Unplugging justified: In defense of the Violinist thought experiment

Today I am going to write about an issue that is though not directly related to the God debate certainly something that is influenced by God belief: The abortion debate. Now, there is one particular argument in favor of the pro choice position which I have presented many times and which I find really compelling. It is called the Violinist thought experiment.

One of my interlocutors on Twitter pointed me out to a supposed rebuttal of the argument which you can find right here . I plan on debunking this article within this piece.

While this article itself gives a fairly decent presentation of the argument I wanna introduce it to you again:

Suppose you find yourself in a room and right next to you is a famous Violinist who is plugged to your body. As it turns out he has a kidney ailment. You have been abducted by the society of music lovers because the two of you share the same blood type. If you unplug yourself it will mean certain death for the violinist. You can however choose to stay plugged for nine months after which he will have recovered.

The question then becomes: Are you morally obligated that you will remain plugged? The obvious answer is no. If we admit this pro choice advocates argue we must likewise admit that a woman is not obligated to stay plugged to her unborn baby.

 

The author of the article Greg Koukl objects and he offers his objection for us to consider:

“First, the violinist is artificially attached to the woman. A mother’s unborn baby, however, is not surgically connected, nor was it ever “attached” to her. Instead, the baby is being produced by the mother’s own body by the natural process of reproduction.

Both Thompson and McDonagh treat the child—the woman’s own daughter or son–like an invading stranger intent on doing harm. They make the mother/child union into a host/predator relationship.

A child is not an invader, though, a parasite living off his mother. A mother’s womb is the baby’s natural environment. Eileen McDonagh wants us to believe that the child growing inside of a woman is trespassing. One trespasses when he’s not in his rightful place, but a baby developing in the womb belongs there.”

 

Now I think it is irrelevant whether somebody else surgically connected the two humans together or whether this developed naturally. I mean let’s take  another example from nature: Siamese twins. Let’s say one of the twins was unconscious all his life while the other is normally healthy aside from him being attached to his brother. It is possible to seperate them but in order to do so the unconscious twin would have to die while the other can ejoy the rest of life in his happiness. I take it to be fully morally permissable that the conscious twin can choose to be seperated.

The appeal to “nature” is not a relevant argument. It doesn’t matter how the situation came about it only matters what the situation is.

Yes the baby is in its natural environment inside the woman but that doesn’t make the baby less of an attacker on her body. This doesn’t mean that the baby can just feed off of her consent free. Just like the siamese twin is in his/her natural environment being attached to his brother. Now I get of course that in these cases consent is not always possible but if it is, it must be given and if it isn’t given then that is too bad.

 

Koukl has a second objection though along with a disanalogy:

“Thompson ignores a second important distinction. In the violinist illustration, the woman might be justified withholding life-giving treatment from the musician under these circumstances. Abortion, though, is not merely withholding treatment. It is actively taking another human being’s life through poisoning or dismemberment. A more accurate parallel with abortion would be to crush the violinist or cut him into pieces before unplugging him.”

There are two ways for me to tackle this both of which I will execute: I can either adjust the analogy in order to make it fit his objection and ask again if the situation has now changed in respect to the person’s right to unplug himself from the violinist or I can present a Hypothetical concerning the current medical situation of abortion and ask whether or not abortion would be permissable given that his problems with are solved.

Let’s start with an adjusted analogy. I dub the following the “violinist in a SAW trap thought experiment” :

Let’s say the violinist and our victim were not abducted by the music lovers society but by John Kramer the “Jigsaw Killer” from the movie franchise SAW. So now the victim finds himself connected to the violinist in a dark room. A TV goes off and Billy the puppet says the following:

” Hello Rene, I wanna play a game. As you might have noticed you are physically attached to a stranger. This woman before you is Lindsey Stirling a famous violinist. Throughout your life you have been continiously selfless and I wanna test just how far your selflessness will reach: If you choose to stay plugged to Lindsey for nine months you both will get to live. Meanwhile I will make sure that you are properly fed so your survival will be ensured. I give you my word. However if you choose unplug yourself then the device consisting of Samurai swords which you see on the ceiling will slice Lindsey into a thousand pieces in the matter of seconds. Her faith rests within your hands.

Live or die, the choice is yours.”

Could anyone argue that now, since Lindsey is not just gonna peacefully die but will be cut into a thousand pieces through my hands, I would not have the right to unplug myself but would instead have to remain plugged to this person for nine months? I don’t think so.

 

Likewise if we developed abortion methods which would ensure that the fetus is merely removed but not damaged and we would then simply have the fetus die due to lack of life saving support would Koukl and other pro lifers now argue that abortion is perfectly fine? If he takes his argument seriously it would follow that he would have to but I have my legitimate doubts.

His third objection is this:

“Third, the violinist illustration is not parallel to pregnancy because it equates a stranger/stranger relationship with a mother/child relationship. This is a key point and brings into focus the most dangerous presumption of the violinist illustration, also echoed in McDonagh’s thesis. Both presume it is unreasonable to expect a mother to have any obligations towards her own child.

The violinist analogy suggests that a mother has no more responsibility for the welfare of her child than she has to a total stranger. McDonagh’s view is even worse. She argues the child is not merely a stranger, but a violent assailant the mother needs to ward off in self-defense.

This error becomes immediately evident if we amend Thompson’s illustration. What if the mother woke up from an accident to find herself surgically connected to her own child? What kind of mother would willingly cut the life-support system to her two-year-old in a situation like that? And what would we think of her if she did?”

 

Well let’s just say that I think that if the woman is surgically attached to her own child she has the right to unplug herself in this situation as well. Would it be the most noble thing: No. Would it be justifiable that the woman needs not tolerate a two year old feeding off of her body without her consent even if it is her own child? Yes.

You may not like her decision and I certainly wouldn’t but you have to respect her decision.

 

But allow me to present another Hypothetical: Let’s say we have a woman who gets an fetilized egg planted inside of her. She thinks it is her future baby but unfortunately the hospital messed up and as it turns out the egg inside of her is not her baby. The two are unrelated. Would pro lifers in this situation draw exception? They would have to were they consistent but again I don’t think Greg would agree.

His fourth and final objection is this:

“Blood relationships are never based on choice, yet they entail moral obligations, nonetheless. This is why the courts prosecute negligent parents. They have consistently ruled, for example, that fathers have an obligation to support their children even if they are unplanned and unwanted.

If it is moral for a mother to deny her child the necessities of life (through abortion) before it is born, how can she be obligated to provide the same necessities after he’s born? Remember, Thompson concedes that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception. If her argument works to justify abortion, it works just as well to justify killing any dependent child. After all, a two-year-old makes a much greater demand on a woman than a developing unborn.

Thompson is mistaken in presuming that pregnancy is the thing that expropriates a woman’s liberty. Motherhood does that, and motherhood doesn’t end with the birth of the child. Unlike the woman connected to the violinist, a mother is not released in nine months. Her burden has just begun. If Thompson’s argument works, then no child is safe from a mother who wants her liberty.”

 

Now if the faultiness of the argument isn’t immediately apparent then allow me to reciprocate with this:

There is such a thing as refrain from assistance. The mother is not obligated to take care of her child (what do you think adoption is for?) but she and the father are always and in any case legally obligated to help a person who is in life danger and they are obligated to not kill the person who is not threatening their legal goods lest they wanna spend time in jail. Killing a child is not in any case the most harmless way to stop it from being a burden. In the case of abortion the most effective and ONLY way to stop the baby from threatening the woman’s legal goods in form of the right to her body is killing it. I do not wish this to be so but it is so. A woman does not necessarily have the right to kill the baby but she does have the right to defend her rights and if exercising self-defense means killing the baby then unfortunately that’s the way it is.

 

In the last section of his article he raises points which I consider to be 1) irrelevant or 2) adequately covered by my previous points.

 

In closing I wanna say this: I have yet to encounter a coherent rebuttal to the thought experiment. The reason it is so effective and so strong is because it can be adjusted to the objections of pro lifers. If we agree with the violinist experiment then we should also agree with the pro choice position. At least in general. It is largely irrelevant when life begins as the argument concedes pro lifers what they think is what they need to establish. But as I know the nature of the debate the two camps are talking past each other. I have my suspicions why this is so but in the end the debate is not about emotions it is about cold hard logic. And I maintain that it is on my side.

 

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

On communication with God

Today I am not addressing any particular Bible verse or any particular argument for the existence of God but I do wanna challenge the testimonies of people I think we are all familiar with. There is a not too small group of people out there who aren’t merely Christians or Muslims or whatever because they happen to believe in the claims their particular holy book makes bt who are claiming to have personally experienced God or even heard God’s voice. In principle you would think that these testimonies should be compelling seeing that a multitude of people claim to have knowledge and in fact communicated with a person it would be reasonable to assume that said person really exists, right?

Well today I want to elaborate on the reasons why that doesn’t convince me.

First of all I think we all have been in a position before where we were sure to perceive something with our eyes or ears only to find out later that what we perceived most likely had no basis in reality whatsoever. Let me give you an example from my personal life:

When I was about 12 years old me and a few friends of mine went into a small forrest within my village. When we went in their we saw something which we perceived to be a demon. We quickly walked away and when we talked we all pretty much saw the same thing: A sort of black entity with sharp teeth and red glowing eyes.

Now in retrospective I don’t believe that this really happened but at that time we all were convinced. Add to that the element of conformity namely that I wasn’t the only who saw it and I came to believe that really easily.

Upon reflection though I came to reject what I think I saw for 2 reasons: Except for the red eyes this thing looked really similar to the symbiote within Spider-man 3 a movie which came out just 2 years earlier before my experience. I think it is therefore much more reasonable to assume that my brain concucted a frightening beast based on these familiar patterns rather than that what I saw indeed existed. The second reason is that this thing made no efforts at all to have anything but visual impact: It didn’t make sounds, it didn’t attack us when it saw us, it didn’t follow us it had no manifestation except a visual one. The other people seeing what I saw (or at least claiming that they did) also played a role in influencing me and may very well have shaped my memories of what I saw.

Another experience of mine happened when I was 8 and I was on holiday with my parents. In the middle of the night I saw a stranger inside our room who after 4-5 seconds left it. Now I know that I didn’t dream that because I immediately woke up my parents. It turned out though that nothing was stolen and no one within the hotel be it employees or guests fit the description of the person I saw.

What I am saying is that on occasion at least we think that we perceive things that actually aren’t there. I am sure many of you have had one or two similar experiences.

Likewise the same can be said for hearing voices: I have lost count on the times where I heard a voice calling my name and it turned out that it didn’t happen. Now you might be tempted to say that this was God calling me but suffice it to say that this voice isn’t always the same and isn’t always male.

Now I get it why believers might be inclined to believe it when “God” tells them that he loves them but for me as an outsider it is much more likely that the person in question is hallucinating. Especially since this voice never seems to convey any useful information:

He doesn’t reveal to us how quantum mechanics works he doesn’t tell us what happened before the Big Bang he reveals none of that to us. It’s always information that believers could’ve easily found for themselves.

In the end there are and have been various believers throughout history who claim to have communicated with a god and this god is not always the same. These anecdotes aren’t convincing when we consider the fact that our brain quite frequently tricks us.

Last but not least (and this is kinda embarrassing) I have taken the steps that believers asked me to take in order to arrive at the result they arrived at namely God speaking to them. I ended up empty handed every single time. When I still held to a belief in a god and when I prayed, though I didn’t pray often I never felt the presence of anything but the air surrounding me.

If hearing God’s voice is strong empirical proof for you that he exists, then getting no results from praying and even praying in a way that believers tell me I should is strong empirical evidence that there is nothing there to which can be prayed. Maybe just maybe the reason why I felt nothing when I prayed (even at the time when I needed it to work the most) and why different believers experience different deities has nothing to do with an actual deity and everything to do with your brain playing tricks on you, which of course are reinforced by taking certain actions.

 

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

Noah‘s Flood: A legal report

Today I will do something completely different. I will write a legal report and I will show that God committed Homicide (or specifically Genocide) within chapter 7 of the book of Genesis. Theoretically one could also test whether it wouldn’t even qualify as murder but  murder is a complicated crime which requires many qualifications and I only learn it in my next semester. In case you wanna read along Here is the relevant chapter. I will try and hopefully succeed in showing that God is guilty of committing homicide according to §212 StGB (Strafgesetzbuch) . Therein it basically says that anyone who kills another human without having met the legal criteria of murder will face imprisonment for at least 5 years. In some cases one might also be looking towards life imprisonment. So I guess it would be urgent for God that we find out if he‘s in fact guilty or not. Be forewarned: The language I’ll be using will be kinda strange. That’s how legal reports typically are.

Therefore I give to you my assessment:

A.

By Flooding the planet, God could have made himself guilty of commiting homicide in accordance with §212 StGB.

I                                                elements of the offence

For God to be guilty of homicide he must’ve realized each element of the offence. This includes the phyiscal as well as the subjective elements.

1                                         Physical elements of the offence

For him to be guilty of homicide God must’ve  realized each of the physical elements of the offence

a) action

God must’ve commited an action. God flooding the Earth does constitute an action.

b) Success of the offence

God must’ve completed his offence successfully. After the Flood a number of humans were dead. His offence was succesful.

c) Causality

God’s actions must’ve been causal for the success of the offence. An action is causal, if imagining that the action didn’t happen would lead the success of the offence not being realized. If we are to imagine that God didn’t flood the planet, the humans would not have been killed. Therefore the Flood was causal for their death.

d) Objective Attribution

The success of the offence must be objectively attributable to God. The success of the offence is attributable to someone, if he created a danger which is legally disapproved of and if that exact danger was realized in the success of the offence. By Flooding the planet God created the danger of humans being drowned which constitutes a legally disapproved danger and this exact danger was then realized when the humans drowned to death.

e) intermediate results

God realized each of the physical elements of the offence.

2.                                       mental elements of the offence

Furthermore God must’ve had intent concerning each of the elements of the offence. Intend is the knowledge as well as the will of realizing each element of the offence according to §15 .

a) dolus directus of the first degree

God could’ve had intent in form of the dolus directus of the first degree. This would require him that he both knew of the concrete and immediate danger of the realization of the elements of the offence and that he had the will to realize them because realizing them was the goal of his actions. It could however be problematic that he had intent concerning an entire group of people rather than just one individual. This could ba a case of the dolus cumulativus which means that he wanted to commit multiple offences or multiple successes of one offence simultaneously. In the present case God wanted to kill multiple people simultaneously and he knew that sending a Flood would be a danger to the lives of humans and it was his chosen goal that this danger would be realized. Therefore God killed the humans intentionally.

b) intermediate results:

God realized both all physical elements of the offence as well the subjective ones.

II                                                       Illegality

God’s actions must’ve been illegal. In general the elements of the offence indicate its illegality, unless there is a relevant justifying reason for his actions.

1. Defence of another person

It could be the case that God defended another person in accordance with §32 passage 2 alternative 2 .

a) Emergency situation

There must’ve been a presently occuring illegal attack on somebody else’s protected rights.

aa) attack

There must’ve been an attack. An attack is every threat caused by a human towards another person’s protected rights. According to Genesis 6 there was violence in the world. This in principal constitutes an attack on the integrity of the human body. It is however unclear whose rights God protected. In the present case his actions constitute a protection of humans who were the victims of violence in general.

bb) presently occuring

An attack is presently occuring if it is either imminent, happening at the moment or still persisting. In the case of Genesis 6 the attack was presently occuring.

cc) illegal

The attack must also have been illegal. This is the case if the attacker has justifying reasons for his attack so that he has a right to intervene. There is no indication whatsoever that the attackers had justifying reasons for their actions.

b) emergency action

God must’ve also taken an action during the emergency. This action must’ve gone directly against the protected rights of the attacker. This was indeed the case.

aa) necessity

The action must’ve been necessary to protect the rights of another person. An action is necessary if it is both adequate and the mildest medium to end the attack immediately and definitively. An action is adequate if it is capable to end the attack. the mildest medium is the one which among other equally adequate mediums, spares the protected rights of the attacker most effectively. Presently killing the violent humans constitutes an adequate medium to end the attack. However God could’ve sent the violent people a sign or have forewarned them off a possible coming attack or he could’ve stopped the violence by prohibiting the humans from hurting others. Therefore God didn’t use the mildest medium and therefore his action was not necessary.

intermediate results:

Therefore God’s actions were illegal

III Blameworthiness

God also must’ve been blameworthy. This is the case in Genesis 7 since God was not in error about his actions nor can he be exculpated for his actions according to §35 StGB since as is already established his actions were not necessary to stop the situation.

Result: God is guilty of commiting homicide in accordance with §212 StGB

 

There you have it. God is a criminal.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

 

 

 

 

 

 

With us in mind

Today I am planning to take on a specific argument for God with which I think many of you will be familiar. It is one of the favorite arguments made by Christians, because they think that with this argument they’ve beaten the nonbelievers at their own game. It is one of the arguments in which Theists want to derive God from the field of science of all places, which is one of the major things which has put Theism into doubt to begin with. I am talking about the fine tuning argument.

Now for reference of the argument please click on this link which will send you to the Video version of the argument from Dr William Lane Craig’s YouTube channel. I hope this will be faithful enough to you. Before I begin tackling it I have to say this though: I do not claim any expertise in the fields relating to the “fine tuning” of the Universe. I will not bother with the technicalities (which I would most likely get wrong anyways) but instead outline where the argument fails (at least in the presented form) and what would need to be established. On another note I also have to say that I do not necessarily endorse all the ideas which I will outline. They merely serve to illustrate why the argument isn’t sound.

With that out of the way:

At 26 seconds into the video the person presenting the argument claims that certain values fall into an exceedingly narrow life permitting range. He further claims that if anyone of these numbers were altered by even a hairspread no life of any kind could exist.

Right of the bat I gotta ask: How does he know?

For one thing how does he know what the life permitting range is if we only have one example of life namely the carbon based human life? This person neglects to define what exact conditions life requires and not just our life mind you but all possible life including the life which may or may not exist, which we have not examined yet and likely will never examine. If we do not know what life forms besides ours are physically possible, then we do not have a firm grasp on what life is and therefore we do not know what conditions are required for it. Which would render the entire argument moot.

Now it may be the case that I’m wrong and that we do know what conditions are required for all possible life forms but that is an extraordinary claim which needs some evidence to back it up. At the very least a peer reviewed paper.

Continuing with the video he asserts that there would be no stars and therefore no life and no chemistry.

Besides him just asserting it blank the footage of the video seems to suggest that there is a causal chain involved:

There would be no stars, therefore no planets, life or chemistry. It is clarified later that this is the case. The problem I see with that is that it assumes that stellar nucleosynthesis is the only way we could get heavier elements.

Don’t get me wrong it IS the way heavier elements were produced within our Universe but who is to say that the only way heavier elements in all Universes could form is via stars? How could one possibly know that when we have only one Universe to go by? If there are other possible unknown methods then we don’t have a problem with our chemistry for one thing. Needless to say that this argument also assumes that planets are a necessary precondition for all possible life forms which is also something that needs to be established.

At 1:30 in the narrator asserts that if the gravitational force had been “out of tune” ever so slightly then life couldn’t exist.

Of course this assumes that the gravitational force is subject to vary. Who says that it is and what is the evidence? I have the same objections to the expansion rate as well as the mass and energy distribution.

Without clearing the first few hurdles I see no reason to buy into the fine tuning argument.

However there’s still more to get into when the narrator presents his trichotomy at the 3 minute mark:

  • the first option presented is phyiscal necessity: In other words the Universe must be life permitting. He asserts that this option fails because the “constants and quantities are not determined by the laws of nature” . Once again he just asserts this without any evidence at all. He also says that a life prohibiting Universe is far more likely than a life permitting one. But wait a minute if the constants are not subject to change as this option suggests then there is no such thing as probability concerning our Universe. After all it couldn’t have been otherwise. In that case the odds would be 1. Even if there is no reason or evidence to suggest it he has still failed to knock this pillar down.
  • As far as chance goes I have nothing more to say other than that his “can’t be so” assertion is based on his incredulity. As for the Multiverse talked about at the 4:10 mark he suggests that there is no evidence for the multiverse. While it is true that we cannot detect it, the claim of a multiverse is not entirely baseless. As for the claim of the “Multiverse generator having to be fine tuned” this of course would be the case if we were talking about a machine. But we are not. As for the “Boltzmann brain problem” I find this to be entirely besides the point. Conceding that the single observer in a small Universe is more likely does nothing to invalidate the chances of 1 Universe in a gazillion being such as we find it while the other ones containing just one observer.

 

Now we come to the last option namely “design” at the 5 minute mark and behold we have just proven God’s existence because the other 2 options are just so unlikely that only this option remains… which kinda begs the question: Is design via an Omnipotent God possible let alone plausible? As far as I’m concerned the mere possibility is not yet established. Even if it were shown that it is possible (and I have no idea how one could do it) we would also have to calculate whether option 3 is plausible. If it is less plausible than the other 2 implausible ones then God still loses. In other words: Even if everything else I said in my post was wrong, I need not accept God’s existence based on this argument as long as it isn’t established that “Goddidit” is even a possible option let alone a more plausible than the other 2.

 

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

 

 

 

Lions, Psalms and a Strange Messiah

I don’t write on this blog regularly anymore and this has two reasons: First, I simply lack inspiration. I feel like I have covered so many things already and I don’t intend on writing the same thing 5 times just using a different wording.

Second and this shouldn’t be news to anyone of you who follows me on Twitter (which is probably the majority of my readers) I simply don’t have much time.

But today is Saturday (at least for me) and I actually do have some time right now and a topic so I feel like addressing it.

It never ceases to amaze me how badly Christians can distort their own holy book in order to meet their agenda of preserving Biblical inerrancy.

I have observed this in many instances and the following is no exception:

Let’s talk about Psalm 22 and the crucifixion of Jesus. Christians claim that this Psalm prophecises Jesus fate on the cross namely his crucifixion.

Now whether it actually does (spoiler alert: it doesn’t) is not a trivial issue for the Christian. After all at the beginning of this Psalm the first person narrator asks “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” These words appear again in Matthew 27: 46 :

About the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,e lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”

If Psalm 22 isn’t actually Jesus speaking then not only does this mean that Jesus crucifixion is not prophecised in Psalm 22 it also means that the author of Matthew is deliberately deceitful for drawing a parallel between the Psalm 22 and Jesus.

Needless to say then, that the stakes are high so I suggest we dig right into the reasons why I don’t think that Psalm 22 refers to Jesus.

When we move on from the first sentence of the Psalm we get to this particular assertion:

” Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
    and by night, but I find no rest.”

Now the person saying this is Jesus. The Jesus who (supposedly) healed the blind, the man who walked on water, the man who fed thousands of people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Yet Christian would have us believe, that this same Jesus who “cries by day” (the word cries in Hebrew can be translated to call ) receives no answer but whatsoever by his father. He worked miracle after miracle after miracle yet God doesn’t listen to him?

Besides that, this stands in direct contradiction to John 11: 41-42:

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

If I as a Skeptic am to be convinced that we are indeed dealing with a messianic Prophecy here, this needs to be accounted for.

Moving on from this in my view problematic verse, right onto the next. Psalm 22: 6 :

“But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me”

Again this is Jesus speaking. The man whom (most) Christians not only believe to be the son of God but literally God incarnate. Most Christians claim that Jesus believed himself to be God. Yet this same Jesus who thought so highly of himself now references to himself as a worm? In what world do these two things fit together?

Now for the record it is true that Jesus did have one or two enemies (he wouldn’t have been crucified if he didn’t) but he also had a lot of supporters. Do the 12 disciples ring a bell? I am also not persuaded to believe that all the people whom he healed and for whom he worked miracles were in direct opposition to him.

The asserion that Jesus was “scorned by mankind and despised by the people.” is not just a little bit of a stretch it is outright false!

Now, after having shown my positive reasons why Psalm 22 cannot possibly refer to Jesus I think it may be worthwhile to address the elephant in the room:

Where do Christians get the idea from, that Psalm 22 prophecises the crucifixion?

The answer lies within the verses 12 to 21.

“Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws;you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet I can count all my bones they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!”

It seems strange right from the get-go that there were “Bulls of Bashan” present at the crucifixion. The same thing goes for the dogs, the lion as well as the wild oxen. Now of course one may argue that these animals are just symbols for the people who crucified Christ but what animal stands for whom or what exactly? Are these 4 animals representative of 4 people groups. As far as I know the only people present at the Crucifixion were the Jews and the Romans. Are these 4 animals merely representatives of 4 individuals? If so which animal stands for which person and why? How does one account for the “evildoers” who are presumably humans, if the animals are just symbols for other humans? If the animals are not symbols but real animals then why are the gospels silent on the fact, that there were wild and dangerous animals present for this incident?

For all intends and purposes the setting of the event doesn’t sound like a crucifixion at all. It sounds more like a person who is being eaten up in a Roman Arena (but maybe that’s just me).

So it all comes down to what the author means when he says that the evildoers have “pierced my hands and feet” . Long story short the word in question “pierced” ( כָּ֝אֲרִ֗י ) can be translated in many different ways (Yeah I know Wikipedia isn’t exactly scholarly) but as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t matter anyways due to the discrepancies surrounding it.

Besides this one word there is nothing which hints on this being a messianic Prophecy and as I hope to have shown there is a a lot which goes against that Hypothesis.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation