Peter wrote: "It appears that it is impossible to reason with you. Just consider the following discussion on indvidual rights. Whenever the Bible states something that agrees with secular philosophy, you claim that the philosophy must be "read into" the Bible; whenever the Bible says something that disagrees with secular philosophy, suddenly the Bible becomes "inaccurate" and doesn't accomplish anything. You have simply definied it out of existence."
Peter, this is not accurate at all, and you know it. You made the claim that the concept of individual rights is "god-given," and when asked for where this concept is found in the Bible, you conceded that it was not to be found in there. Then you argued that it was implicit in the Bible, and directed us to look at the laws in the Pentateuch in order to find these mysterious implications. I gave a brief analysis of just a few of the laws which I found in the Pentateuch, and I found that, under the Bible's system of commandments and injunctions, the individual does not have the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, the freedom to think as he sees fit, the freedom to work on the days he chooses, the freedom of his own body, the freedom from slavery, etc., etc., etc. (What "right" does that leave? The "right" not to be murdered?) I detailed these findings in four recent posts and gave the reasons why I hold that a rational conception of individual rights is incompatible with the Bible and vice versa. I think I put forward a sound case for this, and now you're upset by this, as evidenced by what you say here.
Did I "define" the Bible out of existence? Not at all. The Bible still exists, I'm sorry to say. Rather, the Bible defines itself out of relevance to modern man, which I have shown. You're simply upset at me for making the case for this both crystal clear and unassailable, and we all know this because you haven't interacted with one iota of the case I've put forward here. Instead of interacting with it, you rail against me personally. This is not an example of how one maturely deals with the issue at hand. Face it: the Bible is anti-man, and I've shown it, and all you do here is whine about it. Peter, go back to your website and grind out your stupid rebuttals to nugatory debates. Here is a matter that is so vitally important to the individual - his right to exist for his own sake, and clearly it is not a right which is endorsed by your religious views, just as it is not a right which is endorsed by the Muslim's religious views. I think I've presented an ironclad case for my position. But if you need more, I have plenty more to say on the subject.
Peter wrote: "Well, fine. You go right ahead and do so. I don't care what you do because it's not reasonable. You start off in Objectivism by simply defining away the supernatural (yet you ask me for a definition of what the supernatural is when it is in your own friggin' axioms: "Thus Objectivism rejects all claims of the supernatural"--read up on your Objectivism metaphysics. You use the term supernatural--you define it in your statement). Now you are defining away all that the Scripture says about individual rights."
Peter, if I recall, you lifted that quote from a source online (perhaps from the ARI website). I gave you my reasons why I was not going to be baited into another round of useless debating with you, and I offered you the chance to define the term as you use it and argue for its reality if you think it has any reference other than to your own imagination. So far, you have decided not to do this, and now you're upset with me! It is not up to me to prove that the supernatural does not exist, Peter. If those who claim it does exist cannot prove that it exists, then people like myself are justified in not believing that it means anything.
Do you want to argue for the reality of the supernatural? If so, then you should define it in positive terms (and not simply tell us what it is not), put forward formal arguments for its existence for peer review, and explain how its existence can be scientifically verified. If you do not do this, then you should recognize that I am justified in rejecting belief in it, for it will continue not only to be meaningless to me, but also in contradiction to the axioms which you and I and everyone else must use even in an attempt to deny or reject them. Sounds like you're stuck, and you're upset at me for this. I think that is unreasonable, Sir.
Peter wrote: "Did I ever say that the Bible would give you every single right that you have today? Of course not. This does not change the fact that it does establish individual rights--this is demonstratively proven just from the injunction against murder, as I demonstrated before."
The Bible nowhere says that this injunction is either a matter of individual rights or based on the concept that the individual has the right to exist for his own sake, (which is man's basic right according to a rational understanding of individual rights). This is your own interpolation. Furthermore, as I have shown with great care, your claim that the concept of individual rights is implicit in the Pentateuch is unfounded and untenable. It not only nowhere identifies this concept, defines it, or explains how its injunctions are based on this concept, the majority of the commandments and injunctions listed in the Bible are completely antithetical to the concept of individual rights, as I have shown. The onus is on you if you want to argue otherwise. Simply asserting that the concept of individual rights is implicit in one injunction and concluding from this that it is implicit in all the Bible is ridiculous. As I said before, I hope you don't need a paramedic on the sabbath.
Peter wrote: "You cannot simply wish it away and ignore that fact."
This accusation is based on nothing I have written. You say this when instead you should be interacting with what I wrote if you disagree so vehemently with what I wrote. Instead, you're simply frothing at the mouth here because you know your little reed boat has sunk. Don't blame me for this, I simply point out the big gaping holes in the hull. Here's a life preserver: it's called REASON. Grab onto it, Peter, it's the only hope you have if you want to live free and consistently with that freedom.
Peter wrote: "That you did not end up with the Declaration of Independence hardly matters at all…"
I'm not exactly sure what the nature of your complaint here is. It doesn't seem to follow from anything else you've written. Calm down, take a breath, and edit it please.
Peter wrote: "--indeed, you must prove that all the individual rights you claim to have are actually valid."
Why should I? Are you going to call out the Inquisition if I do not? Or Calvin's Consistory? You yourself said you had read Rand's works. Aren't you familiar with her philosophy? If you need me to point out where you should go for these arguments, pick up her book The Virtue of Selfishness, and read it cover to cover. Quite a bit in that little book.
Now, as to the rights and freedoms which the Pentateuch in no way supports or makes possible, namely the following:
Do you question their validity, Peter? Do you think only you should have freedom of religion? (For surely you exercise this right.) Do you think only you should have freedom of speech? (For surely you exercise this right.) Do you think only you should have freedom to think as you see fit? (For surely you exercise this right.) Do you think only you should have the freedom to work on the days you choose? (For surely you exercise this right.) Do you think only you should have the freedom of your own body? (For surely you exercise this right.) Do you think only you should have freedom from slavery? (For surely you exercise this right.)
Tell us, Peter, what do you think about a document which does not support these basic rights and freedoms, which you most likely take quite for granted?
Peter wrote: "I do not think that all the rights claimed by the DoI are in actuality 'God-given' rights, despite what the Founding Fathers claimed."
That's fine, because when Jefferson wrote 'Creator' he did not have the Christian god in mind, as I explained. But here you are, living in the USA enjoying the fruits of non-Christian benevolence.
Peter wrote: "And I never stated that all of them were Christians either--the fact that they were deists proves they were NOT atheists because they still agreed that there was a God, and if you take away God the entire notion of the rights of man crumbles into nothing, because there is no objective reason outside of a God to hold to the rights of anyone."
Peter, you have not show that "if you take away God the entire notion of the rights of man crumbles into nothing," nor have you shown that "there is no objective reason outside of a God to hold to the rights of anyone." These are empty assertions which you have not supported anywhere. And the fact that you want to credit "god" with the rights alluded to in the DoI and other founding documents simply means that it makes no difference to you which god it is that is thought to be the basis of these rights, just so long as some god is thought to. This is unspeakably cheap.
What the Founders proved is that one does not need the Christian god in order to develop a code of individual rights. The Founders based their conception of individual rights on the basis of reason and man's rational nature (something the Bible nowhere recognizes), and if you read the philosophical materials which held currency among the architects and framers of the Constitution, you would know this. One does not need to be either a deist or a theist in order to affirm reason or recognize man's rational nature. One simply has to be willing to think for himself honestly, rationally, and consistently, something which organized religion discourages and even views with hostility. No wonder it took some 1700 years after Jesus' little desert ministry for a nation of individual rights to be founded. Jesus was no help at all, and your own words have demonstrated this. Observe:
Peter had written:
"Jesus' purpose on earth wasn't to end slavery…"
"Jesus didn't come to demonstrate individual rights…"
Peter even said at one point:
"…salvation is vastly more important that the issue of living in slavery…"
Easy for Peter to say: he's living in a nation where he has the right to worship as he chooses. Tell the slaves of the world's bloody history that "salvation is vastly more important [than] the issue of living in slavery." Are you making this decision for others? See, that's the whole thing: the religious zealot thinks he can decide for others what is to be considered most important. Herein are the seeds of dictatorship and tyranny. No wonder Hitler rode the Christian bandwagon!
Peter wrote: "It doesn't matter that you claim it is only one step away from atheism--the entire argument rests on there being a God who has given rights to individuals."
The concept of individual rights might be construed to depend on this or some other arbitrary notion (e.g., the existence of Geusha, the god of the Lahu tribe of northern Thailand) if persons had no better reason to form the concept of individual rights and develop a code of rights (e.g., the Bill of Rights, as opposed to Jesus' bill of duties). But that's not the case. Philosophy evolves, just like technology and organisms do. We've come along way from the primitives of the past, and we dare not let go of our achievements because some people still enshrine the arbitrary. The new in philosophy is always met with suspicion and hostility, particularly among those who cling to traditions which are fruitless by themselves.
Peter wrote: "Take that away and there is no Declaration of Independence."
The Declaration of Independence identified the individual as supreme - this is contrary to the collectivism of the New Testament.
The Declaration of Independence was a declaration of separation from a kingdom - a political format which is endorsed throughout the Bible.
The Declaration of Independence declared the rights of man - a concept which is alien to the Bible, as Peter himself has admitted ("If you are looking for the specific words 'individual rights' they are not in there, no."), and which developed in no nation where Christianity was the basis of political rule or where its clerical leaders had strong influence over the affairs of state (e.g., Italy, Germany, France, England, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, etc.). It wasn't until the Age of Reason when America declared its independence from a kingdom and defended the rights of the individual that these other nations later adopted some form much later, and only then with severe compromises which have crippled those nations' freedoms to this day.
The Declaration of Independence paved the way for a constitutionally limited republic, a concept completely foreign to the principles and ideas of the New Testament. In a constitutionally limited republic, the individual can challenge the authority of those in power. This is anathema to what the New Testament teaches about obedience to authorities (e.g., Romans 13:1, Titus 3:1, I Peter 2:13, etc.).
Aren't you glad you have the freedoms that you take so much for granted? They came at a huge cost, and they may go right out the door if people like Peter have their way in national or global politics. This threat is very real.
Peter wrote: "You can blast Christianity all you want."
I do so because it is both anti-reason, anti-man and anti-American, as I have solidly shown.
Peter wrote: "Until you give us a rational answer, then why should we care about your opinion of religion?"
Keep your head buried in the sand like and ostrich, Peter. Don't dare look beyond your primitive prayer book. You might not be able to handle what you discover.