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A Longer Conversaton Part 2

Now we get to part 2 of A Longer Conversation Part 1 which is a follow up to A Short Conversation With A Christian. Here in part 2 my conversation with the minister turned to the New Testament.First thing to look at was the genealogy or rather the two different genealogies that appear in Matthew and Luke. A smile came onto the ministers face as he thought I was going to focus on the difference which apparently he was going to explain that one was through Mary while the other was through Joseph. Both say they are of Jesus and both list his father as Joseph so if he claimed that I was not going to accept it but I was looking from another direction. First thing I noted was that god, the supposed father, was not listed but Joseph was. To me and to most thinking people, that is an omission that would not happen if the bible were god’s word. If it were, did he suddenly forget to mention he was his son’s father or did he omit it because he was afraid Mary would ask for child support? Needless to say I didn’t say these last 2 sentences to the minister because I wasn’t looking to offend but to speak. We pretty much glossed over that glaring omission because he did point out Luke did say supposed son of Joseph and god was listed in the first position of Luke’s genealogy.

I mentioned that I was glad he pointed out that Luke began with god and pointed out that although Adam was mentioned, his son Abel was absent yet Seth was there. Just asked him to recall that later but now I asked him to count through Luke’s genealogy, he said 77 so I said slow down, and read me the 22nd name. He told me Abraham. I then flipped the pages in his bible to Matthew and asked who was the first in that genealogy. He said Abraham. I asked him how that happened? Luke lists 21 generations from the creation to Abraham yet god forgot them in Matthews list? He told me no god forgot nothing. Then he mentioned how Matthew was focusing on Jesus royal and Jewish lineage and he also went on to “teach” the significance of the 3 fourteens in the genealogy. I said 3 fourteens! That is 3×14 and that is, he blurted out 42. I asked him how many generations did Luke list and he told me 77. I told him my math ability just came back, 77-42=35. That’s a huge difference. Again he said Matthew was focusing on something different from Luke. To be totally honest I can understand how a Christian that wants to believe will accept this but i am neither a Christian nor do I want to believe. Anyway, I turned his bible back to Matthew and asked him to number the generations. As a nice surprise to me, he did with no reservations. He read aloud to me starting with Abraham as number 1. He finished at number 41 and as I was waiting for him to read number 42 he told me he finished. I asked him if the bible was telling me that 3×14 is 41. I told him I know it gets math wrong by telling me pi is 3 [1 Kings 7:23] and it has no idea that 4,000 and 40,000 are different [1 Kings 4:26; 2 Chronicles 9:25].

Now time for fun with Matthew, just a little fun though. I pointed out Judah and Tamar with their two sons born of incest in slots 5 & 6. I also pointed out the well known biblical whore Rahab who is there in slot #10. I asked him to explain to me how an incestuous couple and their two sons plus a notorious whore appear in the genealogy of god while in Luke’s genealogy Abel is absent. Does that mean thou shall not murder is more important of a commandment to god than thou shall not commit adultery? Is god rewarding incest? He smiled and told me I approached this from a direction he was unprepared to speak about and that he will gladly get back to me after studying the issue and praying for guidance. I excused myself to go to the bathroom and hope he didn’t see the smile coming on my face nor hear my muffled laughter.

After about 2 minutes I was composed enough to return and thought maybe it was best to ask him to explain a topic rather than me lead him like a lamb to the slaughter [forgive the metaphor but it is fitting]. I asked him to explain the concept of the trinity, whether it is biblical or a later addition to Church doctrine. He spoke at length, apparently this is a subject he understood fairly well. He started by mentioning 1 John 5:7 which is the only verse to mention the concept in any concrete form but said the Church vacillated on that verse being genuine or a forgery and it is thought to be a forgery at the present time. I was impressed that he mentioned that and I told him I was impressed with his honesty. He went on telling me that there are other verses that allude to the trinity or rather the triune nature of god but the word trinity itself does not appear in the bible. He pretty much mentioned most of the words history that I wrote about in Trinity: Biblical Or Not? and eventually concluded that the word trinity is not biblical but the concept is. I mentioned that the verses he mentioned did mention a triunity in a sense but the major point is that the three were in agreement not that they were the same. He went on mentioning that the 3 persons were manifest as 1 god. Guess he didn’t need me to steer him to mentioning persons but that was exactly what I wanted mentioned. I asked him to explain what he meant by 3 persons. I was half expecting him to use one of the food analogies that I have often heard comparing the trinity to an onion or apple. He went on to mention the different personalities making them distinct persons. That was the opening I needed and I was on the edge of my seat waiting for a pause so I could pounce. Here came the pause so I started once again I used the time honored Jewish tradition of making a point by asking a question. Actually that isn’t only a Jewish tradition but apparently a Muslim one also. The example I used is one I recently heard from a Muslim apologist by the name of Ahmed Deedat. I asked him to imagine identical triplets and asked him to tell me if those are 3 distinct persons with 3 different personalities. He said yes. I went on and said two of the twins were honest law abiding citizens but the third committed crime after crime and eventually killed a man. I asked him if it was proper for the court to execute either of the other triplets instead. He said no because they are a different person then almost as an afterthought realizing what he said he added that they are not god though so that doesn’t apply.

We then spoke about a topic which I recently wrote about in The Sign Of Jonah? which surprisingly enough went fairly smoothly after his initial barrage of telling me I was taking the scripture out of context because Jesus meant to focus on the 3 days and 3 nights and not on being alive as Jonah was. I made him read Matthew 12:40 aloud and he correctly read For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Which is saying as Jonah was so shall I be. Last I checked Jonah was alive while in the whale otherwise how did he pray? In spite of that he did quite quickly agree that Jesus was not in the Earth 3 days and 3 nights saying that he might have been placed in the tomb on Thursday instead of Friday [only way to get 3 days and 3 night is put him in the tomb on Wednesday] but then in a feat which I have not seen except within religion, he said the details don’t matter it is the story and what it tells us. Maybe I was wrong but I thought the story was in the details.

I was in his office for 2 1/2 hours already and I didn’t want to wear out my welcome but the truth was I was enjoying out conversation and although he disagreed with me on most points, I felt like he was enjoying it also. The last topic we spoke about is the one I wrote about in Who Moved The Stone? He agreed that Joseph of Arimathea rolled the stone in front of the tomb with no help as it says in Matthew 27:60. For some reason he seemed genuinely surprised that I knew that. For brevity’s sake instead of going through the unnecessary motions where we inevitably would disagree [I am sure some of you have noticed my somewhat unorthodox thought in Who Moved The Stone? and in Crucifixion or cruciFICTION?], I decided to just ask the possibility, not probability, that Joseph of Arimathea who was able to move the stone alone in front of the tomb would have been able to move the stone away. Being a reasonable man he agreed that that was a possibility and it would certainly change much Christian teaching about the death and resurrection of Jesus. He said that the teachings of Jesus would not change only we would have a different understanding of Jesus death and resurrection. I guess he never really read 1 Corinthians 15:14.

He thanked me for what he said was wonderful and thought provoking conversation and asked me again to reconsider speaking in front of his congregation on the topic of faith. He told me not to worry about slipping into a Harrisesque type rant since it would benefit his congregation to be shaken out of their comfort zone. That brought my Jewish heritage flying to the front and I couldn’t resist telling a story about getting out of ones comfort zone. I told him a story that happened to me about 20 years ago. I was over at one of my friends houses and we were playing a few games of chess. He had a really nice Basset hound who was laying beneath the table and every so often he would let out a howl. It was getting annoying and I did mention it to my friend. He just told his dog to stop and sure enough not 2 minutes later here came a howl and my friend yelled at him to shut up, I really hope he didn’t expect an answer. The dog was laying pretty close to my feet and next time he stated howling I looked under the table to see the dog and gently pushed his rear end with my foot. As the dog got up to move I saw something fall from underneath him. Turned out to be a nail about 2 inches long that he was laying on. I showed my friend the nail and expressed shock that his dog just laid there on it howling in discomfort. What my friend said stuck with me although he wasn’t making a great moral statement it made sense. He said his dog was to damn lazy to move, howling was easier. I am not saying Christians are in pain but they do tend to get lazy and comfortable in their private little comfort zones. I do commend my new friend for saying and realizing that his congregation needs to be shaken awake. Wish more Christians thought the same.

[tweetmeme source=”noreligionblog” only_single=false https://noreligionblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/a-longer-conversaton-part-2%5D

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