The Instigator
proflandsurveyor
Pro (for)
Winning
26 Points
The Contender
Tatarize
Con (against)
Losing
13 Points

There is no such law as the "Law of Silence" in the Bible. Silence is just that, Silence.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/6/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,915 times Debate No: 2431
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (9)

 

proflandsurveyor

Pro

"Law of Silence" Proof Texts

Moses and the Priesthood

The passage that is dragged out most frequently by the "Law of Silence" proof-texters is found in the epistle to the Hebrews. It is a verse pertaining to something Moses didn't say, and from which an unwarranted conclusion is drawn.

Hebrews 7:14
For it is evident that our Lord was descended
from Judah, a tribe with reference to which
Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.

The proponents of the so-called "Law of Silence" declare this is "proof positive" that "silence excludes and prohibits." Moses was silent about priests coming from any other tribe than Levi, therefore all other tribes are excluded by silence. Is this a logical, rational, reasonable conclusion to draw from this passage? Let's use the brains God gave us and think this through.

Was God silent with respect to which of the tribes would be the "priestly tribe"? No. God SPOKE. God SPECIFIED. The tribe was to be Levi .... and only Levi. "The Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to serve Him and to bless in His name until this day. Therefore, Levi does not have a portion or inheritance with his brothers; the Lord is his inheritance" (Deut. 10:8-9). See also: Numbers 3:5-10; 8:5-26; 18:1-7. "Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the sons of Israel, and the Levites shall be Mine" (Numbers 8:14). "They are wholly given to Me from among the sons of Israel" (Numbers 8:16). "I am giving you the priesthood as a bestowed service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death" (Numbers 18:7).

God had made it very, very clear that no one from any tribe other than Levi would ever be allowed to serve in the priesthood. God had SPOKEN. God had SPECIFIED. He was NOT silent. Thus, the tribe of Judah was excluded from serving in the priesthood NOT because God was silent about Judah serving as priests, but rather because He had specified that only those from Levi could serve as priests.

This brings us to the Hebrews 7:14 passage. Judah was a tribe "with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests." Why was Moses "silent" about Judah with reference to priests? Because God had SPECIFIED the tribe of Levi. There was no need for Moses to say anything about Judah for the simple reason GOD HAD SPOKEN. God had specified. Judah is excluded from the priesthood NOT because Moses was "silent" about them serving in that capacity, but rather because God had specified that priests would come solely from Levi. Thus, it is NOT silence that excludes or prohibits, it is specificity. This passage has nothing whatsoever to do with "silence," much less any so-called "Law of silence." When God has SPOKEN, there is no silence.

The proof-texters have only succeeded in proving their own ignorance and inability when it comes to sound biblical exegesis. Their wresting and manipulation of this text in a failed attempt to prove an untenable theory is a prime example of the "dogmatic model" of biblical interpretation. It is deplorable, and it is rejected by reputable, responsible scholars of the Word.

Noah and the Ark

Another example of a complete failure to properly perceive the significance of a biblical account by these "Law of Silence" dogmatists is the narrative of Noah and the ark (Genesis 6-9). God commanded, "Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood" (Gen. 6:14). "Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did" (Gen. 6:22). "By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household" (Hebrews 11:7).

You might wonder, after reading the above passages, how someone could find validation for their so-called "Law of Silence" from this account. They are indeed creative, however. They maintain that since God was silent about any type of wood other than gopher wood, that His silence therefore prohibits and excludes all other types of wood. Thus, if Noah had chosen mahogany instead of gopher wood, he would have been in violation of the "Law of Silence."

But, is that true? Is it God's silence Noah would have transgressed, or is it God's specificity? It is obviously the latter. It is not God's silence that excludes mahogany as a suitable wood for the construction of the ark, it is God's specificity that excludes mahogany. God was NOT silent in this example. He had spoken. He had specified. This narrative has nothing whatsoever to do with "silence."

Now, if Noah wanted to use PINE to make a scaffolding to aid him in the building of the ark, that would have been acceptable. After all, God said nothing about scaffolding. If Noah had wanted to use mahogany to build a table for the ark, thatwould have been acceptable. After all, God said nothing about scaffolding. If Noah had wanted to use mahogany to build a table for the ark, that would have been a matter of indifference to God. He was silent about tables that might accompany the ark as it floated upon the flood waters. Things that might be used as aids or accompaniments to this venture were left unspecified; God was silent about them. Thus, they were left entirely to the responsible judgment of Noah himself. They were neither proscribed nor prescribed; genuine silence does neither.

The "Law of Silence" dogmatists point to this narrative as "proof positive" that instruments of music in the public worship of the church are a soul-damning abomination. How? God said SING .... God said GOPHER .... thus, His "silence" about anything else excludes it. What these proof-texters fail to perceive, however, is that specificity excludes and prohibits only that which would negate, replace or invalidate that which is specified. It does not prohibit or exclude anything which would merely aid or accompany one's compliance with that which is specified. This is pure common sense, as well as a valid principle of interpretive logic.

Men use a great many things biblically UNspecified to aid them in their singing of songs, hymns and spiritual songs. Song books with musical notation are held in the hands and before the eyes of those singing. Thus, they are singing and reading at the same time. Is reading excluded because God was silent about it? Some say so. After all, they argue, God never said "sing and read." As bizarre as it may seem, there are actually a few who insist our singing must be from memory (from the heart and mind), and that reading from song books while singing to God is "unauthorized" by the "Law of Silence." A few make the same argument with respect to song leaders, four part harmony, PA systems to amplify the voice, pitch pipes, Power Point projection of songs onto a screen, tapping of the feet during singing (which constitutes a percussion instrument, in their thinking), moving the head in time to the rhythm (which they say constitutes dancing), or instrumental accompaniment of any kind to aid those singing. In all of these cases, however, singing still occurs. The command is NOT negated or replaced or diminished or invalidated in any way.

The ark was built of gopher wood, and whether or not Noah used a PINE scaffold or placed a MAHOGANY table in the family quarters in no way altered his complete compliance with what God specified. The same with the specification to sing. Aids or accompaniments in no way change the fact of the full compliance of those who sing. The argument of these so-called "Law of Silence" dogmatists is completely invalid. Is it any wonder the world mocks when they behold the degree of competence (or incompetence, more correctly) of some professing to be "sound scholars" of the Word?!
Tatarize

Con

The Bible is silent about the law of silence. That means that it approves of the law of silence, by the law of silence. I just blew your mind!

Your profile says that you are pro-life. Why? There's absolutely nothing against it in the Bible. There are passages where God commands that not only should pregnant women be murdered they should be cut open and the fetus should be stabbed too [Hosea 9:16, Hosea 13:16]. There is a passage which makes you pay if you accidentally make a woman lose her child [Exodus 21:22-23]. We do that too. Further the payment and penalty for such an act is significantly less than death as prescribed by the Bible for murderers. So why are you pro-life? The Bible doesn't forbid it so by your logic you get to do anything you want.

Sure, there's nothing to suggest that things not mentioned in the Bible are forbidden. Why do you allow some interpolation here but not there? There's nothing in the Bible which says looking at all manner of perverted porn on the internet is against some prohibition. In fact, many Christian beliefs have little to nothing to do with the Bible.

The Bible is far from a complete document telling you what to do. Much of our society is far beyond the ignorant bronze-aged people primarily responsible for the Bible. Very little of it directly applies anymore. If you demand that, there are no specific requirements to do much of anything.

You are trying to replace one fairly silly view with another. The Bible doesn't talk about X so X is prohibited. Well that's admittedly stupid. Saying The Bible doesn't talk about X so X is allowed. Well that's stupid too. Don't you actually make those judgments? Your profile says you're pro-life. But, the Bible doesn't forbid it so isn't abortion fine? Your profile says you're against Gay Marriage too, but the Bible says nothing about gay marriage. It says that homosexuality is an abomination and homosexuals should be murdered, but it is silent on gay marriage. Marriage in the Bible is between a man various women [Exodus 21:10], a few concubines [Genesis 25:6], and the occasional dead brother's wife [Genesis 38:8]. It's silent on men marrying men.

Sure, some people take it a bit too far and say singing and dancing is bad because the Bible doesn't say you should do it. But, the flipped argument is a joke too. You say that Silence is Silence, but you don't actually believe that and neither do I.
Debate Round No. 1
proflandsurveyor

Pro

Silence is neither prohibitive or permissible. Silence is just that, silence.

Let's take the use of instrumental music in the worship service of the Church as an example. The Bible is silent about the use of instrumental music in the worship service. Does that mean that silence prohibits instrumental music in the worship service of the Church? No. Does that mean that silence authorizes instrumental music in the worship service of the Church? No.

Why? Because silence is neither prohibitive or permissible. Silence is just that, silence.
Tatarize

Con

"Silence is neither prohibitive or permissible. Silence is just that, silence."

Why then do people like you say that gay marriage and abortion are not permissible? If, as you say, Silence doesn't speak of the issue then shouldn't they actually be up in the air and for other people to decide? The Bible says nothing of suicide being a sin. It was suggested by early church fathers when their parishioners started to kill themselves. There's no point in staying in a sinful world where you increase your chances of going to hell when you can off yourself and live forever in paradise.

Admittedly some people take it a bit far, but how does the prohibition against instrumental music in Church differ from the prohibition of abortion, gay marriage, suicide, etc? You take the Bible to mean what it does not say, are you wrong to do so? If it's only your judgment making these claims aren't you a hypocrite?

The law of silence, at the very least, fills in a much needed gap. The Bible is not only supposed to be perfect and real it is supposed to be complete. The Bible has absolutely nothing against a number of things you'd clearly recoil at?

I don't see how you're picking and choosing. And how is the choosing that everything not mentioned is not permissible an invalid position accordingly?
Debate Round No. 2
proflandsurveyor

Pro

proflandsurveyor forfeited this round.
Tatarize

Con

Though my opponent has forfeited, allow me to reiterate.

You're still picking and choosing the things on which the Bible is silent. You oppose gay marriage and abortion despite or because of the silence of the Bible. There's nothing against people making up their own ideas, you clearly do this, and condemning other people for the same action seems a bit silly.
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by aceofelves 9 years ago
aceofelves
The Bible communicates a certain mood, a certain tendency on how Christians should address issues. The Bible communicates that such a vile act as abortion/murder should not be allowed, without directly saying it. The bible doesn't say "Thou shalt not look at pornography" but all Christians agree that it is a sin, because the Bible says not to lust, and when one looks at pornography it is generally in a lustful way.

Similarly, the founding fathers didn't abolish slavery, even though it clearly does not go along with the statement "all men were created equal." In fact, if the founding fathers had suggeted that we abolish slaverly, people probably would have torn up the constitution, because we that would have been to much to swollow. HOWEVER, the founding fathers surely expected Americans to eventually abolish slavery, once more stability had griped the nation.

So the constitution conveyed a broad message that was eventually used to correct a problem later on. In the same way, the Bible teaches various broad messages that we should apply to "modern situations."
Posted by proflandsurveyor 9 years ago
proflandsurveyor
Sorry about that. I was too late to post my next argument.

You come to oppose those issues when you use the biblical hermeneutic principle of "necessary inference" We are told that when Jesus was baptized he went up out of the water (Matt. 3: 16). We are not expressly told he ever went into the water. However, to come out of the water, he had to go into the water - hence the necessary inference.
Posted by proflandsurveyor 9 years ago
proflandsurveyor
During the exile, the Jews had established four commemorative fasts for the people to observe before their God.

These were:
1.The fast of the fourth month -- in remembrance of the day when the city walls were breached (2 Kings 25:3-4; Jeremiah 39:2).
2.The fast of the fifth month -- in remembrance of the destruction of the house of God by fire (2 Kings 25:8-10).
3.The fast of the seventh month -- in remembrance of the assassination of Gedaliah the son of Ahikam (2 Kings 25:25; Jeremiah 41:2).
4.The fast of the tenth month -- in remembrance of the day in which the king of Babylon laid siege to Jerusalem (2 Kings 25:1; Ezekiel 24:2).

It should be noted that these four religious fasts were seemingly not commanded by God, but were established by men.

A delegation was sent to the priests and prophets of God to determine if indeed these fasts should continue (Zechariah 7:1-3). God's Answer, "Thus says the Lord of hosts, 'The fast of the fourth, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth months will become joy, gladness, and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah; so love truth and peace'" (Zechariah 8:19).

God was basically suggesting that the fasts themselves were largely a matter of total indifference to Him, although He anticipated they would come to have a new emphasis in light of His restoration of His people to their homeland. What God saw as being of much greater significance was the people's love of truth and peace.

This answer indicates that the fasts had been neither pleasing nor displeasing to the Lord; they had been a matter of indifference. It was the love of truth and peace which truly mattered to the Lord.

The principle here is applicable to the people of God today.
Posted by proflandsurveyor 9 years ago
proflandsurveyor
They replaced, negated, and invalidated what God had specified. This was not a case of using something as an aid or accompaniment in their obedience to what was specified. This was a case of voiding what was specified by substituting something else in its place. This is a vital distinction that the proponents of the so-called "Law of Silence" seem incapable of comprehending.

The sin of Nadab and Ahihu was a willful, malicious, irreverent replacement of what God SPECIFIED with something they themselves chose instead. They violated direct commands of deity, rather than violating His silence.

Although more could be provided, these few examples of attempts to validate a fallacious theology by proof-texting should suffice to show the error of this mindset and interpretive model. The assertion that biblical silence excludes and prohibits is false. It cannot even remotely be justified by sound exegesis of the Word. Those dogmatists who try anyway only succeed in displaying their woeful inadequacy with respect to the principles of sacred hermeneutics.
Posted by proflandsurveyor 9 years ago
proflandsurveyor
With regard to the issue of "silence," however, we need to notice the last of the four above listed transgressions. What exactly was this "strange fire" of which the text speaks? The answer is -- it was fire (or, more correctly: burning coals) which was not taken from the brazen altar, but rather from some other source. In other words, it was burning coals taken from a source other than the one SPECIFIED by God. When ceremonial worship was first instituted among the people of Israel, victims on the brazen altar were consumed by fire sent directly from heaven. This was considered holy fire; fire which came from the very presence of God Almighty. The people were commanded to keep this fire burning at all times. The offering of daily incense was to be burned in censers using ONLY the coals taken from this particular fire, and no other. Leviticus 16:12-13 commands that Aaron (the High Priest) "shall take a firepan full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of finely ground sweet incense, and bring it inside the veil. And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the ark of the testimony." Nadab and Abihu presented an offering before the Lord that only the High Priest was commanded and authorized to make, and they presented this offering in a location (the Holy of Holies) where only the High Priest was authorized to enter. They used coals taken from a source other than the one specified by direct command from God, and they did so because they were drunk! Saxe and Jensen cite this as "no light offense," but rather as "flagrant disobedience and presumption" (Studies in Leviticus). These two men were in direct violation of several SPECIFIC COMMANDS. This was not a case of transgressing "silence." This was a case of doing the exact opposite of what God had SAID to do. It was not silence that was violated, it was specificity. They replaced, negated, and
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
The Bible proves there is no Dod? No God?

The Bible proves doesn't prove there is a God or isn't a God. It's a book, and a pretty silly one at that.
Posted by the_conservative 9 years ago
the_conservative
God,not Dod wow hahaha wow
Posted by the_conservative 9 years ago
the_conservative
"The Bible is a hunk of trash and there is no God" hunk of trash last time i checked it was a book and prove that there is no Dod.
Posted by the_conservative 9 years ago
the_conservative
dont even listen to his words he must be on drugs, this tatarize, he was soo stupid in my debate....check it out!and i love how most of the commenters agreed with me especially the black guy
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
You want to debate on what seems the most obscure topic I've ever seen. The Bible is a hunk of trash and there is no God. How bout that for a debate? As for the law of silence isn't there something to the idea? At least within reason.

Your profile says that you are pro-life. Why? There's absolutely nothing against it in the Bible. There are passages where God commands that not only should pregnant women be murdered they should be cut open and the fetus should be stabbed too. The general argument is that a passage which makes you pay if you accidentally make a woman lose her child. Guess what? We have that too even though the US is a pro-choice nation.

Sure, there's nothing to suggest that things not mentioned in the Bible are forbidden. But, why then is there some interpolation here but not there? The Law of Science is largely used to justify just making stuff up, but it's all made up anyhow so why does it matter?
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