I am finally connected to E-Mail after traveling. Thanks for your note.
Your dad, my dad:
Thanks for the additional information and clarification on your father. Your question on what influence my father's atheism had on my views is a good question which I had never considered. My mother's Theistic views had a larger effect. I think mostly I didn't want to adopt my father's beliefs and behavior. He was not a loving person. He was very argumentative and angry. He was not a happy person. Although he only went through the 8th grade, he was quite bright and a self made man. As far as his humanist beliefs, I think they are similar to yours. As you would expect, he also was raised in Christian church since most people were than and many people like my dad, you and your dad lost their faith.
A hypothetical god would have done these things?
Sorry for the confusion I caused by lack of clarity. If God exists and you know it we have no debate. Consequently, the only basis for our debate is if you are right and God does not exist. If we assume that God does not exist I can make two statements:
1. The writers of the Bible had no special knowledge about God or any special insight into our world. Consequently, we would expect the truth of their writings to be a mixed bag.
2. You and I also would have no special knowledge about God. Consequently, it would be hard for us to say which of the items on the list would be representative or would automatically follow from a God that didn't exist.
Does that clear it up?
I have studied the reliability of the Bible:
First, congratulations on studying the reliability of the Bible. You are definitely in a elite group. I commend you! If you were not convinced at all by Josh Mc Dowell or Greg Boyd that the Gospels contain any truth, I am starting to lose confidence that I can convince you also. However, I will keep trying, OK? Those guys are out of my league and perhaps you are too. I have great respect for all three of you.
One question I have is what is your criteria to be persuaded? How high are you holding the bar? Are you requiring something like 2+2=4? Are you persuaded that any writings from antiquity are true? Do you accept any of those?
Questioning my honesty:
Again, I apologize for lack of clarity causing confusion. I am not calling you a liar. The statement I was referring to was "Thus Theism could be right about some things and wrong about others and the humanists would be the reverse. Similarly, Theists could have picked anti-humanist positions. I don't think either of these is true, but they are possibilities that haven't been ruled out." I was just pointing out that you were making arguments that you didn't even believe in. That is certainly is not calling you a liar, OK?
You understand where I am coming from on my odds. I am not unhappy about anything you said about probabilities. I agree with your statement that "the biggest problem is not the odds.." The rest of the sentence states "but that there are simple reasons not involving Satan for why issues aren't independent of each other, and that there are issues where humanists agree." I believe you mean where humanists agree with Theists.
Again I probably made a mistake when I used Satan as an example of a one to many relationship in that I should have just presented the general case rather than an example. I believe that a one to many relationship is similar to a one to one since both are can be described as only one possibility or the other. So the bottom line is dependent upon independence. I agree that everything within and between the 4 lists is not independent. However, the degree of dependence is not sufficient to change the conclusion.
USA is based on God's law and Theism:
This is an area that is based upon history, pure and simple. The fact that we disagree on a factual, historical premise is a good area to work toward a consensus or a conclusion.
D. James Kennedy not only is a proponent of a belief that our country was based upon God's law and Theism, but he wrote at least one book documenting factual support.
The Basic question should be, was the USA based upon God's law and Theism or based upon the our current secular view of the ACLU where any Theistic symbols, references, songs etc. should be expunged from the public square. The current philosophy holds up the separation of church and state doctrine as based upon the constitution and supported by Thomas Jefferson and our nations founders. This is the current polarized debate. We need to agree on which is true and which is false. Don't you think this is the relevant question?
My information and quotes for this discussion all are from D. James Kennedy's book "What if America Were a Christian Nation Again".
Regarding our founding fathers, "The deistic, atheistic founding fathers represented a small portion of the total picture, David Barton, author of 'original Intent', points out that approximately 250 men could be called America's founding fathers. They served on the Continental Congress and gave us the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Northwest Ordinance. Of these 250 men, about a dozen, fewer than 5% of the total, were not orthodox Christians. These included Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Ethan Allen. But even these men were pro-Bible and had somewhat of a Christian worldview. (Later, Paine completely rejected such a worldview, but when he wrote 'Common Sense' in 1776, he referred positively to the Bible)." Jefferson and Franklin were by no means anti-Christian. Modern secularists often quote this handful of men as if they represent the total picture.
"The founding fathers often quoted the Bible in their writing. Two professors of political science conducted a major study on more than fifteen thousand books, monographs, pamphlets, articles and so on from 1750 to 1805, the founding era. They discovered that 34 % of the quotations came from the Bible, far more than any other single source. According to the current popular understanding of the 'separation of church and state,' many of the writings of the founding fathers could not be legally studied in school. The writings of James Madison, the so-called father of our Constitution, could conceivably be no longer acceptable in school---'violation of the separation of church and state'."
Early commentaries on the Constitution showed that the founders did not intend a secular government that would silence any Christian presence in public. So for example, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, who lived through the formation of this government, wrote a massive commentary on the Constitution of the United States in 1828.
He said this concerning the first Amendment: 'Any attempt to level all religions (most notably, Christianity) and make if a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created disapprobation, if not universal indignation...'
Below I have listed 19 of 25 items that show the Bible (Theism) and God were a basic foundation of our country.
Thomas Jefferson is the Icon that secularists hold up as a Deist, atheist, skeptic and hostile to religion. They also claim that Jefferson originated the "separation of church and state" doctrine that justifies expunging Christianity from the public square like a virus. The problem is that this is completely the wrong picture.
"Jefferson was born in Virginia in an Episcopal family, or Anglican, as they were known then. He attended church regularly all of his life and was an active member of the Anglican Church. He also attended Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist churches and was particularly thrilled when all four of those denominations held services together in a courthouse.
Some might say that when Jefferson grew up, he learned better. Not so. He followed the Anglican faith in is orthodoxy all his life. He went to a Christian school and was taught by Christian pastors. As a grown man, he served on the vestry of the Anglican Church, which was the equivalent of an elder in Presbyterian Church. Not only that, he supported the church financially. His own financial records attest to this. Author Mark Beliles points out that he gave money to pastors, churches, Bible societies, and Christian schools and colleges."
While in France his wife, mother and best friend died. Jefferson's faith received a tremendous blow, and from that point on he began to question certain tenets of his faith, including the Trinity. It wasn't until 1813, years after he left office, that he ever stated that disbelief in private letters. Jefferson was a Bible scholar and he read his Bible daily.
"Similarly, the so-called 'Jefferson Bible' is a myth. There never was a Jefferson Bible per se. Jefferson did cut out miracles from the Gospels in order to produce a book on ethics--the ethics and morals of Jesus Christ for the purpose of evangelizing and educating the American Indians. Jefferson remarked, 'Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appear to be so pure as that of Jesus.' Thus the so-called Jefferson Bible was really a tool to introduce the teachings of Jesus to Indians'."
Separation of Church and State: "Today we are told that Jefferson intended the strict separation of church and state. But like so much of the historical records surrounding Jefferson, this has been turned upside down and made to be the very opposite of what Jefferson intended. Late in 1801, when he was president, he received a letter from the Association of Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut, who were concerned about the threat of the newly formed federal government. This 'Leviathan,' they feared, could become a great danger to their Christian faith and to their churches."
"On the first day of the year 1802, Jefferson wrote back to the Danbury Baptists. In this letter, he said that he was greatly impressed that the American people, through the First Amendment had, in effect, created a 'wall of separation between the church and the state,' so the Baptists didn't need to fear that federal government was going to intrude upon their religion or in any way disturb their faith."
"In our time liberals have taken that and turned it around completely. It is an unfortunate metaphor, because it can be used two different ways. Unlike the First Amendment, which completely controls the government, saying that 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' a wall that can inhibit people on both sides. Yet the only time you hear this phrase used today, it's talking about what Christians can't do, what pastors can't do, what the church can't do--not what Congress can't do.
Today's liberal interpretation minimizes the influence of Christianity in the public arena. That's not what Jefferson meant. It is not what his friend James Madison meant when he introduced the Bill of Rights into the Congress and stated very explicitly that the purpose of this was to interdict the federal government from interfering with the religion of the people. On June 12, 1788, Madison wrote, 'There is not a shadow of right in the general (federal) government to intermeddle with religion . . . The subject is for the honor of America, perfectly free and unshackled. The government has no jurisdiction over it.
During Jefferson's entire public life, his view was that government could support religion. In fact, as you may know, the Constitution ends with the phrase, 'in the year of our lord' 1787.' Throughout the eight year presidency of George Washington, all of his presidential papers ended 'in the year of our Lord 17--- . . . ' And when Adams came to the presidency, he followed suit for the next four years.
Jefferson changed that when he became president. I have a photocopy of the conclusion of one of the many of the documents that he signed as president, and it says, 'In the year of our Lord Christ 1804.' He was the first president, and to my knowledge, the only president who did that. Jefferson, the anti-Christian, the irreligious infidel, said that it is Christ that is our Lord, and no one else."
William Rehnquist, chief justice of the United States Supreme Court said of the separation of church and state metaphor, "It has made positive chaos out of the court rulings. It should be explicitly abandoned." "But even as a nominal Christian, what Thomas Jefferson did is totally antithetical to everything the ACLU and others have told the American people" Mark A. Beliles has assembled a list of 21 items that document his support for the Christian religion. I will not list these at this time in the interest of keeping this as short as possible.
I don't believe documentation showing the founding fathers belief in Bible infallibility is necessary to making my case.
Your splitting "kinds of good" between moral and individual, just muddies the waters. Good and bad can only happen to individuals. The humanistic or Theistic moral code is the causal factor responsible for the effect. A good moral law causes good for all the individuals in a society that follows it.
You are right that I think when you exclude fetuses you are excluding a group. We know that a fetus is an unborn baby. It is not part of a woman's body. It has completely different DNA. We know that abortion procedures cause great pain and trauma to the baby. We know a conceived life is extinguished. An extinguished life and pain and suffering really lowers the goodness statistic that we are both trying to maximize.
Bible Themes and Concepts:
The alternative to one human race is multiple human races caused by evolution. Some have not evolved as far as others. Don't you see how this has fed racism and genocide? It is all similar. Whether we consider some races as less than human or a fetus less than human we use that as an excuse to kill it.
When I asked if you agreed with my list of themes and concepts, I was asking if you agreed that they were correctly categorized as Biblical themes and concepts. I was not asking if you agreed with the specific themes and concepts.
However, since you reviewed the ten commandments from the standpoint of a humanist and a Theist, let me comment on that. Christian or humanist beliefs about the ten commandments or anything else vary over a wide spectrum. Perhaps even some very liberal Christians and some conservative humanists come close to the same beliefs. This is consistent with my stated belief that liberal Christianity is simply a composite of Theism and humanism. Like pure Theism conforms to the Bible (God's will and plan) pure humanism conforms to the will of Satan and is diametrically opposed to Theism because rebellion is always diametrically opposed to authority. I believe that pure humanism can be seen in the current politically correct philosophy and in the forces that are reshaping our world. Where you or other humanists stand relative to the two pure philosophies can be explained either by Theistic contamination or by "buying into" necessary temporary damage control cover-ups for the philosophy to be palatable. One example of this is one world government. At the onset they had to keep it secret. Now they educated (brainwashed) enough people with temporary damage control truths (lies) to get a solid following. Some of these "truths" are global warming, the population problem, the racism problem, the environmental problem, the imperialism sovereignty problem, the gun problem, the God problem etc. Satan's mission is to destroy, make misery and minimize the goodness statistic. However, selling his philosophy so people will base their lives upon it and actually market it for him, takes some clever marketing. The myth of biological evolution is the foundation of his marketing campaign. I believe this model explains the world very well.
You say that you agree with 5 commandments, disagree on three and partial on two. This does show that your type of humanism is not completely opposed to Theism? However, as I explained above Theism is 100% in opposition to pure humanism.
You stated that Theists don't agree with all the ten commandments. You are probably relating to some or typical Christians. As you know, by my definition, Theists believe the entire Bible.
The tedious writings in Leviticus and other places in the Old Testament I agree seem a bit much. However, I believe you know the answer to your question. It is part of the main theme in the Bible. The coming of the promised Messiah and his sacrifice. It shows that the shedding of the blood of a perfect living being was necessary to cleanse away sin's. I don't agree with it in the sense that it is a lifestyle I desire. I do agree with it in the sense that God in his infinite wisdom I believe used this as a reality that the consequences of sin are real, painful and costly.
Two kinds of Humanism:
One reason I have you confused is that the distinction between humanists may not have been completely clear in my own mind. I believe I have clarified that above when discussing pure humanism and explaining the spectrum of beliefs. Also needing clarification is that my battle is not against humanists, whether pure or a mixture. My battle is against the pure humanistic philosophy, not against philosophers. I am against the philosophy because it is false and has the worst possible consequences for followers and also has devastating effects non-followers.
I do believe that Humanist Manifesto l documents pure humanism. You think it represents your position. I believe that the later ones espouse pure humanism also, but with very careful language to provide damage control using vague or misleading statements. As important as globalism is to humanism, I was surprised that you forgot it was a large part of Humanist Manifesto ll.
Have you heard of the Georgia Guide Stone Monument in Elberton, GA? We visited it on the way back up North. It contains the ten commandments of the "New World Order" in eight languages. You can learn about it on the internet and see pictures. I also took pictures. It begs several interesting questions:
Regarding making accusations against humanists, such accusations were not made as actual accusations, but were expressed as effects of a pure humanist philosophy. If you were completely disconnected from Theistic belief and you believed in blind, random evolution, survival of the fittest etc., why wouldn't you steal and kill others if it benefited you? How do you get caring for others from survival of the fittest?
I need clarification on the definition of pure humanism. I don't want to define it as anti-Theism, because if I do, my kind of humanism will be opposite to Theism by definition. As stated earlier, I believe that pure humanism can be seen in the current politically correct philosophy being espoused and in the forces that are reshaping our world. My case is that this happens to be exactly opposite to Theism.
You are right that the Muslims stealing from the children are religious and do not believe in evolution. That is correct. However, remember I classified false religions and liberal religions as humanistic, but under the "contains" classification, not the "includes" classification. I need to clarify that only the "includes" catagory of humanism is supported by evolution. Thanks for pointing that out.
Some of your comments imply that my position supports religion in general. I do not. Remember, I classified most religions as included under humanism.
You said, "I must say I am not aware of any organized or recognizable group that have "anti-Theistic" principles. How about the ACLU, the main stream media, and the NEA. Have you read David Limbaugh's book "Persecution"?
I believe that pure humanism, the forces that we are seeing in our would today, is 100% politically correct. You may differ from that position. In your comments on the list, the only two politically correct positions that you claim to be against, you are not really against them the way Theists are. Regarding relativism, although you say that humanists are not relativists, you or humanists do not expound any absolute moral values or include them in your documentation. Regarding pluralism, it's not that you don't think all religious pathways lead to the same place, It is just that that place is nowhere.
Your abortion argument was interesting. Your argument was new to me. However, my interpretation of the text is different than yours. First, the situation with men fighting, the harm inflicted upon a woman or on her fetus is reckless, but an unintentional incident. In this case the punishment is the husbands choice. The NKJ version states that "If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so she gives birth prematurely, yet no lasting harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman's husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But, if any lasting harm follows, then you should give life for life." If this is referring to a mis-carriage, what does the "lasting harm follows" refer to? This is just for the unintentional killing of the fetus/baby. Why would this justify intentionally killing a fetus/baby.
You don't have any trouble relating a human fetus/baby to an animal. I don't think your statement that fetuses are not self-aware is scientific. Ultrasounds during abortions show that the fetus is very self-aware of itself and the outside harmful force.
The rest of you comments are just the standard politically correct mantra. Although, you keep trying to distance yourself from pure humanism, your stated positions seem to imply otherwise. What specifically, if anything, about the current assault on Christian values and traditional values are you against?
There are two approaches to getting evidence to try to draw conclusions about the truth or infallibility of a documented source. One is to determine if what it states is consistent with what we see in our world and is it generally internally consistent. This method addresses the big picture primarily. Another method is the micro analysis method. This method looks for the minutia of intricate details and ignores the big picture completely. I prefer the first method. At least for the Bible you prefer the second method. Do you think you would take the same approach with a scientific document?
This is why my approach is considering the themes and the concepts in the Bible. If we want to get into the minutia, I recommend doing that later. I believe the Bible teaches that to see and recognize the truth, we need to be looking for it. If we are looking to discredit the Bible, God has plenty of stuff available for us to rationalize the truth away and take an alternative position. In Luke 17:19-31 it tells the story of the rich man in Hades wanting to have "Father Abraham" send Lazarus to his fathers house to warn his five brothers to prevent them from going to Hades. Abraham said to him that they have Moses and the prophets, let them here them. i.e. God has supplied sufficient information and truth for people to make the right choice. Overwhelming information that would not even let us rationalize an alternative position, would not result in the type of choice that God is looking for when we choose him and good over evil.
Even though your approach is not my choice and I believe it is a diversion and a smokescreen that is preventing us from getting to the truth in the themes and concepts, lets address your alleged contradictions.
Regarding the question, was Jacob or Heli the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary? I will simplify pass on the answer I got from the internet below. It makes sense to me. It is not a contradiction.
The answer to this is simple but requires some explanation. Most scholars today agree that Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph and Luke gives that of Mary, making Jacob the father of Joseph and Heli the father of Mary.(Fruchtenbaum 1993:10-13)
This is shown by the two narrations of the virgin birth. Matthew 1:18-25 tells the story only from Joseph's perspective, while Luke 1:26-56 is told wholly from Mary's point of view.
A logical question to ask is why Joseph is mentioned in both genealogies? The answer is again simple. Luke follows strict Hebrew tradition in mentioning only males. Therefore, in this case, Mary is designated by her husband's name.
This reasoning is clearly supported by two lines of evidence. In the first, every name in the Greek text of Luke's genealogy, with the one exception of Joseph, is preceded by the definite article (e.g. 'the' Heli, 'the' Matthat). Although not obvious in English translations, this would strike anyone reading the Greek, who would realize that it was tracing the line of Joseph's wife, even though his name was used.
The second line of evidence is the Jerusalem Talmud, a Jewish source. This recognizes the genealogy to be that of Mary, referring to her as the daughter of Heli (Hagigah 2:4).
Regarding the death of Judas, I found another commentary on the internet that supported McDowell's explanation and identified a tradition that would support the explanation.
Did Judas die by hanging himself (Matthew 27:5) or by falling headlong and bursting open with all his bowels gushing out (Acts 1:18)?
(Category: the texts are compatible with a little thought)
This alleged contradiction is related to the fact that Matthew in his Gospel speaks of Judas hanging himself but in Acts 1:18 Luke speaks about Judas falling headlong and his innards gushing out. However both of these statements are true.
Matthew 27:1-10 mentioned the fact that Judas died by hanging himself in order to be strictly factual. Luke, however in his report in Acts1:18-19 wants to cause the feeling of revulsion among his readers, for the field spoken about and for Judas, and nowhere denies that Judas died by hanging. According to tradition, it would seem that Judas hanged himself on the edge of a cliff, above the Valley of Hinnom. Eventually the rope snapped, was cut or untied and Judas fell upon the field below as described by Luke.
Regarding buying the field I found the following:
This apparent contradiction asks, 'What did Judas do with the blood money he received for betraying Jesus?' In Acts 1:18 it is claimed that Judas bought a field. In Matthew 27:5 it was thrown into the Temple from where the priests used it to buy a field. However, upon closer scrutiny it appears one passage is just a summary of the other.
Matthew 27:1-10 describes in detail the events that happened in regard to Judas betrayal of Jesus, and their significance in terms of the fulfillment of the Scriptures. In particular he quotes from the prophet Zechariah 11:12-13 which many think are clarifications of the prophecies found in Jeremiah 19:1-13 and 32:6-9.
In the Acts 1:18-19 passage however, Luke is making a short resume of something that people already knew, as a point of clarification to the speech of Peter, among the believers (the same situation as we found in question number 57 earlier). This is illustrated by the fact that in verse 19 he says, "Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this". Also it is more than probable that the Gospel record was already being circulated amongst the believers at the time of Luke's writing. Luke, therefore, was not required to go into detail about the facts of Judas' death.
It is interesting that all agree that a potters field was purchased for 30 pieces of silver and it was called the "field of blood". It is also agreed that Judas's money effectively bought the "field of blood". The only difference is who used his money to buy the field. It is also interesting that Zechariah 11:12-13 predicts this hundreds of years before this took place.
I agree that the examples you mentioned appear to reflect a barbaric morality. The Bible identifies many places in the Old Testament where the brutal killing of entire tribes, cities etc. including women and children is justified. God even used pagan nations to basically destroy his chosen people. This is hard for us to understand. However, the Bible speaks to God's love, his jealousy, his long suffering and his justice. This is even more difficult when you don't believe in God and particularly when one may be angry with him. One perspective I find helpful is that God has purposes that may not always be obvious to us and he created life and can recreate it. If one is a evolutionist, life has no purpose and we will die and have no future regardless. If we view this from God's perspective, he created us for a purpose. In general, if we are not serving that purpose, the continuation of our life and our joy and fulfillment is simply the generosity and grace he has extended to us. Some of what seems barbaric to us might have a purpose rather than just being barbaric.
The Psalm 137:9 quote is particularly troublesome. It is a revenge thing against the Babylonians which I cannot excuse either. If it was truly God's revenge I could understand it. However, the text doesn't imply that. However, it was part of a natural human (humanistic) vengence against the Babyloian empire that destroyed the Israel. The text does not present it as a moral principle.
When God tells Moses to stone a man to death for picking up stones on the Sabbath. I don't think that this is a bad message. First to have a problem with it is to have a problem with God. Secondly, God not only claims to be our creator but our judge. Remember, he wrote the ten commandments with his own finger. Vengeance is mine saith the Lord. If we reject God and make us a god unto ourselves, I can understand us having trouble with this.
The lack of punishment for striking a servant or slave if they don't die is hard to understand. In my thinking the master should be punished. However, this uneven relationship between a master and servant, husband and wife and God and the church are included several places in scripture. I can't justify it completely with a reason. However, in our perspective this life is all there is and there seems like no excuse for this allowing an uneven relationship. However, from God's perspective where this life is just an infinitesimal small part of eternity and being the slave may mean that you may have a better chance of accepting God and his plan of salvation compared with the master and consequently have a higher chance of spending eternity with God, this may be justified in God's eyes. Also, God would hold the master responsible for any mistreatment of the servant. Again if we want to play god we may fall into the trap of thinking a just God is unjust. Eve fell into that trap.
Again killing of the Midianites male children and women seems like cruel and unnecessary punishment. However, God told Moses to take vengeance on the Midianites. Moses acted like the soldiers did not follow his instructions from God and that is why he said what you quoted. This is consistent with scripture. Vengeance is mine saith the Lord. Again, if we reject God and make ourselves god, it is easy to see how we take your position.
All those laws you mentioned are part of a covenant between God and Israel. The Bible teaches that we are living in the New Testament era or the period of grace. His laws are written on our hearts. We are freed from the burden of all those laws, but in a sense have a higher bar in that we can sin In our thoughts even without doing anything.
I think a case can be made however, that many of the laws like the ones you mentioned are basically good although in today's perspective may seem silly. Lack of the usury law is what allowed the banks to foreclose on all the people during the great depression. The lack of usury laws also, enabled central bankers like the Federal Reserve Bankers to rob the world of their money and put it in their pockets. Also the fallow ground we understand make good sense etc.
Your reference to Exodus 34:1-10 should be Exodus 34:1-28. This is not an example of bad writing or editing at all. The chapter starts with the Lord asking Moses to cut two tablets of stone like the first ones. The text states that God was saying what you are calling bad writing. These things that you find misplaced are explained in verse 27. Then the Lord said to Moses, write these words, for according to the tenor of these words, I have made a covenant with you and with Israel." The next verse states that, So he was with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments." The covenant and the Ten Commandments were two different things. He didn't have to write down the Ten Commandments, they were placed on stone by God. They are two different covenants. One that God wrote and one that God asked Moses to write.
Your reference to Samuel 34 should be l Samuel 24. In verses 3-9 the story appears to me to be one continuous story by one author. It starts with David and his men in the recesses of a cave when Saul went in not realizing that David was in the cave. His men wanted him to Kill Saul. David chose to cut off part of Saul's robe secretly, presumably while he was sleeping, to prove to him that he was not out to kill him. Verse 5 says that "Now it happened afterward that David's heart troubled him because he cut Saul's robe." This doesn't imply that a long time period elapsed between what is before and after this verse. It just implies that after cutting the robe he had second thoughts. In verse 7 it states that "And Saul got up from the cave and went his way. The very next verse states "David also arose afterward, went out of the cave, and called out to Saul, saying, 'My lord and king!'" To imply that this passage infers two authors is really a stretch. Again you are leading our dialog into minutia issues.
The water from the rock issue is clear in scripture. It was two incidences at the same location. The first time Moses obeyed God and the second time he didn't. God demands obedience. The text explains the reason so it is not obscure.
You state, "Why does the Bible contain pointless laws about sacrifices and cleanliness rituals? Why is there tedious detail about dimensions of buildings and census data and genealogies? None of this makes sense for a book that is given to us as a guide to life by a perfect God."
First, we may not be able to answer all "why" questions. However, I believe the specific questions you asked can be answered in light of scripture, what we know about God and using rationale. I am assuming that your references are the same scriptures that come to my mind. Blood sacrifices are an object lesson of the consequences of sin and what is necessary to cover sins. Why such is necessary is based upon what God knows is necessary to meet a perfect law and perfect justice. God's knows that this is necessary to have a social order that would be compatible, without sin, strife and evil.
I believe cleanliness rituals were to protect the Israelites from pathogens etc. that were not understood by us mortals until Pasteur.
The tedious dimensions of buildings issue I believe refer to the Tabernacle. I believe it was important to God because he is a perfectionist and the tabernacle may relate to a similar tabernacle in Heaven or in Jerusalem.
I know that one census taken was a historical account that displeased God because the king was doing it to estimate his power rather than count on God to protect them.
Genealogies are listed in several places in the Bible. The initial list was to identify the generations from Adam to Noah. This is the only documentation of pre deluvian genealogy. This genealogy is continued through Nimrod and on through Abraham. The genealogies continue all the way to Jesus and Joseph and Mary. Much of it shows that the predictions made much earlier actually were fulfilled and were available to verify the identify of the Messiah. If the Bible didn't include this wouldn't you discredit it because it contained no evidence.
I am not sure what you mean by the Bible being given to us as a guide to life by a perfect God. If you mean a behavioral guide on how we should act in all situations, I perhaps see your point. However, I believe the Bible was given to us for far more profound reasons. It is a big picture book.
Reading the Bible Objectively:
Either the Bible is the word of God or it is not. If it is not, why even dwell on it or use any of it for anything. Certainly, if God doesn't exist and the Bible is just the words of men that lived long ago, why not junk it and abide by modern writers that may be more knowledgeable. Alternatively, if the God exists and the Bible is his word, we better be careful not to be in a rebellious position and reject his word. If we believe the first scenario, we have to reconcile some well documented history to make that position rational. Who was Jesus? Was he just a man? What do you do with the prophesies? What do you do with the miracles? What do you do with the fact that he supported the Old Testament? How do you explain the formation of Christianity? What is the humanist intellectual and rational position on all these? Probably the same old theories that don't hold water.
You stated, "If there is a God, I doubt that he was the one responsible for the above problems or many others I could point out. I think they are the product of human fallibility."
First, I don't see anything you brought up as a problem. My case states that either God exists and the Bible is true or he doesn't exist and pure humanism is justified by the truth of biological evolution. To me this is the issue we need to examine, not examining and speculating on minute details of the Bible or biological evolution. If the God of the Bible exists and Jesus his son was also God, the Bible would have to be true or the perfect God would contradict himself. Then biological evolution would have to be true. All we need to do is to look at the evidence of biological evolution. Perhaps we can also get out the same magnifying glass that you have applied to the Bible and examine the truth and consistency of science as it relates to evolution.
Now I think it is my turn to frame the argument into a rational and objective framework. That is what I will do as I continue my case.