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Religious Debate

JustCallMeTarzan
Posts: 1,922
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8/19/2009 11:43:49 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
I haven't had a good religious debate in a while... Please, someone, send me a debate challenge on SOMETHING....

Some topics I'm interested in:

Free will / determinism
Biblical errancy
Biblical inconsistency
The "Christ Myth"
Objective/subjective morality
Rob1Billion
Posts: 1,338
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8/19/2009 11:49:40 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
I would love to help you out but we seem to agree on most religious stuff. Of course if you want to threaten the anthropic principle in some way I would be glad to defend it...
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
Tin_Man
Posts: 45
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8/19/2009 12:41:11 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/19/2009 11:43:49 AM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:
I haven't had a good religious debate in a while... Please, someone, send me a debate challenge on SOMETHING....

Some topics I'm interested in:

Free will / determinism
Biblical errancy
Biblical inconsistency
The "Christ Myth"
Objective/subjective morality

It'd be easier to provoke people into debating you if you stated what your stances were on each topic rather than just listing them.
JustCallMeTarzan
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8/19/2009 5:08:38 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/19/2009 12:41:11 PM, Tin_Man wrote:

It'd be easier to provoke people into debating you if you stated what your stances were on each topic rather than just listing them.

Fair enough.... I should note these are mostly anti-Christian views...

There is no such thing as true will - only agency free will, which is completely useless because it's only a perception, not an actual state. Determinism is the correct model to explain what we believe to be "choice."

The Bible is errant about a GREAT MANY things from the value of pi to geology, to geography, to even history itself.

The Bible is inconsistent about a GREAT MANY things, especially contradicting known values like how long people live. It is inconsistent even with itself in several places.

The individual known as Jesus Christ is a creation of creative writing that was perpetrated when the early Church realized that Jesus must have either lied or was mistaken when he said he was coming back in the Apostle's lifetime. Jesus of Nazareth may have existed, but Jesus the Christ did not.

An omniscient God creates several problems for morality in general, most specifically the problem of holding people responsible if God knows what their actions will be. Furthermore, God represents a somewhat unusual case of an entity that can somehow be the arbiter of morality, but not live up to his own code.
USAPitBull63
Posts: 668
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8/19/2009 6:15:53 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
How about this:

It is circular and fruitless to hold religion to scientific/logical/empirical standards of proof/evidence because such defeats the whole purpose of faith.

(The reason vice-versa doesn't hold as true is because most faiths believe in the nobility of conversion to faith.)

Anyway, no one usually argues that. Knock yourself out.
Lexicaholic
Posts: 526
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8/19/2009 6:16:13 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/19/2009 11:43:49 AM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:
I haven't had a good religious debate in a while... Please, someone, send me a debate challenge on SOMETHING....

Some topics I'm interested in:

Free will / determinism
Biblical errancy
Biblical inconsistency
The "Christ Myth"
Objective/subjective morality

How challenging a debate would you like?
http://mastersofcreationrpg.com... - My new site and long-developed project. Should be fun.
Tin_Man
Posts: 45
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8/20/2009 7:11:31 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/19/2009 5:08:38 PM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:

An omniscient God creates several problems for morality in general, most specifically the problem of holding people responsible if God knows what their actions will be. Furthermore, God represents a somewhat unusual case of an entity that can somehow be the arbiter of morality, but not live up to his own code.

Doubt I have the time, as morality arguments rarely make any sense anyway. But your argument is only "unusual" if you assume that God lives within the bounds that he created (if the being known as God is responsible for creating anything at all, and only if God exists). If God created time, but does not have to live within time, and God created the ground, but does not have to stand on the ground, what is so difficult about believing that God can create a set of rules by which to judge others, but not have to live within those rules?

Obviously, you've never experienced boot camp.

Oh, and knowing what someone's actions are going to be doesn't mean that you are in control of them. Theoretically, even a normal human being who can see the movement of enough aspects of any given situation at once can predict the future. That doesn't necessarily mean that he or she is responsible for whatever happens in said future, and once again, your argument only makes sense if you think of God as living within time, which most Christians do not.

So, if you argue your case against any Christian who doesn't accept God as a being that exists within the logical constraints that you place God within, it will be a waste of your time.
JustCallMeTarzan
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8/20/2009 8:22:39 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/20/2009 7:11:31 AM, Tin_Man wrote:
At 8/19/2009 5:08:38 PM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:

...what is so difficult about believing that God can create a set of rules by which to judge others, but not have to live within those rules?

The problem lies in that God's whim is supposedly the criteria for objective morality, yet God himself repeatedly not only changes his whim, but does so in a way that completely contradicts his previous laws. So in other words, what God creates is not objective morality, but a fluid criteria that's fairly useless for doing anything except parroting what God wants - which has previously been love, genocide, friendship, slavery, rape, philanthropy, pillaging.... see the problem?

Oh, and knowing what someone's actions are going to be doesn't mean that you are in control of them. Theoretically, even a normal human being who can see the movement of enough aspects of any given situation at once can predict the future.

This concept is very simple. All things governing actions are empirical facts. An omniscient God would know all empirical facts and thus be able to "calculate" what any decision would be. And therefore, if an omniscient God exists, actors cannot behave in a way that would make God wrong - this constraint removes free will, EVEN IF THE ACTORS BELIEVE THEY ARE FREE.

That doesn't necessarily mean that he or she is responsible for whatever happens in said future, and once again, your argument only makes sense if you think of God as living within time, which most Christians do not.

The excuse that God is outside time is one of the stupidest, most ridiculous things I've ever heard. It's basically a position that Christians fall back to when rational thinking erodes the basis of their beliefs. When all else fails, throw out some strange proposal that doesn't even make sense.

And even if God WAS outside time, he would be able to see all temporal events at once, which is an even stronger version of the argument that he'd be able to "calculate" the results of certain facts.
Tin_Man
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8/20/2009 2:13:26 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/20/2009 8:22:39 AM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:
The problem lies in that God's whim is supposedly the criteria for objective morality, yet God himself repeatedly not only changes his whim, but does so in a way that completely contradicts his previous laws. So in other words, what God creates is not objective morality, but a fluid criteria that's fairly useless for doing anything except parroting what God wants - which has previously been love, genocide, friendship, slavery, rape, philanthropy, pillaging.... see the problem?

The Christians do believe that parroting what God wants is morality. If the definition of morality to any given person is what God wants, then it really makes no difference what God DOES, and it makes no difference if what God wants changes. It doesn't mean that it makes sense, or that it is even worth following. But in the end, if the definition of morality IS the whim of God, then God could do whatever the hell he wants to do.

And, as I'm sure you know, someone being a hypocrite does not mean that the ideas that person (or being) set for is wrong, whether on a factual or moral level. That in itself wipes out any argument you have of God's fluidity being an excuse for ignoring what many believe to be the word of God.

This concept is very simple. All things governing actions are empirical facts. An omniscient God would know all empirical facts and thus be able to "calculate" what any decision would be. And therefore, if an omniscient God exists, actors cannot behave in a way that would make God wrong - this constraint removes free will, EVEN IF THE ACTORS BELIEVE THEY ARE FREE.

If it is simple, you're not making it easy to follow. God knowing something does not obligate God to act. If God sneezed the world into existence accidentally, and then walked away despite knowing the fate of every being that was and will be, how is God responsible for their fate?

You assume that God acts on morality and actions, I guess. That would be the only way to assume that someone cannot have free will and God to still know what the result of that free will is. Chaos is chaos, and if God knows the result of the chaos, that really doesn't make it any less chaotic. Because humans cannot see the result of every single moving particle, the decisions we make are still free, regardless of what God sees (unless, of course, God DOES intervene).

The excuse that God is outside time is one of the stupidest, most ridiculous things I've ever heard. It's basically a position that Christians fall back to when rational thinking erodes the basis of their beliefs. When all else fails, throw out some strange proposal that doesn't even make sense.

Which is why it's not worth the time to formally debate this. If YOU want to argue about a giant being in the sky that controls everything, created everything, and knows everything, you're going to have to play within the rules governing (or NOT governing) the existence of such a being.

The fact that you say, "You're wrong, you're wrong, and you're wrong, because that's just stupid" is no more valid an argument than the Christian's reply, which is, "I'm right, I'm right, and I'm right, because I have faith." If you're not willing to accept that the being that is capable of godly powers is actually capable of godly powers, then there is really no point in arguing anything with you, unless you're just looking to beat up some meat to make yourself feel better about your debating skills.

And even if God WAS outside time, he would be able to see all temporal events at once, which is an even stronger version of the argument that he'd be able to "calculate" the results of certain facts.

And the fact that God can calculate facts does not mean God is obligated to act. The only obligations would be personal desire and morality. If God does not need to exist within absolute morality (being just as much a human constraint as time, physical existence, and logic), then the only other motivation is personal desire, and I don't think even the Christians would claim to know what God likes to do in his free time.
TheSkeptic
Posts: 1,362
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8/20/2009 5:03:07 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/19/2009 6:15:53 PM, USAPitBull63 wrote:
How about this:

It is circular and fruitless to hold religion to scientific/logical/empirical standards of proof/evidence because such defeats the whole purpose of faith.

(The reason vice-versa doesn't hold as true is because most faiths believe in the nobility of conversion to faith.)

Anyway, no one usually argues that. Knock yourself out.

Then you are obviously an irrationalist. I don't mean that in a condescending way; it's an actual position opposite of panrationalist (which I, and most people on this website are). If you want to debate those two, I'll be up for it.

Though, of course, you already have trapped yourself in an intellectual black hole with irrationalism.
USAPitBull63
Posts: 668
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8/20/2009 6:33:20 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/20/2009 5:03:07 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:

Then you are obviously an irrationalist. I don't mean that in a condescending way; it's an actual position opposite of panrationalist (which I, and most people on this website are). If you want to debate those two, I'll be up for it.

Though, of course, you already have trapped yourself in an intellectual black hole with irrationalism.

I'm content with keeping this in the thread. I won't likely have time to start a debate after today; at least, not for a while.

But what I'm saying is an appeal to what's rational.

I'm not defending either side; but when the basic tenet of religious faith is belief despite logical proof or empirical evidence, it is pointless to try and disprove it on such grounds. It already accepts that condition and uses it to strengthen (or attempt to) its own.

I'm not saying it's fruitless in so much as you cannot/won't get doubters/on-the-fencers to declare themselves agnostic or atheist after witnessing such discourse. I'm saying it's fruitless on the grounds that the two systems have incompatible standards of proof.
Tin_Man
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8/20/2009 6:50:26 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/20/2009 6:33:20 PM, USAPitBull63 wrote:
I'm not saying it's fruitless in so much as you cannot/won't get doubters/on-the-fencers to declare themselves agnostic or atheist after witnessing such discourse.

And that in itself is interesting. If this is the only outcome of a debate, then what is the point, really? Is there going to be any massive societal change because someone managed to cause a few people to doubt religion?

Of course, I know some snob is going to say, "Yeah, but people kill in the name of religion." And to that, I can easily reply that the likelihood of a zealot capable of murdering in the name of religion being converted from religion by a trivial debate board is highly unlikely.

In the end, the best result of almost all religious debates that take place here in favor of the non-believers is that they convince some religious people that they may not be right. Seems like nothing more than a chest-pounding maneuver to me. If you want to actually strengthen your debating skills, then beating up on people who openly don't use logic to foster their beliefs is a bit like saying you're an animal trainer because you've watched every episode of the Dog Whisperer.
USAPitBull63
Posts: 668
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8/20/2009 7:12:43 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/20/2009 6:50:26 PM, Tin_Man wrote:

In the end, the best result of almost all religious debates that take place here in favor of the non-believers is that they convince some religious people that they may not be right. Seems like nothing more than a chest-pounding maneuver to me. If you want to actually strengthen your debating skills, then beating up on people who openly don't use logic to foster their beliefs is a bit like saying you're an animal trainer because you've watched every episode of the Dog Whisperer.

If that was directed toward me, then you have completely missed the point of what I'm saying.
Tin_Man
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8/20/2009 8:39:11 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/20/2009 7:13:45 PM, USAPitBull63 wrote:
But if it was kinda saying the same thing as me, I'm glad you agree.

I was elaborating from a different perspective.
DATCMOTO
Posts: 6,160
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8/21/2009 7:48:13 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/19/2009 11:43:49 AM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:
I haven't had a good religious debate in a while... Please, someone, send me a debate challenge on SOMETHING....

Some topics I'm interested in:

Free will / determinism
Biblical errancy
Biblical inconsistency
The "Christ Myth"
Objective/subjective morality

This is how you dismantle JCMT: http://www.Debate.org...
The Cross.. the Cross.
TheSkeptic
Posts: 1,362
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8/23/2009 1:54:07 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
I'm not defending either side; but when the basic tenet of religious faith is belief despite logical proof or empirical evidence, it is pointless to try and disprove it on such grounds. It already accepts that condition and uses it to strengthen (or attempt to) its own.

And since religion claims that faith is it's standard of proof, I have issue with this - namely whether or not faith is a viable standard of proof.

I'm saying it's fruitless on the grounds that the two systems have incompatible standards of proof.

I agree, but this doesn't mean religion is free from rational inspection. You can't have to valid standards of proof at the same time; either you stick with reason or with faith.
USAPitBull63
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8/23/2009 10:44:42 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/23/2009 1:54:07 AM, TheSkeptic wrote:

And since religion claims that faith is it's standard of proof, I have issue with this - namely whether or not faith is a viable standard of proof.

I understand, but being as most faithful/religious people do not determine the validity of their beliefs based on your scientific/empirical "viable standard of proof"---it doesn't have that burden.

It's kind of like two different sports not having the burden to play by each other's rules over their own. For example, baseball won't be "proven" an illegitimate sport because teams cannot score touchdowns.

Religion has already not only accepted the condition of lack of what's scientifically "viable"---but it uses that to strengthen its own faith conditions (your faith strengthens when you can still believe despite that lack of rational viability).

I agree, but this doesn't mean religion is free from rational inspection. You can't have to valid standards of proof at the same time; either you stick with reason or with faith.

I never said it should be off limits to logicians, etc. I'm just saying it's like a dog chasing its tail, unless your goal is to get others to agree with you. You might be successful at that; but actually "disproving" religion won't occur because the standards are incompatible.

One can use reason and logic for many ideas, but still have strong faith (like many scientists and philosophers) because there are indeed two incompatible, and valid (within their own terms), standards of proof.
TheSkeptic
Posts: 1,362
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8/24/2009 1:05:30 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/23/2009 10:44:42 AM, USAPitBull63 wrote:

The gist of your claim is that religion works on faith, and thus is untouchable by reason. I get that. However, I take issue as to why in the world you believe in the validity of this standard of proof. Faith is not just a bad standard, IT'S NOT ONE AT ALL. It's unreliable. It's arbitrary due to it's dependence on the human agent. And worst of all, it spawns numerous contradictions.

Both faith and reason attempt to deal with truth, which in turn deals with EXISTENCE. There are only two options, existence or non-existence/ reality or non-reality. Since faith and reason both seek out truth, your analogy fails at the seams.

One can use reason and logic for many ideas, but still have strong faith (like many scientists and philosophers) because there are indeed two incompatible, and valid (within their own terms), standards of proof.

I would love to see a credible philosopher (not a theologian) who professes to utilize faith in their works. Of course, there might be a philosopher from centuries back, but in our contemporary understanding of philosophy this is very rare, if it even exists.
USAPitBull63
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8/24/2009 12:17:46 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/24/2009 1:05:30 AM, TheSkeptic wrote:

I take issue as to why in the world you believe in the validity of this standard of proof. Faith is not just a bad standard, IT'S NOT ONE AT ALL. It's unreliable. It's arbitrary due to it's dependence on the human agent. And worst of all, it spawns numerous contradictions.

No one knows (scientifically) whether or not it is unreliable because we haven't obtained documented proof of what happens, metaphysically, after death (if anything). Until that happens, faith will remain.

As I said, faith---by its own standards (parameters set by its own conditions)--- "works" fine. The fruitlessness comes in trying to make it play by rules never intended for it. (Not only never intended for it, but that contradict the very essence of it.)

As for contradictions, even the religious take those into account, including the human agent error factor. In fact, that helps rationalize the "God is in control" element. For example, regardless of how humans goof up His word, things will be all right because God---not man---has the final say.

Both faith and reason attempt to deal with truth, which in turn deals with EXISTENCE. There are only two options, existence or non-existence/ reality or non-reality. Since faith and reason both seek out truth, your analogy fails at the seams.

Not even close. Again, your error is in application of incompatible standards of truth.

Faith begets faith, and testimony of existence has abound since religious institutions began. Scientific, rational, empirically-evidenced truth needs that which is tangible, measurable, data-driven, etc. Faith's truths do not, and never have.

For example, I'll use Christianity. Testimony of Jesus's empty tomb three days after his crucifixion has been "evidence" and "truth" for believers for nearly 2,000 years. Centuries later, several kids in Portugal testify to seeing the Virgin Mary appear to them, and only a handful of people see it, but it was widely considered a miraculous truth to millions of faithful.

Within its own standard, which not only allows, but depends on, the unexplainable, immeasurable, and non-data-driven---this can be truth.

Is truth subjective? That's another issue; but it can certainly depend on context, as with this issue.

I would love to see a credible philosopher (not a theologian) who professes to utilize faith in their works. Of course, there might be a philosopher from centuries back, but in our contemporary understanding of philosophy this is very rare, if it even exists.

You've already attempted to pigeonhole any evidence upon two conditions: (1) narrowing the only names you'd consider to a subjective scale of credibility; (2) subjectively narrowing credibility dependent on "contemporary" philosophers.

Regardless, theologians are just as "credible" as philosophers within their own contexts of truth. A "my thinking is better than your thinking" mantra regarding something that will likely never (or, at least, not likely in our lifetimes) be determined (what happens after death) seems pointless.

Great thinkers don't necessarily need to express personal theology in their works to justify the strength of their convictions.
USAPitBull63
Posts: 668
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8/24/2009 5:47:31 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
If this was mid-June to mid-August, I would. But I won't have much time with my impending work schedule.

I would likely forfeit some rounds here and there/miss deadlines. I've already declined a formal invitation for another debate (this week) on the same grounds.

Nevertheless, I'll have pockets of time to peruse the comments section and post here and there.
ZT
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8/24/2009 8:03:27 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/19/2009 5:08:38 PM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:
At 8/19/2009 12:41:11 PM, Tin_Man wrote:

The Bible is errant about a GREAT MANY things from the value of pi to geology, to geography, to even history itself.

The Bible is inconsistent about a GREAT MANY things, especially contradicting known values like how long people live. It is inconsistent even with itself in several places.

Just out of curiosity, where is Pi mentioned?
Xer
Posts: 7,776
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8/24/2009 8:10:56 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/24/2009 8:03:27 PM, ZT wrote:
At 8/19/2009 5:08:38 PM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:
At 8/19/2009 12:41:11 PM, Tin_Man wrote:

The Bible is errant about a GREAT MANY things from the value of pi to geology, to geography, to even history itself.

The Bible is inconsistent about a GREAT MANY things, especially contradicting known values like how long people live. It is inconsistent even with itself in several places.

Just out of curiosity, where is Pi mentioned?

http://www.purplemath.com...
Puck
Posts: 6,457
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8/24/2009 8:16:51 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
1 Kings 7:23

He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it.
Kleptin
Posts: 5,095
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8/24/2009 8:29:10 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/24/2009 8:16:51 PM, Puck wrote:
1 Kings 7:23

He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it.

Diameter of 10 with a circumference of 30 makes pi = 3. That's pretty damn close.
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
Xer
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8/24/2009 8:34:40 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/24/2009 8:29:10 PM, Kleptin wrote:
At 8/24/2009 8:16:51 PM, Puck wrote:
1 Kings 7:23

He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it.

Diameter of 10 with a circumference of 30 makes pi = 3. That's pretty damn close.

Yeah, but the Bible is supposedly the written word of God. So, why doesn't God know the actual value of pi?
Xer
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8/24/2009 8:49:29 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/24/2009 8:40:31 PM, Puck wrote:
That assumes that those concerned would know what a decimal was.

Fractions are used in Leviticus 27:27 and 27:32

27 And if it be of an unclean beast, then he shall redeem it according to thine estimation, and shall add a fifth part of it thereto: or if it be not redeemed, then it shall be sold according to thy estimation.

32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.