Fun with Flat Earth Fundies, Part 3



Phil’s next objection is so weird that it’s hard to know how to answer it. I pointed out:

..oceans are not part of the semantic range of ’erets. Therefore, 'ends of the earth' must refer to the shoreline, that is, where dry land (erets) meets the sea. This is indicated most clearly in Proverbs 30:4 (KJV), 'Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth?' The connection of the binding of the waters with the 'ends of the earth' indicates that what is in view is the shoreline of the sea."

Phil replies:

In Job 34:10-11 it reads: "And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?"

If the ends of the earth refer to the "shoreline" how does one explain the seas which wrap fully across the earth in places such as in the southern hemisphere where they are not "stayed?" Obviously there wouldn't be any sense in which they are being held back by land there and therefore that interpretation, pardon the pun, falls flat.
Say what? I don’t know what planet Phil is living on, but it is evidently not this one. I know of no place in the southern hemisphere or anywhere else where a shoreline is not a definitive boundary, absent interference by human efforts like seawalls. Are oceans sweeping across the lands of the southern hemisphere on Planet Phil?
I then said:
"In response, critics may point to passages they believe indicate a universal meaning for 'earth.' These passages are said to reflect some condition or instruction that has universal application, and so 'earth' must refer to planetary Earth. Deuteronomy 13:7, for example, contains a warning to Israel against seeking false gods: 'Of the gods of the people which are round about you…from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth.' Critics assume that this warning is meaningless unless it is a universal prohibition.

However, this does not follow. The greatest spiritual threat to Israel at this time was the pagan religions of Canaan, Ammon, and the surrounding nations. There was no reasonable threat of Israel being tempted to follow the gods of Mongolia! Therefore, 'earth' most intelligibly refers to regions in and around Canaan."
Phil blathers back with an affirmation that he thinks ‘erets can mean the whole earth, and adds:

…were the Monglians any less pagan than others? Again, this particular verse very well may have a limited scope in view but it wouldn't in any way mean that is ALWAYS its usage via Genesis 18:18,25; Genesis 22:18 (Genesis 12:3) Jeremiah 25:26,29,30; Jeremiah 26:6; Isaiah 37:16,20 = 2 Kings 19:15; 2 Kings 19:19; Zechariah 4:10; Zechariah 4:14.
Sorry, but this misses the point by 100 million flat Earth miles. The warning specifies people “round about you” and is a clear modifier for what the “earth” in question is meant to mean. The Mongolians may have been pagans at the time, but again, as Phil more or less admits with clenched teeth, a limited scope makes the best sense here. As for the other verses, Phil doesn’t bother to explain why any of them refer to planetary Earth, but it most likely has to do with Phil’s holier than thou attitude. 2 Kings 19:19 has Hezekiah asking God to save Judas, so “that all the kingdom of the earth may know that thou art the Lord God.” Being a holy roll-up, Phil likely thinks that God’s glory can only be worth having if everyone knows about it every time God does something spectacular. But in context, the only nations that had any idea what was going on at the time and place where in the area of the Middle East and Persia. God saving Judah would not have been known by King Nxtlchtfl over in the Yucatan, and Hezekiah would not know who that was either. So King Nxtlchtfl would in no way have known from those events (or anything else) that God was the Lord God.
Phil’s fundamentalist tunnel vision is made even more clear by this comment:
Critics should apply the observation that the inspired text accommodates such as human finitude? Was God not aware of man's limitation and wish only to convey the earth and its descriptions only from man's finitude rather than convey the truth from God's perspective? This is the sort of hemeneutic that has lead to woman pastors, sodomite marriage and various other immoral positions because man was simply not up to date on the latest cultural progress as we (wickedly) possess today!
Sure, Phil, just keep pressing that panic button and other fundies won’t bother to examine your claims too closely as you slide down that slippery slope with grease on your backside. There’s a vast difference between hard-evidence issues like the shape of the Earth and moral questions like “sodomite marriage”. In any event, Phil can’t give us any reason to suppose that he has a special insight into what God would “wish” apart from his assumption that God is made in Phil’s image and likeness (that is, He’s also a modern fundamentalist). 
Moreover, I have not said that God did not convey the truth. I have said that the truth is that the word “erets” did not mean planetary Earth.
It gets worse as Phil throws a hissy fit when I refer to the use of specific words in the book of Sirach:
I find it interesting that they now reference an "extrabiblical" example in order to make a point. If that be the case I can certainly pull out the book of Enoch which will only reinforce the flat earth position.
The hilarity here is that Phil’s Bible was translated only because other people knew Greek and Hebrew, and they got the meanings of words in those languages from “extrabiblical” sources. Sadly, Phil fails to explain what word in Enoch aids in his translation fiascoes (though it’s also not clear why he’s using Enoch in the first place).
We’ll wrap up with Phil’s Phlat-Earth Phantasy next week.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Where did Jesus say "It is better to give than receive?"

Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus, Jonah and U2’s Pride in the Name of Love

How Many Children in Bethlehem Did Herod Kill?

On the Significance of Simon of Cyrene, Father of Alexander and Rufus

Dr. John Lennox: Video - Christmas for Doubters

William Lane Craig on "If Mind is Reducible to Brain Function, Why Trust Thought?"

Fine Tuning Bait and Switch

Responding to the “Crimes of Christianity”; The Inquisition

The Meaning of the Manger