IN CHRIST ALONE

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WHAT DOES JESUS SAY ABOUT THE BIBLE?

Strobel with Hanegraaff                                                                                            

   The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio

Recently, an atheist challenged me to share reasons for faith in Christ.   His premise was the Bible is full of errors and Christians are ignorant.  He also denied any possibility of communicating with God, denying the Deity of Christ of course.

Dear Atheist:

When it comes to ancient documents including the Bible, historians apply a number of tests to determine authenticity and accuracy.

Eye witness accounts are highly valued, just as they are in a court of law.

Intense scrutiny of the New Testament documents has been engaged for almost 2000 years, and to date, no one has debunked the testimonies.

You fail to realize that the New Testament writers were a collection of people from various walks of life, from common fishermen to academics and even a physician, and they had an audience of thousands: people who embraced the Gospel, and a great number who were hostile to the Gospel, even to the point of persecuting early believers and killing them.  In other words, the New Testament writers were held accountable, even to the point of death. 

(Note that all the disciples save two were martyred for their testimony.)

The Romans had no use for Christians, obviously, and the Temple Jews hunted them down. If there was an opportunity to discredit the disciples and early believers these most powerful groups would have seized the opportunity in a heart beat.  For example, all they had to do was present the body of Christ to completely destroy the resurrection claim, and as Paul wrote, without the resurrection, our faith is a myth.  (Remember that both the Romans and the Temple guard were deployed to guard the tomb.  Failure to secure the tomb meant the death penalty.)  Do you believe it is likely eleven disciples could overwhelm trained Roman soliders and Temple guards, four times their number?

Additionally, the length of time between the original writings and the earliest copies in our possession is another test historians apply. A couple generations is a very short time period between original writings and copies. Comparing this same time lapse to other ancient documents and you find the New Testament writings (copies) are much closer to the originals, increasing the propability of authenticity. Curious how nobody disputes the Iliad but so many denigrate the New Testament.

Keep in mind tremendously compelling facts about the Bible: it is the all time best seller, and more people in more places for greater periods of time have tried to destroy it with fire or false claims and misrepresentations.  Interesting as well, it was written by about 44 authors over the course of about 1500 years and it is actually 66 books that are internally consistent and complementary. Now how did that happen?

As to vast conspiracies foisting the Deity of Christ on an unsuspecting world, for such a conspiracy to hold, thousands of people would have had to preserve a lie even in the face of agonizing death, not only in the first century but throughout the centuries to follow. Are you aware of the fact that more people have been martyred for Christ than any other cause? Certainly you’d agree it is at least astounding so many people would die for something they knew to be a falsehood.

https://allanerickson.wordpress.com/2008/11/20/theophobia-and-persecution/

Finally, the more science inquires, the more the Bible holds up. Time after time archeological discoveries confirm the text. EX: secular scholars used to dismiss the Bible for mentioning Hittites, until Hittite culture was confirmed through discovery of artifacts.

And on it goes. Long before science confirmed these things the Bible described them:  *

>the hydrologic cycle
>the fact ‘life’ is carried in the blood (nutrients/oxygen)
>the earth is a sphere
>the connection between hygiene and disease prevention
>the importance of nutrition
>the expanding universe

And then you have prophecy. More than 300 prophesies about Christ in the Old Testament were specifically and completely fulfilled in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. For any student of statistics and probability out there, the odds of this happening by chance are impossible.

There are also numerous other prophesies, and all have come true to the letter. Dr. Peter Stoner did very interesting studies on these subjects, confirmed by his colleagues as academically sound.

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=49720

Look at these figures as well:

“Over a quarter of all the verses in the Bible contain a prediction about the future. Altogether, 737 separate forecasts are made, from some only mentioned once, to others mentioned hundreds of times.  Of these, 594 (over 80%) have already come true. Since those that have not, are all concerned with the end of the world, which obviously has not happened yet, the Bible has actually achieved 100% accuracy.”

Source:  (excellent resources and discussions of prophecy and probability)

http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/156582

One other point.  It is safe to say the Bible has had the most influence throughout history in the area of moral authority.  Scholars agree western civilization was built upon the precepts of justice originating in the Ten Commandments and much of the Levitical law.  For wisdom in concentrated form capable to crossing all cultural lines, the Book of Proverbs is incomparable.  Noteworty as well:  Mohammed drew most of his early education and insight from Christian and Jewish scholars.

Those of us who are called by His name do not believe out of ignorance or blind faith. We believe because someone told us the good news of God’s love and we responded by looking into it. We sought Him, and he answered us.  One way he answers us is through his written word.

How have I communicated with Him you ask?

How does one describe the still small voice of God speaking to your heart, renewing your mind, healing your body, restoring your soul? I have asked him for help many times and he has always helped me. I have prayed for healing and been healed. I have prayed for the salvation of others and have seen them saved. The majesty of nature and the awesome reality of infinite galaxies testify to His power and wonder.   Most especially, the power of his Word to change lives communicates more than any human argument.

I have prayed for forgiveness, and been lovingly forgiven, the greatest gift.

For some no evidence will ever be enough, no miracle persuasive, no healing or assurance satisfactory, for “broad is the way that leads to destruction and many go thereby, but narrow is the way that leads to salvation, and few find it,” says the Master.

Liar, Lunatic or Lord?

Written 700 years before the birth of Christ

Evidence for the Resurrection

Science confirms the Bible: the Bible came before science

Scientific Accuracies in the Bible

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20 Responses to IN CHRIST ALONE

  1. MrBlueSkies says:

    Arguing the validity of religion by arguing the validity of the Bible is simply ridiculous. Man’s hand has been in the Bible since it was written. Who really knows what changes and omissions have occurred? Religion is about faith. You either believe or you don’t.

    Simply because you believe that the Bible “has had the most influence throughout history in the area of moral authority” or that “more people have been martyred for Christ than any other cause” doesn’t prove it’s validity, either.

    Your arguments about your experiences with God cannot be used as evidence. For every person who says a prayer has been answered, there is another who goes unanswered. For every person who says he’s been healed, there is another who was not healed. I’m happy that you believe God speaks to you and answers your prayers. But that’s not proof just because you say so.

    You have every right to believe in whatever God you choose to believe in as I have every right not to believe. It’s when you insist that I believe and have to follow your rules, that you cross the line.

  2. Allan Erickson says:

    MrBlueSkies:

    No one is arguing the validity of religion. Religion is a killer. Relationship with Christ is the thing. The Bible provides evidence for faith. God appeals to the heart and the mind and the soul. Those of us who believe what the Bible asserts believe it is the inspired word of God, not a human machination.

    If Christ is God, very God, and he indeed proclaims: “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man comes to Father but by Me,” then your argument is with Him, not me.

    I’m just one who decided to stop arguing with Him, and start cooperating with Him, and that revolutionized my life, as it has revolutionized millions of lives for the last 2,000 years.

    He wants to revolutionize your life too. That’s why He came to earth and died, rose again, and lives today inviting you to accept his gift of eternal life.

    BTW: it’s not about rules. It’s about relationship.

  3. […] IN CHRIST ALONE Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)One-Page Bible Reference (NIV) […]

  4. sinned34 says:

    I posted on another of your topics a number of months ago, and now I see you’ve made another with some similar claims.

    Please point out for me the scriptures that list the claims you made above:

    >the hydrologic cycle
    >the fact ‘life’ is carried in the blood (nutrients/oxygen)
    >the earth is a sphere
    >the connection between hygiene and disease prevention
    >the importance of nutrition
    >the expanding universe

    Thanks!

    • Allan Erickson says:

      Gladly!

      OVERVIEW
      http://home.att.net/~jackthompson/page1171.htm

      Hydrology
      Job 28:25 To establish a weight for the wind, And apportion the waters by measure.

      The fact that air has weight was proven scientifically only about 300 years ago. The relative weights of air and water are needed for the efficient functioning of the world’s hydrologic cycle, which in turn sustains life on the earth.

      Also, Job 26:8; 36:27-28; 37:16; 38: 25-27; Psalm 135:7; Eccles. 1:6-7; Gen. 1:21; 6:19

      LIFE IN THE BLOOD
      Lev. 17:11

      Earth is a SPHERE
      Isa. 40:22
      “It is he that sits upon the circle of the earth.”

      HYGIENE
      Gen. 17:9-14; Lev. 12-14

      NUTRITION
      Huge topic and complex. Here is a starting point.
      http://www.kingdomkalories.org/docs/science_and_the_bible.pdf

      EXPANDING UNIVERSE
      Isaiah 40:22 (written 2,800 years ago): “It is He that . . . stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in.”

      Scientists are beginning to understand that the universe is expanding, or stretching out. At least seven times in Scripture we are clearly told that God stretches out the heavens like a curtain.

      MORE:

      Bless you!

  5. sinned34 says:

    Thanks Allan. Now let’s take a look at some of these claims.

    1) Hydrology in the Bible.

    Job 28:25 – It says “weight of the wind” in one translation and “force of the wind” in another. Either way, the Bible is right, but it certainly didn’t take divine revelation to figure out that wind had force or weight to it. The Greeks had it figured out by at least as early as 500 BCE by performing experiments instead of relying on a god to point it out to them.

    Job 26:8 – Pretty much any thinking person could tell you that water gets stored in clouds. Simple observation shows that rain falls from them.

    Job 36:27-28 – Again, it describes something that could be discovered by simple observation (they WERE able to boil water by that time)

    Job 37:16 – All this verse does is ask if someone knows how clouds hang in the air. The previous verse asks if a person knows how God makes lightening flash. We understand that rain and lightening require no help from any deity.

    Job 38 – is merely one big collection of “god of the gaps” arguments, many of which have been “solved” by science and found to occur from natural phenomenon, not requiring any deities.

    Psalm 135:7 – This might not be very supportive of your position, as at the very least, it takes artistic license by saying that wind is kept in “storage” until god lets it out. Still don’t see any knowledge that requires divine revelation.

    I’ve read the remaining scriptures, and they’re all pretty much the same thing. It shows some basic understanding of the hydrologic cycle, but I don’t see anything that could lead an average person to think that knowledge had to be handed down by a god.

    (PS: Gen 1:21 is unrelated to your point – it talks about the incorrect order in which sea creatures and birds became and says nothing about the rain cycle.)

    2) Life in the blood

    Lev 17:11 – Yup, this scripture literally says “life is in the blood”. It doesn’t mention oxygen or glucose or anything else other than a generic “life”. I think people had figured out that animals and people could bleed to death long before the bible had been compiled. It’s a little disappointing to see you try to represent this scripture as though it is saying more than it actually is.

    3) Earth is a sphere

    Isa 40:22 – “It is he that sits upon the circle of the earth…” I pointed this out the last time I was here. The actual word used in the Bible that you represent as “sphere” is normally used to describe “round disc”. Although it can be used to describe a sphere, there is a more accurate Hebrew word that is usually used to describe one. But let’s also include the REST of the passage, “… and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.” Even taking this as an analogy, it is a poor one. I doubt many people, understanding the Earth to be a sphere, would describe the atmosphere or the universe surrounding the planet as at “tent”. That description makes much more sense if you see the Earth as a flat disc, with the heavens above it.

    4) Hygiene

    Gen 17:9-14 – All this talks about is how the Jews (and their purchased slaves, showing God supports slavery!) had to be circumcised. There’s nothing about hygiene here.

    Lev 12-14 – Some hygiene here. I love the part about a woman giving birth to a female child being unclean twice as long as if she gave birth to a boy – not exactly scientific or true, eh? The real funny thing is that there is not a single shred of actual recommendations for hygiene in these three chapters. God doesn’t say to wash with soap, how often to wash, etc. It mentions (inaccurately) how to recognize leprosy, but not how to prevent it or cure it! (We had to figure THAT out ourselves!) The only good recommendations are to burn the clothes that a leper wears, and that the leper wash on the day of his cleansing ritual. He needs to wash a lot more than that to be healed of leprosy. Those scriptures spend almost all of the time talking about how to make sacrifices to God to be forgiven for being unclean.

    In short – the Bible in those scriptures = Hygiene FAIL.

    5) Nuutrition – I’m making a pass on this one for now. It’ll take too long to go through that entire document you linked to.

    6) Expanding Universe

    Isa 40:22 – Ahh, we’ve seen this scripture before. I think that you’re reading WAY too much into this verse. Again, even as a metaphor, curtains and tents tend to have finite size. You have to be awfully biased to read this verse (and the verses in that youtube clip) as saying “the universe is expanding”.

    When it comes to scientific proof in the Bible, I’m only going to bring up one single verse to show the Bible is certainly not 100% scientifically accurate. It’s only two verses after one that you cited for

    the hydrologic cycle:

    Job 37:18 – “Can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze?” (NIV)
    “Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?” (KJV)

    We certainly know the sky is not strong or hard. The writers of the Bible were wrong in this, and this is only one of many other examples. However, I won’t get into them here, because this post has gotten WAY too long.

    I await your response!

  6. Allan Erickson says:

    Dear sinned34:

    There are two kinds of students, and one is really no student at all.

    There are those who seek knowledge and wisdom, engaging open-minded inquiry in the spirit of discovery, working to be enlightened. Then, there are those who work only to justify their prejudices and rationalize their presuppositions.

    There are eight rules to follow when interpreting Scripture. Tools required include a concordance and various commentaries. Understanding takes work.

    Understanding also requires a certain spiritual sensitivity acquired only by a tender, open heart. In other words, it’s not only a matter of intellect.

    Much of your response is simply ‘off the shelf’ opinion, indicating you are most interested in rubber stamping your presuppositions rather than questioning their validity. Apparently you were schooled by a college professor who likewise thrilled to the quest of debunking the Bible, the only objective of the ‘inquiry.’ (C.S. Lewis, professor, and one-time atheist, decided he would read the NT with an open mind. His book “Mere Christianity” would be useful to all those who insist on an exclusively intellectual approach.)

    It’s funny how unbelievers work so hard to avoid the One who made them, the One who loves them, eternally. Not so funny really: strong evidence of our rebellious hearts, and tragic, ultimately.

    It is also funny to listen to unbelievers trying to denigrate faith by calling believers uninformed literalists while they take certain verses literally, for example, your stab at Job 37:18, showing themselves uninformed.

    It is also a chuckle watching unbelievers interpret Scripture by violating every rule of interpretation, including the meaning of words in context. For example, Gen. 17 and your insistence God endorses slavery in view of the reference to a person ‘bought with money from a foreigner.’ Such people were treated like family by the Hebrews. In the ancient world it is my understanding indentured servitude was widespread and certainly not exclusive to the Jews. Real slavery was what the Jews experienced in Egypt. Any reasonable read of Scripture reveals God hates all injustice, including slavery. Recall it was Christians who invoked the God the Bible to confront slavery in America. Know also the most prolific slavers have always been Muslims, even to the present day. Never hear a word about that do we? Wonder why?

    For an exhaustive word study of the term ‘slavery’ in the Bible, check out this list:

    http://www.biblestudytools.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?word=slave&section=0&version=niv&new=1&oq=&NavBook=ge&NavGo=17&NavCurrentChapter=17

    Genesis 17 is about God’s covenant with the Hebrews and circumcision as a sign of that covenant. The study of covenants is interesting. God’s constant work to get us to agree with him in righteousness is evidence of his love for us. He invites agreement as a sign of his love. He does not force agendas or twist arms, but he does speak Truth, and as king of the universe, he is sovereign.

    (Interesting too the Founders cited biblical covenant in the formulation of our republic. Government is a covenant. God gives us our unalienable rights. Government is instituted only to secure God-given rights, by covenant with the people. Government is now seen breaking its covenant, and we see the results.)

    (By the way, circumcision does have much to do with hygiene and the production of vitamin K, especially when performed on the 8th day—and God was looking out for the foreign born in this regard too.)

    http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2204

    Exodus 12 is interesting on the topic of slavery and circumcision, esp. in light of the argument later among the disciples concerning circumcision in the new dispensation and Paul’s perspective that with the Resurrection, God is most interested in the circumcision of the heart.

    Finally, as to the passages relevant to science, thinking people understand the Bible is not a science textbook and was never intended to be, but the fact it reveals various scientific truths centuries before science verified these truths is compelling. These passages do not provide ironclad ‘proof’ of divine inspiration, but they are compelling nonetheless.

    Those who demand ironclad proof fail to factor in the importance of faith, and faith is a matter of trust based in loving relationship, which is the entire point.

    OTHER RESOURCES:

    http://www.moodypublishers.com/Publishers/default.asp?SectionID=86DE745783B8435ABFF5832DD9E4C78A&action=details&subid=8D40CEB521ED4989BA048BFE70E31CA0

    Especially interesting about the bloodstream:

    http://www.moodypublishers.com/Publishers/default.asp?SectionID=86DE745783B8435ABFF5832DD9E4C78A&action=details&subid=D4209402D0888C022E299C556896444D

  7. sinned34 says:

    There are two kinds of students, and one is really no student at all. There are those who seek knowledge and wisdom, engaging open-minded inquiry in the spirit of discovery, working to be enlightened. Then, there are those who work only to justify their prejudices and rationalize their presuppositions.

    Yeah, right. I’ll bet that when reading On The Origin Of Species, you’re just the epitome of “engaging open-minded inquiry in the spirit of discovery”. I think thou dost project too much.

    It would be beyond easy for me to accuse you of the same thing. For me, if the Bible is shown to be correct about a handful of scientific subjects, it doesn’t really matter. For you however, if the Bible is shown wrong on one single tiny fact, your entire worldview crumbles. Who is more likely to be working to justify his prejudice and presuppositions?

    There are eight rules to follow when interpreting Scripture. Tools required include a concordance and various commentaries. Understanding takes work.

    Translation: you need to be able to cherry-pick the Bible properly if you’re going to “prove” it to be the inerrant Word Of God. Feel free to drop those eight rules on me though. Please remember to tell me why I can’t use those same rules to find out the truth about Dianetics or the Qu’ran. But this is probably the most truthful and honest thing you’re likely to say: trying to make the Bible appear 100% true and inerrant takes a LOT of work!

    Understanding also requires a certain spiritual sensitivity acquired only by a tender, open heart. In other words, it’s not only a matter of intellect.

    Ah, of course. I see you’re already prepping your excuse for me not being able to find any evidence of God’s existence: it’s MY fault because I’m not ready to accept the truth!

    Much of your response in simply ‘off the shelf’ opinion, indicating you are most interested in rubber stamping your presuppositions rather than questioning their validity.

    Nice job of pre-judging me, there. Doesn’t your Bible warn you about judging people? You might be surprised to know that I’ve been involved in full-time Bible studies in the past.

    Apparently you were schooled by a college professor who likewise thrilled to the quest of debunking the Bible, the only objective of the inquiry.

    Surprise! Not a single one of my college professors ever uttered a single sentence regarding the Bible. So you think there’s something wrong with approaching a subject with the intent to debunk it? Besides Biblical inerrancy, do you also believe in the healing power of crystals, psychic claims to speak with the dead, or that the moon landings were faked? I doubt highly that you would enter into a discussion with a psychic with a tender, open heart (or mind). If a premise is true, then it will resist debunking. Sadly, no matter how much I research the Bible, it always looks like pretty much any other book of mythology.

    (C.S. Lewis, professor, and one-time atheist, decided he would read the NT with an open mind. His book Mere Christianity would be useful to all those who insist on an exclusively intellectual approach.)

    I’m familiar with C.S. Lewis, and I don’t find his apologetics very engaging. Besides, for every atheist conversion to Christianity you list, I can easily come up with someone who converted in the opposite direction. Let’s not bother with that type of rhetoric.

    It’s funny how unbelievers work so hard to avoid the One who made them, the One who loves them, eternally. Not so funny really: strong evidence of our rebellious hearts.

    It’s funny how believers have to work so hard to keep up the veneer, to find ways to keep believing in their invisible friend. It’s not dissimilar to trying to convince a five year old that Santa doesn’t actually exist. Not so funny really: strong evidence that many people either never grow up or just can’t cope with life on their own.

    Besides, the LAST thing I can be accused of is attempting to avoid God. I repeatedly asked any gods to reveal themselves to me. Much like leprechauns and wolpertingers, nothing has chosen to do so thus far, leading me to the conclusion that none of them exist. I’m certainly open to new data that might suggest otherwise. You are welcome to try, but I won’t be holding my breath. So far, the only thing you’ve mentioned is a book of mythology that describes ridiculous tales including talking snakes, people raising from the dead, half-human/half-angel giants roaming the land, and a guy living in a fish for three days.

    It is also funny to listen to unbelievers try to denigrate faith by calling believers uninformed literalists while they take certain verses literally, for example, Job 37:18, showing themselve uninformed.

    Ah, the apologists favorite tactic: if a scripture is wrong about something scientific, then that scripture must not be meant to be taken literally. Here’s the problem: how can you tell what’s to be taken literally and what isn’t? So please, tell me how the sky resembles a mirror or beaten brass; explain what that metaphor could mean. Specifically, why did that scripture state that the sky was hard or solid, and why did Bible translators choose the English word “FIRMament” when describing it?

    Gen. 17 and your insistence God endorses slavery in view of the reference to a person ‘bought with money from a foreigner.’ Such people were treated like family by the Hebrews.

    Exodus 21:20-21 – “And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.”

    So if you beat a slave and he dies immediately, there is a punishment. If the slave suffers for a day or two before dying, then it’s a-ok because a slave is little more than property/ If that’s the manner in which you treat YOUR family, then stay the hell away from mine!

    Real slavery was what the Jews experienced in Egypt.

    Sorry Hans, wrong guess! There is no archeological evidence that the Jews were ever enslaved in Egypt. Especially the way that story was depicted in the Bible. At the supposed time of the Exodus, the population of Egypt was about two million. According the the Bible, half that population (500,000 men, adding up to over a million people if you include women and children) got up and left Egypt, then wandered around the desert for 40 years. This tale is completely unsupported by any evidence whatsoever. The tale of the Exodus was most likely crafted during the Babylonian exile, in order to help give the Jews a self-identity and hope for escape.

    Any reasonable read of Scripture reveals God hates all injustice, including slavery.

    Except God never actually comes out and specifically SAYS that. In fact, he gives rules for how to keep slaves (and as we saw above, they’re not all nice rules) and even orders the Jews to TAKE slaves. Those facts would seem to make it reasonable to believe that God didn’t really have a problem with slavery. Plus, God condoned, and even ordered, the Jews to perform other acts on neighboring tribes and their own peoples that most humans today would consider injustices. One quick example is that rape victims should be forced to marry their rapists (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)!

    Recall it was Christians who invoked the God the Bible to confront slavery in America.

    And recall it was Christians who invoked the God of the Bible to SUPPORT slavery in America as well!

    For an exhaustive word study of the term ‘slavery’ in the Bible, check out this list:

    I’ll read it when I have more time. I doubt it will be able to find a way to justify Exodus 21:20-21, but I’m curious to see what it says.

    Genesis 17 is about God’s covenant with the Hebrews and circumcision as a sign of that covenant.

    Sure, but even if we grant that circumcision might improve health somewhat, threre are thousands of other hygiene tips that would have saved millions of lives. Instead God wanted to focus on a small piece of loose skin on the penis. Lame.

    Exodus 12 is interesting on the topic of slavery and circumcision…

    Interesting perhaps, but there is precious little about slavery in it, and literally nothing else related to our current discussion.

    Interesting too the Founders cited biblical covenant in the formulation of our republic.

    Oh, no – I’m not taking that bait on that piece of possible Dominionist rhetoric. I’m not into changing the subject just yet.

    Finally, as to the passages relevant to science, thinking people understand the Bible is not a science textbook and was never intended to be, but the fact it reveals various scientific truths centuries before science verified these truths is compelling. These passages do not provide ironclad ‘proof’ of divine inspiration, but they are compelling nonetheless.

    But herein lies the problem, you presented the Bible as lining up perfectly with science and archeology, and as I have shown, it most certainly does not. That said, I appreciate your candor in admitting that the Bible is not infallible, nor fully divinely inspired. Most Christians have great difficulty admitting that. There’s hope for you yet!

    Those who demand ironclad proof fail to factor in the importance of faith, and faith is a matter of trust based in loving relationship, which is the entire point.

    It’s hard to have faith in something for which there is no proof even exists, no matter how cool Odin might be.

    Once again, I apologize for the long post. I have a hard time letting points go unanswered! (Too bad God didn’t have the same problem!)

  8. Allan Erickson says:

    The more we communicate the more you reveal your hatred for God. I cannot fathom what has happened in your life to cause such malevolence toward the One who made you, the One who loves you like no other. Yet those hostile reactions are evidence of the Fall and point to the essential problem with humankind.

    I too ran from God and rebelled and insulted him for 20 years. It was only when I realized I needed help that I also began to understand He is not the enemy, but the real enemy of my soul had me deceived, cornered and was moving in for the kill.

    Otherwise…

    Anyone who dismisses C.S. Lewis is not to be taken seriously.

    You obviously have an intellectual template and all information either supports that worldview or it is rejected. Prejudicial thinking dressed up like genuine academic pursuit is still prejudicial thinking.

    You seem to believe your opinions forcefully stated rule the day. Opinion plucked from the air without any supporting data is commonplace and useless.

    One thing is for sure: Christians are either right or wrong about Christ in believing he is God and the only Savior of the world, the only One who can save us from sin, death and hell.

    If Christians are right, you are in a terrible position, without access to joy in this life, and doomed to an eternity separated from God in miserable conditions.

    If Christians are wrong, as you insist, the Bible is a myth and our faith is a mist. Still, we will have followed the greatest moral code ever devised, in the name of love, and enjoyed the benefits of doing so.

    Either way, Christians win.

    Either way, you lose.

  9. sinned34 says:

    Hello Allan,

    Thanks for the reply. Sorry about the delay in getting back to you – a local wildfire erupted on Friday and threatened a short distance from my home, so I’ve been busy. Anyways, let’s take a look at what you said in your last post.

    The more we communicate the more you reveal your hatred for God.

    That makes me laugh. Apparently I not only hate God, but I detest leprechauns, wolpertingers and L. Ron Hubbard as well! Well, I suppose that isn’t really a fair comparison – at least there’s proof that L. Ron Hubbard existed at one point. One simple question: how exactly do you convert my disbelief in God to hatred? Don’t you find it hard to hate something you doubt exists?

    I cannot fathom what has happened in your life to cause such malevolence toward the One who made you, the One who loves you like no other.

    This is patently ridiculous. Just because something bad may have happened to me wouldn’t make me deny that my biological mother or father ever existed, thus it makes no sense that I would do the same with God. I see no evidence that God exists, therefore I conclude that he doesn’t. I find the Bible doesn’t do a very good job of describing the universe (for a simple example, it can be read to support the idea that the Earth and people were created ex nihilo less than 10,000 years ago), I think that the Bible has dubious moral value, and it contains historical tales that are unsupported by archeology. Therefore, the most reasonable conclusion is that it is a book of mythology and local history, not unlike the Nordic tales or the Bhagvad Gita.

    Anyone who dismisses C.S. Lewis is not to be taken seriously.

    Says the man who takes the ridiculous World Net Daily (the “Pravda” of the Christian Right) at their word on everything. I didn’t find C.S. Lewis interesting when I WAS a Christian. Tell you what, next week I’ll go flip through some of it again, since it HAS been a long time since I read him. (I doubt I could get you to do the same with On The Origin Of Species.)

    You obviously have an intellectual template and all information either supports that worldview or it is rejected.

    Once again, you’re projecting. I am open to new evidence – you aren’t. Unlike you, I don’t reject new information out of hand, I adjust my worldview to incorporate it. You’re certain God exists, but can’t prove it or even defend your opinion that the Bible is inerrant. I show you where your arguments fail, and instead of giving evidence to the contrary you retreat to hurling weak psychology and threats of eternal damnation at me.

    Prejudicial thinking dressed up like genuine academic pursuit is still prejudicial thinking.

    Just admit it – you want to have your cake and eat it, too. You desire to claim science and archeology as a mantle of authority where it confirms the Bible, then condemn them in areas where they show the Bible incorrect.

    You seem to believe your opinions forcefully stated rule the day. Opinion plucked from the air without any supporting data is commonplace and useless.

    Oh, please. You give your opinions with as much supporting data as I give: with mostly scripture. I gave you links to books with archeological supporting data LAST time, and you completely ignored them. I’m not going to bother listing them again because I doubt you’ll even make a passing glance at them, because you can’t even look at evidence contrary to your beliefs. Once again, I have next to nothing to lose if I’m wrong. You have your entire life built on the shaky accuracy of the Bible.

    One thing is for sure: Christians are either right or wrong about Christ…

    It’s so predictable that you’d start down this road. It is said that patriotism is the final refuge of the scoundrel. It should also be noted that Pascal’s Wager is the final refuge of the Christian who is losing an argument.

    Here’s my reply to Pascal’s Wager: I’m more worried about not dying on the field of battle, therefore being shunned by Odin and not being allowed into Valhalla than I am of not entering the Heaven of the Bible. At least I’m sticking to the mythology of my own heritage instead of adopting someone else’s!

    If Christians are right, you are in a terrible position, without access to joy in this life, and doomed to an eternity separated from God in miserable conditions.

    I dunno, according to you, I’m separated from God right now and I certainly have a lot of joy in my life! With my loving wife and family, good friends, excellent microbrew and European ales, a good job, hockey to watch and play, etc, etc. Life is too good to waste trying to shoehorning reality into fitting the faulty mythological text of a bronze age civilization!

    Either way, Christians win. Either way, you lose.

    Either way, Hindus win and you lose. Either way, Muslims win and you lose. Either way, Scientologists win and you lose. Either way… See how worthless Pascal’s wager is? You are an atheist about all other religions, just like me. The only difference is I believe in one less religion than you, mainly because you won’t examine Christianity the same way you judge all those other faiths.

    The last thing I’ll note here is that at least I go through your posts and craft responses to almost everything you have to say. I notice that you have no specific responses to any of my comments. Quel surprise. If you are able to actually offer any refutations to my comments about any scriptures, or you can offer any independent archaeological evidence for the Exodus, I’d be happy to read them.

  10. Allan Erickson says:

    Luke 11:14-32

    According to Christ you are separated from God.

    A corrupt generation demands miracles, and even when evidence by the truckload is delivered up, the reprobate sneer and ridicule.

    It is a waste of time responding point-for-point when much of what you offer up are only snide contradictions, playground banter, nothing close to refutation.

    You obviously do not read and consider serious information. You ignore definitions, rules of interpretation, even the rules of logic.

    EX: “You are an atheist about all other religions just like me.” This is jibberish. You appear to reject all faith traditions, and although you reject the God of the Bible, you claim to be curious about whether or not God exists, but you dont’ outright reject the existence of God, yet you call yourselve an atheist.

    You call me a partial atheist (no such thing) because I have concluded religious traditions of man are false, while I agree with Christ and his exclusive claim to Truth, and somehow that puts me in a position of not examining Christianity sufficiently.

    Translation: simply disagreeing with you renders one errant. At least I don’t position myself as arbiter of truth. I trust Christ to do that for me.

    You settle for hockey and beer and Odin.

    I suggest you never were a Christian, you never knew Him, never tasted his goodness. The tragedy is you reject the Lord of Love to your own demise, and you actually celebrate your folly.

    BTW, I didn’t ‘threaten’ you with eternal damnation. Christ preached about hell quite often.

    Luke 12:1-21

  11. sinned34 says:

    Luke 11:14-32

    Ummm, Luke 11 ends at verse 17. Typo, or is this yet another translation I haven’t heard of?

    According to Christ you are separated from God.

    I know. I’ve heard God’s off cheating on me with a few million other people. I figure I’m better off not in a relationship with such an abusive jerk of a deity.

    A corrupt generation demands miracles, and even when evidence by the truckload is delivered up, the reprobate sneer and ridicule.

    I’ve never seen a single miracle, nor have I been shown anything remotely close to evidence for the existence of God. Still waiting.

    It is a waste of time responding point-for-point when much of what you offer up are only snide contradictions, playground banter, nothing close to refutation.

    Yeah, I knew you wouldn’t be able to respond to a single one of my points. Besides, it can be a humiliating experience trying to justify why it was okay for God to allow slavers to beat their slaves to death, why it was okay for God to demand the slaughter of a city of civilian people (including babies!), or why a woman should be forced to marry her rapist. I know, I’ve been on both sides of the argument, but I still can’t believe you admitted you would be willing to assault a member of your family until they died!

    You obviously do not read and consider serious information. You ignore definitions, rules of interpretation, even the rules of logic.

    What definitions? What “rules of interpretation”?? What the logic have you presented??? You haven’t offered ANY of those things! Instead you merely made assertions about the truthiness of the Bible, and when I offered rebuttals, you got indignant and said I just refuse to see any evidence, and left it at that. Exactly like what you did back in the spring.

    EX: “You are an atheist about all other religions just like me.” This is jibberish.

    So, you are NOT atheist when it comes to the Greek Pantheon? The Norse Gods? Quetzalcoatl? You think they really existed?

    You appear to reject all faith traditions, and although you reject the God of the Bible, you claim to be curious about whether or not God exists, but you dont’ outright reject the existence of God, yet you call yourselve an atheist.

    Oxford English Dictionary (OED), Second Edition

    atheism – Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a god.

    I don’t see anything in that definition that says I can’t be curious about the gods. I’ll say it quite simply again: I see no evidence of any gods, therefore I doubt they exist. I am an atheist. If I was shown some evidence for the existence of a god, I’d be quite happy to change my beliefs. No contradiction there!

    You call me a partial atheist (no such think) because I have concluded religious traditions of man are false, while I agree with Christ and his exclusive claim to Truth, and somehow that puts me in a position of not examining Christianity sufficiently.

    Not quite. What I was saying is that it is doubtful that you examine Christianity with the same skeptical eye that you give to the other religions. To use a metaphor: you’ve picked your team, and judge that all others are obviously wrong based on what your captain says. I’ve looked at most of the teams and decided that there isn’t even a sport being played, so I walked away. I’d be perfectly fine with picking up a team if someone can show me a belief system with evidence to support it.

    Translation: simply disagreeing with you renders one errant.

    No, disagreeing with me without being able to offer any evidence of your claims or even reviewing what I’ve offered in rebuttal means you aren’t building up a successful case for me to change my mind.

    At least I don’t position myself as arbiter of truth. I trust Christ to do that for me.

    So you don’t try to determine if anybody’s claims are true or not? I guess that explains why you’re a Christian. I don’t trust anyone to do anything for me, least of all, 2,000 year old zombie emperors. Heck, you don’t even trust in Jesus, you just trust the unknown writers of the Gospels who claimed to have known Jesus to tell you what to do.

    You settle for hockey and beer and Odin.

    Obviously you’ve never had a Kilkenny draught on the deck in 90 degree weather, or won the league championship in a shootout of the final game of the season! Either way, I don’t let hockey, beer, or 3,000 year old warrior gods determine anything for me, either. The point I was making was, what can your God offer me that I don’t already have? I have peace of mind, love, and joy in my life already. You’re not offering freedom, you’re offering to shackle my mind to the corpse of a bronze age sky fairy.

    I suggest you never were a Christian, you never knew Him, never tasted his goodness.

    Ahh, yes. I was wondering when the “No True Scotsman” gambit would show up. It always makes it’s appearance when a Christian is losing an argument to an apostate. When these religious arguments boil down to it, the only evidence really available to the religious believer is personal experience/revelation. So, when confronted by somebody who has tried this experiment and failed to recreate it, the only defense is for the believer to fault the nonbeliever. The alternative, blaming God for not creating the necessary experience (even though it is supportable by cherry-picking of scripture), is unthinkable to many Christians.

    The tragedy is you reject the Lord of Love to your own demise, and you celebrate your folly.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Your supposed “all knowing, all powerful” God knows exactly what it would take to make me believe in him, and it would be almost exactly zero effort on his omnipotent part to do perform that act. But he won’t. Obviously, he either wants me to burn in hell for all eternity (which doesn’t seem very loving to me), or he simply doesn’t exist.

    BTW, I didn’t ‘threaten’ you with eternal damnation. Christ preached about hell quite often.

    As a person with a passive-aggressive personality, I’m quite familiar with the “I didn’t threaten you, Jesus did” defense. I’m also fully aware that, while Yeshua was attributed with a number of good ideas, he was tapped to act as the front man for the petty, vengeful bully god YHWH. Like my parents raised me to do, I’ll accept the good stuff Yeshua said, and discard the garbage. In this case, the garbage is mental allegiance to an invisible tyrant.

    From the tone of your post, it sounds this will be your last comment in this thread. If you have some rebuttals to offer any of my previous points, feel free to surprise me, though! If not, I’ll try to float back once in a while in a vain attempt to keep you honest. I’m sure it won’t be too difficult. After all, you ARE a Christian, and so you do everything you can to avoid lying and misrepresenting people, politics, or ideas. Right?

  12. Allan Erickson says:

    There are 54 verses in Luke 11.

    The Eight Rules of Interpretation here, which you could have easily found on your own, if you cared to:

    http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/20_interpretation.html

    There are few things worse than a narcissist with a computer and too much time on his hands acting merely as a stenographer for the evil one.

    If you had peace of mind you wouldn’t be hell bent trying to overcome me with smoke and mirrors. You’ve failed to refute any of the assertions made by Christ or anything else in Scripture. You are still searching, driven by that empty place in your heart, just like every other human being yearning for Eden while rejecting the One who can show you the way. It creates a terrible tension.

  13. sinned34 says:

    Thanks for posting back, Allan! I have to admit I thought your last post would be your final one, but I’m glad I was wrong. I’m not surprised you didn’t really address any of my earlier comments, though. Oh, well – let’s have a look at what you did say this time.

    There are 54 verses in Luke 11.

    It turns out you’re right! I was using Bible Gateway to look up scriptures, and I guess the page didn’t load all the way, or I put in the search incorrectly. Either way, I let my desire to return your insults in kind get in the way of me double-checking. I’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again.

    The Eight Rules of Interpretation here, which you could have easily found on your own, if you cared to:

    The reason I asked was that I wanted to make sure that I found the same rules you did. Okay, I went through the rules. For the most part, they seem reasonable. There are two rules that I might take issue with. The first would be rule #7 – the rule of unity. This makes the assumption that the scriptures are non-contradictory and fully complement one another. The second is #5 – the rule of logic. This is a religious text that deals with talking snakes and walking corpses. Logic sometimes will take a holiday within its covers. Of course, I’m somewhat kidding about the #5. I understand they mean that you have to logically derive the interpretation. Unfortunately, people with axes to grind either way will certainly try to stretch logic to justify their interpretation. A great example of this is would be your claims about hygiene in the Bible, especially with the scriptures you listed.

    Now, please, according to those eight rules, show me why it’s not horrific that in Exodus 21:20-21 God said a slaveowner could viciously beat his slave, and so long as the slave lived a day or two before dying, there would be no punishment. Don’t forget to address the last part where the scripture says the slave is the owners property/money!

    There are few things worse than a narcissist with a computer and too much time on his hands acting merely as a stenographer for the evil one.

    Yeah, but I’ll still come back here, no matter how bad your narcissism is. Like the stereotypical Irishman, I enjoy a good argument! Seriously though, you’re running a blog, where you offer up your All Important Opinion to the world. Yet me coming in to make counter-arguments against your opinion makes ME the narcissist? (Note: I’m not denying I don’t have a big ego. I don’t quite think it eclipses yours yet.)

    Oh, and I love the comment about me being an agent of Satan. I understand how that makes it easier for you to dismiss my comments without actually addressing them. I remember using that tactic many times when I was a Christian, so I guess some things never change. Black & white thinking, narcissism, cherry-picking scripture and ignoring evidence that falsifies your worldview – I’m forced to ask, do you have any bad personality traits you DON’T project onto other people?

    If you had peace of mind you wouldn’t be hell bent trying to overcome me with smoke and mirrors.

    “Smoke and mirrors”? Really? Let’s make this perfectly clear: notice how I keep addressing specifics in your posts, yet you try to just hand-wave away my comments with blanket dismissals? THAT is the reason I’m posting here – you are making assertions that the Bible is 100% scientifically and historically true, as well as perfectly consistent internally, in the hopes of winning uninformed converts to your side. Yet you can’t even intelligently defend your opinions against simple rebuttals. To an independent observer, I can easily show that your claims are not true. I have no illusions that I’m going to change your mind whatsoever, but I just might be able to show the one or two people unfamiliar with your ideas that stumble across your blog that you’re just another Liar For Jesus! Plus, I might learn a few things about fundies and the Bible I didn’t know before.

    You’ve failed to refute any of the assertions made by Christ or anything else in Scripture.

    If you think I’ve been trying to refute the assertions of Jesus, you’ve not been paying attention. What I’ve refuted is what YOU claim about scripture. Once again, I’ll refer to your comment that slaves were treated like family? The scripture I quoted either showed that you were wrong, or you have a really screwed up set of family values. That would be painfully obvious to anyone without a huge theological axe to grind.

    You are still searching, driven by that empty place in your heart, just like every other human being yearning for Eden while rejecting the One who can show you the way. It creates a terrible tension.

    Hey, you’re finally right about something! I’m “searching” all right. I’ve got that same desire to seek knowledge that I had when I was a Christian, but with one small difference: now I have a malleable worldview that can accept new facts and information, especially about religion. In fact, it’s that desire to question everything that eventually led me to the realization that the Bible was not what it (and Christians) claimed it to be.

    It’s funny, but I even remember the moment when I finally let go of all my fears and superstitions and realized that I was an atheist. Such a relief flew through me! I was finally free to revel in science and discover the universe as it is, instead of trying to force reality to fit a bronze age mentality. I felt a sense of wonder and peace that easily outshone anything I felt when I was baptized, read the Bible, prayed, spoke in tongues or had the Spirit upon me! The “terrible tension” you speak of had slowly dissipated over the years. In that instant, the tension was gone, only to be replaced by a sense of responsibility to discern reality around me.

    I await your detailed analysis of Exodus 21:20-21.

    • Allan Erickson says:

      Jesus says straightforwardly: “If you are not for me, you are against me.”

      He says clearly he came to separate wheat from chaff, sheep from goats.

      You have positioned yourself against Christ. That is obvious.

      Therefore, don’t try to cast this as YOU against ME.

      You have nothing to teach me.

      The Master is my teacher. He is fully capable of correcting me and disciplining me.

      Your arrogance is stunning in the presumption you have the ability to correct and instruct, exercising the power to hold me accountable as if you are all knowing. Pride is something God hates, and your prideful denunciations reveal a dark heart.

      The words of Christ are plain. You contradict him, calling God a liar, leveling accusations against believers, slandering the name of the Most High, and then you can’t understand why you are rightly perceived as a mouthpiece for the Devil?

      As to Exodus 21—Won’t do the work for you. You research Exodus 21, consult a concordance to study the meaning of words, read various commentaries, apply the rules of interpretation, even call a few theologians, and then you arrive at an informed conclusion based on exhaustive study.

      Take the energy you expend writing these lengthy replies and apply it to serious study. Perhaps your eyes will be opened. However, according to the whole of Scripture, which Christ thoroughly endorses, your eyes cannot be opened while you deny the assistance of the Holy Spirit and welcome the blinding influence of Satan.

      The Spirit liberates.

      The Enemy enslaves.

      For someone so concerned about slavery in ‘the bronze age’ you are curiously unconcerned about your own chains.

      PS: What does Jesus say about the Scriptures?

      https://allanerickson.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/inerrancy-infallibility/

  14. Ateizam says:

    And on it goes. Long before science confirmed these things the Bible described them: *

    >the hydrologic cycle
    >the fact ‘life’ is carried in the blood (nutrients/oxygen)
    >the earth is a sphere
    >the connection between hygiene and disease prevention
    >the importance of nutrition
    >the expanding universe

    It would be great if you pointed in the bible where it says that.

    Just to say, when Galileo Galilei was accused, Kardinal Bellarmine said that Earth doesn’t turn around the Sun. He probably wouldn’t claim that if he read in the bible that the Earth is round and if he knew all these things about expanding universe and such. But, you can have your imagination expand, just as universe is expanding.

  15. sinned34 says:

    Hi Allan,

    Don’t fret, I’m on vacation right now, and I will return to respond to your comments.

    Thanks,
    sinneD34

  16. Allan Erickson says:

    I have a better idea. Save yourself a lot of time and effort and invest it elsewhere. You fail to contribute anything worthwhile, wrapped up, as you are, in yourself.

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