I came across this picture somewhere on the internet and I had to take issue with it!
Ricky Gervais, of course, is the British creator of The Office. (I’m not familiar with the British version, but I love the American version. I think it’s brilliant.)
Gervais tries to contrast “sane” Christians with “evil fundamentalists.” I think Gervais is misinformed about history. Whether Gervais knows it or not, and contrary to popular understandings of history, fundamentalist Christians are the greatest heroes of history!
A fundamentalist Christian is one who believes in the good news of Jesus. They adhere to the New Testament. They don’t throw away the Old Testament, but they interpret it in light of the New Testament.
There are people who claim to be Christians, yet they reject the Bible as a source of truth, add to or take away from the bibical record, or don’t interpret the Old Testament in light of the New Testament. This has led to many false teachings which have caused much suffering in the world. On the other hand, fundamentalist Christians have basically led the opposition to every evil the world has ever produced!
It wasn’t atheists who got rid of Roman emperor worship–it was fundamentalist Christians. It wasn’t atheists who got rid of the power of the papacy–it was fundamentalist Christians. It wasn’t atheists who got rid of slavery–it was fundamentalist Christians. It wasn’t atheists who opposed Hitler–it was fundamentalist Christians. It wasn’t atheists who brought the world out of the darkness of pagan religions–it was fundamentalist Christians. It wasn’t atheists who caused the blessings of science to explode unto the world scene–it was fundamentalist Christians. It wasn’t atheists who opposed atheistic communism–it was fundamentalist Christians.
Unfortunately, there’s much confusion over the true and false church. Those who pervert and corrupt the teachings of the New Testament still try to pose as the Christian Church. They have done much damage to the body of Christ, bringing disgrace to the name of God. It’s nothing new, though. This is exactly why Jesus was upset with the religious Pharisees. They had added their own traditions to the scriptures causing Jesus to declare that they had made “void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down (Mark 7:13).” The fundamentalist Christian church has always fought to keep the scriptures pure and to pull society back to the standard of the Word. For this they have invariably been imprisoned, tortured, and murdered. Yet, looking back, they were ALWAYS right.
One example of the heroism of fundamentalist Christians was their refusal to worship any of the Roman emperors. Instead, they maintained their commitment to Jesus. They wouldn’t deny Him. For this they were burnt at the stake (by Nero) and fed to the beasts in the Coliseum. They were called atheists for not worshiping the Roman gods and emperors. At the time they looked like fools, but thanks to them, the Roman empire was eventually dismantled.
After this, a corrupt religious system began to develop which would blend philosophy, traditions, papal decrees, and other nonsense in with the scriptures. The Catholic Church would gain more and more authority and hold the body of Christ hostage in darkness for a millenium. But finally, John Wycliffe, the Morning Star of the Reformation would burst on the scene and begin to oppose the entrenched false doctrines of Catholicism. Huss, Tyndale, Luther, and Calvin would change the world! The Reformation was an example of how the world became blessed by the restoration of the knowledge of the Bible. As a result of their work, the Catholic Church and her wrong doctrine were finally confronted and overthrown. This new exposure to the Bible, coinciding with the invention of the printing press, would lead to the Western concept of religious freedom and toleration (as typified by Locke and Jefferson who based much of their writings on the scriptures), produce new respect for the family (as in contrast to the celibacy of priests, monks, and nuns), encourage the development of the work ethic (since we are commanded in the New Testament: “whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men [Col. 3:23]”;– meaning ALL work is spiritual if it’s done for Jesus), cause the expansion of education (since reading was necessary for the study of the Bible), plant the seeds for the growth of secularism (since all thought was tolerated under the kind Jesus), and give birth to the explosion of science (since the material world was no longer considered evil and the Bible even hinted that we could know some of the mind of God through His creation).
To explain how science was hindered during the medieval era, the Catholic Church (thinking they were intelligent) had adopted Aristotle’s natural philosophy as the basis for their beliefs, rather than the scriptures. This is what frustrated Galileo! It was the emphasis on Greek philosophy that Galileo was arguing against in his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. Galileo mocked the Church through his character Simplicio, who is painted as being stupid because he was a follower of Aristotle and Ptolemy. Galileo’s argument wasn’t with the scriptures; it was with the church’s adoption of Aristotle.This is just one example. There are so many more. What seems to be covered up these days is that those who adhered to the scriptures (fundamentalists) were the ones who advanced science and blessed the world! The list of fundamentalist Christian scientists would include Newton, Kepler, Galileo, Bacon, and on and on. (https://narrowwayapologetics.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/is-christianity-the-enemy-of-science/)
Concerning slavery, it was those who wrongly interpreted the scriptures in light of Old Testament passages on “the curse of Ham” who brought shame on the church. If they would have listened to Jesus who said he “came to set the captives free (Luke 4:18),” or to Paul who admonished Philemon to be reconciled to his slave, Onesimus, “no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother” (Philemon v. 16), perhaps they wouldn’t have been party to the slave trade. It took the abolitionists, who were nearly ALL fundamentalist Christians, to rid the world of slavery. (If they weren’t fundamentalists, they still used the scriptures to justify their position, as Thomas Paine does.) One of these fundamentalists was William Wilberforce, the parliamentarian who labored for decades to abolish slavery in the British Empire. He loved Jesus and opposed those who perverted the scriptures, pointing to the Catholic Inquisition or the abuses of Pizarro and Cortez, saying they were “furious bigots . . . bloody persecutors, and self-interested hypocrites . . . ” He knew the Catholic Church didn’t adhere to the teachings of the Bible. They added their own traditions, such as indulgences, to the Word. They also promoted superstition because they didn’t teach the Bible. Instead they left the people to wander in darkness. This was why the witch hunts were so “sucessful.” If the people had known the gospel, they would have known that witches had no power over them because “greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world (I John 4:4).” There would be no fear of the devil. Yet the Catholic Church allowed the use of the booklet “Malleus Maleficurum” to convict women of witchcraft. It wasn’t the Bible that led to these hysterics; it was wrong teaching. Fundamentalist Christians would never turn to an extrabiblical document for their theology. They are also diligent to “rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).” Therefore, we would not turn to the Old Testament laws concerning witchcraft because the New Testament teaches that Jesus fulfilled the law for us. (This is why he didn’t allow the woman caught in adultery to be stoned.)
Other abolitionists included members of the Clapham Sect, who would later help to form the Ethnological Society of London to fight against scientific racism. Jefferson, Hume, Kant, and Voltaire (none of them fundamentalists) would use “empirical methodology” and “scientific observation” to declare that there was more than one parent of all the races (polygenism), while fundamentalist Christians pointed to the New Testament scripture, Acts 17:26, which declares: “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth.” This was a reference to Adam and Eve and monogenism. Frederick Douglass would battle against scientific racism also, using the Bible as a source in his speech, “The Claims of the Negro, Ethnologically Considered.” In contrast, those enlightened by science without being tethered to the scriptures would declare:
“I am apt to suspect the Negroes, and in general all other species of men to be naturally inferior to the whites.” (David Hume)
“Their round eyes, their flat nose, their lips which are always thick, their differently shaped ears, the wool on their head, the measure of even their intelligence establishes between them and other species of men prodigous differences. If their understanding is not of a different nature than ours, it is at least greatly inferior.” (Voltaire)
“The Negroes of Africa have received from nature no intelligence that rises above the foolish.” (Kant)
“Comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me, that in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.” (Thomas Jefferson)
It’s also documented that George Morton, while president of the National Academy of Science, was a believer in phrenology, and attempted to develop a racial theory based on the measurement of skull size. His students, George Gliddon and Josiah Nott, would write Ethnological Research (or Types of Mankind), which was used by southern slaveholders as a scientific justification for slavery. Even Louis Aggasiz, the glacial scientist and professor of natural history at Harvard, would abandon biblical Christianity and embrace polygenism, immersing a whole generation of students in the theory.
Many people are unaware of the backlash which occurred as a result of the wrong doctrine of polygenism. The modern missions movement was a direct outcome of the rejection of two 19th century beliefs: scientific racism and social Darwinism. While scientific racism was the belief that each race had different parents (polygenism) instead of a common ancestor (monogenism) as taught by the Bible, social Darwinism would teach that the darker races were less evolved. It would be adopted by the likes of Harvard’s Frederic Ward Putnam (a student of Louis Aggasiz) who was commissioned to develop an anthropological display at the Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893. This was supposed to showcase the latest scientific endeavor! Unfortunately, history records that the “science” on display included a type of human zoo which allowed those who attended the fair to walk through the evolutionary history of man. Beginning with the African race and moving forward through the red and yellow races, villages were set up and people of color put on display. The exhibit ended with European villages and culminated with the glorious “White City” which was the final evolutionary goal that mankind was moving toward.
Yet, how was this view challenged? A little known aspect of the mission of the fundamentalist Christian church of the 19th century was to prove that the darker skinned races were not inferior. They believed that the reason those in far off lands were not as intelligent was because they had never heard about Jesus who could bring them out of their pagan religions (which produced infanticide, widow burning, euthanasia, cannibalism, tribal warfare, and all sorts of cruelty and injustice) and then educate them so they could read the Bible and study science, mechanics, literature, mathematics, etc… This is why nearly all the great universities around the world were started by Christian missionaries. If you were to go to foreign nations such as China, South Africa, India, or Australia, you would discover that their great universities were founded by Christian missionaries as a direct challenge to the claims of social Darwinists/scientific racists!
It was also fundamentalist Christians who led the only organized opposition to Adolph Hitler. It was those who compromised the words of the Bible in response to the historical criticism it received in the late 19th century (a movement, I might add, which started in Germany!) who caved in to Hitler and allowed swastikas to be placed on their altars. The Confessing Church, on the other hand, remained faithful to the Bible, declaring in the Barmen Declaration that they rejected “the false doctrine, as though the church could and would have to acknowledge as a source of its proclamation, apart from and besides this on Word of God, still other events and powers, figures, and truths, as God’s revelation.” In other words, they would only acknowledge the Bible as their source for truth — not the philosophers such as Hegel and Herder, nor the scientists, such as Darwin. If these other sources of truth conflicted with the Bible, then they would reject them. And they did–many of the signers losing their life in the process.
It was also the fundamentalist Christian who opposed atheistic communism in the 20th century. Persons such as Richard Wurmbrand, Watchman Nee, Aida Skripnova, Vera Yakovlena, Nikolai Khamara (whose eyes were gouged out and tongue cut off for praising Jesus), Dr. Margareta Pescaru (who smuggled medicine to patients who had gone through “re-education efforts”), Ivan Moiseyev, and many, many, more stood up to communist tyranny in the name of Jesus. The church who had compromised the Bible and believed the historical criticisms of it, joined the communists! They even started organizations such as the World Council of Churches to defend Marxism. As in other cases in history, the church that abandons the Word becomes an embarassment to future generations. Yet the remnant that remains faithful becomes the HERO of history!
Perhaps Ricky Gervais has learned a revised version of history. To oppose the Bible as an outmoded or irrelevant document has always been the legacy of those who would abuse humanity or hinder society from making strides toward freedom, prosperity, education, and goodness.
If you love kindness, Ricky, I’d like you to understand that it was fundamentalist Christianity which provided the world with a tenderness it hadn’t known before. As the good news of Jesus spread around the world, those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness, rather than brutality and perversion, found a resting place in Christianity’s branches. If we are to know a tree by its fruit, as Jesus said, rescuing abandoned children, redeeming slaves, caring for the needy, nursing the sick, opposing emperor worship, educating ALL peoples, fighting against Hitler, breaking the Catholic stranglehold, expanding freedom and toleration, suffering under communism, blessing humanity with science, and many other great acts of devotion to Christ were all fruits of this tree.
Perhaps Ricky believes today’s Christians are evil because they oppose abortion, homosexuality, or global warming (even though the case could be made that all of them have caused great human suffering), but I would ask him to consider the track record of the fundamentalist Christians before he begins to attack their biblical views. What you may consider to be a politically or scientifically correct view now, may be looked upon in the future as absolute foolishness. For example, even though there was no view into the womb when Roe v. Wade was established, we now have ultrasound equipment which can give us a three dimensional view of the baby in the womb, establishing the reality that it is a human being. Although abortion is an established right, perhaps it wouldn’t have been if we had more modern technology in 1973. I believe we will look back on the abortion era in the same way we looked back on the slavery era–as an absolute injustice which was birthed in the selfishness of the human heart. And it was the fundamentalists (called the religious right) who led the campaign against abortion because of their adherence to the scriptures which proclaim that God knows us in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5). Christopher Hitchens has even acknowledged that abortion was wrong. Perhaps the tide is beginning to turn even now.
Santayana said that those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it. I would venture to say that Gervais may be falling into this trap. In the same way that others in the past have hated fundamentalist Christians, while being on the wrong side of history, Ricky may be doing the same thing. Please Ricky, reconsider your statement.
Oh, by the way, even though I’m a fundamentalist Christian, I’ve never set fire to a puppy or stoned a gay person. I love babies and bake cookies for my neighbors. I don’t like being called evil, but I still love you. 🙂
Please accept the apology, I did not read much of this post; it’s long and I had problems with the very start and didn’t want to continue with it before I got an answer to some questions:
1) How do you define a fundamentalist Christian? Because if stoning gays and adulterers and people that work on the sabbath isn’t a part of fundamentalist Christianity, what is? If not sparing the rod else you spoil the child is not a part of fundamentalist Christianity, what is? If corporal punishment and wars against non-believers isn’t fundamentally Christian, what is?
What part of Jesus’ command to slaughter people that didn’t accept he should reign over them with a sword (Luke 19:27) – how is that not a part of fundamentalist Christianity?
No, the nice bits a Christian does are secular things that they have reasoned them selves into. They do it for the same reason I do nice things: it’s nice.
The bits of Christianity that are not totalitarian, misogynistic, violent and homophobic are the secular non-fundamentalist (or contrary-to-fundamentalist) bits.
I don’t see how you can reason any other way…
In response to your question about fundamentalist Christianity:
I’ve never seen a fundamentalist Christian stone an adulterer, sabbath breaker, or a homosexual! I’ve never seen a stoning at all. Jesus stopped stoning by fulfilling the Old Testament law and taking our punishment for us.
Where are the totalitarian Christian governments? Where are the misogynist Christian nations? Where are the homophobic Christian governments?
It seems to me that nations which have the most Christians are the nations that are the most free, most kind to women, least homophobic, and least violent. The rest of the world clamours to get into these nations.
How can we see the world so differently???
Thank you for continuing to have this (these!) conversations with me. I think we’re now at some what of an impasse, and are now going round in circles.
With reference to all the conversations we are (have been) having I think I’m just going to summarise my points, but no longer partake in the conversation; I feel it is now stagnating:
* We differ on what we think counts as Christian rules: I think the content of the Bible stands for Biblical rules, where as you think what Christians do counts as Biblical rules. I have provided enough Biblical reference for you to see why I think Biblical rules are not moral rules i.e. the Old Testament is horrendous and the New Testament actively supports and encourages Old Testament laws (I have referenced this argument else where in comments).
– What I describe is a ‘fundamental’ reading of the Bible, as you defined it in your post. How you read the Bible, according to our conversation thus far, is a (slightly) secularised version. That is why it is not homophobic or misogynistic etc. It’s like I keep saying, Jesus supported (and in placed, exaggerated – like removing the eyes of a person that lusts after another) Old Testament laws. Again, I have referenced this else where.
* Your arguments against evolution are superficial. And your arguments stand on the contrary to science (science that I – although not all atheists do – understand). That puts you in a very weak position. On top of that, you (and your educators) have good reason to be dishonest; the Bible is (or, your interpretation at least) challenged by evolution theory. Lastly, your view make be subject to an in-built psychological bias called the ‘confirmation bias’.
– Abiogenesis has nothing to do with evolution. None of the mechanisms of evolution by natural selection apply (or even can apply) to abiogenesis. Abiogenesis could be – and indeed we have good reason to believe it is – a very rare occurrence, where as evolution is a continual thing. I again implore you to investigate the implications of the phylogenetic tree on creation theory.
* I still think repentance to Jesus is an immoral way out of immoral deeds. You still have your victim(s).
* The Bible still supports slavery. Absolutely.
* What some people – who were Christians – did – professing to be in the name of Christianity – still doesn’t matter more than the actual teachings. And I have very definitely provided what most people would call immoral teachings from the Bible (including Jesus wanting to slay non-believers by the sword, for non-belief).
I hope this comment – and I encourage you to add my blog: allalltor.wordpress.com to the reading list – gives something to ruminate over. I hope it allows you to develop your argument into something more sophisticated, because – as I understand it – your actual internal reasoning is likely to be much more complicated than what you have presented. I hope this discussion (which, I promise you, will be greatly embellished on at my Blog: Allallt on Religion) helps you to develop your argument.
All the best,
I’m going to respond to your comment with shorter comments since longer ones can become very taxing. I have very much enjoyed our contact with one another. Thank you so much for responding to my posts. I hope I can comment occasionally on your posts also.
I want to reiterate that the good news (that’s what “gospel” means) as found in the New Testament, is that “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” (Galatians 3:13) Those “rules” that you refer to were under the old covenant. (This isn’t to say that a moral law no longer exists.) Jesus established a new covenant at the Last Supper. (“This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Luke 22:20) These are the words of Jesus. He established a new covenant!
Hebrews 8:13 says, “In speaking of a new covenant, he has made the first one obsolete.” This was foretold by the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah when he said, “The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt–a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband . . . I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts . . . for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more (Jeremiah 31:31-34).”
Jesus fulfilled this Old Testament prophecy. You see, the Bible has a unified message. There are so many more scriptures just like these!
You have accused me of “cherry-picking” the scriptures, but isn’t that exactly what you are guilty of? I’m sharing the biblical message as a whole with you, while you just choose a few scriptures without attempting to fit them into the entire message of the Bible.
This is exactly what the slaveholders did! But Paul admonished us to “correctly handle the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).”
Perhaps you’ve never been taught the scriptures. I would encourage you to discover their beauty. There’s a reason why so many intelligent and kind people love the Bible!
I suppose the only thing for me to address is your returned accusation; I am cherry-picking.
I am indeed cherry picking. And on purpose, to a specific end. I’ve read the Bible (although I admit I had to look up the passages I have quoted and referenced), and I know that there are beautiful passages in it, as well as places where people say the Old Laws have been over turned. As a side note, I’m not sure why the perfect word of God would need such specific study and be so open to interpretation. Why doesn’t the perfect word of God say what it means? (although, that is a question of incidental value)
The point of my cherry picking is to illustrate that the “unified” message you speak of is actually cherry picked – but meant to be representative of a whole. I am not trying to represent a whole, just illustrate that there are bits that don’t fit with the unified message you talk of.
What it seems is being done (and not just by you – it seems to be a common practice) is that you assume the Bible has a good message, and fit everything in accordingly. This means that when Galatians 3:13 speak of the Old Testament curse being lifted by Jesus it trumps what Jesus says about the Old Testament laws sticking. This is a symptom of the “confirmation bias” I mentioned in another post.
So yes, I was cherry picking, but I hope you understand the point I was trying to make.
Always feel free to comment on my blog. I’ve have – and probably always will – enjoy conversations like this.
All the best, and thank you for an interesting discussion.
You’ve accused me of “confirmation bias” twice now. I think I have a right to respond. According to the Skeptic’s Dictionary, the phenomenon that you speak of is defined as “a type of selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one’s beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts one’s beliefs.”
Over the course of our conversation here, there are times when I brought evidence to you–and you never conceded any point. I will only bring up the obvious places where you “ignored” or “undervalued the relevance” of things that “contradicted” your beliefs.
1. You said:
“When it comes to archaeology it is also noting all the times we’ve been wrong: a global flood, Noah’s arc (it’s been found numerous times, in different places. Apparently, everything is Noah’s arc), the Walls of Jericho (they think they found Jericho – no walls at all.)”
“Jericho’s walls have been discovered. Archaeologists were initially skeptical of the existence of Jericho, let alone the Biblical story of the fall of the wall of Jericho. However, archaeologists have since discovered the city. Along with the city, archaeologists found one of the walls of the city had fallen outward, away from the city.
Consider these 2 quotes:
Archaeological quote dismissing the Fallen Wall of Jericho (1957):
“It is a sad fact that of the town walls of the Late Bronze Age, within which period the attack by the Israelites must fall by any dating, not a trace remains … The excavation of Jericho, therefore, has thrown no light on the walls of Jericho of which the destruction is so vividly described in the Book of Joshua.”
Dame Kathleen Mary Kenyon, Archaeologist – Digging Up Jerichoondon: Ernest Benn. 1957) p. 267-62
Archaeological quote confirming the Fallen Wall of Jericho (1999):
“Three major expeditions to the site [Jericho] over the past 90 years uncovered abundant evidence to support the Biblical account.”
Dr. Bryant Wood, Director of the Associates for Biblical Research – The Walls of Jerichoible and Spade 12:2, 1999)”
“I’m looking up the archaeology bits in more detail after I post this. If it turns out you have a really good point, I will post an apology.”
You never posted anything about archaeology after this. (Unless you consider evidence for the flood to be archaeology.) Nevertheless, you said nothing more about Jericho.
2. You said:
“Well, Tyre was not left to stand desolate, and Tyre was destroyed by Alexander the Great (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Tyre, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyre,_Lebanon#History). I don’t know how much leeway you give a prediction before you say it failed, but that seems like two pretty big failures.”
“ If the city of Tyre wasn’t left desolate, why hasn’t it been rebuilt? In fact, just to insure that it not be rebuilt, the World Heritage Committee is in the process of considering Tyre to be added to its list of treasured sites that have Outstanding Universal Value, meaning that its ruins will be preserved. There is a city built up around the site, called Sour, but the ruins of Tyre are still intact and have never been rebuilt. Here are some pictures of Tyre’s ruins found at the UNESCO website:
Nebuchadnezzar fulfilled part of the prophecy and Alexander the Great fulfilled great details of the prophecy. The point is that the Bible prophesied that Tyre, one of the greatest ancient cities, would be destroyed and never be rebuilt. The ruins of the city remain as a testimony to the truth of that prophecy.”
You never responded to this point. I even showed you pictures of the ruins of Tyre!
3. You said:
“How’s this, as a final series of questions: how, on the creationist model do you explain quasi-functional organs like the appendix and the tonsils?”
“Perhaps you saw this column a few years ago about the purpose of the appendix:
This article goes so far as to declare “Darwin was wrong.”
Perhaps scientists just haven’t been able to keep up with God.”
The articles reveal that the appendix actually serves a great purpose, especially in third world countries. It serves as a pouch that holds “good” bacteria that can flush back into the system when they have been depleted by sicknesses such as diarrhea. You never responded.
4. You said:
“In fact, every good thing you’ve said Christians have done they have not done because of the Bible. In places they have done it in spite of the Bible (think: science. I promise you that cosmology and evolution haven’t supported a fundamentalist interpretation of the bible;”
“Here is just one quote from Isaac Newton. He says he wrote his “Principia Mathematica” in order to convince skeptics that there was a God!
“When I wrote my treatise about our Systeme I had an eye upon such Principles as might work with considering men for the beliefe of a Deity and nothing can rejoyce me more then to find it usefull for that purpose.”
Isaac Newton wanted to find the mind of God in his “creation.” Newton was a creationist! He held a fundamentalist view of the Bible.
You didn’t respond to this.
I could probably show other places where you didn’t acknowledge that I had answers to your accusations and challenges, but I think I made my point. YOU “ignore” evidence.
I realize that I may not have responded clearly and fully to the evidence you presented to me, but then I never accused you of having “psychological/confirmation bias.”
I also never called you any names (such as ignorant).
I realize that scorning and mocking are tactics that are used by atheists to make themselves appear intellectually superior (Hitchens had perfected this tactic), but (as we say here in the American Midwest) the proof is in the pudding!
Can you dispute the points above? If not, perhaps you should look at your own “psychological/confirmation bias.”
The same Jesus that you say holds us accountable to the law, says that he “didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it (John 3:17)” He fulfilled the law for us! There is a unified message in the Bible! For example, how do you explain this prophecy from Isaiah, explaining that the messiah would be “pierced for our transgressions?” Seriously, Allallt, how do you explain this scripture?
2He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
5But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8By oppressiona and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makesc his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
(Isaiah was sawed in half.)
Am I cherry-picking the scriptures when I tell you the Old Testament foretold of a messiah who would come and be the “lamb of God” (one of the aspects of the law) and be “pierced for our transgressions,” and then the gospels tell the life of this One, and Paul and the disciples of Jesus pull it all together, explaining this marvelous plan for all the world to see? (Paul was beheaded, by the way.)
Something in the universe has a purpose for this planet and its people. It has communicated to us through an amazing document which proves it exists outside the time/space continuum. It seems to me that I would FULLY inspect this document before flippantly tossing it aside.
What if it’s the truth?
It may be a great surprise to you, but I’m not reading a “secularized” version of the Bible! I’m not glossing over anything in the scriptures in order to make them more palatable. I’m reading the Bible in the way that the Bible itself tells me to read it. As I said before, it’s the Bible that informs my views things such as the treatment of children, women, homosexuals, and race.
Those who don’t adhere to the gospel mistreated children by setting babies out to wild animals or using them as slaves. Christians took in these children and cared for them. One case is that of Mary Slessor, a missionary from your part of the world, who gathered up twins who were left to die in the jungles because the cannibals thought twins were devil children. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me, for such is the kingdom of heaven.” Even now, the secular mindset says that women who want to can abort their children, even though we can now see, through ultrasound, that the womb is carrying a baby that sucks its fingers and has fingernails and a beating heart.
No. My views on children come from the Bible, not the secular mindset.
Jesus loved women and treated them kindly. Look at how they flocked to him. See how the woman caught in the act of adultery ran to him for help. Notice the woman who poured out the expensive oil on Jesus’ feet and dried them with her hair. He didn’t rebuke her, he honored her, saying that she was actually preparing his body for death. Think of the woman at the well. He knew she had many husbands and that she was imperfect, but he revealed that he was the messiah to her and stayed in her village to teach. He chose a woman to be the first person to proclaim the gospel, as Mary was the first one to tell others that she saw Jesus raised from the dead.
Paul said there was no difference between Jews and Greeks, male and female, slave and free. In the places where there seems to be disparities in the Bible, there are explanations. Many women, such as Catherine Booth, wife of Salvation Army founder, William Booth, (from your part of the world again) have written extensively about the role of women in the church. She used the scriptures as her source!
No, Allallt, the secular mindset does not inform my position on women’s rights.
Christianity also informs my position on homosexuality. I believe that homosexuality is a sin. The new testament rarely mentions it, but there are a few places where it is referred to, and it’s clear to me that it’s wrong. (Romans 1, Jude 7, Revelation 22) Does this mean that I stone gay people? No!! I don’t stone adulterers either. I hope I’m like Jesus and I have compassion. I don’t think you will find many Christians of the Westboro Baptist Church type who disobey the scriptures which tell us to speak the truth in LOVE (Eph. 4:15). All of us have sinned! I had a baby out of wedlock when I was 17. I have children from 3 men. I’m not going to toss the first stone! But I also can’t deny the standard put forth by the Bible in the New Testament. I know that embracing homosexuality is the popular ethos of our day, but I prefer to trust the Bible, and I believe we will look back in the course of history and understand why God said it was wrong.
Fundamentalist are a seething nest of hatred. They are the true spawn of Satan and are his instruments.
(Sorry if this is a repeat comment, if I did post something like this already I posted it on a bad connection and am not sure it sent.)
I said I’d get back to you if I found anything that suggested I was wrong about Jericho not having walls. Now, the kind of thing I actually found was that it’s hard to fond anything that talks about having found Jericho at all. The criteria of my search is simply that I ignore places that admit their bias, like say Dr. Bryant Wood, Director of the Associates for Biblical Research.
I can tell you what I was expecting to find. I expected to find atheists explaining how it’s not even important if Jericho did have a wall, because it’s the supernatural stuff – i.e. Noah’s flood – that matters. And Jericho wouldn’t have been. But I simply did not see anything from non-religious sources. So I never brought it up again.
Tyre still stands, it’s a real city. It’s a tourist city. It has a port. It was destroyed – but did not remain desolate – by Alexander the Great. I’m not sure there is a discussion to be had here…
The appendix and the tonsils have been known to be related to the immune system for a while. The immune system works without them, but they have been known to have a relationship for a while. The point is that they are quasi-functional. And dangerous. In fact, the poor are the more likely to die from either going awry. You can add wisdom teeth and bad dentistry to the list of those things. Evolutionary theory can explain these things – I don’t think Creationism can, unless God wants us to die in relation to our wealth.
I never said Newton wasn’t a Christian, I never even said he couldn’t imagine God inspired him to do his works. I’m simply saying that’s not a fundamentalist reading of the Bible. Think about similar scientific minds who have had their work clash slightly heavier against Christian teachings: Galileo and even Hawkins these days.
So there, I think I’ve now addressed it all (again).
I’m not going to address the accusations of me calling you ignorant. I don’t even care if I did, but if I did I said it into relation to something you were being ignorant about…
This post would not be necessary if you hadn’t accused me of “psychological/confirmation bias.” (By the way, the first rule in good debate is to respect your opposition!) I want to show you that you are actually guilty of what you charge me with. Jesus described the same thing when he said, “You point at the sliver in another’s eye when you have a log in your own!” (Matthew 7:3)
1. You said, “the Walls of Jericho (they think they found Jericho – no walls at all.)”
Here is a neutral website on the subject of Jericho. It confirms that a walled city named Jericho existed– just as the Bible said. Interestingly, this article also confirms the biblical story that Herod the Great lived there at one point. I didn’t know that!
Here is a picture of the original excavation site at Jericho.
2. The old city of Tyre was destroyed and its ruins are still there. Another city has been built up around the ruins, but the original city is still in ruins. This is just as the Bible describes. Here is the main street of Tyre as it now stands:
It looks pretty desolate.
3. You originally said that the appendix was a vestigial organ, meaning it had no use, but now you admit it probably had something to do with “immunology.” Unfortunately, rather than conceding the argument, you’ve now changed your argument, saying instead that the appendix is “quasi-functional.”
4. Your argument concerning Newton was that he didn’t get his scientific views from the Bible. I argued that he was a creationist and that he even developed his greatest work, The Principia Mathematica, in order to convince skeptics that there was a God.
Newton loved the Bible. He even believed in the six-day Genesis account. He argued with Thomas Burnet that there was no clash between what is seen in the physical world and what is found in Genesis. He defended Psalm 93:1 when others said it conflicted with science. He believed God was the source of gravity. He said there were two books laid before humanity which revealed God: The Bible and Nature. He knew that Romans 1:20 says, “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.” He also claimed that God was “a God of order and not confusion” (1 Corinthian 14:33) when explaining the simplicity of his work.
Here are some quotes from Newton on the Bible:
“There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history.”
— Isaac Newton
“This most beautiful system [The Universe] could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who sets the planets in motion.” “
— Isaac Newton on Colossians 1:17
I realize this view conflicts with the skeptics’ view of history, but nevertheless it’s true. One of the greatest minds in history belonged to a Christian who loved the Bible and defended its truthfulness– even on scientific terms. I know you would like to paint Christians as ignorant and the Bible as anti-scientific, so Newton’s love of and use of the scriptures doesn’t quite fit in with your worldview.
Recently, there has been an attempt to understand the rest of Newton’s writings (which have been in obscurity), and historians involved with “The Newton Project” have been amazed at how his theology informed his science! Even his rules for understanding time, space, and motion may have been modeled after his rules for prophetic interpretation!
Concerning Galileo, I think you need to understand that Galileo was fighting against the Catholic Church—not the scriptures! The Catholic Church had adopted Aristotelian natural philosophy as their THEOLOGY. Galileo was fighting against their perverted theology and the way that it hindered science, rather than opposing the Bible. He saw no conflict with science and the Bible. Here are his views on the Bible:
“I think in the first place that it is very pious to say and prudent to affirm that the Holy Bible can never speak untruth—whenever its true meaning is understood.”
“He [Copernicus] did not ignore the Bible, but he knew very well that if his doctrine were proved, then it could not contradict the Scripture when they were rightly understood”.
Perhaps you are believing something called the “Draper-White Conflict Thesis.” This view has been discredited. It was a lie! Even the great Stephen Jay Gould acknowledged the myth of the conflict between religion and science.
Please, Allallt, don’t let yourself be deceived. Don’t let lies take precedence over truth. Don’t believe that atheists somehow have an intellectual advantage over those little hillbilly Christians. This is a LIE.
God created us with great minds. He doesn’t ask us to set them aside in order to believe in him. In fact, the scriptures say, “Faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
God does not expect us to embrace with our hearts something that our mind rejects. True Christianity has been a great blessing to humanity!
LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE, Allallt!
The Newton point remains a non-sequitur. We weren’t discussing the existence of a God, but instead the truth of the fundamentalist reading of the Bible. I could go on and on about Newton’s beliefs and how they aren’t related to his science. But I still think the entire discussion would miss the point.
In fact, we started with issues of personal perspective: women’s rights, gay rights, disciplining children etc. But I see we’ve moved on.
As for Jericho, BINGO. I accept that is neutral evidence for the wall that doesn’t cite the Bible as it’s source. I accept that claim.
I suppose I have to shift my question now to make my point proper: can you prove the miracles?
“How’s this, as a final series of questions: how, on the creationist model do you explain quasi-functional organs like the appendix and the tonsils?” Nope, I always said quasi-functional. Respect your opposition enough to represent that correctly.
I could, if I wanted, trawl through these comments and point out your confirmation bias but I didn’t say it make you feel bad. I said it to encourage you to address some of the issues you’ve either ignored or failed to understand: evolution (and the detail of it’s claims), entropy, evidence for the flood (or lack there of, and evidence -for- tectonics).
Part of the reason I’ve attempted to close the conversation a few times is because we’re going round in circles in a few topics – we haven’t even gotten into Old earth Vs. Young Earth or the idea of theistic totalitarian God-authority or the disproportionate punishment of Hell and the ridiculousness of Heaven.
I don’t get many hits of my blog, and someone has looked through a lot of my posts without being directed there by anything – I suppose that was you, so you know roughly what I’m talking about.
We’re at a dead end, and there;s more we could discuss. It’s not worth our time.
I’m sorry to hear that you want to end this debate. You’ve really helped me to fine tune many of my arguments.
Just to tie things up:
On Newton, I tried to show that his biblical views informed his scientific views, especially on gravity and time, and that as historians uncover more of his writings, they’re seeing how much the Bible influenced Newton. Please study Newton more closely!
Perhaps you said “quasi-functional.” I’ll concede this, but still the appendix does serve an important function. It’s not just a vestigial organ–a leftover from the evolutionary process.
I have tried to address your accusation on theistic totalitarianism in my article, “Is God a Tyrant or a Loving Savior?”
I haven’t really spent much time on your blog. I read your bio and read some recent articles that have been sent to my email. Perhaps you have more followers than you know!
Finally, I admit that I have a form of confirmation bias. I don’t deny that. I love Jesus. You didn’t hurt my feelings in any way. I told you before that I’m not easily offended. But my point in all this is that you need to realize that YOU have a bias also. You may not process information as clearly as you think you do. I’m sure you know Pascal’s Wager. If you’re wrong you lose everything. If I’m wrong, I lose nothing. So I don’t think I have to remind you that it would benefit you to make sure you are truly unbiased in your views.
I’m amazed how two people can process all the facts and evidence around them and come to two completely different worldviews.
I still hold out to you the suffering Christ on the Cross who claims he died like a gentle lamb to pay the penalty for your sins. I don’t see this as tyrannical. I see it as giving all he could to mend what was broken.
I’m very grateful for the time you have spent with me and I truly wish you all the best.
With love in Christ,