Author Topic: Atheist and Christian argue about hell (in a Starbucks). Atheist wins.  (Read 9315 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Atheist and Christian argue about hell (in a Starbucks). Atheist wins.
December 6, 2013 By John Shore

(While sitting at Starbucks yesterday I overheard the following conversation between two men I’ll call Christian and Tom. Christian was trying to evangelize to Tom. As you’ll see, Tom ended up wiping the floor with Christian. Why? Because Tom was right: the whole concept of the Christian hell is manifest nonsense, for the reason he so well articulated. Here’s hoping that more Christians hear what the Toms of the world are trying to tell them.)

Tom: But what you’re saying simply doesn’t make any sense.

Christian: What doesn’t?

Tom: That if I don’t believe in the reality of the same God that you just told me loves me, then that God will condemn me to hell for all eternity. How could God love me and do that to me?

Christian: Because God loves you enough to let you decide your own fate.

Tom: But that doesn’t change the fact that if I choose to not believe in God, God could, if he wanted, still not send me to hell. He could commute my sentence. He could forgive me for the mistaken choice I made. God has that power, right? Because he’s all-powerful?

Christian: God can do anything.

Tom: Which means he can certainly choose not to send me to hell. And that can only mean that if I do end up in hell, it was God’s will that made that happen. Ultimately God wanted me in hell—so that’s where I ended up. God actively chose hell for me.

Christian: You chose hell for yourself by refusing to accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior.

Tom: That I made that mistake doesn’t alter the fact that God has chosen to punish me for that mistake by forcing me to spend eternity being physically tortured. And anyone who would choose for me to suffer horribly throughout eternity as punishment for doing nothing more egregious than using the mind he gave me cannot possibly love me. Under no definition of the word would doing anything so unconscionable qualify as love.

Christian: It’s divine justice.

Tom: Really? That’s justice? I’ve got the little tiny span of my lifetime to try to figure out a whole bunch of stuff about God and man, and, with the extremely limited range of information available to me in the course of that time, I decide incorrectly—I guess that there’s not a God, or I decide that I just can’t be sure either way, or I choose to believe in a different God than the one prescribed for me by Christianity—and, as punishment for that mistake, God decides to condemn me to spending the rest of forever having the living flesh seared off my bones? And you’re comfortable calling that justice? That doesn’t strike you as … oh, I don’t know … excessively punitive? Like the kind of unbelievably cruel thing you might expect from a cruel, petty, ego-maniacal dictator, rather than from a God of love?

Christian: Hell is just God’s judgment upon the sinner who refuses to accept his love.

Tom: You’ve got to understand that you’re using words to mean what they don’t actually mean at all. In fact, you’re using words to mean the exact opposite of what they mean. You don’t choose an eternity of torture for someone you love. And if you do choose that for someone for the reason you’re saying your God does choose that for people, that is not justice. That’s injustice. Look: After I’m dead, God either has the power to send me to heaven instead of hell, or he doesn’t. If he doesn’t have that power, then he’s too weak to matter. If he does have the power to send me to heaven instead of hell, and he wills me to go to hell, then he is without compassion–or at the very least he certainly doesn’t love me. But those are the only two choices. By your own definition, God is either not all-powerful, or not all-loving. But he can’t be all-powerful and all loving, if I—a nice guy, a loving guy, a guy who gives to charities and actually does help people in the world—can end up in hell. It just doesn’t make sense. I can’t love somebody and shoot them in the head because they refuse to answer my phone calls.

Christian: You’re looking for rational explanations for mysteries that only God comprehends.

Tom: Oh, that’s so typical. Whenever Christians run into a simple logical inconsistency that cuts directly to the viability of their entire belief system, they resort to the only “argument” left to them—which is that we inferior sinners, who are so pathetic that we think it’s a good idea to use our rational minds to help us understand things that don’t seem to make sense, can’t possibly begin to fathom God’s “mysterious ways.” At the slightest challenge, Christians like you absolutely abandon logic. It’s ridiculous—and at best should be embarrassing to you. If you can’t explain the simplest, most obvious, most terrible contradiction in the qualities you say your God possesses–much less in the primary quality you say he possesses, which is his love for all mankind–then how in the world do you expect anyone but a sheer moron to take you or your religion seriously?

Christian: God bless you, man. I fear for your soul.

Tom: I’ll let slide all the repelling, presumptive arrogance inherent in that statement. But I will tell you this: I fear for your mind. Later.

Offline michaelintp

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Why do I have the feeling this piece was written by "Tom" ...?

 ::)
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Hypestyle

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Suburban Detroit mayor installs "Prayer Station" at a city hall, rejects request for "Reason Station" on city hall grounds-- a local columnist responds:

http://www.deadlinedetroit.com/articles/9072/dawsey_mayor_fouts_irrational_stance_against_atheists#.U1LPF6I0hkU
Quote
Chorus of Persecution

Fouts’ stance echoes a growing chorus among many religious proponents that suggests that they are increasingly being “persecuted” for their beliefs. They see enemies to their faith any and every where reason and enlightened inquiry may be found, from a schoolgirl’s love of the woolly mammoth to the TV show Cosmos. Reason is anathema, science the dark witchcraft of apostates. Those who doubt, who pose uncomfortable challenges to ancient fables, are foes to be vanquished rather than engaged.

Of course, this whole persecution complex has no basis in reality. First off, churches, synagogues and mosques continue to rake in billions of dollars a year in this country and hold significant sway over every political office from town dog catcher to the White House. Meanwhile, although the number of Americans turning their backs on their childhood faiths is indeed growing, avowed atheists make up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, according to researchers.

A suburb teeming with churches, Warren needs a “prayer station” in City Hall like Fouts needs a Louisville Slugger. Fighting this straw man is not only unnecessary but a clear detriment to what should be cherished principles: free speech and the separation of church and state.

Just as bad is Fouts’ claim that the Warren government allows the prayer station in an effort not to “restrict this right for any religion to use the atrium.” In other words, he using the guise of “religious tolerance” to justify his blatantly un-American intolerance. It’s like agreeing to extend free speech to everyone who believes in leprechauns — regardless of whether they think those leprechauns red or green or turquoise — but attempting to shush anybody who dares question whether leprechauns are real to begin with.

I don’t know what Fouts thinks he protects with such an anti-democratic gesture, but it sure isn’t freedom.
Be Kind to Someone Today.

Offline michaelintp

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Perhaps a Muslim would feel more comfortable bowing and prostrating in a private prayer area; perhaps a Jew would feel more comfortable wearing his tefillin and standing and shuckeling in a private prayer area; perhaps a Christian would feel more comfortable on his knees with hands clasped together in a private prayer area.  Rather than out in the open with everyone staring. I see no harm in showing a little respect and sensitivity toward others.

A shame how some people, like the author quoted above, have no respect for religious diversity.  He clearly has no conception of what freedom and democracy are, since he cites those terms to support his own religious intolerance.  A trend, among some, that has become sadly typical.

By his statements, and his own example, the author proves the point he wishes to dispute.
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline michaelintp

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... and to my Christian friends, Happy Easter!

 :)
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

APEXABYSS

  • Guest
Tom did not ask the right questions. What he should’ve asked...

 
*Is Noah’s Ark a real story or a parable?

Noah’s son Ham was the father of black people (Canaanites, Cush*tes, Egyptians) & he and his descendants were cursed with black-skin & perpetual slavery. 
Is Abram= AbraHAM (the patriarch of Israel) a Hamite &/or Canaanite?

Why does Abraham & his wife Sarai coincidently share similar names with Brahma (Hindu god) & his wife Saraswati?

What makes Jerusalem, The Vatican City & Mecca sacred / holy places?

Is KMT (Kemet/ Egypt) Abyssinia, Timbuktu holy/ sacred places & if so, isn’t the original holy-lands in Africa?

Does the Bible, Torah & Quran have contradictions, historical inconsistencies, scientific impossibilities or plagiarized doctrines?
If so, are religious leaders spreading the doctrine in error? (these questions came from someone else)   
 
How come the story of Noah is not an original one?

*The Epic Flood of Gilgamesh (2500 b.c.).

*The story of NU ( Nu means “Abyss“). hhhmmmmmm!
Nu or Nun represents the oceanic-abyss as well as the celestial-abyss. Nu saves the royal-family from a great flood & they travel thru the infinite stars/ sky/ heavens. This is one of Egypt’s earliest creation stories & mythologies. PER-T- EM HRU= “The Pyramid Texts”  (2780 b.c.)

 


Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Two thoughts:
First, I love the way APEXABYSS is breaking it down and expanding the context. I am reminded of Joseph Campbell.

Second, it's not clear to me that Tom is an atheist. He never says so. Rational and religious are not necessarily in opposition. Just often.  ;)
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline michaelintp

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Hi Apexabyss ... here are a couple thoughts:

Noach's son Cham (the "ch" pronounced like a clearing of the throat) does not start with the same letter found in Avraham (which has a soft "h" sound).  They are two different letters with two different sounds. In English there is no letter with the gutteral "ch" sound, so it is often written as an "h."  For example Chiam is sometimes written as Hiam.  Also, Avraham's original name was Abram (esteemed father) before God changed it to Avraham (father of multitudes or of nations). So originally his name didn't have the "ham" in it at all.  I'm no linguist so that's as far as I can go on that point. Abraham was a descendent of Shem, according to the Bible. Came from a Sumerian city-state.

Your comments on the Flood reinforce the view that there may have been a flood of unbelievable proportions in antiquity. As you mention, the ancient Babylonians also had flood story.  Assuming that such an event did take place, it would not be surprising that several cultures in the region would have stories surrounding it.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 03:30:07 pm by michaelintp »
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

APEXABYSS

  • Guest
Rational and religious are not necessarily in opposition. Just often.  ;)

that's a great way to express it. BTW- Thank you very kindly Curtis Metcalf. The HEF, yep!
 

Im all for religion. Religion isn’t all that bad- it’s the people within these spiritual practices that make it so corrupt. nobody dealt with the thread topic... argue about hell?

hey, michaelintp! 'Sup?!?!

that was kind-of-a set-up question (as far as Abram is concerned). a give-a-way, if you will. I felt the need to give buffer questions for the other "unanswerable" topics I mentioned. Whenever you deal with anything Hebrew it’s only logical to check the dialect. still tho... Hindu (it's some other things I could bring-up- I jus' didn't)
The flood? Yep, I agree with you. There had to be some sort of great natural flood. Problem is- other cultures spoke of it, so obviously Noah’s Ark was not the only group to survive it. Not at all! Just more monopolization of the information. sad!

« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 10:57:50 pm by APEXABYSS »

Offline michaelintp

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I'm not really a literalist when it comes to these ancient stories, which may be better understood as metaphors and archetypes.

A literalist would probably say the account of Noah is the correct one, with all the other cultures descending from him, and over time they developed their own myths. Oh well.

Hell?  I don't share the Christian concept. Nor do I agree with what the Christian in the article said.

In reality Hell is a ping-ping match, with your soul the ping-ping ball, and God playing both sides of the table.  ;)
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline michaelintp

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Re: Atheist and Christian argue about hell (in a Starbucks). Atheist wins.
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2014, 11:08:01 am »
http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2004/2004-02-53.htm  

Here is an interesting book review. Regarding the Biblical statement that Ham sinned and Canaan was cursed.  You can cut to around the middle of the review, where the substance starts.


David M. Goldenberg, The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.   Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 2003.  Pp. xv, 448.  ISBN 0-691-11465-X.  $35.00.   

Reviewed by Molly Myerowitz Levine, Howard University
 
Biblical evidence on black Africans bears an implicit paradox: not much evidence exists, but the little that there is -- notably the infamous "Curse of Ham," a phrase from a passage in Genesis (9:18-25) that neither uses the Hebrew word for black (Kushi) nor curses Ham -- has exercised enormous influence on the history of slavery in a western world whose three major religions view themselves as grounded in the text of the Old Testament. David M. Goldenberg's book is thus of widest interest as the history of the exegesis of this biblical passage over the 1500 years from ca. 800 B.C.E. to 700 C.E. Goldenberg, a scholar of Jewish history and past associate director of The Annenberg Research Institute for Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, credits the inspiration for this book to his colleague Bernard Lewis, who while writing his own Race and Slavery in the Middle East consulted him on Jewish texts (x). The result is a work which should stand alongside Frank Snowden's Blacks in Antiquity (1970), for Goldenberg has produced what may well become the definitive study of race and slavery in Old Testament texts and their postbiblical exegesis. In a work particularly valuable for its comprehensiveness and philology, Goldenberg's research is monumental; the writing is clear as a bell; the arguments are not only cogent, but honest. Indeed, the book, to my knowledge, has no parallel in the scholarly literature and fills a real void. To top it off, the tone of the book is not only lucid and unpolemical, it is modest. Modest!? When last did I read an author admitting (187) "When I first dealt with the text I was not sure"? In short, this is a wonderful book and I hope that it finds many readers.

In his discussion of methodology, Goldenberg states that he set out to apply the comprehensiveness of Frank Snowden's work to the Jewish world (8-9), while also incorporating the methodological nuance of Lloyd Thompson'sRomans and Blacks (1989), particularly the theory of the "somatic norm," i.e., "ethnocentric reaction to strange and unfamiliar appearance," a concept raised earlier by Snowden but more fully integrated into Thompson's work. In fact, G's introductory discussion of methodology makes clear that, during the decades since Snowden and Thompson wrote, a lot of methodological water has passed under the dam. G is well acquainted with the many methodological pitfalls in a work of this type, but, rara avis, seems to have been able not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. He reserves any direct discussion of racism for his last chapter, avoiding the quagmire of defining racism in favor of the simpler question of perceptions of black Africans in ancient Judaism. He preserves the comprehensiveness and positivism of Snowden and Snowden's era, but he is clear, open, and judicious about the many methodological problems inherent in his topic and makes sensible decisions on methodology after stating the problems as clearly and fully as anyone could wish.

Goldenberg's interdisciplinary coverage of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is certainly very contemporary, but, more important, critical to the success of his project. Not only do all three faiths share a belief in the Old Testament as a sacred text, but they share a common early history in the socio-cultural context of the ancient Mediterranean basin. To unravel the development of exegetical traditions of any one of these faiths requires an ear schooled to pick up the dynamic interplay and looping back of themes between all three. G has proven himself well up to the task of presenting biblical exegesis as a stream flowing freely over a Greco-Roman substrate and cutting across denominational lines. Although I am not in a position to judge the quality of the author's control of Islamic scholarship, I would be surprised to learn that it fell short of his magisterial control of the classical, Jewish, and early Christian sources. In a typical example of the work's broad reach, G's discussion (69) of the tannaitic Rabbi Hillel's (ca. 20 B.C.E.) characterization of Africans as "broad footed" (quoted in the Babylonian Talmud [Shabbat 31A] and Avot de Rabbi Natan [a 15 and b 29]) invokes comparative material from inter alia an Egyptian stele on the Nubian campaign of Psammetichus II in 593 BCE, classical Greek and Roman sources (Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Seneca, theVergilian Appendix), 11th century Jewish exegesis and Arabic literary and scientific writing, contemporary scholarship (Frank Snowden), and literature (Maya Angelou), all enriched by notes packed with additional information and citations.

Yet along with its contemporary interdisciplinary focus, this book has a refreshingly "old fashioned" air about it. What I mean is that the reader can easily distinguish between evidence and theory. A colleague of mine recently remarked that a truly good work of scholarship allows one to refute its arguments without having to go elsewhere for the necessary ammunition. G's work meets this standard and as such is a model of scholarly research and presentation. The evidence, such as it is, is all there in a book that deserves close study for its notes alone (165 pages of notes to 211 pages of text). The often highly technical scholarship on every ancient source is deftly summarized and discussed with fullness, clarity, and integrity. Only then does the author lay out his own interpretation, which is invariably judicious and generally persuasive. Indeed, no small added value of G's work is that in the process of learning about race and slavery in early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, readers will also learn a great deal about the history of biblical exegesis from antiquity on. Of particular use for readers unfamiliar with the conventions of Jewish scholarship will be the author's introductory discussion of Jewish sources and technical terminology (12-14) together with his list of abbreviations of biblical, rabbinic, and secondary literature (xi-xv). His exceptionally useful "Glossary of Sources and Terms" (379-393) will be appreciated both by neophytes and the more experienced.

G's book is structured like a good seminar: Introduction, Four Parts, Conclusion, and two appendices (the first on misreadings or scribal errors, the second on the confusion between Kush/Ethiopia and India). Part One contains four short, readable chapters arranged in chronological order. These interrogate biblical and postbiblical texts with questions of definition (what word is to be taken as referring to black Africa?) and content (what is the perception of black Africans?). The Bible usually but not always uses the term Kush/Kush*tes to indicate the land and inhabitants of Nubia/Ethiopia and the south/western side of Arabian peninsula. Postbiblical Jewsih literature reserves the term Kush almost exclusively for an African locale but also adds two new terms adopted from Hellenistic sources: Africa and Barbaria. Both biblical and postbiblical sources share with classical sources a common perception of Kush as the outer limit of the southern end of the world. A vexed passage in Isaiah 18 (1-2, cf. 7), the Bible's most detailed description of black Africans, describes the people of Kush as fierce warriors, perhaps reflecting the contemporary Nubian conquest and rule of Egypt. Postbiblical Jewish sources emphasize additional themes in common with classical sources: contradictory images of Ethiopians as hypercivilized or barbaric as a result of their habitation at the ends of the earth; and a new emphasis, especially prominent in patristic exegesis, on the color symbolism of the white/black contrast as a metaphor for purity/sin or good/evil, often in the context of baptism and probably best known from Origen's allegorization of Song of Songs 1:5 ("I am black but/and beautiful"). Was the symbolism racist? In G's view, the world view created was obviously detrimental for blacks, but not specifically racist.

Part One of the book offers a nicely proportional mix of citations and close readings. G chooses the "right", i.e. "philologically challenging" and/or historically charged passages for his own very full but always clear exegesis, e.g., an illuminating discussion of Moses' Kush*te wife (Numbers 12:1); the black maiden in Song 1:5; the linguistic problems of Isaiah 18:1-2. The relatively few biblical passages, which will be revisited in many different contexts in later chapters, are the prooftexts for all subsequent exegesis. And so in exposition as learned as it is lucid, G takes his time to reach the "Pshat" (the unadorned meaning of the biblical text) in so far as it can be recovered.

Part Two covers general attitudes toward skin color in four short chapters (5-8). Like their classical, Christian, and Islamic counterparts, biblical and rabbinic sources consider light skin a mark of feminine beauty. Of particular interest is G's discussion (90) of the etymology of "houri" (= white ones, from a Semitic root meaning white), the term for the beautiful virgins who, according to the Koran, are the reward for the faithful in Paradise. Also intriguing is this chapter's aside on the possibly transcultural nature of the male preference for lighter skinned women (90-92). A second very brief chapter explores the use of a color scale as an index of health. It is only in Chapter 7, "The Colors of Mankind", that I got the answer (to my mind, somewhat buried) to a question that had been nagging at me since I opened the book. What color did the ancient Jews think that they were? Answer: like just about everyone else in antiquity, the right color, of course, which in the Mediterranean context would be someplace midway between too light and too dark. Etiological myths explaining the darker skin color of Ethiopians, Indians, Egyptians, etc. show a clear preference for this Mediterranean somatic norm. These narratives appear in Samaritan, Christian, Islamic and Jewish sources from the third century on, often as exegesis on Genesis 9:18-25. This section's final chapter ("The Colored Meaning of Kush*te") examines the many passages in classical rabbinic literature in which the term "Kushi" can refer only to dark color without any specific reference to Ethiopian ethnicity or locale. As in the case of the classical term "Aithiops," the rabbis use the term to indicate a color darker than their own somatic norm, and darker skin, accordingly, appears as an indicator of inferior social status.

Part Three consists of one brief chapter (9) on the very meager historical evidence for the presence of black slaves in ancient Israel. G's suggestion is that, as in ancient Greece and Rome although on a much smaller scale, black Africans were a minority among the slave population, but were readily identified as slaves because of their noticeable somatic distinction.

Part Four, "At The Crossroads of History and Exegesis", brings us to the heart of this book, with five chapters (10-14) on the exegetical history of selected biblical texts presented earlier in Part One. Chapter 10 takes up the vexed etymology of the biblical word Ham, for on this word hangs centuries of justification for the enslavement of black Africans as biblically ordained. Through a very thorough, often highly technical linguistic analysis, G administers a telling blow to traditional derivations of the name Ham from a semantic field of heat, darkness, or blackness, and demonstrates that these all turn on a misunderstanding of ancient Hebrew linguistics that can be traced back to no earlier than the first century. Contrary to the assumptions of Islamic, Christian, and Jewish exegesis, G argues persuasively that the biblical name Ham bears no relationship at all to the notion of blackness and as of now is of unknown etymology. Chapter 11, "Ham Sinned and Canaan Was Cursed", explores the question of why, despite the Bible's explicit statement, various biblical exegetes from the second century on insist that the curse affected not just Canaan but Ham and/or all of Ham's children. It comes as no surprise to learn that growing insistence on the chimerical curse coincides with increasing numbers of black Africans taken as slaves, first in the Islamic East, then in the Christian West, and most perniciously in America. According to G, from the seventh century on the theme is common in Near Eastern sources (Arabic Muslim and Christian Syriac), surfacing in Western (Christian) writers in the fifteenth century and appearing in Jewish sources from the Islamic world a century earlier than in Jewish sources from the Christian west (fourteenth/ fifteenth century). Another peculiar exegetical elaboration (American, but with earlier European roots) is the notion of a curse of Cain, as recorded by Phyllis Wheatley (1773) in her verse: "Remember Christians, Negroes black as Cain/May be refined and joined the angelic train" (quoted, 178). According to this narrative, Cain became the ancestor of black Africans who were destined for enslavement in fulfillment of his curse for the crime of fratricide. G's Chapter 13, "The Curse of Cain", argues that the roots of this tradition must go back to Syriac Christian interpretations. These misunderstood rabbinic exegesis to Genesis 4:5, "And Cain was greatly saddened [or distressed] and his face fell," and introduced the idea of Cain's permanent change of skin color (180). Finally, Chapter 14 ("The New World Order") offers a detailed philological analysis of a Jewish commentary to Genesis 9:22-23, the medieval text of Midrash Tanhuma, Noah 13 (on dating see 192 and Glossary 390), demonstrating that the passage encodes the then prevailing Arabic-Islamic division of the world's peoples by physiognomic markers including but not limited to color.

There are no stunning revelations in this book. (Although the material on the etymology of Ham in Chapter Ten was a revelation to me, and may be to others.) There is, after all, not that much evidence and most of it has been processed piecemeal many times. Ultimately, like Snowden and Thompson on the classical world, Goldenberg concludes that the ancient Jewish world was not racist in the modern sense of hierarchy, ideology, or social structure determined by biological difference. We live in a far different world from the ancient Mediterranean, and race and color have acquired cultural baggage that needs to be shed when assessing the ancient evidence. What is important about Goldenberg's book is the fullness, the integrity, and the philological sophistication with which both the biblical texts and centuries of postbiblical exegesis and scholarship have been clarified, organized, and cogently presented for a wide audience. In a topic as fraught with polemic as this one is, this itself is a stunning contribution.

 I have not seen another new work on the same topic: Abraham Melamed, The Image of the Black in Jewish Culture (London 2003), characterized by Goldenberg (214, n. 14) as riddled with "the author's misreadings and misunderstandings of the [Jewish] primary sources." Cf. Goldenberg's review of this work inJQR 93 (2003) 557-79.) 
 Note 174 to this page contains one of the book's few typographical errors. Another is the misprint of note 53 for 83 on page 90. A third error, inexplicably, appears in Princeton University Press's page count (408?) in its marketing blurb. On the positive side, the press is to be congratulated for its choice of a beautiful cover illustration, an illumination from the Alba Bible of Genesis 9:18-25. 
 To G's compendious array of references on this theme might be added Jean-Pierre Vernant, "Food in the Countries of the Sun," 164-69 in The Cuisine of Sacrifice Among the Greeks, edited by Marcel Detienne and Jean-Pierre Vernant, translated by Paula Wissing (University of Chicago Press: Chicago and London, 1989) on the utopian view of the Ethiopians (cf. G. n.117, p.258), and James Redfield's "Herodotus as a Tourist" (CP 80 [1985] 97-118) on Greek ethnography. Because G's book has three indices (Subject, Ancient Sources, Modern Scholars) in lieu of a bibliography, readers must rely on its index of modern scholars to track down full citations; some valuable sources run the risk of burial in the very dense endnotes.




The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

APEXABYSS

  • Guest
Re: Atheist and Christian argue about hell (in a Starbucks). Atheist wins.
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2014, 08:17:44 pm »
http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2004/2004-02-53.htm 

This section's final chapter ("The Colored Meaning of Kush*te") examines the many passages in classical rabbinic literature in which the term "Kushi" can refer only to dark color without any specific reference to Ethiopian ethnicity or locale. As in the case of the classical term "Aithiops," the rabbis use the term to indicate a color darker than their own somatic norm, and darker skin, accordingly, appears as an indicator of inferior social status.


Nubia was also known as Kush.

Ethiopia (Aithiops) formally or aka Abyssinia (Habashat) & Kushi. Ethiopia means “burnt skin”.
 
The Mayans were known as “Quiche” meaning ”land of many trees“. It’s no coincidence the names Quiche/Kushi/Cush/ Kush are the same. Yep, Just more proof that these groups were related or shared a similar culture & ethnicity.

the Mayans had pyramids too

(Again, you gotta start with the dialect. Linguistics & language is everything when discussing antiquity.)

and a new emphasis, especially prominent in patristic exegesis, on the color symbolism of the white/black contrast as a metaphor for purity/sin or good/evil, often in the context of baptism and probably best known from Origen's allegorization of Song of Songs 1:5 ("I am black but/and beautiful"). Was the symbolism racist? In G's view, the world view created was obviously detrimental for blacks, but not specifically racist.



For starters, Egypt (KMT) means “black land” & also represents black-skin-complexion. Ta Meri (another name for KMT) means “sacred land.”

The name Nubian  basically means “gold“ as well as “black”, describing skin color & the precious metal. Ever heard the term “golden-brown“ or “black-gold“? Stevie Wonder has a song called “Golden Lady.”


The Aztec God “Ixtlilton”  name means “blackened-face”
 
Osiris (RA) name means “lord of the perfect black.”
 
The Black Madonna.

Chinese sage “Lao-Tzu” of Taoism was described as "black in complexion.”

The Greek God Zeus is also known as “Zeus-Aethiopia” meaning “black substance”


point is- ancient (black) folks used color to describe the land, the people & their Gods. In no way would they have viewed their dark-complexion as inferior. just the opposite. black was obviously a sacred hue. was! they had mad-haters-yo! Nubians compared their skin to gold, for christ’s sake!
 

and darker skin, accordingly, appears as an indicator of inferior social status.
not possible! check the gods. they were all described as black. no ancient (black) culture would depict their god as black & then view themselves inferior. nope

Dark skin could not have been the cause for substandard treatment or a justification for enlavement. It had to be something else? maybe it was their patriarchal/ matriarchal equality culture? I believe it was religious dominance, too. that world view was created. was!

« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 08:59:39 pm by APEXABYSS »

APEXABYSS

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Re: Atheist and Christian argue about hell (in a Starbucks). Atheist wins.
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2014, 08:34:54 pm »

Hell?  I don't share the Christian concept. Nor do I agree with what the Christian in the article said.

In reality Hell is a ping-ping match, with your soul the ping-ping ball, and God playing both sides of the table.  ;)


HELL? I’m not sure what to make of it. I believe in “universal laws” that are absolute and can never be changed or transcended. They have always existed and will always exist. The universe exists in perfect harmony by virtue of these laws.
 
Easy examples: fire= ice, up= down, cause= effect, teacher= student, masculine= feminine, as above= so below, motion= stillness, apex= abyss...

If someone “catches the holy-ghost” surely someone can be demon-possessed? Right? No?

Somewhere in there is balance or Maat. I put my faith in the balance because that’s what holds it all together. Life is not duality (2). Life is a trinity (3).  You have polar opposites & a Center that separates the two. Just like on a ping ping table? 

Offline Battle

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Re: Atheist and Christian argue about hell (in a Starbucks). Atheist wins.
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2014, 12:18:45 am »
Damn, APEXABYSS, not only can you draw so well to fill a page but you are deep!  8)

Offline michaelintp

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Re: Atheist and Christian argue about hell (in a Starbucks). Atheist wins.
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2014, 04:26:49 pm »
Apexabyss, I knew you would find the book review interesting.  ;D
As always you raise fascinating thoughts.

Oh, on the ping-pong analogy, I actually didn't make that up. The Talmud describes a vision of Hell as the soul being pounded from one end of the universe to the other, back and forth. But for a limited duration. As part of the cleansing process. Except for really really bad people, Hell is temporary.

I have no real views on these matters. Maybe Hell is "just" the revelation for all souls to see of everything you've ever done wrong. Contrasted with your potential. The ultimate in humiliation and shame. Arggg.
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6