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Hitchens' atheist arguments under scrutiny

DawkinsHitchensRegular Network Norfolk columnist James Knight dissects the popular arguments of atheist Christopher Hitchens on God, religion and faith, following on from Richard Dawkins last month, and argues that they do not stand up well to scrutiny. 

When it comes to discussions about God, I've often been baffled at how it is that Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, arguably the two most prominent atheist spokesmen in recent times, have got away with speaking so much nonsense for so long, while all the time enjoying adulation, approbation and lionisation by an ever-increasing group of followers and imitators.
 
So, finally getting round to it, I thought I'd go to Google-search to find what has been offered as their 'best' quotes against God, religion and faith, and show why they don't stand up to rigorous scrutiny.
 
As you'll see, Dawkins and Hitchens have ready-made methods for twisting meanings and distorting logic in a way that the more pliant and impressionable individuals don't seem to notice. This week I look at Hitchens.
 
Christopher Hitchens is a much slipperier customer than Ricard Dawkins. As you'll see from below he utters things that are so obviously true they hardly need saying (statements that just about any non-fundamentalist would agree with, theist or atheist), which thus makes them poor candidates for criticising religion. He then distorts reality to paint the kind of picture he wants, and then uses those distortions to argue in ways that everyone would agree with if his fabrications were accurate (this is another favourite trick of politicians). But it carries no more intellectual weight than if I were to get you to believe that living in Sweden comes with the same standard of living and life expectancy as living in Sudan, and then proceeded to tell you how Swedes are impoverished, desperate, repressed citizens in need of aid, investment and military intervention. You could only remain convinced for as long as I'd fooled you into thinking that Swedes have the culture, same standard of living and life expectancy as Sudanese citizens. Hitchens is good at this kind of manipulation - he must be - thousands of his admirers fall for it readily. The first case is a good example:
 
"Religious belief is a totalitarian belief. It is the wish to be a slave. It is the desire that there be an unalterable, unchallengeable, tyrannical authority who can convict you of thought crime while you are asleep, who can subject you - who must, indeed, subject you - to total surveillance around the clock every waking and sleeping minute of your life"
 
Straight away you'll notice Hitchens employs the same trick as Dawkins frequently does - in using words like 'totalitarian', 'slave', 'tyrannical' and 'crime' he appeals to terms that everyone sees as negative and undesirable, and uses them to paint a metaphor-strewn Orwellian picture of religious people being slaves to a totalitarian dictatorship. In other speeches he regularly contradicts this tenor by saying that the comfort blanket of religious belief is wish-fulfilment, so I'm not sure which he really believes.
 
Is religion a totalitarian dictatorship that requires our fear and dehumanisation, or is it a positive doctrine to which we might naturally gravitate for escape and comfort? What about a man under a real life dictatorship who seeks divine comfort in mental escapism - I assume Hitchens doesn't think such a man would see religion as tyrannical. Maybe Hitchens really thinks - as I suspect he does - that we each create our own interpretations of religious belief. That being the case, he offers no explanation as to why his dark 1984-esque picture of religious belief is an accurate representation of the beliefs of the highly educated religious people in the world, many of whom being more cerebral than him.
 
"The essential principle of totalitarianism is to make laws that are impossible to obey."11
 
This is not only false - in fact, if one looks at totalitarianism on earth, and if we use Hitchens' favourite example of North Korea as a prime example, then just the opposite is true - totalitarian states make laws that are easy to obey; they just involve subjection to the totalitarian leader, which means being a dehumanised slave to an ignorant, repressive, manipulative, uncaring dictator who is usually a megalomaniacal abuser of human rights and largely morally unaccountable in his thoughts and deeds.
 
That's a horrible life for the serf and morally ignoble for the oppressors, but there is nothing profoundly difficult about the morals - what they severely lack is the kind of profound morality and intelligent self-examination that comes from constructing a better morality that's harder to obey.
 
I think Christopher Hitchens would have benefitted from thinking this through a bit more; for having done so he might have been led to consider more carefully why laws that 'are impossible to obey' are that way, and what kind of metaphysical consideration they actually prompt. If the concepts of goodness, kindness, love, grace, decency, mercy and forgiveness can be conceptualised at such a grand level that they leave us hugely wanting and accountable in our pursuits of an excellence that always remains out of reach, then this should leave us more curious about concepts of divine goodness, not less curious. If such highly sought concepts of goodness, kindness, love, grace, decency, mercy and forgiveness are examples of those laws that 'are impossible to obey' they are the opposite of totalitarianism, not the 'essential principles' of it.
 
"Name me an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer that could not have been made or performed by a non-believer."12
 
To me that is the sort of pliable question that sounds intelligent but isn't really. I think Hitchens' question shows a lack of understanding of what religious belief entails, and also the overlooking of something that should be trivially obvious. The short answer is, the question is as meaningless as asking whether quenching thirst is better than feeding oneself.  It is true in most cases that there is no ‘statement’ or 'action' that a theist can make or do that others cannot, but that tells us nothing meaningful about the God debate, because a proper analysis involves much more than just the statement or action - it involves analysing the beliefs, intentions, humility, motive, and other psychological factors that do not come out in a mere action. Naturally we could name good moral actions taken by both religious and non-religious people that have produced the same results, but that does not tell us anything about what is directing the action, or whether the person is living a Godly life, and it certainly has no bearing on whether there is a God.
 
"On our integrity, our basic integrity, knowing right from wrong and being able to choose a right action over a wrong one, I think one must repudiate the claim that one doesn't have this moral discrimination innately, that, no, it must come only from the agency of a celestial dictatorship which one must love and simultaneously fear. Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it."13
 
Hitchens often makes this kind of argument, but it is simply an example of him continually stating the obvious and appealing to a false dichotomy to which most theists don't fall victim. No sensible believer thinks that human decency, goodness and moral thinking derives from religion - quite the contrary - it is only when we are disposed to morality that theistic interpretations of God have any power at all. That Hitchens continually makes this desperate appeal as part of his regular repertoire suggests he's trying to blind his followers with spurious appeals to the ridiculous.
 
"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence."14
 
To express fully what is wrong with this statement would take a whole essay in itself. But briefly, it grossly caricatures religious faith to state that it is 'asserted without evidence', when, in reality, evidence is in the eye of the beholder, and different people accept and interpret different evidences differently. Maybe some people are too easily seduced by interpretations that shouldn't ever be offered as reasons for belief in God, but equally there are going to be lots of people whose psychological agitations predispose them to a scepticism that demands too much evidence, or the wrong kind of evidence.
 
I suspect Christopher Hitchens' main problem is that he'd never thought through properly what evidence for God actually means, and how it might be different from the more simplistic evidence found in empirical science. Never once did I ever hear Christopher Hitchens tell us what he thinks good evidence is, what makes good evidence good, how belief in God differs from knowledge of the empirical world, and what he thinks would be satisfactory evidence for God.
 
"Philosophy begins where religion ends, just as by analogy chemistry begins where alchemy runs out, and astronomy takes the place of astrology."15
 
The analogy of alchemy and astrology to their better counterparts is misjudged in relation to religion's relationship with philosophy. Philosophy doesn't begin where religion ends - religious enquiry is a key part of philosophy because the question of how we enquire is essential to what we conclude, and this is evidently true of Christopher Hitchens' anti-religion enquiries too. It appears to me that in saying "Philosophy begins where religion ends", Hitchens excuses himself from having to give the God debate a proper analysis. For a man who was so verbose on the subject, he said so few things of any profundity.
 
"The idea of a utopian state on earth, perhaps modelled on some heavenly ideal, is very hard to efface and has led people to commit terrible crimes in the name of the ideal."16
 
Indeed it has - but this is only an appeal to the most obvious of human sensibilities. Of course it is reprehensible when people commit terrible crimes to pursue some kind of dastardly personal agenda, but Hitchens knows full well that the majority of people, both believers and unbelievers, unite in finding such behaviour shameful. His point is as banal as if he had said "The idea of high street banking based on some ideal of financial institutions for our capital is very hard to efface and has led people to become bank robbers".
 
Does Hitchens at least acknowledge that we are trying to achieve a better world, or that it is a conceivable goal to achieve a better world? If so, then I see no reason why the most excellent principles of goodness that we can summon up need not be our main driving force in the world.
 
"To believe in a god is in one way to express a willingness to believe in anything"17
 
I don't know whether Christopher Hitchens was any good at arithmetic, but if we were to quantify the two sets (things believed in and things not believed in things), and then work out how many things there are that are believed in differently between theists and atheists, and then work out the number of things that both the theist and the atheist do not believe in, I am certain that the differences in the latter amount to a number much higher than the differences in the former.
 
Moreover, as I showed in my criticism of Richard Dawkins' belief-o-meter, the only God you find atheists rejecting is the kind of god (small g) that almost no sensible theist believes in anyway, so all Christopher Hitchens is saying is To believe in the kind of god I have in mind is in one way to express a willingness to believe in anything". Yes, well, given the kind of absurd caricature Hitchens creates as a god to reject, I can quite believe that people who can believe in such a god can believe in almost anything.
 
Final Thought
Dawkins and Hitchens repeatedly tell us why they think God does not exist with apparently witty and clever sound bites - but frankly the distortions, straw-man caricatures and poor reasoning are so clumsy that it really beggars belief that so many people hold them up as spokespeople for reason and rationality on matters of faith. Here's my rule of thumb as a starting consideration for discussing God:
 
The God one accepts or denies is only likely to be as intellectually tenable as the intellectual tenability of the person holding those ideas.  
JK
 
If you want to think seriously about the existence of God - and it does require lots of serious thought - you can do much better than these two.

Click here to read the article about Richard Dawkins



James Knight is a long term contributor to the Network Norwich & Norfolk website and a local government officer based in Norwich.  


The views carried here are those of the author, not of Network Norwich and Norfolk, and are intended to stimulate constructive debate between website users. 


We welcome your thoughts and comments, posted below, upon the ideas expressed here. 
 
Click here to read our forum and comment posting guidelines
 
You can also contact the author direct at j.knight423@btinternet.com
 


11. Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
12. Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist
13. Christopher Hitchens, Debating Religious Belief: Debate Christopher Hitchens vs. Alister McGrath, 
14. Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
15.Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
16. Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
17. Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

Photos: Left: Richard Dawkins by Shane Pope on Flickr (cropped) and Right: ChristopherHitchens by Jose Ramirez on Flickr (cropped) 

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Stewart Rogers 24/03/2014 05:44
In the Old Testament God punishes his creation for not living up to his standards – in the New Testament God punishes his Son, who does. A God of love must have high standards, a God of forgiveness and grace takes that burden upon Himself (the cross).

It is worth noting that the Old Testament frequently reminds Israel of what is demanded of them, e.g. Micah Chapter 6.
Seymour Major 24/03/2014 09:07
Stewart Rogers - Your response contradicts itself. We have on the one hand, as you say, a God who "punishes his creation for not living up to his standards" and then he suddenly decides in the New Testament to instead punish his son for the sins of others. Why the change of heart? Why stop invoking his wrath and killing thousands of people? (many of whom were innocent, e.g. the First born Egyptian babies.)

Do you agree with his actions in the Old Testament? Regardless of what he reminds Israel of, he is not justified in murdering people, especially since it was him who made them the way they are. If the God of the Old Testament does indeed exist, why doesn't he smite and murder all those who don't live up to his standard today? Do his hypocritical rules not extend to modern day rapists, murderers etc? My question remains unanswered: How are you content with worshipping a mass-murderer?
Stewart Rogers 31/03/2014 00:33
No, Seymour, my response does not contradict itself. The crucifixion of the Messiah is the fulfillment of many prophesies in the Old Testament, e.g. Isaiah 53. Moreover, God disciplines his chidren just as much as he protects them. The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is so bizarre it is even mocked by Richard Dawkins, the punishment of Egypt’s firstborn is the punishment of a nation that harshly oppressed God’s people and slaughtered – their firstborn. In terms of the God of the Old Testament being a mass-murderer – have you begun to look at the Assyrian conquest? The Babylonian Exile? The Book of Esther? The Greek conquest of the Second Temple and the apocryphal text of Maccabbees? The Israelites were actually asked to endure more suffering than to inflict it, so you might like to engage with Hebrews 12, 7. And please remember that the Old Testament God is the same God that produced the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, The Book of Proverbs, the Psalms, Job, the Book of Ruth, the Prophetic Literature – you’re not even engaging with the Books of History here mate.
Seymour Major 31/03/2014 09:55
Stewart - I can't say I agree. You say God 'disciplines' his children just as much as he protects them. So in essence what you're saying is that he is justified in killing these people? You are happy to accept discipline in the form of murder? What you seem to be implying here is that the events that you point to such as the Assyrian conquest and the Babylonian Exile show Israelite suffering and a justification for the way that God acts. I do not contest that according to these stories the Israelites endured much hardship; However, I do not accept that this gives God justification to commit the acts he does in revenge. Surely this makes him just as bad as those that he invokes his vengeful wrath upon? If you are content with this warped sense of morality then you would be happy enough to see him wipe out innocent children just because their parents have done wrong, like the Egyptians? I reject your contention that I am not engaging with the Books of History. Just because I don't make reference to every single Book in the space of a replying comment does not mean that I'm not engaging with them. There is nothing in these books that contradicts the fact that God kills thousands of people, is there? So I fail to see the relevance of me 'not engaging' with this part of the Bible. I could argue that you're not engaging with 2 Kings 2:23-24 where God sends forth two bears to kill forty-two children for making fun of Elisha’s bald head (more discipline and protection for children I suppose?) or God's ridiculous rules such as anyone who goes uncircumcised is to be exiled from his people (Genesis 17:14), if two men have sexual relations, both must be put to death (Leviticus 20:13) anyone who commits adultery must be put to death (Deuteronomy 22:22), anyone who does not worship God must be put to death (2 Chronicles 15:13) (That would be me dead), and the list could go on. I would be interested to see how you could find justification for some of these rules.
Stewart Rogers 31/03/2014 11:28
Seymour,

It seems your principle contentions are intricacies within the Laws of Moses. These Laws express what God defines as sin, Jesus has become a sin offering for us.

Romans, 3: 20 reads, 'No one will be declared righteous in God's sight by observing the Law; rather through the Law we become conscious of our sin.'

(And it's interesting that your post includes the phrase, 'That'd be me dead').

Romans, 8: 3 reads, 'For what the Law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of humanity to be a sin offering.'

As far as me listing a large number of books to combat you: I really, really do think that you MUST take the Bible as a whole - in its entirety it intends to present a world-view.

Ultimately, insofar as your statements about the Law, Titus 3: 9 reads, 'Avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the Law, because these are unprofitable and useless.' That book goes on to say simply that 'our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.'

You might therefore want to look at some of the other things this site offers - good work, and God's work.
Seymour Major 31/03/2014 13:01
Stewart,

You state that my principle contentions are 'intricacies' within the Law of Moses. So you think therefore that we should just ignore these 'intricacies' despite the fact that they involve killing people due to their sexual orientation for example? (On a side note: The fact that this is even a sin is a joke in itself, as homosexuality is prevalent in the animal kingdom, not just humans, which quite clearly demonstrates that it is genetic/biological, so in effect it is therefore a sin to exist the way God apparently created you.) Whether or not the law is intended to be observed, the fact that such laws are even approved by God are enough to show him to be an immoral being. You say that these are simply what God defines as sin and that Jesus has become a sin offering for us; What about all the people prior to Jesus' resurrection who God killed for their sin? Why didn't they get the same chance? Surely if God is all-knowing and all-powerful, he should have been able to forsee the direction his creations would take and remedy it by providing Jesus as a sin offering immediately when the first sin took place rather than waiting a few thousand years and condemning millions of people to being killed (or turned into salt) without the chance of Jesus saving them.

You implore me to take the Bible as a whole; I put it to you that that is exactly what i've been doing in order to demonstrate that the two Testaments are contradictory to each other. First and foremost, God in the Old Testament is ONLY a God for the Jews, nobody else. Why would he state this and then suddenly decide during Jesus' lifetime that he'd like to be a God for everyone? Why would he create an entire earth's population only to choose one group of them as his chosen people and discard the rest? His methods of dealing with sinners alter drastically in both Testaments as well as he cures sin through destruction and murder in the Old Testament, yet in the New Testament, he is apparently all-forgiving, allowing the likes of modern day murderers to attach themselves to Christianity and claim that they are now forgiven for their horrific acts since they have 'repented.' The other week, my girlfriend's sister asked her Christian friends; If you had to marry one of these two people, who would it be: 1) A former murderer who has now turned to God and become a Christian or 2) A perfectly normal nice individual who is an atheist. They chose the murderer.As Christians, they were not wrong in saying this, because this is what the Bible teaches. e.g. 2 Corinthians 6:14 - "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" That is something I find deeply disturbing.

I'm afraid Stewart that I don't see good work and God's work as the same thing. As I've stated before, there are many good principles one can derive from Christianity and religion in general but in my opinion it does more harm to the world than good. It serves to provide people with its own form of moral compass to judge others who do not live by its lifestyle, and has caused countless episodes of bloodshed throughout history. If people concentrated more on trying to make the best out of the life they have rather than striving to impress a 'superior' judgemental homophobic being for the chance of spending all of eternity with him in an afterlife, then the world would be a better place.
James Knight 31/03/2014 22:16
Seymour Major, a criterion of judgement based on Deity is usually thought to be Deity's qualities reflected in the human making the judgement. But this kind of qualitative ascription is a two-way mirror. It is not merely that Deity imputes principles by which to live - it is also the case that principles by which to live are already present as we interpret Deity. Every criterion of judgement is part of this two-way reflective process, where Deity judges us, but yet at the same time we are the judge of Deity's judgements, because our own interpretation of Deity is the very framework that supports our own personal judgements.

That's why those very varied personal trajectories throw up all sorts of personality: the pious Catholic genius, the evolution-denying religious huckster, the repressed priest, the Islamic scholar, the Al Qaeda suicide bomber, the Jewish Messianists, the worshipful self-mutilators, the monks, the crusaders, the homophobes, the missionaries, and all manner of literary talents, brilliant theologians, cult-founders and propagandists.

So when considering issues related to theology, religion, faith, and so forth, the kind of Deity that reflects back at you is going to be commensurate with the quality of your intellectual and emotional investment over the duration of the process.


Seymour Major 01/04/2014 10:20
James - Thanks for your response. You have however, as seems to be a trend throughout this debate, only responded to a small portion of what I have written; that being the issue of God's judgement.

I agree with you to some extent; Religious belief throws up all sorts of personalities due to the wide variety of interpretations people take of the sources of religion available to them. To put down the horrific acts committed in the name of religion and the kind of judgement passed on people by the religious to their own personal judgement alone however is completely ignoring one very important piece of evidence to the contrary - The Bible.

Let's take the example of homophobia. You've listed homophobes as one variety of personality thrown up by the various personal trajectories you've mentioned. Why are many religious people homophobic? The reason is not merely that this is their own personal judgement or personality shining through; it's because the Bible deems homosexuality to be an abomination. How can you say that homophobia is down to personal judgement when the very religious text you base your entire belief upon informs people to judge in that exact manner and orders those who engage in homosexual acts to be killed? Again, with the 'evolution-denying huckster' you've mentioned. Why do many religious people deny the existence of evolution as a process; It's because the Bible tells them that God created the world in 6 days. Many modern day, more intellectually-minded Christians such as yourself attempt to shy away from these more primitive elements of the Bible, but if you're going to believe in religion and Christianity, you can't just pick and choose which parts and rules suit you. You should believe in the entire thing, and the if you do believe in the entire thing, I revert you back to my previous examples of God's despicable acts throughout the Old Testament. If you believe in the Bible as a whole, then you believe in and worship a God who murders thousands of people; including children, encourages rape and is homophobic.
Stewart Rogers 05/04/2014 09:59
Seymour,

Perhaps I am right in correcting my assessment that you are opposed to certain intricacies within the Laws of Moses by stating that you are actually opposed to the revelation of the nature of God the Father as found in the Old Testament within the context of the Laws of Moses.

You have asked me to take the Bible as a whole and I believe I have consistently responded to your objections - which seem to be within the context of the Laws of Moses.

I have asked you to take the Bible as a whole yet you have not even written the words, ‘Song of Songs.’

In terms of your suggestion that God the Father encourages rape, my understanding is that God the Father explicitly restricts the perception of that crime that it may be dealt with appropriately (Deuteronomy 22: 23-29). My belief is that the information on the internet that suggests that God the Father hates rape victims stems from a hatred of God the Father.

In terms of your suggestion that God the Father murders thousands of children my objection is found Leviticus 20: 2,3,4,5 - and too many more verses to mention without boring you.

In terms of your suggestion that God the Father is a homophobe: do not romanticize counter-cultural experiences. This is as violent as romanticizing poverty. Aside from generalisations the homophobe is as much a sinner as the homosexual: we rely on Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin. Insofar as homosexuality is ubiquitous within the human condition (or creation’s condition) – we are called to belong to the Spirit of God, not to the flesh: Romans, 8: 9 – ‘You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.’

I believe I have given a fair amount of time to your objections – would you please provide a critique of Song of Songs?

Bruce Springsteen: ‘You might think the world’s black and white/and you’re dirty or you’re clean/better watch out you don’t step/through those spaces in-between.’ Cross my heart - interpreting the Bible requires give and take – God is dealing with humanity here, we’re all shades of grey . Therefore reason with God: Isaiah 1: 18.

I congratulate you on reasoning with Him in fellowship over the Internet.
Seymour Major 05/04/2014 18:06
Stewart,

I'm a bit puzzled as to how you can quote Deuteronomy as a basis for your point that God does not encourage rape. One of the verses you have mentioned states, "If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives." It is certainly an interesting punishment for rape, but I would question how forcing a rapist to marry the woman he has raped is dealing with the crime 'appropriately'... You can also look to the likes of Numbers 31:7-18 where after the attack on Midian that God has commanded, Moses says "Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves." You say that information that suggests God hates rape victims stems from hatred of God, yet printed in the Bible are examples like that passage from Deuteronomy I have quoted (and that you kindly provided). It's not something that people have just made up - it's right there in the 'Holy' book. You just choose to ignore it.

How can you deny that God murders children? It's clearly printed in the Bible. Do you deny that he murdered all the Egyptian first-born? Do you deny that the verse in 2 Kings 2:24 exists? The verse you have quoted relates to God not wanting children to be sacrificed to Molek; it does nothing to counter the argument that he murders children elsewhere in the Bible. I would be interested to hear these other verses that you speak of, because unless they say something like 'It was not God who murdered the first born Egyptians and that passage in Kings where he has children mauled to death by bears for mocking Elijah is not real', then there is no real counter-argument to the fact that he has murdered children.

With regard to your arguments about homosexuality, i'll just point you to the two verses in Leviticus: 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (Leviticus 18:22)and "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." (Leviticus 20:13) Are you denying that this is homophobia on God's part? Are you denying that God ordering those who engage in homosexual acts be killed and stating that they are an abomination is homophobic? You've said that a homophobe is 'as much of a sinner as the homosexual;' So I take it then you see homosexuals as sinners? And you think that acts of homosexuality are acts of sin despite the fact that God supposedly created homosexuals? All humans need the love and touch of another; to create a group of people who for to engage in loving one another is a sin is a sick concept.

I'm not really quite sure what you want me to say about Song of Songs. It doesn't really relate to anything we have been talking about, however I will provide a commentary on it if that's what you wish. The literal subject matter of Song of Songs relates to a relationship between a man and a woman and their sexual longing for one another. I understand that Christians interpret this as an analogy of God's love for the Church. Interestingly though, it does not make any mention of God and the authorship and circumstances it was written in is unknown, so really it has just been adapted by Christians for their own purposes without any factual basis for doing so.

I'm not quite sure why you say that the Bible requires give and take - it is supposedly a text constructed by a perfect being, and it should therefore also be perfect. I've said many times that there are elements in the Bible that are good however you, along with many other Christians, continuously ignore the bad. It is a text that is quite clearly a product of its time and we should move on from it.

With all due respect, I reject your statement that I am reasoning with God over the internet. I am reasoning with you, not something that I do not believe exists.


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