The nature of biblical inspiration

What does it mean when we say that the Bible is inspired by God? And a question we don’t often ask is, in which way is it inspired? The “inspiration” for this post comes from lengthy discussions I’ve been having with atheists over the veracity of the Bible text. If you would like to read the 100-plus comments, you can go here.  I may cover the reliability of the New Testament text some other time, but I would like to talk about how the Bible is inspired here. First, we get this doctrine from this verse:

16 every Writing [is] God-breathed, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for setting aright, for instruction that [is] in righteousness (2 Tim.3:16 YLT )

You’ll probably recognize the verse more like this…

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim.3:16 NKJV)

I used a literal translation first to show that the bracketed “is” is not in the original Greek (it may italicized in your Bible). The text simply says “all Scripture inspired” (Greek: πασα γραφη θεοπνευστος). The reason I bring this up is because some scholars say it may actually mean “all Scripture that is inspired” is profitable (implying that not all text is). While that’s not my subject here, it does bring up some assumptions we make about the nature of inspiration.

First, “inspired” doesn’t mean that God dictated the text verbatim from on high. It means that God “breathed” His life into the text.

The Bible may be inspired but am I inspired when I read it?

One assumption that’s popular in Evangelical Christianity is that inspiration comes by simply reading the text. It can be this way, but it would be a false assumption to say it’s a given. The New Testament clearly says otherwise. Jesus told the Pharisees that searching the Scripture would not lead them to the truth because their hearts weren’t open to Him:

39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. (John 5:39-40 *)

And that the key to “knowing” is not in the reading but in being willing…

15 And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?”
Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.
17 If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. (John 7:15-17 *)

Furthermore, the “Word of God” is not the text, it’s Jesus Christ Himself. And His words are spirit and life:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1, 14 *)

63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.  (John 6:63 *)

Paul reiterates this by telling us that the natural man cannot understand the things of God and it’s the Spirit who gives it life, not the text:

13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  (1 Cor.2:13-14 NKJV *)

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor.3:6 NIV *)

Furthermore, Paul tells us why those with a closed heart cannot understand the things of God:

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.(Rom.1:20-22 NKJV *)

How the Bible is inspired 

The Bible is inspired, not by reading the text like a novel, or studying it like a schoolbook. The living Word is a Person, and when we open our hearts to participate and interact with Him, letting Him go into the deepest part of who we are, He progressively changes us from glory to glory.

12 For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. (Heb. 4:12 AMP *)

18 And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit. (2 Cor.3:18 AMP *)

* Parentheses and brackets in original. All other emphasis added.
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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 36 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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55 Responses to The nature of biblical inspiration

  1. “the key to “knowing” is not in the reading but in being willing…” I am willing!

  2. “The living Word is a Person, and when we open our hearts to participate and interact with Him, letting Him go into the deepest part of who we are, ” Thank you for posting this!

  3. LOL! I see you have been subjected to the atheist inquisition. It is likely due to the fact that you hit on the truth of the matter and the Truth is a person, not a “religion.” We can argue and debate over biblical inerrancy, we can say we don’t like the rules, we can reject religion, we can revoke God’s authority, but we cannot look at the personhood of Jesus Christ, at the grace and mercy of His sacrifice on the cross, at His power to transform lives, and walk away untouched, unscandalized. As you have pointed out, the Word is a person. Grace reaches us on a level that transcends what can be intellectually processed.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Ha…your comment reminds me of one of my favorite Monty Python lines…”No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.” 🙂

      And you’re right, when we finally see that the truth is found in a Person, Jesus Christ, not in just words but in how He touches our deepest longings, the debate is over for us. The rest is just trying to help others see it.

  4. Arkenaten says:

    Hey, Mel.
    Hope you managed to find time to read the link I provided explaining the notion about the anonymous authorship and eyewitness claims on the previous post.
    I’m interested in your critical response

    And I am more than willing to read something that posits the eyewitness/authorship claims if you have a decent link?

    • Mel Wild says:

      Ark, I will look at your link. But it won’t be anything I haven’t heard before. And I don’t care to go down this rabbit hole and engage in links wars. I honestly don’t have the time for that. What you need to answer is (and you haven’t), where is the documentation in the first three centuries that refutes their authorship? All the early church fathers like Polycarp, Ignatius, Clement of Rome, etc., some were probably direct disciples (e.g., Polycarp) attributed the gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. There was no other opinion. You can’t just argue from silence and think you have conclusive proof. All you have is educated speculation by those who want to revise history. But, again, the simplest, most reasonable answer is that they were the authors.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Actually, the question you should ask … if you are honest … is why is there no mention of who wrote them until Ignatius in 180.
      If he knew then, so others would have known long before, surely?
      But all we have is silence for how many years?

      Please read the link. There seems little point in me trying to engage at the moment with one so steeped in the faith.
      And then I’d appreciate it if you were to supply a link that explains your version f the authorship from a scholarly point perspective.
      Before I go, I will ask you this, though:

      What is the point of being a Christian?

    • Mel Wild says:

      Now you are hand waving…provide documentation that ANYONE, skeptic or believer, who refuted their authorship in the first three centuries, Ark.

      And your last question is inane. What is the point is being a bag of chemicals destined to be worm food, Ark?

    • Arkenaten says:

      Hand wave?
      Don’t be ridiculous.
      How could anyone refute if they were no names attached or suggested until Ignatius began suggesting in 180?

      The question is not inane at all. I am not a Christian, and neither are Muslims or Jews.
      So what is the point of being a Christian?
      It is a simple straightforward question.

    • Mel Wild says:

      You are not answering MY question. Where is the refutation, Ark? Certainly, if this claim of authorship was a fraud, someone living during that time would’ve cried foul. Or, at least there would be other opinions. And, besides, Ignatius, Papias, and Polycarp were probably disciples of John, so it’s not like there’s some big gap here.

    • Arkenaten says:

      ”Certainly, if this claim of authorship was a fraud, someone living during that time would’ve cried foul. ”
      Would they?
      Billions of people believe that Jesus of Nazareth is a god who came back from the dead and there is no verifiable evidence whatsoever of this character or this event.
      And the church is well known for destroying dissenting views and people so anything that was written could well have been destroyed.
      And I am not a scholar so I have no way of knowing what documents were around at that time.
      But give me some time and maybe I can find a specialist who can answer the question?

      And you have no evidence for your last claim re disciples of John either.

      How you getting on with the link?

      And are you going to tell me what is the point of being a Christian, please?

    • Mel Wild says:

      Ark, I will save you the time. There is NO evidence whatsoever refuting the gospel authorship. This, and the evidence we DO have for authorship from succeeding generations that you want to “hand wave” away. So, what’s the most reasonable unbiased answer? It’s that they were the authors! It’s not that hard, Ark. Only when you have ulterior motives is it complicated.

      And please…now you’re seriously asking me the point of being a Christian? No, I’m not going to continue to answer your inane questions. You can read my 600+ posts on my blog, or my book, if you really want to know. You’re just being ridiculous. If I thought for a minute your questions were honest ones, I would spend more time with you. But I think I’ve answered more than enough for now. You’ve got to deal with your own issues on this.
      Gotto go…

    • Arkenaten says:

      I actually doubt it, as they were almost certainly illiterate.

      Or at best, certainly not able to write Greek at the level we find in the gospels.

      And they were most definitely not eyewitnesses. However, be that as it may for now, I will </em< search fr an answer from one who is not liable to have accepted the Christian version of vents. and will ask an expert as soon as I am able to find one.

      My question is not in any way whatsoever inane.
      If a Muslim were to ask would you treat him with the same level of disrespect?

      Are you not supposed to ”make answer”?

      My question is perfectly serious and absolutely honest.
      One thing I do not do is lie.
      There are billions who are not Christian and who would never contemplate becoming one either. And there are tens of thousands , including bucketloads of pastors priests and other professional theologians who leave the faith every year.
      So I ask you in all sincerity …
      what is the point of being a Christian?

    • Mel Wild says:

      Ark, if you were a Muslim and were asking honest questions about my faith, I would answer you. And I have answered you, over and over, again. And I have not attacked you personally, although you have attacked me personally. I have allowed you 38 comments in two posts! (most of them totally irrelevant to my post!) This, after I had to moderate you. I think I’ve been more than fair. But you won’t stop, and I have a life and other people to talk to. You obviously don’t want to know the truth, so why should I waste my time further?

      You may not lie but you are not honest. You just troll Christian sites to try and find gullible Christians to plant seeds of doubt in with your Fundamentalist atheism (or hoping that some reader may doubt if the blog owner doesn’t buy it). You dismiss whatever you don’t agree with and act like you know everything. Then, if that doesn’t work, you resort to belittling them. Well, thank you for showing this to me because I will make sure people NEVER fall for your propaganda on this site. And I’m not one of the gullible priests and pastors whose relationship with Jesus is so frail that they would fall for this stuff. Sorry, I’m not drinking the Kool aide, Ark. I actually have thought it through and have found your argument wanting, not to mention, irrational.

      Obviously, you have nothing to do but sit on your computer all day and comment on blogs. I don’t. I actually have others things to do. I think we’ve heard enough from the Ark for awhile.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Oh, I have plenty to do, count on it.
      But I am fortunate that I work from home and on the laptop.

      And, I have worked long and hard to be in this position.
      And you seem to have enough time that you feel compelled to endlessly return to your blog to try to smugly dismiss my questions believing you can rely on my ignorance to belittle me.
      Don’t you have a flock to fleece to minister to?

      I am going to assume you have not as yet read the link I provided as this would have demonstrated why your claims about not refuting/ challenging the authorship of the gospels for three centuries are fallacious.
      Furthermore, as I doubt you won’t allow this comment through I won’t bother writing why your claims are fallacious , here on this comment.
      And for the record, you ventured onto Nan’s blog if I recall, (Why, she’s an atheist. Were you looking for something? ) and you also ventured onto Insanitybytes blog and engaged John z so please, don’t behave like a damn hypocrite with your bleeding heart attitude.
      Religion poisons pretty much everything.
      Simply read the stories of abuse on the ”About” pages of some the deconverts you read.
      Nan, Carmen , victoria neuronotes,Nate Owens(?) etc.
      And I am sure I could give you many more.

      And you are a ”gullible priest” as all priests are. Yoy beleive in nonsense and try to indoctrinate others with it too.
      Propaganda is what religion is. Ask a damn deconvert how they feel about the shit they endured for years and years!
      Have a nice day.
      Ark.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Ah…see, you beautifully made my point, Ark. You just lose it and revert to name calling when you don’t get your way.

      Btw, I was invited on Nan’s blog. She has been very gracious to me. And John Z is the one who attacked me on IB’s blog. I will answer people as long as they don’t get obnoxious.
      And now I’ve given you the opportunity to make 39 comments in two days, and have spent more time answering you than all the other commenters combined.
      I sincerely do wish you the best.
      Mel

    • Arkenaten says:

      Ah…see, you beautifully made my point, Ark.

      Lose it?
      Tell me, Mel, do you think Torquemada was justified in burning people because they got pissed at him and lost it?
      How about the Native American Genocide carried out in the US largely by Christians?
      Do the deconverts who suffered years of abuse from the church have a right to a little name calling and getting a tad upset also, Mel?
      How about the little kids raped by Catholic Priests, Mel?
      Are they also not within their rights to indulge in a little fucking name calling Mel?

      And what about those in Syria currently involved in a civil war that largely has religion at it roots.
      Can they resort to name calling when the bombers arrive and the drones and kids are blown to smithereens and refugees are spread out all over Europe?

      Let me know when you think Jesus is coming back then maybe we can both ask him, Mel, what do you say?

      Hah! Get behind me ”Satan”,… you damn hypocrite!

    • Scottie says:

      Uhm, Mel, I thought the last question rather interesting. Is it a duty? I understand what god gets out of the deal, worship and being praised. I won’t say more because I don’t want to prejudice your answer. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      Scottie, what you asking? Are you talking about my relationship with God?

    • Scottie says:

      No Mel. Unless that is the point for you to be a christian. But the question as I understand is what do you get by being a christian that you can’t get by not being a christian. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      Okay. As I told Ark, you can probably find it in the 600+ posts! But I will tell you because I think you honestly want to know.

      I follow Christ because I found a love that’s overwhelming and life-changing. There’s no one who more brilliantly has His finger on the pulse of humanity than Jesus; His truth is so deep and multi-faceted. I’ve been transformed by His empowering grace. I have found a ridiculously loving Father who loves me unconditionally and affirms me as a son. It’s not based on theories or arguments but on a real relationship that I live out every day. I have joy on my worst days because of His life in me as an anchor of hope. I rejected religion (conformity to outward ritual) and have found what the early Christians were willing to die for. I have found the meaning to life and that I have value and purpose (you do, too, btw).

      If you are interested in more, I would suggest two of my blog posts:
      Why I Write
      Everything you need to know in ten minutes
      Blessings to you.

    • Scottie says:

      I will think on this, but I guess I don’t see it as you do. I won’t and can’t dispute what you get out of your religion and your relationship with your deity. That is totally subjective and if it makes you happy it is a grand thing. But from my POV I can get all those things from my daily life and interactions with other people. The entire love thing I get from my husband and the acceptance thing I get from friends for example. For me every day and everything I encounter is some how life changing.

      So I have been thinking on this since I seen the question on Ark’s blog. I read all the responses and thought of it. For me the only thing I can get our of being christian is the christian heaven. I can’t get anything in my life changed as god is all knowing and has a perfect plan according to the bible. SO if I ask for changes via prayer I am basically asking god to alter / trash / mess up his perfect plan for something I want. IF I was going to get it it would be part of the plan, if I wasn’t that was part of the plan. So I don’t gain that way. So I get a ticket to heaven. But I don’t think I want to go there even if it exists. SO I asked you to see if you felt it was a ticket to the afterlife?

      I still have the questions from the other day but to ask them I have to ask a question and I know you are busy right now. So thanks and be well. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      You think on it. As Paul said, Jesus is as close as our breath. All we have to do is ask with an open heart (to “get it”). And love I’ve received from God has allowed me to love my wife more selflessly than I ever could on my own. I was a very different person before. And God loves you the same! But I understand that it’s subjective. I will leave it up to you. I would be happy to answer any more questions when I can.
      Blessings to you.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Oh, and there is forever, too. This short life is just a blip on the radar screen.

    • Scottie says:

      See again I can get that without your deity. Other religions offer it. My pagan friends have it. That was sort of my point in asking the question . You answered it and thank you. But see I don’t need to change anything about me, I like me. I have become the persona I want to be and did it without a deity. I have love, give love, and all the things you talked about. Having said this, I am NOT trying to take your feelings or experience from you, nor am I belittling it. If to get that you need your relationship with your god then OK. Be well. I also have a ton of things to get to. Be well. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      I don’t think you understand if you’re comparing what I’m trying to say to world religions or pagans. But I can’t explain it adequately either, or make you understand, so be well. 🙂

    • Scottie says:

      Hi Mel, I missed this one. I may not understand your personal feelings, but everyone one in a religion says they get the same things, same feelings you got. Why are they not correct about the feeling from their deity and you are? My pagan friends talk of the love and acceptance and power they get from their interactions. Seems sort of arbitrary and one sided in my view. You want people to accept your important feelings but you don’t want to accept others feelings? But you mentioned the afterlife and I was saying that other religions and pagan beliefs offer an after life also. And the pagan one does not involve an eternity of praising a deity, which sounds better to me. OK, I will try to respond faster next time. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      There’s a lot of truth in all faiths. God puts these things in every person. And I’m not trying to put down other’s beliefs. But I do believe that everything points to the cosmic Christ (not just the earthly Jesus). And it is important to understand why we’re here, what does this all mean, and I would add…is this all there is? I believe that there is an after life, and believe me, praising God is not a duty! Heaven is not at all like it’s portrayed. We will enjoy life and relationship with one another forever. But now I’m getting into theology! We can talk further some other time if you’re interested.

    • Scottie says:

      Is your Cosmic Christ the same deity for all religions? One god just different names? Otherwise I get the feeling you are saying your supernatural feelings from your god are real but the supernatural feelings others get from their god are not real. That would bother me if that is what you are saying. You say your not putting down other people’s faiths ( I agree that those hurting others are exempted from this ) and I want to take you at your word that is why I am double checking. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yes and no. This is not a simple answer and deserves a more thought out reply than I can give right now. I’m in the middle of a project that I’m trying to get done. But I would be glad to talk about it another time, or maybe I will post an article on my thoughts about it.

    • Scottie says:

      OK, have a good night. You can get back to me whenever you like. Hugs

    • Scottie says:

      Oh and I know you are busy so if you want to put off answering now I understand. Hugs

  5. Cindy Powell says:

    So good Mel! “Furthermore, the “Word of God” is not the text, it’s Jesus Christ Himself. And His words are spirit and life.” Amen! Like you said nothing inspired about picking up a Bible and reading it like a novel or a school book, but when you read it with your heart open to the One who IS the Word, it changes everything. Always love your thought provoking perspectives… and your patience to engage those with other perspectives. 😉
    Blessings! Oh, and Happy Father’s Day!

  6. Citizen Tom says:

    Interesting. I assume you mean that the Holy Spirit inspired the authors of the Bible, and that to understand the Bible we have to be inspired too. I can understand your emphasis on the latter after you have had a debate with an atheist like Arkenaten. BTW, he can be something of a troll. When they got rude or simply ridiculous with the truth, I banned both from my blog. They both know the Bible well enough to believe if they are willing. Some atheists are more interested in depriving you of the right to believe.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yes, inspiration both ways. And, as it says in 1 Cor. 2:13-14, the natural man does not understand the words, nor can he understand them because they are spiritually discerned. In the case of hardened atheists, he or she would rather strain at gnats and try to discredit it rather than understand it. This is certainly evident in people like Ark’s response to Scripture. They know the words in the Bible but have no understanding. And I agree, if they opened their heart to it they could believe if they wanted to.

      I will engage with atheists as long as they’re respectful and to the point. But when they resort to childish belittling and parroting the stereotypical prejudice, lumping me in with the worst examples of religion in human history, I will moderate them.

    • Citizen Tom says:

      Not much else to do. I have enjoyed dialoguing with one fellow, Keith DeHavelle. He seems to be quite ill, unfortunately. You may find his blog interesting => http://www.dehavelle.com/.
      For some reason, he duplicated it => http://level-head.livejournal.com/. Not sure why, but he got most of his comments at the second blog.

      Keith was obviously brilliant, but he did not seem to be arrogant or disrespectful of Christianity. As far as I know he practiced Christian virtues and loved his lady. I have have no idea how Jesus judges such people.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks Tom. I don’t generally go looking for arguments, but I will do my best to articulate what I believe when asked (or attacked). And oftentimes it’s people’s brilliance that gets in the way of the simple beauty of the whole point of why we’re here. I will check out his site when I get a chance.

    • Scottie says:

      Hello Tom. I am sorry you have apparently had bad experiences with atheist. However you should be made aware you are being just as offencive as the rude and bad atheist when you make assertions as “They both know the Bible well enough to believe if they are willing.”. The very point is they know it well enough to not believe. There is a serious point of view problem many on each side of the debate need to understand. Your worldview is your belief and your understanding of your bible. Some theist have greater adherence to the bible than others. You must feel that any deviance from what you see as clear must be ridicule. However the viewpoint of the atheist is not just that your deity doesn’t exist, but no deity does. No religion’s holy book was inspired by a god, but written by men to achieve what ever ends and with the understanding the men of their times had. In other words made up. You must think the same of myths of Zeus and the Olympians. Or the Islamist Koran. So if you were talking to an atheist and they quoted you Zeus or Thor, telling you that you know they are really in your heart but just won’t admit it, you would be upset with them, maybe angry. It is the same when you start telling Atheist they know your god is really because his books says so. To us atheist that is like saying Hogwarts is real because it is written in a Harry Potter book and it has about as much weight. Lastly one thing. IF any atheist tries to take your personal faith away if you are in no way pushing your faith on other people, they were wrong. However if you are trying to get the tenets of your faith into government, teacher lead prayers in schools, and taxpayer money and civil rights for your church then you really are putting yourself out there to be shown that others don’t agree. Not only don’t agree but think reality has proven you wrong and you just don’t want to see it. Sound familiar? Best wishes, be well. Hugs

    • Citizen Tom says:

      @Scottie

      The Bible says certain things. I believe the men who wrote the Bible were inspired by God. So I believe what it says. Do I understand all of the Bible? No, but I think if someone has read the Bible, and they are willing they will believe it. I don’t say that to insult anyone.

      Faith is a gift of God. He gives to whom He will and when He chooses. I understand it helps to ask. I did, finally.

      If it was raining, and you did not want to get wet, you would get out of the rain. If you saw someone else who chose to stand in the rain, would you not assume they realized it raining? Wouldn’t you assume they just want to get wet.

      You say, however, i am suppose to believe it is not raining on atheists. Different world views. However, this rainstorm is big enough to cover all of us. We don’t live in differing realities. We live on the same planet in the same universe under the infinite domain of the same Creator God.

      Let me repeat. I am not trying to insult atheists. Even Christians who grow up well instructed in the faith have to be born again. Can we all point to a magic moment of decision? No, but I know I can, and i had to admit I had been wrong for decades. So you have my sympathy and my prayers.

      Anyway, your defense of Arkenaten and John Zande is pointless. Both of those guys are militant atheists. So they would probably think it funny.

      The Christian faith — my faith — prohibits using the government to establish Christianity. Is there some kind of edict that states that in the Bible? No, but the Bible provides examples, and those examples do not include the use of force.

      In fact, because of the way political activists are using the schools to impress their beliefs on other people’s children, I advocate school choice. After a quick look at your blog, I doubt you and I would agree about that.

      Have you ever considered how hypocritical it is to force parents to pay for SECULARIZED schools even when they either home school or send their children to private schools. Just because we want every child to have a decent education doesn’t mean we have to have government run schools. in fact, the notion of government-run schools is contrary to the belief that every child should receive a decent education.

      Government-run schools? What insanity possessed our forebears to set those up? Why do we still do that? Would you prefer to buy a car made by Government Motors or one made by the auto company of your choice? Well, if you would prefer the Government Motors car, …… Well, you already have my sympathy and prayers.

    • Scottie says:

      Hello Tom. I think you badly missed my point and added apples to farm machines in your comparisons. I will try to go point by point down the list. However there may come a time when we will simply not agree and have to let it lay there. One thing I want to make clear I am not attempting to remove your faith nor convince you your beliefs are wrong about your god. I think that would be a wasted effort as much as it would be for you to try to convince me your god exists. I will debate other things as best I can such as if your religion belongs in a secular government and if Christian sharia laws ( those are laws based on your particular religious beliefs ) should be allowed. Quick point on pushing any laws on religion, change the names and see if it still seems fair. Lets begin.

      The Bible says certain things. I believe the men who wrote the Bible were inspired by God. So I believe what it says. Do I understand all of the Bible? No, but I think if someone has read the Bible, and they are willing they will believe it. I don’t say that to insult anyone.

      As I said it is a point of view. I think your god is a myth. If I was to say something to you like, “hey you are a grown up, time to use your brain and leave fables and fairy tales in the garbage where they belong, so accept reality already”, that would seem rather insulting wouldn’t it. I was accusing you of being childish and uneducated about the real world. Should I then say it is not insulting it is just my view of the world and I don’t say it to insult anyone? Where a lot of people make the mistake is the forget the other person they are talking to is a human with viewpoints of their own. So before we dump blanket statements when talking to each we should try to see if it sounds as we want it to. In the case of making blanket statements that are not supported by reality they can be very insulting depending on how written.

      Skipping anything about gifts from god, it is the same to me as saying it is a gift from the Unicorn King and his Buddies The flying elephant and Shrek.

      If it was raining, and you did not want to get wet, you would get out of the rain. If you saw someone else who chose to stand in the rain, would you not assume they realized it raining? Wouldn’t you assume they just want to get wet.

      You say, however, i am suppose to believe it is not raining on atheists. Different world views. However, this rainstorm is big enough to cover all of us. We don’t live in differing realities. We live on the same planet in the same universe under the infinite domain of the same Creator God.

      you have this slightly backwards. Try to see it from the other side. Here we Atheist are having a great enjoyable day in the sunshine and Theists keep running up to us to tell us it is raining and we should go inside their church or except the umbrella of their God to stay dry. It is pure silliness and in any other context than religion would have the mental state of the person claiming it is raining questioned severely. Now if you think it is raining and want to stay out of the rain in church great. We are asking you to just stop trying to convince the rest of us that it is raining when it is not, and trying to make laws on what we see as your imaginary rain.

      Please be careful of the different realities stuff. Yes Mel like to dabble in the “well there is quantum stuff…” but the truth is there is no empirical proof of your god or his actions. “If you can’t show it, you can’t know it” is the quote from Aron Ra. Saying you feel it, or it made a difference in your life, or even that it moved you is not proof. It is only for you. Means nothing to others. They can’t feel what you feel, you can’t transfer your feeling. There is only the reality we live in, it is how we must process the world to function in it. yes there is different POV in reality but not different realities.

      Please don’t pray for me, send money, it would do far more good. OK that may have been mean but you are again seeing only your view. I have told you I don’t believe in your god. To say you will pray for me is completely ignoring my statement to you. That is not to say you can not pray, of course you can pray for me. It is the saying it and expecting it to have a good meaning to me is the silly part. It is like a very sarcastic remark, which made me type out one back which I deleted.

      Uhm Tim. I was not defending Ark or John really. Both are well educated , trained , have studied the subject mercilessly, and memorized most if not all of it. They simply don’t and won’t need my help. I don’t think they would want me to speak for them anyway. I would love them to speak for me as I trust them and they are far more educated than I. However in this instance I was writing for myself. I felt someone should tell you that that view that if we just read more, pray more, give ourselves to god more, we would be saved and he would suddenly violate the laws of universe as we know them so far and appear to me, is simply “bollocks” as some of my British friends would say. I don’t see them as “militant” anymore than I see Mel that way or you, they like to talk about a subject they have studied and so do the religious people. But this is your opinion and it is great you have one. Welcome to humanity.

      The Christian faith — my faith — prohibits using the government to establish Christianity. Is there some kind of edict that states that in the Bible? No, but the Bible provides examples, and those examples do not include the use of force.

      In fact, because of the way political activists are using the schools to impress their beliefs on other people’s children, I advocate school choice. After a quick look at your blog, I doubt you and I would agree about that.

      Have you ever considered how hypocritical it is to force parents to pay for SECULARIZED schools even when they either home school or send their children to private schools. Just because we want every child to have a decent education doesn’t mean we have to have government run schools. in fact, the notion of government-run schools is contrary to the belief that every child should receive a decent education.

      Government-run schools? What insanity possessed our forebears to set those up? Why do we still do that? Would you prefer to buy a car made by Government Motors or one made by the auto company of your choice? Well, if you would prefer the Government Motors car, ……

      Schools. One of the areas I do fight back hard. I won’t bring the truth of science into your church so please keep the myths of your faith out of our public schools. I say if you want your doctrines in any school, have a church school and pay for it. I ent to one, surprised? As for paying for school twice of you do that it is your choice to. You could pay once and use the public schools and teach your faith at home and in church. No problem and no one cares. The reason we all pay for public schools is for the betterment of the entire society. Same reason the government pays for roads we don’t all use. Think of the single people who paid for other kids schools. It is for the betterment of everyone.
      You have been fed lies about government education. Do you know why public schools are as they are. They keep getting funding cut or diverted to other schools in vouchers, they are under rules other schools do not have to follow, under testing laws that other private schools do not have to give. Public schools have to take students who are not the best, may have physical health problems and many other factors private and charter schools do not have to deal with. How many children in a church school get one meal a day and that is in the school? Few if any, but that is normal for public schools. The public schools have to treat everyone fairly but not charter or private schools. why is this. Because for decades certain groups and people have tried to destroy public schools. They can’t get religion forced into the schools and taught in classes, they can’t get science taken out, so destroy it. The new secretary of education has through her family foundations and family wealth tried for years to change the state laws to give more PUBLIC money to private church schools. But only her church schools. Think of the out cry if someone took that law and insisted on the same public money for teaching Muslim kids in a mosque. Would you be OK with your tax dollars doing that? Betsy Devos admitted that she has no problem with schools getting public money that allow bullying and discrimination. Is that christian? Is that what you want? But it makes sure that bad science doesn’t have to be taught in schools. The science we have proof of and that gives us evidence. on the car thing and getting what you want think of it this way. I was in two branches of the military. Military people who lived on base had access to the free meals in the messhall. Or they could chose to go eat somewhere else to get something different. They paid for that out of their pocket. The military offered them a free meal, but did not pay for them to go away from the mess hall to get food elsewhere. Same with public and private schools. As to schools being run by activist I think I covered that in the whole nondiscrimination and science thing. If we need talk on it some more we can. As to my blog. The only reason someone wouldn’t like my blog is if they support discrimination, sharia church laws, taking healthcare from poor and lower working incomes, giving huge tax breaks to wealthy people who don’t need it and won’t use it for the people. I would say also my blog is against the lies told by politicians of both parties and in any level of government. So if you see yourself as disliking my blog for those reasons I guess it says something about both of us.

      This has gotten very long and I am tired. I have spent a lot of time on it. I suggest for the sake of others who may want to read our conversation we try to keep them shorter with a couple questions and answers each. If we feel we have more to say we can break the replies into different batches. That way each comment block is not to long to keep people’s interest.

      One last thing before I go. I do not make assumptions of other people if I can help it so I am not saying you are doing this, just that some do. Why would anyone want to keep their god in the past. If god were to exist as he is described he would have given to the people what they needed and could comprehend at that time, 2000 years ago. That god would know the people would grow using the brains he gave them and the drive to be better he gifted. They would develop better understanding, better science, better ways of accepting each other. Why keep that god in the past, let him come into the present and be a guide for today’s needs. Why would that god reject the advance of a people he gave the very tools they needed to move forward into the future. So I would say to fundamentalists, shake the sand of the past off your sandals and accept the current culture and science that has expanded our understanding of the very reality we live in.
      Hugs

    • Citizen Tom says:

      One thing I want to make clear I am not attempting to remove your faith nor convince you your beliefs are wrong about your god.

      What makes what we believe significant is that we believe strongly enough to act based upon that knowledge. That is, we have faith in what we believe. So whether you realize it or not you are trying to convince me my beliefs are wrong.

      As I said it is a point of view. I think your god is a myth. If I was to say something to you like, “hey you are a grown up, time to use your brain and leave fables and fairy tales in the garbage where they belong, so accept reality already”, that would seem rather insulting wouldn’t it.

      Whether we feel insulted or not us up to each of us. I have no control over your feelings. I am responsible for my feelings and keeping them under control, and that is about as much responsibility as I want over anyone’s feelings.

      With respect to the public school system, you are making this way to complicated, and your excuses are almost comical. We have to all children in government-run schools to:
      1. Give children tests. This is like testing quality into a product instead of properly designing it into a product in the first place.
      2. For the betterment of everyone. Government is the source of virtue? Politicians?
      3. Private schools won’t take students with issues. You do realize that charity is something churches started? Politicians just do charity with other people’s money to buy votes. Not much love or hugs in that.
      4. Only public schools have to treat everyone fairly. It doesn’t work that way. If we want to be treated “fairly”, then we arrive at the door with the money in our own hands. Because the politicians have the money, they get treated “fairly”.
      5. And so forth.

      The only reason someone wouldn’t like my blog is if they support discrimination, sharia church laws, taking healthcare from poor and lower working incomes, giving huge tax breaks to wealthy people who don’t need it and won’t use it for the people. I would say also my blog is against the lies told by politicians of both parties and in any level of government.

      The only reason? I would like to consider myself that wise, but I ain’t.

      The point of education system is to educate. Let’s talk about that.

      Let’s consider the problem with less emotional baggage.What if Walmart tried a new business model? When you arrive at the store, you check in with one of the greeters. You give him your cash, and you ask him to bring you what you need. Then the greeter goes into the store, and he comes back with what he thinks you need. That is pretty much how the government works except that the government doesn’t give you much of a choice. Whether you like it or not, the government takes your money, and it may not give you anything for it.

      Consider the options for spending money.
      1. Spend somebody else’s money on someone else. — Government does this.
      2. Spend someone else’s money on your self. — This could be a gift or thievery.
      3. Spend your own money on someone else. — This is a gift.
      4. Spend your own money on yourself. — In this case it is most likely you will try to spend as little as you can, and you will be most careful to get what you want.

      Each of those spending options has different possibilities, but for obvious reasons that has to do with the limitations of human nature the first option is highly inefficient and often ineffective. Moreover, politicians tend to find ways to spend taxpayer’s dollars to serve their own ends. Thus, what is suppose to be the first option effectively becomes the second. Thus, the public’s interest is sacrificed to serve the ends of politicians and their cronies.

      Would I be happy if some parents took education vouchers to have their children taught in a mosque? As compared to the public school system? I am far more interested my children having the freedom to raise their children properly than I am in stopping someone else from exercising their freedom. When we try to stop people from exercising their liberty, we usually do so out of fear. Hence, you throw up that comment about Muslim parents sending their children to mosques. I suspect it is that kind of thinking that got us saddled with a public school system in the first place.

      I have more faith in parents making such decisions. Will some parents do awful things? Yeah, but governments are far more likely to do far more awful things. Have you considered the history of the 20th Century? It is much easier to stop the few parents who would even consider such a thing misusing educational vouchers than it is to get the government to run the schools well.

      Instead of educating children the way their parents want them educated, the public school system educates children to satisfy the desires of various special interest groups. If you are happy with this, well as I said before you already have my sympathy and prayers.

    • Scottie says:

      OK well Tom, I am going to start this and I will break it into several segments as I have much to do that will interfere with replying to all three pages of your response and that is without throwing in things that may lead to side angles of thoughts.

      You and I see things really differently. I would see trying to weakening your belief would be to show you all the things wrong with your holy book, your religion’s lack of reality, the lack of any evidence to support the claims of miracles…so forth. I am not doing that. I leave that to those much more skilled and better suited.

      Whether we feel insulted or not us up to each of us. I have no control over your feelings. I am responsible for my feelings and keeping them under control, and that is about as much responsibility as I want over anyone’s feelings.

      Well I was speaking of how in a civilized society people try to take others feelings into account to not cause needless strife. That doesn’t mean we don’t express our ideas or defend our positions, we just try to do it without being an ass or jerk about it. I would think that would be a position of a follower of Christ, at least it was taught in my old church.

      The school system is complicated and it is shaped by the history of many different politicians goals. It also takes into account the attempts by religious zealots to force their views and religious tenets into the public schools. Facts are not excuses but then again I am not hiding my head in the sand. Children are in public schools to receive an education filled with facts and information devoid of mythical falsehoods. You are again trying to shoe horn to many of your grievances into one basket.

      Tests are simply a means to measure how much information students are retaining, and if the information is being presented in a proper format. Your comment on this shows you don’t understand education procedures. What goes into the instruction is the curriculum and standards and requirements at the board level. That is where YEC and science deniers try to get things taken out and their falsehoods inserted.

      You are again showing you don’t grasp a civil society. your comment about virtue is silly if you are implying a blanket statement that religious leaders should be the source of virtue.

      Your whole private schools / charity thing is again an apples and oceans comparison so outlandish it is a joke. A bad one at that. As far as churches and charity goes I am not convinced it was churches as you mean. I found so many claims of charity in different forms that were before the official start of most religions. Here is an interesting quote for you. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042814067202

      Charity genesis as a sociocultural phenomenon has for a long time been of interest to philosophers, historians and scholars in other areas of the humanities. Already in ancient times such authors as Ennius, Cicero, and Seneca studied motivation, forms of blessings and restriction in this sphere, and also the typology of philanthropists. However, charity transformed due to change of eras, moral systems, level of civilization and socioeconomic development. Even during the ancient era two stages in charity development are examined: Greco-Roman, pagan and Christian.

      I think we are done with this section of the comment / reply dealing with schools. The things I skipped I found too silly for any educated person to seriously consider. See you in the next one. Hugs

    • Citizen Tom says:

      Well I was speaking of how in a civilized society people try to take others feelings into account to not cause needless strife. That doesn’t mean we don’t express our ideas or defend our positions, we just try to do it without being an ass or jerk about it. I would think that would be a position of a follower of Christ, at least it was taught in my old church.

      This says more about you than me. I wrote a comment to Mel, and you made it about you. If you are determine to be offended by what Jesus taught, then you will be offend. Jesus said as much.

      I offend you because of what I believe. That is really all there is to it. Once you know I believe, that alone is enough to offend you.

      You ought to read the article you referenced. It says almost nothing about pagan charity. Here is the reason. Have you ever heard the phrase bread and circuses? Look it up.

      Roman charity was about doing good for the giver. It was an act of pride, not love.

    • Scottie says:

      Hello Tom. You are correct, it does seem to say more about me than you. It seems to suggest that I am a more decent person than you, with a better way of treating others. IF you remember how this conversation started it was with you saying that ArK and John get rude. I pointed out your own rudeness. Mostly what you have done since then is to claim that is all on me. No your demeanor is your issue. However I don’t really care. I am not a snowflake. I wonder if you are? Is this how you attract others to your faith, by being rude and obnoxious? I have enjoyed discussions with Mel on this site and others, can’t really say the same about you. By your comments trying to turn this all about me, I feel you have failed to read and comprehend what I wrote to you. You could have asked me to explain it in simpler terms if you need me to instead of misrepresenting what I was saying, seemly deliberately. No matter how offencive a person is, I alone get to chose who offends me. You don’t qualify. Good people with faith, good people professing a religion don’t offend me Tom, if you look back you can see I have been enjoying a conversation with Mel.
      Did you read the paper at the link I sent you? Again maybe reading comprehension is not your strong suite. Here from page 614 third paragraph down not counting the run on from the last page.

      So, the analysis of the Apostolic Constitutions (Didascalia Apostolorum, 1914) indicated that Christian charity was established by the III century B.C., but there was a sufficiently well-developed ancient charity, about which the Church fathers preferred to remain silent for it was “pagan”.

      “It is Not Christianity that first gave the world the idea of charity, but it
      did not need it: for several centuries before Christ the charity has reached a lush flowering in the cities of the ancient world and practiced with such mercy and magnanimous generosity, which Christians ever had no idea”

      Now taking this was a work about christian charity and that right at the beginning it mentions roots of charity before the christians developed suggests something? Doesn’t it?
      Taken with the quote above and it becomes rather clear that people were around a long time before christianity and they had charity. You do know that people and cultures were around before your batch of faith, right? Tom, you did read the article, didn’t you?
      Let’s see, bread and circuses…Hmmm, has nothing to do with our conversation so I will be polite and skip it.
      OK, moving on to your last comment. Hugs

    • Citizen Tom says:

      @Scottie

      You are more decent person than I am? Since Christians are suppose to think of others and better than themselves, I suppose that means that with respect to you I won’t have to work at it.

      However, I am curious. How did you arrive at this conclusion? You are calling me rude. For the sake of the discussion, I will concede the point. After all, you are more decent, but what exactly is wrong with being rude? How do know it is bad to be rude? What is your criteria for right and wrong? If there is no God, what obligates me to pay any attention to what you think about my manners?

      If you look carefully at the two paragraphs you quoted, they are simply assertions of fact, not evidence. The larger document has little to say about this subject

      Look at the etymology of the word charity (=> http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=charity). Charity has to do with love. Christianity popularized the concept that we are all the children of God, that all of us are neighbors and that we all should love our neighbors. Prior to the Jews, such a notion did not exist. People, at best, took care of those they regard as their own.

      The closest thing to charity was slavery. To avoid starvation, people sold themselves into slavery.

      Jesus popularized the concept of a universal brotherhood, that we are all the children of God. He made it clear that the Gentiles were included in the salvation of the Jews.

    • Scottie says:

      Hello again Tom. Oh you jumped from schools to a strange comment on my blog to back to education. So let’s talk a second. Your whole Walmart example is not applicable to the situation as even walmart doesn’t act as you describe. I might even shop there if it did. The government always gives something for the money it takes in, even though you may really not want it. You are not personally going to get in hand the same money you give in. Have someone explain economics and government spending to you. Yes there is corruption in politics and government. There is also corruption in religions and churches. We hear of it everyday. It is worse than other areas of corruption because religions and churches are the ones trying to claim the moral high ground. They claim their rules of conduct should be followed everywhere and are better than others. Right. So no I wouldn’t hold churches up as paragons of virtue.

      As to my thinkinking, I do tend to do it, you should try it. 🙂 Get off your high horse dude, Publics schools are as good as the resources put into them and the resources of their students. That has been proven by many studies. Really the same goes with any school. Then what a child gets a chance to learn is dependant on the priorities of those providing the school. I listen often to people who went to church schools and got denied science instruction and education. When they got to secondary schools not affiliated with a church they were incredibly far behind and unable to move forward in their chosen fields.

      Instead of educating children the way their parents want them educated, the public school system educates children to satisfy the desires of various special interest groups.

      Really are not churches special interest groups. Or is it just everyone else. Your group, your church, your block, your friends…are all the right ones, the correct thinking ones, the ones with the good ideas, the ones with better morals…really dude think on it. You call teaching kids things you don’t like “special interest groups” when in fact they are teaching mainstream science and understanding. What do you consider special interest groups? What would you not want taught in public schools? What do you think should be taught in public schools?
      We spent a lot of time with you trashing things in ways that made little sense so let’s see what you think is the proper way. How should government raise money to supply services and keep everyone only paying for that which they agree with? How about the separation of church and state, always a big topic. What is your view to protect the interests of the whole country and the many different beliefs in this country. I am reminded of the controversy a few years back of bible inscriptions on rifles of Army personnel. They were christian verses but not all the ones getting the rifles were christian. The manufacture admitted doing it to bother the Muslims that might be the enemy combatants. A religious war to prove which one was right? A fine example of moral superiority.
      Gotta run, had fun. Bye. Hugs

    • Citizen Tom says:

      That was a long string of platitudes.

      You really would just give your money to the Walmart greeter and hope for the best? Amazing! But I don’t believe it. I am certain that if there enough suckers of that sort Walmart would happily adopt that business model. Maybe they ought see if Congress is ready yet to adopt an Obama food care insurance plan.

      Anyway,I went to church run schools. So did my children. No problem with science. It is apparent you are just firing for effect. Your comments reflect nothing more than your own biases.

    • Scottie says:

      Hi Tom. I wish the subject of church education was just my own bias. It is frightening some of the ideas and junk kids get fed at some church schools and also in homeschooling. I have both read and listened to stories from young people out in the world now about the education they received. I have no time to school you on it, so you can google it. If you got a decent grounding in science and history and not just fed the version from genesis congratulation. Many young people are not that lucky. In fact it is sad that some churches have slumped so low as to teach grade school kids to talk back to their teachers and interrupt them if something is raised that disagrees with their Sunday school lessons. If evolution comes up they are told to tell the teacher that they can’t know because they were not there. Telling kids to talk back to a teacher? Again these are all over the internet, YouTube a good place to start if you doubt.
      Ok I have no desire to talk much more with you, I prefer a conversation and you want a debate. Plus you want it in a confrontational style. I can do that, but would prefer not to on Mel’s blog. I still have a few questions to ask him when he is not so busy and I do enjoy reading his answers. Again a discussion. We don’t agree on the faith versus non-faith, but we don’t have to to have a good talk. Bye Tom, best to you and your family. Hugs

    • Citizen Tom says:

      @Scottie

      To someone who has lived it, you are offering silly bits of anecdotal evidence? But you don’t want to talk about it.

      When I was in high school, I encounter this sort of behavior. Bullies would try to confuse the people they wanted to torment by feigning politeness. They would use the good manners of their victims against them.

      Anyway, I have no real interest in toying with you, much less hopping into your toy box. Therefore, since you cannot, I will end our conversation. Have a good day.

  7. Yep…you stirred up a hornets nest with this one. I’m surprised you didn’t have the religious bunch jumping on you as well.. For the record, I agree with you. Good post.

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