Category Archives: WWGHA
It’s been a while, but I’m now returning to the rewrite of my refutation of God is Imaginary. After reading some of my original disproofs, I’m happy to be doing the rewrite because some of my original apologetics were terrible. I’ve grown as an apologist, I’m proud to say.
Like anything, it’s a learning curve.
I have no set schedule for completing the proofs. I hope to also tackle Why Won’t God Heal Amputees in the near future as well.
What I’ve done so far:
- Proof #3: Look at all the Historical Gods
- Proof #4: Think About Science
- Proof #8: Think About Near Death Experiences
- Proof #10: Watch the Offering Plate
- Proof #21: Examine Jesus’ Core Message
- Proof #28: Notice How Many Gods You Reject
- Proof #30: Examine God’s Sexism
- Proof #34: Examine Your Health Insurance Policy
- Proof #50: Ask Jesus to Appear
And, co-author Dr. Joshua Rasmussen has put up his first article:
I’m probably going to edit that article a bit this week, since Dr. Rasmussen makes some points that I would like to expand on.
Many years ago, Dr. Laura made a comment on her radio program stating that the Bible declares homosexuality an abomination, and that should settle the matter. This was subsequently parodied in an episode of the West Wing, where the President pwns a Dr. Laura-like character by quoting chapter and verse from Leviticus several outmoded laws, asking her to clarify them for him. Eventually, the President’s list was expanded with other outmoded laws and circulated as Internet chain mail.
When all this first happened, J.P. Holding wrote an excellent refutation of it.
Anyone with a general understanding of how a Christian approaches law and grace already knows how ridiculous this argument (if you can even call it that) is. The Old Testament Law points to a morality far higher than it espouses; a morality written into the hearts of every person on this planet. Ultimately, if we let the Greatest Commandment and the Second Greatest Commandment together be our guides, then we will fulfill the Old Testament Law without having to dive into the minutiae of it. That morality that exists in conception and can exist in point of fact by the grace of God, is the morality we aspire to.
Because we understand that a higher morality exists, we therefore seek to achieve it. It hasn’t been realized yet, and so we keep trying. What it is, even between religions and societies, is fairly consistent. That’s why I say it is an object of conception–we know it when we see it, but we haven’t seen it yet. Even the most die-hard atheist can admit that society isn’t as moral is it should be, and knows deep down that we need to somehow fix the broken parts.
Despite the fact that the West Wing clip (and the letter it spawned) stands refuted (specifically by Holding and generally by a Theology 101 understanding of law and grace), atheists continue to circulate it on YouTube. The Blog for Why Won’t God Heal Amputees just posted it again.
Therefore, here’s my question to atheists: How many times do Christian apologists have to refute the same arguments before you’ll stop using them?
Continuing a short break from DaGoodS’s questions that Christians hope no one will ask, I proceed with a thread on Reddit proposing questions that theists supposedly can’t answer. Of course we can answer them, we have answered them, and yet they are still being asked as if they defeat theism once and for all.
In a previous post, I answered several miscellaneous questions. Here are some more miscellaneous questions:
Do you use any other 2000 year old information to live your life? Would you like your doctor to use 2000 year old methods? If something is wrong, it is always wrong. Morals are absolute, despite many (failed) arguments to the contrary. It was wrong to steal 2000 years ago, and it still is. It was wrong to cheat on your wife 2000 years ago, and it still is. Moral values don’t get revised over periods of time.
Why did god often appear to ignorant goat herders yet never makes an appearance now, except to the delusional? Jesus Christ represents the full and final revelation of God. God has no more need to appear to us today. Even if he did, it wouldn’t do any good. Even in the Bible, with the apostle Paul as the sole exception, God only appeared to people who already believed.
Why did god, in his perfect wisdom, give us totally useless body hair (and toenails)? Hair and nails may lack function on their own, but they serve a purpose within the frame of the human body. Hair and nails are recycled dead cells. Anyone who watches true crime documentaries also knows that deadly poisons are expelled through hair. Hair and nails, therefore, are part of the overall design. Otherwise, how would we get rid of useless organic tissues or deadly poison?
If god flooded the world, where did all the water go? In retrospect this question is easily answered. If someone were to believe a “god” could create water, the answer would most likely be he made it disappear. There is no “magic” necessary to answer this question. As I’ve stated before, if one subscribes to a global judgment in scope, but a flood that was local in geographic terms, then we no more have to ask where those flood waters went then we would for the receding flood waters of any of the numerous floods experienced in recent history.
As it happens, a local flood model actually makes all of the manifest problems with the story of Noah’s Flood vanish. For more information on this viewpoint, see here.
I’m still researching some responses to DaGoodS’s remaining two questions that Christians hope no one will ask. But I wanted to put something up today, so keeping with the theme of questions posed to Christians, I’m going to answer two interesting questions.
A long time back, on Reddit, there was a thread collecting all of the questions that theists allegedly can’t answer. In a previous thread, I began to answer some of those questions. I would like to continue by answering two questions that relate to the eternal destiny of the soul.
The first question I’m going to break up into pieces so it’s a bit more manageable.
Guy is an adulterer without repenting and thus, goes to hell, right? Another guy kills a hundred people, without repenting, and thus, goes to the same hell, right? Now, do you think it is proportional to treat both guys with the same fate?
However, if they go to “different places” according to the gravity of their sins, do they go under authority of God? If so, does it mean that God actually determines the penalty, and not the Devil?
If I kill your whole family and by my last breath I repent, would you feel comfortable meeting me in paradise?
What most critics miss about Christianity is that “easy-believism” isn’t what is in view. After establishing that sin means certain death for the people who continue in it, Paul rhetorically asked the Roman church, “How can we who died to sin still live in it” (Rom 6:2)?
Most churches today practice Gospel Lite, telling us that if we believe in Jesus, then we get to go to heaven. Never do they peel away the layers of sin in our lives, trying to show us that we need to repent of our former selves and live according to Jesus’ teachings. Above all, we must practice grace and forgiveness. Not by becoming doormats, but by embracing the greatest of the commandments and loving God with all of our hearts, minds, and strength. Then, loving our neighbors as our own selves.
So, for the mass murderer who makes a deathbed profession, we have to ask ourselves, “How sincere is this guy, really?” He might just be trying to avoid hell by embracing that Gospel Lite prevalent today. If he isn’t sincere, God will know that and judge accordingly.
If he is sincere, and he is in heaven, then I will have my faith in God’s judgment to just and fair.
The bottom line is this: God does things at the counsel and good pleasure of his own will. He doesn’t ask his creatures how we would like to be dealt with, nor how he should deal with others. As he knows all, we should place some trust in his judgment.
In other words, just because a person once professed faith in Jesus doesn’t mean that he automatically gets the golden ticket and goes to heaven. There is a component of obedience that must be met as well.
I have rebutted two additional proofs on God is NOT Imaginary. As I referenced them in an upcoming article on questions that we Christians allegedly can’t answer, it would be rather embarrassing if I didn’t actually have them completed:
Read, digest, comment, flame, whatever. Enjoy!
I announced redoing God is NOT Imaginary a long time ago, and then just sat on it. Well, I finally got back into the swing of things and have updated four proofs:
- Proof 3: Look at All Historical Gods
- Proof 4: Think About Science
- Proof 8: Think About Near Death Experiences
- Proof 28: Notice How Many Gods You Reject
Looking at my old answers to those questions, I almost cringed. I’ve certainly grown as an apologist and philosopher since I wrote those old answers. The one for proof 3, for example, was absolutely terrible. I literally proved nothing, and I certainly didn’t answer the charge put forth in the original.
My answer to proof #8 was awful as well. What I said boiled down to, “They didn’t prove anything, so neither will I! Besides, NDEs aren’t biblical, therefore I don’t have to answer for them.” Man, I was a really bad apologist for the Christian faith when I first started. I’m glad I’ve grown, and I’m glad that God has shown me that there is more to the riches of knowing him than the intellectual side of things.
I’ve also gotten better at dissecting arguments from the other side, because GII’s argument in proof 3 is totally incoherent and I didn’t notice that the first time around. And proof #8’s conclusion, “NDEs are natural occurrences, therefore there is no spiritual dimension” is just silly to even argue. I didn’t notice that, either.
Good thing I’m doing the updates! I’m going to kill the old site officially, because it is really, really, bad! I’m seriously ashamed of it.
Dave Armstrong is a braver man than I: he attended a “secular Bible study” in his native Detroit in order to answer questions about the Christian (in Dave’s case, Roman Catholic) position on Scripture. In all, 16 atheists attended to ask Dave questions.
Dave was fortunate to get a good group. They were open to dialog. Not like the group of militant anti-Christian atheists that populate the Why Won’t God Heal Amputees discussion board. (That was a waste of my time; why did I even sign up and post at all?) The majority of Internet atheists are the militant variety who refuse to listen to any Christian response to their nonsense.
Dave had a few great insights into the atheist mindset that are worth a short discussion. First:
DagoodS asked the group (17 including myself) how many believed that miracles occur. I was the only one to raise my hand. Then he asked how many believed that miracles might possibly occur. Jon raised his hand, and possibly one other. Only one or two even allowed the bare possibility. This exactly illustrated the point I was to make.
DagoodS was saying that it is more difficult to believe an extraordinary miracle or event than to believe in one that is more commonplace. True enough as far as it goes. But I said (paraphrasing), “you don’t believe that any miracles are possible, not even this book raising itself an inch off the table, so it is pointless for you to say that it is hard to believe in a great miracle, when in fact you don’t believe in any miracles whatsoever.” No response. . . .
This being the case, for an atheist (ostensibly with an “open mind”) to examine evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus, is almost a farcical enterprise from the start (at least from a Christian perspective) because they commence the analysis with the extremely hostile presuppositions of: (1) No miracles can occur in the nature of things; (2) #1 logically follows because, of course, under fundamental atheist presuppositions, there is no God to perform any miracle; (3) The New Testament documents are fundamentally untrustworthy and historically suspect, having been written by gullible, partisan Christians; particularly because, for most facts presented therein, there is not (leaving aside archaeological evidences) written secular corroborating evidence. Read the rest of this entry
I was reading an article from ABC News that profiled two anonymous ministers that, despite their atheism, continue in their positions as senior pastors. That really makes me mad. They are doing their congregations a great disservice, and are being major hypocrites. Atheists talk constantly about the hypocrisy of believers, but it looks as if many of them fare no better with major issues of integrity. But that’s not really the point.
The point is that there is a single money quote from Adam, one of the ministers-turned-atheist, that sums up two things very nicely. First, why he was able to wholly change his worldview so readily. And second, what is wrong with American Christianity and why it is in serious decline:
As I lost my faith … I realized that really had no bearing on who I am and my character and my actions. I live no differently than I did when I was a fervent believer.
Contrast that with the proper attitude of the believer toward his faith, summed up nicely by C.S. Lewis: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” Adam’s problem is that he isn’t living any differently as an atheist than he did as a Christian.
The reverse is true as well. Christian converts live no differently than they did when they were unbelievers.
If the atheists are right, and there is no God, then a quick look at human history ought to be pretty disturbing. Wars, violence, greed, corruption, and horrible human rights violations permeate history like a cancer. We’ve always been violent and savage, and there’s no hope that we can change ourselves. We’ve tried and it doesn’t work.
But, if the Christian is correct, then God exists and he will recreate civilization so as all the war, violence, greed, corruption, and human rights violations are a thing of the past. That means we have hope. And, both Paul and James exhorted us to live as though we have it.
The problem is that even our ministers don’t seem to be living as if this hope is real, and the proof is this article. They readily abandon a dearly held worldview because, as Adam put it, there’s no difference in how he lives!
That’s really sad.
I’ve merged the blog I was keeping contra Why Won’t God Heal Amputees and God is Imaginary to this one.
Earlier this week, I did the same to the Answering Loftus blog. This means that all the blogs I keep are now merged into one, this one.
Within the next 90 days, both blogs will be deleted. This is part of following the three keys to life: “Simplify, Simplify, and Simplify.” I’ll be able to keep up with work a lot more efficiently. Perhaps I’ll even accomplish more than I’ve been lately.
Yes, part of this has to do with criticism received on the WWGHA forums, specifically in this thread. I’m also tired of starting projects that I never finish.
In the coming days, I’m going to announce (and stick to) a schedule for completing all of my open projects–of which there are many. What I’m going to do is pick a theme for a given month, beginning in December. Then, I will pay special focus on apologetics for that specific theme. Each theme is going to be something that I wish to learn more about. I will read books and articles on both sides of issues for each month’s theme and post regular blog updates on each.
I’m also going to watch the blogosphere for topics on my subject. Mostly I figure I’ll answer stuff contrary to the given topic.
December should be a no-brainer: Christmas! But surprisingly, no. I’m going to actually make December’s theme prayer. I have a two books on prayer that I haven’t read, and I requested a review copy of a new book on prayer that I’ll be reviewing once I get it. Hopefully I get it; there’s no guarantee that you get review copies once you request them. It depends on how many others request copies and how quickly you got your request in.
Weekends will be devoted exclusively to long term projects that I’ve announced but never got around to. That means the promised updates of my refutations to WWGHA and GII, as well as my review of John Loftus’s The Christian Delusion. Those two are first. I already know what’s next, and I’m actually hoping to get the next one down by the first of the year.
So we shall see if this makes me more productive in apologetics. Let’s face it, something needed to change real quick.
That said, happy Thanksgiving to all my readers! Hope everyone enjoyed Black Friday! After working a few in my brief stint in retail, I won’t go near a store the day after Thanksgiving, so good luck to those of you that did!
In this thread, my (currently empty) website that will eventually refute Why Won’t God Heal Amputees is being lampooned since it’s currently empty. I decided, against my better judgment, to open a discussion with these guys. It’s been more pleasant than I thought it would be, at least so far.
In the thread, I discussed the huge difference between morality and ethics. The believer, I said, is moral meaning that he won’t do wrong. The unbeliever is merely ethical, which means that he doesn’t do wrong. There’s a big difference.
I qualified that by discussing what a spiritual battle is. In Romans 7:X-X, Paul brings the spiritual battle milieu to the forefront. Believers still do wrong because our flesh fights a battle with our spirits. The law is spiritual, but the needs of the flesh are more immediate. Therefore, the believer will still do wrong (i.e., sin). One of the atheists in the board asked me, then, what’s the difference between a believer and an unbeliever?
I simply answered, “Hope.” The believer has it, while the unbeliever dies without it.
That’s true, but there’s an even better answer. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes:
Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity. Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him. But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God. (Eccl 8:10-13, emphasis added)
The trick is that, very often, since the punishment for sin isn’t seen immediately, the tendency is to think that there is no ultimate justice. But with God, holy and just to perfection, that isn’t the case. There’s an ultimate punishment down the line somewhere. Just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.
Same with the reward.
But it comes back to hope. How hopeless our existence would be if there was literally no justice for the sinner, nor reward for the righteous. As the bumper sticker says, Jesus is our strength for today, and our hope for tomorrow.