knot-hangmans-noose-black-backdrop-18mm-manila-1-ajhdIf you give a man enough rope, he’ll hang himself.

I am not exactly certain of the origin of the phrase, but I am certain it came from the Bible. A couple references suggest the story of Haman in the Book of Esther (here and here) inspired the phrase. However, since Judas actually did hang himself, I suspect the story of Judas’ demise in Matthew 27:3-10 (here) served as the inspiration.

How do we avoid such a fate? In my last post, GOD GIVES US A CHOICE, I pointed to the Bible and the choice God gives us. To avoid self inflicted destruction, we must accept Jesus’ gracious offer of salvation. Here I will give examples of the insanity that results when we refuse God’s offer.

A Personal Example

I wrote a post some years back, Reviling Christian Fundamentalism, that spoke of a stupid prejudice I had acquired against “Jesus freaks.” I had convinced myself, I thought, that Christianity was for the weak. I now look back in shock. Jesus is the most important person who ever lived. Without question, the Bible is the most important book ever written. Yet I was in my fifties before I finally disciplined myself enough to read it. That was so blind.

A Visitor To This Blog

There are others I could choose, but john zande seems to want the attention.  left a string of comments back on this post, CONVENTION OF THE STATES SUFFERS A SETBACK IN VIRGINIA. His comments had nothing to do with that post, but ColorStorm got fed up with him. This comment pretty much explains why.

February 7, 2015 at 2:04 am

Its simple jZ, like the hot dog company, I answer to a higher authority than you.

My faith would be meaningless now wouldn’t it, if it wasn’t valuable enough to defend.

You mock Adam, Noah, you mock the patriarchs, you mock the prophets, you mock Christ, you mock the apostles, you mock the Spirit of God, you mock the people of God, you mock the throne of God, and you want people to bow down to you?

No thank you. There are many other places where people do not care about your wiles, but I am well aware of the roaring lion.

Your toxic suggestions are not getting free PR.

 blog is clearly anti-Christian, and his comments vastly overstate his case. So I don’t blame  for reacting as he did.

So why didn’t I delete  comments? Well, I am more interested in espousing my own philosophy than trying to refute everything  says. Nevertheless, to understand the choice God has given us, we need to contrast and compare the differences. If  insists upon providing that contrast, then to the extent I can I will make use of his “services.” To see what I mean, read:

I don’t doubt  is knowledgeable, but he is so bent on disproving Christianity there is no objectivity. He claims there is no controversy even when it is clear he has insufficient to back up any such claim, and that is sad. Nevertheless, I did sort of enjoy his suggestion to read about the camel.

Our Government

Here are several examples of insanity now popular with many of the American people.

Citizenship Test

Here is the editorial that inspired this post.

Require citizenship test in schools: Our view

The exam can provide a floor on civics learning. It doesn’t have to set the ceiling.

Jay Leno’s old Tonight Show man-on-the-street quizzes were particularly hilarious — and depressing — when he tested Americans’ knowledge of their own government.

One woman thought the colonies won their independence from Greece; a college instructor guessed that U.S. independence was won in 1922; and a man said the general who led our troops in the Revolutionary War was Winston Churchill. (from here)

What’s the solution to American ignorance? To solve a problem created by government-run education, USA Today’s Editorial Board wants more government-run education. How long do we have to keep doing that until we figure out that does not work?

Global Warming

For years we have been told the earth is getting warmer. We now waste hundreds of billions a year trying to fix this supposed problem.

Want some irony? Check out that bastion of Liberalism, Boston, MA.  Google the news for boston roofs snow load. I suppose it is possible that all that snow really is not falling on Boston. They could have an epidemic of fat flying pigs landing on their roofs.

Same-Sex Marriage

In addition to the entertainment industry, we now have judges telling us that two people of the same sex can be married. Since the folks in the entertainment industry think it is their job to entertain the rest of us with strange ideas, we should expect them to spout weird ideas and even take themselves seriously. However, how do we explain it when judges in black robes spout insane nonsense? Do the male judges think their robes are dresses or something? Are some of our judges getting so old that they have forgotten how their private parts work?

Same-sex sex doesn’t work. Anatomically, it is impossible. All two people of the same sex can do is a perversion of what two people of the opposite sex do when they join to make children.

More Government Creates Jobs

Our elected leaders now want us to believe that highers taxes and more government spending creates jobs. Here are some questions for anyone silly enough to believe that.

  • How many Americans eat food actually grown by the government?
  • How many Americans dress in clothing actually made by the government?
  • How many Americans live in houses actually built by the government?

Nevertheless, we have people willing to tax other people into poverty so that the politicians can give them other people’s money. Some politicians call that compassion, but the Bible calls it stealing.

Islam Is The Religion Of Peace

Most Muslim nations won’t allow the presence of Bibles. Many Muslim nations actively persecute those of other faiths.  ISIS and other such organizations are killing people. Why is that? History tells us that Mohammed spread his religion by threatening to kill people if they refused to accept his faith, and he did kill people. He conquered Saudi Arabia using arms, not persuasion.  Yet our government leaders refuse to use the word terrorist and Islam in the same breath.

While it would be wrong to blame all Muslims for Islamist terrorism, and we don’t want our leaders to start persecuting Muslims, what is the point of denying the obvious? Even Muslims know they have a problem.


  1. If I understand you correctly, you agree with the Rabbi current beliefs to be the truth… Likewise Tom’s beliefs in Jesus appear to be his choice of a religious belief. Which beliefs are truth is a matter of choice. Between your beliefs and Tom’s beliefs, which do you believe will bring more beauty into the world is a question I recommend you consider if you want to blog your beliefs. Tom stated at one time he believed Jesus freaks were “out of it.” However, after taking the time to read and study the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the Bible, he joined with them and now believes his time is well worth spending to expound the teachings of Jesus because doing so will bring more beauty into our obviously topsy turvey world. I suggest you do the same. Perhaps in time you too will discover the real truth of God in comparison to often proved wrong beliefs dreamed up by mortal men. Consider my suggestion.

    Regards and good will blogging

    1. Which beliefs are truth is a matter of choice.

      And there, in a nutshell, is exactly the problem between believers and non believers: believer assume their beliefs define and describe reality we share, whereas non believer must rely on reality to arbitrate our beliefs about it. The former is a guaranteed way to fool one’s self. Only the latter is a guaranteed way to justify confidence in beliefs.

      Look, Scatterwisdom, you may think religious beliefs are a way to enrich your life, and that’s fine… if and only if you use these beliefs in the personal domain. But all too often religious beliefs are used as the justification to impose various rules and regulations and biases and bigotry and misogyny on others in the public domain to pernicious effects. If what is true about reality matters to you, then the inquiry into various claims made in scripture… particularly biblical scripture for many of us in the West… also matters to you. Choosing your beliefs in spite of and even contrary to this honest inquiry does not suffice to justify them as equivalent because this assumption has no tether to the reality we share. What is true about reality is not a matter of choice but of matter of either respecting or rejecting reality’s say in the matter. And if you choose to reject reality, then why on earth should anything you have to say about it matter to anyone other than yourself?

    2. What makes you think I haven’t considered it? I was a theist, raised, schooled, the whole lot. Belief crumbled the moment I looked at the stories with a critical eye. They simply do not stand the simple test of reality. The god hypothesis is a terrible hypothesis. It cannot compete in the market of ideas and should be jettisoned for the childish nonsense it is, freeing ourselves to address the real problems which face our species. So, I would suggest you open your eyes, and find beauty in reality, rather than a pleasant smelling delusion.

      That said, I popped over to your blog and see you’re a fan of Solomon. Great stuff. Just for your information (as I think you’d be happily interested in this, at least), the only area where there is still a live and active debate in the field of serious biblical archaeology is whether or not Judah had an urban society in the 9th Century BCE. As you might be aware, this pertains to the narrative of the United Kingdom. In this area, at least, there is a mildly healthy back and forth as it’s commonly held today that Judah was an insignificant kingdom with wretched infrastructure, whereas their northern neighbour (and linguistic cousins) in Israel were far more advanced and sophisticated as a nation. Of course, if you read the bible Judah was quite grand in the 9th Century. 100 years of archaeology hasn’t corroborated that narrative, but some finds might indicate that Judah wasn’t as wretched as first thought. No one has yet been able to find any specific evidence for the alleged United Kingdom, that appears to be a Judean myth, but few honest archaeologists are prepared to rule Solomon entirely out as a 10th century king… although his story has been clearly embellished by some creative folks a few hundreds later who wrote of things like great camel trains visiting Judah, which has been roundly debunked.

      Good luck to you, and I hope you endeavor to find the truth in reality.

    3. I didn’t read anything in JZ that indicated that he hadn’t read the teachings of Jesus or that he was taking a stand against beauty. On the first point, he seems very well versed in Old Testament content and I assume his interest in Near Eastern Archaeology indicates that he is very familiar with the content of the New Testament as well. ON the preference for beauty point, there is no inherent reason why people who steep themselves in historic research, like Mr. Zande, have less developed aesthetic senses than those who are Biblical literalists. If there is a basis for “choosing” between Zande’s world view and Tom’s (or anyone else’s) it probably has little to do with “beauty”. If the inherent message is that the Beauty being referenced derives from positing divine or supernatural elements that explain “our topsy-turvey world” , there is probably a substantial group that find it more unsettling to think that the chaotic appearance of things around the world might either be the result of direct Divine intervention or, perhaps even more chillingly, a determination by the Divine not to intervene, as opposed to thinking that these events are all of mortal human creation and are essentially random.

      Again, I thank Tom for posting this content. I thought our recent discussion on Biblical inerrancy was a good one from all sides. Zande adds a very substantive element to it by bringing in historical evidence.

  2. Hi Tom, apologies, I only just saw this.

    You say: I don’t doubt [john] is knowledgeable, but he is so bent on disproving Christianity there is no objectivity. He claims there is no controversy even when it is clear he has insufficient to back up any such claim, and that is sad. Nevertheless, I did sort of enjoy his suggestion to read about the camel.

    The (Christian) article you point to states: “But evangelical scholars say the claims are overblown.” The two people the article cites are not archaeologist, rather employees at American bible schools. Hardly people to be taken seriously in matters of serious archaeology.

    Just so you know, in 2013 I interviewed the brilliant young Israeli archaeologist, Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef who co-authored the paper “The Introduction of Domestic Camels to the Southern Levant: Evidence from the Aravah Valley.” In fact, I’m still in contact with him (his paper “A New Chronological Framework for Iron Age Copper Production at Timna” was recently heralded as the most influential paper published in BASOR), and so you know, Ben-Yosef is a practicing Jew, a theist, but honest enough in himself, and his work, to admit the Jewish origin narrative is nothing but inventive geopolitical myth… None of it happened. It is a work of fiction fashioned together in the 6th and 7th Century BCE to satisfy the territorial ambitions of Judah after the sacking of Mamlekhet Yisra’el (Kingdom of Israel) in 722 BCE.

    Trust me, the camel was not introduced onto the Levant any earlier than 900BCE. That is when the bones begin to be found, and that is their carbon return. But what is really interesting here is that you want to focus on this one thing, the camel, yet ignore the absolute mountain of other evidences. As I said to you earlier, this is not a matter of “absence of evidence,” rather the case of entire libraries of evidence that tell a completely contradictory story pertaining to the earlier history of the Jewish people. The camel is just one tiny, tiny, tiny piece in the entire picture.

    You allude to some “controversy,” but there is no controversy. Period. End of story. As I said to you earlier, in 1998 the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), the primary American professional body for archaeologists working in the Middle East, changed the name of its magazine from Biblical Archaeologist to Near Eastern Archaeology simply because the bible had been determined to be (beyond all doubt) an entirely unreliable historical source to direct research into the early Jews, pre-Babylonian captivity.

    So definitive is the evidence that the majority of Jewish rabbis today openly concede the Pentateuch is myth. Even Orthodox Jews are beginning to accept this, which is astonishing in and by itself. In 2012 Orthodox Rabbi Norman Solomon published his book, Torah from Heaven: The Reconstruction of Faith, in which he calls for the orthodox movement to finally accept what has been known to archaeologists (and accepted within all other Jewish movements) for over two generations: that the Patriarch narrative, Egypt, Moses, Exodus, and Conquest are not rooted in reality but rather a “foundation myth;” an origin dream, not a descriptive historical fact. This internal challenge from within the Orthodox movement is not, however, new. Decades ago Chief Rabbi of Britain, Rabi Louis Jacobs, contested the validity of Torah Mi Sinai by delicately suggesting that it was a “complex idea with textual, historical, and philosophical problems that needed to be addressed.” But, the simple truth is this, the vast majority of Jewish rabbi’s do not hold the narrative to have any historical value (not until about half way through Kings, at which time it becomes quite a good historical source.) As stated by Conservative Rabbi Steven Leder

    “Defending a rabbi in the 21st century for saying the Exodus story isn’t factual is like defending him for saying the Earth isn’t flat. It’s neither new nor shocking to most of us that the Earth is round or that the Torah isn’t a history book dictated to Moses by God on Mount Sinai.”

    The “controversy” you seem to think exist doesn’t exist. In fact, the Pentateuch was dismissed as myth over two generations ago, and nothing has changed in that time to alter this consensus among bible archaeologists and scholars. The very fact that you can only present two employees from American evangelical bible schools to support your allusion speaks volumes to the strength of the position you are trying to say exists.

    1. So if the Pentateuch is dismissed by scholars, what did happen? The same scholars do not have an answer so perhaps I may suggest an old saying. Since I am a fan of old sayings, may I suggest this one.

      Eyn Ashan Bli Esh
      English equivalent: “No smoke without fire”, or “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”.
      “There is no effect without some cause. also It is supposed that if there is a rumour, there must be some truth behind it.”
      Paczolay, Gyula (1997). “1”. European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 33. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
      רכלן (1990). אין עשן בלי אש: חבורת מדע. {$[$}Alpha{$]$} נומרי.

      Regards and goodwill blogging.

      1. Hi scatterwisdom

        Good question, but what makes you think archaeologists and scholars don’t have no answer? As I said to Tom, 100 years of exhaustive, professional, peer-reviewed work has not simply unearthed precisely zero corroborating evidence for the Pentateuch, but rather has produced a mountain of contradictory evidence. You have to look to the Settlement Period for your answer here. The Canaanite hills where the kingdoms of Judah and Yisra’el would be founded only began to be settled in 1100BCE, 50 years after the landing of the Philistines on the Levant. This date is not questioned by any historian, archaeologist, or scholar. For the first hundred years of this settlement period the population was somewhere between 15,000 and 30,000, spread out between 11 villages. What we know today is that the people who would go on to become the Jews were refugees from the Canaanite costal states who fled into the hills… Not the product of 2.5 million slaves flooding into the hills after a triumphant 13th century conquest following 500 years of enslavement. The reason why Jews don’t eat pork is also explained in this settlement period. In excavations in the coastal cities (where the Philistines were/controlled) great deposits of pork bones have been unearthed, but in the hills, nothing. Not one. Zero. It’s believed that after reluctantly fleeing into the hills one of the ways the early Jews distinguished themselves from “Them down there” and “Us up here” was by purposefully refusing to eat what “Them down there” loved eating.

        But still, besides the complete absence of evidence for any of the narratives in the Pentateuch, the most telling slab of contradictory evidence is that the hills where the two kingdoms would be established simply weren’t inhabited until after 1100 BCE. There are many, many, many period blunders like this in the tale which all give us an accurate date for when the story was actually written, as opposed to when it was set. One being, of course, the Philistines. The bible has them on the Levant 300 to 400 years before they actually landed. Another is Edom, where Jacob was situated around 1800 BCE, yet Edom wouldn’t actually become a nation until 800 BCE. Most of the stations in the Exodus simply didn’t exist in the 14th/13th Century, but did exist in the 7th Century, precisely when the story was first cobbled together. You have to look at the origin narrative as a unity tale. Abraham and his sons were not historical characters, but metaphors for kingdoms/tribes: Isaac in the north (Israel), Jacob in the south (Edom, which wouldn’t even become a nation until 800 BCE), and Abraham, the father, right in the middle in Hebron (Judah). It’s a geopolitical work of fiction designed to place Judah as the centre of the Jewish world and to capitalise on a weakened Mamlekhet (Kingdom) Yisra’el after its sacking in 722 BCE.

        1. Thank your for your reply and your time that you obviously expended to answer my question. However, no one really does know and may I suggest when it comes the matter of faith beliefs, it is a mystery and “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” Tom sees the beauty in his beliefs in faith. What do you see in yours I wonder?

          Regards and good will blogging.


          1. Well, Tom is a Christian, so the veracity of the Pentateuch only affects him in so far as Jesus making the tremendous blunder of naming Moses and Abraham as real historical characters, which of course, they weren’t. They’re fiction. How Tom approaches this revelation is up to him, but I’ve had other Christians explain it away as Jesus did know Moses and Abraham were fictional, but choose not to divulge the information because the Jews of the 1st Century believed. It’s not a particularly good explanation, but it is an explanation. Of course, there is another problem in that if we’re to consider that the Pentateuch is the only source document for the god Yhwh, and if that’s shown to be myth, as it is, then Yhwh sort of vanishes. Again, how Tom deals with this revelation (the revelation that there never was any “revelation”) is up to him.

            As I started to hit upon above, the majority of Jewish rabbis today accept these facts, and one must factor into this this the understanding that these are people (learned men and women) who have more invested in their origin narrative being true than any Christian could ever possibly hope to have a thousand lifetimes. Judaism is changing, shifting with the facts, and there’s much to be admired in the way the rabbis are handling the information. We can only hope Christian and Muslim leaders behave the same way, with the same level of homesty, in the future when they catch up to their Jewish counterparts.

            Beauty? Oh, I see beauty is many things, not least among them, the truth.

            Good luck to you.

  3. When one considers how ignorant so many Americans are about much of their own history is it any real surprise that many of the most vitriolic and ignorant Christian fundamentalists also reside in the States.
    Is there a parallel one wonders?

  4. Others can judge Zande’s words as they will.

    Am I pissed off and arrogant? I don’t see much point arguing about that. Lord knows I still need to work on my temper and my pride.

    For your edification, I will just make some observations.

    1. I have no reason to be pissed off. The Bible defends itself, and I cannot defend it any better than it defends itself. Because Christians love the Bible, we try to teach and live what it says. Do we do so perfectly? No.

    2. Since I am not responsible for converting either you or Zande to Christianity, I don’t have a good reason for letting my ego get involved. Does pointing out the flaws in yours and Zande’s arguments require brilliance? No, but even if I were a brilliant Christian apologist (and I am no such thing), I still could not make you believe. No matter what I say, that choice belongs to each individual. My job is just to tell people about the Gospel and encourage them to learn more about the Bible. Since it is apparent both you and Zande have had an opportunity to hear the Gospel and rejected it, I don’t know how to help you. If God wants you, it is up to Him to do something about it.

    3. Vengeance belongs to the Lord. When people misrepresent the Bible, I suppose I should be more angry, but when I remember my days as an Agnostic, I am more inclined to pity.

    There but for the grace of God, go I. — attributed to John Bradford (http://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/07/06/grace/ and http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/there-but-for-the-grace-of-god.html)

    4. You already had an opportunity to debate Global Warming with someone knowledgeable on the subject => http://level-head.livejournal.com/640706.html. Unless we have so perverted logic that insults are equivalent to supporting facts, it seems to me you do not have enough faith in your cause to advocate it in any logical manner.

    1. I have no reason to be pissed off. The Bible defends itself,…

      Really? You truly believe this? Even a cursory read of the Bible soon reveals that it indicts itself and all but the thoroughly indoctrinated have come to recognise this fact.
      If a great many of the scholarly forbears, both theological and archaeological, of the original compilers ( Old and New) readily acknowledge its erroneous content I am interested to find out what is it that you believe you know that refutes such eminent scholarship?

  5. Yes, John is very knowledgeable about biblical scholarship – especially the Pentateuch… something you and certainly ColorStorm confuse with some presumed bias mocking Christianity. It’s not. It’s scholarship with terrific source materials and expert contributions. You’re just pissed that knowledge does tend to subvert unjustified beliefs.

    Speaking of unjustified beliefs, you write For years we have been told the earth is getting warmer. We now waste hundreds of billions a year trying to fix this supposed problem.

    Again, gaining some actual knowledge about the topic would go a long way to addressing this kind of remarkable and entrenched ignorance. You might want to try gaining some before making yourself look so arrogantly stupid.

  6. Well said. God does indeed give us choices.

    “Here are several examples of insanity now popular with many of the American people”

    Ah yes, “free” healthcare, too, or rather, fining the uninsured who cannot afford the “free.”

      1. What’s this reference to “free health care”? Has anyone ever proposed such a thing? Health care is extremely expensive. The policy debates have never been about making it “free”. The policy debates are about how to control the costs of health care before they devour everything in the country.

  7. Some of what you spelled out , makes me shudder, at the ignorance of the American people, and the flawed weakness of public education! We are raising generations of clueless people! Ignorance of history and civics is abysmal everyone worries about math and science, but bad as sea are at that it can’t touch social science and English!

    1. We are responsible for running our government. If we don’t understand how government is suppose to work, there won’t be much math or science to worry about.

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