Navigation: This page 'comments.recd.html' ---> Main Page (Xn) ---> Author. Contact. About Page.

Comments Received

This page collects comments received about these web pages, where it is not appropriate to include the comment on specific pages, and sometimes discusses them. What I write here attempts to take seriously the comments received.

On God's Punishments

Robert 'Composer' Franklin commented "You are deceiving readers because Eve was never barred from eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil, only the man was - Gen. 2:16-17 KJV Story book. Eve wasn't yet even created (Gen. 2:18) KJV Story book. christianity is dishonest and has a lot to answer for!" When it was pointed out that Eve obviously held the constraint to apply to her, by what she told the serpent, RF replied with a tortuous argument (which he emphasised is "copywrite" to himself so I do not cite it here), that what Eve said is not exactly what God said to Adam, so Adam lied and even God lied, whereas the serpent told the truth. Since I do not think it is unreasonable for an understanding (of the constraint) by two different people on two different occasions to be expressed in two different ways, I do not think his argument is very strong. (Indeed, in the Hebrew renderings, the meanings are closer together.) To base the entire demolition of the Bible on it is, in my view, not very wise. Especially since his prose seems filled with the kind of anger that occludes good reason, and ends up in the inconsistency of saying "The stories in Genesis are fables and man made concoctions as is most of the Story book bible" while at the same time citing that same Bible as authoritative.

However, one of his subsequent comments is more useful. Since "The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the father. Every man shall be put to death for his own sin." [Deuteronomy 24:16 (KJV), also Ezekiel 18:20 RSV], then it cannot be that Jesus died for the sins of the people. One weakness in his argument is: does not the Almighty God have the authority to introduce an exception to such statements? If so, then could Jesus be such an exception? Another is that his interpretation ignores the societal or noetic effects of sin, and the greater responsibility of leaders.

For example: When a newspaper magnate takes a selfish, hard, unmerciful, money-first attitude, this pervades the entire organisation. After a time the journalists feel under extreme pressure to hack phone messages, not just of politicians and celebrities, but also of young girls who had just been abducted. Eventually God's judgment falls on the organisation, and a 160-year-old newspaper is shut down to protect those at the top.
God holds leaders to account in a way that cannot be adequately explained by the passage RF cites above. See for example Ezekiel 34. This deserves more detailed consideration than can be given here, but I take Biblical statements to be human language (characterized by tacit meaning much of which is illocutionary rather than perlocutionary), rather than expressions in first-order predicate logic (in which "not" means "never, with no exception at all"). Robert Franklin's style of argument, like that of many fundamentalist Christians, seems more like the latter; if this is so, then his and my ways of arguing simply cannot connect with each other.

A second useful comment from RF is that Jews do not believe in the notion of original sin (as emanating from Adam and spreading unremittingly to the entire human race). He drew my attention to What Jews Believe website. What he cited from it also suggests that death was present before the Fall (being an implication from the command to be fruitful and multiply). These points are worthy of consideration. I see humankind as having a bent away from God and his cosmic plan, and hence a version of Original Sin (see my Beauty of Original Sin), but I hold this notion rather lightly and would not be upset if it were to be proved that there are some human beings for which there is no original sin. I don't agree with the Roman Catholic doctrine, nor with Augustine and perhaps not even Calvin about Original Sin, which is the version that RF seems to dislike, but nor do I agree with the likes of Matthew Fox who rejects the idea. The reason I like the doctrine of original sin is practical not theological. And the reason I believe in it is because of the noetic effects of sin and because of God's love for 'the other' that my sin damages. I could probably accommodate what the website claims Jews believe on this issue, but working that out is work still to be done. However, the fact that Rabbi Stuart Federow, the author of WhatJewsBelieve, claims these things does not mean that it is what the Living God believes; it does not even mean it is what all Jews believe, since the motivation behind that site seems to be specifically to counter organisations like Jews For Jesus.

To coclude: Thank you Robert for some of your points; they will be taken into account as New View develops, even though your attempts to argue leave a lot to be desired.

This page is offered to God as on-going work. Comments, queries welcome.

Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2011. But you may use this material subject to certain conditions.

Part of his pages, that open up discussion and exploration from a Christian ('xn') perspective. Written on the Amiga with Protext. Number of visitors to these pages: Counter.

Created: 19 June 2011. Last updated: