Monthly Archives: May 2010
I’m proud to announce that for this massive update, I will have some assistance.
I was approached recently by Dr. Joshua Rasmussen, an instructor at the University of Notre Dame specializing in metaphysics, who had been considering doing his own answer to WWGHA/GII when he discovered this project. He will be sifting through all of my existing material and offering additional comments and critiques.
With both of our minds focused on this project, we hope to present the best possible critique of a site that has garnered much undeserved attention.
UPDATE (6/29/2010): I haven’t heard from Dr. Rasmussen since he first approached me via e-mail. Hopefully, he is still interested in this project.
UPDATE (8/22/2010): I have received an e-mail from Dr. Rasmussen expressing regret that he hasn’t been able to do much with the project as of late. He assures me that he is still interested and that he has been doing some research on prayer in order to better answer many of the charges that GII levels against prayer.
This may be an extremely ironic bit of spam caught by by my intrepid spam filter:
Great Blog! I have a similar site, and get a lot of spam. Do you face such problems? Can you please recommend some steps I take to combat spam. Thanks.
I may have teared up a little bit right there. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, he linked to his “similar site.” Diamonds, theology; po-tay-to, po-tah-to.
Sometimes, atheists annoy me. I don’t normally read Godless Girl, but her post on getting past anger cuts both ways. It’s about relationships:
The more I grow close and friendly with people of other ideas, the better I tend to act and feel towards others who hold those ideas–even if they are delusions or born from ignorance. . . . My point comes down to this: Love people as individuals. See them as more than just “those believers” or “those superstitious weaklings.” Who are they? Why do they have worth and dignity? It’s hard to be angry at people when you understand why they are who they are. Motivations matter, and they come from somewhere. Is it a need for love? A thirst for activity an community? Conformity and social expectation? Depression and fear?
That said, there is one class of atheist that, no matter how close I would grow to one, how I much I could empathize with their position, how much understanding or insight I get into their psyche–I will always be annoyed by. Always.
That class is the former believer.
Because when they criticize their former faith, they often fall into the exact errors perpetrated by people who wouldn’t know any better. The difference is that they do know better. Especially if they own 3 master-level degrees in philosophy and theology, and repeatedly claim to have studied under the world’s foremost authority on philosophy of religion.
When a person like that makes a fundamental error in theology, it annoys me more than words can say. Because this person knows better. At least, he should.
John W. Loftus, our friend over at Debunking Christianity, posted a (admittedly awesome) video of an octopus killing a shark in self-defense. Loftus muses, “God could not have made all creatures as vegans/vegetarians, could he? Nope. Not a chance. It was impossible for him. Right?”
Yep. Completely impossible:
Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food. (Gen 1:29-30)
So impossible that everything being a vegetarian was the original plan. Then, that pesky Fall happened, and the plan was altered. After the Flood, we read this:
The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. (Gen 9:2-3)
Okay, so it was after the Flood that God made meat eaters. Got it. Looks like Mr. Loftus was wrong. Again.
Loftus put up this post on his blog, and then appears to have modified it into an article on The Christian Delusion‘s official website, here. I have posted my answer here. I don’t care if John is a fundamentalist or not. I focus on his rather childish argument that if God exists, he doesn’t care. The answer to the question, “Does God exist?” literally defines how you live the rest of your life. Loftus doesn’t realize that; in fact, he so completely glosses over it that it is pathetic. I have tried to repent of using ad hominem attacks, but in this case it is more than warranted to make my point. It does matter what you think about the existence of God!
I have completed the first step of a complete revamp of my Articles tab. All of the on-site article links now point to a URL on the website instead of a shared Google Docs page. For interested parties (read: everyone who disagrees with me), that means that all of the articles now allow comments.
The Google Docs was actually a carry over idea from when I used to use Blogger. At the time, Blogger didn’t allow static pages the way WordPress does. They do now, but not to the same extent as WordPress has always allowed them. To construct articles, I had to use Google Docs and then link the shared document to Blogger. That way, I could create the “illusion” of a website/blog.
Discovery of WordPress was a godsend. WordPress allows the creation of static pages outside of the blog chronology, so the user can essentially create an entire website with a blog built in. And, the static pages utilize the same template as the blog posts, so the whole project looks more unified. The user can even program a specific homepage that is not the blog itself, so the blog can be secondary to the website! (That’s what I did with the original God is NOT Imaginary blog.)
For some reason, it took me almost four years to go through my Articles tab and eliminate the articles that weren’t tied directly to apologetics, then take the ones that were Google Docs and cut & paste them into a proper WordPress page. I always thought it would take longer than the half hour that it actually took.
Make sure to revisit the Articles tab! Read some of my work. Now, you can comment on all of it!
Second step will be much bigger. I want to go through my posts–all of my posts–and isolate the ones that will make good stand-alone articles. Then, link to them from the Articles tab. I’m so not looking forward to that, especially in light of my other two ongoing projects, which also take up quite a bit of time! Also, some of the posts might require some editing (and joining ot other posts in a series) to be better stand-alone articles. That has “time consuming” and “tedious” written all over it. Wish me luck!
Since I added the link to my answer site for John W. Loftus’s The Christian Delusion to my sig line on Theology Web, I decided that it might be a good idea to actually put some content up there.
Maybe tomorrow I can start adding some answers to the bonus material. I’m sure I can answer the essay about God and animals (see Gen 9:5 and Rom 8:22; animals are punished for the sins of Adam). Usually, when one defines terms, the will of God becomes clearer. There are multiple things we could mean when we say “God’s will.” But I won’t get into that now; the essay on the will of God could take a completely different turn.
The money quote from the article:
Calvary Episcopal Church will offer later this month its first “Perfect Paws Pet Ministry” aimed at giving area pooches and their owners improved odds at getting canines into heaven.
I have no further comment. None is needed.
I’ve often heard that Christianity just isn’t relevant anymore. We’re part of an outdated, archaic institution that has no place in a modern, enlightened society.
I don’t believe that. I believe that the message of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ is every bit as relevant today as it was when Jesus first preached the message in the first century. We are all sinners in need of being saved, therefore we need to hear the message that we can be saved and we can attain righteousness before God.
Once upon a time, people believed that if we preached the Word faithfully, that God would work a miracle in the hearts and minds of the listeners and call his elect forward. The apostles believed it, and that’s why they preached the way they did:
Now when they heard this [Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:14-36] they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:37-41)
And when the Gentiles heard this [Paul’s sermon], they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. (Acts 13:48-49)
There are numerous other examples throughout the book of Acts, but those two will suffice for the time being. The apostles didn’t strive to be relevant to the times. In fact, if you look closer at the context of Acts 13, you’ll see that Paul was anything but relevant. “The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him” (Acts 13:44-45).
So, the apostles strived to teach the Word of God. They didn’t try to make friends, and even a cursory reading of Acts is sufficient to prove that they didn’t. And, if you don’t trust the Bible as historical, look at Tacitus:
But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. (Annals 15.44, emphasis added)
It might be interesting to take a brief look at some of the more disgusting things that I’ve had the misfortune to stumble upon due to my association with apologetics ministry.
When I first started in 2006, I wanted to respond to everything. I thought that skeptics and atheists alike would be floored by my logic and rationality and could scarcely help but convert to Christianity. Obviously, I had a really steep learning curve ahead of me.
I laugh when I think back to when I first started. I probably would have attempted a serious answer to these. But now, I know better. Some stuff is just so stupid, so ridiculous, that it deserves nothing but absolute silence. So, at the risk of inflating the egos of those involved with these projects, I present a glimpse at my personal “Too Stupid to Respond To” files. Read the rest of this entry