Sunday, July 6, 2008

Questions christians can't answer


Who created god? It is easy to say that all the complexity in the world has a designer. That way we don't have to try to understand a system that could produce the complexity of living organisms by natural causes. But who created god? The predictable answer that god has always existed or similar fluff reminds me of the anecdote from Stephen Hawkings' book, A Brief History of Time:

A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down!"

Sadly christians are that old lady and atheists are that smug scientist. But the bottom line is that we atheists believe in evidence, not fairy tales. The tooth fairy is great in theory, but the evidence is a little lacking. (I even put my recently removed wisdom tooth under my pillow and got nothing. Yes I am bit sore about that.)



If god truly loves all people why did he slaughter so many of them throughout the Earth's history?

*Take note that God often uses his chosen people, the Israelites, as his agents of death.

Exodus 32:27-28, 35 - God kills 3000 men for dancing around Aaron's golden calf.
Numbers 16:49 - God sends a plague killing 14,700 people for complaining that he killed 250 whose offense had been that they burnt incense.
Numbers 31:1-35 - God kills over 90,000 of the midianite people including all the male children and all the females who are not virgins.
Judges 20:35 - God kills over 50,000 Benjamites for the crime of not being Israelites. He killed all the children too.

These are just a few examples of many. Are these the actions of a loving god? Sorry to say this, but if you are a christian and you can read these horrific stories of genocide and war crimes without seriously doubting the idea that god loves everyone, you have turned off your brain.




Why does the bible not denounce slavery if an ALL KNOWING god inspired the writers and similiarly, why did jesus not make any attempt to stop slavery?


However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46)

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

Nearly everyone in the world would be quick to denounce the blight on humanity that is slavery (except modern day slave traders - yes, it still exists). Yet neither god nor jesus seemed to have any issue with it. This is yet another indication that the bible is a series of books written by people of that time that were in no way inspired by supernatural beings, particularly ALL KNOWING, supernatural beings.




If god is omnipotent, how does the devil have any power at all?
Omnipotent after all means ALL POWERFUL. Nothing could have any power in the presence of a god who is ALL POWERFUL. The answer is this; there is no god, particularly not an ALL POWERFUL god.



Why is it that the 'god-inspired' writers of the bible were unable to recognize disabilities such as blindness and physical handicaps as just that? Even christ didn't seem to know that some people just happen to have various physical or mental disabilities. Shouldn't the son of an ALL KNOWING god understand such things?

Again it seems likely that the writers of the bible, uninspired by ALL KNOWING heavenly beings, wrote from their perspective. Specifically the perspective of being ignorant of the basics of medical understanding which we now possess. Once again, the average 7 year old these days knows enough to know that some people are physically or mentally disabled. The ALL KNOWING supreme being that inspired the writers of the bible is running low on credibility.



"If the Christian belief system is false or based on fabricated source documents - how exactly under your current set of suppositions with the Bible as the only authoritative admissible evidence, would you ever be able to detect the falsity of that belief system?" The credit for this question goes to debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com as I read this question there first. Someone by the name of Eheffa apparently asked the question. I am still looking for the original source.

The answer very simply is that you would not be able to detect the falsity of your belief system and that is why I have to have such a blog post as this.




Why is it that christians are unaware that the bible's ideas are simply plagiurized from other sources?
The ten commandments were mostly adapted from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. The virgin birth, the 12 disciples, the death and resurrection. It all comes from other religions. Christmas and Easter were pagan holidays until christianity 'borrowed' them.

I believe the answer is that Christians read the bible which seems to have left out the bibliography and they make a point of ignoring anything critical of the bible as heresy. And if it were still fashionable to burn people for heresy, that would still be going on. I challenged a friend to read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. He insisted that he would read it side by side with another book written by a christian that refutes what Dawkins' teaches. I wonder why he couldn't just read The God Delusion on its own. But he is a youth pastor and he seems afraid of what he might find out.



Why was the time that religion ruled the world called "The Dark Ages?" Similarly why is the time when state funded religious schools in Canada attempted to teach the aboriginal children about Christianity now considered to be the "darkest, most tragic chapter in Canadian history (according to Phil Fontaine and many others)?" BBC article

I can't answer this last question very well myself although I suspect it has something to do with the church attracting a higher than average number of feeble-minded, insecure, power-hungry types who end up playing the politics and abuse their power at every opportunity. Every church has them. The residential schools were filled with them. Think about the abuse in the catholic church, the troubles in Ireland, the infighting in every church, go back in history to the crusades and so on. And for the record, I do believe there are good and occasionally, intelligent people involved in the church too. It is just that they rarely end up in positions of power.



I encourage my christian friends and other christians to try to answer these questions. In the intellectually inbred world known as modern christianity I have no doubt that many of you think that you have intelligent answers. However I doubt very much that you will post serious answers that would be acceptable in any academic setting. My guess is that most of you will avoid posting comments in response to these questions. But if you can't answer these questions, but somehow KNOW BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that god is real and jesus died on the cross, you have been indoctrinated. In that case I suggest you get out the Jesus Riding Dinosaurs Colouring Book, prepare your rapturous red and leviathan green crayons and continue to ignore the doubts that cast a shadow on the credibility of your beliefs (see next post).

PLEASE POST YOUR ANSWERS OR COMMENTS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. I HAVE OPENED IT UP TO EVERYONE REGARDLESS OF HAVING A BLOGGER ACCOUNT OR NOT. PLEASE USE YOUR REAL NAME OR A PSEUDONYM SO I CAN RESPOND AND SO WE DON'T HAVE 27 PEOPLE ALL CALLED ANONYMOUS. THANKS.

43 comments:

julochka said...

glenn--

i think about this one quite often and wrote a bit about it myself recently:

http://julochka.blogspot.com/2008/06/scientific-proof-at-last.html

for me, the bible is a collection of stories, written by men at a historical juncture or junctures where they were interested in positioning themselves to attain (and then keep) power. i believe in jesus from the standpoint that i believe he was a genuine historical figure--all the rest is the stuff of a religion's rise and self-justification (which seems to have worked nicely for a whole lotta people, frighteningly enough).

what i think is that people have a need to believe. the world is so crazy and there's so much crazy shit going on out there that people, who are generally weak (let's face it) and some weaker than others, need something to hold onto--something outside of themselves, so they can avoid taking responsibility themselves. that's how all of those things you sited end up in the bible--massacres, slavery, fire and brimstone--if we blame it on a all-knowing god, we don't have to take responsibility ourselves, right?

i think it's good that you're opening up the debate. that's important and the only way for anyone to even begin taking responsibility.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wilberforce

Wilberforce converts to Christianity, then pushes for morality and abolishment of slavery.

So... Bad Christian???

KG said...

If god is omnipotent, how does the devil have any power at all?

As G. knows, I don't tend to not get into this debate - he knows my views on it. However, what is the point of the question?

A parent may watch as their 3 year old takes a hammer and "plays" with a nice glass table top. Doesn't mean that the parent cannot go over, and divert the child's attention elsewhere, pick up the child, or even place the hammer in a safer location than the playful hands of a 3 year old.

:-)

KG said...

P.S. in the previous post, "G" referred to Glenn, in case someone was wondering. :-D

Glenn Kachmar said...

julochka, I will check out your post on scientific proof. I agree that jesus may have been a historical figure, though not of the significance he is given by christians (I think his significance resembles Brian's from The Life of Brian - "Wewease Bwian!"). People seem to need religion. I personally doubt that they really do, but they sure think they do. Religion definitely has been a convenient way to avoid being responsible for one's actions or one's leader's actions.

Yes, I am trying to open up the debate. The post is kind of a shot fired over the bow. I know too many people who miss their full potential because they spend their time praying instead of acting, immersing themselves in irrelevant ancient texts when there is relevant scientific research that explains life and society. I hope that they can know freedom from indoctrination, but it may be too much to hope for.

anonymous, congratulations, you found a christian that had enough compassion to want to stop slavery. Doesn't it make you wonder why jesus himself did not care more about slaves? How about god? BTW, I would like to point out that you haven't answered the question.

anonymous, in the future, please post with a pseudonym at least. Thanks.

kg, I have to admit that I didn't remember that you don't get into that debate nor do I remember your views (I am doing well to remember my own views). I would like to point out that no christians get into that debate because they can't answer the question. They avoid it like the plague. St. Augustine asked the question three times in his book, Confessions, but was never able to answer it (or he didn't like the only logical answer enough to write it into his book). Feel free to answer these questions.

Reid Kachmar said...

I think all of those questions are valid and I tend too be one of those people that would be open to believe in god if some tangible proof was in exsistance. However I tend to agree with your view, there is no proof ( other than the bible ) what so ever that god exists and to believe blindly because the church or whoever tells you that you have to shows a bit of despiration. In the end life is what you make it. Those who choose to believe in the face of so much proof that god and the bible are a fairy tale are missing out on the real gift of life.

Glenn Kachmar said...

I assume you mean that the real gift of life is BEER, n'est ce pas? Seriously though, what is the real gift of life, Reid Kachmar? It's either beer or Arrested Development, I am not sure which.

Oh and it sounded like you were suggesting that the bible is proof. This can only be a consideration after a lot of the real gift of life.

Call me!

Loren said...

Hi Glenn,

None of the questions you have, make me pause to question what I believe. The answers make sense to me from a Biblical perspective. However, all of your questions can only be discussed between people who are using the same source as their authority. None of the questions can be answered by science because science can not prove or disprove the existence of God. Therefore, if you don't use the Bible as your authority, then you have to rely on another authority or on your own "guess" of how you think the world works. I could go on and on with Biblical citings to support what I believe, but it would mean nothing to you if you don't trust that the Bible is truth. For me, I have spent countless hours searching and understanding why the Bible has to be the inspired word of God. It is impossible for me to think that the Bible is just a bunch of random writers who wrote independantly. Someone blogged that the writers were just giving their historical perspective, but along with their historical perspectives came so many statements which predicted future events that all came true. These weren't just obscure statements like, Ït will rain in BC in the next month", they were exact statements such as the location and circumstances surrounding the birth of the Messiah. It would have been impossible for this to have evolved on its own. There is no other book like it. Conspiracy theorists may say that the early church altered the writings to make them match up, but this is such a naive statement and comes from people who obviously don't understand the process of how the Bible came to be and how it was cared for in the course of history.

So, from the perspective that the Bible is the inspired word of God, I can answer the questions.

Who created God? He's always existed because it's clearly written in so many books of the Bible. Of the 40+ authors, not one of them disagrees with this statement. Amazing consistency for it being written from just a bunch of historians.

Does God love everyone? NO. Read Romans 9 were Paul talks about how God loved Jacob, but hated Esau, even before either of them were born. God has always had chosen people. Historically it's been the Israelites. Presently, it's the "elect" from both the Jew and the Gentile.

Why was slavery allowed and why are evil things allowed to happen if God is omnipotent? Even though God is omnipotent, we know that He does allow bad things to happen, however, he is always in control; see the book of Job. I love the analogy of an earlier blog about the child with a hammer.

I don't know the reason for God allowing slavery, but it doesn't mean he didn't have a reason for it. There are many things which I can not explain why they happened, but if you take time to look back you can often find explanations for them. If you look over your own life you will see events that happened to you that you didn't understand at the time, but which had a major influence on who you are. A book I read regarding the holocaust gave an interesting commentary which applies here. The author believed that the holocaust, as horrible as it was, happened because God's plan has always been that the Israelites were to end up in Israel. The only reason that they were allowed to enter and stay in Israel was because of the sympathetic position other nations had for them following the holocaust. I'm not saying this as truth, but it's a very interesting perspective that makes sense to me.

It's always sad for me to read or hear the position of someone who rejects the Bible. The Bible gives me the hope, the meaning, the perspective, the understanding, and the joy that I couldn't imagine living without.

Glenn Kachmar said...

Loren, great to have you posting comments on here. Please don't take anything I say personally. I love the fact that we have always been able to discuss our differences and not have it affect our friendship. I want that to continue. But I am a bit blunt so be warned.

You wrote that the answers make sense to you from a biblical perspective. Just one problem. The bible is massively plagiarized. It isn't just Easter and Christmas that are borrowed from the pagans. It's most or all of the bible. But if you only read the bible, you could never find this out. That's why it makes sense to you. As I wrote, most of the ten commandments are taken from the Egyptian Book of The Dead. Everything about the whole story of jesus is borrowed from other religions. When you write a statement like, "There is no other book like it.", the statement does not have much validity unless you have spent many years studying other ancient texts. Have you? (I know you haven't.) So there could be 20 or 100 books like it and you would not know. In fact the comparisons between christ and Horus, an ancient Egyptian god are definitely indicative of christ's story being plagiarized. Check out this link (and skip down to the tables): http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa5.htm

40+ authors don't disagree with the statement that god has always existed, but how many of them even address the issue? And how could anyone shed light on such an issue. I agree that science can't touch that subject in the same way that it can't address what came before the Big Bang - no evidence, no theory!

I don't think very many slaves would appreciate your suggestion that there is some silver lining that god has in mind. Would you want your sons to live as slaves? Because there are children their age sewing up soccer balls and gluing shoes together as we speak. In fact, you and I both may have supported their slavery with our purchases (we definitely have every time we buy non-fair trade chocolate). God in his infinite wisdom and jesus too seem to have not noticed this horrible injustice. Oops, omniscience took a day off.

It wasn't sympathy that the other nations (including Canada) had. It was guilt for closing their borders and allowing the holocaust. And soon after the other nations looked the other way, two and a half million Palestinians were robbed of their land and tragically turned into homeless refugees. Many of them are still homeless refugees, 60 years on.

Loren, I challenge you to look into the real source of 'biblical truth'. I don't believe you will, but you went out on a limb and looked into beliefs that challenged what you thought you knew when you accepted the idea that Christmas and Easter are based on pagan holidays. I challenge you to really look into this with an open mind.

And sorry to be a smartass, but you did not really answer any of these questions. Please forgive me for saying so, but to say that God has always existed is the equivalent to saying that there is a Santa Claus or the moon is made of green cheese. You want to believe this because you were indoctrinated into this idea and that is why you believe it so fervently, but there is no credible reason to believe it.

Many academics including christians have shown that the bible is riddled with mistakes and changes. There is not even one original text so how can you know that nothing has been changed? Again, that is what you want to believe and since you won't even look at the evidence there is to show that the bible has been changed, you will never believe that it has been changed. My question, "If the Christian belief system is false or based on fabricated source documents - how exactly under your current set of suppositions with the Bible as the only authoritative admissible evidence, would you ever be able to detect the falsity of that belief system?" is directed to this approach to the bible. You read only views that support what you believe so you will not be able to accept any other viewpoint. But the evidence is out there and it is a massive body of evidence. And it is waiting for you.

By the way, I still have your lovely beige cord shorts and that spectacular flourescent lime greem shirt. I am sure that you are dying for them.

Loren said...

The beginning of my comments went over the need to have a common authority. Without this there is no sense in trying to debate any of the questions. I gave my answers from what the Bible says, so they were answers to the questions from a Biblical perspective. Obviously, they don't hold very much water for you because you use something else as your authority.

I'm not naive about the other ancient texts that are out there and I have looked into them, but I do have explanations which make sense to me and which make me still believe that the BIble is the inspired word of God. Even though I grew up in a church, you can't just pigeon-hole someone as being indoctrinated into what they believe. I've spent a lot of time searching things with an open mind and it's just too easy of an out for you to say that I've just been indoctrinated. It is pretty clear that you have made up your mind that the Bible is a fabrication, so there doesn't seem to be very much to debate here. We can discuss specific issues about why the Bible is true or false, but to debate any of your questions before this is a waste of time.

Glenn Kachmar said...

I will be posting more about the plagiarism of the bible as I do more research.

I am sorry that I can't accept evidence from the bible, but it is not a credible source.

Heather said...

I think that the Christian vs. Atheist debate isn't broad enough. Religion is not synonymous with Christianity; there are many other faith systems, like Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc. to accept or deny as well.

As for me, I believe in a Creator but am not sure which, if any, of the world's (manmade) religions does this Creator any justice...

kate said...

Hi Glenn,
I always love to hear about people that have come to see the light! Your blog speaks of so many things that I wish I could have put into words during offshore, but I didn't know how to express. Now that I am better versed, I am more comfortable debating christians or people following any religion. Not that it is much of a debate when there is no evidence to back their beliefs.
Thank you for trying to open a dialogue.
Kate

Glenn Kachmar said...

Heather, nice to hear from you.

My point is that these are questions that are unanswerable for christians. That necessitates this christian versus atheist approach, but it isn't ultimately what I want. I want people to start thinking. I want people to question the things that don't make sense. This is why I am highlighting the issues. I am not just trying to tick people off, but I am sure that it seems like that.

Questions: Why do you believe in a creator? Do you have any tangible reason to think there actually is one?

Kate, wow it has been a long time (at least if you are the Kate I think you are - SALTS Kate?). I appreciate the feedback. Feel free to post your thoughts on the various comments received here. I don't need to be the only one responding to questions and comments. BTW, I love that you worked in what I think is usually a christian expression to describe my change of worldview.

Reid said...

I only meant that the bible is proof to those who believe in what the bible has to say, not that it offers any actual proof.

Adam said...

Well if I can speak up for some of the Christian "inbreeds", I'd like to put forth my humble beliefs towards a couple of questions...even though you, "doubt very much that [I] will post serious answers that would be acceptable in any academic setting." With that sort of encouragement...how can I not participate!

First of all...did you ever read the Marcus Borg book, "The Heart of Christianity" that I told you about earlier? Nearly all of these questions are discussed in that book. I think it's important to remember that NOT ALL, in fact, MOST, Christians don't take the Bible literally. In this blog you seem to focus on fundamental Christianity, which ends up lumping me with people who insist that paleontologists are idiots (disclaimer: when I was six years old I wanted to be a paleontologist). There is a huge range of Christian beliefs, and I am towards the more liberal (along with Borg). Also, did you listen to John Polkinghorn's interview that I posted earlier? (http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/quarks/kristasjournal.shtml) I would be very interested to hear your comments about THESE two Christian perspectives, as they have yet to be discussed in your Christian conversations.

Ok, now I can only discuss one question before I must go to bed, the first one. I brought this up numerous times when I started attending the Mennonite church, because of the obvious conflict with their non-violent beliefs. All of these stories take place in the Old Testament. All scholars agree that the Old Testament was originally an oral tradition that was passed on for an unknown period of time before it was recorded. Now there have been numerous examples of how accurate oral histories have been (I'm thinking of Native American stories describing natural events), but I'm not talking about historical accuracy. I'm sure these people were actually slaughtered, and I'm sure they were slaughtered by the people who passed on the stories and later wrote them down. I think they attributed their great 'victory' to God, rather than their superior numbers, technology, or whatever. I don't think for a second that God just killed them. We have talked about how people throughout history have attributed things to God that were not so. These people weren't even advanced enough to write their stories down, a surprising, improbable, victory is right in line with "that which can not be explained."

So my simple two word answer is, "God didn't." I believe it was another example of some terrible event being attributed to God.

(PS: an informal poll showed that 100% of Christians surveyed, are against the slaughter of humans)

Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn,
It has been a long time. I dont really have much to debate, I am pretty much just confused all the time. I grew up in a Christian home so there is this ideal that has been ingrained in me which I am sure you know very well since you said it has taken you 10 years to get to the place you are now. My problem is that I dont really beleive but I try to make myself believe because I am afraid that if I am wrong then I will go to hell. But really I know that is irrational because if there was a god then he would know that I am faking it and I would go to hell anyway. The truth is you just cant make yourself believe in something that you dont believe in no matter how hard you try especially when evidence is leading you to the contrary. And I have been trying for quite some time. I am about ready to give up. But I am still open. So If a big sword of truth strikes me in the back then I will know, as for now I am in transition. I also have a constant sense of impending dume for the human race because we are over populating the earth and creating our own distruction by being greedy and usless consumers who are now deskilled. We dont even know how to grow food properly anymore. But that is a totally different debate for another day. Thanks for opening this topic up. I have enjoyed reading the replies.Hope this finds you well.

Lani (from Offshore)

Glenn Kachmar said...

reid, now I see what you mean. Christians definitely consider the bible to be proof, I agree.

Remember that part about calling me?1?

adam, I should be clear and remind you that I don't consider all christians to engage in "intellectual inbreeding" nor do I consider any people to be inbreeds. Thank you for your very thoughtful response. I knew you would not pass up the challenge.

I am bogged down and have not read the Marcus Borg book, but I will if I can find it at the library. I promise. I just wrote myself a note.

I agree, adam, I have been focusing on fundamentalist christians. I think that overall they are the ones who have the most far-reaching impact in terms of what the world thinks of christians. This is unfair, I realize. I haven't seen the statistics, but I would guess that fundamentalist groups outnumber the more progressive groups of christians. But even if they don't, they definitely grab more headlines. It is also a lot harder to pin down what the more progressive groups believe.

In terms of you answer to my first question, I fully agree with you*. Thus, I consider your answer to be an excellent one. (*but perhaps not for the same reason). BTW, I would be careful before writing the words "all scholars agree". I personally doubt that there is even one issue in christianity in which all scholars agree. I think groups of people were slaughtered and I think that god was wrongly given the credit (or the blame) and I don't think god killed them either. The above caveat* is because I don't believe that there is a god and thus I don't believe that he was involved with the slaughters mentioned in the bible in any way. So essentially we agree and I feel you answered the question very well, but with a slight difference in opinion.

However as I have mentioned before, I am not sure what to make of christianity in which one discounts all the distasteful parts of the bible and values the parts that support one's views. How do you know that the parts you agree with are true? I am not trying to suggest that you are not a christian, but if so much of the bible is invalid or simply is allegory, how do we know that any of it is true? Did christ really walk the earth? Did he really raise people from the dead? Did he really rise up from the dead himself? If the rest of it is allegory or oral tradition did these things really happen? And if they did not, why believe what you believe?

adam, I have to know. Was the "informal poll" you asking your wife if she is against the slaughter of humans?

And speaking of homework, did you watch Zeitgeist yet? I will do my homework (including the lecture) and you need to watch Zeitgeist.

Lani, it is fantastic to hear from you. I also want to say that I really appreciate your honesty. It is refreshing. Like one of those icy drinks with a little umbrella except much less superficial than that. Seriously though, I really appreciate what you had to say. I think if you hold christian views and are not confused, you aren't paying attention. There really are a lot of contradictions that unthinking people ignore. This is part of the reason I write blog posts like this one. Don't try to make yourself believe anything. In my opinion, the idea of hell is something dreamed up by the founders of christianity to frighten and guilt christians into behaving a certain way. It is the religious equivalent of a parent threatening to spank a child. When scientists drill into the ground and find millions of people roasting over pits and being tortured, I will believe in it. It is designed to make you live in fear and guilt. Christians tell you that they have lives filled with joy and happiness. I have never found this to be true personally and I don't know any christians that really are as joyful and uplifted as they tell you they are. Until I left the church, I had never experienced such freedom as I have now to make decisions based on logic and values. I have truly never been happier or more satisfied with life. The decisions I make do not cause me to experience guilt and I fear no burning pits of human BBQ in the afterlife

Forgive me for saying so (or thank me, it's up to you), but I really think you should quit. When I finally decided I was done with the church, I spent a year and some deciding what I knew for sure. Kind of a Descartes* period in my life (* I think therefore I am). I also did a lot of reading and finally concluded that there was not a single thing that the church teaches that could be verified. I also found out that the bible is not original but the vast majority of it simply repackages ideas from earlier belief systems. That was the final nail in the coffin of my faith.

I hate to say it, but I agree with you about your feelings of impending doom. We are destroying the earth at an alarming rate. People with their big houses, SUVs, garages or storage units filled with all the things they don't need (but must possess) and the energy sucking habits are destroying what is left of the world. The christians mostly* don't care (*this word was for Adam's benefit) as they are all about to be called up to meet god in the rapture. Which I would add, has been thought to be imminent since jesus' time. What is there to be done about the raping of the planet? Consume less, share with others and try to be an example. I hate to say it, but I have a car now as I am a substitute teacher. But this summer I have switched back to biking 95% of the time (not when I have science shows - too much gear). My knees hurt and I am bone tired from my two or three hours of cycling daily, but I feel it's the right thing to do. You never know, we might reach a tipping point and people might come around and start to work together. And if that doesn't work, just give people who drive hummers the finger and at least you will feel a bit better. I actually do this. It's cheaper than the movies.

I look forward to hearing more from you and hope you give up and "see the light*" as Kate put it. (*I assume that is the light of reason)

Anonymous said...

G,
1. During my youth I used to be a convinced believer of God´s Plan. Then I became a mom and that forced me to believe in that plan from a different point of view.
2. Last December a massive reunion of Christian religions took place, and large signs saying "Christ's Blood has Power" were placed all over the city; those signs had a panoramic view of the city with blood "falling" from the sky.
That was hedious for me too see. But the worst came when at a stop ligh, an 8 year old boy dressed as a "blood drop" (literally) handed me an invitation for the event. I shut the window... and had to answer 3 kid's questions for an hour.
3. I think that believing in a greater being is not always a bad thing. I have met adicts leaving adictions, and other many good things been made only because of love to God. For those people God IS allpowerful, and watches over their steps so they won't fall again for temptation. We "non-blind" believers can not take that away from them, and tell them all the strength is in their will, because the do not believe in their own will, but in God's.

Sorry I can't answer the questions, but I believe in my will to make my tiny piece of world a good one. I would not shoot my neighbor for being christian and having a big red dot (like blood) on his front door, and from his point of view I am a good christian.

Mrs.D

Glenn Kachmar said...

Mrs. D., that's a truly bizarre way to evangelize and I thought I'd heard them all.

I would have to agree that believing in a higher power can have beneficial effects if it helps cure someone of an addiction or helps them in some other way. But in my experience when people are told that god will solve their problems and they pray for years without ever hearing an answer, many other problems occur too. But almost no one feels they can speak up and challenge what their pastor tells them or what the bible says.

I now consider belief in god to be similar to belief in Santa Claus. It may help a small child to behave for a few years, but it is essentially lying to a child and the child will one day find out it is not true. Is it worth it? Personally I would say no, but the majority of people do this. I know many people who became disillusioned and depressed when god did not live up to expectations and solve their problems for them when they prayed.

I believe that it is better to work towards solving one's own problems and I am convinced it makes a person more self sufficient. But if other people want to believe in that higher power or in Santa Claus, they are welcome to.

Don't worry about not answering the questions. I am not really expecting answers. Thanks for your thoughts.

Claire said...

An interesting read. Thanks for sharing.

Cxx

Glenn Kachmar said...

You're welcome, claire. Stay tuned. I don't write often, but I will keep going. Next I think I will post a scorecard of sorts to track how well the christians did at answering these questions (spoiler - not stellar).

Jaime said...

This really is getting more and more interesting each time I visit here.
As you know, I am not a christian, but I am fascinated with all of the diverse ways others think about these things.
Hopefully this conversation will continue!
:)

Glenn Kachmar said...

Thanks, Jaime. I wish I had more time to blog. The combination of the French course and the work I have right now is killing me, but the course will soon be over.

It is interesting to see the different ways people view these issues. Having been a christian, I have an insight into how christians think and it is particularly illuminating when they are faced with the questions that no one dares to ask. It is sad to watch people try desperately to defend an indefensible fairy tale, but this is what christianity requires. That whole blind faith thing never really worked out that well for me. I couldn't turn my brain off.

The conversation will continue when I start having a bit more time.

Thomas said...

"If god is omnipotent, how does the devil have any power at all? Omnipotent after all means ALL POWERFUL. Nothing could have any power in the presence of a god who is ALL POWERFUL. The answer is this; there is no god, particularly not an ALL POWERFUL god."

Where does it say that the devil has power?

Its frustrating to read your blog, but its fun too. I'm sad to see you've given up.

Ingrid said...

It is not clear to me why the Bible requires me to believe that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. I tend to spend most of my Bible reading time in the Pentateuch and have a preference for J over E,D, and P. Could you give me the J passages where it is claimed that God is omni? Also, I have read the Book of the Dead, as well as the law code of Eshnunna, Hammurabi, et cetera. I have always felt that the law code of the Pentateuch was closer to the ANE law codes than it was to the Book of the Dead. Can you cite the passages from the Book of the Dead? BTW, I think that the only way to read the Bible (or any other document) is in context so that it is necessary to read other sources to interpret the Bible. It is interesting to note how the Bible borrows, not that the Bible borrows. Thanks.

Ingrid said...

BTW, to talk of plagiarism in reference to the Bible is an anachronism. Your comments too can only be read in context.

Glenn Kachmar said...

thomas, I agree that there can be no other being with power in the presence of an 'all powerful being' and I agree that there is no god. You asked me where it says that the devil has power. If one is to believe the bible, one can infer that the devil has power judging by the fact that he meets with god in the story of the book of Job and he comes into contact later with christ so this guy has to have pretty good connections at the very least. But the book of Hebrews does directly mention the devil having power:

Hebrews 2:14-15 (NIV)

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

The"power of death" sounds kind of important to me. (Lucky I don't have that or there would be a few former bosses pushing up daisies!)

If you don't mind sharing this, I am curious to know why it is frustrating reading my blog. Don't worry about offending me. I can handle it.

And what do you mean by I "have given up?"

If you mean that I have given up believing in fairy tales, yes, I have. If you mean that I have given up writing the blog, no, I have just been extremely busy this summer.

I would love to know what you mean.


ingrid, you ask where it says that god is omnipotent:

Revelations 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

In general, churches teach that god is omnipotent even if the bible does not use the word very often. Once again, the idea of omnipotence is inferred from passages such as the following:

Psalms 33:8-9: Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.

Genesis 17:1: And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

Jeremiah 32:27: Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

At his command a storm arose and covered the sea. (Psalm 107:25)


Passages about God's omniscience

1 John 3:19-20 [19] This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence [20] whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Job 37:16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge?

Psalms 147:5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

John 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Passages about God's omnipresence

Ps. 139:7-12 God is everywhere. We cannot escape His presence.

1 Ki. 8:27 The heavens cannot contain God.

Jer. 23:23-24 No one can hide from God. He is always near at hand. God fills the heaven and earth.

Heb. 4:13 There is no creature hidden from God's sight. All things are naked and opened to His sight.


I have absolutely no idea what you mean by the following statement, "I. . . have a preference for J over E,D, and P. Could you give me the J passages where it is claimed that God is omni?"

In fact almost everything else you wrote does not make any sense to me.

In regards to your second comment, no offense intended, but I think it would be a good idea to look up "anachronism" in the dictionary.

The stories in the bible have been shown by many historians to be merely recycled from other sources. They are borrowed from pagan myths that predate the bible. This is plagiarism and to mention it is certainly not an anachronism. An anachronism is as follows (Merriam Webster Dictionary):

1: an error in chronology; especially : a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other
2: a person or a thing that is chronologically out of place; especially : one from a former age that is incongruous in the present
3: the state or condition of being chronologically out of place

Wearing a suit of armour to work is an anachronism.

Thomas said...

It is frustrating to be challenged, and this blog is a challenging read in more ways than one. I think that's what I meant.

I've only started reading this blog in recent week, so I meant to say that I am sad to hear you've given up on God and Christian faith. I often describe the Christian life to others as God endlessly reaching out for relationship with us, God's children, and all we need to do is respond and reach back. What came to mind was that you've given up reaching back to God.

Anonymous said...

for those of you who are asking people to give evidence to prove their Christian "whatever," where's your proof that science proves creation, or that any God is ok when most ALL religions aren't accepting of other religious gods/beliefs being tied into them, or the proof that your chosen faith means anything since it is based on what you want and what makes you feel better about tolerating everything...instead of googling information, or reading books on one side of your bias, whether you're Chrisitan, atheist, agnostic, whatever...why not go to their sources and stop googling to find your information.

what if you're wrong? Richard Dawkins was asked that question and he simply answered it with another question. He was put in a corner about everything he claims to be "proof" but he couldn't dicuss this so-called proof. Instead he just called Christians and people who believe in God "idiots"....but what if he's wrong...
Read Richard Dawkins, and also some C.S. Lewis "Mere Christianity", etc....how can we ALL be right if everyone's beliefs and opinions are all so different? If there's "one-way" wouldn't it make sense that it would be one that we would all agree on if it's "true"?

Christina said...

To Lani if you read these posts:
I dont think you should quit going to church even if it means searching for a church that is right for you its good to be in a church. If you go to church without an open heart or even read the bible without taking the words in then its useless and you will feel like its the dumbest thing ever. But if you go or read with an open heart you will feel and see a change and somthing different if you are willing. Thats the key is to be willing and have faith. I know a few atheists who have read the whole bible and had nothing but negative things to say. why?because they werent reading it with an open heart. The bible is not ment for atheists to study it is ment for the lost,the poor, the weak,the strong,the saved,the unsaved,any living and breathing human to read. I know God is real because i can feel him in me and noone can disproove that feeling. No book no person nothing can explain to me how i feel on the inside except for my Father who writes it in the living book. The bible that is living. Never does the bible get old to me.Never. Its special. Its proof. Glenn, never have i heard anyone explain to me how the holy spirit isnt real. I want to know how you can disprove the move of the Holy Spirit. People speaking in tongues, people being filled with the holy spirit falling to the ground because the power of God is so strong, people being heald. If people are calling out to God then who else would be making this happen?noneother but God would be the most common answer. If i asked you to open the door is someone else going to do it?no. because i asked you.
I will be more than happy to accept your challenge,Glenn. I am determined to give you these answers.

Anonymous said...

http://www.wcg.org/lit/church/holidays/paganism.htm

Books of Dead written 16th century B.C.
2 silver amulets with old testament verses inscribed dated 2nd-3rd century B.C.
Books of dead came after the commandments.

Anonymous said...

HEY!! FOOD FOR THOUGHT!!! Looking at christianity from my view.. i guess there is really no way to prove how life started.. and we dont know what will happen after we die.. a lot of christians are brainwashed.. they grew up in that environment.. but.. my take on the bible is if you are a jew, the old tesament is what you live by. a true christain would have to believe that the entire old testament is obsolete... have you even read the bible?? i enjoyed the read overall.. even though some parts were dry.. it lets me know what a christian believes.. Btw, you should actually be debunking the jewish faith in most of your blog.. and not "real christians". u may say that you are open minded but.. i can talk to others about what they believe and not get so offended at their ignorance. the effort that u took to make this page shows how closed minded and intolerant u are.. just sayin. sorry for all the typos..

whom_seek_ye said...

"as man is in the world GOD once was
as GOD is in the world man may become"

GOD evolved from mankind
and the real truths of the real GOD
who made an imposter just to see who
would seek past the false to fine the true are available to those who sincerely seek

http://www.myspace.com/water_spirit_blood/blog

The UC said...

I have not read all the comments, so I hope I don't repeat.

I confess, I can't answer all of the questions such as the one on slavery. I'll only answer the two of the most important ones.

1. Who created God?
God is divine and not subject to any Earthly limitations. God always existed, and God will exist forever.
Someone once told me that doesn't answer the question.....but again, it's not about proof, fact, logic, and data....God is above all that.

2. The devil exists and has power because out of love God gives liberty and freedom to all.to all, even the devil. The devil is by far less powerful. The most common reason for this is, the devil cannot love. Only hate.

Anonymous said...

Who created god? It is easy to say that all the complexity in the world has a designer. That way we don't have to try to understand a system that could produce the complexity of living organisms by natural causes. But who created god? The predictable answer that god has always existed or similar fluff reminds me of the anecdote from Stephen Hawkings' book, A Brief History of Time:


If god truly loves all people why did he slaughter so many of them throughout the Earth's history?

The answer to this question is the same for all violence, including the accelerated violence that gave us the 20th century. Good and Evil cannot coexist. Abraham Lincoln, during the American civil war, said that both the North and the South invoked God, felt that God was on their respective side, and both sides viewed their God as righteous in their respective causes. Lincoln said that one side or both sides could be wrong, but that God could not, by his very nature, be both for and against something at the same time.

There will be slaughter until God's son redeems this world in apocolyptic final salvation. Don't blame God for the slaughter in history. The blame lies solely with the father of lies and deception, satan. God and satan oppose one another. The reason God did not destroy satan when he rebelled reflects on His eternal goodness. God could have destroyed the devil immediately when he rebelled against the Holy Father of creation, but he didn't. Do not call evil good and good evil which is what you assume in the above forementioned question. God is, by his nature, merciful. He wants to bring his creation to himself in worship because his creation CHOOSES freely to worship him. The very fact that evil still exists is a testimony to the charity and mercy of our Eternal Father in heaven. God is longsuffering, and tolerant, and wishes that everthing in his creation would repent choosing life over destruction.

Unfotunately, mankind chooses, all too often, to follow the path of the devil and that path is the way of destruction. Don't blame God.

Ken Johnson

Anonymous said...

Exodus 32:27-28, 35 - God kills 3000 men for dancing around Aaron's golden calf.
Numbers 16:49 - God sends a plague killing 14,700 people for complaining that he killed 250 whose offense had been that they burnt incense.
Numbers 31:1-35 - God kills over 90,000 of the midianite people including all the male children and all the females who are not virgins.
Judges 20:35 - God kills over 50,000 Benjamites for the crime of not being Israelites. He killed all the children too.

These are just a few examples of many. Are these the actions of a loving god? Sorry to say this, but if you are a christian and you can read these horrific stories of genocide and war crimes without seriously doubting the idea that god loves everyone, you have turned off your brain.

Again, do not call evil good and good evil as aforementioned above. God cannot be against Himself. This was the same deception that Jesus faced with the Pharasaical Jews of his day. The Pharasies were self-righteous. They were the “letter of the law” crowd that were so proud of their own righteousness that they became blind to the truth. They accused Jesus, the holy Son of God, of casting out demons by the power of satan after He healed a demon-possessed man on the sabbath. Healing or doing anything on the sabbath was a sin to the self-righteous hypocritical Pharasees. Here is how the Lord handled the situtation.

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.
And if satan cast out satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.
But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house.
He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”

Be very careful which god, Glenn, you are worshiping and calling good. Be very careful! You may find yourself on the wrong side.

Why does the bible not denounce slavery if an ALL KNOWING god inspired the writers and similiarly, why did jesus not make any attempt to stop slavery?

However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46)

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

Nearly everyone in the world would be quick to denounce the blight on humanity that is slavery (except modern day slave traders - yes, it still exists). Yet neither god nor jesus seemed to have any issue with it. This is yet another indication that the bible is a series of books written by people of that time that were in no way inspired by supernatural beings, particularly ALL KNOWING, supernatural beings

You are mis-quoting scripture. The King James version of the bible translates Ephesians 6:5 as:

“SERVANTS, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.”

We are, indeed to be servants, just as Jesus Christ came as a meek and lowly servant to mankind. Christ was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Servants do have masters as anyone who has worked a job knows. On the job there are masters (bosses) and there are servants (workers).

Again, you misrepresent God's inspired word and twist the scripture to your own destruction. I warn you again. Be very careful as to how you represent God!

Ken Johnson

Anonymous said...

If god is omnipotent, how does the devil have any power at all? Omnipotent after all means ALL POWERFUL. Nothing could have any power in the presence of a god who is ALL POWERFUL. The answer is this; there is no god, particularly not an ALL POWERFUL god.

The devil only has power that God has granted unto him as a created being. The devil can be resisted in the name of the Lord Jesus. James 4:7 states:

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.”

You are representing God as a harsh task master. God is not one to bring people into bondage. Satan does that. Satan is a harsh taskmaster that subjects us to the bondage and slavery to sin, not God.

God IS all powerful and his Son proved it when he miraculously rose from the dead. He will use his power to finally put down sin and rebellion for eternity future. Death will have no power over creation once this power is demonstrated. However, in the mean time, God is tarrying and allowing us to choose eternal life through the holy and precious blood of his only begotten son. Don't disrespect God.

Why is it that the 'god-inspired' writers of the bible were unable to recognize disabilities such as blindness and physical handicaps as just that? Even christ didn't seem to know that some people just happen to have various physical or mental disabilities. Shouldn't the son of an ALL KNOWING god understand such things?

Unlike medical science, God is not limited in the scope of what is possible. With man things like medical science are limited. Not so, with God. With God anything is possible.

Jesus showed us, in fact, by healing the disabled that God's desire for us is health and eternal life. Mankind suffers these things because, through Adam, sin and death came into the world. Rebellion is sin. It persists due to the hardness of the human heart. God is perfectly credible by the witness of faith. For faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Without faith, a person cannot please God. Unlike you, God is perfectly merciful, but we make choices. I pray that you will choose the path that leads to truth and life, which comes by way of Jesus Christ.

Ken Johnson

Anonymous said...

Again it seems likely that the writers of the bible, uninspired by ALL KNOWING heavenly beings, wrote from their perspective. Specifically the perspective of being ignorant of the basics of medical understanding which we now possess. Once again, the average 7 year old these days knows enough to know that some people are physically or mentally disabled. The ALL KNOWING supreme being that inspired the writers of the bible is running low on credibility.

Do not be proud of medical science and human accomplishment. If you place your trust in man's limited abilities, you will be disappointed. God created the truth and we need to be thankful that he has chosen to reveal his truth through medical science by grace. Thank God for his revelation. I am not ashamed of him.

"If the Christian belief system is false or based on fabricated source documents - how exactly under your current set of suppositions with the Bible as the only authoritative admissible evidence, would you ever be able to detect the falsity of that belief system?" The credit for this question goes to debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com as I read this question there first. Someone by the name of Eheffa apparently asked the question. I am still looking for the original source.

The answer very simply is that you would not be able to detect the falsity of your belief system and that is why I have to have such a blog post as this.

The way to approach this question is to first state the duality of man. There is a natural man and there is a spiritual man. The natural man cannot receive the things of the spirit for the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness to the natural man for they are spiritually discerned. So it is with the resurrection of the dead. The natural body is sown in corruption and is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body. You, my friend, are the one who cannot discern and therefore, detect the falsity of you belief system because you cannot discern spiritual things. As long as you worship created objects like science tries to do, you will never see the spirutal truth because spiritual truth is spiritually discerned. So it would be impossible to be on the same page about this question. May God grant you faith.

Ken Johnson

Anonymous said...

Why is it that christians are unaware that the bible's ideas are simply plagiurized from other sources? The ten commandments were mostly adapted from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. The virgin birth, the 12 disciples, the death and resurrection. It all comes from other religions. Christmas and Easter were pagan holidays until christianity 'borrowed' them.

At last we have something we can agree upon. Christmas is the pagan holiday of Saturnalia and Easter is the celebration to the Indo-European dawn goddess. In this country, these pagan holidays used to be illegal. Yes, my friend, there were laws on the books as recently as the nineteenth century forbidding these pagan celebrations. You are absolutely correct about these facts

Ken Johnson

Anonymous said...

I believe the answer is that Christians read the bible which seems to have left out the bibliography and they make a point of ignoring anything critical of the bible as heresy. And if it were still fashionable to burn people for heresy, that would still be going on. I challenged a friend to read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. He insisted that he would read it side by side with another book written by a christian that refutes what Dawkins' teaches. I wonder why he couldn't just read The God Delusion on its own. But he is a youth pastor and he seems afraid of what he might find out.

I think not. You need to be very careful at accusations. I would be glad to read “The God Delusion” and yes, I am sure I would refute all it's arguments based on the Holy Bible truths. You see the Holy Bible is 100% accurate. It is infallible. I would like to ask you this. Have you really read the King James Bible? I mean have you ever gotten a concordance and really studied out a particular topic in depth? Have you even read the synoptic gospels? Have you even read the book of Matthew? I would guess that you probably haven't. So, how can you criticize something you most probably haven't even read? And how can you know that you disagree with something when you don't even know what it says? Please, think about these questions in sincerity and faith.

Ken Johnson

Anonymous said...

I believe the answer is that Christians read the bible which seems to have left out the bibliography and they make a point of ignoring anything critical of the bible as heresy. And if it were still fashionable to burn people for heresy, that would still be going on. I challenged a friend to read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. He insisted that he would read it side by side with another book written by a christian that refutes what Dawkins' teaches. I wonder why he couldn't just read The God Delusion on its own. But he is a youth pastor and he seems afraid of what he might find out.

I think not. You need to be very careful at accusations. I would be glad to read “The God Delusion” and yes, I am sure I would refute all it's arguments based on the Holy Bible truths. You see the Holy Bible is 100% accurate. It is infallible. I would like to ask you this. Have you really read the King James Bible? I mean have you ever gotten a concordance and really studied out a particular topic in depth? Have you even read the synoptic gospels? Have you even read the book of Matthew? I would guess that you probably haven't. So, how can you criticize something you most probably haven't even read? And how can you know that you disagree with something when you don't even know what it says? Please, think about these questions in sincerity and faith.

Why was the time that religion ruled the world called "The Dark Ages?" Similarly why is the time when state funded religious schools in Canada attempted to teach the aboriginal children about Christianity now considered to be the "darkest, most tragic chapter in Canadian history (according to Phil Fontaine and many others)?" BBC article

I can't answer this last question very well myself although I suspect it has something to do with the church attracting a higher than average number of feeble-minded, insecure, power-hungry types who end up playing the politics and abuse their power at every opportunity. Every church has them. The residential schools were filled with them. Think about the abuse in the catholic church, the troubles in Ireland, the infighting in every church, go back in history to the crusades and so on. And for the record, I do believe there are good and occasionally, intelligent people involved in the church too. It is just that they rarely end up in positions of power.

My friend, again, we have some common ground. “Religion” is hardly even mentioned in the bible. “Religion” and faith are two different things. We need to make sure what we are talking about. Religion is a man-made device, According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “religion” is:

a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

It is nothing more or nothing less that this. Wicca, Mormonism, Confusianism, Hinduism and all the other -isms are all “religions”. If any man amoung you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is in vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widow's in their afflictions, and to keep himself uspotted from the world.

The reformation of the church beginning with Martin Luther ushered out the “dark ages” and actually led to bible-believing christianity and the enlightenment of the Renessiance. So be careful again of stereotyping.

Ken Johnson

Anonymous said...

I encourage my christian friends and other christians to try to answer these questions. In the intellectually inbred world known as modern christianity I have no doubt that many of you think that you have intelligent answers. However I doubt very much that you will post serious answers that would be acceptable in any academic setting. My guess is that most of you will avoid posting comments in response to these questions. But if you can't answer these questions, but somehow KNOW BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that god is real and jesus died on the cross, you have been indoctrinated. In that case I suggest you get out the Jesus Riding Dinosaurs Colouring Book, prepare your rapturous red and leviathan green crayons and continue to ignore the doubts that cast a shadow on the credibility of your beliefs (see next post).

I would beg you to be gracious. The Lord Jesus Christ died for you. God the Father in heaven, in his undivided grace and charity, spared not his only begotten son that mankind would have a chance at God's original intention for us to have eternal life with him. I have that charity. Do you? Here is an illustration for you to ponder. Have you ever seen Michaelangelo's fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel?

The ceiling fresco is a depiction of the moment of creation.  God extends his hand toward Adam his son.  Adam is depicted in a somewhat passive body posture.  He seems like he is not too interested in God.  He reclines as if he were catching some "rays" at the beach in July.  Contrast this posture with God.  In Michelangelo's creation moment, God is moving ever closer to Adam. God's finger stretches forth toward his son in exacting purposeful grace. It is not Adam who is interested in what God has to give.  It is God who is the mover in creation.  He extends his loving gesture toward Adam who seems somewhat indifferent.  It is God who is the essence of all that is in the universe.  His love toward his creation abounds in truth witnessed throughout time and space.

I will leave you with one other point of agreement. You mention rather sarcastically that I get out the “Jesus Riding Dinosaurs Colouring Book” and crayons. This brings up my last point. You are correct that in order to be a Christian, one must submit to God in child-like faith. This doesn't mean to be childish. Be careful. In Matthew chapter 18, the bible begins with the disciples of Jesus contending with the Lord and asking which of them would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them. And said, “Verily I say unto you. Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” So, let us end in agreement. My friend, the Lord Jesus Christ went through the indescribable torture of death and shame, crucified alive for you and I. Don't cast “pearls before swine” and degrade the precious Lord Jesus. Glenn, life is like a vapour. The bible says that it appears for a short time and is gone. Please, if you must err, err on the side of caution. If you believe in Jesus and he doesn't exist or if there is no God, then nothing is lost in eternity future. However, if Jesus truly is who he says he is and there is, in fact, a holy and just God, do you really want to experience a future suffering eternally, knowing you had a chance to believe, but didn't? Which is the greater loss? I will pray, Glenn, that you make the right choice. God bless you and keep you. May the light of Jesus shine in you forever.

Ken Johnson