Daily Archives: June 19, 2010
Paul Allen of Hope Church Australia sums up the debate I’ve been having with Caleb and Bruce Gerencser on the definition of a Christian. Caleb and Bruce seem to think that anyone (e.g. Fred Phelps) who claims that he is a Christian is (the minimalist view), where I’ve been arguing (to a brick wall, it seems) that there are other factors in determining it (the maximal view). Allen says this:
If you were proposing marriage to someone, what would the one receiving the proposal say if you said, “I want you to know this proposal changes nothing about my allegiances, my behavior, and my daily life; however, I do want you to know that should you accept my proposal, we shall theoretically be considered married. There will be no other changes in me on your behalf.” In a strange way we have minimized every sacred commitment and made it the lowest common denominator. What does my new birth mean to me? That is a question we seldom ask. Who was I before God’s work in me, and who am I now?
The immediate results of coming to know Jesus Christ are the new hungers and new pursuits that are planted within the human will. I well recall that dramatic change in my own way of thinking. There were new longings, new hopes, new dreams, new fulfillments, but most noticeably, there was a new will to do what was God’s will. (source)
Too often, in becoming a Christian, a person just wants the “lowest common denominator” Christianity. They want to go to church on Sunday and claim spirituality, but never really let it affect who they are or what they do. Jesus predicted this when he told the parable of the wheat and weeds (Mt 13:24-30, 36-43).
Despite what many skeptics say, including Bruce and Caleb, there is more in determining someone’s Christianity than merely a profession of faith. In addition to professing faith, the person in question will seek to do God’s will. They will listen to James when he wrote:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (Jms 1:22-25)
In the previous post, I answered some of the comment flames on my post titled “Inherited Religion?” This post has generated so many flames that required more involved answers than I can give in the comments section, so I’ve had to answer them on the blog. This is part two of three. I’m leaving the last thread of comments to Mike the Geocreationist since it’s his thought experiment.
On to Caleb:
You tick me off. First off, your logic is so circular that you should be getting dizzy. You claim the bible as your source of all truth, yet the proof outside of its claims are few and vague. Even Paul’s testimonies of his experience on the road to Damascus don’t agree, so shall you chalk this up to the fact that he’s human? Wait… I thought the bible was inerrant? You “refute” our anti-biblical arguements but that by no means proves us wrong, it’s just your (per)version of the truth. You’re so arrogant in your belief that you’re obviously right that you fail to properly respond to MANY critiques and quesions of us skeptics other than nitpicking at semantics and using terminology that indicates that we must be morons.
I agree with Loftus that religion is largely a geographical/cultural phenominon. If you’re born in the middle east, you’re most likely Muslim, due to the theocratic rule of many countries. If you’re born in the southern and bible belt of the U.S., you’re probably some form of fundamentalist christian. If you’re born in India you’re most likely Hindu. If you’re born in the Philippines or South America then you’re most likely a die-hard Catholic.
I don’t know how you live with yourself. Your cognitive dissonance must be off the charts. Calvinism is crap. I can find any scripture in the bible to support my (per)version of my chosen faith. Humans were NOT meant live out of such fear of the unknown, which is ultimately what all most major religions use to continue spreading their cancer. It’s an abusive relationship. It says “believe in me and obey me and love me or else you will suffer unending eternal torment.” Heck, nobody can even get a straight answer to what this omnipotent and omniscient being desires, it’s all interpretation… and you need to be a historian, theologin, linguist, entymologist, philosopher and sadomasochist to have a good grasp on the bible and its message… which is kill everybody who is against Jehovah… no wait… it’s lovingly kill everybody… no wait… it’s love everybody but shun those who are against Jehovah… no wait… it’s just love everybody and have faith in jesus… no wait… it’s repent or you’ll be thrown into the lake of fire…
FEAR FEAR FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN!!!! RUN AWAY!!!! BE AFRAID!!!! This thing that we can’t see or hear (unless you’re insane) or touch or taste or smell is going to make you writhe in eternal pain and everlasting torment unlesss you worship it and follow its vague and confusing message!!!
Insanity. Total irrational insanity. My rant here is done.
First off, welcome back. I didn’t think you were still reading my blog. Hopefully you’ve noticed that I actually have been much nicer to people, even those who disagree with me. Yes, that’s your advice I took. My readership has been building ever since. So I owe you a major Thank You, even though I was reluctant to take the advice.
On to your post. Of course I tick you off. In order for many skeptical arguments against religion to work well, this religion-inherited-by-geography argument has to be true. Otherwise, there would be little reason to question the belief. Especially if there were one world religion.
Paul’s disagreeing testimonies of his conversion experience on the Damascus road are all in the same book, written by the same author. If he were making up what was said, then the testimonies would agree 100%. But since they don’t, that means Luke reported what was actually said.
When you tell a story, I highly doubt that you tell it the same way each time. You probably mix up details because your memory isn’t perfect. Same thing here. The Bible is infallible only insofar as what was said or what happened, whichever is being recorded. Look carefully at those stories again, and I think you’ll find that two of them are reporting what Paul said to a group of people, not a second or third redundant account of what actually happened.
I’ve already responded to your second paragraph, but obviously not to your satisfaction. Again, I’ll state the purpose of my previous post: geographically inherited religion is a mechanism by which God effects predestination. So we are seeing, with geographically inherited religion, exactly what we’d expect to see if the Bible were true.
Your third paragraph is a lot of empty rhetoric. Why is it so hard for many to believe that God will punish people for refusing him? He has offered an easy salvation–by the sacrifice of his Son, he will remit the sins of those who place their faith in the Cross. Yet most of mankind–including you–have rejected this simple truth. We are deserving of hell not just for unbelief, but for the numerous other sins we commit on a daily basis. Unbelief is really the icing on the cake of our own doom.
You have always had a difficult time dealing with progressive revelation, even when I first pointed it out to you in December of 2009, as I recall. But, the fact of it remains. God reveals a fuller picture of himself and of the entire conception of earth, humanity, and the ontology of sin as the Bible progresses. You have to look at the entirety of the Bible, not just a few verses, to get a picture of God and his relationship to humanity.
Twice in this comment you make a reference to the fact that this is my (per)version of the truth. Saying this presumes that there is a real truth. This, of course, is a central tenet of Christianity–that God is the ultimate reality, the ultimate truth, and apart from him there is no other. Jesus says that he is the “way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6).
If I’m perverting the truth, then what is the truth, and how do we know it?