Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Is Talking to Atheists Hopeless?

The evolution of atheist thought is interesting to watch.
. First it’s - “Jesus was just a man.”
PROBLEM: documents from antiquity show that some very “other” things took place during the life of Jesus.

. Then it’s - “There are no extra Biblical documents referring to Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Show me even one and I’ll change my mind.”
PROBLEM: As it turns out there are dozens of extra Biblical references to Jesus from the time of Jesus and /or his disciples, from both friend and enemy alike.

. So it’s - “Well, you can’t trust that information. If it comes from an eyewitness, I won’t accept it because I declare that eyewitness testimony isn’t reliable. If it comes from a student or close associate of the eyewitness I won’t accept that either because I declare that it’s hearsay and hearsay isn’t reliable either.”

. Finally it’s - Jesus didn’t even exist.
I don’t know what Oy Vey means, but I think it might fit here. I just read today, “A fanatic is one who entrenches himself in invincible ignorance.” That certainly fits most of the atheists with whom I’ve spoken regarding the life of Jesus.

So the atheist boasts to h/herself, “Now that I’ve effectively eliminated any evidence that disagrees with my world-view, I solemnly declare that I will fearlessly follow the evidence regardless of where it might lead.”

This kind of retreating and changing of boundaries and definitions goes on and on and on in the atheist’s world. Reality is, if you debate with an atheist, that person will reject offer after offer. On the other hand, ask an atheist what evidence s/he would consider reliable regarding the life of Jesus and the silence that follows will extend on into infinity. That’s because the atheist’s rejection of Jesus has nothing to do with evidence or the lack thereof. The rejection of Jesus is a choice that is made regardless of evidence. Some have said, “If Jesus appeared in front of me, then I’d believe.” The fact is, the atheist would NOT believe if Jesus just appeared in front of h/her. That type of event would entail and miracle and atheists do not believe in miracles. If Jesus appeared the atheist would come up with a naturalistic explanation for seeing Jesus and that would be the end of it.

The only point that I can see, in talking to atheists on the net is that there might be someone who is an honest seeker listening in. For the rest? Well, as the saying goes, “The gates of hell are locked from the inside.”

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Observations and Atheism

One of the things that I've noticed, even as a child is that being in rebellion to God seemed to make a person stupid or foolish. Even today I witness intelligent people doing things that are so obviously going to turn out badly. Yet they do them anyway. When I first began interacting with those who live according to the atheist faith, which is by definition in rebellion to Creator God, they struck me as dull of mind and slow of thought. Yet, because atheists, on average, are no more or no less "sinful" than anyone else, I began to wonder if it was simply one's alienation from God and not sin itself that causes smart people to do and think in a really stunted manner. Let me give you an example that has been touched on in recent posts.

Dawkins, Harris, Dennett and Hitchens.
Every single one of them is an intelligent person.
Every single one of them is an educated person.
Every single one of them has asked the kindergarten level question,

“Who / What created God?”

Most, if not all atheists have also asked this question. Why? Well, there’s a lot of reasons but one of them is a quirky trait that seems to be shared by all atheists. Atheists seem to be, to an extreme very literal, black and white, rigid and repetitive, linear thinkers. If Matthew says that an angel talked to Mary at the tomb of Jesus, and John says the angel spoke in the presence of women, atheists cannot see any other possibility than it must be a contradiction. They really can't do it. Now, some of them are just too stupid to be able to see more than one possibility yet many are at least intelligent enough to have graduated high school.

Nevertheless, the ability to comprehend the nature of anything that can’t be seen or touched is simply beyond the average atheist. Take for instance these scientific facts:

. Everything that begins to exist has a cause / explanation for its beginning.

. The universe had a beginning.

. Therefore the beginning of the universe had a cause and an explanation for its beginning.

Until they recognised the metaphysical implications of a universe with a beginning, atheists could allow themselves to agree with Hume, “I’ve never asserted anything so ridiculous as to suggest that something could begin to exist without a cause.” That was the old and somewhat more intelligent atheist.

Realising the spot in which this puts them, modern atheists, the so called New Atheists are actually willing to say with a straight face that something probably CAN just pop into existence without a cause. One of the New Atheists even tells his devotees, that Nothing "evolved" into, well, everything. When one reaches that level of internal confusion, it’s not a great leap to see how an intelligent person can allow h/herself to ask, “Well, if God made the universe, who made God?”

Remember, atheists have no problem with saying that something is infinite, or that it has always existed, or that it’s eternal, as long as that something isn’t Creator God. However, if God exists, then He exists outside of and prior to the universe. God is not material. He is Spirit. He does not need a cause. He has always been. He is infinite. He is eternal. Asking, “What caused an infinite or eternal Being to begin?” or, “When did an eternal being begin to exist?” is illogical and incoherent.

Illogical statements are something that atheists usually take great pains to avoid, except when they’re confronted with the reality of Creator God. Then, it seems, all bets are off. The fact remains, and it remains a fact that is based on what science tells us is true, that everything that begins to exist, including the universe, had its cause from something outside of itself. There are no known exceptions to this observed and consistently verified rule.

When it comes to the origins of our universe, we must choose between Matter as infinite and Creator God who is Spirit, as infinite and eternal (existing outside of time). Reason states that it must be One and not the other for matter cannot pre-exist itself either physically or chronologically, nor can matter bring itself into existence or create itself. Again, it is impossible for Matter to be infinite or to exist from eternity past.

Again, atheists used to agree that there cannot be an infinite regress of cause. Confronted with the reality of the nature of matter, modern atheists, supposedly intelligent atheist insist that Creator God, who is Spirit, must also adhere to the law of first cause. Again, it is so elementary it's difficult to understand how these individuals cannot grasp that physical laws do not apply to Spirit. Since God is by definition outside the universe, He is not part of any series, be it regressing or not. That means that the rules of the series, including the rules of causation will not and cannot apply to Him.

1) Matter is eternal - or
Creator God is eternal

2) If Matter isn’t eternal then Matter is able to bring itself into existence - or
Creator God brings matter into existence

3) Matter, against impossible odds, accidentally or purposely produces life - or
Creator God purposely produces life from Matter

4) Matter arranges and designs itself exquisitely and intricately - or
Creator God arranges and designs Matter exquisitely and intricately

5) Matter produces a life of meaning and context and purpose - NOT! - or
Creator God produces a life of meaning and context and purpose.

Modern atheists will tell you that since the first supposition is impossible and the second is unpalatable, "Nothing caused the universe to come into being. It just happened and we need not consider it further. Please pass the cookies."

“So vast, without any question, is the divine handiwork of the Almighty Creator.”
Nicolaus Copernicus, cited in Owen Gingerich, “God’s Universe" (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006) 9.

To Flute - An Apology

You’re right and I’m wrong. Mostly. Sorta. I’ve finally had time to do more research on Time and I’ve been way too dogmatic in my interpretation. There have been others who share your perspective, so I guess this apology needs to be extended but to you I’d like to say, um, sorry for being so dismissive of what you were saying.

Drawn to God through abandonment

Clients frequently declare to me that no one on earth can understand them. People seem dense and disappointing. Well, yes, sometimes people can be pretty disappointing.

We need to come to terms with the fact that our friends inability to support us may be allowed by God for a good reason. Mature Christians can tell you that anything that pretends to support us, actually detracts us from seeking our support in Creator God. Be it money or power or position or looks or relationships, or intelligence or education - any of these things and more often become our crutch by which we determine not just our value and worth but the value and worth of others as well.

I do not believe for one minute that the stories of Job or Abraham / Isaac are isolated incidents. When we are suffering and no one seems to understand, it's entirely possible that it is God who has closed up the understanding of our friends, as He did with Job’s friends. satan declares to God that you and I do not love God for Himself, but only for His blessings. Or, as atheists seem compelled to do, they say that we love God only because we are afraid of hell.

Now, when everything and everyone that can be used for shelter and friendship and sympathy have been completely stripped from our lives, we see that God has once again come to work in our lives. This is no accident or coincidence. Again, mature Christians can tell you that times like this bring the deepest awareness of God’s presence. The deepest awareness of God's presence brings the deepest sense of peace and joy and contentment.

Because the focus of most Christians is similar to that of the secular world, most will ever experience in this intimacy with their Creator. For those whose focus is on becoming like Jesus (Romans 8:29), for those whose focus is the same as that of God's, this journey is profound. It’s staggering. It’s awesome.

One day you may be blessed by tragedy. And with Job you will be able to say, “I have lost my family, my wealth, my friends, the trust that I’d put in my creed - I have lost everything to which a man can look to for comfort; yet, though He slay me, I will trust in Him.”

Monday, September 28, 2009

Atheist Stereotypes

There’s a story going round that atheists are intelligent, well educated and “brighter” than anyone else in the world. It’s gotten to the point that even atheists are starting to believe it. However, there is ample proof to show that that’s an unfair and inaccurate stereotype. Example One below:

Z's First Comment
"the universe exploded from a point that must have been infinitesimally small and dense."

Z's Second Comment
"Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy - nothing."

I'm still waiting Z for you to tell me why those comments aren't contradictory.

Or, you can just say, "I was wrong. Everything came from nothing and:
. Since nothing, literally nothing natural or material existed, and
. Since I rule out anything supernatural, or outside of nature, and
. Since everything that begins to exist does so because of a cause
. That means that I believe that nothing caused everything to begin to exist."

Or you can even go by the ultimate proof that intelligent, knowledgeable atheists is a false and misleading stereotype and quote Richard Dawkins himself.

"Nothing EVOLVED into everything."


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Will You Accept Me?

Many, if not most people find the Old Covenant difficult to understand. We really shouldn’t have that much trouble with it. In fact, the Old Covenant should have a special appeal for us? Why? Because the Old Covenant is based completely on performance. Most people, atheists especially, fancy themselves to be really good people, top performers, people who God should be thrilled to have in heaven. In the Old Covenant, God gave us exactly what we want. “Judge me by how good I am.” Of course, we want the standard of goodness to be set by us, by ourselves, by ME. That way I can judge you by your behaviours while I judge myself by my intentions.

Sadly, what people don’t get is that if you want to be accepted on the basis of performance, your performance has to be perfect even as God in heaven is perfect. Phrases such as "Fat Chance," and "Good luck with that," are appropriate here.

Thankfully, God has provided a means for our salvation that is based on His mercy. Our acceptance is based upon God’s Grace which is triggered by our faith in what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross. Now of course Grace is a scandalous concept to those who see themselves as better than others. Atheists in particular are outraged that anyone, Did You Hear That? ANYONE! can be saved by Grace. Atheists love to punish and each and every one of them have at least one person in mind, who they believe doesn't deserve to be forgiven.

We are currently living in the age of Grace. All who admit they are sinners, all who are willing to humble themselves and repent of their sins can be forgiven. But that’s the problem - isn’t it? Grace, implies the presence of sin. Grace implies the acceptance for a NEED for grace. Where there is no admission of sin, there is no Grace available. And that is what atheists cannot tolerate. For if they admit to a need for Grace they are also admitting that they are in fact not good people without God. Without self-honesty there is simply no way of being accepted.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Walking Toward The Pain

We had just a horrid morning. Every single one of the kids was insane. We’re replacing the carpets in three bedrooms and that of course means moving furniture and general chaos. Well, even a slight veering from the norm, like going on holidays is a big deal for two of the kids. They’ve lived through stuff that adults shouldn’t have to see. This moving of furniture and sleeping on the floor, which would be seen as exciting by most kids triggered huge Post Traumatic Stress reactions in these two guys. They had flash backs of violence and night terrors and high, high anxiety. Just like we were at a Turrets Syndrome conference or something, this craziness triggered reactions in the other kids as well. It's been terribly difficult. We’re all exhausted. This makes my wife quite a bit less than happy which makes me . . ., well, you know. I’d like to run away. And then I remember.

Ah me, life can be hard. I’m too old for this. My arthritis is too bad, Nobody else has to do this. We have enough money to do what we want and go where we want and - and here we are raising our second batch of kids. I sound like a little kid, making excuse after excuse for not doing that which has to be done. And then I remember.

I remember Jesus, my example, my role model, the One who said, follow Me. He didn’t run from what He came to do. We, the rest of humanity spend so much time trying to squirm out of our problems that we miss the learning that is supposed to take place within our problems. And then I remember.

I remember that I want to be like Jesus. I really do want to be like Jesus. And that’s good because when it’s all stripped away, the
‘Be merciful’
‘Be kind’
‘Be generous’ etc. when we’re down to the bottom line, God’s goal / intention for us is, “Be like Jesus.”

Romans 8:29 tells us that the whole reason we were called, predestined, chosen, and elected was to be transformed and conformed into the likeness of Jesus.

If I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s this.
. If our goals match those of our Creator, life makes sense.
. When I want what my Creator wants, life becomes so much easier.
. When I do what God wants me to do, my life gets better.

So I walk toward the pain.
. Rather than avoiding these terribly damaged kids, I hold them.
. Rather than thinking why can’t my wife just handle this, I listen.
. Rather than hiding, I help.

I learned a long time ago (but still struggle to accept) that the pain, the difficulty, the sorrow and disappointment that is so much a part of this life is how God changes us into the kind of people who are able to mimic Jesus.

“He learned obedience through what He suffered.”

Suffering is not just a part of God's plan for us, it's a plan that He experienced to its fullest extent. Tragedy and loss, the things that satan uses to destroy us, God uses to mature us. The very things that drive atheists from God, God uses to draw to Himself those of us who have been designated for salvation.

And so I remember.

Don’t fight it. Go towards the pain. Sit with those who are sad. Hold those who need comforting. Listen to those who are frustrated beyond belief. Just do it. Life, all of life is meant to be lived and the only way to live life as it was meant to be lived is to die to self. I believe absolutely that when Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it to the full,” He meant that we can have the quality of life that He experienced. Jesus showed us, by example, that we can step full on into the blast. We need not avoid any of life. We need not fear any of life. We can learn and grow and thrive in the midst of all of life, the easy and the difficult.

Good luck on your journey.

The Atheist Meme

As every atheist with a computer knows, Dawkins has introduced to the literary and philosophical world two extremely popular metaphors. The first is the selfish-gene and the second is the meme. Keep in mind however that:

. Just as Dawkins has stated that the universe doesn’t really have design, it only appears that way -

. Just as Dawkins says that he is suspicious of anyone who holds strongly held beliefs that are unsupported by evidence, while he does exactly that -

. Just as Dawkins says that “science” operates independently of a cultural milieu, while he operates within a bizarre cultural milieu that allows only a very narrow band of evidence that doesn’t contradict what atheists want to believe -

. Just as Dawkins says that religious people are irrationally immersed in mystery, and then tells us how science leads one to “profound and sublime mysteries,” so too does he attempt to present to us something that only appears to be real, the meme.

A meme (Greek mimesis = imitation) is an idea or concept (information) that is spread from person to person within a community. We acquire these memes by copying those around us. Modern atheists (Greta Christina is a good example) apparently believe that these are not metaphors but valid scientific entities. If you allow yourself to ignore the fact that there is no proof that such a thing exists, then according to Dawkins, you can see how the meme is the perfect explanation of how religion, particularly Christianity spreads. However, if the goal of the Christian meme, as Dawkins says, is to get people to believe that God will punish all doubters, it makes one wonder - “What is the goal of the atheist meme?”

I wonder if it ever gives Richard Dawkins pause for thought that atheists are so incredibly gullible. Does he purse his lips in consternation that his atheist followers are so unsophisticated in their thinking that they are willing to take his metaphors and adopt them as scientific statements of reality? This, even after Dawkins has actually abandoned the meme concept as the foolishness that it is. Believing, perhaps mistakenly, that one day the common atheist will catch on that a meme is nothing but a misleading concept invented by him to trash religion, Dawkins now posits that religion might have arisen because of some mutation in some part of the brain or that it’s a virus. No one can accuse him of running out of book ideas.

Clinton (Richard’s real name) tells us that God-thoughts are virus-like and that Christianity is as onerous for people of the world as smallpox. I would suggest that if anything resembles a virus, it’s atheism which spreads among the open-minded (Hebrew root means empty-headed) because they have no resistence or immunity to outrageous ideas.

Of course if the religion virus is a thought worth entertaining, then we could also say that atheism might have arisen because of some virus or mutation in the brain, for we all know that atheism did not arise because of any concrete evidence. Atheism or, if you like, the atheist meme pre dates anything that modern atheists call evidence. And, since atheism works against natural selection causing in atheists an aversion to reproducing their genes (out of three marriages Dawkins could only stomach the creation of one child), and/or killing their offspring by the millions every year, calling the atheist meme and it’s phenotype hosts mutations makes a lot more sense from a scientific point of view.

Perhaps atheists would find it much more productive to explore how they and their lives are being manipulated by the atheist meme. Maybe they should take a careful look at the atheist meme, which finds its origins in a savage and malevolent evil whose only intent is the destruction of God’s creation.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Reason, Logic and Atheism

I just a read a statement made by an atheist where he said,

“I reject Christianity because I refuse to believe anything that might not be true.”

As with all atheists, he prefaced this by describing how logical and rational he is.

Too bad that his lack of insight prevents him from seeing that as an atheist he IS believing something that might not be true.

Peaceful Iran

It was made known today that Iran has been hiding its goodness and generosity from the world. To keep the world from knowing just how peace oriented Iran is, a second uranium processing site was being kept secret because, according to Iran's President, "If the world discovered just how much electricity we're getting ready to generate with several tonnes of weapons grade uranium, we'll, the electricity market would crash. That wouldn't be responsible of us and Mohammad always wants us to do the right thing. So, that's why we didn't tell anyone what we were doing - honest."

Meanwhile, atheists in the west are applauding Iran's determination to end it's dependence on foreign oil and ensure that it increases it's electrical generating capacity to the point that perhaps some day Iran could even export power to Israel.

Go atheists!

Why Pray?

I said in "Dangerously Close" that God is not a Sky Santa or Tooth Fairy. Of course that’s how atheists believe that He should be and when He doesn’t deliver, atheists throw a pout and pretend to ignore him. The atheist’s “logical” conclusion after first denying God’s existence is that prayer doesn’t work. Well, if your goal is to get Him to dance to whatever tune you choose to play, then, no, I suppose prayer doesn’t work.

On the other hand, there are some interesting verses regarding prayer. Two in particular grab my attention.

One, in 1st Thess. 5:16,17 - “Be joyful always, pray often and give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The other says,

Philippians 4:6,7 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And (if you do this) the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

As I’ve matured in my relationship with God, I’ve realised that giving thanks is the appropriate response because God is already working in the situations that I’m likely to bring before my Creator.

Take care of these kids? He’s already rescued them from neglectful homes.

Watch over our congregation? It’s His Church

Help me be the kind of dad and husband you want me to be? He’s been doing that for decades.

Come into my pain and change me? That was His idea in the first place.

In reality, most of my prayers turn very quickly to a litany of "thank you" for all the wondrous gifts that God heaps on me. “Morning by morning new mercies I see.”

Why pray? You may as well ask, “Why talk to your wife?” Christianity is all about a relationship. Relationships thrive on communication. Relationships thrive on acknowledging the good that your partner has done for you. Thanking my wife for the role that she plays in my life is in part, acknowledging that I can't do this by myself. It's admitting that my life would be poorer if she was not in it.

It's exactly the same with my relationship with Jesus. Basking in the warmth of God’s love compels me to live a life of thanksgiving and praise.

Bible Contradictions

I was going to do a series on supposed contradictions in the Bible. I thought that if atheists could see, perhaps in "real time" examples where their defences might not be quite as high, I thought that maybe they could see their error.

I should have known that it'd be a waste. Rab has proven that there is no point in continuing. In my clearest post on the subject (Bible Contradictions VII) Rab, and I assume all other atheists as well, simply cannot comprehend anything if it's written in a Book that condemns their world-view.

How Long Lord?

Psalm 13 is an amazing tribute to our struggles in a world marinaded in evil.

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?”

Of course, if atheists don’t get what they want, on demand, or if they have to struggle a bit with difficult thoughts or situations, they “logically” conclude on the basis of having to struggle that God does not exist.

David, a “man after God’s own heart,” knows that there can be no such illogical line of thinking. Rather than denying Creator God’s existence, David struggles with the knowledge that evil cannot exist without the permission of Creator God. He stands in the dark with fearful acceptance that God, Lord of lords and King of kings allows people and nations to revel in their evil, storing up wrath for themselves until their wickedness reaches a level that warrants their destruction. Like someone setting a trap, watching, waiting for the prey to stalk deeper and deeper until SNAP! It’s too late.

They’ve gotten exactly what they deserved. More than that, exactly what they wanted.

That’s the journey of atheism:
. Create a world-view of utter hopelessness
. Reject the only offer of hope, goodness and love
. Experience the utter hopelessness you longed to create
. Curse the God you deny for allowing you to get what you wanted all your life.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Have you noticed?

Have you noticed how God takes what we consider to be our best traits and tries to throw them in the garbage? And have you noticed that this is especially true if that trait is in conflict with patience and waiting?

Biblical Contradiction IX

While displaying ignorance in multiple areas, atheists demonstrate this deficiency frequently in their description of Biblical “contradictions.” What is a contradiction? A simple definition comes to us from Stanley Jevons’ Elementary Lessons in Logic: “Nothing can both be and not be” (1928, p. 117).

See you tomorrow.
The Setting: 1st Century Palestine. Two workers are going home from a long day working at the quarry. Living next door to each other, they say their good nights. The one, Simeon says to the other,
“See you tomorrow when the rooster crows.”
“Yep,” says, Cephas, “when the rooster crows.”

Later that evening, a relative from the country stopped by for a drink and a visit. They talked about how hot it’d been and about how Rome was making life difficult for everyone. When the country visitor asked, “How’s work going?” Cephas replied, “We’ll it’s going good. The days are long. When the rooster has crowd twice my neighbour and I are on our way.”

Is he lying? Is this a contradiction? Atheists may or may not be able to accept what happened in this story. But when something similar happened in the Bible, the atheist yells, "Contradiction! Contradiction! You can't trust the Bible because it's full of contradictions."

Matthew 26:34 ; Luke 22:34; John 13:38 / Mark 14:30

That’s Really Weird!

I’m Canadian so the American Constitution is not something that I’ve ever studied. However, after reading endless atheist blogs one thing that I’ve heard over and over again is Thomas Jefferson’s statement that “all men are created equal.” In the Declaration of Independence he said that this is a “self-evident truth.”

That is really weird! I can think of few things that are less self-evident. In point of fact, most people and most cultures do not agree with this statement and reject it outright. Inequality is the natural order. Survival of the strongest is how most of us would live if we had the power to do so. It’s the weak, the hard-done-by, those who can’t compete that make the plea for equality.

Oh, and Christianity. I suppose that's why John Adams wrote, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any others."

Those who are the least powerful and the least “equal” we kill by the 10's of millions. As in the past, so today, human life is cheap, cheap, cheap. Only where Christianity has forged inroads have barbarous and inhuman acts of violence been banned. Only because of centuries of Christian morality do we now feel repulsed by cultures whose violence against one another compels us to feel shock and horror at what we now label atrocities.

Christianity, the one world-view that says we are to be judged by our character, our morals, our motives, and NOT by our wealth and power, beauty and status, intellect and education, this Christianity is all that stands between us and barbarism.

Christianty Rocks!

"Christianity and nothing else is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source.

Jurgen Habermas, "A Time of Transition"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

That Jesus Is Alive Is Scientifically Provable

While there are two basic ways of establishing the validity of any given claim, atheists and other sceptics seem to know about only one form of proof and they flail it about ad nauseam. That form of course is what they call the scientific method. Scientists and those who fancy themselves to possess a scientific way of thinking say, ‘If it isn’t observable, repeatable and verifiable it isn’t acceptable as having been proven scientifically.’

So, what's this got to do with Jesus? Well, listen -

While many if not most problems can be dealt with by only the scientific method or only by the legal historical method of verification, we can know that Jesus existed then and exists now by using both methodologies. Oral and written evidence from Jesus’ time on earth has been preserved in excellent condition (especially in comparison to other works of antiquity) and from that we can say with a great deal of certainty what Jesus was like and what He did during His ministry on earth. We know who His parents were, where He was born, where He grew up, what He did, how He died, where He was buried and so on.

Now, because of a tremendous and irrational bias, these records are dismissed out of hand by some individuals. This is not done by experts in historical evidence. Nor is it done by experts in forensic evidence. Rather it is done by inexperienced individuals for solely philosophical reasons. As I stated above, sceptics not only don’t apply standard legitimate tests for establishing the historical reliability of New Testament documents, they don’t apply any tests. When railing against the validity of the New Testament documents, sceptics are left to repeat arguments long put to rest by archeological and historical / literary discoveries.

Regardless, we don’t need to depend only on legal-historical evidence. We can also use the scientific method to make the case for Jesus. We can do this because of hundreds of millions of repeated life transformations, experiments if you will, that have taken place world wide. These are life transformations that have come as a result of coming into contact with Jesus. These transformations have been observed under the most intense sceptical scrutiny possible. This means of assessment makes peer review look like child’s play.

Have there been pretenders who’ve been weeded out? Sure. Just as there have been pretenders in the secular field. East Asian cloning anyone? Or how about Piltdown Man? Or maybe you prefer ‘The Secret Gospel of Mark’ which turned out to be written by Columbia University historian Morton Smith. Or the common textbook icons of Darwinian evolution in action that have all been discredited, eg. Haeckel’s faked embryo drawings, Mutant four winged fruit flies that are in reality dysfunctional, and peppered moths that in the real world don't rest on tree trunks; the photographs were staged. Oh and how about our high school biology textbooks that neglect to mention that the beaks of Darwin’s Finches returned to normal after the rains returned. No net evolution occurred. Like many species, the finch has an average beak size that fluctuates within a given range. Or how about Miller & Oparin “creating” life out of primordial earth’s ammonia, methane and hydrogen? Pfft! Bottom line - To focus on the pretenders instead of the reality simply to make one’s case is not very scientific. Is it?

The transformations in character that have come as a result of coming into contact with Jesus have been repeated and continue to be repeated on a daily basis. These transformations are observable, verifiable, predictable and reliable for any and every person who knows an individual in the grips of a healed, forgiven and intimate relationship with Jesus. This is the case because, as is proven over and over, Jesus is alive and well and living in the souls of believers worldwide. Some people are going to say that this is a stretch. However, there is scientific precedent for this type of information and the conclusions reached.

In the field of Quantum Physics, some forms of matter are known to exist, even though we can’t observe them. While we can’t observe the said matter, we know it exists because we can observe the reaction of known elements or particles which come into contact with the matter in question. While the experiments themselves are repeatable and verifiable, it's only the RESULTS of these interactions that are able to prove the existence of the said element.

Can we see Jesus? Not physically. Although many thousands did observe Him when He existed in a different form than He does today. The fact that we can know He exists by the reaction that is consistently caused when He comes into contact with others is even true for those who deny their need for Jesus. You can go up to almost anyone and talk about Buddha or Confucius or any other historical figure and talk about that person in a rational, controlled environment. Bring up the topic of Jesus and who He is however, and everything changes. The observed effect even on non believers is dramatic.

Some of the observable, measurable, consistent, predictable changes that can be found in people when Jesus comes into their lives are as follows:

. For someone who has accepted Jesus into h/her life, one’s motives and goals for living change dramatically. One is changed from living for self to living for God. This change is not the result of effort or desire. This change is inner, involuntary, natural. For those who try to mimic this change, the effect simply does not last as the effort required to fake it is just too much.

. Those who have become Christians have ‘eyes’ that have been opened to their sinful state. They go from thinking that they’re pretty good people, to realising that they are in desperate need of forgiveness and change. They go from blaming others for the sad state of the world to admitting that “The problem with the world is me.”

. The fear of death is gone.

. The fear of God is gone.

. God is no longer seen as evil and is now seen for what He truly is - kind, merciful and loving.

. These people are given the ability to forgive their enemies.

. These people are given hope for the future.

. These people no longer need the things of the world to reflect back to them their sense of self-worth (possessions, power, money, looks etc.). They have found Christ-Esteem as opposed to self-esteem.

. There is a tremendous sense of freedom

Some experiments require a meticulously prepared environment to glean clearly defined results, but this is not so when Jesus comes into a person’s life. In fact, so overwhelming is the reality of His presence that the more difficult the environment the more spectacular are the results. Examples include the apostle Paul whose conversion experience is found in the New Testament. He went from torturing Christians to death, to becoming one of Christianity's most effective witnesses. Jesus’ brother James, went from thinking that his Brother was insane to worshipping Jesus as Lord, Saviour and Creator of the universe. Murderers and criminals of all stripes have found their lives completely transformed from violence to peace, from hate to love, from fear to confidence. As stated, these changes or reactions to contact with Jesus are observable, repeatable, verifiable, measurable, consistent, and predictable. They are so predictable and verifiable that Jesus Himself said that if you don’t see these changes present in a person's life, then the person does not possess the Spirit of Jesus and is a pretender.

These dramatic transformations, brought on by contact with Jesus have been seen in people like Constantine, Copernicus, Augustine, Kepler, Loyola, Galileo, Teresa of Avila, Brahe, Calvin, Descartes, Pascal, Boyle, Bunyan, Newton, Wesley, Leibniz, Whitefield, Mersenne, Jonathon Edwards, Faraday, Herschel, Elizabeth Bayley Seton, Joule, Finney, Kelvin, Sojourner Truth, Ohm, Livingston, Ampere, Spurgeon, Pasteur, Tolstoy, Mendel, Booth, Billy Sunday, Steno, Evelyn Underhill, Gassendi, Schweitzer, C.S. Lewis, Lin Yutang, Waugh, Hammarskjold, Simone Weil, Merton, Muggeridge, Eldridge Cleaver, Colson, and Rod Holmgren.

You may have noticed that half of these names were scientists, founders of universities and the fathers of modern science. Upon a life changing encounter with Jesus the Christ, in every single person, there is a complete change from one life-style to another. "There is the flashing vision of truth, the conviction of sin and unworthiness, the joy of forgiveness and absolution, and the ready acceptance of a new life of mission and service." Life takes on meaning, context and purpose.

As in an experiment where a new form of matter is discovered in a particle accelerator, be it Leptons such as Neutrinos or various flavours of Quarks or Mesons, while Jesus cannot be observed with the unaided eye, the proof of His existence is unmistakable to those who are using the correct tools for verification.

Thoughts / Comments from some notable Christians and which are immediately recognised and experienced the world over in those who have come in contact with a healed, forgiven and intimate relationship with Jesus are:

Augustine - "There was infused in my heart something like the light of full certainty and all the gloom of doubt vanished away."

George Fox - "And then the Lord did gently lead me along, and did let me see his love, which was endless and eternal, and surpasses all the knowledge that men have in the natural state, or can get by history or books; and that love let me see myself as I was without him."

John Bunyan - "O how good a thing it is for God to send his word!"

Jonathan Edwards - "Yet of late years, I have had a more full and constant sense of the absolute sovereignty of God, and a delight in that sovereignty. . . It appeared sweet, beyond all expression, to follow Christ, and to be taught and enlightened, and instructed by him; to learn of him, and live to him."

John Woolman - "I felt a tender compassion for the youth who remained entangled in snares like those which had entangled me. This love and tenderness increased, and my mind was strongly engaged for the good of my fellow-creatures."

Charles Finney - "I never can, in words, make any human being understand how precious and true those promises appeared to me . . . I could now see and understand what was meant by the passage, "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Sojourner Truth - "How strange that He had always loved me but I had never known it."

The Apostle Paul - "I have learned the secret of contentment in all circumstances."

Charles Spurgeon - "When the Word of the Lord came to me with power, it was as new as if I had lived among the unvisited tribes of Central Africa, and had never heard the tiding of the cleansing fountain filled with blood, drawn from the Saviour’s veins."

William Booth - "Rather than yearning for the world’s pleasures, books, gains, or recreations, I found my new nature leading me to come away from it all. It had lost all charm for me. I soon began to despise everything the world had to offer me."

Therese of Lisieux - "Jesus, accomplished in an instant what I had been unable to do in a life-time. I forgot myself and henceforth I was happy."

W. T. Grenfell - "Over the years I’ve learned that religion involves real courage. The inefficiency which I had associated with it had not been it’s fault but mine."

E. Stanley Jones - "A sense of deepest gratitude a human is capable of knowing takes possession of me when I think of what I would have been had conversion not intervened and turned life into new channels."

C. S. Lewis - "I examined myself with a seriously practical purpose. And there I found what appalled me; a zoo of lusts, a bedlam of ambitions, a nursery of fears, a hareem of fondled hatreds."

Lin Yutang - "Father, forgive them; for they don’t know what they’re doing." That voice, unknown in history before, reveals God as forgiving, not in theory, but visibly forgiving as revealed in Christ. For thirty years I lived in this world like an orphan. I am an orphan no longer."

Evelyn Underhill - "On the whole, in spite of blanks, times of wretched incapacity, and worse, I have never known such deep and real happiness, such a sense of at last having got my real permanent life, and being able to love without stint, where I am meant to love. It is as if one were suddenly liberated and able to expand all around. Such joy that it sometimes almost hurts. All this, humanly speaking, I owe entirely to Jesus. Gratitude is a poor dry word for what I feel about it.”

C. F. Andrews - "I became painfully aware that I was not ready to meet Christ at His Second Coming if He should suddenly appear."

Makarios - "I'm free! I am free from guilt. I'm free from fear; free from feeling constricted by the rules of the world; free to love; free to give of myself, my time, my money. I'm free to start the day by putting on the breastplate of God's approval. I'm free to wade into the pain of life with my eyes wide open and my chest bared to the blast. Thank you Jesus for your love, your mercy, your patience, your forgiveness, and most of all for your salvation."

I could go on and on but the point is, the reality of Jesus in one’s life, as these quotes demonstrate, is observable, verifiable, repeatable. The transformations described above take place around the world no matter one’s race, position, gender, or any other qualifier one can think of. All that is necessary to experience the presence of Jesus is to invite Him into one’s life. He is real. He lives. He loves you.

Don’t let atheists deter you from the greatest Love ever known to human kind.

Biblical Contradiction VIII

While displaying ignorance in multiple areas, atheists demonstrate this deficiency frequently in their description of Biblical “contradictions.” What is a contradiction? A simple definition comes to us from Stanley Jevons’ Elementary Lessons in Logic, says: “Nothing can both be and not be” (1928, p. 117).

A woman named Prolepsis
Jesus was reclining at a table, enjoying a meal with tax collectors and other “sinners.” A woman of the street came to where Jesus was and broke open a bottle of very expensive perfume. It was worth at least 60,000 dollars. John 12:6

Obviously the Bible is full of contradictions because they didn’t even have dollars in those days and they certainly didn’t make 60,000 dollars a year at that time.

1st Chronicles 29:7

I Can’t Help It!

That’s the cry of many atheists. “Your God made me someone who requires proof before I can believe anything."

I’ve never found the need to use this term before but I certainly will now. That is utter rubbish.

These people don’t need proof before they believe every little thing. Day after day after day, examples can be found whereby we know a little bit about this or about that and then we accept the rest on faith.

Belief is a choice - Period. Belief in God is a choice. As is the belief that He doesn't exist. The next time an atheist tells you that s/he can’t help not believing in God, don’t you believe it. Yes it requires some faith to accept that Creator God exists, but many aspects of atheism require the exercise of faith a well.

That sure doesn’t stop atheists from denying God’s existence.

You can’t help it? Bull!

Bible Contradiction VII

While displaying ignorance in multiple areas, atheists demonstrate this deficiency frequently in their description of Biblical “contradictions.” What is a contradiction? A simple definition comes to us from Stanley Jevons’ Elementary Lessons in Logic: “Nothing can both be and not be” (1928, p. 117).

I’ve been asked about the supposed “contradiction” in the two Creation Accounts that are found in Genesis One and Genesis Two. An atheist states:
- Man was created after the other animals - Gen 1:25,26,27
- Man was created before the other animals - Gen 2:18,19

Without any expertise required, most people can see that Genesis One and Genesis Two are NOT contradictory stories. They are Two Separate Stories talking about two very different things. In fact they are so dissimilar it’s hard to understand how atheists can attempt any comparison at all.

. Genesis Chapter One is talking about the creation of the universe, the earth and the creatures that inhabit the earth, including humans. As noted, in this account humans are created last.

. Genesis Chapter Two is centred on and talks about Adam and Eve. They are TALKED about first but as verse 19 shows, the animals are clearly already in place. It is so clear that I’m tempted to believe that any obfuscation on the part of the atheist is deliberate.

. Chapter One is talking about the order of Creation.

. Chapter Two is talking about the Creation of human kind.

. Chapter One gives the outline of Creation,

. Chapter Two gives details of Creation.

. Genesis 2:18 says, “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Whatever helper God is going to make, it obviously hadn’t been created yet.

. Genesis 2:19 says, “Now the Lord God HAD FORMED out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air.” Notice that it doesn’t say, “The Lord THEN formed . . .” Because, from Genesis One, we know that the animals had already been created, the word “Now” is describing past tense, not present. This is clear to anyone not attempting to obscure the meaning.

That is what atheists are attempting to do, but anyone who can comprehend at an elementary school level will be able to understand that animals were already in place.

In review:
. Chapter One, is the account of Creation in general, including the creation of the universe and the animals.

. Chapter Two, is the account that deals specifically with Adam and Eve. It talks about bringing the animals (already created) before Adam thereby allowing him to find out experientially that none of them made a suitable helpmate for him.

Reasonable people can understand that. So why not atheists? Well it’s not a lack of intelligence, not usually anyway. Rather, because of their pre formed, sustained and substantial bias against Christianity, all that atheists are able to see is a contradiction where none exists. They can grasp on some level that both stories involve creation. The details however just escape their grasp.

Language Indicates Intelligence

"Since life is at its core a chemical code, the origin of life is the origin of a code. A code is a very special kind of order. It represents “specified complexity.
Charles B. Thaxton, “DNA Design and the Origin of Life” 16

In Order To Be An Atheist

Richard Dawkins wrote in his 2004 book "The Ancestor's Tale":
"The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved literally out of nothing-is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice."

Isn’t that amazing? Richard Dawkins is not only willing to lie to himself, but he is FORCED to lie to himself in order to maintain his faith in atheism. And it truly is faith in atheism because to believe that life, LIFE came from inanimate organic and inorganic molecules, which themselves had to have EVOLVED (he’s saying that gases evolved) is to believe something in the complete absence of evidence as it’s defined by the scientific method of inquiry.

Remember, this is the same Richard Dawkins who said, "I am sceptical of ANY strongly held belief in the absence of evidence."

This is the same Richard Dawkins who, in the complete absence of evidence tells us that even as I type this, there is life on a billion other planets in our universe.

I do congratulate Dawkins on accepting that everything came from literally NOTHING. Nevertheless, to say that the universe EVOLVED out of nothing is not only an incoherent and illogical statement but another example of atheist blind faith since once again there is absolutely no evidence to support let alone suggest that happened. In fact there is a mass of evidence saying that the universe did not and could not come from anything because there wasn’t any Thing, nor any Place for "nothing" to evolve.

This is just another example of the fact that in order to be an atheist, you have to lie to yourself.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I don't know if this will work

I'm not sure if this can work in print but it was really funny at the time so I'm going to try.

I was a a party a bit ago - loud - really loud. This guy whose name I didn't know motioned with his hand for me to come closer. I leaned across the table. He leaned across the table and said, "Do you know how to sell a pig to a deaf person?"

I indicated that I didn't, so he leaned forward a little more and bellowed, to the point of making his face red, his eyes bugged out, and his head bobbed up and down in cadence with the words,


Perhaps you had to be there, but it still makes me laugh.

Biblical Contradiction VI

While displaying ignorance in multiple areas, atheists demonstrate this deficiency frequently in their description of Biblical “contradictions.” What is a contradiction? A simple definition comes to us from Stanley Jevons’ Elementary Lessons in Logic: “Nothing can both be and not be” (1928, p. 117).

One Guy or Two?
I saw these two guys verbally giving it to this smaller guy at the mall the other day. It was just to the left of the food court where I was having a burger. The little guy had his back to the wall and didn’t seem to be defending himself at all. And then, while I couldn’t hear his words, I could tell he was explaining something. All of a sudden, the one guy seemed to have changed his mind. I could even tell by his hand gestures that he was saying he was sorry for what he’d said. In fact, the little guy and this other guy, the one who apologised walked off together leaving the third guy, the one that was still angry, just standing there.

Atheists may or may not be able to accept what happened in this story. But when something similar happened in the Bible, the atheist yells, "Contradiction! Contradiction! You can't trust the Bible because it's full of contradictions."

Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32 / Luke 23:39

See also “synecdoche” eg Genesis 8:4; Genesis 21:7

The Age Of Empathy

That's the name of a new book. It’s taken many, many thousands of years, but little by little atheists are coming to agree with not only what the Bible says but also with the teachings of Jesus. Two relatively recent concessions come to mind.

First, is the decision that being good to others might not be such a bad idea after all. There are still frequent examples of the more infamous thinking on atheist blogs. Nevertheless, some modern atheists have almost overridden the atheist thought of old that helping the poor and helpless just weakens the gene pool. Although it causes me to shake my head while contemplating how long it’s taken, it’s good to know that finally in the 21st century, atheists have figured out, “If I’m good to others, it’s almost like being good to myself. Cool!”

Second, is the realisation that atheists seem to be taking to the idea that we live in an amazingly beautiful, awe inspiring universe. Again one is reminded of a pattern of atheist thought that has plagued irreligious humans down through the ages. This thinking goes, “You are the descendant of a tiny cell of primordial protoplasm washed up on an empty beach three and a half billion years ago. You are the blind and arbitrary product of time, chance, and natural forces. You are a mere grab-bag of atomic particles, and conglomeration of genetic substance. You exist on a tiny planet in a minute solar system in an empty corner of a meaningless universe. You are a purely biological entity, different only in degree but not in kind from a microbe, virus, or amoeba. You have no essence beyond your body, and at death you will cease to exist entirely. In short, you came from nothing and are going to nowhere” Randy Alcorn.

All atheists must of necessity still hold to this “truth.” Either hypocritically or in a delusional or dream-like state atheists in the 21st century have decided that it’s ok to be thrilled by the environment in which they live and breath and have their existence. In fact, the attitude of the more radical atheist is bordering on the spiritual when contemplating the wonders of the universe. There appears to be almost a reverence for the grandeur of, dare I say it, the Creation in which we live.

Of course, atheists must be careful here. Observing, appreciating and contemplating the sheer wonder of finding ourselves in such a perfect spot in such a hostile universe might raise disturbing questions. Questions like -
. Why is there a universe?

. Why is it this universe and not another that is incapable of supporting life?

. Why is there mathematical predictability to this universe?

. How is it that out of all the species living on earth, only we have a mind that is able to understand the mathematical precision of the universe?

. Is it really possible to accidentally have a universe that is based on order and design, a universe that is intelligible, a universe that is so perfectly favourable to our existence? Doesn't the nature of odds and probabilities enter into the equation at all? Don’t these things demand an ultimate explanation?

Atheists can’t allow themselves to ask those kind of questions because the answer is obvious. No, it isn’t possible that this happened by accident, sans direction and purpose.

Reading Women

I enjoy reading books that have been authored by women, far more than books written by men. Women see life from angles seemingly hidden to men. They understand life from a totally foreign perspective. Most often, at least to me, this perspective makes more sense than if a man had tried to explain it. Women seem - unknowable, fascinating, frustrating.

My wife and I have been together for a bit over 41 years and married for almost 36. If you asked, “Do you understand your wife?” I’d have to say, “Sorta.” Yet several times a year I discover parts of her nature that are new and exciting. She’s intelligent and intuitive. Courageous - more courageous that me, more courageous than anyone I’ve ever met, actually. When the task of raising these children comes to the point where she says, “I can’t do this,” she does it anyway. She loves. She's compassionate. She's determined. She's strong, strong, strong.

John Edwards - Archetype of Humanity

This is who we are. Squeaky clean on the outside. Sadly corrupt to the core on the inside. How do Darwinsits explain this?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dangerously Close

Atheists sometimes refer to God as a Santa in the sky. Oh my, just how wrong can any one be?

Creator God is:
- Tsunami dangerous
- Avalanche powerful
- Hurricane wild.

This is no Santa or Tooth Fairy.

Creator God is “My way or the Highway” serious. Be on His side and He will hold you and protect you and meet every need to a degree you never dreamed possible.

Reject Him and He’ll roast you - literally.

Accept Creator God on His terms and you’ll never need to worry again, about anything. He will remain close, dangerously close as He walks with you through every trial that this life can throw at a person.

Turn away from Him and you will know, in due time what ultimate aloneness truly means.

Creator God will die for you, so that you can have the honour and privilage of living for Him.

Bible Contradiction V

While displaying ignorance in multiple areas, atheists demonstrate this deficiency frequently in their description of Biblical “contradictions.” What is a contradiction? A simple definition comes to us from Stanley Jevons’ Elementary Lessons in Logic, says: “Nothing can both be and not be” (1928, p. 117).

Zedge said it!
Rab said, “I heard Zedge say, “No, we do not know what didn't cause it.””

TAM said, “I heard Zedge say, “I'll be closer to the truth than you.””

RAB and TAM can’t both be right. Or can they?

Zedge's comment - “No, we do not know what didn't cause it. You are obviously under the false impression that we know all there is to know about the laws of physics. You say that the big bang could not have been “matter or anything natural under the "command" of the laws of physics.” Well guess what; we ain't that smart yet! We have not figured out all the laws of physics , that by no means indicates that some heretofore unknown laws of physics are not at work! I can't prove that any more than you can prove the supernatural. I bet that given time though; I'll be closer to the truth than you.”

Maybe you can understand it but when atheists run into a similar problem in the Bible, they cry, "Contradiction! Contradiction! These two authors don't match in their stories and that means that the Bible can't be trusted."

Matthew 14:21 / Mark 6:44;

Freedom In or From Christ?

“In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty.
(Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814)

It’s true. But why? We who have been born of love, set free from the law, breathing the clean air of forgiveness, how is it that we so soon turn back to rules? And how is it that we attempt to force non Christians to live by OUR guidelines?

Living life without Christ Jesus is punishment enough. Broken relationships, friendships that require layers of self-protection. Unfulfilled desires and longings. Meandering from one world-view to the next. No, non Christians don’t need us to help them to have a crappy life. They can do that all on their own. But why do we so quickly return to hunkering down under the mantle of rule-making, rule-obeying, ruling others with rules and rules and more rules?

Jesus set us free, free to enjoy life, free to know the difference between life-enhancing and life-destroying behaviours. I say, let the people go. While we do need members of government who are Christians, the last thing we need is a Christian government.

Bible Contradiction IV

While displaying ignorance in multiple areas, atheists demonstrate this deficiency frequently in their description of Biblical “contradictions.” What is a contradiction? A simple definition comes to us from Stanley Jevons’ Elementary Lessons in Logic, says: “Nothing can both be and not be” (1928, p. 117).

The Decent Drug Dealer
Adam: One of the nicest people that I’ve ever met was this guy, Evan. I went to highschool with him. He was kind, and generous and helpful in class. He went into the electrical business with his dad right out of highschool.

Julie: I know an Even who said that he went into the electrical business with his dad right out of highschool. Of course it’s been thirty years ago since he graduated. I met him in rehab just a couple months ago. He’d be dealing meth. and crack. He’d lost his business and family and home. He’s getting back on his feet but he was really messed up.

Could it be the same Evan? Atheists say, "No Way!"

Genesis 6:9 / Genesis 9:21.

Atheism & Homosexuality - Both Non Starters.

We are survival machines whose only goal is to perpetuate our genes. So say Darwinists. Yet here we have atheists and homosexuals who seem to care almost nothing about doing what they say evolution has determined we must do at almost any cost.

Religious people on the other hand are reproducing at almost twice the rate of atheists.

In his book, “Darwin’s Cathedral” David Sloan Wilson describes how religion provides something that secular society doesn’t: a vision of transcendent purpose.

As a result religious people develop a zest for life that is, in a sense unnatural. They exhibit a hopefulness about the future that may exceed what is warranted. And they forge principles of morality and charity that simply make them more cohesive, adaptive, and successful than groups whose members lack this binding and elevating force.”
“Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society” (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003)

Austria is the only country which records the religious belief of parents but their figure, of 0.85 children per atheist woman, is far below replacement rate (2.1) and below even the most barren European country’s average rate, which is about 1.2.

It would seem that it is atheism and its sidekick homosexuality (Romans 1:18-32) that doesn’t fit the Darwinian paradigm. The atheist’s support of those who kill their offspring, in total contradiction of our supposed need / drive to multiply flies in the face of evolutionary theory. Why would nature select people who mate with others of the same sex, and why would nature select people who see no higher purpose to life or the universe than satiating their own amusement desires?

As Dinesh D’Sousa asks, “Maybe the New Atheists can help us understand how atheism, like the human tail-bone and the panda’s thumb somehow survived as an evolutionary leftover of our primitive past.”
Dinesh D’Sousa, “What’s so Great About Christianity,” (Regnery Publishing Inc) 2007, 19

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bible Contradiction III

While displaying ignorance in multiple areas, atheists demonstrate this deficiency frequently in their description of Biblical “contradictions.” What is a contradiction? A simple definition comes to us from Stanley Jevons’ Elementary Lessons in Logic, says: “Nothing can both be and not be” (1928, p. 117).

The Sounds of Silence
Trent, Zachariah, and Emily went downtown to get some things for their new apartment. Being students, they didn’t have a lot of money. However they did find some items on sale and one in particular blew them away. They were looking at some vases and fake plants. The cost was beyond what they could afford but they really wanted the items. The plants came to 85 dollars. The vase were a 160 dollars each. And a clock for the wall was 43 dollars. When the cashier rang up the total, it came to 123 dollars. All three of them looked at each other waiting for the clerk to catch her mistake. Nothing. She just packed up the stuff and took the cash.

As they left the store they could hardly believe their luck. They left the store without saying anything to anyone. A few days later Trent, Zach and Emily were in the bar spending the evening with friends. They were surprised when their friends got on their case for stealing from the store.

What’s the deal with this story? I thought in one place that it said they didn’t say “anything to anyone.”

Matthew 28:8 / Luke 24:9 / Mark 16:8

The Joy of Being a Screw-Up

“No one knows how bad he is until he tries really hard to be good.”
C.S. Lewis

“The Way to become authentically Christian is to take any one of Jesus’ precepts and try to keep it."
Soren Kierkegaard

These men don’t mean that we would become better believers as a result of doing those things. They mean that if we try to follow any particular teaching of Creator God, we’ll be forced to confess our own sinfulness and the need for continual forgiveness.

“It’s a consoling idea,” wrote Kierkegaard, “that we are always in the wrong.”

Being always in the wrong is a consolation because it highlights the futility of trying to make ourselves good people. Of course, atheists will leave the challenge untried and then castigate Christians for having a negative view of the human race. Atheists will proclaim to anyone who will listen, “I don’t need God to be a good person.” For those of us who exist in reality, there is no better news than to find out that no matter what we try and no matter how long we try it, it’s impossible to become an ethical and morally upright person.

I was at a hockey meeting not long ago, in preparation for the start of this season. At the meeting I heard that out of the hundreds of thousands of kids who start playing hockey each year (and every one of them thinks they’re going to turn pro some day) something like .008 % make it to the big leagues. Hearing that, one dad said, “So there IS a chance!” Ha Ha

If even one person in every hundred million could earn h/her righteousness. If even one person in every hundred million could make h/herself good enough to be good enough for heaven, then there would be reason enough to try. But it’s useless. We’re all total and complete screw-ups. “All have sinned and fallen short of God’s expectations for us.” That is why Jesus came to earth to rescue us. And that, folks, is good news. Read Matthew chapters 5 - 7. That is the standard if you’re trying to enter heaven on merit, and it must be kept right from birth. It’s hopeless. No one can do it. No one even need to try. Why? Because Jesus will do it for us.

For everyone who is willing to humble h/herself and admit the need for forgiveness -

For everyone who is willing to humble h/herself and allow Jesus to become Lord and Saviour of h/her life,

The very Spirit of Creator God will indwell that person and begin a change in character from the inside out.

Why? Because almost anyone can look good to those around them. No one can be good where it counts, in our motives in the sould of our being. That’s why people are surprised when their neighbour or church leader or minor league coach does something evil. Our outsides look all shiny and new while our insides carry the stench of spiritual death.

Without any effort on our part, and only a willingness to obey and to follow, Creator God will first count us as righteous and then, in a process that lasts a life-time, He will conform us and transform into the likeness of Jesus the Christ.
Like being rescued from drowning, the moment we quit fighting, that’s the moment that our Rescuer can save us.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Atheist Crusades?

Not a chance. Atheists have always gotten a lot of traction out of bringing up the Crusades. At first glance it seems with good reason.

Within a decade or two, every non Muslim in the world, except atheists will be clamouring for another push back. For in reality, that’s what the Crusades were. They were a push back from the sane ones in response to the insane ideology of Islam to conquer the world for Mohamed.

Anyone who thinks that Islamo fascists are going to dial it back if only we say “Please” is seriously deluded. A confrontation, a push back is coming. In 500 years they may call the impending confrontation a Crusade.

It’s going to be the world against Islam.

It’s going to be lovers of freedom against Islam.

OR, as is happening in EVERY country where atheists are squeezing out Christians, in every country where atheism is becoming the state ideology it will be capitulation to Islam. For atheists are the most cowardly humans on earth; beating up those they can, and rolling over for those who are willing to use force against them.

Guess Who?

S/he is a lonely, intrepid figure, deprived of cosmic hope, abandoned to h/her own wits, navigating h/her way through the heavens, pitting h/herself against the unknown, refusing to accept the tyrannical sovereignty of God, rebelling against divine decree, and determined to build out of h/her own resources a rival empire devoted to happiness in the here and new.”

Bible Contradiction II

While displaying ignorance in multiple areas, atheists demonstrate this deficiency frequently in their description of Biblical “contradictions.” What is a contradiction? A simple definition comes to us from Stanley Jevons’ Elementary Lessons in Logic, says: “Nothing can both be and not be” (1928, p. 117).

It's Very Good
There once was a Christian named Sal. He was a welder and generally good with tools. He built a go-cart for his son. Every evening for three weeks, Sal worked in his shop, cutting, welding, piecing together the tubular metal. Finally Sal installed the engine and steering assembly. When it was finished, Sal stepped back and looked at what he had done. He was very pleased and remarked to his atheist neighbour who’d come over to see how the project was going, “This is good. I did a good job.”

One day, about a month after getting his new toy, the boy failed to notice a wire meant to act as a guide for a fence the neighbour was building. Going full speed, Sal’s son hit the wire, slicing open his neck. He died before Sal could get him to the hospital.

At the food market several months later, Sal’s atheist neighbour heard Sal telling a friend that he was very sad he’d made the go-cart. “That’s a lie!” the atheist cried. “You told me that building that go-cart was very good.”

Was it a lie, as atheists say?

Genesis 1:31 and Genesis 6:5-6

God Loves You

Because God is a God of love, He became personally involved in the same pain, loneliness, rejection, persecution, grief, violence, misunderstanding that we sometimes experience. He didn’t need to do that. He could have paid the price of our sins without living the life that we live. Because He loves us, He chose to identify with and experience the tragedies that this life has to offer.

We have a terrible time accepting that there might be something, a Power, a Being, a Mind that is more powerful that we. Even though we might think that having sex with our neighbour's partner is alright, we find it intolerable that a Power greater than ourselves has determined that it is not alright. And what’s more, there are going to be consequences for disagreeing with that Power. It’s easier for us to believe that Power doesn’t exist than to think that it wouldn’t approve of our decisions.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Better Than A Slave Owner

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a slave owner. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself:

“God, I thank you that I am not like other men - robbers, evil-doers, adulterers - or even like this slave owner. I’ve never killed anyone, I hardly ever lie, I’m in favour of all the popular things to be in favour of, and I’m against all the things most people are against, and I try to be as good as I can.

“But the slave owner stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me a sinner.”

“I tell you the slave owner, rather than the Pharisee went home justified before God. For every functional atheist who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Bible Contradiction I

While displaying ignorance in multiple areas, atheists demonstrate this deficiency frequently in their description of Biblical “contradictions.” What is a contradiction? A simple definition comes to us from Stanley Jevons’ Elementary Lessons in Logic, says: “Nothing can both be and not be” (1928, p. 117).

Thank God they were rescuedI was telling an atheist that on our last holiday, we watched as 23 people were rescued from a cave after they’d spent all night trapped by a avalanche. In a seperate conversation while visiting in the kitchen, my wife told the man's wife, also an atheist, that 24 people had been rescued from the cave. After hearing the different accounts, and because we’re Christians, the two atheists accused us of lying.

I guess they weren’t smart enough, or just too bigoted to put any effort into figuring out what happened.

Can you figure it out?

1 Corinthians 10:8 and Numbers 25:9.

Which one is correct?

Of course, atheists say that all religions are all wrong. And because there are so many religions, atheists say there is no way of knowing which one would be correct even if one of them was correct. Well, that is a patently stupid thing to say.

Atheists, while confused on many things, are here confusing the difficulty of finding truth with the ability or possibility of finding truth. While the existence of many religions necessitates work and diligence in assessing their credibility, that is no excuse for saying that truth doesn’t exist or that it can’t be discerned.

Certainly different world-views give us different understandings of the human dilemma and its solutions. But to say that knowing opposing views eliminates the possibility of a solution existing or that we cannot not discover that solution is again, simply wrong. Nor does it mean that there’s nothing wrong with us. This flies in the face of atheism which is perhaps the least humble and most judgmental of all world-views.

Christianity, in my opinion, is the only world-view that accurately describes our problem and it is the only world-view that provides a solution - a solution that begins with our Creator, is carried out with our permission and is brought to completion by our Creator.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sal and Slavery

I’ve tried to avoid this topic. As unbearable as atheists are on subjects like origins, they’re even worse when it comes to things like slavery in the Bible. Their imaginations run loose and their feigned outrage cause them to exaggerate and fabricate to an extent that seems to know no bounds when it comes to the topic of slavery in the Bible. Why do I say their outrage is not genuine? Because, if you'll remember, atheists don't believe in God. They don't really believe that any of this actually took place. "I don't believe in God, but I'm furious that He commanded the Israelites to take slaves." Pfft!

What follows is from a discussion between John Loftus and another couple. For the life of me I can’t find the site from which this was taken. Loftus of course makes comments that are easily as nonsensical as Sal’s. I give it to you as I found it. If you are willing to read with an open mind and not in a spirit of challenging what you read before you’ve read it all, you might, might gain a proper perspective. Personally? I don’t hold out any hope for education as the mass of bigotry and bias among atheists in this area is as dense as a black hole.

It is often affirmed, as an incontestable and obvious truth, that the Bible supports slavery. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong cites Leviticus 25:44 as evidence of this charge in “Why Traditional Theism is not an Adequate Foundation for Morality.”1. [1] Although Armstrong is not the alone in making this claim, I think the charge is mistaken; the Bible does not support slavery.

This claim was refuted by John Locke in his Second Treatise on Civil Government, one of the founding texts of contemporary liberal political theory. Locke was a famous English philosopher, less known is that Locke was also the author of several commentaries on scripture and the First Treatise of Civil Government was essentially a class argument from scripture against the divine right of kings. In the Second Treatise, Locke argued that the law of nature, which for Locke is the law of God, forbids a person selling themselves or another into slavery.[2]

In response to the line of argument Armstrong cites, Locke responded with
I confess, we find among the Jews, as well as other nations, that men did sell themselves; but, it is plain, this was only to drudgery, not to slavery: for, it is evident, the person sold was not under an absolute, arbitrary, despotical power: for the master could not have power to kill him, at any time, whom, at a certain time, he was obliged to let go free out of his service; and the master of such a servant was so far from having an arbitrary power over his life, that he could not, at pleasure, so much as maim him, but the loss of an eye, or tooth, set him free, Exod. xxi.[3]

Locke’s argument here is as follows,
[1] If a person is a slave then that person is “under the absolute, arbitrary power of another, to take away his life, when he pleases.”[4]
[2] The institution referred to in scripture that people could sell themselves into, was not one where they were “under an absolute, arbitrary, despotical power.”
The conclusion Locke draws from [1] and [2] is that the institution scripture refers to is not slavery. Locke’s response here is interesting and fundamentally correct. Here I want to simply elaborate on it in more detail so I will address each premise in turn.

What is Slavery?Central to Locke’s argument is his definition of slavery and understanding of what makes slavery wrong. Locke understands the state of slavery as,
[1] If a person is a slave then that person is “under the absolute, arbitrary power of another, to take away his life, when he pleases.”
Rodney Stark utilises a similar definition,
A slave is a human being who, in the eyes of the law and custom, is the possession, or chattel, of another human being or of a small group of human beings. Ownership of slaves entails absolute control, including the right to punish (often including the right to kill), to direct behaviour, and to transfer ownership.[5]
The Oxford Dictionary gives a similar definition; a slave is defined as a “person who is the legal property of another or others and is bound to absolute obedience, human chattel.”[6] Timothy Keller notes correctly that the English word ‘slave’ carries connotations of new-world slavery as it was practiced in the British Empire, made infamous in the antebellum southern states of the US.[7] It is this paradigm that critics of scripture tend to allude to. John Loftus, for example, cites an eyewitness description of antebellum practices and then links it slavery in the Bible,

He took her into the kitchen, and stripped her from neck to waist. He made her get upon the stool, and he tied her hands to a hook in the joist. After rolling up his sleeves, he commenced to lay on the heavy cow skin, and soon the warm, red blood came dripping to the floor … No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose. The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped longest. He would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush; and not until overcome by fatigue, would he cease to swing the blood clotted cowskin.

Why didn’t the Christian God ever explicitly and clearly condemn slavery?[8]
In the British Empire and in many US states, slavery was governed under the Code of Barbados. This code was explicitly racist and described Africans as “heathenish, brutish, and an uncertaine, dangerous kinde of people.”[9] It allowed owners to use, “unlimited force to compel labor without penalty even if this resulted in maiming or death;”[10] It denied slaves due process rights, allowed owners to, in effect, kill their slave for any cause, forbade slaves from marrying and effectively, prevented owners from setting their slaves free.[11] Keller writes that, “The African slave trade was begun and resourced through kidnapping.”[12] Stark notes that “20 to 40 percent of slaves died while being transported to the coast, another 3-10 percent died while waiting on the coast, and about 12 to 16 percent boarded on ships died during the voyage.”[13]

Does the Old Testament Approve of Slavery?
Armstrong argues that “the bible contains some horrible passages about slavery;”[14] to substantiate this he cites from the English Standard Version, "as for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations around you." (Lev 25:44) [15]
The ESV here uses the English word ‘slavery’ to translate the Hebrew word ebed. An important initial observation is that ebed is the noun form of the verb abad which means ‘to work’ or ‘to serve.’ Ebed does not have the same semantic range as the contemporary word ‘slave;’ Freedman notes,

The word ebed however, denoted not only actual slaves occupied in production or in the household but also persons in subordinate positions (mainly subordinate with regard to the king and his higher officials). Thus the term ebed is sometimes translated as “servant.” Besides, the term was used as a sign of servility in reference to oneself when addressing persons of higher rank.[16]

Locke suggests that an examination of The Torah’s references to an ebed shows that, in fact, it is not the equivalent of what in English language and culture is referred to with the word ‘slave.’ I noted above that Locke’s second premise was,
[2] The institution referred to in scripture that people could sell themselves into, was not one where they were “under an absolute, arbitrary, despotical power.”
I will give four examples to demonstrate why I think Locke is correct.

First, an ebed was not acquired by kidnapping; kidnapping a human being and selling them as a slave was a capital offence in The Torah (Ex 21:16). Moreover, slave trading is implicitly condemned in the book of Revelation (Rev 18:13) and explicitly condemned by Paul as contrary to the law and sound doctrine (1 Tim 1:9-10). An ebed is used in The Torah to refer to a person who offers to work for another, free of charge, in exchange for a debt being cancelled. During service the ebed worked for and served another, lived in that person’s house and probably received free food and board.

Second, the institution was not based on racist notions that ebed were of an inferior race. In fact, the opposite is affirmed. In the book of Job we read,
If I have rejected the cause of my male or female slaves [Hebrew: ebed amah] when they brought a complaint against me; what then shall I do when God rises up? When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him? Did not he who made me in the womb make them? And did not one fashion us in the womb? (Job 31:13-15

Here Job refers to an ebed as having a right to go to court and sue their “owner” in pursuit of their rights. Job bases this on the idea that both he and his ebed are equal; both are created by God.

Third, as Locke notes, an ebed was not the property of another so that they could dispose of them as they saw fit. To deliberately kill an ebed is a capital offence (Ex 21:20-21). Similarly, it was illegal to strike an ebed (Ex 21:26-27). This latter point is often denied on the basis of Exodus 21:20-21,

If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.

Some interpret this passage to mean that because a slave is the property of another they can severely beat the slave and providing the beating is not fatal, there is no punishment. This fails to deal adequately with the context and the Hebrew text; the word translated as ‘property’ here is actually ‘silver’ (a reference to money) and the word translated ‘punishment’ here is not the usual word for punishment. Christopher Wright notes that the word implies “the shedding of the blood of the master of the slave”[17] and so refers to capital punishment. It is used in direct contrast with the same word in the previous verse where it is stated that deliberately killing an ebed is to be avenged. Therefore it does not say the person will not be punished for beating a slave, it says he will not be executed for it unless he kills the slave. For further evidence that the passage is not a licence to beat, a couple of verses later even causing a minor injury on an ebed, such as a bruise, is explicitly condemned.

The same contrast occurs in the passage immediately preceding where a free man who struck and killed another was to be “held responsible” but not if the person survives. It is clear from v 19, however, that the person was in fact to be punished; hence, again, the ‘held responsible’ is referring only to being held responsible for murder and is not speaking to the lesser charges. What Ex 21:20-21 says then, is that if a person deliberately kills their ebed then they are to be held responsible for murder and executed. If the slave if the slave “gets up after a day or two,” they are not to be held responsible for murder because the ebed is their “silver.”

This makes sense when a few verses later, in Ex 21:26-27, striking a slave is explicitly prohibited and the legal punishment is for the ebed to go free. In The Torah, the penalty for assault was for the assailant to provide monetary compensation to the victim.[18] This would create a quandary in this case as an ebed is in a position of servitude because he or she is in debt to the person they work for. In such a case the assailant would owe money to a person who owes him money. The Torah resolves the issue by declaring that even a trivial strike (such as the causing a bruise 21:25) resulted in an immediate cancelation of the ebed’s entire debt, which would often result in a financial loss to the assailant.

Third, unlike new world slavery which was life long and where, under the Barbados code, emancipation was effectively prohibited, an ebed could not be held in service for more than six years (Exodus 21:2).[19] Upon release, their employer was morally required to give them sufficient resources for them to be set up on their own feet (Deut 15:12-18) and the community left resources for them to live on for a year (Ex 23:10-11, Lev 25:2-7). In fact, The Torah encouraged people to prevent family members from becoming an ebed by paying their debts for them (Lev 25:48). Paul, after writing to the Corinthians and encouraging them to “retain the place in life that the Lord assigned,” encourages slaves to purchase their freedom and not to remain in this position (1 Cor 7:21-22).

Finally, if an ebed fled from an oppressive employer it was illegal to return him or her to “his master,” instead he or she was to live, “wherever he likes and in whatever town he chooses” (Deut 23:15-16). It was forbidden to send him or her back to his owner. This law stood in stark contrast the Ancient Near Eastern legal customs of the day.[20] The code of Hammurabi, for example, proscribed the death penalty for receiving a runaway slave.[21] In the antebellum south, the Fugitive Slave Act 1850 required the return of run-away slaves at penalty of law.

It seems then that Locke’s response is fundamentally correct. While it is true that many English translations of the bible use the word slavery to translate the word ebed it is mistaken to see the two institutions as the same. Slavery refers to the state of being the property or chattel of another; regardless of what connotations various words in English translations have, the institution referred to in scripture did not permit, condone or allow this.

Some people ask, why wasn’t God crystal clear on this issue since people suffered horrendously at the hands of Bible quoting masters?”

Well, even if you interpret “ebed” as “slave” as Hodge did, God WAS crystal clear in scripture about not beating them, not killing them, not threatening, the fact they were entitled to due process rights, must be released after six years and so on; in other words, to NOT treat them as property to be disposed of as one sees fit. Hence, to suggest that the Bible is unclear on the kind of suffering inflicted on the US southern slaves is false.

Another question that is asked is, “If there is a perfectly good God who knows us like he does and could foreknow how we humans would misuse the Bible, then why didn’t he reveal himself to us better than he did? There are many things in the Bible which led his followers to kill and hurt people that upon human hindsight could’ve been stated better.”

This is an incoherent argument. Knowledge constitutes of a warranted and true belief. If God foreknew that people would misuse the Bible then it must be true that they would, but then God could not prevent them doing so, if he did then it would not be true that they would in which case he would not know it.

Given that slaves had the same basic rights as men, even if it were correct that women were treated like slaves, there should not be a great problem with it. Slaves could not be raped or forcibly married; it is clear from many passages stated above that the only difference between the rights of slaves and men is that one owed money and had consented to work that debt off.

In the passages condemning assault, homicide, etc there are NO exceptions made for women – the fact there are not, that women were treated equally, was actually controversial given the surrounding, non-Christian, cultures.

Some suggest that women were made to marry their rapist. Those passages do not mean rape in the sense anti-theist would like it to mean. They refer to pre-marital seduction – consensual sex - where the woman concerned was quite happy to marry the man she was sleeping with (not surprising given the risk of pregnancy in a pre-contraceptive culture).

If a man raped a woman in the sense to which anti-theists are referring to he was to be executed. This is a better standard for women than the laws that exist against rape today in most industrialised countries.

By the moral standards laid out for the treatment of slaves in the Bible, anyone unlucky enough to get h/himself into debt and could not manage that person could do a lot worse than being an indentured servitude program where s/he got a roof and board and a chance to work the debt off and where that person’s debt could be cancelled if the person I was in debt to mistreated the slave, than being sent to prison for failure to pay h/her fines.

Rab and others say things like, Please oh please tell us why God didn't condemn it plainly if he foreknew what sincere believers would think about slavery from the Bible. If I were god this is what I would've said: 'Owning a person as property or treating them inhumanely is an abomination. Forced slavery is an abomination. Beating employees is a sin.' This is what I would've said if I were God, and I'm not perfect unlike your God."

This resembles the question:

When did you stop beating your wife?

Of course you can’t give a direct answer to this question because the question assumes you are a wife-beater and you are not.

In the same way, when an anti-theist asks why God does not condemn the beating of slaves or treating them inhumanely or forcing people into slavery, we are being asked to assume that scripture does NOT condemn these things. That, however, is incorrect.

Scripture does condemn these things. Most atheists who ask this question know that the harsh treatment of slaves is clearly condemned but are too dishonest to make this known in what they write on the subject.

However, just to reinforce what’s already been said, I will cite from the King James Version (KJV) which was widely available in the antebellum US South. The citations I provide are straight from the KJV, one does not need to know Greek or Hebrew to read them. Moreover, despite the fact that the KJV translates the word “ebed” as “servant” I shall also assume, for the sake of argument, that southern theologians were correct and that the word “ebed” refers to slavery.
Here are some of the things the scriptures say about beating slaves, treating them as property, inhumanely etc:

Ex 21: 14 "And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death."

This passages states that forcing someone into slavery is a serious sin, punishable at law.

Consider these two passages:

Ex 21:23-26 "And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; HE SHALL LET HIM GO FREE for his eye's sake. And if he smite out his manservant's tooth, or his maidservant's tooth; HE SHALL LET HIM GO FREE for his tooth's sake."

Does that sound like the American south to you?

Deuteronomy 23:15-16 "Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant WHICH IS ESCAPED from his master unto thee: He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: THOU SHALT NOT OPPRESS HIM."

The first verse teaches that it is wrong to beat one's “slave” and that a slave that is beaten by a master should be liberated. The second teaches that a slave that runs away from an oppressive master should not be returned to him. Both then state that a person should not be held in bondage to a master that beats and abuses them.

Ephesians 5: 7-9 "Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him."

This is a command to not even “threaten” one's slave, it also commands people to treat their slaves the way they would like to be treated.

So I put to you, that when you cite an example of “brutal American slavery,” of a woman being whipped, of her bleeding and pleading for the beating to stop, and then, in this context ask why God did not condemn slavery, you are assuming the scriptures did not condemn such practices.

Even defenders of slavery, such as Charles Hodge, admitted what was going on in the south was contrary to scripture.

Again John, I ask, show me a passage where God permits, endorses or commands the practices you describe on p 231 of your book? Where he tells us to ignore the ones I cite? If you cannot, why do you insinuate, on the very same page, that he did not?

Some might attempt to adopt a narrower definition of slavery and then use it to argue that, on that narrower definition the bible does not condemn all forms of slavery.

The problem with this move that you cannot now use the bible to argue that it supported the kind of slavery that existed in the antebellum south, nor can you argue that the bible supports the kind of slavery common in the new world. Nor can you use it to argue that it supports any obviously objectionable form of slavery. The conclusion that the bible supports some form of slavery does not entail it supports all forms or any particular form the sceptic cites.

Moreover, if this move is made it is no longer obvious that the bible supporting "slavery" is problematic. If the word "slavery" is expanded to include various different kinds of servitude. Including ones which are consensual, are used to pay of debts, the servants are not treated like property, not beaten, treated with dignity and respect etc etc. Then the claim that slavery is always wrong is no longer obvious.

I believe it is Sal who uses this next passage to show his outrage over slavery. Luke 12:47-48, which states: "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."

This passage does not teach that it’s permissible to beat ones slave. The text is from a parable designed to illustrate the point that “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Jesus illustrates it by citing an example from the surrounding culture in this the practise of a someone being beaten. The parable is no more about slavery than the parable of the sower is a lesson on gardening. Or that the parable of the vineyard is Jesus giving instructions on how to grow grapes. Or that the parable of the net is a lesson in fishing, or the parable of the good Samaritan is a command to travel from Jerusalem to Jericho. Can you understand that Sal? This is NOT a teaching on how to treat slaves. It’s a parable.

In fact only a few verses earlier Jesus uses the example of burglar to illustrate a point about “being prepared. ” In Luke 12:39-40 Jesus says “ But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."
Yet no sensible commentator has ever interpreted this passage to be a command from Jesus on how to rob houses.

Parables use images examples to illustrate points, what they teach are the points illustrated, they tell us nothing about the examples used.

[1] Walter Sinnott-Armstrong “Why Traditional Theism Cannot Provide an Adequate Foundation for Morality” in Is Goodness without God Good Enough: A Debate on Faith, Secularism and Ethics eds Robert K Garcia and Nathan L King (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008) 101-116.
[2] John Locke Second Treatise on Civil Government Ch IV.
[3] Ibid, sec 24.
[4] Ibid, sec 23.
[5] Rodney Stark For the Glory of God: How Monotheism led to Reformations, Science, Witch-hunts and the end of Slavery (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003) 292.
[6] The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (Oxford: Oxford Clarendon University Press, 1974 ) 5th Edition, 1199.
[7] Timothy Keller Reasons for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (New York: Dutton books) 110.
[8] John Loftus Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity (New York: Prometheus Books, 2008) 231. Many thanks to Dean Mischewski for gifting us a copy of Loftus's book.
[9] Stark For the Glory of God: 312-313.
[10] Ibid, 313.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Keller Reasons for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism 111.
[13] Stark For the Glory of God: 303.
[14] Sinnott-Armstrong “Why Traditional Theism Cannot Provide an Adequate Foundation for Morality” 110.
[15] Armstrong omits to mention the previous passage which forbids any Israelite taking another Israelite as a ‘slave’ on the grounds that they are a “slave of God” whom God has redeemed. Paul applies the same teaching to Christians in 1 Corinthians 7:23 prohibiting Christians from being sold as ‘slaves.’ This teaching led many early and medieval theologians to forbid the enslavement of Christians resulting in slavery all but disappearing from Christian Europe in the early Middle Ages; Stark documents this in For the Glory of God: 329-330.
[16] D N Freedman Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group,1992).
[17] Christopher Wright God's People in Gods Land: Family, Land and Property in the Old Testament (Grand Rapids Mi: Paternoster Press, 1990) 242.
[18] See Exodus 21:19.
[19] There is an apparent discrepancy between Exodus 21:1-6 and the release laws of Leviticus 25:39-43; Christopher Wright in God's People in Gods Land: 253, noted that the law in Exodus 21:6 refers to Hebrew slaves. Wright notes that in its original context the word ibri designated a social class, not an ethnic group. This was the class of people who did not own land, who survived by hiring themselves out to land owners. Lev 25, on the other hand, deals with an Israelite landowner who has been forced into poverty by mortgaging his land and then selling himself and his family into the service of another land owner.
[20] Wright God's People in Gods Land: 249.
[21] Code of Hammurabi 16.