"...but try the spirits whether they are of God..." (1 Jno. 4:1)
|Volume Four, Number Four||Winter 1996|
I thought that responding to Dennis' first attack on Eccl. 1:9 was embarrassing. I didn't think that Dennis could make himself look more foolish than he did in his tract. However, I was wrong. It seems the older I get, the more I am surprised. I often say that nothing else can surprise me, and just as surely as I do, someone comes along with something so ridiculous and absurd that I am surprised that anyone who claims to be a humanbeing would conjure it up. This is exactly the way I feel about Dennis' response to my booklet.
Dennis begins by telling us that, "(t)he scholarship of apologists like [myself] never ceases to amaze [him] JM. Like so many of your compatriots, if you don't like the script, you either rewrite, reinterpret, or ignore it." Now what part of this scripture have I rewritten, reinterpreted or ignored, Dennis? I pointed out in my booklet seven things that the writer of Ecclesiastes said to explain his statement, "there is nothing new under the sun." I showed that he was not talking about scientific exploration or technology (atomic warfare). Dennis seems to think that these are things that I produced just out of the clear. If he will reread my response, he will see that I listed a scripture reference behind each one of those statements. Those were things that Solomon listed before he ever made the statement, "there is nothing new under the sun." He made that list to explain the statement he was about to make. Therefore, we can know just exactly what it was that he was saying.
Then Dennis gets all confused and charges me with producing this list to show how Solomon was saying that new and different things do happen. That was not my purpose. My purpose was to show that what Solomon was discussing was the regularity of life. Solomon did not intend for his statement, "there is nothing new under the sun" to be taken as saying that nothing new would ever happen. He listed several things that were common to man to show how regular life is. Then he said: "there is nothing new under the sun." By this he meant that in the regularity of life, there is nothing new under the sun.
He never meant that a certain automobile would not be made. He never meant that a child would only get one "F" in twelve years of school. As I pointed out in my booklet, "(t)his simply shows the regularity of life. Man is on a cycle which ends and begins over and over again." Then to show the truthfulness of Solomon's statement I (originally) stated:
"One generation dies and another takes its place and is faced with the same temptations and tribulations. One generation dies and another takes its place and fights the same battles it fought. An example is that I am having to fight the same battle over the Bible that my dad fought when he was a young preacher. This does not say that new and advanced technology will not be discovered. However, life will go on as usual until all time stops and Christ returns."
There are 85 words that Dennis deleted from my booklet with a simple "...". In other words, those 85 words had no relevance to the issue under discussion. Oh, I believe they were relevant. And I believe that McKinsey saw their relevancy, but did not want his readers to see it too. Thus he deleted them, as he has done so many other times since he started his defense of his tract. It seems that when an argument really paints Dennis into a corner, or when he knows that there is no way he can respond, he merely deletes that argument or those words with a simple "...". Again, I ask, "Is that honorable?". Would Dennis sit still for me to delete as many words out of his articles as he deleted from my book? If you think he would, you are only fooling yourself.
Solomon's list of repetitive acts do not prove that there is something new under the sun. It does prove, however, that life is regular, it is predictable. It explains his statement: "there is nothing new under the sun." If that isn't plain enough for Dennis, I don't know how much plainer I can make it.
Dennis says that my logic is a sight to behold. How would he know? After reading his publication for the last several years, one thing stands out: He knows nothing about logic. It's almost as if everything with him is "trial and error." "Let's try this one and see what happens!" He says that my, "explanation is nothing more than a rambling stream of pseudothought." In other words, my explanation is nothing more than a sham, or false thought. Again, after reading Biblical Errancy and especially his anemic response to my tract, he has no room to be talking.
He tells me that I would be much better off to join the bowling leagues. Well, I might be at that. At least on a bowling league I would see a certain amount of honesty and honor out of my opponents, something that is lacking in my opponent in this exchange.
His question is moot because that type of event is not included in Solomon's statement. Yes, there are new things which happen, but Solomon was discussing the regularity of life. Do the things in his question have anything to do with the regularity of life? If not, then they are not even in the same ball park as Solomon's statement.
He continues his attack on the Bible's usage of the words piss and dung. I pointed out that the reason McKinsey found pornography here is because he has already made up his mind that the Bible is not inspired, and now he must formulate a premise to fit his conclusion; and any old thing will do. In response he says: "my mind was not made up 'prior' to the analysis; my mind was made up by the analysis." WHAT ANALYSIS? He hasn't made any analysis. Had he made an analysis of this passage he would have seen that the words "dung" and "piss" weren't used as profanity, but rather to speak of bodily functions; human waste. The dictionary says that the word "piss" means: "to urinate...to discharge as or with the urine...urine" (Webster's New World Dictionary, p.1084). Then it continues on to say: "NOW VULGAR IN ALL USES" (Emp mine jdm) (Ibid). The word simply means to urinate, but now it is a vulgar term. Humans use it as a slang; something vulgar. However, when the KJV was written, it simply meant to urinate, or rather in this case it meant urine. These people would drink their urine. I guess that would have been a nicer word to have used, then Dennis wouldn't have thought so much about it; maybe.
I think that it's odd, that one of the versions that McKinsey quotes from frequently (the RSV) uses the word "urine" rather than "piss": "to eat their own dung and drink their own urine." Is that profanity too, Dennis? Hum? The KJV uses the word "piss" because that was the common word that was used to describe "urine" back then. Should it have changed, simply because man would make something vulgar out of the word? What if man makes something vulgar out of the word "urine," should we never use the word again? Give me just a small break! As I stated, if one is offended by the word "piss" he can use another translation on that word. The word that the KJV translators translated "piss" from is the word "shah'yin " which means: "to urinate; urine" (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance The Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, p.115). When the translators of the KJV used the word "piss" the word was not a vulgar word, any more than "urine" is a vulgar word today.
He tells us that I used the word "waste" rather than "piss" in my explanation. The reason I did was to show that human waste (urine) was what was being discussed rather than vulgarity. No, I am not choking on the Bible's socalled "fourletter words." I was explaining what it was.
The word "piss" can be used as vulgarity, but it can also be used to describe urine. When used to describe urine, it is not vulgar. It's only vulgar when we use it in a vulgar setting. Many people use the word "pee" which the dictionary also says is a vulgar term: "to urinate, urine. Now a somewhat vulgar usage" (Webster's New World Dictionary, p.1047). Would it have been alright for the KJV translators to have used the word "pee" rather than "piss." Is a small child using vulgarity when it uses the word "pee" to describe urine?
I won't be held responsible because some radio station in Georgia censored him for reading the word "piss" out of the Bible. However, I have heard much worse come over the radio than that word will ever be.
I asked how he felt about all the PG13 , R and X rated movies that are being pushed off on us. I then stated that I doubted that he felt that there was all that much wrong with them. By way of response he says:
"Don't try to put me on the defensive by putting me in the position of defending movie ratings and content. Your statement that, 'I am sure that Mr. McKinsey would find little wrong with these' is wholly inaccurate. I am disturbed by any situation in which labels must be put on movies before you can know if they are reasonably appropriate for viewing, and I'm also bothered by the tremendous amount of trash and violence currently circulating in abundance and masquerading under the rubic of artistic freedom and creativity."
Well good! I'm glad to know that Mr. McKinsey was one of those who fought against the movie "The Last Temptation of Christ" and Steven Bocho's series which aired in 1993 "NYPD Blues", both in which nudity was shown. Farrell Till claims that he began his fight against the Bible when Dr. Holler (a Presbyterian minister) went around boycotting "The Last Temptation of Christ." Apparently Farrell didn't see too much wrong with the movie. Tell me, Dennis: did you fight against those two shows?
Well, he did say that he is disturbed by trash (nudity) and violence that is being shown, did he not? Maybe he is like Farrell Till, who deplores abortion, but not enough to speak out against it. Maybe McKinsey is disturbed by what is shown, but just not enough to do anything about it. Yet, he will take words like "piss" and "dung" and beat them with all of his might. I have yet to see anything that he has written against what is shown on TV and the movies. Maybe he will provide me with things that he has written on that subject.
I pointed out that the Bible uses the "ass" to speak of the donkey. However, the dictionary says that it is, "a vulgar term" (Webster's New World Dictionary, p.82). The Bible also uses the word "hell" to speak of the grave, the waiting place for the wicked in the unseen realm, and eternal destruction, but men use it "(a)s profanity..." (Webster's New World Dictionary, p.650). The Bible doesn't use either word as vulgarity or profanity, and neither does it use the words "piss" and "dung" as profanity or vulgarity. The problem, as I said before, is not with the Bible, but rather with man's thinking.
Finally, after all he has said on the matter, he said: "Where have I ever said that the Bible is pornographic? There are undoubtedly pornographic statements contained therein, but that doesn't make the entire book pornographic." Oh, I thought his original objection was: "If the Bible is our moral guide, then how can it make pornographic statements such as: '...they may eat their own dung and drink their own piss with you' (2 Kings 18:27)?" He is saying that because of that passage we cannot claim that the Bible is our guide in morality simply because it is a pornographic work. If that statement does not make the Bible pornographic, what would? How many pornographic statements would it take to make the Bible pornographic? Is a movie a pornographic movie if it has one pornographic scene in it? If not, how many pornographic scenes would it take the make the movie pornographic? If an X rated movie had scenes in it which were not pornographic, would that mean that it was not a pornographic movie? He knows better than that. He knows that if a movie has even one pornographic scene in it, that it is a pornographic movie. He is trying to have it both ways with the Bible.
On the one hand he wants to claim that the Bible is not to be considered our moral guide because it contains pornographic words, while on the other hand he does not want to go on record as stating that the Bible is pornographic. Well, we'll not let him by with that tactic. If the Bible is pornographic, then it is pornographic. Even one place would make the entire book pornographic. Choose a side and stand by it, Dennis. The only thing I despise worse than a false teacher, is a false teacher with no guts. They make me sick. If you are going to state that the Bible is pornographic, then do it, but be a man about it.
Finally he says that my statement about my being willing to allow my son to read the words "piss" and "dung" in that passage provided that he is taught why the words were used, is resorting to the old 'you are taking it out of context' defense. One thing that atheists don't like is when we insist on remaining with the context. You see, if they were to remain with the context, then they would have no argument against the Bible much of the time. So yes, the context must be taken into consideration.
He says: "(d)o you realize how many novelists, writers, poets, musicians, painters, playwrites, composers, sculptors, photographers, and artists could make that same argument when their works are attacked as pornographic by others?" Really! Please be so kind as to show how nudity, explicit sexual intercourse, could be justified on the basis of context. Please show how taking God's name in vain could possibly be justified on the basis of context. I would really like to see that!
No, I would not want my son viewing those works or reading them because they cannot be justified on any basis. A picture of a naked woman is a picture of a naked woman, regardless of how you slice it. A film showing sexual intercourse is a film showing sexual intercourse regardless of what anyone may say. However, when the KJV was translated, the translators used a word "piss" which was not vulgar, but rather meant "urine." The word didn't become vulgar until our time. Pictures showing sexual intercourse have always been pornographic and always will be. Taking God's name in vain has always been considered profanity, and it always will be. Therefore, your argument is without merit. We have but one more exchange left in this discussion and we will get to it in the next issue of Challenge.
CHALLENGE is published quarterly by Challenge Publications.
Jerry D. McDonald, Editor; Michael P. Hughes, Associate Editor.