Old-Earthers and Theistic Evolutionists: Are You Prepared to Call God Incompetent or a Deceiver?

There’s lots of debate among Christians and theologians these days as to whether the Bible teaches a young or old Earth, and whether the early chapters of Genesis are literal history or symbolism/allegory. To me, the text of Genesis is clearly literal history that clearly teaches a young Earth. And it is a fact that most Christian scholars and thinkers through the centuries affirmed the Scriptural support for a young earth.

Something else, however, that people need to consider in this debate but usually don’t: What does it say about God if the opening chapters of Genesis are merely symbolic or allegorical but God nonetheless let his people carry on for thousands of years thinking that they were literal? And what does it say about God if He used long ages and evolutionary processes to create, yet let his people believe, for thousands of years, that the opposite was true?

It would mean one of two things: God is incompetent, or He’s a deceiver. If God created us using long ages and evolution, but couldn’t create us in such a way that we could understand those truths from the very beginning of our existence—straightforwardly and without symbolism—He’s not the all-powerful God the Bible says He is. And if God created us using long ages and evolution and WAS able to make us understand those truths from the beginning but simply didn’t—instead letting us go on blathering about 6 days and special creation and looking like fools—then He’s a deceiver and not very nice.

So long-agers and theistic evolutionists, etc., need to ask themselves: Do I believe that God is incompetent? Do I believe that God is a deceiver? To me, the answer is a clear and emphatic, “No, God is neither,” and the implications of that answer are also clear: God is powerful enough to not only create us, but to create us as intelligent beings capable of understanding truth in a straightforward manner, from the very beginning of our existence; and He loves us enough to not deceive us, and to not mislead us and make fools of us.

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The Absurdity of Evolutionary Thought

Anti-evolution car in Athens, Georgia

Anti-evolution car in Athens, Georgia. … (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe in creationism, not evolution, so of course there are many things about evolution I find absurd, but perhaps most absurd are the origins arguments evolutionists propose.

To begin at the broadest point, evolution posits that somehow something came from nothing—literally. Somehow, according to the theory, the universe exploded into existence where there previously had been not just a void (which is something), but nothing at all, no material existence. To narrow things a bit more, evolution says life sprang from nonlife, that a pool of chemicals (and who knows where those came from) produced some sort of reaction that in turn produced the first living organism, like Frankenstein’s monster rising from a pile of lifeless, stitched-together body parts.

Something from nothing. Life from nonlife. Without any outside assistance or intervention.

Completely absurd.

But it gets even better. I’ll presume, for the sake of argument, that this primordial soup of chemicals did produce the first living organism, some sort of single-celled creature. This life form would have to be self-replicating, which is reasonable (such organisms exist today), but where would it get the genetic information to produce anything but more single-celled organisms like itself? Did random mutations produce new information? Impossible; mutations do not produce new info—in fact, any mutations would result only in a loss of genetic information, so the only thing the single-celled organism could produce would be more versions of itself, and genetically degraded ones at that. Thus, without outside assistance or intervention, no new information would be available, which means no other life forms could ever have arisen.

Evolutionists often enjoy mocking Biblical, creationist thinking, but if God is God, He can do anything. More to the point, He can do all the things that atheistic, evolutionary thinking can’t account for: create something out of nothing, create life from nonlife, and create all the basic kinds of creatures, each kind independent of the others but with enough built-in genetic flexibility to produce the great variety of species we see in the world today.

No God = No Morals; or, Gettin’ Preachy Wit It

Morality

Morality: God’s property. … (Photo credit: tdietmut)

Editor’s note: This post is the latest segment of my ongoing conversation with fellow WordPress blogger Bluepearlgirl’s World, whom I refer to in shorthand fashion as BW. I’m now responding to her comments that are available for viewing below my previous post, which you can read here. Much of what I now present to you is directed specifically at BW, but please know that I’m also speaking to a broader audience.

Alright, BW, get ready to pony up on that 50-cent wager: I live in Los Angeles County—though, to be fair, I’m originally from the East Coast, so make it 25 cents and I’ll call it good.

I understand that other people, like myself, are passionate about their deepest-held beliefs, whatever they are. You’re passionate, and that’s fine, but I think your passion is keeping you from simply understanding some basic points I was trying to make, regardless of whether you would agree with them. For example, in response to you saying that you were tired of constantly hearing “God talk,” I wrote that I can’t imagine that you hear much “God talk” in San Francisco—and you responded to that by insinuating that I was calling everyone in San Francisco immoral. That’s not at all what I was saying. My point was simply that San Francisco is a highly liberal town, and I’m pretty sure it’s not crawling with street preachers. That’s it. Am I wrong? Are there, in fact, a lot of people in San Francisco preaching the Bible and the Gospel of Christ? Because this is one time I’d be ecstatic to be wrong.

I did address the issue of morality in my last post, but I never said—or even implied—that all San Franciscans (is that the right term?) are immoral. What I said was that if there is no God, then a discussion of morality is a moot point—in fact, that without God, the concept of morality wouldn’t even exist, and we couldn’t be having a discussion about it.

Think of it this way (and I’m borrowing from C.S. Lewis here): If a fish has lived all its life in the dark depths of some giant trench in the ocean floor, then not only will it have no idea what “light” is, it will not even realize what “dark” is, because it will have had nothing (light) with which to compare the dark. The environment in which it lives simply “is.” Likewise, you can’t understand what a crooked line is unless you have some idea of a straight line. So if there was no God, from Whom morality originates, we would have no understanding of “right,” or of “wrong”; everything would simply “be.” You would have your preferences and I would have mine, but that’s all they’d be; you and I would never have a problem with anything the other one did—because we’d be literally incapable of having a problem with anything (there would be no such thing as “problem” behavior).

You contend, like many other liberals, that people can be moral without God. Perhaps you believe that morality comes from evolution, or from “nature,” or perhaps that whatever we call “morals” are simply those things that evolved in us to help our species survive (such as “don’t murder”). The problem with those ideas, however, is that what they’re talking about is not true morality: the “morals” they entail are not things that are objectively true, they’re not absolute rights and wrongs; they’re merely concepts that helped our species survive—and which are subject to change. These ideas, in fact, would seem to equate “morality” with “survival” … but what if I felt that my survival depended on murdering you? In that case, “don’t murder” wouldn’t be moral; “murder” would be moral, because it’s what helped me survive! Now you’ve entered the dangerous territory of moral relativity, where one day something’s right and the next it’s wrong. This is what happens, though, when you move away from an objective, absolute, outside-of-human-existence standard—something only God can provide.

I also contend that when it comes to morality, liberals try to have their cake and eat it too: they want to live a life without God, ignoring Him and the responsibilities we have to Him, while at the same time borrowing from the moral ethic He created, but only when it suits them. They want to be able to do what they want, but if they have a problem with something that others are doing (even though those other people should likewise be able to do what they want), they protest, making some sort of moral-based claim (“Gays have rights, too!). But wait: Their belief system doesn’t have an objective standard of morality, and they reject the God who does provide such a standard, so on what basis are they making such claims? On nothing more than their own opinion, which is based only on what suits their desires at the time.

It’s this type of mentality that leads many liberals to do contradictory things, such as acting passionately to protect animals and forests while giving their okay to abortion. Or telling Christians to mind their own business on sexual matters while at the same time pushing society to accept so-called “homosexual rights.” So, animals are more important than innocent human life? And liberals can push a radical sexual agenda but Christians are supposed to just shut up and accept it? Those are the kind of absurd inconsistencies you get when you have nothing concrete to build your life on.

ANSWERING A FEW OF BW’S SPECIFIC QUESTIONS/CONCERNS

Her quotes, followed by my responses:

“I just think you are talking one thing but preaching (and yes i mean preaching) something very different.”

Of course I’m preaching; it’s my job. Jesus issued the Great Commission to all His followers: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew chapter 28, verses 19-20).

“The Chinese empire … as well as some of the most complex cultures thriving in South America. AND before this time there was the Assyrians and the Babylonian and Mesopotamian societies not to mention the Olmec and the Sumarians. Are you really telling me that they must have had nothing to believe in because Jesus was not born yet? … And what about the Koran? What about Buddha?”

* What do I say about pre-Christian societies? They’ll be judged according to what knowledge they had available to them, as it states in Romans 1:19-20:

Because what may be known of God is manifest in them (people), for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

This also goes for those who are alive on this earth today but will die without ever having heard the Gospel, such as the people who live deep in the jungle and have never had contact with the outside world. God is fair, and whatever He decides will be fair.

* What do I say about the Koran, and Buddha, etc.? I say they’re wrong—not necessarily 100% wrong, but wrong on the most important questions and issues. How could you expect me to say otherwise? I’m a Christian; of course I’m not going to believe what non-Christians believe; then I wouldn’t be a Christian, would I? There’s also this idea that religion is like ice cream flavors: whichever one is your favorite, whichever works for you, that’s what’s true for you. No. That doesn’t cut it, because unlike something that is truly subjective, such as favorite ice cream flavor, there is an objective truth about existence: either there’s one God, or multiple gods, or no God; it can’t be more than one of those options. Either we got here by evolution, or God put us here; it can’t be both. If God is real, He’s either going to expect certain things from us, or He’s not—but it can’t be both. Religion, contrary to liberal philosophy, is not an “anything goes, whatever’s true for you” proposition; it’s as fact-based as meteorology or the rules of baseball.

“You have absolutely no knowledge of any of these ‘non believers’ around the world, so how could you know that they are soul-less?”

* My disagreement with them doesn’t mean I think they’re soulless, and I never said they are.

* I don’t think you can say that I have “absolutely no knowledge of any of these ‘non believers’ around the world.” You don’t know how much I know, or don’t know, or what I’ve studied and haven’t studied. In fact, I’ve done a fair amount of studying of other religions, because I believe that it’s my job to be prepared to engage in discussions with people of those faiths, but your comments inquiring as to what I think about other religions and holy books betrays another common liberal mistake: believing that Christians should be open to other belief systems—and by “open” I don’t mean “willing to consider the truth claims of other religions” (which I’ve done, and obviously decided against), but “willing to agree that all religions ‘basically say the same thing’ and are equally valid.” I’m sure you’ll think this to be harsh, but: They’re not equally valid. A simple side-by-side comparison quickly demonstrates that not all religions “basically say the same thing,” and that many of them hold to beliefs that are in stark contrast to one another. Further, the Judeo-Christian faith tradition is the only one that addresses the fundamental human flaw: sin.

“I do not like it when people push their ideas onto you as if there is a right to force feed anyone your belief system… and if they arent buying it, push it harder.”

I’m not pushing my ideas onto anyone, or force-feeding anyone, or condemning anyone; I’m using a public platform to state my beliefs—the things I stand behind and the things I’m against—and you can take it or leave it.

“The difference with us is that i do not think that i already have all of the answers and that is ok with me.”

I don’t think I have all the answers, and I love (being sarcastic here) how liberals like to shoot back at Christians with that type of reactionary accusation when Christians say something that liberals deem unpalatable—and you’ve done that to me multiple times already: I merely stated my beliefs, but somehow that made me guilty of calling all San Franciscans immoral, and people of other faiths soulless, and of being pushy with my beliefs.

“And let me ask you… a real christian, which one is it… The new testament or the old?

Both. The Old Testament highlights human sinfulness and the need for a Savior, and the New Testament tells the story of that Savior. Taken together, the two testaments comprise the story of God’s love for all people.

And don’t think I missed the subtle jabs at my faith you tossed in throughout your posts: that I follow a “dude” who “may have been a cult leader” and “may not have even existed,” that I believe in “a snake and an apple” and that the writings I follow “were written 300 years” after my “god died.” But that’s alright; Jesus said that would happen, so I’m prepared for it. Just want you to know that I know. 😉

But since you brought those things up:

  • Jesus definitely existed. We even have extrabiblical evidence of this in the writings of Jewish historian Josephus.
  • The snake was originally a serpent, with legs, before God cursed it with having no legs.
  • We don’t know what the forbidden fruit was.
  • All of the New Testament was written within the lifetimes of Jesus’s original 12 apostles, and much of it was written by those very men, who were eyewitnesses to what Jesus did and said.

Alright, I suppose that’s enough for now.

Savage’s Anti-Christian Comments Don’t Pass BS Test

Sex advice columnist, journalist, and newspape...

Dan Savage. ... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Liberal columnist and homosexual rights advocate Dan Savage recently called the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality “bullsh*t,” then had the nerve to write in a blog post Sunday that his words were “being spun as an attack on Christianity. Which is bullshhh… which is untrue.”

I’ve heard Mr. Savage before, in CNN segments regarding the issue of so-called “homosexual rights” (as if homosexuals don’t have the same political freedoms as the rest of us), and I feel confident in saying he’s a jerk—pompous and loud, not to mention the obvious vulgarity.

First, his initial comment came during a conference for the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. Umm, what exactly does homosexuality have to do with the profession of journalism? Oh, and this was a gathering of high school students, so I’d just like to say thanks to whomever was responsible for exposing high school kids to this clown.

After several Christian students walked out of Savage’s presentation—and congratulations to those young people for taking a stand—Savage said, “It’s funny to someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible how pansya**ed people react when you push back.” He later apologized for that remark, but not for the first one, and this entire situation just shows how classless this guy is. I’m not privy to precisely what Mr. Savage has experienced in his life, but speaking for myself, I’ve never used the Bible to “beat” anybody, only to tell others what God has said, and I’ve also discovered that it’s common practice for advocates of the homosexual movement to label any criticism of homosexuality as bigoted, homophobic hate speech, thereby demonizing anyone who dares oppose them.

I’m sure that there are some people, such as the despicable folks of the Westboro Baptist Church, who have used the Bible as a pretext for truly hateful behavior, but those people aren’t real Christians, and such behavior is not the norm for Christians. The Bible’s message, contrary to what cherry-picking critics say, is of true love, and I’m so sick of people misrepresenting God, the Bible, Christianity and Christians. Mr. Savage says the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality are BS, and I’m sure he truly feels that way, but I’m also sure his reasoning is based purely on emotion and the fact that he wants to be able to do what he wants without regard to what God thinks about it, not because there’s anything objectively right with homosexuality (there isn’t).

The fact is that advocates of the homosexual movement, by and large, don’t want to have a reason-based discussion about this issue, because they realize that they’d lose such a debate—nature and nature’s God stand in opposition to their wishes—and because they mostly don’t care about what “the other side” thinks; they care only about their desires. Thus their appeal to “love” for justification, but their idea of love is much different from the love that God is, the love that the Bible preaches—their “love,” in fact, is anything but. So what argument are they left with?

Nothing, I guess, except for calling us pansya**es and our beliefs bullsh*t.

Religion, Cults, and Why I Believe What I Believe

Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Pontius Pilate p...

Who do YOU say this man is? ... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s Note: Fellow WordPress blogger Bluepearlgirl’s World recently started a conversation about religion, with a special emphasis on religions vs. cults. She reblogged my post “Joseph Smith, Con Man Extraordinaire” on her site, for which I’m grateful, and I told her that I’d like to join her conversation with a post on my site. Plus, my wife recently made the great suggestion that in addition to all the posts I’ve been writing about other faiths and how they compare to Christianity, it would be nice for me to write a post explaining what I believe and why. So consider this a “two-birds-one-stone” type of post.

To give just a brief background of my “faith history”: I was born and raised in an American Baptist church and gave my life to Christ at a young age, but I didn’t really make the faith my own, apart from my parents’ or anyone else’s wishes, until my early 20s. Since then, I’ve continued to learn and grow and serve as a Christian, these days as a member of a Presbyterian congregation.

As someone who’s spent a lot of time studying other belief systems as well as my own, a couple of things immediately come to mind regarding the issue of religions vs. cults, and whether there’s a difference between the two.

1) Cults are secretive. For example, non-Mormons are not allowed at Mormon weddings. I went through this experience twice; two of my friends from high school were Mormons, and I was invited only to their receptions—not because they didn’t want me at their weddings, but because I wasn’t allowed. There are many things, in fact, that Mormons are told to not share with the outside world, and some Mormons get quite angry when ex-Mormons write about any of these things. Scientology also seems to keep a lot of its practices on the down-low. … On the other hand, my current church and my former church have nothing to hide: you can attend our services, participate in any of our activities, read our reports, even sit in on meetings of the congregation and various church boards—in fact, the only thing a nonmember can’t do is vote, but the reasons for that, I think, should be obvious.

2) Cults TAKE your money, literally. The only way to advance in Scientology is to pay ever-increasing amounts of money—this is why most Scientologists are celebrities: they’re about the only ones who can afford to belong. And to be a member in good standing of the Mormon church, you HAVE to give 10% of your income to the church—church officials even check your financial records to confirm that you’ve paid done your duty. … On the other hand, at the two churches I’ve been a part of, giving (whether money, time, or other resources) is 100% voluntary, and you’re not penalized if you don’t give, or if you give less than others.

Regarding the issue of religion more generally, and why I believe it’s necessary …

Yes, I was born and raised in a church. Yes, I was told what was true and what wasn’t, what’s right and what’s wrong. Yes, my parents hoped, even if they didn’t expect, that I would follow in their faith footsteps. And yes, I’m glad for all these things, and each of them surely had an impact on me … but none of them is the primary reason why, as an independent adult, I choose to still have this faith in Jesus.

And make no mistake: it is a choice. However you’re brought up, you have to take ownership of your decisions at some point, for they are yours alone. And what I’ve chosen is based on what I have gone through in my life. As I mentioned earlier, I accepted Jesus into my life as my savior and lord at a young age, around 8 or 10 (my memory’s a little fuzzy), but I didn’t fully embrace this faith as my own, didn’t really enter into a daily, personal relationship with Jesus, until my early 20s. The catalysts for this transformation were a couple little things called anxiety disorder and depression; to make a long story short (if you care to know more details, just ask), I suddenly found myself, through no wish of my own, in a very dark place, and though I was confused and hurt and scared nearly to death, one thing seemed clear: God was telling me that after I’d spent years of being a “cruise-control” Christian—not taking my faith as seriously as I should, and not being all that intentional in my relationship with God—I needed to make a choice: Was I going to live for God? Yes or no? That part of it, at least, was that simple.

It was clear to me, through this experience and through other, less-traumatic ones in my earlier years, that God was real. I had seen Him move in my life, seen Him take actions that were designed to bring me closer to being whole (as in “healthy”), as He’d always intended me to be. I’d also seen Him move in the lives of others. I’d seen Him prove His faithfulness, confirming what I read in the Bible. In other words: I’d seen more than enough.

Which sort of leads to my next point: Whatever is true in life, I want to follow it. It seems to me that the wise and life-giving thing to do is to go after whatever is true, whatever is real; if there’s Someone out there who gave us life, who’s the author of our existence, then He’s what’s real and true. And why would I want to follow after something that’s a lie, anyway? I don’t want my life to be a lie, and I don’t want to pattern my existence after a lie. In much the same way that mechanical devices don’t work properly unless they’re operated and maintained according to how their designers intended them to be operated and maintained, no one’s life is going to “work properly” unless it’s patterned after the One who designed it. Obviously, I believe that Jesus is what He called Himself: The Way, The Truth, and The Life. So that’s another reason why I follow Him.

I also follow Him because I believe that I really have offended Him with several of my behaviors but that He nonetheless gave His life in exchange for mine, paying the penalty I deserve, and so He’s worthy of my gratitude for what He’s done for me, and the best way to “pay Him back” is to pledge my life to Him. This is in addition to the fact that if He is God (which I believe He is), and if He brought me into existence (which I believe He did), those two things alone make Him worthy of my devotion and allegiance.

And now, just a bit more concerning what I believe about God and Jesus. In short, I believe what the Bible says about them, and only what the Bible says about them—because I also believe that the Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of God, delivered to us through men but coming directly from Him by the inspiration of His Spirit working in these men. I also adhere to what Christians have adhered to for two millennia: The Apostles’ Creed, which is as follows:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

I also believe in the Trinity—God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit, and that these are three representations, or three modes of being, of the same God. I realize that this is one of the hardest doctrines for nonbelievers to grapple with, and I don’t claim to fully understand it—I’m not sure anyone does this side of Heaven—but I feel I understand it enough to know that it’s not only possible but true.

How do I know the Bible is trustworthy? I’ve read it a lot, and I know that what critics often refer to as “internal inconsistencies” in the Biblical text are, upon close inspection, perfectly reconcilable. I’ve also done a fair amount of studying regarding the historical facts of Biblical texts—who wrote them, and when, and whether their motives were valid, and whether these people were in a position to speak authoritatively about the events described in the Bible. As you no doubt surmised, I believe that the factual, historical evidence points to the Biblical texts being authentic, reliable witnesses to the story of God and of Jesus Christ.

And even though God requires us to have faith, He also gave us brains and logic and the capacity to reason, and I believe that it is perfectly possible for a sane, reasonable person to follow the Christian faith and believe what I believe. I see no reason, in fact, why reason, science, or “rational thought” hinder someone from coming to faith in Christ.

A Few Other Points

There were a few specific points in the Bluepearlgirl’s World (BW) post that I want to address. First, she shares a quote from Yahoo! Answers that basically says the only difference between religions and cults is that religions are old and cults are new, so anything now considered a religion is just a cult that’s been around a long time, and anything now considered a cult will one day, if it lasts long enough, be considered a religion. I think, however, that the person who wrote this is guilty of two things: 1) believing the lie that only so-called “religious people” are religious; and 2) failing to realize that for people such as myself, “religion” is not a matter of following a certain set of principles or a certain list of do’s and don’ts, but is instead about figuring out what the truth of reality is and following that (it’s not that religion is a compartment of my life, but that following the truth is my life). I addressed the latter part earlier, and as for the former, it’s my contention that every person has a set of beliefs about life and existence, and that set of beliefs, whatever its constitution and however it’s labeled, is that person’s religion. Religion doesn’t have to be an organized affair such as Christianity; if you worship nature and believe that aliens seeded life on Earth, then that is your religion.

BW also addressed the idea of morality, that she is not without a values system and that she doesn’t need a church to instill morals in her. I see a lot of atheists and other liberals these days making a similar claim, essentially saying that people can be moral without God. I disagree. In a Godless scenario, there can be no other legitimate arbiter of morality than the individual, with each person deciding for him/herself what’s right and wrong; in such a situation, there can be no objective, universal standard of right and wrong, and thus no morality—every belief, every action, simply is, and if you don’t like what I do or say or believe, oh well. Tough luck for you. So even though today’s liberals say that they can be moral without God, what they are in fact doing is living Godless lives while borrowing quite a lot from the Judeo-Christian moral ethic. Otherwise, they could make no claims about morality; they could make no statement about what people should or shouldn’t do. Should or shouldn’t according to whom? is what I’d like to ask them. If I tell you that abortion is wrong, I can at least point to the Bible and God’s emphasis on valuing innocent life, but when the atheist or other liberal tells me that “what women do with their bodies” is none of my business, on what authority are they saying that? None but their own, and since they choose to live apart from God, their claims are nothing more than opinions with no foundation, and thus worthless.

BW believes that an entity such as a church can be dangerous if it has too much power … but so can anything else. I think Barack Obama is dangerous and has too much power. And certainly there are plenty of individuals and corporate entities outside of churches that have too much power and are thus dangerous. As I’ve said elsewhere, religion, like anything (money, fame, etc.), is a tool that can be used for good or evil, and the real problem with people is not religion but the corrupt human heart. So you’ve known Christians who did you wrong—hey, as much as we’re supposed to be examples of Christ, even the most sincere Christian sometimes falls, and there are many people who aren’t Christians but merely call themselves that. You should really be looking at Christ, not at fallen man, because ultimately you’ll be judged based not on what you think about Christians, but on what you believe about Christ.

BW questions whether Jesus even existed. Obviously I believe He did, and as I stated earlier, I believe that the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), not to mention Acts and the letters of Paul and other apostles, are legitimate, accurate, authoritative texts, and thus constitute plenty of evidence that Jesus did exist (not to mention that Jewish historian Josephus also wrote about Christ).

Some Quick Hitters

Comments from BW, followed by my short responses.

“There has been more death, bloodshed and abuse thanks to the untouchable-ness of organized religion.” … The 20th century was the bloodiest in the history of mankind, and nearly all of it was due to the horrible acts of atheistic tyrants such as Stalin and Pol Pot. And I would argue that even a lot of the deaths in so-called “religous wars” throughout history were at the hands of people who didn’t really care about any particular religion but were simply using religion as a tool to gain the domination they sought.

“I have to listen to all of the “god” talk that permeates my every day life” … No offense meant, BW, but you live in San Francisco; how much God talk really goes on there?

“No memorizing scripture that is redundant to curent society.  I think maybe cults have figured out that their teaching needs to fit into the times.” … If something is true, then it’s timeless. The Bible is not a dusty relic but a word picture of reality—a reality that’s never changed and never will. Times have changed, yes, but people are as fickle and corrupt as ever, and as much in need of the Truth as ever.

“I think Jesus Christ must have been an incredible speaker with a lot of chrisma and taking people who feel disenfranchised to join his cause.  …But that IS how most cult leaders are seen by their disciples.  Jesus WOULD have been a cult leader back in his time.” … No doubt some people in Jesus’s time thought he was whacko, a cult leader, but Jesus and His original followers were not isolated, cut off, from the rest of the world like cults are, nor did the Apostles relinquish every earthly article or cease living the lives God gave them—we know, for example, that Peter still owned a home, and that he and Andrew and James and John continued their vocations as fishermen.

I do agree, however, with Christian author Josh McDowell’s statement that when it comes to Jesus, you really have only three choices about what to believe: He was a liar, He was a lunatic, or He really was (and is) the Son of God. Well, He had nothing to gain by lying (His horrible death and empty bank account proved that), and if He was a lunatic, none of what He said should be believed (including his moral teachings, which even many liberals call “good”), so I can see only one possibility: He’s the Truth.

To whoever has hung in there with me thus far, thanks for reading. Like BW, I mean no disrespect to anyone, but I gotta say what’s on my heart. =)

Hatred of God is Atheists’ True Motivation

Adam Sedgwick, 1867

Adam Sedgwick (1867)—not a God-hater. ... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just came across this quote from 19th-century creationist geologist Adam Sedgwick:

“From first to last it is a dish of rank materialism cleverly cooked up … . And why is this done? For no other reason, I am sure, except to make us independent of a Creator.”

Sedgwick wrote this around 1861 after he read Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, and that last line struck me, a fresh reminder of something I’ve long thought: the driving force for atheism and atheists is not the belief that there is no God, but the desire for there to be no God.

I can’t say with 100% certainty that I’ve ever had a personal encounter with an atheist who truly, honestly believed there’s no God. I find it intriguing that my interactions with atheists have always revealed not a genuine disbelief in God but a genuine dislike of God—in fact, a genuine disdain for the very idea of God.

This makes sense. For people who want to do what they want to do, God is a great inconvenience. For people who want no ultimate accountability, the eradication of God is the key to a happy existence—at least, what they think will be a happy existence. Sure, there’s no “empirical” evidence for God, but there’s none of that against Him, either, and so it really is a question of faith, regardless of which side of the question you come down on … but it seems to me that it would take a great deal more faith to follow the path of atheism, to believe that order and logic, and life itself, came about accidentally, with no mind initiating and propelling the process—and I think it far less likely for such a faith to be an atheist’s motivation as opposed to pure, unadulterated dislike of God.

In fact, I think it’s impossible—yes, I said it—impossible for a person to have a genuine, authentic, nonselfish, non-“dislike of God”-inspired atheistic faith. If you’re an atheist, it’s not because you truly believe there’s no God, it’s because you don’t want for there to be a God. I base this, of course, on personal experience, for it seems that every atheist I’ve met—while claiming that there is no God—is nonetheless angry at God. And how can you be angry at Someone who doesn’t exist?

I also base my belief, of course, on what the Bible says. Psalm 14:1 states: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’ “; I’ve always taken this to mean that you’d have to be blind to not see that God is real—in other words, that you could mistakenly but naively believe there’s no God; like, a person who’s just clueless—but now I’m wondering if it refers to something else: The one who, for purely selfish reasons, has turned his back on what he knows to be true. That would be true foolishness.

P.S.: After seeing this photo of Sedgwick, I can totally picture him saying the above quote, with just the right amount of crotchetiness and humorous disdain, and I imagine he was a cool old curmudgeon—in the best sense of the word. =)

Atheist Votes ‘Nay’ to my ‘Yay,’ but He No Listen to What I Say

I recently published a post on evangelist Anne Graham Lotz saying she won’t vote for atheist political candidates, and stated my agreement with her position. I also said this shouldn’t ruffle any feathers though I knew it would … and it did. I got the following comment on the post:

Shouldn’t ruffle any feathers, huh? Because people whose moral character has just been malined ought not to object, especially not when a reason can be produced for that which makes their actual thoughts, words, and actions completely irrelevant to the question of theiir character.

Not the clearest English I’ve ever seen, but I think what this guy is saying is that Lotz and I were maligning the moral character of professed atheists. I can’t speak for Lotz, but as for myself, I certainly wasn’t intending to malign or otherwise judge the moral character of atheists; being an atheist doesn’t by definition make you immoral (though I would argue that being an atheist does by definition make morality a moot point). But anyway, my point wasn’t about morality.

My point was simply that I, as a Christian, don’t want an atheist in power. Simple as that. I believe that religious liberty has already suffered enough in this country in recent decades, and even if it hadn’t, I wouldn’t want the reins being held by someone possibly hostile to religious freedom. I also believe that true wisdom (which I would want my leader to have) comes from God, and an atheist obviously wouldn’t have access to that. I’m not saying atheists are stupid, but because of their atheism they approach life in a way that precludes the highest form of wisdom—God’s a heck of a lot wiser than any of us, so I want access to His wisdom, and I want my leaders to have access to that wisdom.

 

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