My atheist friends often have Psalm 14:1 lobbed at them as if the verse ends the conversation like a holy grenade! It says, "The fool has said in his heart there is no God".
But the verse does not mean all atheists are fools. It means anyone who "says in his heart" there is no God is a fool. In other words, anyone who denies God for merely emotional reasons is foolish. An issue this profound is not to be determined by one's psychological state or emotional disposition.
The person who has genuine intellectual questions or objections concerning God's existence is not the biblical definition of a fool. God will honor and answer in the humble quest for truth. The honest inquirer is in a better position before God than the emotionally closed-minded.
Since I'm talking about the Hebraic-Christian Scriptures, they repeatedly say we must humble ourselves before God. Think about it. If God exists, humility is certainly in order in seeking Him. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you". "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God", etc.
This shouldn't be hard for the atheist intellectually. Most of my atheist friends agree that humility is in order in the quest for any truth. Don't you agree?
(On the other hand, I can see how horrible I would feel (at least at first) if, say, Islam was proven to me to be true. I would be forced intellectually and emotionally to acknowledge Allah and Muhammad. I would have to begrudgingly and reluctantly bow before them. That would suck! I would acknowledge Allah's existence, but probably continually resist any relationship or love for him until he smote me!
But I must say that my emotional resistance to Islam is mostly for intellectual reasons! Thankfully, I am confident there is nothing forthcoming in Islam that will serve as an adequate defeater of Christ's claims.)
BTW, I am aware of Christ's injunction against calling anyone a fool, yet he himself did. Keep in mind that Christ is forbidding unwarranted name-calling (literally "empty head") from people who are themselves often foolish!
"The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on nothing; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing."
—THOMAS PAINE (1 737-1809), in The Age of Reason
Damn.. that's not a concept.
Sam, first, you are committing a fallacy known as Argumentum Ab Annis. One does not determine the truth or falsehood of a proposition (including moral ones) based on the age or era from which it came, i.e. newer does not necessarily mean truer.
Secondly, neither God nor moral values have changed. In the case of the 10 Commandments, all that has changed is the application of certain moral imperatives. In Christian theology, the civil/ceremonial aspects of the Law (Sabbath laws, eating shellfish, etc) have changed due to (1) the theocracy being no longer extant, and (2) Christ fulfilling those aspects of the Law.
You'll notice that certain moral imperatives transcend the civil/ceremonial aspects of the Law (e.g. murder) and are upheld by the New Testament. So, your post has to do with internal aspects of Christian theology and the application of moral values and duties (Applied Ethics).
Sam, first, you are committing a fallacy known as Argumentum Ab Annis.
That doesn't really seem to be the case to me. I think he is questioning the relevance of the Bible to modern society, and made a case for it. Whether you accept the case he argues or not (and I see that you do not), I don't think the intended message was that the Bible is wrong strictly because it is old; we just aren't beholden to the moral dictates of men who died a couple of millennia (or longer) ago.
Kris, the moral relevance of something should be determined on its own merits. That's why it is a fallacy to fault it based on how old it is. And that's exactly what Sam does ("it represents 2000 year old moral values"). "You ought not lie", "you ought not murder"; both of these moral values are over 2,000 years old. Are they therefore no longer relevant?
BTW, despite what Sam says, the 10 Commandments are much older than 2,000 years!
Kris, the moral relevance of something should be determined on its own merits.
Exactly why the Bible is irrelevant. If the tennets are relevant, they can be evaluated independent of their Biblical context. Most have. Some have survived, and some have not.
Yes, on second thought, it was just a general mistake we all make. He knows the OT predates the NT.
Also, it depends on what you mean by "tenant". Do you mean moral tenant? If so, then the Bible can merely reflect the moral tenants that we universally recognize (do not rape, do not murder, do not steal).
If you mean spiritual tenants, then I would agree that one is free to accept or reject them. One is free to reject God or place as many gods before him as one wishes.