Patterico's Pontifications

12/27/2011

Is Romney’s electability a myth?

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 10:17 am



[Posted by Karl]

John Hawkins of Right Wing News thinks so, but most of his arguments are unpersuasive.  He asks:

Doesn’t it say something that GOP primary voters have, at one time or another, preferred Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and now even Ron Paul (In Iowa) to Mitt Romney?

It does.  On the other hand, doesn’t this say something?

Newt Gingrich (62%) and Mitt Romney (54%) are the only two candidates Republicans say would be acceptable presidential nominees from their party, emphasizing the degree to which the GOP race has narrowed down to these two men at this juncture. A majority of Republicans say each of the other six candidates measured would not be acceptable nominees.

Indeed, with Newt coming under increased scrutiny, those numbers might favor Romney today.  Doesn’t it say something that a plurality sees Romney as the candidate most likely to beat Obama, or that head-to-head polls consistently show Romney faring better against Obama than his rivals?

Hawkins then discusses Romney’s moderate image:

To some people, this is a plus. They think that if conservatives don’t like Mitt Romney, that means moderates will like him. This misunderstands how the process of attracting independent voters works in a presidential race. While it’s true the swayable moderates don’t want to support a candidate they view as an extremist, they also don’t just automatically gravitate towards the most “moderate” candidate. To the contrary, independent voters tend to be moved by the excitement of the candidate’s base (See John McCain vs. Barack Obama for an example of how this works). This is how a very conservative candidate like Ronald Reagan could win landslide victories. He avoided being labeled an extremist as Goldwater was, yet his supporters were incredibly enthusiastic and moderates responded to it.

I do not know where Hawkins got any of this.  In the first instance, Romney appeals less to moderates than you may think.  Hawkins likely exaggerates the impact of ideology on voter choices, ignoring the fundamentals.  Reagan won in 1980 in large part because the economy was terrible.  Had the GOP nominated George H. W. Bush instead, Anderson likely would not have run as an independent and Bush would likely have garnered more votes than Reagan.  That doesn’t mean the GOP should have nominated Poppy Bush; far from it.  But Reagan could run against a lousy economy, while Goldwater was running against Johnson in a booming economy.  Pure independents are the most likely to vote on the state of the economy; the argument that enthusiasm affects election outcomes is not supported much by the data.

Hawkins notes Romney is a proven political loser.  He doesn’t add “in Massachusetts.”  Not too many Republicans win in Massachusetts.  Romney did and ended unpopular, suggesting he was too conservative for the land of Ted Kennedy and Barney Frank.  But being Mitt means getting to be a double-loser to Hawkins: insufficiently conservative and not good at winning statewide in a liberal state.  Hawkins makes a related argument that Romney will be hammered for his tenure at Bain Capital.  I have no doubt Democrats will make those attacks, but they likely play stronger in places like Massachusetts than elsewhere (how they play in states like PA and OH is a valid point).  Presumably, if Romney is the nominee, he will point out that some Bain acquisitions grew (e.g., Domino’s Pizza), while others were downsized, and then launch into a spiel about rightsizing bloated government bureaucracies, something Obama has manifestly failed to do.

Hawkins claims Romney will run poorly in Southern states, but then delves into GOP primary numbers, which is not the same as electability in the general.  Currently, Romney runs as well as or better than Gingrich against Obama in swing states, including those mentioned by Hawkins.

Hawkins maintains Romney will lose his advantages in fundraising, organization and establishment support in a general election.  That’s largely true, but not an argument that a NotRomney who has been unable to match Romney in these areas is thus a better choice in terms of electability.  Hawkins also claims Romney has been avoiding serious scrutiny, which is inaccurate.

Hawkins notes “the Mormon factor” and cites a poll suggesting it’s a problem.  He does not cite the Pew poll suggesting it’s a bigger problem for Romney in the primaries and not so much in a general election.  Indeed, the poll Hawkins cites makes clear that Mormonism is a problem for Democrats.

Finally, Hawkins notes Romney is a flip-flopper, asking “Is it just me or didn’t George Bush beat John Kerry’s brains in with the “flip flopper” charge back in 2004?”  It’s not just Hawkins who thinks that, but again, the data doesn’t really support that theory.  As Jay Cost notes, Kerry did a better job at peeling away voters from the “other” side than Bush did.

In sum, there is not a “plethora of evidence” that Romney’s electability is a myth.  That does not mean that Romney must be the nominee.  Indeed, as noted earlier, the challenger’s ideology matters maybe a percent or two — important in a close election, but most things are important in a close election.  Romney is not my ideal candidate, but none of the candidates is my ideal candidate.  At the moment, to paraphrase Philip Klein (on Twitter), Romney is the only candidate showing up to the job interview wearing a suit.  With Gingrich sliding, conservatives have to hope some NotRomney can up his or her game soon.

–Karl

283 Responses to “Is Romney’s electability a myth?”

  1. Ding!

    Karl (f07e38)

  2. We’re doomed.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  3. Not Romney never showed up. How did this happen.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  4. And that, as you might say, is that. Well done.

    If Romney turns out to be the nominee (which is another way of saying that he seems to be the only guy running a competent campaign) I won’t like it very much but I will happily pull the GOP lever in the general. We will have a GOP Congress to keep the Republic safe from big government technocracy, I hope!

    MTF (b16bef)

  5. SarahW,

    I think there’s still time for a Newt or a Perry to regain his footing. But it’s not easy to run for POTUS for the first time, hence the “next in line” phenomenon.

    Karl (f07e38)

  6. actually GOP Govenors used to be quite common in Mass. right up until Romney ran and won once …

    on the independents issue … you are saying Romney is less popular with indy’s than is thought … so how does that make Hawkins evaulation less right ?

    on the flip-flopper issue Kerry did get beat over the head effectively …

    I do notice that you make no argument that Romney is actually more electable than Hawkins claims you just claim his arguments are not persuasive …

    just keep repeating Romney is electable, Romney is electable, Romney is electable …

    (just not in Senate races or second terms or in GOP primaries)

    JeffC (488234)

  7. Hopefully, that won’t be Paul in 2016.

    sickofrinos (44de53)

  8. Seriously, having some statistics under my belt, samples of the population to 300 or 1000 of groups that are poorly established in the first place, like those caucussing in IA means we know nothing but what the pollsters want us to believe.

    Inotherwords, the meme is IA thinks their choices suck and are going to register a protest.

    Of the remaining 57, most are more pissed than the pig farmers. Romney may win the nomination for lack of interest.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  9. I continue to believe that much of the pathetic confusion and the ill-preparedness of the candidates and campaigns are a result of literally NOBODY believing how bad Obama could crash and burn and how vulnerable he would be in 2012. I mean, with his broad (if thin) popularity and the national euphoria on election night in 2008, honestly how many people who post here regularly even thought then for a second that Barry could be a failed one termer? I think many quality potential team R candidates thought that running in 2012 would be futile and were “saving themselves” for a clean, fresh, power run in 2016. Romney, on the other hand, was the only one who pretty much had decided to run again after 2008 and despite the odds was prepared physically, monetarily and emotionally to face the formidable and mighty Obama election machine in 4 years. It shows.

    Mitt is not my ideal candidate, but I have to give him this: he put himself out there and was willing to face Obama in 4 years at a time when pretty much nobody else on Team R was. Mitt was planning to run when Barry was still at his height of power and when few others were even considering it. That is worth something in my book. It is why I think Romney does not deserve as much scorn as he receives in some corners. You can’t play unless you suit up. Let’s face it. Mitt was the only one who suited up to play from the start.

    elissa (4959ae)

  10. actually GOP Govenors used to be quite common in Mass. right up until Romney ran and won once …

    Yes and those recent R governors were extremely liberal -not moderate. So what’s that supposed to prove? That Romney’s liberal?

    The Bible around 700 BC (7d960d)

  11. Looking at rational information and expectations, there is no reason why obama should have been nominated by the dems, let alone elected, to be president of the US.

    That having been true, the question is whether he is semi-destined to win re-election, again in-spite of everything rational. If so, why would anyone want to put themselves and their family through the hell of public ridicule, fact based or not?

    I mean, really. You have the Black Panther voting intimidation not only ignored, but reversed; wise latinas being better qualified to be a judge because she isn’t a wise white or a wise male (if one can be found), fast and furious, solyndragate, etc., etc.

    I think if this was put in a book with the names changed one would have to think this country is only a pretense of a republic being run by people with money and power behind the scene, like venezuela.

    I’m going to post a related thought on another thread (WARNING!!).

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  12. Whoops posted with sock puppet “name”.

    Gerald A (7d960d)

  13. I do notice that you make no argument that Romney is actually more electable than Hawkins claims you just claim his arguments are not persuasive …

    The case for his electability is head to head matchups with Obama. I know there are lots of Republicans now who just don’t believe any poll unless it confirms their own assumptions in which case the poll is 100% correct.

    Gerald A (7d960d)

  14. I do notice that you make no argument that Romney is actually more electable than Hawkins claims you just claim his arguments are not persuasive …

    And he pointed out the head to head matchups above. So what you “notice” isn’t much.

    Gerald A (7d960d)

  15. “you make no argument that Romney is actually more electable than Hawkins claims you just claim his arguments are not persuasive”

    Let’s give Karl a break for the holidays, no need for a magnum opus when everyone is soaking up the rays, sipping a champagne breakfast.

    Mr. Hawkins’ greatest contribution is to poll bloggers.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  16. 14. Actually Gerald what we’d like from you is the argument that evangelicals will turn out for those ‘other’ Christians Hai C. keeps in company.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  17. Karl:

    A couple of additions: doctrinaire conservatives such as Hawkins feel the only reason the Democrats ever win is because the GOP nominee isn’t conservative enough… and as Romney is not the most conservative candidate among the bunch, he is going to lose.

    And it isn’t that someone who pisses off the right is going to appeal to the middle, but someone who is seen as excessively conservative is definitely going to scare those who are less conservative (it’s common sense: the further a candidate is from where a voter thinks of himself, the less likely that voter will vote for that candidate. Why did Obama spend so much effort trying to depict himself as a man in the middle?)

    steve (254463)

  18. everyone is soaking up the rays, sipping a champagne breakfast

    Why didn’t anyone invite me????

    But yes, give Karl the opportunity to present something interesting without the authoritative and definitive analysis.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  19. That is not the question, is why was he allowed him to portray himself as the middle,

    narciso (87e966)

  20. Willard can’t win. Obama will spend a billion ripping him as a Wall Street tool, and all the while the GOP base won’t defend the guy because WE HATE THAT SMARMY, FLIP-FLOPPING, LEFT-LEANING UPPER-CLASS TWIT MORE THAN ANY DEM POSSIBLY COULD. He has such transparent contempt for the Tea Party principles we hold dear. So we will never work for him, maybe not even vote for him. Willard. Can’t. Win.

    Kevin Stafford (1d1b9e)

  21. I’ve been thinking about whether “mass hysteria” is a meaningful concept in understanding the press and general public perception of the world.

    BTW, though I hate to mention it, that Obama declared “Peace with honor” in Iraq? I’m not sure if he got that idea from John Kerry or what.

    Osama may be dead, but to many he is a success, as his followers will remain in Iraq and Afghanistan long after the US has left. I find that very sad and even sickening.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  22. I’ve been thinking about whether “mass hysteria” is a meaningful concept in understanding the press and general public perception of the world.

    BTW, though I hate to mention it, that Obama declared “Peace with honor” in Iraq? I’m not sure if he got that idea from John Kerry or what.

    Osama may be dead, but to many he is a success, as his followers will remain in Iraq and Afghanistan long after the US has left. I find that very sad and even sickening.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  23. Sorry for the double post, not intended.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  24. Actually Gerald what we’d like from you is the argument that evangelicals will turn out for those ‘other’ Christians Hai C. keeps in company.

    Huh?

    Gerald A (7d960d)

  25. Obama changed the laws regarding to welfare?

    Universal Healthcare is the same as Obamacare

    So let me get this straight Government should keep their hands in Medicare or Medicaid?

    I don’t think that will happen even though it should.

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  26. And yes the Republicans want to privatise Medciand and Medicare big whoop.

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  27. JeffC (6),

    I do notice that you make no argument that Romney is actually more electable…

    Actually, as I note twice in the post, ideology (which is what electability is mostly) doesn’t matter more than a 1-2% advantage for moderates. IMO, that’s the real reason to dismiss the electability argument, unless you think the election will be really close, in which case it’s one of many factors that may matter. That said, the post does note polling data showing Romney as electable as anyone else and doing better than his rivals against Obama (I would take the latter with a big grain of salt this early).

    You seem to have mistaken me for a Romney supporter, when regular readers know I would much prefer one of the NotRomneys to beat him. But any of them would have to be a better candidate to beat him, and thus far, I’m not seeing it.

    That’s the point of the piece, which you clearly missed. Your rejoinder about his losses in Massachusetts is addressed in the post. Do you really think Massachusetts is representative of the entire US? I don’t think you do? Would you want a consistent winner in Mass to be the GOP standard-bearer? I don’t think you would (I know I wouldn’t.) So how is that an argument against Romney? It isn’t.

    The subtext of the piece is that even someone (like me or Hawkins) who would prefer a NotRomney should not claim there’s a plethora of evidence that Romney’s electability is a “myth” when there isn’t. I don’t need to show Romney is more electable, just that he is electable (even if I’m not a fan).

    Hawkins could’ve just made the point that electability (i.e., centrism) isn’t a strong argument for nominating someone unless you think the election will be really close. Instead, he trots out his own myths about Reagan and Goldwater in an attempt to prove that ideological candidates can do better than more moderate candidates, for which there is not much empirical data. People embrace bad arguments unsupported by data at their peril.

    Karl (f07e38)

  28. steve,

    Yes.

    Karl (f07e38)

  29. Kevin Stafford (20)

    Strong partisans do not dominate the political process. I wish they did, but they don’t.

    Karl (f07e38)

  30. …and in looking that up, I find a brand-new Jay Cost piece on Romney. RTWT.

    Karl (f07e38)

  31. Karl (29):
    Drop a healthy chunk of the movement conservatives and Evangelicals from W’s vote total in ’04 and Kerry wins. That’s what’s gonna happen to Willard. Folks like me WILL STAY HOME.

    Kevin Stafford (1d1b9e)

  32. It is either Romney or Gingrich. Yes, I know there are a lot of arguments for Perry, but the sad truth is that he reminds the apolitcal of George W Bush. And they have been instructed (SNL, MTV, school, etc) not to like George W Bush. Only if Perry executes (and communicates) in a way that no one now expects does he stand a chance for the nomination. And the general election will remain out of reach.

    To beat Obama, this election will have to be about competence and experience, and only Romney and Gingrich can make that claim. And Gingrich better step up his game.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  33. Like McCain, Wall Street Romney is unprincipled and cowardly. Like McCain, Wall Street Romney is tickled pink to create half a loaf bills with anti-American socialists.

    Wall Street Romney tries to compensate for his McCain-like traits by always making a point of “taking the fight to Obama,” something McCain was never man enough to do.

    Will it be enough?

    I think the similarities far outweigh the differences.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  34. Kevin (30)

    Read the links in the initial post about enthusiasm and “the Mormon factor.” Also, ALLCAPSING LIKE A PETULANT CHILD IS NOT ACTUALLY AN ARGUMENT.

    Karl (f07e38)

  35. The gop should be selling nose plugs that read: Mitt 2012.

    sickofrinos (44de53)

  36. Karl (30)–

    I thought we were having a civil debate about politics. Did my use of caps for emphasis (three words worth in my most recent post) really tick you off enough to make you descend to name calling? Or is it something else….like maybe that your political arguments make no sense, and that I’m just one on many people on Patrick’s site who have picked up on that. I can’t speak for them, but surely there are others who share my wish that Patrick would post more often about the 2012 election and that you would post less. Would make for better reading. There: no caps.

    Kevin Stafford (1d1b9e)

  37. Karl – Listen to Kevin, he is the designated spokesperson for the GOP base, irregardless of what those polls you cited in your post say. Heh.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  38. daleyrocks (37):

    “Irregardless” not a word. But, you know, whatever.

    Kevin Stafford (1d1b9e)

  39. In Kevin’s defense, Karl, even I feel like shouting. Though my shout is more like “HALP”!

    SarahW (b0e533)

  40. Kevin: you seem typical of the true conservative who feel all revolves around them and that they are key to any GOP nominee winning. Sorry, but it ain’t so. There are many more votes to be won in the middle than can or will be lost because you pout and stay home in November. While there are more voters who describe themselves as conservative than liberal, there simply aren’t enough true conservatives to carry a candidate to victory… a candidate needs the mushy middle and the mushy middle (by definition) is scared by anyone they view as too far to the side. You (and I) might wish this wasn’t the case, but it is and the more you resist accepting this, the harder it will be to win nationwide elections.

    steve (254463)

  41. When are going to get a tweet button???? and why won’t you????

    jann (a4ced4)

  42. My Fearless Prediction:

    The Republican Prez/Veep nominees next year won’t be ANY of the current aspirants. The convention will be brokered and two surprise nominees will emerge who will knock President Downgrade back on his heels.

    MarkJ (42fe5b)

  43. “steve” – One doesn’t have to be the center of the GOP universe to apprehend one’s own reluctance to participate, and extrapolate that to other like or just similar-minded individuals. The point here is that Romney doesn’t have enough centrist appeal to make up for the diminished participation of a wide swathe of the so-called base.

    The point made was that Kerry would have won without a segment of voters that might be more willing THIS TIME to go for gridlock in congress rather than to settle for a progressive in GOP clothing. You can’t deny that Bush would have lost without those voters. You can’t deny that Romney might lose without them, especially if he has no real center appeal.

    [note: released from moderation. –Stashiu]

    SarahW (b0e533)

  44. Comment by MarkJ — 12/27/2011 @ 3:20 pm

    I wish.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  45. Steve – also I agree that having more appeal to the center, to independents or moderate voters or those of mixed or ambivalent philosophy is desirable. Reagan of course had that. I just don’t think Romney really does.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  46. In Kevin’s defense, Karl, even I feel like shouting. Though my shout is more like “HALP”!

    You know who this halps.

    Colonel Haiku (1bb8e8)

  47. on election night in 2008, honestly how many people who post here regularly even thought then for a second that Barry could be a failed one termer?

    <waves hand> Less than a week after the election I made the prediction that he wouldn’t even be on the ballot in 2012. I also predicted that there would be no white men on either major party’s ticket; that it would be Palin/Jindal vs Clinton/Ford (Harold, that is).

    Obviously my prediction has not panned out, at least yet. I still suspect that Clinton is going to make her move, and if she succeeds then she’ll need a black running mate, but it won’t be Ford. And Palin’s unfortunately decided to spare her family. Jindal remains a possibility for VP.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  48. My $.02… we are doomed to another 4 years of ObamaNation unless a sizable number of folks get their stuff straight, get their heads in the game, stop the conspiracy theory nonsense, promises to hold their breath and sit on their hands unless their favorite candidate wins the nomination.

    Colonel Haiku (1bb8e8)

  49. When Romney refused to call Obama a socialist on Fox, he made clear he will not fight to win. If the GOP thinks nominating a gentlemanly moderate will encourage the Obma campaign to fight fair, they are feaking bat poop crazy. Who ever the GOP nominee is will be savaged. Obama has the MSM in his pocket and a $1 billion in campaign funds(undoubtedly from many foreign and illicit sources; another thing that should be discussed). If Romney is not prepared to fight fire with fire better he stay home.

    Scary feeling this will be a replay of 2008, with McCain acting “honorably” for fear of being called racist. This is too important. And the Dems are going to call the GOP racists anyway. Make points and tell the truth about this communist usurper-2 of the 3 car companies, 15th of the economy with ObamaCare, government and Fed investment in banks, growing entitlements, a bigger federal role in everything-this is socialism. And damn expensive socialism at that.

    Bugg (ea1809)

  50. 1/6th of the economy. Correction

    Bugg (ea1809)

  51. Kevin,

    I thought we were having a civil debate about politics.

    HENCE THE ALLCAPS IN TWO OF YOUR COMMENTS, THE INTERNET VERSION OF THINKING SHOUTING IS AN ARGUMENT.

    Don’t like my posts? Who is holding the gun to your head, forcing you to read them? Let me know; I’ll notify the authorities.

    Karl (5a613f)

  52. Sarah: Romney may not have a lot of center appeal, but who among the current candidates has more?

    Bugg: calling Obama a socialist may be somewhat technically correct, and it certainly would make the hard right excited, but it wouldn’t do Romney any favors among the moderates he’s trying to get. They don’t like name calling. It’s better to condemn Obama’s policies than it is to call him something most voters don’t understand the meaning of in any case.

    And I doubt Romney is under any illusion that Obama will fight fair. But I suspect Romney is also smart enough to know that the media will downplay Obama’s tactics and portray any Romney retaliation as evidence of Romney not being fit for office.

    You all have to stop looking at this contest through your biased perspective. You (at least most of you) aren’t representative of the people Romney needs to reach to win in November, so your advice is going to be ignored.

    And in the end, you all hate Obama more than you dislike Romney so you ain’t going to be sitting home in November. Empty threats. And Romney knows it.

    steve (254463)

  53. Comment by Kevin Stafford — 12/27/2011 @ 1:11 pm

    So, because Mitt does not compare well to your “perfect candidate” measure, you will be complicit in the re-election of someone worse, and be perfectly content to watch the country attempt to endure four more years of Obamanation?

    Thanks a lot.
    And the difference between you and a Paulian is what?

    AD-RtR/OS! (e103ce)

  54. I don’t think Jen Jen understands that people held their nose and by and large voted for the whore coward what Team R nominated last time.

    But it’s a fool-me-once kinda thing.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  55. I must repeat, not that I’m arguing, that I think rational, thoughtful, analysis will get us the answers. If reality was reported, the economic crash in 2008 right before the election would have been laid at the feet of dems protecting Freddie and Fanny and community organizers like Obama who had been pushing subprime loaning for years. We know that did not happen.

    Egypt currently has a government that is tolerating, if not at times enabling, persecution and killing of Christians. Christians are killed by Islamic radicals in Nigeria while at church Christmas Day and it finally becomes a central issue for the UN, Amnesty International and world press. (Sorry, not sure what came over me for a minute, there.)

    Will wide spread violence break out in the Middle East? Before the election? Will people want to persist in an increasing isolationist posture?

    Yes, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. We have not yet learned that the history of the world has been dominated by a revolving door of who has the power to conquer, long before the US ever came into being. To believe that strong powers can retreat from the world stage and expect only rose gardens to flourish is to ignore the last century, as well as the millenia of Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Egyptians, Carthage, Rome, the Islamic empire, Spain, France, England, Germany, Germany, Russia, Japan, China, Russia, China …

    But Obama and those of his mindset think the US is the source of the world’s problems and are eager to diminish our “footprint” on the world, and they are doing a heck of a good job at it.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  56. Sorry, Sorry, sorry.
    55.I must repeat, not that I’m arguing, that I think rational, thoughtful, analysis will not get us the answers.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  57. The fall of Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, with some attendant backwash in Morocco, is very problematic

    narciso (87e966)

  58. With all the Republican candidates overdoing (IMO) the knocking of each other versus their vision and policies for their presidency, may help Obama. Whomever wins the Republican candidacy better stick to a positive message directly to Americans, encouraging and direct. It will probably be Romney but he has to be strong and not go negative on Obama but go positive on America. Jeb Bush would have been the one to surely beat Obama I feel.

    Krystal (496c6a)

  59. Count me among those who would not vote for a Mormon. Mormonism is a second Islam, complete with a pedophiliac false prophet receiving fake scriptures from an angel. If Romney is the nominee, I’ll stay home on Election Day.

    Jakareh (756776)

  60. “Mormonism is a second Islam”

    Definitive.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  61. Post #59 is about as vile and counter to the principles this nation was founded on as it gets. Little wonder that it would find favor with the likes of the religious bigot Gary Gulrud.

    Colonel Haiku (1bb8e8)

  62. If Romney is the nominee, I’ll stay home on Election Day.

    Comment by Jakareh

    You do that. I can’t imagine any candidate on the Republican side of the aisle would be a happy recipient of a vote from the sort of person you appear to be.

    Colonel Haiku (1bb8e8)

  63. 30. Like the Charlie Cook “Perry’s race to lose” coming a week or two before he lost same.

    Silver(whom I respect less than Cost) has a post up linked at Hot Air on how easily it can slip away for Romney, like losing 3 of the first 4 with only FL being a bellwether candidate.

    47. When handwringers like Hai C. lament us knuckleheads not getting our heads in the game he need look no further than the nearest mirror for the anencephalic.

    Whatever the consensus on Kevin’s stability he’s dead nuts on target.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  64. not go negative on Obama but go positive on America

    Meghan’s coward daddy tried this and the results were pretty unimpressive

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  65. Hey Stafford, thank you for your support!

    Icy (37a2a5)

  66. To Colonel Haiku:

    Let me make one thing clear: even those whom you consider “vile” have rights. In fact, I have just as much right not to vote for someone because he is a Mormon as you do to vote for someone precisely for that reason. I also have the right to publicly state I will not vote for a Mormon, and I even have the right to urge others not to do it.

    As to “principles this nation was founded on”, the Founding Fathers were aware that Christianity was the basis of Western Civilization. They certainly did not hold the preposterous post-modernist view that all religions and cultures are interchangeable.

    Mormonism, in particular, is not only non-Christian but anti-Christian. A basic tenet of the “religion”, as stated by Joseph Smith, the professional confidence man and false prophet who invented it, is that the Bible is false.

    I will not further Mormonism’s quest for power and prestige and neither should any Christian.

    Jakareh (756776)

  67. You are indeed free to bear false witness, Jakareh. What you contend is provably false, but why waste time with one who has no interest in the truth.

    Colonel Haiku (1bb8e8)

  68. If Romney is the nominee, I’ll stay home on Election Day.
    Comment by Jakareh

    — Are you sure you don’t want to cast a write-in vote for Ron Paul? You seem like his kind of people.

    Icy (37a2a5)

  69. Jakareh, are you aware that Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin did not believe in the trinity?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  70. the consensus on Kevin’s stability? he’s dead nuts!
    Comment by gary gulrud — 12/27/2011 @ 5:27 pm

    — FTFY

    Icy (37a2a5)

  71. Also, John’s analysis ignores the Salt Lake City Olympics, Mitt’s book, and much of what has been going on in recent years. This kind of analysis is shallow- it attempts to lock in myths about Mitt from years and decades ago. People change, and Mitt has changed, especially over the last 4 years since he last ran for President, and not because he is a ‘flip-flopper’ but because he’s been out meeting people and talking to leaders for 4 years straight- that’s gotta have an effect on a guy! John’s analysis was pretty wimpy- he should write for the Politico or something.

    My blog has much better writing.
    aconservativeteacher.blogspot.com

    A Conservative Teacher (451120)

  72. “us knuckleheads not getting our heads in the game”

    Comment by gary gulrud

    What… you have worms now, gary?

    General Malaise (1bb8e8)

  73. To Colonel Haiku:

    Would you care to be more specific as far your accusation? How exactly am I bearing false witness? In case you are referring to Joseph Smith’s expressed opinion of the Bible, here’s what he said:

    “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.”

    According to him, therefore, the Bible as we know it is false.

    As I said, Mormonism is a second Islam. It’s just as easy to win argument against a Mormon as it is against a Muslim. In both cases, your own scriptures and your own histories defeat you.

    Jakareh (756776)

  74. We take issue with Romney’s policy views, not his faith,

    narciso (87e966)

  75. now the jingle hop has begun

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  76. No, Walker is much more in the Coolidge model, he is rather sparing with his words, but when one needs to act, he does.

    [note: released from moderation. –Stashiu]

    narciso (87e966)

  77. “1 We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

    2 We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

    3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

    4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    5 We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

    6 We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

    7 We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

    8 We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

    9 We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

    10 We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

    11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

    12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

    13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”

    Joseph Smith.

    Colonel Haiku (1bb8e8)

  78. Let me make one thing clear
    — Yes, perhaps It is best for the rest of your “things” to remain murky and undefined.

    even those whom you consider “vile” have rights. In fact, I have just as much right not to vote for someone because he is a Mormon as you do to vote for someone precisely for that reason.
    — Who said you don’t have that right? No one.
    — Who said that anyone here is voting for Romney because he is Mormon? No one.
    — Despite your “rights” we reserve the right to tell you how much of a douchenozzle you are.

    I also have the right to publicly state I will not vote for a Mormon, and I even have the right to urge others not to do it.
    — Who said that you don’t have that right? No one.

    As to “principles this nation was founded on”, the Founding Fathers were aware that Christianity was the basis of Western Civilization. They certainly did not hold the preposterous post-modernist view that all religions and cultures are interchangeable.
    — Please list, by screen name, all of the commenters on this site that you believe holds this view. Go!

    I will not further Mormonism’s quest for power and prestige and neither should any Christian.
    — Booga booga!

    Icy (37a2a5)

  79. Meghan’s …daddy tried this and the results were pretty unimpressive

    Mostly because he ran an unimpressive campaign. Calling a hiatus so he could come back to Washington? Stupid with a capital S.

    McCain didn’t lose because of his political positions, but rather because he was a terrible candidate. He was slow on his feet, he never could get beyond sound bite recitations. He looked and acted old. Petulant. Acted as if he was due the Presidency.

    Not many candidates could have made Obama look more presidential, but McCain pulled it off. And deservedly lost as a result.

    steve (254463)

  80. and you think that doesn’t have implications for a paragon of hyper-entitlement like Wall Street Romney?

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  81. Christians compare Islam to LDS based on this passage in Chapter One of St. Paul’s Letter to the Gallatians in the New Testament.Both Muhammed and Joseph Smith claimed to have received their tomes from angels.

    “6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”

    Personally I have way bigger problems with Romney’s bland fraddy cat campaign style and his legion flip floppery than with his religion. Personally I have met Mormons who seem like decent people, if a little odd; no beer and coffee are nonstarters.

    Still, you have to understand that there are in fact decent Americans ordinarily inclined to vote for a GOP candidate who might not do so because Romney is a Mormon. Pretending that bias doesn’t exist or not addressing it doesn’t make it go away.

    Bugg (ea1809)

  82. Slut Romney is a cheap money grabbing wall street lefty.

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  83. The thing that I think is going to doom conservatives is this naive belief that they are electing their pastor or confessor when in reality, most of us out here in the silent set are looking to electing someone who has brains and know how to fix this failing country. Romney, IMO, is the only candidate that fits that bill. And the idea that Reagan was somehow uber-conservative is kind of crazy. Reagan’s skill was in his innate class. He made everyone feel special in his presence. He didn’t look down his nose at anyone and even democrats were just misguided, not evil, as conservatives like to paint anyone who doesn’t march in lockstep with them. Romney, in his personal life, is far more conservative than Reagan or either Bush. To judge a man in his mid sixties by a few short years spent as governor of the bluest state in the country is not very bright, IMO.

    Sara (e8f5d4)

  84. I love coffee but since I quit smoking I only seem to drink a fraction of what I used to

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  85. Icy, thank you for that deconstruction. And you did it without calling anyone a coward, a prostitute, or referring to their uterus.

    Seriously, I don’t understand this weird religious snit business. I have seen some Christians call Catholics “un-Christian.” Sigh.

    You don’t like a candidate’s policies, coolio. Debate on that (without all the personal juvenile crap, of course). But leave the personal life of the man or woman out of it.

    So thanks for the deconstruction of that fellow, who I suspect is not debating in good faith.

    Simon Jester (30b034)

  86. Jakareh, are you aware that Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin did not believe in the trinity?

    Comment by Milhouse — 12/27/2011 @ 5:49 pm

    I don’t believe there’s any evidence that Washington didn’t believe in the Trinity. I don’t know about the others besides Jefferson.

    On the issue of whether that has anything to do with being President, the answer depends on theological assumptions – namely, would God withhold blessings for making a Mormon President? I have no idea. I would say that Bush is to all appearances a Trinitarian and things obviously went downhill in his second term. I personally have no problem with voting for Romney.

    Gerald A (9d78e8)

  87. “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.”

    Well, he was stating rather indisputable fact. Even the Christian clergy accept the fact that textual corruptions crept in along the way. For an obvious example, there’s the matter of the end of the Gospel of Mark–the oldest manuscripts leave off what is now accepted as the final verses. So either 1)someone added on those verses after the original gospel was written or 2)there were already defective copies circulating in the earliest Christian centuries. Whichever alternative you choose, it means that the text of Mark as it was known to at least some early Christians already diverged from the original text as it was written by the original gospel writer.

    As for bad translations–well, there’s Jerome’s howler when he misread “rays of light” coming from Moses’ face as “horns”. It was a long time before the Catholic Church figured that one out, and we therefore have such things as Michelangelo’s statue of Moses depicting him with horns.

    And may I point out that “Prophet Joe”‘s opinions did not keep his followers from owning, reading and studying the Bible was it was known to their mainstream Christian contemporaries.

    (And any form of religion which says the Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah and rose from the dead has to be counted as a form of Christianity, no matter what other really weird beliefs they tack onto that basic premise.)

    jbs (cc1ec4)

  88. Jakareh, are you comfortable being known, by your own words, as a bigot?

    AD-RtR/OS! (e103ce)

  89. Icy, thank you for that deconstruction. And you did it without calling anyone a coward, a prostitute, or referring to their uterus.

    — I did? Damn! I must be tired.

    Icy (37a2a5)

  90. So thanks for the deconstruction of that fellow, who I suspect is not debating in good faith.
    Comment by Simon Jester — 12/27/2011 @ 6:31 pm

    — Excellent pun, Simon!

    Icy (37a2a5)

  91. Are you sure you don’t want to cast a write-in vote for Ron Paul? You seem like his kind of people.

    What did I say that makes me sound like a crazed conspiracy theorist, sympathizer of Muslim radicals, and enemy of Israel?

    Jakareh (756776)

  92. W, thought he could negotiate in good faith, with the Democrats, how did that work out, Romney did as well, witness that pic of the MassCare signing ceremony, so did Palin in fact, the reality is thereisn’t a common interest with the other party, as such Obama is their perfect candidate.

    narciso (87e966)

  93. I smell Melville.

    Simon Jester (30b034)

  94. I smell vodka

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  95. you have to understand that there are in fact decent Americans ordinarily inclined to vote for a GOP candidate who might not do so because Romney is a Mormon.
    — How “decent” those Americans are is a matter open to debate.

    Pretending that bias doesn’t exist or not addressing it doesn’t make it go away.
    — Who here is pretending that it doesn’t exist? No one.
    — Who here is avoiding addressing the bias? No one.

    Icy (37a2a5)

  96. He’s just a garden-variety bigot, free to be what he is.

    Colonel Haiku (1bb8e8)

  97. Who is running for the dem presidental campaign?

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  98. “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers.

    Except most of the Old Testament, of which Jesus preached from, did not come from “the pen of the original writers.” It is a compilation of thousands of years of oral history passed down through the ages.

    And the writings of Paul that make up much of the NT are only the writings of a Jewish convert control freak who pretty much took over and rested control away from the disciples hand-picked by Jesus. The church started out with Messianic Jews and quickly devolved into a bunch of rules made up by a man who didn’t think much of his fellow man or any women. And there is no way I’ll ever believe that a devout Jew, as Jesus was, would look at the present day Christian churches, of any denomination, and recognize them as anything like what he taught.

    Sara (e8f5d4)

  99. Colonel, I suspect that there are many colors in his rainbow. If you know what I mean, and I think you do.

    Simon Jester (30b034)

  100. What did I say that makes me sound like a crazed conspiracy theorist[?]

    — This: “I will not further Mormonism’s quest for power and prestige and neither should any Christian.” Remember now?

    Icy (37a2a5)

  101. Icy-

    JFK made a point of addressing Baptists about his Catholicism and how it would not be his MO as president.

    Romney could do that, and so far he hasn’t.

    Bugg (ea1809)

  102. You are right, Mr. Bugg. Romney did that in 2007, though.

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/romneys_mormon_speech/

    Whoops.

    Simon Jester (30b034)

  103. Could be, Simon. He seems to have the classic “victory mincing” (favored by liberals) behavior down.

    Colonel Haiku (1bb8e8)

  104. In case you don’t have time, here is an excerpt from the first paragraph:

    “When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God. If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest. A President must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States.”

    And one more bit:

    “No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes President he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths.”

    So…say you are sorry? Or at least that you are wrong?

    Simon Jester (30b034)

  105. Romney accusing others of being untrustworthy?

    The irony.

    By the way the left would have no problem electing Harry Reid so their anti-mormon bigotry against Romney……..who I’am not a fan of is just hypocrisy.

    The left accuse Palin of being Dumb but yet the majority of leftys think paying their fair share means lets dodge teh taxes.

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  106. Icy, thank you for that deconstruction. And you did it without calling anyone a coward, a prostitute, or referring to their uterus.

    Yes, his “deconstruction” was masterful! He did use the word “douchenozzle”, and I must say I was impressed by the wit and originality. The usual sophomoric, misogynistic insult is “douchebag”, but substituting “bag” for “nozzle”… Wow! Just wow!

    Jakareh (756776)

  107. I have heard many permutations of belief before, but crediting the original church as being composed of Messianic Jews until Saul of Tarsus muscled his way in and took over is a version I have not heard before.

    But then again, discussing Romney’s religion as to whether it is a factor or not, I think Obama’s religious experience/history was much more on the fringe than Mormonism is, as far as every-day life of the typical American and what they expect from the government.

    I never considered Franklin to be an orthodox Christian, which makes his friendship and respect for Whitfield interesting.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  108. Bugg IS adept at moving goal posts, it seems.

    Icy (37a2a5)

  109. Mittens is SCOAMF Lite…

    some choice they want to give us.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  110. _____________________________________________

    Hawkins likely exaggerates the impact of ideology on voter choices, ignoring the fundamentals. Reagan won in 1980 in large part because the economy was terrible.

    In the case of ultra-liberal Obama, one would hope that a lack of concern about a politician’s ideology and also an ignorance of that same person’s “goddamn America” history were prevalent among the electorate in 2008. But if a majority of this nation’s voters, then and now, will favor any seated politician as long as the economy is good, and if an economic rebound in 2012 therefore ensures Obama occupying the White House through 2016, then perhaps we’re not much better than a bunch of prostitutes willing to turn any trick as long as the pay is good.

    Mark (411533)

  111. I have heard many permutations of belief before, but crediting the original church as being composed of Messianic Jews until Saul of Tarsus muscled his way in and took over is a version I have not heard before.

    I’ve heard of that view for a long time, although usually it’s not expressed in, shall we say, such a vigorous fashion.

    More usually, it’s claimed that Paul introduced the ideas of original sin, justification by faith and not law, etc. into the very early Church, and that prior to his arrival on the scene, Christians didn’t really bother with the issue–they were just content to say Jesus was the Messiah, and to believe in him was to gain eternal life, without bothering about the details.
    It’s especially common among folks who don’t agree with his ideas on those topics.

    This ignores the fact that Paul became a Christian very early on, and was therefore part and parcel of the primitive church; and that the apostles and other leaders of the church don’t seem to have a problem with Paul preaching these thing–they only questioned that he was evangelizing the Gentiles, but not the message he was using in that evangelization effort. So either they already believed that before Paul arrived, or they accepted it very quickly as an integral part of the Christian message.

    jbs (cc1ec4)

  112. Is it wwebsite as on the internet in here, or is it just me?

    sarahW (b0e533)

  113. By all means, Jakareh, feel free to respond to my comments.
    You: even those whom you consider “vile” have rights. In fact, I have just as much right not to vote for someone because he is a Mormon as you do to vote for someone precisely for that reason.
    Me: Nobody here said that you don’t have the right to not vote for someone because he is a Mormon; so why are you asserting a right that nobody here has denied that you have?

    You: I also have the right to publicly state I will not vote for a Mormon, and I even have the right to urge others not to do it.
    Me: Again, nobody here said that you don’t have that right; so why are you so aggressively asserting a right that nobody here is denying you?

    Icy (37a2a5)

  114. I seem to recall the late artist Neon Park featured a jakareh in the foreground of one of his pieces…

    http://ts1.mm.bing.net/images/thumbnail.aspx?q=1515541050004&id=5b4ee3e8b7137771aa75be82e6c5a524

    Colonel Haiku (1bb8e8)

  115. 3rd time’s always a charm…

    Colonel Haiku (1bb8e8)

  116. Beat obumma with a bible.

    sickofrinos (44de53)

  117. Damn it, my mistake. That’s a jackalope.

    Colonel Haiku (1bb8e8)

  118. Obama wants to ban incandescent light bulbs and replace them with mercury filled light bulbs and the EPA like all hypocrites are silent.

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  119. Comment by Sara — 12/27/2011 @ 6:57 pm

    I don’t what Bible you’ve read. It must have different stuff than what I’ve read.

    You must not have read the Book of Acts if you think the other Apostles were handpicked by Jesus but Paul wasn’t.

    Peter labeled Paul’s writings scripture. See 2 Peter 3:15 – 16.

    Gerald A (9d78e8)

  120. I live in Mass and Romney would have been elected for a second term if he chose to run for it. The liberal media did a hit piece on him every other day. The longer he was governor the more conservative he governed. Conservatives in Massachusetts don’t have a problem with him and that should speak volumes to the rest of the country. We all know and live in the environment in which he governed.

    Dave B (982f20)

  121. 61. ‘religious bigot’

    Islam divides the world into Dar al Islam, the house of submission, and Dar al Harb, the house of war. In the latter the principle of taqiyya(Sura 16:106 and 3:28) endorsing deceit to preserve the believer and as a tactic in dealings with the infidel is not merely permissible but obligatory, i.e., is righteous.

    A second principle is that of abrogation(Sura 2:106) Allah may rescind any word he has spoken, he is greater than Truth and not bound by his earlier pronouncements.

    Therefore one hears Sura 2:256 “in religion their is no compulsion” and never Sura 9:5 “kill the infidel wherever you find them”.

    Sentient beings are revulsed when the bigot says Islam is detestable and wicked because they know of good people who are Muslims. No doubt some nominal Muslims are thoroughly so, more likely the apostate.

    It is a shame poor Hai C. is limited to invective and non sequitir, it must be frustrating to live in a world with bigots.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  122. 97, 120. “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was I AM” John 8:58

    So is it the Torah or Jesus of whom Sara is unfamiliar?

    Too bad the churches are full of sinners.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  123. Democraps to trot out a new ad portraying Catholics and republicans wanting children to be impregnated.

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  124. 24. “Huh?”

    Yeah, I figured as much.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  125. Sentience is a therapy goal for gulrud.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  126. 126. Touche.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  127. 105. “deconstruction”

    I believe the term Jester was looking for was “Fisk”. Derrida is a little beyond this crowd.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  128. Bin Laden hates us because we are infidels.

    Anyone who can’t blame him is an useful idiot.

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  129. Look SS needs to be reformed.

    We need to take it away from the government.

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  130. Whatever, gulrud. Guess I’ll just have to burn my Camus books now.

    Icy (17f7a5)

  131. I have heard many permutations of belief before, but crediting the original church as being composed of Messianic Jews until Saul of Tarsus muscled his way in and took over is a version I have not heard before.

    Um, what else do you think they were? AFAIK this is not really controversial.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  132. In my thinking, “Messianic Jews” are different from Jews that believe in a false messiah. That assumes that Jesus was the Messiah, and what He said about Himself is true. All of which is fine for me as a believer.

    If I did not think Jesus was the Messiah, I would not refer to the early church as “Messianic Jews”, but a cult of Jews who had believed that Jesus was the messiah (falsely).

    I think it would be odd to believe in Jesus as the true messiah, that what He said about Himself was true, and that He lost influence in His own followers so soon to a mere man.

    Obviously, much of that may be my own use of language and not universal. I suppose the view as presented could be the interpretation of those who think Jesus was a good moral teacher but whose teachings were corrupted by his human followers after his death.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  133. 78:8 “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly;”

    Islamists claim the Bible was changed, despite the Quran clearly deriving from the Talmud and both completed after all NT writings.

    88. The science of textual criticism arrives at the “original” text with great confidence because the NT has something like 6000 copies extant from the second thru the tenth centuries.

    Another certain addition is the story ending in “Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone.” John 8:7.

    we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  134. 136. “we also believe the Book…”

    There are no copies of the Book of Mormon sources.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  135. 133. Braggart.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  136. John Hinderaker’s
    Mitt Love further isolates
    BEMIDJI midget

    Colonel Haiku (c26934)

  137. time for ice fishin’
    BEMIDJI midget got line
    you know he got worm

    Colonel Haiku (c26934)

  138. all fishin’ no work
    make gary gulrud dull boy
    hung his head and cried

    Colonel Haiku (c26934)

  139. I have heard many permutations of belief before, but crediting the original church as being composed of Messianic Jews until Saul of Tarsus muscled his way in and took over is a version I have not heard before.

    Um, what else do you think they were? AFAIK this is not really controversial.

    Comment by Milhouse — 12/27/2011 @ 11:43 pm

    First of all, Saul of Tarsus was a Messianic Jew…

    Another problem with that is the early church started to evolve away from being all Jews before Saul/Paul had done anything. The first church containing mostly gentiles was at Antioch, which Paul had nothing to do with creating. After the church in Jerusalem found out about it, first Barnabas, then Paul and later a whole bunch of people including Peter went there to teach them.

    See Acts 11:19-26

    One of those visits when both Paul and Peter were there led to Paul criticizing Peter, accusing him of hypocrisy, because Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles.

    See Galatians 2:11-16

    Gerald A (9d78e8)

  140. Nor did Paul “muscle in” to the original church at Jerusalem. He was part of it for some years before doing anything especially notable (other than the events in Damascus) when the Holy Spirit led him and Barnabas to go elsewhere and begin establishing churches.

    Gerald A (9d78e8)

  141. Why are folks debating theology and matters of doctrinal importance in here? These things hardly matter to the centrist – except as to general perception of zealotry or weirdness coloring the candidates world view.

    sarahW (b0e533)

  142. :roll: Romney won’t win.

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  143. Why are folks debating theology and matters of doctrinal importance in here?

    Jakareh started it with his “I won’t vote for a Mormon” rant.

    Gerald A (9d78e8)

  144. You have to figure that kind guy is a little closed off to discussion. (My response would have been “Ok, then” and leave him to himself instead of engaging him a bible verse fight.)

    The only relevence his remarks have are the extent to which Romney’s Mormanism is likely to freak out the secular voter, and those of the assorted fanatically bigoted classes who might otherwize go GOP.

    sarahW (b0e533)

  145. Which I think can be judged fairly readily as “a little bit, but not much.” I think people will be a little more worried about the Irish Setter.

    sarahW (b0e533)

  146. 145, 147. “Why are folks debating theology and matters of doctrinal importance in here?”

    Perhaps because truth, falsehood, and their differences have real life applications to some who consider the consequences of their behavior their own responsibility.

    If you lie about what you believe, you might be a politician or a wonk.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  147. 143. “the early church started to evolve away from being all Jews before Saul/Paul had done anything. The first church containing mostly gentiles was at Antioch, which Paul had nothing to do with creating.”

    I believe you misunderstand Milhouse.

    Yes Luke came out of the Antioch church, but the leadership was Jewish.

    Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles prima paris, see F.F.Bruce “Apostle of the Heart Set Free”.

    Despite Peter’s Cornelius epiphany, Paul had to goad him into leadership to counter the Judaizers at Galatia and Colossae.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  148. 151. Doh, *primapara.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  149. 148. Rasmussen in 2006 had 24% of Dimmis, 20% of Indies and 18% of Republicans saying they would not support a nominee who was Mormon.

    Like 50% would not support and Atheist, so you’ve got that going for you.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  150. This is an interesting issue with whether or not religion should be that big of a deal when voting for a president.

    Jake (9073c5)

  151. 140. I have been overly critical of Hinderaker, a lawyer in the past, but Poweline is much more consistent and palatable with goon lobbyist Mirengoff gone to gulag.

    Nonetheless, Pawlenty endorser cum Romney endorser is not a badge of courage.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  152. Preston takes down Hinderaker, rather effortlessly:

    http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2011/12/28/two-takes-on-mitt-romney/

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  153. I like pasta primapara.

    Gerald A (9d78e8)

  154. Comment by gary gulrud — 12/28/2011 @ 10:08 am

    What is Hinderaker doing now that he’s given up the law?

    AD-RtR/OS! (9dbe33)

  155. 158. My bad, misplaced comma I did not think worthy of a Doh. No doubt I’ve littered enough.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  156. Sorry, gary; I just couldn’t resist that low-hanger.

    AD-RtR/OS! (9dbe33)

  157. Not bragging, gary. And you’re right in that I don’t necessarily apply deconstructionist theory when I fisk the opinions of disingenuous posters such as Jakareh — complaining ad nauseum that his right to express his opinion was being questioned, when in reality only the validity of the opinions he expressed was being challenged.

    Icy (17f7a5)

  158. Everyone has the right to express noxious opinions;
    No one has the right to force me to listen.

    AD-RtR/OS! (9dbe33)

  159. 161. Bragging had to do with your implicit claim to read French existentialists, not French deconstructionists, like Focault and Derrida.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  160. Bragging had to do with your implicit claim to read French existentialists, not French deconstructionists, like Focault and Derrida.

    Comment by gary gulrud

    I think this fellow has a de Gaulle complex, or, more appropriately, Napoleonic, as he’s met his “Waterloo”.

    General Malaise (c26934)

  161. “Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely trying to be normal… take Gary Gulrud, for instance.”

    – Albert Camus

    Colonel Haiku (c26934)

  162. John Ziegler on Romney’s electability…

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/12/romneys_electability.html

    Colonel Haiku (c26934)

  163. I think it would be odd to believe in Jesus as the true messiah, that what He said about Himself was true, and that He lost influence in His own followers so soon to a mere man.

    Not odd at all. What do you think a messiah is? Some sort of superman or god?! That’s Paul’s invention. None of Jesus’s disciples thought he was anything but a man, who would lead a Jewish uprising against Rome and establish a righteous kingdom that would eventually bring peace and God’s rule to the whole world. Having done so he would die like all men, and his son (if he had any) would inherit his throne. When he died before having achieved this, instead of deciding they’d been wrong about him being the messiah they continued to believe that he would return and do this, before dying again. The idea that he was more than human, and specifically that his being the messiah meant that he was more than human, would have been bizarre to them. They were Jews, and this was a pagan idea.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  164. I agree with Hawkins’ 7 points explicitly, and have made many of the same.

    Random (38d59c)

  165. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.”

    Jakareh has a problem with this, but it’s indisputable that translators do make errors, and even competent translators make word choices that can mislead people who infer things from the translation that aren’t in the original.

    We had an example here a while ago, when POA quoted a string of Biblical citations to prove his contention that the sin for which the Cities of the Plain were destroyed was homosexuality. About a dozen of those citations were examples of the same error: places in which a translator had chosen to render qadesh (male prostitute) into English as “sodomite”. The original text of these verses makes no reference at all to Sdom, so they’re irrelevant to the whole topic, but POA thought they provided solid proof because of a translator’s choice of words. That’s why relying on a translation automatically puts you at a disadvantage when arguing with someone who is reading the original.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  166. 166. “John Ziegler on” anything whatever, jollies.

    169. Sure a case is conceivable, now make it, with koine.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  167. Sorry, not only don’t I speak koine, I have no reason to learn it because I have no interest in anything written in it. I do read Aramaic fairly well, for what it’s worth.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  168. “Should I kill myself, or have a cup of Ovaltine®?”

    – Bemidji Camus

    Colonel Haiku (c26934)

  169. Yes this part is more significant;

    The Jewish Encyclopaedia[22] has information on the importance of hospitality to the Jewish people. The people of Sodom were seen as guilty of many other significant sins. Rabbinic writings affirm that the Sodomites also committed economic crimes, blasphemy and bloodshed.[23] One of the worst was to give money or even gold ingots to beggars, after inscribing their names on them, and then subsequently refusing to sell them food. The unfortunate stranger would end up starving and after his death, the people who gave him the money would reclaim it.

    narciso (87e966)

  170. As the Wisemen pointed out, his coming was already prophesied in Isiah and other texts, they just didn’t care to believe it,

    narciso (87e966)

  171. Matthew 2:1 – “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi [*] from the east came to Jerusalem.” (* Footnote: Traditionally Wise Men). Matthew 2:7 – Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. Matthew 2:16 – When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

    narciso (87e966)

  172. 171. Then 167 is another Milhouse special, agitprop to no purpose. Isaiah uncovered at the Qumran departed from that left by the Massoretes in nought but jots and tittles.

    We have the utmost regard for the Tanakh and study Hebrew to delve into its riches and you return our loyalty to Israel with your left hand full.

    Thanks, you’re a credit to your people.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  173. 173. Indeed, Milhouse’s point seems to imply that the word ‘sodomite’ should somehow apply to residents of Sodom rather than male prostitutes.

    Then any use of the term for the latter in a context unrelated to Sodom is “mistranslation”.
    Curious thinking untouched by literacy of linguistics.

    Jesus claimed to be God, his disciples to a man believed so, even Judas Iscariot.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  174. I’m sure that was part of the catalogue of sins, but not nearly the most important one,

    narciso (87e966)

  175. that would be about the only catalog Mitt’s an unsuitable model for

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  176. One of the worst was to give money or even gold ingots to beggars, after inscribing their names on them, and then subsequently refusing to sell them food. The unfortunate stranger would end up starving and after his death, the people who gave him the money would reclaim it.

    Comment by narciso — 12/29/2011 @ 5:35 am

    Gee, that sounds a lot like Obamacare

    SarahW (b0e533)

  177. . Indeed, Milhouse’s point seems to imply that the word ‘sodomite’ should somehow apply to residents of Sodom rather than male prostitutes.

    No, his point is that using the word “sodomite” suggests a connection to the Cities of the Plain which is not present in the original Hebrew.

    The English term, sodomy, does mean–well, this is a family blog, so I won’t specify. And it comes from the Sodom story. But the Hebrew equivalent has nothing to do with Sodom, and if you read those texts in Hebrew, there would be a link not to Sodom but to the idolatrous temple cults of that era (qadesh is a form of the word for “holy”).

    So quoting those texts to prove that the sin of Sodom actually involved sodomy won’t get you anywhere at all.

    The Rabbinic traditions Narciso quotes are based on passages in the Prophets which explicitly condemn Sodom for their inhospitable treatment of strangers and the poor, their corruption of justice, etc–and sexual crimes in those passages are either not mentioned at all, or mentioned very low on the list and are connected to heterosexual fornication, not homosexual acts.

    Isaiah uncovered at the Qumran departed from that left by the Massoretes in nought but jots and tittles.

    Quite correct. But that’s not Milhouse’s point. The Septuagint departed from the Masoretic text in several places, and Christian translations have followed the Septuagint and not the Masoretic text. At best, they amended some of the Septuagint in light of the Masoretic text, but not completely and not in the places where the differences are important to Christian claims that Jesus was foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures (Psalm 22 is a good example).
    There are two Jewish translations, one from the 19th century, and one from the turn of the 20th century (the first JPS* translation) which thoroughly corrected the errors (well, from the Jewish point of view they are errors :) ) The first English translation made de novo from the Masoretic text was the second JPS* translation, made in the 1960s-70s, in which, among others, the novelist Chaim Potok participated.

    Comment by narciso — 12/29/2011 @ 5:43 am
    The Jewish answer to that is a simple one: of all the numerous prophecies about the Messiah, not a single one was fulfilled by Jesus. And most of the ones which Christians cite turn out on inspection to be non-prophecies when you read the full passages in the Tanakh.

    And the Massacre of the Innocents? It is rather odd that while Herod was a well known figure in his day, and accounts of his misdeeds and atrocities can be found in both Jewish sources and Gentile historians of the Roman era, the only text to mention this particular atrocity in any form, even a distorted one, is the Christian Gospel. You would think that other people, especially the Jews, would have noticed such a targeted slaughter, but apparently they didn’t.

    Jesus claimed to be God, his disciples to a man believed so, even Judas Iscariot.

    So the New Testament says, and if you are a believing Christian, you will of course accept that. But if you’re not a believing Christian–or if you’re not a Christian at all, like myself and Milhouse–there’s no compelling reason to accept the accuracy of the New Testament and therefore no reason to believe that the New Testament is reporting what Jesus said and not what Christians of a couple of decades later said he said, or thought that he said.

    BTW, belief in the divinity of Jesus was not so firm in the early Church–it took the Arian controversy three hundred years later to get the Church to decide that Jesus really was “Deo de Deo, etc. ”

    *JPS=Jewish Publication Society

    JBS (43d284)

  178. a string of Biblical citations to prove his contention that the sin for which the Cities of the Plain were destroyed was homosexuality.

    Based on the following, it’s very easy to understand why anyone would equate the story of Sodom, and its demise, to homosexuality, or, in particular, rampant bisexuality. This crucial and startling passage from the Bible (in modern language, but accurate to the original wording), almost reads like the plot of a bad porno movie (a bad GAY porno movie, at that).

    Genesis 19

    1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground….[H]e insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.

    4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom — both young and old — surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

    6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

    9 “Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

    10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.

    ….By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

    ^ The destruction of the notorious Sodom and Gomorrah follows (again, immediately follows) the attempt by the males of Sodom to rape Lot’s two male guests. It would be ridiculous to not naturally interpret that very crucial moment in the text of the Bible as being closely intertwined with the deranged behavior (ie, male-on-male rape) of the mob.

    Mark (411533)

  179. Well that’s entirely possible, it’s also sort of beside the point;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_the_Innocents

    narciso (87e966)

  180. ___________________________________________

    and sexual crimes in those passages are either not mentioned at all, or mentioned very low on the list and are connected to heterosexual fornication, not homosexual acts.

    So the passage about Lot and the two angels disguised as human males, and the males of Sodom wanting to rape Lot’s 2 male guests, was created in a totally separate way from the rest of the text about Sodom?

    I’m not even as interested in the religiosity of or scholar-type nitpicking about the Bible as much as I’m interested in the way it reflects centuries of observing human nature. When I read about the pervasive homosexuality in ancient Greece and Rome, about how even in repressed Middle Eastern societies of today there apparently is far more bisexuality/homosexuality than one would believe possible, observe cases like the coach from Penn State, read about how figures like Barack Obama have a background of peculiar bisexuality (ie, purportedly desperate enough to be a member of a gay bath house in Chicago), and then apply all of these aspects of human nature to the growing dumbed-down characteristics of modern culture in general, I don’t take anything for granted.

    Mark (411533)

  181. To Milhouse at 167

    That is a fair statement of opinion and belief. I even agree with the part that to believe Jesus was something more than just another human would have been bizarre to them. That is consistent with the NT narrative, with the disciples frequently puzzled such as, “What kind of man is this that the wind and waves obey him?” (Had they been prophets, one might have said ‘more powerful than the president of the US’).

    Which is stranger to believe, that the messiah had to be more than a mere human, or that a mere human could bring down the Roman empire and “establish a righteous kingdom that would eventually bring peace and God’s rule to the whole world”.
    I think the odds are that the second option is not very likely.

    Jesus made it clear to the Disciples that He was more than a mere man on various occasions, such as his discourse on being the “bread of life”. He even challenged them to leave Him along with the rest of the crowd if they didn’t like his claims.

    It is often thought that Judas Iscariot was not so much interested in betraying Jesus as forcing him to take action against the Romans and Jewish facilitators, and that Peter’s denial of Jesus was precipitated by Jesus telling him not to oppose the soldiers, leaving Peter puzzled as to what to do. But I think both of those are speculative than clearly indicated by the texts themselves.

    Even though Peter makes the confession of faith that Jesus is his “Lord and his God”, he still was confused until after Jesus’ resurrection and having “his eyes opened” as Jesus taught them again through the Scriptures.

    Some Christians have said that you can find clear foretelling of Jesus in the OT. Others say that it is pretty hidden and not clear until after the fact (though I have personally heard this less frequently, FWIW). Perhaps the clearest understanding of Jesus was grasped by the prophet Simeon who spoke concerning him at the time of Jesus’ dedication as a baby:
    “…for my eyes have seen your salvation,
    that you prepared in the presence of all peoples,
    a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

    This refers to a promise even farther back than David to Abraham, that through him “All of the nations of the earth will be blessed.”
    In spite of these glorious thoughts, Simeon also prophesies that, “…this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also…”). He knows that the path to God’s kingdom is not a direct victory march, and that even the Messiah’s mother will know the “piercing of her soul”.

    As far as what is meant by the word “salvation” as used by Simeon, I suppose it could be applied to being “saved” from a human enemy, but doesn’t the entire history of the Law and Prophets teach that Israel’s real enemy (and for all of us) is sin and the evil they do and repeatedly fall into, and that God has no problem delivering them from their captors when they turn to Him in repentence?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  182. “The need to be right – the sign of a vulgar mind.”

    ― Gary Camus

    Colonel Haiku (c26934)

  183. JBS at 181, I was writing my response while you posted yours and did not see it.

    Obviously one can believe that the New Testament is faulty or even garbage, but I am not sure what basis one has for claiming what the disciples believed, or if even there were disciples and who they were, without reference to the NT. If your claim is that “the disciples were Jewish, and no Jew would believe that”, I find that a bit hollow. If you want to dismiss the NT as inaccurate and terribly so, then fine. But if you (or Milhouse, actually) wants to tell me what the disciples of Jesus “really believed” then that is another matter, as far as I can see.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  184. 143, 151. Obviously I was mistaken, my apology for doubting the judgement.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  185. Well one has to see Judas as a vehicle, by which the covenant was fulfilled, and Jesus told Peter
    what would happen, so it wasn’t a surprise.

    narciso (87e966)

  186. 181. The argument that a word’s usage should be derived from fact is odd, to say the least.

    This discussion hardly scratches the surface of the story’s import.

    Abram and Lot entered the promised land, Lot departed for Sodom. He greeted the Angels at the city gate, i.e., he was by then a respected elder. The utterly depraved(see also Judges for the story of the Levite and his concubine) Sodomites demand to have their way.

    Lot and family flee, Lot’s wife turns to witness judgement and (OT scholar Gerhard Von Rad) is turned to a pillar of salt because the Holy God alone sits in judgement.

    Lot fathers Ammon and Moab, worshipers of Chemosh and Molech, and the abomination of passing their children “through the fire”. The core of the Palistinian people.

    Abram observes the desolation from the high ground of the Promised Land, never having descended into the wilderness.

    Seriously, Milhouse is an half-literate idiot even on the Torah.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  187. 182. ” It would be ridiculous to not naturally interpret that very crucial moment in the text of the Bible as being closely intertwined with the deranged behavior ”

    Indeed, nonetheless it ignores the prior bargaining of Abram on behalf of S&G knowing God’s solemn intent to destroy them. Sin is living on one’s own recognizance as though God is not. The mob behaviour is just the existential proof of the depth of their depravity given another opportunity.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  188. 181. BTW, belief in the divinity of Jesus was not so firm in the early Church–it took the Arian controversy three hundred years later to get the Church to decide that Jesus really was “Deo de Deo, etc. ”

    Not so. The earliest fragment of any NT writing is that of John on papryus in the John Ryland library dated to the first half of the second century.

    Polycarp writing about 110 attests that the Gospel of Matthew was written early in the “author’s native language”. Early means by 50 AD. It is evident, e.g., with a harmony of the Gospels, that Luke had both Matthew and Mark before him writing sometime near 70 AD and the destruction of the temple.

    Letters from Ireneaus and other church fathers from the first decades of the 2nd century have been studied for centuries.

    You are uninformed.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  189. If someone is in error, sincerely, but not out of spite, like Pikachu and the Dubai traveller, there
    are more diplomatic ways of replying

    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/matthew.html

    narciso (87e966)

  190. _____________________________________________

    The mob behaviour is just the existential proof of the depth of their depravity given another opportunity.

    But what I find most interesting about the story of Lot and Sodom, is that it appears to reflect a specifically aberrant direction that male sexuality can take on occasion—if not on quite a few occasions. This matter is quite relevant today because of all the rantings about how unfair it is to ban same-sex marriage and of how homosexuality, because of the claim it’s 100% innate and 100% beyond the ability to be modified, should therefore be treated as analogous to skin or hair color, or race or ethnicity.

    The amount of bisexuality in humans, among males in particular, is what has surprised me over the recent past, and which I wasn’t aware of until those pushing the “GLBT” agenda — which is quite leftwing as much as it’s anything else — forced a closer scrutiny of human behavior in general. It’s even more interesting that an ancient text like the Bible is far more aware of or savvy about aspects of human nature than I even realized or gave it credit for. Certainly based on the hype from theorists (ie, intellectuals) in ivory towers, who will scoff “in this age of modern psychology, university lecture halls, and sophisticated research at colleges everywhere, the Bible is easily shredded into nothing more than old-fashioned nonsense and superstition!”

    Mark (411533)

  191. 193. Point taken, however, the presentation of what is already available for research to again be ignored as throwing one’s bread on the water is not my gift.

    181. Again Gerald already pointed out in correction of my loose ascription to the settlement of the Christian Church on the kerygma of faith, the canon, hierarchy, discipleship, etc. as circa the Council of Nicea to settle the Arian controversy as mistaken.

    Eusebius writing about 325 AD his History of the Church makes clear that many of these matters were settled long before. But Coptic, Syrian, Roman churches among others had not given official acknowledgement.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  192. 194. Reminds one of Jane Goodall’s shock at observing in situ Chimps premeditate a gang murder.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  193. Quite correct. But that’s not Milhouse’s point. The Septuagint departed from the Masoretic text in several places, and Christian translations have followed the Septuagint and not the Masoretic text. At best, they amended some of the Septuagint in light of the Masoretic text, but not completely and not in the places where the differences are important to Christian claims that Jesus was foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures (Psalm 22 is a good example).

    Actually my point was even narrower than that. I merely pointed out that to the extent that Joseph Smith’s list of reservations about the Bible included the possibility of mistranslations he was right. And to that purpose I pointed out how even a correct translation can be very misleading, let alone an incorrect one. Thus if you’re relying on a translation you can never be sure what’s in the text and what’s just an artifact of the translation, just as astronomers know that when they look through a telescope some of what they see is really there and some is an artifact of the telescope itself.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  194. Based on the following, it’s very easy to understand why anyone would equate the story of Sodom, and its demise, to homosexuality, or, in particular, rampant bisexuality.
    […]
    The destruction of the notorious Sodom and Gomorrah follows (again, immediately follows) the attempt by the males of Sodom to rape Lot’s two male guests.

    There are two very important problems with that:
    1. There is nothing at all in the text to support the supposition that the problem with the attempted rape was its homosexual aspect. The citizens were not proposing to invite the visitors out for a drink in the hope of seducing them; they wanted to gang-rape them! This is entirely consistent with the traditional view that the Cities of the Plain were destroyed for their hostility to visitors. Raping them is pretty hostile.

    1a. Besides which, it’s rape!!! I mean, are you seriously claiming that if the visitors had only taken on female forms instead of male ones then the mob’s demand to rape them would have been perfectly all right?! Of course not. When a rapist is caught and punished, does it really matter whether his victim was male or female?

    2. Even if this incident had been about homosexuality, rather than inhospitality or violence — even if the mob had indeed proposed merely to seduce the visitors — you can’t get around the fact that the sentence of destruction had already been passed. How can you ascribe their sentence to something that hadn’t happened yet? If you were to hear that a convicted criminal, on the night before his execution, raped his cell mate, would you conclude that his crime was rape, or that it was homosexual relations? Of course not. The rape has no connection to his conviction, which happened a long time earlier.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  195. So the passage about Lot and the two angels disguised as human males, and the males of Sodom wanting to rape Lot’s 2 male guests, was created in a totally separate way from the rest of the text about Sodom?

    No, it’s a further description of how wicked these people were, and how richly they deserved their destruction. They were destroyed for being mean and cruel, so it’s not surprising that on their last night on earth they attempted to rape some visitors. But there’s no reason to suppose that their sex, or that of the visitors, is at all relevant. There’s no reason to suppose that it wouldn’t have been just as bad had they tried to rape female visitors instead, or had they tried to rob or beat them.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  196. 181.. Indeed, Milhouse’s point seems to imply that the word ‘sodomite’ should somehow apply to residents of Sodom rather than male prostitutes.

    No, his point is that using the word “sodomite” suggests a connection to the Cities of the Plain which is not present in the original Hebrew.

    I do not see a variance between these two sentences. Help me out. If this is the KSV please supply an English lexicon for 1600.

    OT quotations in the NT seem equally divided between Hebrew and Greek sources. Yes the Septuagint was of questionable quality in treatment of the Prophets but we have a better text and better translations.

    I use the Biblia Hebraica and the BDB, not the best but still servicable.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  197. Obviously one can believe that the New Testament is faulty or even garbage, but I am not sure what basis one has for claiming what the disciples believed, or if even there were disciples and who they were, without reference to the NT. If your claim is that “the disciples were Jewish, and no Jew would believe that”, I find that a bit hollow.

    But it’s the truth. If they existed at all, they were Jews, and had been brought up with Jewish beliefs about how the world worked and what sort of things to expect. They were brought up to expect that at some time, near or far, God would appoint a king to fight and defeat evildoers and establish justice in the world. That’s what “messiah” means; is has no connotation of anything supernatural. Saul, David, and Solomon are also described by the Bible as messiahs. So are Aaron and his sons. There’s nothing supernatural about them.

    They had never come across the idea of a superman, let alone a man who was really God, and it’s inconceivable that they could have believed such a thing. They’d been brought up to believe that if a supposed prophet told them such things they should reject him as a liar; and had Jesus told them such things they would surely have done so. Only pagans could accept such a notion, which is why it didn’t take hold until Paul went preaching it to the pagans. Thus it makes sense that the authors of the NT, who ascribe such words to Jesus himself, were wrong.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  198. 197. And to that point Joseph Smith had an indifferent command of his native language and no training whatever in another.

    Muhammed and J.S. are the final arbiters of good or bad translation, of the mind of their god.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  199. 201. ” it’s inconceivable that they could have believed such a thing.”

    And yet that Thomas has to press his fingers in the wounds before exclaiming “My Lord and my God”, is a Christian aspersion.

    This is just willful ignorance.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  200. The argument that a word’s usage should be derived from fact is odd, to say the least.

    And nobody is making that argument.

    Lot and family flee, Lot’s wife turns to witness judgement and (OT scholar Gerhard Von Rad) is turned to a pillar of salt because the Holy God alone sits in judgement.

    There is no hint in the text of a reason why they were not to look back, or why she was punished for doing so. The easiest reading is that this wasn’t a punishment at all, but simply the consequence of stopping as the wave of destruction followed them.

    Seriously, Milhouse is an half-literate idiot even on the Torah.

    So says someone who can’t even read the thing without the filter of translations. How many times have you read it through? I’ve done so at least ten times as many. I know most of it by heart; in the original. You lecturing me about its meaning is like me presuming to lecture Stephen Hawking about physics. Or Patterico about some specific peculiarity of Californian law.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  201. 171. “not only don’t I speak koine, I have no reason to learn it because I have no interest in anything written in it”

    So actually proving one’s conjectures, finding out whether their is any truth to them doesn’t even require awareness that like Hebrew, Greek is a reconstituted language.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  202. But what I find most interesting about the story of Lot and Sodom, is that it appears to reflect a specifically aberrant direction that male sexuality can take on occasion—if not on quite a few occasions.

    Do you mean that rape can be used as a form of violence and hostility? That’s hardly an insight. Indeed some radical feminists will tell you that male sexuality is nothing but violence and hostility, and therefore rape. But even from sane feminists, how often have we heard that “rape is not a crime of sex but of violence”? And while that’s not always true, and perhaps not even often true, you must surely agree that it’s sometimes true. So the behaviour of the citizens of Sedom (I have no idea how the standard English transliteration turns the first vowel into an O) is hardly surprising.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  203. 204. “So says someone who can’t even read the thing without the filter of translations.”

    You are correct, I neither read nor write Hebrew, and to the degree I know anything of it at all, I’m self taught.

    Grammars by Mansoor and La Sor, parsers, Aramaic concordance, intralinears, multivolume wordbooks, and dozens of source books, meanwhile you read nothing before giving an opinion on what is conceivable.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  204. 181.. Indeed, Milhouse’s point seems to imply that the word ‘sodomite’ should somehow apply to residents of Sodom rather than male prostitutes.

    No, his point is that using the word “sodomite” suggests a connection to the Cities of the Plain which is not present in the original Hebrew.

    I do not see a variance between these two sentences. Help me out.

    It’s very simple: I was addressing POA’s use of these citations as proof that the crime for which the Cities of the Plain were destroyed was homosexual sex. And my point was that they prove nothing of the kind, because they don’t refer in any way to Sedom. The word “sodomite”, on which POA’s claim rested, was the choice of some translator. Therefore they cannot be used to infer anything at all about Sedom and its crimes.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  205. 197. And to that point Joseph Smith had an indifferent command of his native language and no training whatever in another.

    Irrelevant. One doesn’t have to know a language well to know that all translations are inherently flawed and unreliable.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  206. 201. ” it’s inconceivable that they could have believed such a thing.”

    And yet that Thomas has to press his fingers in the wounds before exclaiming “My Lord and my God”, is a Christian aspersion.

    It’s a clear fiction, invented by someone who had no understanding of what Jews could have believed or said.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  207. So actually proving one’s conjectures, finding out whether their is any truth to them doesn’t even require awareness that like Hebrew, Greek is a reconstituted language.

    I have little interest in the NT, except for the claims it makes about the OT. For that all I need is my Hebrew and Aramaic.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  208. 209. “all translations are inherently flawed and unreliable”

    Irrelevant. All languages are inherently ambiguous as Goedel proved.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  209. meanwhile you read nothing before giving an opinion on what is conceivable.

    I have been immersed all my life in the same worldview that Jesus and his disciples were brought up with. I’ve studied the original versions of teachings that the NT quotes Jesus as having cited, and I know the context in which they appear and in which he and his disciples would have understood them. The NT authors did not have that context, since they were coming from a pagan background, and were antisemites to boot. Thus I know better than them, let alone better than you, what it is conceivable that Jesus and his disciples could have believed, and what is not.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  210. 211. So then we may ignore your commentary apart from your cherished Talmud.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  211. 209. “all translations are inherently flawed and unreliable”

    Irrelevant. All languages are inherently ambiguous as Goedel proved.

    True. But the range of meanings that a passage has in its original form are not the same as those it has in translation. Translations both add connotations that aren’t there in the original and remove ones that are. They have to, by their very nature, even if they’re done by experts, let alone if they’re not.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  212. 213. I bow to the once and ever smartest man in the room. Please allow your apprentice to withdraw in genuflection.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  213. 213. I bow to the once and ever smartest man in the room.

    Not the smartest; just the most knowledgeable on this one subject.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  214. Comment by gary gulrud — 12/28/2011 @ 5:40 am

    Islamists claim the Bible was changed, despite the Quran clearly deriving from the Talmud and both completed after all NT writings.

    Moslems actually don’t have the Bible at all. I think there is the claim that word of God was given to five people, with Mohammed being the last (Abraham, Moses, and David are the first three – for extra credit you can guess who was number four) but that it was lost, or accurate knowledge was lost.

    Mohammed gave a completely different version of the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. In his version, they loved each other, but both wanted to be chaste, and the name he has for Potiphar’s wife, which I am not sure where it originates, is one of the favorite names for girls among Moslems.
    Zulaikeh.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yusuf_and_Zulaikha

    This is of course neither here nor there because this is not the problem with the evil religion taught by Al Qaeda.

    Sammy Finkelman (b17872)

  215. 218. While Muhammed’s Suras were collected by his aide Zayed and compiled in no particular order his accomodating pronouncements are generally taken to have been given during his first stay in Mecca.

    Caliph Umar destroyed competing versions leaving an approved version. A handful of slight variants exist deriving from ambiguities in Classic Arabic, which otherwise literate Arabs cannot read.

    Early on Muhammed accepted Jews and Christians as ‘people of the Book’, lesser brothers in monotheism. Whether ‘the Book’ refers to the Bible is in some doubt. Shooresh, a Palestinian evangelical last out of Atlanta or Texas, showed that Muhammed’s source for stories of Abraham, Moses, Solomon, et al., was the Talmud.

    An uncle was a Nestorian and the stories of Jesus and Mary are assumed to be thus derived. Various sects in Syria, Turkey and Iran venerate Jesus and Mary to a degree above the more numerous sects.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  216. Change those robes, oh Elders of Zarthog.

    Colonel Haiku (c26934)

  217. Thus I know better than them [the NT authors], let alone better than you, what it is conceivable that Jesus and his disciples could have believed, and what is not.
    Comment by Milhouse — 12/29/2011 @ 11:20 am

    Could someone, other than Milhouse, explain to me why this is not one of the most arrogant and condescending statements you’ve ever heard anyone make, including Obama? This is a prime example of why I no longer dialogue with Milhouse, though I will comment on his posts for the sake of other readers at times.

    Though I am surprised somebody (not delusional) would make such a claim, this sounds to me like Milhouse is claiming authoritative, definitive, and complete command of what a small group of people not only believed, but could have even conceivably believed almost 2000 years ago, all the while rejecting the account considered by millions and millions to be the best authority on the subject.

    For observers interested in this exchange, I will point out to you that I acknowledged what I thought were valid points and explained them consistent within an alternative belief system which I believe is no less defensible than Milhouse’s view.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  218. Here MD, I will give it a try:
    Milhouse knows all that, but he still cannot wrap his mind around the concept of the trinity.

    Oh wait. That did not really explain it at all. Hmm . . .

    Okay, I give.

    Icy (711ae3)

  219. 222. Having some familiarity with arrogance myself, I believe he painted himself into a corner and can’t climb down.

    Not knowing POA, I would assume they bear some responsibility in interpreting a text regardless of the translation.

    Even if the KSV isn’t the greatest, its contribution to English is humongous.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  220. Comment by MD in Philly — 12/29/2011 @ 12:10 pm

    Milhouse and I are Jews. We know better than non Jews how other Jews would think, because we’ve been massively exposed to the same things they are in terms of Biblical interpretation, etc. How we view things is very close to other Jews raised in the Rabbinic tradition would view them.

    Just the same as if you were to state that you know better than any non-doctor what a doctor would do in certain circumstances.

    Sedom (I have no idea how the standard English transliteration turns the first vowel into an O)

    Because it came into English through the Greek. In the same way Gomorrah was given a “G” which it lacks in the original Hebrew–and for the same reason Chavah lost her “Chet” and turned into Eve.

    I would phrase Milhouse’s statement a little less broadly, by saying that we know how an average Jew would think better than almost all Gentiles. But the sentiment is the same.

    Therefore:
    But if you (or Milhouse, actually) wants to tell me what the disciples of Jesus “really believed” then that is another matter, as far as I can see.

    I can’t tell you what Peter or any of the other early Christians believed–I don’t think anyone can–but I can tell you how the average Jew of that era and place would have thought. I can tell you what the Christians of the last half of the first century CE thought because we have the New Testament as evidence. But the Christians of the last half of the first century were no longer average Jews. Many, if not most, of them were not even Jews. What the very first Christians believed–those, say, who were gathered together that first Pentecost–is much more murkier. Somehow they changed from average to non average Jews, but the details are lost. One thing we can be sure of is that, contrary to what Gary G maintains, they did not think of Jesus in the way later generations did. The idea of the Trinity, the idea of the Double Nature of Christ, and similar aspects of the Mystery of the Incarnation, took almost five hundred years to figure out, and even then (witness the Arians, Nestorians, Monophysites, to name only the biggest and best known groups) there was a wild divergence of opinion. And that doesn’t even count the Gnostic Christians. There were, for instance, the Ebionites, who only accepted a form of the Gospel of Matthew, viewed the laws of the Torah (such as kashrut) as being still in force, rejected the idea of Jesus being divine, and gradually faded out in the first decades of the second century CE. There were definite linkages to the early Church and the Ebionites–it is thought that James (the one described as “the brother of the Lord”) was their original leader. But the very existence of the Ebionites confirms that the divinity of Jesus was not generally accepted among Christians during the first century CE, and the phrase “Son of God” did not mean to them what it means to Christians now.

    jbs (1b86f1)

  221. I hate Meryl Streep.

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  222. jbs-
    I appreciate your comments. I think saying that you, as a Jew, understand how a Jew thinks generally better than I, a Gentile, is one thing. I think it is a different thing to say that you, as a Jew, always understand how person “A”, a Jew, thinks about something better than I is to minimize a person’s individuality and overestimate cultural uniformity. This is not an issue of Jew vs. Gentile. Two men who grew up in Appalachia with conservative baptist backgrounds with Irish roots may believe quite different things. I’ve known Jews that were Conservative, Reconstructionist, Reformed, and none of the above. I experienced a wide range of views on various subjects.

    For another matter, you do not need to look at a “Christian” perspective of who Jesus is today with that of the church 1900, 1700, or 500 years ago. Biblical literacy is quite poor in the English speaking world these days. The majority of people in the US call themselves Christians. The majority of people in the US also think there is no objective moral standards. By any historical orthodox (small o) Judeo-Christian standard those two findings are incompatible.

    Lastly, as you pointed out and I alluded to, Milhouse’s claim was not that he knew what the typical belief of a Jew was in roughly 30 AD, but that he knew what roughly a dozen Jewish men (who may not have even existed) could have “conceivably believed”. I explicitly agreed with how “bizarre” would be the idea of a mere human to claim to be divine. According to the NT narrative, the Jewish leaders of the day understood this and is the given reason they wanted him executed. perfectly consistent.

    Now, if you want to say the NT as we have it is untrustworthy go right ahead. Then it seems to me kind of ridiculous to talk about what a person said if you don’t even think they existed.

    Throughout history including today one can find all kinds of deviation of belief. If there was no Jesus who was born, crucified, and rose again, then it doesn’t really matter much who believes what, now does it? In fact the question of what does it mean that “Jesus is the Son of God” is still an active one, with different groups believing different things, and whether such different groups are “Christians” or not is a debated opinion in some of the circumstances.

    When Abram was looking at the stars at night in Ur, was it the expectation of all of those he lived with that there was one God and only one God above all others, and that on occasion He “spoke” to individual people, or did Abram experience something that had not been foreseen?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  223. ______________________________________________

    1. There is nothing at all in the text to support the supposition that the problem with the attempted rape was its homosexual aspect.

    But that’s assuming rape, certainly based on the innumerable infamous instances of that throughout history, frequently revolving around wars and conquests, often pertained to male-on-male contact. In fact, the very nature of homosexual rape is such an exception to the rule that I’m not aware of it being pointed out as even a minor part of the sordid aspect of most civilizations’ history.

    Moreover, the very nature of Lot offering his daughters instead of his two male guests (angels disguised as human males) to the would-be male rapists — all by itself — not only indicated the ridiculously desperate bind that Lot was facing, but that his use of virginal young women as “bait” to the mob apparently wasn’t alluring to them in the slightest. Huh? Ya gotta be kidding me! Guys not aroused by the imagery of young females but instead horny for two dudes?! Sorry, but that alone sounds like a plot line straight out of West Hollywood or San Francisco.

    So to believe the story of Lot and Sodom somehow doesn’t indict a peculiarly homosexual form of perversion and violence run amok, as much as it indicts perversion and violence in general to the nth degree? If one wants to buy into that idea, then the proper corresponding reply from that same person should be: “And other than THAT, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

    Mark (31bbb6)

  224. ____________________________________________

    2. Even if this incident had been about homosexuality, rather than inhospitality or violence — even if the mob had indeed proposed merely to seduce the visitors — you can’t get around the fact that the sentence of destruction had already been passed.

    First of all, I have to chuckle when you make it sound like (or would like to believe that) a lack of hospitality is uppermost on the list of sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. That makes me think of a typical liberal who, when confronted with the news of a person being robbed by mugger, instead of exclaiming, “how horrible—I hope the victim wasn’t hurt! I hope he or she didn’t lose much!,” will say, “such a shame!—the robber probably came from a broken, unloving home! We need better schools, healthcare and daycare centers!”

    As for the story of Lot and Sodom, whether the two infamous towns of vice and inequity were already sentenced to doom or not, is it too much of a stretch to assume the Bible was configured in such a way as to make the predicament of Lot, his daughters, the 2 angels, and the males of Sodom wanting to rape not females but dudes, a case of the final, last straw? That certainly from a purely symbolic standpoint, it was an event of such freakish, deviant proportions, that the trigger truly was pulled right then and there?

    Mark (31bbb6)

  225. one must always take care to rape the correct gender

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  226. 225. An interesting feeling of ‘cultural’ solipsism. Following Wittgenstein, however, anything that cannot be expressed to another cannot be understood at all.

    We readily admit that the scriptures have a context, that of a melting pot of Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic peoples living and trading together for centuries. The mix of language remnants from the Qumran thru Bar Kokhbar Galilee discoveries betray an evenly divided mix.

    So throughout the Hellinistic period peoples in Israel, a King’s Highway along the coast and another transJordan spoke multiple languages and were aware of other cultures.

    At the same time the Hebrew is an Eastern mindset, the Greek Western. And attempts to use Attic Greek philosophy to understand Paul or John are absurd. Matthew, Mark and John were Jews and their Gospels manifest that fact.

    If you know something to be true yet are unable to express it, you are false.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  227. So, I’m going to go out on a limb and ask:

    This thread isn’t about Romney’s electability anymore, right?

    Ag80 (1f2371)

  228. 232. We got here because Joseph Smith believes the Bible where it is properly translated.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  229. It went over the rails, like the eighteen wheeler in that dream sequence in’BrainStorm;

    narciso (87e966)

  230. The Joseph Smith? I thought he was dead. I need a drink — or two.

    Excuse me.

    Ag80 (1f2371)

  231. 229. And the survivors begat the Palestinian peoples thru incest. Oy.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  232. 225. “But the very existence of the Ebionites confirms that the divinity of Jesus was not [universally] accepted among Christians during the first century CE”

    FIFY

    Why not go the full Monty and claim Christianity is just a heretical sect of Judaism?

    It is believed that most of the Christians in China have had no exposure to the written Word.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  233. The NT authors…were coming from a pagan background, and were antisemites to boot

    Where in the world are you getting that from?

    Gerald A (9d78e8)

  234. Comment by Mark — 12/29/2011 @ 7:58 pm
    Mark, you’ve heard of “prison rape”? Heterosexual men raping other men not to satisfy sexual urges but to prove their physical dominance?

    What the Bible describes as happening in Sodom is an instance of that. The motivation of that mob was not sexual–it was intent on proving their dominance over strangers.

    The primary sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were hatred of strangers and the poor and perversion of justice. Look up the references to Sodom in the Prophets and you’ll see those are the sins the Prophets specifically linked to Sodom–not sexual perversions.

    Comment by gary gulrud — 12/30/2011 @ 3:29 am

    Actually, ‘heretical Jewish sect’ is exactly how Christianity started out. It just grew into a separate religion.

    And the Gospel of John may have been written by a Jew, but it is chock full of Greek thinking. The very opening passage–en archai kai Logos would make no sense unless you were familiar with Greek/Greco-Jewish ideas about the Logos”

    JBS (437df2)

  235. That’s all subtext, but the thing above it, as they called it in Barcelona, is the text.

    narciso (87e966)

  236. The NT authors…were coming from a pagan background, and were antisemites to boot

    I’m familiar with a number of theories, claiming to be grounded in scholarly analysis (which began with the discredited theories of the 18th century Tubingen School ), that cast doubt on the generally accepted origins of certain of the New Testament books but this one is outside anything I’ve ever heard.

    Those “pagans” who wrote the New Testament sure knew a lot about the Old Testament

    A few scholars have theorized Matthew was written not by the disciple Matthew but an unknown Greek. That would be strange if true, since it has the most Old Testament quotes of any NT book. Maybe that claim is accepted as established fact by Jews and you then generalized it to the entire NT.

    Gerald A (9d78e8)

  237. And the Gospel of John may have been written by a Jew, but it is chock full of Greek thinking. The very opening passage–en archai kai Logos would make no sense unless you were familiar with Greek/Greco-Jewish ideas about the Logos

    Logos is a Greek word but it’s not a Greek idea. The use of the word Logos was Greek for the Aramaic word Memra, from the Targum, which means the same thing, “word”.

    Gerald A (9d78e8)

  238. 240. Ex. 19:3 “If you do this I will regard you as a nation of priests”

    In no way does the Mosaic covenant extend to Gentiles, taking hold of the Abrahamic covenant of faith.

    If we may say that you and Milhouse are holding up your obligation, you are nonetheless ignorant of the epistemology requistite to maintain your opinions as objective brokers of Truth.

    Right belief in Christianity is a much less stringent taskmaster than the moral rectitude of Jewish law, and yet you demand of Christians that they have a Greek understanding of Trinity to be Christians?

    Logos means many things in ancient Greek, what does it mean to you?

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  239. Comment by Gerald A — 12/30/2011 @ 7:25 am

    I should have said Matthew has the most OT quotes of any of the four Gospels. The bottom line remains that it has lots of explicit OT citations.

    Gerald A (9d78e8)

  240. 240. “en archai kai Logos”

    Which reads “in the beginning and logos”. Replace kai with “was the”.

    245. And the preponderance of Matthew’s quotations would seem to have arisen from the Hebrew, i.e., are not directly from the Septuagint.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  241. Right belief in Christianity is a much less stringent taskmaster than the moral rectitude of Jewish law, and yet you demand of Christians that they have a Greek understanding of Trinity to be Christians?

    No, I expect Christians to have an understanding of the philosophical background of John if they want to properly understand it, and that means being familiar with Greek philosophy. The Gospel of John is actually one long argument against Gnosticism.

    245. And the preponderance of Matthew’s quotations would seem to have arisen from the Hebrew, i.e., are not directly from the Septuagint.

    Which is why Matthew is generally believed to be the only gospel actually written by a Jew. It’s certainly the only gospel accepted by the Ebionites, the most “Jewish” group of Christians in the first century CE>

    Logos means many things in ancient Greek, what does it mean to you?
    Logos is a Greek word but it’s not a Greek idea. The use of the word Logos was Greek for the Aramaic word Memra, from the Targum, which means the same thing, “word”.
    I’m talking about what “Logos” means in the context of Rabbinic Judaism, and how first century Jews would have understood it.
    1)The idea, in the context of Judaism, was invented by Philo in his attempt to reconcile Plato and Judaism. He turned into a dead end. There are certain things in Merkavah Mysticism and later Judaism which may be seen as the equivalent of the Logos, but they came much later. The closest thing to it in the Bible is probably the Proverb’s depiction of “Wisdom”. But in the context of first century Judaism, the idea of the Logos means nothing, and any reference to it is certainly influenced by Greek philosophy, and not anything native to Judaism. That’s why Philo invented it, because he couldn’t find anything already in use to express his idea of the Logos.
    And the Hebrew/Aramaic word that would best express “word’ is d’var/davra–which also carried the meaning “thing”–exactly the sort of thing that no translation can really get across, because no English word can express both ideas at the same time.

    JBS (27df7a)

  242. Opposition to Romney is homophobic

    /Daleyrocks

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  243. 247. “The Gospel of John is actually one long argument against Gnosticism”

    A neat trick since Valentinus was born circa 100 AD, about the time of its writing according to Polycarp circa 110, during Trajan’s reign. Again the earliest fragment of any NT writing is that of John’s Gospel, on papyrus in the John Ryland library, dated to first half of the second century.

    Could you be reading in something not present in the author’s mind, just maybe?

    “The idea, in the context of Judaism, was invented by Philo in his attempt to reconcile Plato and Judaism.”

    Philo was Alexandrian and no other evidence of his influence is apparent, e.g., allegorical construction of the parables. See CH Dodd “Parables of the Kingdom”, 1935.

    Why would you suppose a Greek speaking Galilean would know Philo or Attic philosophy? Can you articulate the evidence in your own words?

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  244. In the same way Gomorrah was given a “G” which it lacks in the original Hebrew–

    The ayin had something very close to a “g” sound but later generations couldn’t pronounce it after Hebrew ceased to be langage spoken by children.

    It is the same with Gaza (which is azah in Hebrew. The ayin is a silent letter)

    I understand the g sound is preserved in Arabic aand maybe was also by the Yemenite Jews.

    Not all Biblical names of people or places beginning with an ayin have a G sound preserved in translation but that’s the explanation for the G that I read.

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  245. A handful of slight variants exist deriving from ambiguities in Classic Arabic, which otherwise literate Arabs cannot read.

    Arabic is really a scribble, with four letters having the same scribble distinguished only by dots which were not used originally. The text of the Koran, I have read, was only finally fixed in the year 903, and alternative early texts are kind of embarassing to them.

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  246. 247. In ancient Greek logos can mean ‘reasoning’, perhaps that’s the connection to ‘wisdom’.

    Another choice might be ‘discourse’, connoting something like “every Word proceeding from His mouth”.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  247. 250, 251. Thanks for the info.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  248. Which is why Matthew is generally believed to be the only gospel actually written by a Jew.

    According to who/what is Matthew “generally believed” to be the only gospel actually written by a Jew? It is considered to have been written for a Jewish audience. Maybe that’s what you mean.

    The Gospel of John is actually one long argument against Gnosticism

    John is mainly an account of events as are the other three gospels. Have you read it? Post 249 demonstrates one huge problem with this illogical conclusion. Whose conclusions are you repeating?

    Gerald A (9d78e8)

  249. The idea, in the context of Judaism, was invented by Philo in his attempt to reconcile Plato and Judaism. He turned into a dead end. There are certain things in Merkavah Mysticism and later Judaism which may be seen as the equivalent of the Logos, but they came much later. The closest thing to it in the Bible is probably the Proverb’s depiction of “Wisdom”. But in the context of first century Judaism, the idea of the Logos means nothing, and any reference to it is certainly influenced by Greek philosophy, and not anything native to Judaism. That’s why Philo invented it, because he couldn’t find anything already in use to express his idea of the Logos.

    You have a distressing tendency to make authoritative sounding statements (“it is certainly influenced by Greek philosophy, and not anything native to Judaism”) without as far as I can see any solid ground for them.

    According to The Oxford Dictionary of Jewish Religion, as cited by Dr. Michael Brown, in Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2, Theological Objections, p. 21-22,

    Although in a sense an aspect of the Divine, the Logos often appears as a separate entity, namely a half-personal emanation of God. The concept was appropriated by Philo in order to bridge the gap between the transcendent God of Judaism and the divine principle experienced by human beings. This view of the Logos as a mediating principle between God and material creation could link up with biblical references to the creative “Word of God,” by which the heavens were made (Ps. 33:6) and with the concept of meimra (Aram.; “word”) in Targum literature (especially as it appears in Targum Onkelos).

    Targum Onkelos was the most authoritative Rabbinic Aramaic commentary/translation of the Torah in existence at that time. They were regularly read in synagogues along with the Torah.

    Gerald A (9d78e8)

  250. If, for the sake of argument, one assumes that the Bible, Old and New Testaments, was from God and was God’s attempt to communicate to humanity, there are a number of issues that arise:
    1. God’s knowledge, understanding, and wisdom most far surpass even the most intelligent human, so God must cross that divide. (Newton “thinking God’s thoughts after Him”).
    2. Assuming God is more just than being concerned with only the most educated and brilliant, then the Bible must not only contain information challenging to the most brilliant scholar, but also information at a pretty basic level that a child or adult with limited mental abilities can understand.

    We have the idea that sin is wrong behavior in relation to God, and that only God can forgive sins, but Jesus also claims to forgive sins. So we have the problem of knowing that Scripture teaches God is one, that God only can forgive sins, and Jesus claims to be able to forgive sins. So we have the choice of saying that someone is confused or lying (either Jesus or people who wrote down what they thoght/claim he said), or that in some way Jesus is Divine as well as human, but yet he is somehow still “One with the Father”. A brilliant scholar can write a thesis and a dozen books exploring those propositions, and a child or cognitively challenged adult can take it at face value realizing that since God is God, why should we be able to understand everything about Him anyway?

    Actually, ‘heretical Jewish sect’ is exactly how Christianity started out. JBS

    FWIW, this entire discussion started out by my commenting with puzzlement over someone’s use of the phrase “Messianic Jew”. But let’s not start this conversation all over again.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  251. __________________________________________

    Mark, you’ve heard of “prison rape”? Heterosexual men raping other men not to satisfy sexual urges but to prove their physical dominance?

    For there to be an actual, legitimate case of rape, doesn’t a guy have to have an erection? If so, then at least some sexual arousal is required on the part of the perpetrator.

    I’d assume that any guy who is truly hetero/straight, if he wants to show his dominance, will have no problem lording his power over others in totally non-sexual ways. So my sense is if the story of Lot and Sodom were an attempt to illustrate a “hatred of strangers,” then the last thing the narrative would be aiming for is a scene involving a mob of guys wanting to have sex with 2 males. However, that’s assuming the Bible wasn’t written by the types who fly rainbow-colored flags and live in places like San Francisco.

    The primary sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were hatred of strangers and the poor and perversion of justice.

    At least when it comes to the first part of your contention, that sounds like quite a leap to me. Are you sure you’re not screening your assumptions through the same coke-bottle-thick glasses that make, for example, certain people (almost all of the left) claim that a desire among many in the US to crack down on decades of huge amounts of illegal immigration is actually and totally a matter of “hatred of strangers,” or something full of irrationality?

    Mark (411533)

  252. Comment by Gerald A — 12/30/2011 @ 11:13 am
    My knowledge of Aramaic is rather limited, but I do have a copy of Onkelos on the Pentateuch, and looking through some of the more obvious places earlier this evening to check on this, I could find no instance of the word “Devar” being translated by such a word as “meimra”, which I’m fairly certain is a form of a rootform that is best translated in English by such terms as ‘speech’ and “speak”. As to the rest of what Dr. Brown says (whomever he is–I’m totally
    unfamiliar with the name), you’ll note that he’s actually saying the same thing about Philo that I said.
    Comment by MD in Philly — 12/30/2011 @ 12:31 pm
    Once it’s understood that, being Jewish, I belong to the “someone was confused or lying” side of the discussion, there’s not actually anything in your comment that I disagree with.
    Comment by Mark — 12/30/2011 @ 4:11 pm
    Homosexual rape is in fact one of the classic ways of demonstrating total dominance. The Torah was demonstrating how perverse and thorough the hatred of others held by the Sodomite actually was.
    Are you sure you’re not screening your assumptions through the same coke-bottle-thick glasses that make, for example, certain people (almost all of the left) claim that a desire among many in the US to crack down on decades of huge amounts of illegal immigration is actually and totally a matter of “hatred of strangers,” or something full of irrationality?
    I’m screening my assumptions through a passage from that well known Communist propagandist, Ezekiel (Chapter 16:48-50):
    verse 48:Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
    And notice the prophet speaks of Sodom and HER daughters and makes no mention of anything sexual in that verse.

    JBS (33a0bd)

  253. (actually that was verse 49 I quoted in full)

    JBS (33a0bd)

  254. ________________________________________________

    And notice the prophet speaks of Sodom and HER daughters and makes no mention of anything sexual in that verse.

    JBS, common sense can be brought not just to socio-political issues but to theological ones too. Or it can be brought to whether a work of literature is being interpreted logically or illogically (or foolishly).

    I like the 2-plus-2-equals-four nature of this assessment:

    http://www.str.org

    Yale historian John Boswell offers four possible reasons for the destruction of Sodom:

    (1) The Sodomites were destroyed for the general wickedness which had prompted the Lord to send angels to the city to investigate in the first place; (2) the city was destroyed because the people of Sodom had tried to rape the angels; (3) the city was destroyed because the men of Sodom had tried to engage in homosexual intercourse with the angels…; (4) the city was destroyed for inhospitable treatment of visitors sent from the Lord.

    John Boswell thinks that explanation (2) “is the most obvious of the four,” though it’s been “largely ignored by biblical scholars.” Boswell expands on explanation (4), the one he seems to favor as most consistent with “modern scholarship” since 1955:

    Lot was violating the custom of Sodom…by entertaining unknown guests within the city walls at night without obtaining the permission of the elders of the city. When the men of Sodom gathered around to demand that the strangers be brought out to them, “that they might know them,” they meant no more than to “know” who they were, and the city was consequently destroyed not for sexual immorality, but for the sin of inhospitality to strangers.

    Apparently, it did not occur to Boswell that possibilities (2) and (4) seem to be at odds. If “to know” the angels means merely to interrogate them, then there is no attempted rape, only an attempted interrogation. If, on the other hand, the men meant to have sexual relations with the visitors (the traditional view) and are guilty of attempted rape, then the interrogation explanation must be abandoned (rendering Boswell’s above summary of the views of modern scholarship somewhat incoherent).

    My principle concern here is to determine if the biblical record indicates that (4) homosexuality factored in at all.

    First, Sodom and Gomorrah were judged because of grave sin. Genesis 18:20 says, “And the Lord said, ‘The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.'” Indeed, not even ten righteous people could be found in the city.

    …[P]eculiar qualities of the sin are described by Jude and Peter. Jude 7 depicts the activity as “gross immorality” and going after “strange flesh.” Peter wrote that Lot was “oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men,” and “by what he saw and heard…felt his righteous soul tormented day after day with their lawless deeds.” These people were “those who indulged the flesh in its corrupt desires and despised authority” (2 Peter 2:7-10).

    …[T]here are 27 references outside of Genesis where Sodom is mentioned. It is emblematic of gross immorality, deepest depravity, and ultimate judgment.

    Was the city destroyed because the men of Sodom tried to rape the angels (option (2) above)? The answer is obviously no. God’s judgment could not have been for the rapacious attempt itself because His decision to destroy the cities was made days before the encounter (see Genesis 18:20).

    Was this a mere interrogation? Though the Hebrew word yada (“to know”) has a variety of nuances, it is properly translated in the NASB as “have [sexual] relations with.” Though the word does not always have sexual connotations, it frequently does, and this translation is most consistent with the context of Genesis 9:5. There is no evidence that what the townsmen had in mind was a harmless interview. Lot’s response—“Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly”—makes it clear they had other intentions.

    Did God judge Sodom and Gomorrah for inhospitality? Is it true that God’s judgment was not for homosexuality per se, but because the people of the town were discourteous to the visitors, violating sacred sanctuary customs by attempting to rape them? A couple of observations raise serious doubt.

    First, the suggestion itself is an odd one. To say that the men of Sodom were inhospitable because of the attempted rape is much like saying a husband who’s just beaten his wife is an insensitive spouse. It may be true, but it’s hardly a meaningful observation given the greater crime.

    Second — and more to the textual evidence — it doesn’t fit the collective biblical description of the conduct that earned God’s wrath: a corrupt, lawless, sensuous activity that Lot saw and heard day after day, in which the men went after strange flesh.

    Third, are we to believe that God annihilated two whole cities because they had bad manners, even granting that such manners were much more important then than now? There’s no textual evidence that inhospitality was a capital crime. However, homosexuality was punishable by death in Israel (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). Does God ignore the capital crime, yet level two entire cities for a wrong that is not listed anywhere as a serious offense?

    We know the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were homosexual, “both young and old, all the people from every quarter” (19:6), to the point of disregarding available women (19:5-8). After they were struck sightless they still persisted (19:11). These men were totally given over to an overwhelming passion that did not abate even when they were supernaturally blinded by angels.

    Stinginess and arrogance alone did not draw God’s wrath. Ezekiel anchored the list of crimes with the word “abominations.” This word takes us right back to homosexuality. The conduct Moses refers to in Genesis 18 he later describes in Leviticus as an “abomination” in God’s eyes.

    ^ Another example of the way that innate biases of either liberalism or conservatism affects not just the way a topic such as, for example, “Is Romney’s electability a myth?” is analyzed, but also the way an important text of human civilization can be defined and understood. And once again, left-leaning sentiment appears to corrupt or destroy common sense and basic logic.

    Mark (31bbb6)

  255. JBS- To agree with the well known Jew Dennis Prager, I prefer clarity to (mistaken) agreement.
    I have no problem with someone stating they think the New Testament is filled with error, the problem is when someone tells me they know the NT is in error because they know what all people believed in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the local environs almost 2,000 yrs ago.

    I find it disappointing that I am always in the position fo defending my view but you never feel the need to address questions that I raise, such as the environment of belief that Abram lived in; or whether it is more reasonable to believe that the messiah must be more than a mere human, or that a mere human can bring about God’s kingdom of righteousness and peace on earth.

    FWIW, I think the obtainable goal in a discussion of religious views is to clarify understanding and see if a belief system is internally consistent and a plausible explanation of reality. I don’t think one can “prove” any specific religious/world view belief, only look for consistency. So, in the overall context of what I believe, it makes sense to me that Simeon’s prophecy is evidence that it was possible for a Jew at that time to have an inkling of an idea that the promised Messiah would not be an overtly victorious figure as generally anticipated. And your and Milhouse’s claim of what the typical Jewish belief at the time is perfectly consistent with the NT narrative, as I previously said. Milhouse argued that no Jew named Jesus could have even conceivably believed that the Jewish Messiah would be of both human and divine nature. I say the narrative describes just that, and, quite reasonably in one perspective, the Jewish authorities wanted him executed for blasphemy.

    As far as the Sodom and Gomorrah discussion, which has occurred before, is that we can make the error of taking one bit of information and act as if excludes other bits of information. Unless a passage of writing explicitly says “X and only X”, we often think “since X, then Y can’t be”. If I said, “One general characteristic of mammals is that they give birth to live young” I would be correct. If I thought that statement also meant that “No mammal lays eggs” I would be making an overbroad interpretation. That’s a long way of saying that just because a passage in Ezekiel says one thing about Sodom doesn’t necessarily mean that one passage encompasses everything there is to be said. but that is all I will say on that subject.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  256. Mark, in this case, RIGHT-leaning sentiment has corrupted or destroyed common sense.

    At the very least, Mr. Koukl acknowledges, and then tries to evade the fact that the term translated as “abomination” applies to a number of things–eating pork, for example. Perhaps the people of Sodom were destroyed because they had too high a percentage of pork in their diet :)

    Myself, I’ll stick with Ezekiel and what Ezekiel explicitly said–hatred of strangers and perversion of justice and lack of charity to the poor and the weak were the sins of Sodom. Mr. Koukl is reading a whole bunch of things into the text of Genesis that aren’t actually there.

    Stinginess and arrogance alone did not draw God’s wrath. says Mr. Koukl. Actually, according to Ezekiel, they are precisely what drew down the wrath of God. Those were the detestable acts Ezekiel was concerned with.

    JBS (510a0a)

  257. I find it disappointing that I am always in the position fo defending my view but you never feel the need to address questions that I raise, such as the environment of belief that Abram lived in; or whether it is more reasonable to believe that the messiah must be more than a mere human, or that a mere human can bring about God’s kingdom of righteousness and peace on earth.

    Sorry for that, especially as you’re one of the more reasonable people on this subject. As to the specific points you mention–what you said about Abram seemed like a common sense observation, not a question, so I guess you and I think rather alike on that point. As to the second–I suppose you’ve hit on one of the prime distinctions between Christianity and Judaism. The Jewish answer would be, of course a merely human person could do all that, since God would be helping him.

    it makes sense to me that Simeon’s prophecy is evidence that it was possible for a Jew at that time to have an inkling of an idea that the promised Messiah would not be an overtly victorious figure as generally anticipated.

    Actually, rabbinic tradition did develop the idea of the Messiah ben-Yosef (son of Joseph, meaning the patriarch Joseph, not the carpenter guy from Nazareth, of course) who would be defeated but would prepare the way for the victories of the Messiah ben-David (son of David). But I don’t know how far back that idea actually goes–it may have developed under the impact of Christianity.

    There is also the very separate question of whether Simeon or anyone like him ever actually uttered that prophecy–or whether it, and many other things in the Gospels, are simply stories that developed in early Christian tradition–in other words, the question of how accurate the Gospels actually are–in which case Simeon’s prophecy can’t be used as evidence of what Jews thought c. 1 CE.

    JBS (510a0a)

  258. This question of whether Romney will beat Obama (let us be precise, it is not whether he is electible), is a very good one.

    It is intrinsically complex to do the analysis by factors and by states. The case can be made either way. Certainly a one dimensional question to the “independents” is not sufficient. However, there is a reliable way that you can determine the answer.

    Find 20-30 people around you at random as possible tha had voted for Bush in 2004. Rmember that Bush won the popular and electoral by an OK, by not great, margin.

    Ask them “would you be sure to vote for Romney this year if he is the candidate of the GOP”. If all but 2-4 say so, he has a chance. If 5 or more will not commit to you privately that they will vote for Romney, then he is toast.

    Why?

    Because the Obama voters will not flip to Romney. What would be the point? You can ask 10 Obama voters from 2008. “Would you vote for Romney over Obama?” If more than 2 do not say they would, it is not enough to make up for Romney’s poor turn out of the GOP “base”.

    What you will likely find is that ROmney offers nothing to independents just as he offers nothing to the GOP.

    Pasha (f01d97)

  259. JBS-
    Thank you for the reply.

    My comment about Abram was I guess an observation, not a question, unless it was thought my observation was wrong. My point in making the reference was that if Jesus and His disciples (if they existed) were bound by the thinking around them at the time, why was not Abram likewise bound? The apparent answer would be that if God chooses to reveal himself to a person it doesn’t matter what the surrounding influence is, which then circles back to the argument of whether Jesus could have believed in a divine nature of the messiah is just an argument of begging the question.

    Of course, if one doubts the validity of the NT then one doesn’t have to think about any of it. How do you read the Torah? Was there really a Moses who received tablets from God?

    I never heard about the idea of two Messiahs, which is interesting. The short version of the typical Christian view incudes the “suffering servant” of Isaiah 53 describing one aspect of the Messiah describing the atoning death along with other passages more overtly describing “sitting on David’s throne” and a “Kingdom which cannot be shaken”.

    My daughter has recently started watching old episodes of “Dr. Who” on netflix. Perhaps we’ll see him visit Jerusalem mid first-century and find out what really happened. 😉

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  260. We can test this here.

    Think well and answer the question with honesty if you want to know the true result.

    “If you voted for Bush in 2004, then do you guarantee that you will vote for Romney if Romney is the GOP nominee?”

    Pasha: Voted for Bush, but no to Romney.

    Pasha (f01d97)

  261. “Sorry for that, especially as you’re one of the more reasonable people on this subject.”

    JBS – I think MD in Philly is one of the only ones left with any patience because of the attitude he describes.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  262. 267. “the only ones left with any patience because of the attitude he describes”

    Would that be the attitude of the intellecutally incurious willing to accept opinion uncritically, unwilling to investigate the theories one carelessly bandies about?

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  263. “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an unlanceable lesion.”

    ― Gary Camus

    Colonel Haiku (760682)

  264. 269. While sleepless on my cot in Orange, bulbous tumors about my groin. Damned flea-infested rattus rattus Yersinia pestis vector.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  265. “When the soul suffers too much, it develops a taste for Minnesota.”

    ― Gary Camus

    Colonel Haiku (760682)

  266. “Would that be the attitude of the intellecutally incurious willing to accept opinion uncritically, unwilling to investigate the theories one carelessly bandies about?”

    gary – No, words mean something. It means the comments acting less reasonably in these discussions according to the description of JBS due to the universal knowledge and psychic powers claimed by people such as Milhouse.

    Not even close.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  267. The world population of Norwegians and Jews are roughly equal, yet the contribution of these nations not merely not close but not worth comparing.

    All the same, we have a few sluggards mucking about.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  268. “After another moment’s silence she mumbled that I was peculiar, that that was probably why she loved me but that one day I might disgust her for the very same reason.”

    ― Gary Camus

    Colonel Haiku (760682)

  269. _______________________________________________

    Mark, in this case, RIGHT-leaning sentiment has corrupted or destroyed common sense.

    Quite honestly, JBS, when I first saw your argument, although I did have suspicions about what was motivating you, I didn’t think it totally implausible that the story of Sodom and Lot originated not from a contempt for (or horror towards) deviancy run amok, but from the argument you choose to promote. However, I also had a hunch that the scenario of a gang of males trying to rape 2 guys (and the gang also refusing the offer of 2 young women) was so lurid and extreme on its surface — again, like a bad porno movie — that to not focus on that but to instead cite other things, particularly the idea of “inhospitality” or a lack of generosity, was absurd and even idiotic.

    There are left-leaning biases in the human brain, JBS. Try not to trust them, try not to have faith in them, and certainly try not to presume they help inculcate common sense—-or generosity, or decency. After all, if you’re less bothered by the idea of 2 people being raped and instead more bothered by the concept of a lack of charitableness or hospitality, that response is anything but humane or decent. But it is typically leftist in nature.

    Mark (411533)

  270. How do you read the Torah? Was there really a Moses who received tablets from God?

    Yes. or to be very explicit, I believe the Torah as we have it today (meaning the traditional Masoretic text) is the same Torah which was revealed through Moses, and the entire text of the Torah was authored by the Deity Itself, Moses merely act as a scribe or secretary taking dictation, and that even the apparent mispellings and bad grammar come direct from the Divine Author with the intention of deepening and furthering the Revelation of Himself; that in those cases where the meaning of the Torah seems to conflict with what is known through modern science, either our human understanding of the Torah is wrong (and in such cases the Torah itself indicates that a deeper meaning is involved) or our state of knowledge is still imperfect and has not attained to the final truth of the matter, and that eventually we humans will come to discover the full resolution of such apparent conflicts, which will happen no later than the coming of the Messiah, when every human will perceive the Divine directly for themselves and have an understanding and knowledge surpassing ours.

    JBS (cc1ec4)

  271. There are left-leaning biases in the human brain

    Then have you considered the possibility that the One in Whose Image we are created placed those biases there, and that therefore perhaps those biases are a good thing?

    After all, if you’re less bothered by the idea of 2 people being raped and instead more bothered by the concept of a lack of charitableness or hospitality, that response is anything but humane or decent.

    I’m less bothered by the idea of two people being attacked with the intent of gang raping them (which is, after all, what actually happened according to the Bible) than I am by the idea of people being left to starve to death or die of curable illnesses by the surrounding community, by a judicial process that is content to let the innocent be punished for crimes they did commit, the poor go uncompensated for injustices they have suffered, and the powerful corruptly handed more power over the weak–the sins of Sodom as seen by the Rabbis of the Talmud, who based themselves on what the Bible actually says in Genesis and Ezekiel.

    But it is typically leftist in nature.
    It is profoundly Biblical in nature. If you actually read the Bible, you’ll find that God is far more concerned with what might be called economic and social immorality–breaches of the commandment to love your neighbor–than He is with sexual immorality.

    Is the Bible “leftist” in nature? Perhaps. At the very least, it’s not very easy to justify capitalism as modern America thinks of it when basing oneself on the Bible.

    One final note: the episode of Sodom takes place in the context of the life of Abraham, whose great virtue was hospitality and care for his fellow man–he had so much regard for others that he could try to argue with God on behalf of the Cities of the Plain, meaning people who were his exact opposites in the scale of “love of neighbor”.

    JBS (cc1ec4)

  272. crimes they did commit

    should be
    crimes they did not commit

    JBS (cc1ec4)

  273. That was sort of the point I was trying to make, Mark’s point is that the left tries to ‘occupy’
    that responsibility, that is due all of us, also
    Context is important, the Mexican Revolution comes
    in the context of 30 years of a vicious oligarch
    Porfirio Diaz,

    narciso (87e966)

  274. Various comments
    I find it interesting, JBS, that you have such confidence in the Torah, even to the point of thinking apparent mistakes are actually purposeful and intended, yet discount the NT which is more recent.
    Though I suppose you have good reason for that. I know that many dispute authorship and setting of the NT and perhaps the relative recentness gives more opportunity to argue over the material available.

    The Bible is neither Right or Left. It instructs us to be just no matter to the rich or the poor. We are not to honor the rich person because they are rich, neither are we to decide a matter on behalf of the poor person because they are poor. Private property rights are inscribed in the Ten Commandments, but hording your property and not caring for others is wrong. Oppression may come from a political system, but God requires the individual to take responsibilty for what they can in the midst of the corruption.

    Above all, God wants people to look to Him for life and sustenance, not other things or people. (Jeremiah, 2 things were reasons for God’s judgement, turning away from Him, the source of living water, and turning towards false “wells of life”)

    I guess I think raping someone is pretty inhospitable.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  275. We have forgotten this fundamental insight that Madison did discern;

    http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa51.htm

    narciso (87e966)

  276. Republicans are center-right that won’t change for a long time.

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  277. And why does Danza consider himself a Republican but support OWS?

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)


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