Dave writes: Hi Ed,
Before I make my way through another 30K “reply” having (in all likelihood) little to do with our initial discussion, with all due respect, may I ask: have you dealt with that original point of how to interpret the Psalm read at your friendʼs funeral or not? As far as I am concerned, you need to either defend your original assertions (which I critiqued) or concede the point and admit that you had an inadequate understanding of how to properly interpret such ancient Hebrew poetic literature.
Edward: In all honesty, I do not think that particular psalm was appropriate at the funeral of someone who died young and who had just begun going back to church. Read the psalm for yourself, note the promise of being kept from pestilence, and delivered, and granted long life. Becca was granted none of that. Do you concede such obvious differences? If you wish these lines of the psalm to say something about eternal life, they donʼt, yet they were the lines sung in church:
Surely He will deliver you…You will not be afraid of…the arrow that flies by day; or of the pestilence [disease] that stalks in darkness; or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you…Because you have made the Lord your refuge… no evil will befall you…His angels…will bear you up in their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and cobra…you will trample them under foot…Because you have set your love upon Me, therefore I will deliver you…with long life I will satisfy you.
- Psalm 91
Going over 10,000 points (now hell is brought into it too?) does not advance the discussion, which was about a very particular claim you made. Just simply concede the point (if you have no answer) and then we can move onto something else if you like.
Edward: In all fairness In your first reply you didnʼt deal with the lines in the psalm that I cited. Instead you cited other lines, several that seemed to me more appropriate for Beccaʼs funeral. But you did not deal with the lines of Psalm 91 above. Please deal with the particular lines I mentioned that were sung at Beccaʼs funeral. Go through them line by line if you wish and explain each of them, or metaphorize each of them away, but deal with them. I am the one citing a particular psalm, and you havenʼt dealt with a sentence of it.
But I refuse to deal with 7,532 things at once. Thatʼs an old tactic, used by fundamentalists and atheists alike, that I never fall for.
Edward: I was not employing a “tactic.” I figured that since you did not deal with the actual words I cited from the Bible, I would cite them again for you to read and discuss line by line. Also, we agree in one thing, finding each otherʼs replies less than direct.
My time is too valuable to fall into that trap. I actually believe that real progress can be attained in agnostic/atheist — Christian dialogue, if people will remain amiable and stay on the subject. Youʼre doing great regarding the former, but I give you a C- on the latter (maybe even a D+).
Edward: Handing out grades are we? My own study of the history of Hebrew literature has led me to recognize two divergent schools of thought concerning whether following Yahweh will grant protection and long life, or not. There are other divergencies in Hebrew thought as well, such as priests and their animal sacrifices compared with the teachings of the prophets. And there were differences in belief concerning the afterlife, did everyone go to Sheol or not? Danielʼs afterlife judgment is a late Hebrew development—unless you believe that the book of Daniel was written in its entirety back in the days of Babylon, in which case, I would suggest reading the works of Collins, one of the foremost scholars on Daniel and intertestamental literature.