Tag Archives: atheist

A simpler way to defend biblical inerrancy, infallibility and inspiration

Inerrancy and the Death by a Thousand Qualifications brought up some interesting points about how to defend the truth that the original writings of scripture were without error. If you offer too many qualifications then it seems to neuter your statement, but you do need to offer some sort of support.

I prefer to say that the original writings turned out exactly as God and the human writers desired, and that we can easily demonstrate that they have been faithfully transmitted to us in our language.

That appeals to the simple truth that the real God could — and would — easily ensure such a thing.

To the latter point I have found it persuasive to share a brief reference to the Dead Sea Scrolls and/or to the way even atheist Bart Ehrman will strenuously argue about what he thinks the originals really said on some finer point (meaning that even he thinks it can be known).  I have seen skeptics, Mormons, etc. immediately change their views on the transmission process (if not the inspiration) once they hear that.

Even though I believe that the original writings of the Bible were without error, God-breathed and incapable of error, those views aren’t required for belief in God or the resurrection.  You can take a minimal facts approach and see that even if there were slight discrepancies in the accounts about Jesus that the resurrection could still be true.

Just look at key facts that virtually all historians agree on, such as the following, and realize that his resurrection is the best explanation for those facts.

  • Jesus really lived and was killed on a Roman cross.
  • Jesus’ disciples believed He rose from the dead and appeared to them.
  • Paul believed that Jesus appeared to him.  Even skeptics concede that Paul wrote most of the books attributed to him, including Romans, Galatians, I & II Corinthians and others.
  • Jesus’ brother, James, was a skeptic who converted after Jesus died.

There are skeptics who endorse alternatives to the resurrection (e.g., Jesus’ body was stolen, it was ripped up by dogs, the swoon theory, etc.).  These folks unwittingly  give a lot of support for the resurrection: They show that the historical facts are so strong that one must concede that a real person named Jesus lived and died on a Roman cross and the body did not stay in the tomb. 

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bible5.gifClaims of Biblical inerrancy, inspiration and infallibility apply to the original writings.  I have researched countless difficulties and found answers that satisfied me.  Some are tougher than others.  Some things are in the Job category (as in, I’m not capable of understanding them or God doesn’t need me to understand them).

I learned enough about the book to be comfortable that God “wrote” it, and I trust that if there is something in the 1% that appears to be a contradiction then either there was a translation error or – much more likely – there is something I’m just not understanding properly.

In short, after working through enough difficulties with satisfactory answers I tend to give God and his Word the benefit of the doubt.  I’m sure this thrills him to no end.  I say that tongue-in-cheek, because on the one hand He certainly doesn’t need the Neil-seal-of-approval but on the other hand He does love it when we exercise faith.  Not blind faith, not faith despite the evidence, but faith grounded in the truths He has revealed to us.

Are there passages in the currently published Bibles that don’t belong?  Perhaps.  The ending of Mark and the story of Jesus and the woman accused of adultery are not in the earliest and best manuscripts.

Also, some verses sometimes lose a little meaning in certain translations.  For example, when Exodus 21:22-25 is properly understood it is a pro-life passage, yet pro-choice people will use a poorer translation (for that passage) such as the RSV because it supports their position.

These issues don’t bother me that much because they show that the system works: We have so many copies of ancient manuscripts and different translations that it possible to figure out what the originals said.  The exceptions are limited and we can show why they are exceptions.

But on most of what really matters there is no debate.  Every version I’ve seen says, “Love your enemies.”  There are 100 clear passages saying that Jesus is the only way.  That is plenty for me.

I know enough of the Bible and the difficulties to have great faith (trust in evidence) that God inspired the originals.  And I have faith in the copying and translation process so that I can read the Bible with confidence.  For difficult or controversial passages there are plenty of ways to resolve issues on the essentials.  But on the non-essentials I don’t lose sleep.

If people want to have church meetings to debate how often to serve communion, whether to use wine or grape juice, etc., I say go ahead and have a swell time.  Just don’t make me participate.

We can read the Bible with confidence that God has transmitted his Word to us accurately.  Sometimes the words inerrant, infallible and inspired are too loaded with various meanings to be helpful, so I like to emphasize that the original writings of the Bible turned out just the way God and the human writers wanted them to.

The universe is unbelievably large, but still not big enough to find a legitimate justification for atheism

The Multiverse Theory is the atheists’ concession speech. It means they have literally run out of explanations in this universe, so they have to pretend there is another one to explain their flawed worldview.

The Multiverse Theory is the unscientific and anti-scientific idea that the exquisite design in our universe isn’t caused by an intelligent designer (i.e., God), but it exists merely because there are an infinite number of universes and we just happen to be in one that appears to be designed. Yes, it is laughable, but the continually growing evidence for design has forced people to come up with a non-God explanation.

Their theory is a self-contradictory attempt to move the goalposts. Even if more than one universe existed, let alone an infinite number, that would just give greater evidence to the design theory. More complex things means more evidence for a creator.

I think that those who know that support for Darwinism is crumbling use the Multiverse Theory as a placeholder until they can think of something which is at least a little more plausible.

See The Multiverse is the Poker Player’s Best Friend for a good illustration. Here’s a sample:

A couple of years ago I trotted out the “highly improbable things happen all the time” meme our Darwinist friends use to such advantage at my home poker game. For those who don’t recall, this is what happened. I dealt myself a royal flush in spades for the first 13 hands. When my friends objected I said, “Lookit, your intuition has led you astray. You are inferring design — that is to say that I’m cheating — simply on the basis of the low probability of this sequence of events. But don’t you understand that the odds of me receiving 13 royal flushes in spades in a row are exactly the same as me receiving any other 13 hands. In the game we are playing there are 2,598,960 possible hands. The odds of receiving a straight flush in spades are therefore 1 in 2,598,960. But the odds of receiving ANY hand are exactly the same, 1 in 2,598,960. The odds of a series of events are the product of the odds of all of the events. Therefore the odds of receiving 13 royal flushes in spades in a row are about 2.74^-71. But the odds of receiving ANY series of 13 hands is exactly the same, 2.74^-71.”

Please read these words carefully:

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

It is foolish and rebellious to think that you get to define whether God exists and what He must be like. Repent and believe while you still have time. Eternity is a mighty long time to suffer for your foolish pride. One day you will die and will be judged by your creator. The standard won’t be your neighbor whom you think you are a little better than. The standard will be the righteousness of Christ, and all of your secret (and not-so-secret), shameful sins will be compared to that standard.

The Good News: By God’s grace He adopts, completely forgives and eternally blesses everyone who repents and trusts in Jesus.

A simpler way to defend biblical inerrancy, infallibility and inspiration

Inerrancy and the Death by a Thousand Qualifications brought up some interesting points about how to defend the truth that the original writings of scripture were without error. If you offer too many qualifications then it seems to neuter your statement, but you do need to offer some sort of support.

I prefer to say that the original writings turned out exactly as God and the human writers desired, and that we can easily demonstrate that they have been faithfully transmitted to us in our language.

That appeals to the simple truth that the real God could — and would — easily ensure such a thing.

To the latter point I have found it persuasive to share a brief reference to the Dead Sea Scrolls and/or to the way even atheist Bart Ehrman will strenuously argue about what he thinks the originals really said on some finer point (meaning that even he thinks it can be known).  I have seen skeptics, Mormons, etc. immediately change their views on the transmission process (if not the inspiration) once they hear that.

From an earlier post of mine

Even though I believe that the original writings of the Bible were without error, God-breathed and incapable of error, those views aren’t required for belief in God or the resurrection.  You can take a minimal facts approach and see that even if there were slight discrepancies in the accounts about Jesus that the resurrection could still be true.

Just look at key facts that virtually all historians agree on, such as the following, and realize that his resurrection is the best explanation for those facts.

  • Jesus really lived and was killed on a Roman cross.
  • Jesus’ disciples believed He rose from the dead and appeared to them.
  • Paul believed that Jesus appeared to him.  Even skeptics concede that Paul wrote most of the books attributed to him, including Romans, Galatians, I & II Corinthians and others.
  • Jesus’ brother, James, was a skeptic who converted after Jesus died.

There are skeptics who endorse alternatives to the resurrection (e.g., Jesus’ body was stolen, it was ripped up by dogs, the swoon theory, etc.).  These folks unwittingly  give a lot of support for the resurrection: They show that the historical facts are so strong that one must concede that a real person named Jesus lived and died on a Roman cross and the body did not stay in the tomb. 

—–

bible5.gifClaims of Biblical inerrancy, inspiration and infallibility apply to the original writings.  I have researched countless difficulties and found answers that satisfied me.  Some are tougher than others.  Some things are in the Job category (as in, I’m not capable of understanding them or God doesn’t need me to understand them).

I learned enough about the book to be comfortable that God “wrote” it, and I trust that if there is something in the 1% that appears to be a contradiction then either there was a translation error or – much more likely – there is something I’m just not understanding properly.

In short, after working through enough difficulties with satisfactory answers I tend to give God and his Word the benefit of the doubt.  I’m sure this thrills him to no end.  I say that tongue-in-cheek, because on the one hand He certainly doesn’t need the Neil-seal-of-approval but on the other hand He does love it when we exercise faith.  Not blind faith, not faith despite the evidence, but faith grounded in the truths He has revealed to us.

Are there passages in the currently published Bibles that don’t belong?  Perhaps.  The ending of Mark and the story of Jesus and the woman accused of adultery are not in the earliest and best manuscripts.

Also, some verses sometimes lose a little meaning in certain translations.  For example, when Exodus 21:22-25 is properly understood it is a pro-life passage, yet pro-choice people will use a poorer translation (for that passage) such as the RSV because it supports their position.

These issues don’t bother me that much because they show that the system works: We have so many copies of ancient manuscripts and different translations that it possible to figure out what the originals said.  The exceptions are limited and we can show why they are exceptions.

But on most of what really matters there is no debate.  Every version I’ve seen says, “Love your enemies.”  There are 100 clear passages saying that Jesus is the only way.  That is plenty for me.

I know enough of the Bible and the difficulties to have great faith (trust in evidence) that God inspired the originals.  And I have faith in the copying and translation process so that I can read the Bible with confidence.  For difficult or controversial passages there are plenty of ways to resolve issues on the essentials.  But on the non-essentials I don’t lose sleep.

If people want to have church meetings to debate how often to serve communion, whether to use wine or grape juice, etc., I say go ahead and have a swell time.  Just don’t make me participate.

We can read the Bible with confidence that God has transmitted his Word to us accurately.  Sometimes the words inerrant, infallible and inspired are too loaded with various meanings to be helpful, so I like to emphasize that the original writings of the Bible turned out just the way God and the human writers wanted them to.

The 97% climate change lie

Consider it the inverse of Planned Parenthood’s “child-killing is only 3% of our business” lie: The widely cited “97% of scientists agree on man-caused / man-fixable climate change” is a lie.  It always has been, but the low-information people listening to the malicious hypocrites keep spreading it.

Via New Study: Majority of Climate Scientists Don’t Agree with ‘Consensus’ – Breitbart.

Nearly six in ten climate scientists don’t adhere to the so-called “consensus” on man-made climate change, a new study by the Dutch government has found. The results contradict the oft-cited claim that there is a 97 percent consensus amongst climate scientists that humans are responsible for global warming.

The study, by the PBL Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency, a government body, invited 6550 scientists working in climate related fields, including climate physics, climate impact, and mitigation, to take part in a survey on their views of climate science.

Of the 1868 who responded, just 43 percent agreed with the IPCC that “It is extremely likely {95%+ certainty} that more than half of [global warming] from 1951 to 2010 was caused by [human activity]”. Even with the “don’t knows” removed that figure increases only to 47 percent, still leaving a majority of climate scientists who do not subscribe to the IPCC’s statement.

The findings directly contradict the claim that 97 percent of climate scientists endorse the view that humans are responsible for global warming, as first made by Cook et al in a paper published in Environment Research Letters.

Cook’s paper has since been extremely widely debunked, yet so ingrained has the 97 percent consensus claim become that The Guardian has an entire section named after it, and President Obama has cited it on Twitter.

 

We should celebrate Louis Pasteur, not Charles Darwin

Darwinism is atheistic philosophy masquerading as science.  Not so with Louis Pasteur.  Is it any wonder that the allegedly pro-science “Christian” Left celebrates Darwin Day?  Via Louis Pasteur on life vs matter | Uncommon Descent.

Few people have saved more lives than Louis Pasteur. The vaccines he developed have protected millions. His insight that germs cause disease revolutionised healthcare. He found new ways to make our food safe to eat.

Pasteur was the chemist who fundamentally changed our understanding of biology. By looking closely at the building blocks of life, he was at the forefront of a new branch of science: microbiology.

Here, from a letter to an atheist:

Science brings men nearer to God.

Posterity will one day laugh at the foolishness of modern materialistic philosophers. The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. I pray while I am engaged at my work in the laboratory.

I encourage you to read it all!

Thanks to “evangelical atheists” for agreeing with the “Christian” Left!

The extreme atheists were active on this blog praising false teacher Tony Campolo for finally admitting he was a pro-LGBTQX extremist.  I responded to a few individually (usually just one comment then I ignored the rest) then gave a blanket thank-you to them:

A few thoughts for the “evangelical atheists” commenting here.

1. I offer my sincere and hearty thanks for your partnership in outing the “Christian” Left for the false teachers that they are. It isn’t that hard for me to do it, but when people like you come along with your aggressive anti-Christianity yet with virtually identical worldviews to the “Christian” Left, it is golden. Seriously, your pro-LGBTQX extremism, pro-abortion extremism, mockery of the Bible, denial of the divinity of Jesus, etc. show how similar you are. You folks are a big help. More here: https://1eternitymatters.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/atheists-the-christian-left-birds-of-a-feather/

2. Having said that, to be kind I must point out how ridiculous it is for you to criticize religious beliefs. After all, if your worldview is true (we both know it isn’t, but work with me here!) then the root cause of all religion, including Christianity, is just the purposeless, unguided movement of molecules against each other over and over. You “know” that my change from being an atheist to trusting in the evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus wasn’t because of a true change of heart but just because of chemical reactions. I had no choice but to change!

Now I know you all aren’t the ignorant and/or malicious kind of atheists who smuggle a universal, transcendent morality into your worldview. That would be silly, right? Chemical reactions can never create such a thing! Of course we observe “morality,” but that is just a random set of somewhat-similar beliefs held by various people groups. You “know” there is nothing truly universal there.

Yet you continue to make one moral claim after another, as if we should care about your opinions! Why are you wasting your precious time like that? Oh, wait . . . that is just your unguided chemical reactions doing it, right?

More here about how atheists steal “rights” from God https://stream.org/atheists-steal-rights-god/

3. Stop pretending to like science when you support abortion (ignoring all the secular embryology texts that clearly teach that the unborn are human beings from conception — http://www.abort73.com/abortion/medical_testimony/), “climate change” (just a pathetically evil government power grab based on falsified data –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRQS5RhrwLA), transgenderism (Yeah, Bruce Jenner, with his XY chromosomes, is a girl — and I’m a cow. Moo.), etc.

4. Please don’t be wounded when I don’t respond to your comments. I typically take a “one and done” approach to “evangelical atheists.” Life is too short. But I do appreciate you responding to me and elevating our thread to the top of the recent comments section.

5. Eternity is a mighty long time to cling to your false worldview. You can’t dictate the terms and conditions to parents, bosses, teachers, police, or even a McDonald’s cashier, so don’t be foolish and think you can do that with God. The rich young ruler walked away sadly when he didn’t like God’s terms and conditions but Jesus didn’t chase after him to negotiate.

https://1eternitymatters.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/if-you-cant-dictate-the-terms-with-a-mcdonalds-cashier-what-makes-you-think-you-can-do-so-with-god/

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

For those interested in why we find the Gospels and the of the Bible so reliable, here is an interesting book by a former atheist and cold-case homicide detective – “Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels.” http://smile.amazon.com/Cold-Case-Christianity-Homicide-Detective-Investigates/dp/1434704696/ref=sr_1_1

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Again, thanks for the support in helping fight the “Christian” Left! I really do appreciate it.

Phil Robertson gets the best of the Left. Again.

Leftist & atheists have no response to his simple argument, so they pretended that his hyperbole was a fantasy.  Via ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson under fire for graphic anti-atheist speech:

Robertson described a graphic scenario while sharing his thoughts on those who do not believe in God.

“Two guys break into an atheist’s home,” Robertson began. “He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot ’em and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now is it dude?’

“Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if this was something wrong with this? But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun. We’re sick in the head, have a nice day.

“If it happened to them, they probably would say, ‘Something about this just ain’t right.’

Why is he “under fire?” All he did was point out how the atheist worldview can’t accurately ground any acts as truly evil. Oh, the irony that they think it was objectively wrong of him to say that!

Please note the following then ask yourself why the Left is so upset.

  • He didn’t emphasize that the bad guy was a non-Christian. The victims were atheists.
  • Yes, it was a colorful illustration, but keep in mind that his critics are largely pro-abortion extremists. Which is worse, his word picture or the actual crushing and dismembering of innocent human beings that they support?  Or even your typical horror movie?
  • He gave the atheists the benefit of the doubt by assuming they would know those acts were wrong.

He used a vivid illustration to draw attention to his point. And it certainly seems to have worked.  They have lashed out in the only way they can, deliberately misinterpreting his clear points.

Turns out that Phil outsmarted the cultural elite.  Again.

Try not to enjoy this too much . . .

Read the whole delicious thing: Why atheists can’t get dates.

Schadenfreude warning: This makes some excellent points.

“There aren’t many serious atheists, mostly geeky young men:

By numbers alone, American atheists really aren’t that big of a group. According to a 2012 Pew report, atheists make up only about 2.4 percent of the population. . . .

So your social life might be limited. It gets worse.

Richard Dawkins, one of the keynote speakers, encouraged attendees to “ridicule” people’s faith. Not all atheists take this tone toward faith, but it’s a somewhat common posture, especially among some of atheism’s most vocal advocates, including Dawkins and people like PZ Myers and Bill Maher.

Think about it: They are encouraged to centre out your friends, neighbours, relatives, customers, clients, and guests for ridicule. Soon you might not have a social life at all.

Date? If you need a person in your life who alienates almost anyone who has ever cared about you, seek help. Honestly.

. . .
Based on what we have seen over the years, if you are thinking of getting involved with new atheism, especially if you are a girl, do seek help first.”

All kidding aside, pray for these rebels.  Being miserable in this life and for eternity is something we shouldn’t wish on anyone.  There is hope, joy, freedom and salvation if they will but turn to Jesus.

The many lies from the Scopes trial

The impact of the false reporting of the 1925 Scopes trial still impacts the Darwinian evolution debate today.  Here are a few of the nine lies documented at Mencken’s Mendacity at the Scopes Trial:

First, Mencken lied about the key point at issue in the Scopes Trial, which was not whether the theory of evolution could be taught in Tennessee’s public high schools, but whether the evolution of man from “lower animals” could be taught as a scientific theory to high school students, in a state where a solid majority of parents in the state of Tennessee opposed the teaching of such a theory to their children, on both moral and religious grounds.

Second, Mencken lied by omission, by failing to mention that Hunter’s Civic Biology, a pro-evolution science textbook that was cited at the trial, and which high school teachers in the state of Tennessee were actually required to use at the time, endorsed both racism and eugenics: it taught the the Caucasoid race was “the highest” races, described people with mental handicaps and genetic deformities as “true parasites“, and highly commended the practice of eugenics.

Third, Mencken mis-represented the religious views of William Jennings Bryan, depicting him as a Biblical literalist and a “fundamentalist pope,” when Bryan’s own writings showed that he was a Presbyterian of fairly liberal views, who believed in an old Earth, and who was open to the possibility that plants and animals had evolved by Darwinian natural selection, making an exception only for man.

Fourth, Mencken mendaciously attributed to Bryan the statement that man is not a mammal, when Bryan said nothing of the sort. What Bryan did object to was the portrayal of man in Hunter’s Civic Biology as an unexceptional mammal, “so indistinguishable among the mammals that they leave him there with thirty-four hundred and ninety-nine other [species of] mammals.”

Fifth, Mencken consistently portrayed Bryan as a petty, hate-filled character when others who were present, including Scopes himself, testified to his magnanimity, affability and pleasant personality.

 

Jesus annihilates Darwinian evolution, oxymoronic “same-sex marriage” and same-sex parenting in just two verses

No true follower of him should disagree on any of those topics.  When the King of Kings and Lord of Lords speaks, you should pay close attention and trust him.

Matthew 19:4–5 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

Churchgoers who  disagree have nearly identical views to the world. You should not follow them.

1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.

An atheist found one absolute moral law. Guess which politically correct one it is?

Atheists often have in-house debates over morality.  Some try to pretend that there really could be objective morality under atheism (e.g., Christopher Hitchens, for all his poor reasoning, was anti-abortion).  Others are more consistent with their worldview — well, they try to be until someone does something bad to them — and insist that there are no universal morals.  They are pure moral relativists, acknowledging that we’ve (allegedly) evolved to “think” there are morals, but that these are really just personal preferences.

One of the latter group has had a change of heart.  Sort of.  Via Professor Larry Moran squares the circle:

Professor Larry Moran has recently created something which he has previously declared to be impossible: a moral absolute. Readers might be wondering: what is Professor Moran’s moral absolute all about? Is it about the inherent wrongfulness of killing the innocent, or taking away people’s freedom, or oppressing the poor, or violating a commitment one has given? Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong! Here’s Professor Moran’s new moral absolute, in all its resplendent glory:

“It is totally wrong, all the time, to discriminate against someone based on their sexual preferences… There is NEVER a time when an enlightened society should tolerate, let alone legalize, bigotry.”

The reason why I was surprised to read this statement on Professor Moran’s blog is that he has previously denied the existence of moral absolutes. Here are a few examples of statements he has made on the subject of morality, and on how we can know that something is true . . .

How fitting that he picked our society’s most politically protected sins to declare off-limits for criticism! He is a Romans 1 poster boy. He suppresses the truth in unrighteousness by denying that God exists, then “gives approval to those who practice” exhibit A in God’s list of sins that suppression of truth leads to.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Romans 1:26-28 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

You can’t make up things like this.  2,000 years ago the Holy Spirit inspired Romans 1, and here it perfectly describes this atheist.  He suppresses the truth by saying there is no God and no moral laws, then he makes up one moral law that goes against God’s first example of where suppression of the truth leads.

Atheists simply can’t live consistently with their worldview.  I hope God makes Moran and others spiritually alive so they can repent and believe.  There is a better way to live than by using the talents God gave you to shake your fist at him 24×7.

Responses to common atheist objections

I thought I’d share this thread from a recent commenter on the How many translations did your Bible go through? post.

Thanks for returning to comment. You seem unwilling to carefully study the arguments for and against your position, and you continually offer logical fallacies as arguments. The primary way you do this is by misstating your opponent’s views and then attacking that position. But that doesn’t prove anything.

You just said that the evil committed in the name of Christianity, was violating its basic tenets. Well, the same goes for atheism. Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin were just insane people, simple as that. They have nothing to do with atheism.

What grounding do you have to claim they were insane or that they did anything wrong? In a Darwinian worldview they were obviously the most fit for a time.

Also, there are a lot of atheists who haven’t killed anyone.

That’s not much of an accomplishment, but I’m glad to hear that.

The people you mention are violating atheists basic tenets as well. I’m an atheist, and I haven’t killed anyone. Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are atheists, and they haven’t killed anyone. There are a lot of atheists in the world, and we’re just as moral as you are.

But atheism has no core tenets other than insisting that there is no God. We agree that murder is wrong, but your worldview can’t explain why.

This is a quote by Richard Dawkins.

“Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God’s approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment? That’s not morality, that’s just sucking up, apple-polishing, looking over your shoulder at the great surveillance camera in the sky, or the still small wiretap inside your head, monitoring your every move, even your every base though (Richard Dawkins)”.

Dawkins commits fallacies similar to yours. First, the reward for being good is legitimate because it is innately tied to the act. There is a reason that students who study hard are rewarded with better grades, why employees who perform well are rewarded with promotions and raises, etc. There is nothing wrong with avoiding sin so as to avoid punishment. What could be more logical than that?

Dawkins’ argument, even if true, wouldn’t disprove God.

Christians love making the argument that you can’t be moral without God. Dawkins states that if you can only be moral because God’s watching you, that’s pretty sad.

Atheists love making the false argument that Christians love making the argument that you can’t be moral without God. There have been nearly 3,000 posts on this blog plus tens of thousands of comments. Please find where Christians have made that claim. You’ll be looking a long time. What you will find is that we say that without God you can’t logically ground morality. It isn’t that you can’t be moral if Darwinian evolution is true, it is that there would be no such thing.

Jesus did not rise from the dead. Your “evidence” aka, Bible is false and is full of contradictions.

We have much more evidence than the Bible, though of course that is part of the evidence. You have already demonstrated that you’ve never studied the Bible seriously. You are just repeating atheist sound bites. There are answers to all your alleged contradiction claims (though I doubt you could name 3 supposed contradictions without having to search for them).

Most scholars believe that the gospels are written between 70-100 A.D. That’s plenty of time to get facts wrong.

There are many good reasons to believe that the Gospels — at least the first three — were written before that. Please see http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2008/06/25/when-was-the-new-testament-written/ — that is, if you are truly interested in facts and logic.

And it is fallacious to say that just because things could be wrong that they must be wrong.

Also, how come there isn’t one contemporary eyewitness for Jesus Christ? Everyone claims that there are several eyewitness, yet all of the writings are after Jesus died. Isn’t that a little odd?

I don’t follow . . . if nearly 1/3 of the Gospel texts address the last week of his life and if the entire religion is based on him dying for our sins and rising again, and if the Bible records that his earthly ministry was the last three years of his life, and if the Bible records that his followers didn’t realize He’d die and rise from the dead, then exactly why would you expect the writings to occur before He died and rose again?

Atheism does have really good arguments, but you’re too blinded by your faith to see it.

I could say the same about you regarding Christianity, only I’d have the truth of the Bible to back me up: Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

But you have nothing in atheism to back up your statement. If your worldview is true, then random chemical reactions are solely responsible for my conversion from atheism to my belief in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Why be so mad at your own worldview if it is the “obvious” cause for Christianity?

It’s funny how you say that I’m the one who’s been conditioned to repeat soundbites. Christians are told from birth not to question the dogma of their religion. Even questioning their religion is considered a sin.

Once again you show that you haven’t read the book. Please note these two teachings then reconsider your statements:

Acts 17:11 (ESV) 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV) 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.

Christians are specifically told to use good discernment in testing truth claims.

No, I haven’t come up with excuses to avoid the Bible. I have looked at the evidence and drawn my conclusion that the Christian God is no different than any other myth. The truth is that we don’t know what created the universe. It may have been a “God”, or something else. The point is we don’t know.

We can use logic and facts to demonstrate that it came into being at a point in time, and it is obvious that whatever created it had to be more powerful and significant than what was created.

It’s pretty sad how Christians preach about love of their God. If their love doesn’t work then they preach about eternal damnation.

That is another one of your made-up claims. We preach the entire truth of God. We do love him, and for good reasons. He is a God of love, but will also punish sin as any just judge would. And we love our neighbors, so we tell them the truth about Jesus: He died on a cross for the sins of all who would repent and believe in him. If you want to pay for your own sins for eternity, that is your option.

That doesn’t sound like a loving God to me. Why aren’t you afraid of Zeus, Allah, or any other Gods that have been worshiped throughout history?

Because I have good reasons to believe that those are false.

It’s because you have been brought up from birth to believe in a certain God. If you haven’t been brought up, you’ve been indoctrinated in some form.

Then you are an atheist because of where you were born, right? You know nothing of the Bible. I’m a Christian because God made me spiritually alive and turned me to him through his Word. He does that all over the world every day. People convert from all sorts of belief systems to Christianity.

Just because you believe in Christianity, it doesn’t make it right.

I agree with you. That is another made-up argument on your part.

Christianity is based on geography, and nothing else.

No, it is based on trusting in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and in repenting of sins. Really, read the book. Eternity is a mighty long time to regret spouting atheist sound bites in rebellion against your creator.

An honest but still inconsistent atheist

Even when atheists try to be candid and concede many of our points, they still have trouble being consistent with their worldview.  Via An atheist explains the real consequences of adopting an atheistic worldview.

Let us stop sugar coating it. I know, it’s hard to come out and be blunt with the friendly Theists who frequent sites like this. However in your efforts to “play nice” and “be civil” you actually do them a great disservice.

We are Atheists. We believe that the Universe is a great uncaused, random accident. All life in the Universe past and future are the results of random chance acting on itself. While we acknowledge concepts like morality, politeness, civility seem to exist, we know they do not. Our highly evolved brains imagine that these things have a cause or a use, and they have in the past, they’ve allowed life to continue on this planet for a short blip of time. But make no mistake: all our dreams, loves, opinions, and desires are figments of our primordial imagination. They are fleeting electrical signals that fire across our synapses for a moment in time. They served some purpose in the past. They got us here. That’s it. All human achievement and plans for the future are the result of some ancient, evolved brain and accompanying chemical reactions that once served a survival purpose. Ex: I’ll marry and nurture children because my genes demand reproduction, I’ll create because creativity served a survival advantage to my ancient ape ancestors, I’ll build cities and laws because this allowed my ape grandfather time and peace to reproduce and protect his genes. My only directive is to obey my genes. Eat, sleep, reproduce, die. That is our bible.

I’m glad he was candid about his core beliefs. That is useful in exposing atheism. But even when they are trying to be honest they are still inconsistent:

So be nice if you want. Be involved, have polite conversations, be a model citizen. Just be aware that while technically an Atheist, you are an inferior one.

But he just got through saying there is no standard and glibly states he is just obeying his DNA. How can he say someone else’s atheism is inferior?

You’re just a little bit less evolved, that’s all.

Again, there’s that standard implying that more evolution is better than less.

I know it’s not PC to speak so bluntly about the ramifications of our beliefs, but in our discussions with Theists we sometimes tip toe around what we really know to be factual. Maybe it’s time we Atheists were a little more truthful and let the chips fall where they may.

Again, why be more truthful if there is no merit in it? And why persuade anyone to do anything if we are all just obeying our DNA anyway?

Here’s why: Because their worldview is foolish rebellion.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

More bad news: You’ll be judged on the standard of Jesus, not by comparing your best traits to your neighbor’s worst traits.  All your deepest, darkest secrets will be brought to light and judged by a holy and perfect God.

Romans 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Helping teens respond to questions about their faith — part 1

My friend Edgar asked for my opinion on some questions from some of his Sunday School students.  I get the same sorts of questions from adults as well.  My goal is to provide some brief, concrete answers.

First, I think it is important to have a game plan with questions like this.  Whether answering a skeptic or equipping a believer to answer the skeptic, my goal is always to give clear, thoughtful answers that address the question and then point to the word of God as quickly as possible.  When in doubt, I’d rather someone read the Bible than listen to me.  God’s word made many promises* about what it will accomplish but contains no such promises about anything I say.

I highly recommend reading Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions to learn how to navigate conversations like these (only $2.99 for the Kindle edition — you can’t afford not to buy it!).  The burden isn’t all on you, and the conversations don’t have to be hostile.  There are many ways to ask polite questions to get people thinking more carefully and to highlight their errors.

Here is the first question:

What do I say to an atheist friend when he says he can be good without God?

This is a classic question.  Remember that we know the truth about atheists: Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

So you can approach the conversation with the confidence that deep down they know the truth.  They can’t go three sentences without making moral claims that assume an objective morality  — that is, that some things are always wrong — e.g., torturing babies for fun.  Side note: Sometimes atheists will rationalize that some things are acceptable for perpetuating the species (rape, abortion, etc.), but you can eliminate those arguments by adding “for fun” to the deed in question. Everyone knows those are wrong — or if they don’t, you should probably leave the room for your own safety!

One of the techniques from the Tactics book is to ask questions such as, “What do you mean by that?”  So in this case you could ask the person what he means by “good.”  That puts the burden on him to define the terms, and he is likely to tip his hand by pointing to some universal moral truths.  After all, if there is no God, then the universe came from nothing, life came from non-life and it evolved to everything we see today.  Therefore, there is no ultimate meaning or accountability in life.  If you steal from or kill your neighbor that wouldn’t be immoral.  Why should you care if he thinks it is immoral?  He just evolved to think that way, but you obviously would have evolved differently.  Sound bites about “human flourishing” or the like just assume that human flourishing is a moral good.  But they have to prove that, and simply coming up with a new phrase assumes what they should be proving.

You could tell him that technically he could do some good thing without God, but he would have no grounding to say the act was truly good.  If Darwinian evolution was true, then real morality is a fiction invented by these random chemical reactions in our brains.  He may think something is “good” but there would be no logical grounding for it.

You can also point out that the existence of evil is proof of God’s existence, not the opposite.  Remind them that all sins against an eternal and holy God will be judged perfectly and that they can pay the penalty for their sins themselves for eternity or they can trust in Jesus’ sacrifice on their behalf.

You can also remind them of how they won’t be judged based on how their best traits compare to their neighbor’s worst traits.  Every one of their thoughts, words and deeds will be judged on the standard of Jesus — Romans 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Remember that if people are sincere in their questions and aren’t just using them as excuses to justify their rebellion against God then it is completely legitimate to let them do some of their own homework, such as reading a book like Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God.  If they don’t want to do more work or read the Bible, it may be pearls-before-swine time and you should obey Jesus’ command to move on.  Pray for them and perhaps God will make them spiritually alive in the future.  You will have done your work as an ambassador and an apologist (defender of the faith):

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

1 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV) but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

Summary: Can people be good without God?  Technically,  they can do some good things but they can’t explain how they would qualify as truly good in a godless universe.  And in a more meaningful sense, they aren’t good at all.  They need Jesus.

Romans 3:9 For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

* Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.