Saturday, December 24, 2022

A skeptical Christmas question

 It is, I believe Christian doctrine that Jesus was born of a virgin. But in Matthew the biblical text maintains not merely that Jesus was born of a virgin, but was prophesied to be so born. 

Matthew 1: 22-23, NIV

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).

This is, of course, a quote from Isaiah 7: 14. There is some controversy as to whether the Hebrew word in the prophecy really means "virgin" or "young woman." But that is not my worry about the use of this. But that is not my concern. My concern is that it looks as is Matthew has ripped the Isaiah prophecy out of its context. The context is this: Pekah the King of Israel, and Rezin the king of Syria are threatening to attack Ahaz king of Judah. Ahaz is scared, and wants to go get protection from the Assyrians. Isaiah is telling Ahaz to trust God, not Nineveh, for protection against Pekah and Rezin, and tells him to look for a sign from God. The sign is supposed to be that a virgin or young woman (however you translate it) will conceive and bear a son, showing Ahaz that God is with us (and that he doesn't have to go do business with the stinking Assyrians (not nice people, by the way) to maintain the security of Judah. 

But if that's the sign Isaiah is talking about, then the birth of Jesus, which takes place several centuries after Ahaz is dead, doesn't do the job.  Ahaz needs a sign NOW that God is with us. So how is the Isaiah verse a prophecy of Jesus? 

Monday, December 12, 2022

What does the right to an opinion amount to?

 What does it mean to have a right to a belief or an opinion. Is part of the right to your opinion the right to express your opinion? If it doesn't involve this, then what kind of a right is it? What does such a right protect you from. If I have a right to life, then I have the right to be protected from someone else's attempt to take my life. No one has the power to take my opinion away from me by force, so what does a right to an opinion amount to? 

Homosexuality and the need for approval?

 One right that I believe sometimes get neglected is the right to disapprove of someone's conduct. I'm not particularly hostile to homosexuality but I fear that people in the LGBT community equate disapproval with some sort of assault or endangerment. (Microaggression?) Does my love life need everyone's approval?

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Can we trust our elections?

 Well, it's either ballots or bullets. Here is an argument against excessive election skepticism. 

Saturday, December 03, 2022

An atheistic justification for violence

 An atheistic argument for violence:

1) Atheism is true, and so obviously so that religious believers must be insane.
2) Insane people can do outrageous things.
3) The people who promulgate belief in God are putting other people's sanity in danger.
4) Even if we have to forcibly stop them from doing so, we can prevent them from leading other people on the road to insanity, and hence possibly outrageous actions.
5) Therefore, the use of force in the name of suppressing religion is justified.