Quick responses to common objections to Christianity

A common objection to Christianity and God’s existence is “What about the Crusades?!” or some other wrong done in the name of Christ.

That argument fails on many levels.  Feel free to copy and paste these without attribution.

1. You don’t judge an ideology by those who violate its tenets.  Don’t blame Jesus when people do the opposite of what He taught.

2. I make it a habit not to apologize for things that happened 1,000 years ago and that I didn’t do.

3. If there is no God then there is no moral grounding to criticize any of those things.

4. None of those things disprove the central claims of Christianity, such as the physical resurrection of Jesus, his divinity, etc.

More here.

0 thoughts on “Quick responses to common objections to Christianity”

  1. Those who articulate events to question the existence of “god?” aren’t edified in the fundamentals of philosophical acumen–problems for the religionist as well.

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      1. “Over zealous vocabulary”—less than 1% of the population reads so your satirical comment is in sync w/ the pulse of the majority. As to your question, no, that’s not what I was implying (but again, the high school language barrier could be to blame) so let me say it another way:

        For a person to utilize such an elementary argument to disclose the fallibility of any religion needs some courses of logic 101—was the individual posing this question in grade school?

        There are other arguments that cripple the crux of Christian thought besides this whimsical argument.

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      2. P.S. From J. Budziszewski: “Though it always comes as a surprise to intellectuals, there are some forms of stupidity that you must be highly intelligent and educated to commit. God keeps them in His arsenal to pull down mulish pride, and I discovered them all.”

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      3. You say I utilized a “straw man” approach—yes I ignored the original position; although approached the crux of the post—however, distorted or exaggerated the original position, you fail there. “For the sake of understanding, one must undergo philosophical training before purporting theological claims”-Augustine of Hippo

        As to your smart remark about: “your desire to appear intelligent” how about steering clear from the fallacy “appeal to ridicule”—it reveals the futility of your assertion.

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    1. Yes, it’s one thing to use a rich vocabulary. It’s entirely different matter when you are actually trying to communicate. If your use of words obstructs your communication, then you have failed completely. Anyone can toss around multi-syllabic words, but not everyone can actually do so in a manner to convey thought. You have landed in this latter category.

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      1. You say enriched vocabulary; I say high school/undergrad vocabulary. I guess that’s why most people don’t take philosophy—the works of Hegel, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, etc…aren’t mentally attainable for most—I communicate quite effective w/ others.

        Both Neil and yourself—the intent of your comments is quite transparent. Neither comment tackled my initial point (red herring is echoed here), but maybe that’s an answer to my question—I responded to the wrong post; sad actually.

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      2. Your original point was gibberish. Please feel free to say something real and on topic. We have lots of interesting conversations here, but not much interested in little ego trips. There are six or seven other blogs for that out there.

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      3. Neil, your persistence in attacking my writing, my character (ego tripping) is unwarranted and quite childlike. Before we attain our beliefs, before we become apart of any ethnic group, political party, etc…we are men. And as a man, I remain transparent in all my intentions whether someone agrees with me or not. Now, as a man, what issues do you REALLY have with me? It’s obvious not only to me, but my professor friend here as well reading your posts. May be you can’t say it here on WordPress, but I do have contact info on my “about me page”.

        A wise man once said: “I have more respect for a man, who lets me know where he stands—even if he’s wrong—than one who appears to be an angel and is nothing but a devil

        What’s the true intent behind your character assassinations when only i made a mere point…hmmm. Have a good day…*lol*

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      4. No, your persistence in wasting our time is unwarranted.

        My only issue with you is that you are wasting my time with inane comments. I’m quick to forgive, so just write something with a point and you’ll be fine. I suggest you just completely start over on another topic. We get lots of variety from atheists here so don’t be too quick to pull a martyr routine.

        I think I’ve been consistent and transparent with that theme. I have no idea what you are insinuating with the rest of your not-so-transparent comment.

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  2. 1. You don’t judge an ideology by those who violate its tenets. Don’t blame Jesus when people do the opposite of what He taught.

    When the followers of an ideology repeatedly demonstrate exceptionally bad and shocking behavior, then one is justified in thinking it’s the ideology which produces the behavior. While Jesus is purported to have taught some redeeming ethics (many, if not most, of which he echoed from previous thinkers), Christian theology has attached his name to some horrific commands, such as “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live” (Ex. 22:18) Many of Christianity’s leading theologians, including Augustine and Martin Luther, produced justifications for practices which are widely considered evil today–the torture and murder of “heretics,” in the case of the former, and rabid anti-semitism, in the case of the latter.

    2. I make it a habit not to apologize for things that happened 1,000 years ago and that I didn’t do.

    Ok. But you’re also not a spokesperson for Christianity.

    3. If there is no God then there is no moral grounding to criticize any of those things.

    Since morality is a human construct, then grounds do exist. It’s the theists who have no moral standing to object to anything since their “mysterious” deities can command any act.

    4. None of those things disprove the central claims of Christianity, such as the physical resurrection of Jesus, his divinity, etc.

    They merely serve to underline what we know already: Christianity is a purely human invention, a mish-mash of contradictory and confusing theology.

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    1. “When the followers of an ideology repeatedly demonstrate exceptionally bad and shocking behavior, then one is justified in thinking it’s the ideology which produces the behavior.”

      A) “Not everyone that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven. ” Not everyone that claims to be a Christian really is.

      B) Even if there are Christians that behaves badly, to suggest that the vast minority is representative of the entire ideology is to want it to. In other words, you and your ilk jump on Christians bad behavior, which occurs in a small percentage of the cases, to justify your dislike of Christianity in totality.

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    2. Robert,

      Being wrong is one thing, being inconsistent is another. But you should avoid doing both at once.

      When you aren’t busy cherry-picking and (deliberately?) misinterpreting scripture the way false teachers do you might notice that the Bible gives countless warnings of false teachers. The importance of sound doctrine is taught many times.

      Do fake Christians insist that they aren’t fake? Yes, they do, and how shocking! They are pro-abortion, pro-oxymoronic same sex marriage, anti-deity of Christ, anti-Jesus is the only way, and so much more, yet they claim to be Christians. Sure. And I’m a cow. Moo.

      But the most amusing turn is when you take acts of Christians as proof-positive refutations of Christians — even though they are in contrast to what Jesus taught — then in the next comment insist that those who speak for Christianity and do so in line with Jesus’ teachings are excluded from consideration. Fallacious, but cute.

      Since morality is a human construct, then grounds do exist.

      Question begging and self refuting. If morality was purely a human construct then it isn’t really “morality,” it is just whatever rules those in power dictate, whether a monarch or voters. That means slavery wasn’t immoral when it was illegal but is immoral now. It means abortion was immoral until 1973. Same thing for witch burning and such. But that isn’t what people typically mean by morality, and certainly not what I meant.

      They merely serve to underline what we know already: Christianity is a purely human invention, a mish-mash of contradictory and confusing theology.

      More question begging, although I do concede that you are (deliberately?) confused.

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      1. Do fake Christians insist that they aren’t fake?

        Augustine and Martin Luther were “fake” Christians?

        But the most amusing turn is when you take acts of Christians as proof-positive refutations of Christians — even though they are in contrast to what Jesus taught — then in the next comment insist that those who speak for Christianity and do so in line with Jesus’ teachings are excluded from consideration. Fallacious, but cute.

        One only needs to peruse a few pages of Martin Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies to understand my point that much evil is dervied precisely from what Jesus taught. Here’s but one quote from that book:

        “[Jesus] did not call them Abraham’s children, but a ‘brood of vipers’ [Matt. 3:7]. Oh, that was too insulting for the noble blood and race of Israel, and they declared, ‘He has a demon’ [Matt 11:18]. Our Lord calls them a ‘brood of vipers’; furthermore in John 8 [:39,44] he states: ‘If you were Abraham’s children ye would do what Abraham did . . . You are of your father the devil.’ It was intolerable to them to hear that they were not Abraham’s but the devil’s children, nor can they bear to hear this today.”

        Question begging and self refuting.

        It’s obvious you don’t even know what these terms mean.

        If morality was purely a human construct then it isn’t really “morality,” it is just whatever rules those in power dictate, whether a monarch or voters.

        Copious scientific evidence demonstrates my claim that morality is a human construct.

        You’re confusing morality with legality.

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      2. Sure. It’s quite simple really.

        As an example, those in power here in America have not outlawed cheating on one’s spouse, but it’s nonetheless widely considered an immoral thing to do.

        There are places where those in power have outlawed the practicing of one’s religion. Does it follow that practicing one’s religion is immoral in those places?

        Is the baring of breasts in public immoral or moral?

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      3. Exactly

        Evedently it’s not all that simple. You make Neil’s point for him.

        Neil had said:

        Question begging and self refuting. If morality was purely a human construct then it isn’t really “morality,” it is just whatever rules those in power dictate, whether a monarch or voters. That means slavery wasn’t immoral when it was illegal but is immoral now. It means abortion was immoral until 1973. Same thing for witch burning and such. But that isn’t what people typically mean by morality, and certainly not what I meant.

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    3. “When the followers of an ideology repeatedly demonstrate exceptionally bad and shocking behavior, then one is justified in thinking it’s the ideology which produces the behavior.”

      YOU are not justified in the least with such an assumption. If there’s one thing even an incredibly basic and cursory understanding of Christianity should remind you, it’s that we are all imperfect beings. When the followers of an ideology repeatedly demonstrate exceptionally bad and shocking behavior, the observer might want to educate himself on the tenets of the faith before casting aspersions.

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      1. When the followers of an ideology repeatedly demonstrate exceptionally bad and shocking behavior, the observer might want to educate himself on the tenets of the faith before casting aspersions.

        Funny. This is exactly what the Muslims tell you after some of their members fly airplanes into buildings or blow themselves up in public places.

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      2. And I have done so. Too bad the same cannot be said for you. Their book has specific mandates for all muslims to obey. Ours have none that equate to such violence. Those mandates in the Bible to which fools like to point are specific to a specifice group of people at a specific time for a specific purpose. But the koran mandates that all muslims engage in violence on apostates and those who will not convert or submit to islam.

        Further, Matt 3:7 indicates John the Baptist referring to the Pharisees and Sadducees as “vipers”, not the Jews in general. I didn’t read Luther’s book. You’re either reading it wrong, or you don’t have the wit to check the verse to which he refers. It’s pretty obvious 3:7 isn’t anti-semetic. Your take on the other verses, or your belief that Luther was making anti-semetic charges based upon them, is equally foolish.

        It isn’t a secret that Luther was anti-semetic for at least a time. But to point to him and say that he was reading verses, such as those you’ve mentioned, and based his anti-semetism upon them only proves the point that humans are imperfect. As I stated and as you can plainly see if you take the time to read and study just a little, the Bible does not mandate such behavior or beliefs. Try again.

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      3. Their book has specific mandates for all muslims to obey. Ours have none that equate to such violence. Those mandates in the Bible to which fools like to point are specific to a specifice group of people at a specific time for a specific purpose.

        So it is ok to kill groups like witches and homosexuals, as long as it’s at a specific time and specific purpose, according to you.

        And by the way, the Bible doesn’t make the distinction you claim it does. This is an ad hoc rationalization.

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  3. Not everyone that claims to be a Christian really is.

    Perhaps that applies to you.

    That Christians themselves cannot come to an agreement about who is a Christian only demonstrates how nebulous and ad hoc the term is. Yesterday’s Christians are today’s heretics.

    Even if there are Christians that behaves badly, to suggest that the vast minority is representative of the entire ideology is to want it to.

    Except that this minority can justify their behavior directly from Bible verses. The only reason most Christians act relatively decently is because they ignore the Bible. How many witches, homosexuals, or Sabbath-day workers have you stoned today?

    In other words, you and your ilk jump on Christians bad behavior, which occurs in a small percentage of the cases, to justify your dislike of Christianity in totality.

    Some Christianities I have little problem with. Other Christianities can be quite noxious. It very much depends on the Christianity you’re speaking of. I cannot speak of Christianity “in totality” because there is no single Christianity.

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    1. “That Christians themselves cannot come to an agreement about who is a Christian only demonstrates how nebulous and ad hoc the term is. Yesterday’s Christians are today’s heretics.”

      Actually that only proves how effective Satan has been in distorting the truth. Read Matthew 7:13-15 and you’ll see that Christ himself predicted as much.

      Still, none of this speaks to your original assertion, which was falsely premised, that “the followers of an ideology (Christianity) repeatedly demonstrate exceptionally bad and shocking behavior”. In fact, those that claim to be Christians but repeatedly demonstrate exceptionally bad and shocking behavior are not Christians at all.

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      1. In fact, those that claim to be Christians but repeatedly demonstrate exceptionally bad and shocking behavior are not Christians at all.

        Interestingly enough, just a few posts above this, Marshall Art tells me that ” If there’s one thing even an incredibly basic and cursory understanding of Christianity should remind you, it’s that we are all imperfect beings.”

        So, Christians who do evil are either “imperfect beings” or “not Christians at all.” Well, which is it?

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      2. All are imperfect, including Christians. However, there is a difference between being “imperfect” and “repeatedly demonstrat(ing) exceptionally bad and shocking behavior”.

        I think Neil was right to call you disingenuous.

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      3. Please, define the difference. Be specific. It would be of great service to the world to know who the “real Christians” are.

        Also, please align with the Christian claim that Christians are defined by faith, not works.

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      4. Oh, and membership counts as well. Any kook can claim to be the church of Star Wars, or whatever, so some information on how big and legitimate an organization each has would be helpful.

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      5. Ahh, the faith vs. works debate. I think I’ll let James do the speaking here:

        James 2:17-18

        Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

        Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

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      6. I notice you failed to take up my challenge to define the difference “between being ‘imperfect’ and ‘repeatedly demonstrat(ing) exceptionally bad and shocking behavior'”.

        In regards to faith vs. works, Neil linked to carm.org as an “authentic” source for Christianity. What do they say?

        It is a fundamental Christian belief that we are justified by faith. Justification means that God declares a sinner to be righteous. He does this by crediting, by reckoning the righteousness of Jesus to the sinner. This is done by faith.

        In other words, works do not a Christian make. A Christian can produce evil works (indeed will produce evil, according to our alleged “fallen nature”), and still be justified by faith. If Christians want to claim such-and-such Christian is not really so because of the evil they do, then they need to be specific about the line that is crossed which makes them no longer so. This is the difficult conundrum posed by my question. I’m not surprised you ignored it.

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  4. OK Robert,
    You show your ignorance of Christianity right off the bat when you claim we don’t stone witches, homosexuals or Sabbath-day workers. It is because we do read our Bibles that we don’t do such. If you show one wit of humility in your response, I will say more. Otherwise, I will listen to Christ’s words, and not case pearls before swine.

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  5. OK Robert,
    You show your ignorance of Christianity right off the bat when you claim we don’t stone witches, homosexuals or Sabbath-day workers.

    Perhaps you’re right. I might have been too hasty. I grant these things could still be happening in some Christian communities.

    It is because we do read our Bibles that we don’t do such.

    Then, like most Christians, you’re cherry-picking your scriptures (and “thank God” for that).

    Exodus 22:17
    Leviticus 20:13
    Exodus 31:12-15

    These are Christ’s words. Do you disagree?

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    1. Robert, biblical Christians do not ignore parts of the Bible: we recognize that the Mosaic law — the law of the old covenant, between God and the nation of ancient Israel — doesn’t apply in rote, mechanistic fashion to the new covenant that God has made with the Christian church.

      If you’re interested, the New Testament letter to the Hebrews is probably the most detailed canonical explanation of how, for instance, the OT system of sacrificial offerings was a mere shadow of the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the cross. In Acts 10, Peter received a vision which bore the literal meaning that animals are no longer unclean for eating, echoing Christ’s own teaching (in Mark 7) that what we eat does not defile. And, in Galatians 5, for instance, Paul rejected the claim of Judaizers who insisted that Gentile converts had to become Jews (by circumcision) in order to become Christians.

      But, then, if you really are interested, you can find all this out on your own. Though not every Christian claim can be perceived to be true by outsiders, we’re quite open about all that we believe. We’re not a secretive sect that hides our beliefs, and in particular we take great care to explain difficulties people might have — such as how to reconcile all of Scripture, or your question about whether (and how) OT law applies to the NT church.

      We have it on good authority that those who seek will find, so I recommend that you do some searching on your own if you’re genuinely interested: otherwise, your potshots only prove how little you actually know about the faith you denigrate.

      It is true that Luther fell to anti-Semitism late in his life, but Christian scholars are neither ignorant of this fact nor despondant over it, as if it nullifies everything else he wrote or demolishes Christianity itself.

      You write, “One only needs to peruse a few pages of Martin Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies to understand my point that much evil is dervied precisely from what Jesus taught.”

      But what you quote from Luther isn’t proof that Luther correctly interpreted Christ’s teachings on this one issue: Christ didn’t explicitly condemn all Jews as vipers, and on the contrary He chose only Jews to lead His church as His hand-picked Apostles — including the Pharisee Saul, who became Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles — and in His Transfiguration, Christ enjoyed the fellowship of Moses and Elijah.

      Even anti-Semitism toward contemporary Jews who do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah is biblically unwarranted, as we should pray for the full recovery of Israel which Paul anticipated (fervently) in Romans 11.

      You write, “When the followers of an ideology repeatedly demonstrate exceptionally bad and shocking behavior, then one is justified in thinking it’s the ideology which produces the behavior.”

      But those Christians who WE OURSELVES commend as our most spiritually mature saints simply are not guilty of “repeatedly” demonstrating “exceptionally” immoral behavior: on the contrary, in Western civilization it has tended to be the most devout Christians who have been in the vanguard of social progress, and especially over the last two centuries, it has been the radically anti-Christian who has led the way to unprecedented bloodshed.

      It’s simply not the case that Christianity is a term whose meaning is unclear. The Bible is internally consistent and its content is clear enough to paint a fairly detailed picture of what can and cannot be considered orthodox.

      Christians proclaim that Jesus is fully God and fully man, who died for our sins, who was bodily raised, and who will return. Those who deny any of this simply are not Christians: on some doctrines the Bible is quite explicit about this, as in I John we are told that the denial of the Incarnation (that Jesus came in the flesh) is “anti-Christ.”

      More fundamentally, Christians are trinitarian monotheists, which excludes unitarian monotheists (like Muslims), polytheists (like Mormons), and atheists.

      And you write, “Copious scientific evidence demonstrates my claim that morality is a human construct.”

      If you’re right, then you haven’t provided any grounds for morality: you’ve provided grounds to ignore morality. You don’t explain the moral law, you explain it away.

      If the moral law is real, it must be transcendent, because no “ought” statement (such as, you ought to love your neighbor) can be derived from any “is” statement (such as, doing so tends to be beneficial for all involved).

      If we are under a genuinely binding moral obligation to do anything, it is because that obligation comes from “above” the material universe: it cannot arise from within that universe.

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      1. we recognize that the Mosaic law — the law of the old covenant, between God and the nation of ancient Israel — doesn’t apply in rote, mechanistic fashion to the new covenant that God has made with the Christian church.

        I actually agree with you. However, below the level of application of Mosaic law in a “rote, mechanistic fasion” is a wide swath of grey area within which Christians have plucked this or that verse to support an infinite set of theological agendas with no discernable method how they proceed about it. Is abortion wrong? Some Christians, saying yes, cite verses a, b, and c. Other Christians, saying no, cite verses x, y, and z. The same goes with a vast number of other questions. The result is not only a constantly shifting and evolving moral framework, but also the splintering of Christian belief–over 39,000 sects at last count.

        But what you quote from Luther isn’t proof that Luther correctly interpreted Christ’s teachings on this one issue:

        What assurance do you have that Luther correctly interpreted Christ’s teachings on other issues? If one of Christianity’s premiere theologians can be wrong on that issue, why can’t he be wrong on others? For that matter, why can’t you be wrong on your interpretation of Christ’s teachings? What assurance do we have that the teaching’s of today’s Christians won’t be regarded as “incorrectly interpreted” tomorrow?

        But those Christians who WE OURSELVES commend as our most spiritually mature saints simply are not guilty of “repeatedly” demonstrating “exceptionally” immoral behavior:

        No, but those who are guilty of repeated immoral behavior took their cues from these “spiritually mature saints”. Where did the inquisators derive their rationales? The crusaders? The witch-burners? The slaveholders? The racists? The anti-semites? The anti-homosexuals?

        It’s simply not the case that Christianity is a term whose meaning is unclear. The Bible is internally consistent and its content is clear enough to paint a fairly detailed picture of what can and cannot be considered orthodox.

        Yet, somehow, there are over 39,000 Christian sects today, each one claiming to be closest to orthodoxy. A significant number of these sects call many others as not “real Christians.” How far apart does it go? Today, in America, we have some Christians convinced absolutely that our Christian president is the anti-christ.

        Reality, I’m afraid, doesn’t align with your claim.

        You don’t explain the moral law, you explain it away.

        I never recognized the existence of a “moral law.” No religion has ever demonstrated its existence. It’s also fraught with philosophical problems.

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      2. the splintering of Christian belief–over 39,000 sects at last count.

        Wow, another 1,000 have been added recently! It was 33,000, then 38,000 and now 39,000. Since you made the claim, please send the complete list, along with their statements of belief. Then let’s see what they have in common and where they differ. Also see http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/so-many-denominations/

        The number of denominations doesn’t prove that Christianity isn’t true, any more than the divergent views of atheists proves that there is a God. The “one true church” is made up of people who have authentically repented of their sins and put their faith in the real Jesus. Different worship preferences say nothing about whether Jesus really rose from the dead.

        Romans 14 and other passages address how we are to handle disputed matters. From this we can immediately infer two things:

        1. God knew we’d have disputed matters.
        2. He gave guidance on how to handle them.

        Some beliefs are essential if one is to call himself a Christian – e.g., Jesus is the only way to salvation (mentioned directly or indirectly in 100 passages), Jesus is God, etc.

        Other things have guidance but not absolutes. For example, with respect to alcohol the Bible teaches not to get drunk, to obey laws and not to tempt others with our drinking. But it doesn’t say never to drink. If people don’t want to drink that is fine, but that shouldn’t be presented as a Biblical requirement or an essential of the faith.
        More here — http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2008/06/14/disputed-matters/

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      3. 39,000? That reminds me of a George Carlin bit where he reports of a new denomination that believes when you die your soul goes to a garage in Baltimore.

        As Neil points out, there are many minor disagreements that separate the denominations, 39,000 or not, and a good hunk is merely polity or how a denomination goes about its routine business. That is, doctrine doesn’t always have anything to do with why a group splits from another.

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      4. Since you made the claim, please send the complete list, along with their statements of belief. Then let’s see what they have in common and where they differ.

        The figure of 39,000 is given by the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. You can see their figures here. You can inquire with them about their methodology.

        The number of denominations doesn’t prove that Christianity isn’t true, any more than the divergent views of atheists proves that there is a God.

        Never did I make this claim. Rather, I consider it evidence against Christianity being true. If there are any proofs against Christianity, the problem of evil is surely one that tops the list.

        1. God knew we’d have disputed matters.
        2. He gave guidance on how to handle them.

        And yet, rather than coming to a consensus as you might expect, Christians are more divergent in their beliefs than ever. The contrast with science is striking.

        For example, with respect to alcohol the Bible teaches not to get drunk, to obey laws and not to tempt others with our drinking. But it doesn’t say never to drink. If people don’t want to drink that is fine, but that shouldn’t be presented as a Biblical requirement or an essential of the faith.

        Another example demonstrating my point. Many Christians have condemned the imbibing of any alcoholic drink, the most famous of which is probably the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. What a disaster their attempt to foist their morality on the rest of us had become. Unfortunately, Christians, even to the present day, have not learned from their mistakes.

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      5. If there are any proofs against Christianity, the problem of evil is surely one that tops the list.

        Actually, that is the atheist’s problem. If we’re just random reactions of molecules then there is really no such thing as morality. You just think there is. You have no right to call anything “evil.” It is just survival of the fittest. Are locusts evil for not leaving food behind?

        Just because God permits evil doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist or won’t ultimately deal with it. Do you want evil to be punished or not?

        Another example demonstrating my point. Many Christians have condemned the imbibing of any alcoholic drink, the most famous of which is probably the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. What a disaster their attempt to foist their morality on the rest of us had become. Unfortunately, Christians, even to the present day, have not learned from their mistakes.

        Amusing. So why is it OK for you to force your morality on others? Or is it immoral to force your morality on others? If you have no grounding for morality then it is majority rules or whoever is in power.

        Have atheists learned from their mistakes? (That’s rhetorical — just pointing out how meaningless your broad statements are.)

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      6. Actually, that is the atheist’s problem. If we’re just random reactions of molecules then there is really no such thing as morality.

        The problem of evil is one of the basic conundrums for religions such as Christianity. That you fail to understand this reflects a gaping hole of ignorance. Refer to your “authentic” source carm.org’s article on this subject. Notice anything? There is nothing there that it’s the “atheist’s problem”.

        So why is it OK for you to force your morality on others?

        What morality am I forcing on you?

        Are you really saying if something is legally allowed, it’s moral. If it’s outlawed, it’s immoral?

        Have atheists learned from their mistakes?

        What mistakes are you referring to?

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      7. If evil is the absence of God, and there exists evil, then by definition, God is not omnipresent.

        This, of course, contradicts much of traditional Christian theology.

        Do I smell yet another denomination in the works? 🙂

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      8. And yet, rather than coming to a consensus as you might expect, Christians are more divergent in their beliefs than ever. The contrast with science is striking.

        But you refuse to provide a list of the 39,000 categorizing the sizes and the reasons for the differences, and you ignore the teaches about sound doctrine and the warnings that there will be differences. Jesus was right all along.

        Go back to your first comments. Your bias is so transparent. If behavior reflects negatively on Christianity you count it, if words or behavior reflect positively you ignore it. And either way youmiss the point that those things don’t reflect on the truth claims about Jesus. And you are ignorant or lying about OT guidelines for Israelites.

        LOL re. the contrast with science — yeah, like the AGW frauds? Yep, no divergence there. They had great unity all right: hiding the decline, fudging the data, demonizing their opponents, trying to keep opposing views from being published and cashing those AGW checks! Just like the Darwinists.

        I love these quotes by Harvard evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin, because it was one of those rare occasions when an evolutionist is honest about his bias. In fact, he’s so biased he can’t see the circularity of saying that “science is the only begetter of truth.” (Uh, can you use science to prove that?)

        “The primary problem is not to provide the public with the knowledge of how far it is to the nearest star and what genes are made of. . . . Rather, the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth.”

        “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

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      9. But you refuse to provide a list of the 39,000 categorizing the sizes and the reasons for the differences

        Refer to the Theological Seminary I already linked. It is their list. The point, which you repeatedly refuse to address, is that if the Bible is “internally consistent and its content is clear enough to paint a fairly detailed picture of what can and cannot be considered orthodox,” then why are there so many Christian denominations? Why is their number increasing? If the claim was true, the opposite should be the case.

        LOL re. the contrast with science — yeah, like the AGW frauds?

        Fortunately, science has a method for weeding out erroneous theories. What is Christianity’s method for weeding out erroneous theology? Nothing. One Christian’s orthodoxy is another Christian’s heresy, and never has there existed a way to determine between the too. Faith? Dont make me laugh. It only compounds the errors. No wonder there are over 39,000 denominations.

        Your bias is so transparent. If behavior reflects negatively on Christianity you count it, if words or behavior reflect positively you ignore it. And either way youmiss the point that those things don’t reflect on the truth claims about Jesus.

        Actually, this is more like your method. If Christians behave badly, they’re “not real Christians,” or “are not following the teachings of Christ.” If they behave well, then the opposite is true.

        My position is simple: garbage in, garbage out. If Christianity is merely the product of imperfect and ignorant human beings, then the gamut of behavior we see in Christians–which is on sum no better or worse than non-Christians–is easily explained. If it was founded by a supernatural, omnipotent, and omniscient being, then the results we see in its followers is truly an anomoly.

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      10. Robert, please join in another post if you like. You obviously aren’t paying attention as your 39,000 meme has been rebutted many times. Your premise is that this is a sign that Christianity isn’t true, but the burden is on you to explain why they are different and why that demonstrates the Bible to be false. But you keep dodging that.

        The Bible doesn’t speak of denominations. The church is the body of believers who trust in the name of Jesus.

        Fortunately, science has a method for weeding out erroneous theories.

        I’m glad you appear to concede the AGW and evolution frauds. And of course Christianity has a way of weeding out heresies. Once again you are criticizing something you know little about.

        The problem of evil is one of the basic conundrums for religions such as Christianity. That you fail to understand this reflects a gaping hole of ignorance. Refer to your “authentic” source carm.org’s article on this subject. Notice anything? There is nothing there that it’s the “atheist’s problem”.

        I’m sorry the subtlety was lost on you. Christianity has countless resources addressing the “problem” of evil, and we’ve noted some of them here. Hey, read the Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs and more. The issue is addressed in the Bible.

        My point was simply that we have explanations, and you not only have no explanations, you don’t even have a grounding to explain the concept. By even raising the issue you provide evidence for God. No God = everything is permissible. There is no ultimate being to be accountable to. Oh, you might have earthly consequences, but if your random chemical reactions lead you to do something who can say that was “evil?” It is ultimately your problem, not mine.

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      11. Your premise is that this is a sign that Christianity isn’t true, but the burden is on you to explain why they are different and why that demonstrates the Bible to be false. But you keep dodging that.

        Incorrect. I pointed out the 39,000 denominations to refute a claim made by Bubba. You’ve moved the golposts.

        I’m glad you appear to concede the AGW and evolution frauds

        It’s not polite to put words in someone else’s mouth.

        And of course Christianity has a way of weeding out heresies.

        Agreed, but fortunately, we’ve moved beyond torture, burning at the stake, and mass slaughter–for the most part.

        My point was simply that we have explanations, and you not only have no explanations, you don’t even have a grounding to explain the concept.

        Scientology also has explanations. That doesn’t make them reasonable or adequate. Read God’s Problem by Bart Ehrman, which demonstrates the Bible’s numerous, failed and contradictory attempts to explain the problem. Under Christianity, in fact there are no grounds to call anything evil, since it ultimately originates with its god, which is said to be omnibenevolent.

        I have more than adequate grounding to refer to evil, as I do other concepts like “danger” or “happiness.” You refuse to accept them because of the way you’ve defined evil.

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      12. Bart Ehrman is a joke, marketing himself as some kind of genius and radical for pointing out what Orthodox Christians have understood for long, long time I.e. the story of the woman caught in adultery. Too bad PBS et al won’t bring on Christians to rebut people like Ehrman.

        Sent from my iPhone

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      13. “Where did the inquisators derive their rationales? The crusaders? The witch-burners? The slaveholders? The racists? The anti-semites? The anti-homosexuals?”

        The same place its derived by atheists: from their own imperfect and selfish natures. But that doesn’t sound as good when demonizing the religious. One needs to trash their faith and holy books. However, if they are provoked by their faith to do these nasty things, what excuse to you atheists use for your own nastiness?

        ” However, below the level of application of Mosaic law in a “rote, mechanistic fasion” is a wide swath of grey area within which Christians have plucked this or that verse to support an infinite set of theological agendas with no discernable method how they proceed about it.”

        Sez you. There is very little gray area if any exists at all. Gray areas are convenient excuses for those too morally weak to do the right thing. There are areas of the Bible that can be troubling for those too lazy to study further, but one would be hard-pressed to find something that can’t be reconciled. And for any that still gives trouble, the problem is within us, not the Book.

        But it isn’t incorrect to say that some people interpret to satisfy an agenda. That accounts for most disputes between those who call themselves Christians. Some wish to please God, others only themselves or themselves primarily. A couple of us have running discourse with such people of the latter group.

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      14. The same place its derived by atheists: from their own imperfect and selfish natures.

        If one’s imperfect and selfish nature corrupts one’s understanding of the Bible, then the reasonable stance is to hold some measure of skepticism with regards to your beliefs. Unfortunately, we witness something quite the opposite with many Christians (and believers of other faiths).

        However, if they are provoked by their faith to do these nasty things, what excuse to you atheists use for your own nastiness?

        Atheism is silent on the question of ethics. If one does commit evil, it’s because they haven’t learned and adhered to a system of ethics which promotes their own welfare while strengthening (or at least not infringing) on the welfare of others.

        There are areas of the Bible that can be troubling for those too lazy to study further, but one would be hard-pressed to find something that can’t be reconciled.

        Well, good. How’s progress on “reconcialing” those 39,000 sects, a number only predicted to grow in the coming years?

        But it isn’t incorrect to say that some people interpret to satisfy an agenda.

        I bet if you ask those “some people,” they would point the finger back at you.

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      15. They might indeed. But I am prepared to defend my interpretation and feel confident I can do so.

        ” How’s progress on “reconcialing” those 39,000 sects, a number only predicted to grow in the coming years?”

        Why do you find this troubling? As I said, most of the differences don’t even revolve around dogma, as most denominations agree on the essentials of Christian faith. But if one sect prefers sprinkling water during Baptismal rituals as opposed to total immersion, or if one feels Baptising babies is a must and another waits until the individual can decide for themselves, there is no problem with such things resulting in separate denominations. In THIS country, all are free to worship as they see fit. Is this news to you?

        Now, there are groups who have formed around heretical ideas such as God blessing homosexual unions and behaviors, but I don’t know that attempting to prevent them from calling themselves Christian is something on which a Christian community would or should spend its time. It is enough to continue to preach the truth.

        But it’s a pretty lame argument to suggest that the number of denominations would indicate a rift within the greater body of Christ, especially when the lion’s share of those denominations would stand arm in arm as brothers in the faith. Neil and I are of different denominations. I consider him a true brother in Christ. I consider you as much as well, but one who is lost and a bit retarded.

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      16. Robert, one most certainly should remain open to correction, to the possibility that one’s intepretation of Scripture needs further refinement on the basis of a closer study from Scripture. It is sadly true that there are Christians who do not examine the Bible to test and, as necessary, further refine their beliefs: they believe that they understand the Bible so well that they don’t see a practical need to study it any further.

        But it seems to me that the skepticism you encourage goes much further than that. It’s one thing to concede that one’s knowledge of Scripture can always improve, and it’s another thing entirely to believe that Scripture is essentially unknowable — and you seem to insist on the latter.

        True humility is a willingness to permanently submit one’s beliefs to the possibility of revision in light of God’s revealed truth. It is false humilty to conclude that we are hopelessly incapable of discerning that truth: it is false because it is an abdication of man’s essential responsibility to seek the truth and conform to what he finds.

        You write, “If there are any proofs against Christianity, the problem of evil is surely one that tops the list.”

        I disagree: Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the empty tomb are more than sufficient as God’s answer to that problem.

        More than the alternative religions and philosophies, Christianity takes evil extremely serously. The problem of why bad things happen to good people is addressed thoroughly in the Book of Job: the book stands by God’s sovereignty even if that position isn’t satisfactory for everyone. But, much more than that, Christianity address the problem of human evil — sin — and how we can be reconciled to a holy and righteous God.

        In its most lucid moments, the conscience rebels against the glib notion that man could ever do anything to atone for his sins: no obedience to God’s law makes up for it, because our obedience was always due to Him.

        Christianity doesn’t suggest that we CAN save ourselves through good works. Instead, salvation ONLY comes through the initiative of a loving God who came and lived as a man among us and died in our place — a loving Father who sent His only beloved Son to die for our sins, and a Son who, as the Good Shepherd, chose to lay down His life for the sheep He loves.

        To answer your request to LoneWolfArcher, to “please align with the Christian claim that Christians are defined by faith, not works,” the Bible is clear that faith alone saves, but saving faith is never alone: it is accompanied by good fruit as the EVIDENCE of salvation rather than its CAUSE. We are saved FOR good works (that is, in order to do good works) not BY good works, and we have it on good authority that we can, to use the imagery He used, judge trees by the fruit that they bear.

        Even on the question of obedience, Christianity is clear-headed about man’s inherently evil nature. It’s not enough to be declared righteous before the Judge, we must be MADE righteous in order to bear good fruit. The Father took care of that, too, with a new nature resulting from a new birth.

        Just as the Father sent the Son into the world to die for our justification, He sent the Spirit to live in our hearts for our sanctification.

        But I wonder why you bring up the problem of evil when you doubt or even deny the existence of the moral law.

        I never recognized the existence of a ‘moral law.’ No religion has ever demonstrated its existence. It’s also fraught with philosophical problems.

        What is evil, then, if not the violation of the moral law?

        It seems to me that atheists — particularly those who subscribe to materialistic naturalism, and in contrast to agnostics — have the truly insurmountable problem with evil: it is self-evident that evil exists, but they cannot account for it because they deny the standard against which evil rebels.

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    2. Robert,you are ignorant of what you criticize and/or disingenuous. You refuse to understand the context of the passages on light of all scripture.

      Sent from my iPhone

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      1. No, you don’t read them in context. I scoff at Bible critics who know so little that they think the civil and ceremonial laws of the Israelites apply to Christians — sort of like the Jack Black types — http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2008/12/09/three-of-a-kind-jack-black-newsweek-and-theologically-liberal-christians/

        They either know the truth and ignore it to advance their agenda (liars) or don’t know one of the most basic things about what they criticize (ignorant).

        Take your pick.

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