Israel: Proof That Cherry-Picking & Re-Interpretation Of The Bible Can “Prove” Anything You Want It To

Finally catching up on Hutton's latest, let's start with this little gem:

Issues like evolution, abortion and gays are important, and we should have Biblical views on them, but people's need of personal salvation come first.

Quite why anyone should have a view on abortion and LGBT rights is beyond me. In any sane world, what a person wants to do with their own body, and who they might want to do it with, should be none of my, your, or Bob's business. And that's my "view" on abortion and people acting on their sexuality in a nutshell; people are free to do whatever the hell they want, regardless of whether I'd want to do it or not, and what doesn't affect me, is none of my business. Fact is, if those nosy-parkers like Bob, who think that they need to have a view on matters which are none of their bloody business (and why is it that such people always turn out to be anti-whatever-it-is-they-have-a-view-on?), would realise that it is, in fact, none of their business and that they have no right to tell others how to behave in these matters, then no one else would need to be bothered about it either.

And evolution? The correct way to assess a scientific theory is to study the science, not look to an ancient book of tribal mythology and morality tales. The world is what you can show it to be, not what you want it to be or would like to claim it to be. Using the Bible to judge the correctness of the theory of evolution makes no more sense than seeking a nutritionist's opinion on the practicality of your design for a suspension bridge. Ludicrous!

Moving on, apparently…

…we see a huge number of Old Testament prophecies and how they are fulfilled in Christ.

Bob. Please read this, then come back to me with an essay on why you continue to act as if people are able to make choices in the free-will-incompatible, prophecy-enabling universe which you claim we live in. Please also provide a study of the physics and practical methodology of the receipt of information from the future (in other words, a form of time-travel), limiting the engineering aspects to technology available in the middle east during Old Testament times.

Bob wants to talk about prophecies regarding the re-emergence of the land of Israel…

There are other prophecies in the OT that relate, not to the cross, but to Israel and, while we must not be sidetracked from the Gospel, it does us good to see how they have been fulfilled even in our day and generation. One such prophecy is found in the last two verses of the book of Amos. This prophecy states that the Jewish people would return to the land (meaning, of course, Israel) and "would never again be uprooted". After the ransacking of Jerusalem in 70AD, and the dispersion of the Jews, it appeared that they were finished as a race. Humanly speaking, they would simply assimilate into the nations they went to, and, through intermarriage, would eventually die out.

He then gives us a potted history of the Jewish Diaspora, culminating in the highly immoral theft of land which is euphemised as the formation of the modern state of Israel, and adds:

This is a stunning fulfilment of prophecy and should encourage the faith of people, like myself, who believe that the Bible is true in every detail.

Well, at least his misinterpretation of Amos makes a change from the usual misrepresentation of Isaiah. Let's take a look at those last two verses:

And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.

Well it certainly looks like an attempt at prediction, if not prophecy. Taking a look at the history of the period should give us some context, and yes, it turns out to be pretty easy to see what Amos is talking about. Wikipedia puts it quite succinctly:

Most scholars believe that Amos gave his message in the autumn of 750 BC or 749 BC. Leading up to this time, Assyrian armies battled against Damascus for a number of years, which greatly diminished Syria's threat to Israel. As a result of the fighting amongst its neighbors, Israel had the benefit of increasing its borders almost to those of the time of David and Solomon.
[Wikipedia has a "citation needed" on the dating, presumably because of the rather dubious exactness of that given. Most sources appear to agree that the book was written somewhere around 760–750 BCE, however.]

So there's two things going on here. Firstly, Amos would appear to be one of those reforming-preachers who appear regularly in the Old Testament, railing against the equally regular Israeli and Judean fall into religious bad practice (and, as an aside, it's interesting to ponder on whether Jesus would have been seen as yet another such, if no claims to his Messiah-hood had been made). Secondly, his "prophecy" of a re-invigorated Israel/Judea would appear to be nothing more than a recognition of the political realities of his time. The Syrian cat is away, and the mice of Israel and Judea are free to play. In light of those two things, he's saying God's setting about restoring the two nations to their former (possibly even once-again-united) greatness, but not without cost to all those amoral backsliders.

What Amos is talking about is the religion and politics of his time, with a little heavenly fire-and-thunder thrown in for good measure. He is the Pat Robinson of his day. What he is quite plainly not talking about is some nebulous far-future series of events beginning eight-hundred-odd years in his future, and lasting until at least the best part of two-thousand years later. He is not the Olaf Stapledon of his day.

As an aside, I have to say that I find the Christian re-interpretation of Jewish lore both amusing and at the same time insulting. It's amusing because of the stretches one has to make in order to deny the obvious meaning and intent of the various "prophecies," along with the highly selective nature or it. I mean, the cherry-picking is stupendous, with most interpretations depending on no more than a verse or two; four, maybe five sentences plucked from the context of the chapters they appear in. It's insulting to me, because it assumes that I wont spot that cherry-picking or have the sense to check the Biblical and historical contexts. It's insulting because there's never any attempt made to explain how prophecy is supposed to actually work—the physical mechanism of it. And it's insulting to the original writers, who, for the most part, were addressing religio-political questions of their day, not writing far-future fantasies in order that others may come along centuries later and use it to justify a religion which would actively persecute the writers' descendants for nearly two millenia.

And to finish on a slightly different tack, Bob adds a caveat before praising his lord for allowing blatant and high-handed theft of land from the native Palestinians:

In stating the above I am aware that sometimes the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) carry out attacks that lead to tragic loss of civilian life

No, Bob, those attacks do not just happen to "lead to" civilians being tragically killed. Civilians, all too often, are the fucking targets. If the officers who ordered those killings and the soldiers who carried out those immoral and illegal orders, can be saved from punishment by having just "let Jesus into their hearts," while the unarmed civilian Muslims who were killed in cold blood by them will be punished merely for not doing so, Bob, then all I can say is that the god you worship is the most amoral, vain, pettily-vindictive bastard I ever hope not to meet. And you should be ashamed to utter a single word in praise of this vile creature.

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42 thoughts on “Israel: Proof That Cherry-Picking & Re-Interpretation Of The Bible Can “Prove” Anything You Want It To

  1. Hey Daz: Get yourself a Scofield Study Bible and you will see how the OT prophecies relating to Israel are coming to pass.


  2. Bob, I’m sorry, but “Hey this situation looks a bit like what such-and-such verse says” does not make such-and-such verse prophecy. It makes the situation “similar” to what that verse says. I know “similarity” is a ground-breaking concept but I think you can understand it if you try.


  3. There is also the question of which version of the OT is used as it has been rewritten. Even in the days when there was a large number of illiterates in the population the OT writers found it necessary to make some corrections.

    Bob, you are like most other religionists in that you interpret things purely to fit with your own mindset while discarding logic and reason. The majority of the OT and NT is ambiguous and can be used to make almost any point you like, especially if you are dishonest enough not to look at or for genuine eveidence.


  4. Of course you won’t believe in Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and the Bible as the infallible Word of God until God opens your eyes, and implants the gift of faith – see my next article.


  5. Bob, I do not believe because I can think and do go through life with my eyes open, it is you who are blinkered and refuse to accept reason and logic. If the Bible is the infallible word of a god why did it need to be rewritten and corrected.

    Faith is not a gift it is a psychosis.


  6. Bob – I won’t believe in Jesus as my lord and saviour and the Bible as the infallible word of god because:

    a) If Jesus ever existed, he’s been dead for nearly two thousand years. People who have been dead for that long are incapable of saving anybody.

    b) The Bible is far from infallible. It is infested with contradictions, falsehoods, absurdities and ignorance .It is a work of fantasy, and written by people who were ignorant by today’s standards. Those people didn’t have access to the knowledge and technology we have today, so at least their ignorance can be understood. What’s your excuse?


  7. By the way Bob, you appear to have reverted to rubber-stamp assertions which have little to do with the subject in hand. Would you like to, you know, actually address some of the points I made? Or should we take it that you either cannot understand them or cannot refute them?


  8. I realize I’m popping into the middle of what seems like a long, ongoing back-and-forth here, but I’m just curious… Why, if you are so self-assured in the conclusions of your own reason and logic, finding the bible to be a laughable collection of “tribal mythology” and “morality tales”, why bother spending the rest of your short, scientifically-determined biological existence on ridiculing the likes of ol “bob” here? Why spend your precious few evolved years dispelling these “myths” before you die and enter oblivion?


  9. I realize I’m popping into the middle of what seems like a long, ongoing back-and-forth here, but I’m just curious… Why, if you are so self-assured in the conclusions of your own reason and logic, finding the bible to be a laughable collection of “tribal mythology” and “morality tales”, why bother spending the rest of your short, scientifically-determined biological existence on ridiculing the likes of ol “bob” here? Why spend your precious few evolved years dispelling these “myths” before you die and enter oblivion?


  10. Because people like Bob vote and advocate laws based on those ancient books of mythology. Because, in my own country, we have people who are elevated to positions of political power merely because they happen to belong to a state-sponsored organisation devoted to interpreting that book of mythology in order to divine the wishes of a non-existent being.

    I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point. I happen to want the laws of my land to be based on what’s needed to safeguard me and my fellow citizens, not to curtail their rights in order to please a boogie-man.


  11. Hardly worth answering a troll but, for what it is worth, have a look at the number of people who are maimed or killed in the name of religion while idiots like you sit back and ignore reality while glorifying whichever god you happen to be in love with.


  12. Stephen, if you fancy a belly-laugh, you should click on their name (which should be “TinFoilHat”). Just don’t have any hot liquids in your hand whilst reading.


  13. Aye, cheers, it is a good job that things like breathing and heart-rate are controlled by the brain automatically, these idiots would never survive if they had to think about it.


  14. I feel so sorry for your poor creatures. If I’m wrong I won’tknow the pain of being wrong because I’ll be finished at death; but if you’re wrong you will know deep regret as you spend eternity in torments.

    My latest article tells people the truth about Christian conversion.


  15. Bob – your latest article is a mass of words thrown together with no discernible meaning.

    I sincerely hope I am wrong about your god. The thought of spending eternity with that foul being would be too horrible to contemplate.


  16. Oh dear, Dave, calling God a foul being is blasphemous. You WILL have to give account to the God you despise when you die.


  17. Bob – no I won’t. But just supposing, for a moment, that your god does exist. I will gladly explain why I find him so despicable, and he’ll either understand or he’ll act despicably.


  18. Bob, try reading the bible with an open mind, when you see all of the contradictions, the fact some passages have been rewritten and all of the general nastiness there are only a couple of possibilities, it is man made and poorly put together, the most likely, or, if a god exists, it is a capricious, muderous and out of control power freak. Plus, if you are to study the bible, try to do it from an open-minded perspective and not just used apologist sources.

    I pity you that you live in fear of an imaginary despot. Face the facts, even if you are right about this god thing you are not guaranteed a nice eterinity, the bible tells us that the crazy bastard will turn on anyone for little or no reason or invent ways to trick them so he can then turn on them.

    If you really care about saving people, why not do work for a medical or teaching charity but one that teaches worthwhile things, not biblical bilge. However, if you want to waste your life on shite, fine that is your choice but do not try to pervert the minds of people, especially the educationally vulnerable, with your religioinist filth.


  19. Bob, Pascal’s wager has been shown to be a load of old dingo’s kidneys so many times that I find it hard to believe that even you can use it in good faith. It is also not the topic under discussion.

    Please produce your essay on the physics of prophecy.


  20. Pop quiz, Bob – what do the following people from history have in common?

    Archimedes, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Eratosthenes, Hippocrates, Socrates (the original, not the Brazilian football player), Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Katherine Hepburn, Christopher Hitchens, Buddha, Confucius, Mahatma Ghandi and Bill Gates?

    A little clue: don’t think about what they were, think about what they were not.


  21. Hey Dave, by your clue I suspect you are trying to tell me they were all non-believers in God. If that is the case then they are in Hell (where you’re going if you don’t repent).


  22. Bob, rather than just making threats to us about Hell, how about supplying some genuine evidence but not the sort dug out of that ancient shambolic tome you keep blabbing on about.


  23. That’s right, bob. None of them were Christians. All made a significant impact on the world, yet all them are, according to you, crispy in hell, whereas you, a no-mark nut job, are bound for heaven. In the case of the Greeks, they all died before you Christman was even born.

    This is a perfect example of why you are viewed as lunatic.


  24. “If they call the master of the house beelzebub, how much more will they malign the servants of his household” Matthew 10 v 25.

    Calling me a lunatic increases my reward in Heaven – Matthew 5 v 11-12


  25. Why do you do it, Bob? We try to treat you as an adult, you come back every time with baby-talk. We ask you serious questions, you ignore them and quote meaningless babble instead. We try to teach you about the real world, you withdraw into your infantile fantasy world. Are you truly incapable of growing up, or do you enjoy living life as a child in a man’s body?


  26. Dave, an answer Bob has used before was along the lines. “I do not have to answer to you, only to god.”

    This is the infantile approach you get from religionists like him, no attempt at debate or academic arguement, just childish comments or a few lines cherry picked from his book of beliefs and that is it. Tomorrow he will be back on the street trying to pervert the minds of others, without a care for those who suffer because of his idiotic beliefs.

    Children are being abused, tortured and killed today because of idiots like Bob but they will not admit it, instead they talk about a mythical fairyland they have no proof exists. The Albanian poison-dwarf was content to do similar. In her Kolkata gulags she pretended to look after the sick but, despite having some of the best access to medicine in India, refused to give the terminally ill pain relief in the belief their sufering would earn them brownie points in never-never-land.

    These people are so selfish they would rather watch a child die in agony that admit their book of ancient goat-herd’s myths was wrong.


  27. We don’t need “brownie points” to get to Heaven. The RC “church” (which I was delivered from when I got saved) teaches that we need to believe in Christ and do good works, penance etc. However, all we need is repentance and faith in Christ as Lord and Saviour to get eternal life.


  28. As you see Dave, he is a man too cowardly to answer questions. By Bob’s definition Heaven could well be full of child-abusers, rapists and murderers because all you have to do is repent, despite what you have done. Personally, I see his idea of Hell, full of thinkers and nice people, much more appealing.

    Bob, you are a cowardly loser who refuses to answer simple questions but is happy to push your drivel, of which you have no genuine evidence, on children.


  29. @Stephen Mynett

    None of us will ever get a straight answer out of the idiot on any subject whatsoever. The man is, as Daz’s title suggests, utterly delusional. So trying to engage him in debate is as futile as trying to staple a blancmange to your living room ceiling. Come to think of it, a blancmange is probably more capable of rational thought. Even the ‘Hey (insert name)…’ way he tries to get all matey on blogs like this demonstrates just what a pathetic and socially inept areshole he really is. BTW, I agree – ‘coward’ is a very apt way of describing him.


  30. I’m beginning to wonder who is the more pathetic; Bob for his stubborn impression of a brick wall, or us for battering our heads against it. But then, I guess there are many secondary school teachers who sometimes feel the same about trying to teach algebra to some teenagers.

    So, if there are people out there who have fallen into Bob’s trap who are also reading this blog, maybe we owe it to them to keep going. Bob himself, I fear, is a lost cause.


  31. So, if there are people out there who have fallen into Bob’s trap who are also reading this blog, maybe we owe it to them to keep going.

    Yep, it’s all about the lurkers. That’s not snark, I’ve seen what appeared to be quite well-made studies of it. Most people who are strong enough in their beliefs to commit themselves to publicly visible commenting aren’t going to be likely to change their minds. People not certain enough to comment, on the other hand, can follow the debate/argument/flaming-row and not have to cope with the embarrassment factor of having to admit they were wrong, in whole or in part.


  32. Bob – OK, I’ll simplify my answer to your latest piece of tat. You say a little about the options God has for making people believe in him. Yet God seems incapable of carrying out any of these actions. Your God is useless.


  33. You see, Bob, according to you there are only two alternatives; heaven and hell. If your god is everything you say there is, there’s no way he’s going to let a pathetic loser, deceiver and idiot like you into heaven. As you make no real effort to ‘save’ people like me, I can’t see that he’s going to be too happy with you being so utterly useless at such an important task. See you in hell, Bob.


  34. AgentCormac, totally agree with you, we will never get a sane or honest answer from him but I also agree with Daz, there may well be lurkers who are undecided and any of them who have not been indoctrinated will soon see through the theist arguments.

    I doubt Bobbie-boy will ever change, he is too far gone with his psychosis but, to copy one of his favourite insults, I do pity the poor creature.


  35. No Bob, people who prefer not to believe in Jesus whatshisname as Lord and Saviour are sane, rational human beings as they aren’t willing to believe that fairy stories are true. Unlike yourself of course, as you seem perfectly happy to have relinquished the facility to think for yourself and clearly prefer to live your life not only in denial of reality but also in fear of something that doesn’t exist. And if that isn’t a worrying indication of serious mental health problems I don’t know what is.

    @Stephen Mynett – agreed. While ‘arguing’ with Bob (why do I always imagine Blackadder saying that name?) is indeed an exercise in futility, if it helps to show others that religion is utter nonsense then it is indeed worth persisting with.


  36. AC, the interesting thing is that while we are able to put logical and evidenced arguments together, the person who is most likely to turn people away from religion is Bobbie-boy himself, with his stedfast refusal to answer questions and his condescending nature to anyone who does not accept his ideals.


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