Those were either some really small pre-deluvian people/animals or some awfully big cows! [13]

Or consider that crazy intellectual Paul [14] (who had such impeccable educational credentials that the governor Festus said "your great learning is driving you insane" Acts 26.24). He contradicts himself IN THE SAME SENTENCE!: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel which is not another" (Gal 1.6-7). Well, Paul, is it 'another' or 'not-another' or are you exempt from the law of non-contradiction? [15]

And in Job 2.9 it says "Curse God and Die" and Jesus adds "go thou and do likewise" (Luke 10.37) and even "what thou doest, do quickly" (John 13.27). Does this sound like a god who wants the best for you?!

Or even a God who knows anything! Consider Luke 19.40 where Jesus is entering the city for the last time before his death. The religious leaders were hassling him about the crowd calling him the Son of David. He answers them: "I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out". This stupid statement should have been obvious, even to the stupid rabbis. [16] Surely they knew that rocks (at least in the near east) didn't even have vocal cords! I personally have 5 scientific books (published between 1620 and 1800) that demonstrate conclusively that rocks are incapable of audible transmissions. Where did this crazy person get that idea?! [17],[18]

Or consider II Timothy 2.9b "the word of God is not bound"--patently ridiculous, since as I sit typing this I am looking at three leather-bound bibles.

Or consider the unreasonable and extortionary demands Jesus places upon his followers...consider Luke 9, where Jesus tells his followers to "pick up their cross daily and follow him". Now, most people back then were not owners of large, execution-quality crosses, and hence would carry guilt instead of a cross each day, for denying their master's commands. And for those who did have their own crosses, there was always the problem about 'following Jesus' after He ascended to heaven in their sight(Acts 1)!. How could the disciples lug around such a heavy wooden structure, much less fly with it! And, like the castration passages, there is no reason to suspect that Jesus is not literal when he says this! [20]

Hey, what would you expect in a book about and written by worms!--that most twisted of books, the bible! (And, I know what you want to say Glenn, "yeah, twisted by you" but please note that I have been merely quoting what the BIBLE ACTUALLY SAYS, so any 'twistedness' you see comes from it, and not from me)...[21]
[1] this is a case where the amount quoted is misleading. A larger section of the verse would show: "how much less man, who is but a maggot--a son of man, who is only a worm" The larger quote would show two things: 1) that Mankind is called a worm as well (and hence, the term is not reserved for God) and 2) that the Semitic parallelism of language would equate mankind with 'son of man' and remove any messianic or prophetic overtones. An abbreviated quote would obscure this data.

[2] Jesus typically referred to himself as 'the' son of man, not 'a' son of man, like in the quote. The reference Jesus typically uses is to the apocalyptic Son of Man figure in Daniel.

[3] the phrase 'clearly identifying himself with the passage' is an example of a 'glue' or 'interpretive' phrase which, although small in terms of words relative to the scriptural passages, nonetheless supplies all of the 'spin' in the post...The 'spoofee' in this case, typically asserts that he merely quotes the Bible with enough commentary to weave it together. Like a rudder in a ship, the transitions and interpretive phrases do MOST OF THE WORK.

[4] the passages cited here all assert that the Holy Spirit moved men and women to deliver their personal responses to situations, which responses perfectly coincided with God's responses to those situations. There are very, very few revelatory utterances that DID NOT come through a human author. The simplistic statement that 'the Holy Spirit is the ultimate author' is being misused by modifying the word 'ultimate' to also include the meaning of 'proximate'.

[5] The argument that toleah is never translated 'man' is symptomatic of an incomplete understanding of language. Dictionary meanings (at least in technical lexicons) do NOT typically give all the figurative and literary uses of a term. So to argue that a figurative use does not show up in a literal dictionary is reflective of a lack of understanding of the tools of language.

[6] this is another case of a 'flat' view of language. In this the terms 'immortal' are taken to mean exactly the same in widely different contexts. This would be like making the word 'love' mean EXACTLY the same in the phrases 'I love my daughter' and 'I love the smell of fresh mowed lawns'. There would be very, very few situations (and very, very few words too, I might add) that can mean exactly the same in two or more situations.

[7] Historical priority in sequence NEVER implies inheritance automatically. In other words, EVEN IF there were 16 identical 'Christ-stories' before the time of Jesus, THIS WOULD NOT IN ITSELF imply 'borrowing' or 'dependence' or 'inheritance'. One might speculate that, but evidence would need to be advanced to show a historical link between the carriers of the beliefs. In this case, the reference to 'worm' in the pre-Christian EPIC has no immediate relevance to the issue, and hence the conclusion 'copycat' phrase is unsupported and unsubstantiated.

[8] The quote is correct, but the conclusion drawn is not. The correct conclusion would be that the worm was simply a sure-fire sign of the true death of Enkidu...it was used as proof for Gilgamesh.

[9] Just to be thorough, I changed the reference to show lack of fidelity in citations. The actual page number in ANET is 90.

[10] This is a familiar technique of polemicists. They smuggle unfounded and unsupported conclusions into phrases-in-passing ("cannibalist doctrine") that are NOT under discussion, but that nonetheless assault the reader. The bible quote given in parenthesis is designed to give an air of legitimacy to the slur, but is altogether misleading. On a concept of this magnitude, with the bulk of historical data against it, so much more data and concept would need to be discussed, before the slur-phrase could be honestly used (or dropped). Just to do a hit-and-run slur is pure rhetoric and does an injustice to the complexity of the issue.

[11] Although the 'spoofee' commits wholesale fallacies of equivocation, the sample one above is overstated. I cannot think of an example where he has missed it as bad as this example. He has come close recently, in posts where he uses the word 'kosmos' (with 11 different lexical meanings, the major one being the world-system) as meaning 'physical earth' (a vastly minor meaning).

[12] More assertion and unsubstantiated slurs. Good rhetoric, bad logic. Typical transitions that do all of the 'tone' and 'interpretive' work.

[13] this is another case of where a single word means two completely different things. The first 'ark' is the boat in Genesis; the second 'ark' is the small wooden chest used by Israel to transport the sacred objects of their history: tablets of commandments, bread, etc. But by just putting the verses together--WITHOUT EXPLAINING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT-one might be mislead into thinking there was a contradiction there. This is a common problem of 'reverse apologists'--they latch onto an apparent contradiction and do not even probe deep enough to see if it is a real one. For example, I am working through an article right now in a technical journal in philosophy--(Intl Philo. Qtrly vol 34/1)--on an 'apparent contradiction' in Hume's work on imagination and sympathy. The author develops the thought of each 'pole' of the contradiction, then examines all possible ways to harmonize them, and finally selects one that is 1) best among the other alternatives and 2) does more justice to the data of his writings than the hypothesis of contradiction. This is the scholarly way of dealing with 'contradictions' and a way that I never see the 'spoofee' deal with such matters.

[14] Just another hit-and-run slur...but these add up quickly in building an interpretive grid for the verses that are often quoted. They have an almost subliminal effect on readers.

[15] This is a case, similar to the above on apparent contradictions, but is illustrative in that it shows how important the underlying language/culture can be to understanding these passages. In this example, the Greek has two DIFFERENT words for 'another'. The first word is 'heterous' (another of a different kind, cf. heterosexual, heterogeneity) and the second 'another' is 'allous' (another of the same kind, cf. alloy). Hence, a rough semantic paraphrase would be "called unto another--but different--gospel, which is not another like the first one" The resolution to many, many of the 'problem' passages fall into this category...once we understand the nuances of the language, then we can 'see' more of the distinctions and interactions in the original language, than we do in a simple English translation.

[16] this is the old 'quote it out of context' both literary and historical. The first quote is by Job's wife, and is rebuked by the faithful Job. The second quote by Jesus is at least 2,000 years later, and is addressed to a religious leader. The 3rd quote is to Judas, telling him to get on with the betrayal...Knowledge of the historical settings, sequences, and issues put these into place easily.

[16] This is a recurring problem--lack of linguistic sensitivity to cultural forms. The Jewish style for religious leaders back then was figurative overstatement....So the 'stones would yell' passage MUST be understood as a witness to the reality of his Lordship over the universe. To try to 'flatten' the words/life of Jesus is to ignore the richness in our language and the wealth of recent archeological and literary research.

[17] The issue is only resolved by analyzing the literary context and usage, not the vocal habits of non-rolling stones! The 5 scientific books are probably exegetically-superfluous.

[18] The dates of the resources given are a problem--they do not incorporate the latest findings in these controversial fields. The exponential growth in archeology in the last 10 years, has changed many a position on OT textual history.

[19] By know you should have knee-jerked at this equivocation around the word 'bound'--it means "free" in the passage.

[20] Language gives us clues as to when we make the 'jump' from literal to figurative. The cognitive device is called a 'Co-locutional clash'--when the sentence/passage has elements that 'clash' in our heads, we are tipped off to a non-literal use. For example, if I say "I got up this morning and poured the cool, clear, cleaning word of God all over my face," I generate a clash between 'things you do with a book' and 'things you do with clean water'. This 'tips me off' that I am dealing with something more than just a literal usage. In our example, all the contrary data given as proof of 'error' actually functions to alert me to process the phrases 'figuratively.' One has to know the semitic background well enough to process the words of the Lord 'natively' .

[21] This is abject denial. As pointed out earlier, it is the 'glue' (intro, conclusion, transitions, word choices, etc.) that has the power to hide/reveal the meaning of those passages.

hope you profit/enjoy this...glenn
9/3/94

GK writes:

Re: Spoof for fun and profit..

Hopefully, some of you might have had the opportunity to read (subject) posting by Glenn Miller, LiveWire, in the ONE NET conference under 'Scriptorium' listing for 8-28-94. Unfortunately for that author.....................a few impressions and comments of mine thereby come into play, and attempt to clarify and correct the erroneous impressions that author may have left among the 'interested'.

Nice attempted recovery, but I think you're too late...I think they've seen the patterns...

The errors begin in the very first sentence where Mr. Miller announces that he has written "...a good natured spoof of his (ie, my) work...". Big major error there! What Mr. Miller wrote was a 'parody', and NOT a 'spoof' "...of (my) work...". This is SO typical of how he gets almost EVERYTHING wrong in both his readings and writtins'. A 'parody' is of course 'treating a serious subject (ie, my postings) in a nonsensical or humorous manner' and 'a weak imitation'. Whereas a 'spoof' is 'a hoax, joke or deception......to fool; desceive; or trick'(Webster). One could either 'spoof' the Bible, for example, or 'parody' my postings, as he had attempted. It doesn't work the other way around in the instances intended by our Mr. Miller!


You make two major errors here--one of which is listed under point 11 in the Spoof--you select minor dictionary meanings (rather than the more frequent ones) for no reason at all. For example, in this case, take the word 'spoof'. YOUR assertion makes it a 'hoax, deception" etc. But let's see if that REALLY IS the standard meaning given by Webster.

In Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1983) here are the meanings listed, in order of frequency:
  1. A mocking imitation of someone or something, usually light and good-humored
  2. a hoax, a prank
  3. to mock (something or someone) lightly and good humoredly; kid
  4. to fool by a hoax; play a trick on, esp. one intended to deceive
  5. to scoff at something lightly and good-humoredly


So...where in the list does your hoax and deception fall? Right, NUMBER 4 out of 5! Sorta twisting the dictionary data a little, are we, GK? I'm sure you believe it to be for a good cause though, right?!

The second major error in your statement is that I should have used 'parody' since your work is "Serious". Although you might get by on a technicality (i.e. I DO consider most of your work 'seriously wrong'), to be so presumptuous as to think I take your stuff seriously anymore is just mistaken. I have investigated too many of your references, arguments, citations, examples, etc. to consider you a serious student of truth. You have neither the sensitive heart (and wit!) of Tuna, incisiveness of Gillett, spiritual depth of Zepp, moderation and openness of Road Angel, or methodological fairness of Marie. I have been friends (and have highly respected) a number of atheists and agnostics in my lifetime, and I don't consider you an appropriate role model for Freethinkers at all, in either tone, honesty, research, or argumentation. (I noticed that even one of your 'own' complained on email about you quoting things out of context!)

Mr. Miller's 'parody' goes on to set up a number of clumsy and feeble 'straw men'( Worms, Immortality, Contradictions, Context, etc) of his own choosing, which he then proceeds to knock down.

I was just quoting what THE BIBLE ACTUALLY SAYS, GK.

I suppose that's so much easier than just addressing the actual content of MY own postings, and dealing with the hard realities contained therein.

I honestly do try to get to some of your postings, but they typically take 6-10 hours of research to 1) check all your work and citations; 2) write a response that focuses on the key issues (and not the peripheral ones). I have too many responsibilities in life to be able to address each one. I try to pick the ones that might demonstrate 1) to you, to be more honest and thorough in your dealing with the data and issues; and 2) to the conference, to not accept your arguments uncritically or on the basis of your often questionable supports.

And, to be blunt, I don't find many hard realities in your posts. I KNOW the difficult areas within the Judeo-Christian system, and I cannot remember any of them showing up in your posts since I have been on the net. For some reason, you construct contrarian positions out of gossamer data and expect us to believe 1) your argument; 2) that it somehow represents thorough and mature scholarship; and 3) that it somehow 'counts against' the evidence FOR the truthfulness of the Christian position. You seem to be 'majoring' on the 'minors'.

Well, we all have our lazy moments. Little else need be said regarding such crude and dishonest attempts at dialogue.

No comment!!!

The overall theme (if one could separate it out from the chaff) of his posting seems to be that 'The Bible Should NOT be Taken Literally' . Well, THANK YOU Glenn Miller! You've made my own pursuits somewhat easier.

It is interesting how you word this. You apparently mean something different by 'LITERALLY' than does the majority of the Christian world. I get the impression from the next set of verses that you mean something like 'wooden literalism' or 'letterism' (as some call it). I find the term 'literal' to be too imprecise a term to have a meaningful discussion about. I prefer the terms 'native' interpretation (how the passage would have been understood by the original audience) or 'natural' interpretation (how the passage would have been understood without any special rules or interpretive techniques). The 'literal' interpretation people ALWAYS allow for figures of speech, literary forms (e.g. apocalyptic, parable), even philosophical understandings (e.g. typos-theories). The position is often ridiculed without a real understanding of what is meant.

It is in this vein that I understand many of your criticisms. The spoof had many points that intended to demonstrate the various dimensions of 'native' or 'natural' interpretation (e.g. historical context, literary context, philosophical context). So the position you attack in your response is actually a straw man (although quite possibly you have not understood the 'literal' position in its true meaning--and you are not alone in this at all!).

However, that finding might bring dismay to KJV Bible believers who really seriously believe that (for example) "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (about 6000 yrs. ago! hee, hee, hee.......)..."(Genesis 1:1), or "For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth."(Deuteronomy 7:6), or "...the angel said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee...that holy thing (???) which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."(Luke 1:35), or "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son (that same Thing!), that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."(John 3:16), or "I and my Father are one."(John 10:30), or "...no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."(John 14:6), and so on and on and on! Yep.......once Mr. Miller started on THAT slippery slope, there's no slowing down or turning back. Once the literal meaning becomes suspect and discredited in countless instances, there remains no overriding reason to accept that any remaining specific part or passage is to be taken literally......now is there!

Actually, I tend to agree with this specific domino-theory point (in the main). Humans always begin the linguistic handling of text at the 'native/natural' level, and then detect 'clues' in the semantic stream that 'tip' off the presence of higher levels of organization in the text (such as metaphor or parable or allusion). If one approaches the text (somehow?) at a presuppositional level or by bringing in an alien worldview to it, we do land in an epistemic morass.

And to think that Mr. Miller previously proclaimed "I (Glenn Miller) am smart...by the world's standards."(8-11-94, "Bible E.P.T.", Religion ). Tsk, tsk.......! Words really do fail me here............!

I tend to trust objective IQ tests more than I do your impartial and unbiased judgment of my intelligence, but, keep writing and maybe my estimates of your 'reality quotient' will move closer to your own self-estimates. ;>)

glenn
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