Thursday, October 25, 2012

Titus 1

Listen to the podcast below (or right click this link for the mp3 file) 

Podcast Powered By Podbean

According to Wikipedia, Titus is one of the last things Paul wrote before he died, and it is a letter to his pastors (along with 1 & 2 Timothy). As to authenticity, it seems to be generally accepted as written by Paul, and by people who accept that date it at around AD 66 or 67. Some believe the language suggests it was written by someone else, and date it between 80 and the end of the second century.

Greeting (v. 1-4)

Paul says he is a servant of God and apostle of Jesus. He is writing this letter to Titus for the sake of God's followers because he cares about their knowledge of the truth and their hope of eternal life. God promised them eternal life before the ages began, and they can be confident they will get it because God never lies.

So this is wrong, God is perfectly willing to lie, as is mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 "Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." While we are talking about it, I will reiterate that this particular lie is really messed up for God to tell, he is tricking people into believing the wrong thing so he can send them to hell.

[note: for the moment we will assume that God cannot lie as that is the framework that this next objection lives within] I hadn't actually thought of this, but if God cannot lie, does that mean he isn't omnipotent? Gill claims that it does not, he says "this does not contradict his omnipotence, but argues the perfection of his nature". I'm not really sure I even really understand this argument, I suppose it really comes down to a definition of omnipotence. If omnipotence means he can do anything, then isn't the lack of his ability to lie break that? Even if we define omnipotence to be "he can do anything that is logically possible" (to remove nonsense like asking him to create a square circle), it makes logical sense that he could lie, so this still seems to break omnipotence. I guess the response would be that he could theoretically do it, he just never would. Perhaps that is what Gill means when he says it argue the perfection of his nature. (I think in writing the paragraph I've understood what Gill was saying, I just took the long route. It might be instructive for someone else to see my thought process here so I'm going to leave it)

Qualification for Elders (v. 5-16)

Go to various town and appoint elders, they should be people above reproach, husband of one wife, his children believers not open to debauchery or insubordination, they must not be arrogant, quick-tempered, a drunkard, violent, or greedy. Must be hospitable, lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, disciplined, and must hold to the word.

Similar to 1 Timothy 3.

There are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers, and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.

So we are just going to go full on anti-Semite then? Great.

Guzik tries to justify this by saying that Christian from Jewish background had a difficult time because they had to take some things from their previous religion but they had to discard other things. He contrasts this with Pagan converts who had an easier time because they could simply disregard everything from their past religion. I find this hilarious as many things in Christianity were borrowed from Paganism to get converts.

They must be silenced, they are upsetting families by teaching for shameful gain, they shouldn't teach.

Shameful gain? Are they saying they take money for their teaching? Greedy Jews? Is that what is being said here?

One of the Cretans prophets said "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons" this is true and we should rebuke them.

Sounds like a straw man, at least that is what this guy I know told me, you don't know him, please don't ask for further details. Seriously though, is Paul really claiming that one of the prominent Cretans proclaimed that his people are all lying evil gluttons? Why would anyone believe this shit? It is clearly just racism.

Guzik simply takes this as a fact, he says "The problem was difficult because of the general character of the Cretans. Even prophets among the Cretans described the island people as liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons, it indicates that there is a character problem." He doesn't even address the fact that this is a pretty unbelievable claim.

At least Gill tries to justify this by talking about the prophet who said this. Apparently we are talking about Epimenides, who was born a Cretan, also, he was supposed to go tend some sheep and instead he went to a cave and slept for 57 years. Are you fucking kidding me? I think it is safe to say this source of information is a bit unreliable.

After reading some more and thinking about this a bit, it seems that it was just widely accepted that Cretans are bad people, I wonder if the prophet they are talking about was actually an ancient comedian. Maybe using Epimenides as proof that Cretans are bad is similar to me saying "Mexicans are lazy, I have proof, George Lopez said it"

They should not devote themselves to Jewish myths.

More divisiveness between religions

To the pure, all things are pure, to the defiled nothing is pure.

I've seen this before, I really don't know what it means. Wouldn't this mean that once anyone is pure they are forever pure? It makes no sense.

According to Gill, Paul was referring to Jewish ceremonies where we purify things. Apparently, according to Jewish law certain things can become impure and have to be purified through some ceremony, Paul was trying to say this is unnecessary as those things that you want to purify are already pure. This actually makes some sense to me, but Paul seems to have chosen the worst possible way to express this idea. Why not say something like "the things you wish to purify are already pure" or "your purification ceremonies are not necessary"?

The Jews say they know God, but their works show they don't, they are detestable, disobedient and unfit for good work.


For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)


Nothing. There is nothing of value in this chapter. I read it through an extra time to try to see if I missed anything, and I didn't see anything good at all. If any Christians are reading this, they might think I just am enjoying shitting all over the bible and I only look for bad things, that is incorrect. It really bums me out when this happens. It's nice to find something good mixed in with the bad, or even when I find only good stuff in a chapter, I like that. Honestly, when I read a chapter like this, the only conclusion I can draw is that people who claim the bible is full of good things simply hasn't read it, at least not this part.


1:10, 14, 16 Antisemitic 

"For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party"

"not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth"

"They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work."

1:11 Jews are greedy

"They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach."

1:12-13 Obvious straw man

"One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, 'Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.' This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,"


  1. Yeah, I think you've got the gist of what Gill was aiming at. You accurately point out that God does lie, or at the very least intentionally deceives, which is pretty much lying. The trouble is that if you are banking your entire afterlife on the promises of a deity, it becomes very uncomfortable if you realize that deity may have lied to you. When I've confronted Christians about God's deception, they've gotten extra defensive.

    The Jewish "problem," to me, is the most significant tell that Christianity is wrong. God gave them the Law with conditions of life and death associated with obedience to it or lack thereof, respectively. This includes the purification laws. For Christianity to step in and say "none of that matters anymore" is to insult both the pious practicing Jews and the corpses of those killed by the community for breaking God's Law.

    1. Those are really good points.

      With all the racism in this book, its no wonder I don't remember readings from it in church when I was a kid. First they say that the jews are bad, being liars and such, then talk about creatons that are all outright bad.. I don't know about the later, but the only Jewish people I've met who were jerks, had nothing to do with their Jewish background. Most of my experiences have been good, so why should I trust another blanket assessment about a group of people. Just horrible. It's things like this in the Bible that make it a bit clearer as to why there is such a history of anti-semitism, particularly in Europe. Even Rome had a massive Jewish ghetto for ~250-300 years depending on how you look at it. Actually, Pope Paul IV introduced it and make the Jewish citizens pay for it. Wiki article. Knowing a bit of historical context, as terrible as it was, it really shouldn't have been a big surprise that the Holocaust happened. Germany, and much of Europe was ripe with this ingrained anti-semitism. I'm probably being a bit overdramatic, but I really do feel that way. The straw man thing you pointed out also seems to apply to the way atheists and other non-believers, myself included in those categories, can be portrayed as evil by many christian churches. /end rant

      The "Jewish myths" thing is kind of funny.. They were good enough for Jesus, weren't they?

    2. TWF: "The trouble is that if you are banking your entire afterlife on the promises of a deity, it becomes very uncomfortable if you realize that deity may have lied to you. When I've confronted Christians about God's deception, they've gotten extra defensive."

      This is a really good point. It is definitely uncomfortable to be in that position, and they will get defensive. But it seems to me to be a necessary step in the process of leaving religion. I think it is important to keep in mind when we are talking to Christians when it feels like we are just hitting a brick wall. You never know what messages are getting through. I know for myself, I yelled at the people that helped me realize these things, and I never got the chance to thank them when I came out the other side as it was years later and I had long since lost contact with them.

    3. A bit overdramatic about the holocaust following naturally from the bible? Perhaps. The thing is, the logic from the bible to the holocaust isn't as hard as it should be. The bible doesn't say the Jews should be exterminated, but it says many things about how terrible they are. When you holy book goes on and on about how a group of people are scum, it's not that far a leap to think "well why don't we just wipe them out? We'd be doing the world a favor"


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...