The God Challenge

September 15, 2008 at 6:20 pm 221 comments

As we all know, many challenges have been set forth by both sides of the theistic debate. Dan Barker set forth his fairly well-known, “Resurrection Challenge”, Kent Hovind set forth his infamous “Evolution Challenge”, just recently ‘bigham’ set forth the dumbest challenge ever, “The Sleep Challenge”, and numerous others have set forth some sort of intellectual or investigational challenge to try to convince “the other side”.

But there’s one famous theistic challenge that is often neglected, and I think it’s a noteworthy one. It’s noteworthy because it’s supposed to have been issued by the big dude himself. Yes, none other than YHWH of Bible fame. We’ll look first at the challenge itself (in the Bible), then we’ll look at some Bible stories where the challenge was supposedly taken up.

The challenge, as issued by YHWH through the prophet Isaiah, is found in the book of Isaiah, chapter 41, verses 22 & 23. (The bold emphasis is mine.)

22 “Bring in your idols to tell us
what is going to happen.
Tell us what the former things were,
so that we may consider them
and know their final outcome.
Or declare to us the things to come,
23 tell us what the future holds,
so we may know that you are gods.
Do something, whether good or bad,
so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.

That’s a fair enough challenge. Basically, “Put up, or shut up.”

So now we’ll see what the Bible tells about how YHWH actually took up this challenge a time or three or four.

We see a dramatic challenge match in I Kings 18:23-39. The terms were simple: each side (Elijah, and the Baal prophets) would put a sacrificed bull on an altar, and then, as Elijah said, “You call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God.” The Baal prophets wailed for hours, but to no avail. When it was Elijah’s turn, had his bull soaked with lots of water and said a two-sentence prayer. WHOOM! “The fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water”. And all the people looking on said, “The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!” [I note here that according to Christians who try to explain why God won’t show us any miracles, those people should have responded with, “Nah. I bet that was just a coincidental lightning strike, or maybe an atmospheric, thermal concentration causing spontaneous combustion, or ya know, I bet Elijah was really having them pour lighter fluid instead of water.”]

Elijah pulled a similar fire trick when some soldiers tried to arrest him in 2 Kings 1:10, “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!” Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men.

And then, who could forget the great face off between Moses and the magicians of Pharaoh? Those magicians showed a trick or two, but they just could not keep up with YHWH. Old YHWH showed them who was God.

And do you remember I Samuel 5-6, when the Philistines stole the Ark of the Covenant and thought their god had trumped YHWH? They put it in their temple and next morning they found their god’s statue knocked down and broken. They moved the ark to another town and then old YHWH really showed them. He gave them all hemorrhoids. [Which I suppose goes to prove that, “God will get you in the end.”]

What about the New Testament? Do we still see YHWH taking up the gauntlet there? YessireeBob, we do. In Acts 13:6-12, a sorcerer tried to get in Paul’s way and Paul struck him blind. And of course there are all those demons that Jesus and his followers cast out. YHWH was sure not reluctant to pick up the gauntlet and put down the smack in the NT.

OK then. According to the book that’s supposed to be YHWH’s message to us all, God, the big one, the existing one, the creator, the all-knowing, the all-powerful, knows how to take up a challenge. So how about his own challenge? It his, it’s fair, it’s clear, and supposedly he’s taken it up before.

Look here. I’m not willing to devote myself to a do-nothing, imaginary deity who requires apologists to explain away his total inactivity. So, … God!…. If there really is anybody out there:

“Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.”

Do anything, anything at all. Just make sure to put your signature on it, so we can’t miss it.

- LeoPardus

Entry filed under: LeoPardus. Tags: , , , .

Why I Deny the Virgin Birth of Jesus Write a Better Bible! challenge

221 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Quester  |  September 15, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    *looks out window*

    *checks Google News*

    Maybe a time limit of some sort would be reasonable. Say, a month from now?

  • 2. Slapdash  |  September 15, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Ah, but God knew you would pose that challenge and so he pre-emptively answered you by creating havoc and wreckage in the US financial markets today! The Dow is down 500 points, the most since post 9/11 days – an obvious sign that God is displeased with our avarice and naked greed…
    :)

  • 3. Doulos Christou  |  September 16, 2008 at 7:29 am

    Interesting thesis. Your sidebar indicates the possibility of living a life of love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance. From where would this come?

  • 4. HeIsSailing  |  September 16, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Doulos, here is something I wrote that answers your question.

    http://de-conversion.com/2008/01/25/there-is-no-universal-standard-of-morality/

    Please comment there – I am interested in your thoughts.

  • 5. shevaberakhot  |  September 16, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Check this out buddy:

    (“As the Lord lives….”)

  • 6. LeoPardus  |  September 16, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Servant of Christ:

    Your sidebar indicates the possibility of living a life of love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance. From where would this come?

    I think I understand what you’re asking, but do clarify if I’m not getting to it.

    The article HIS refers to ends with a passage that I think sums it up quite entirely:

    “Morality seems to be concocted by us humans over time so that we can live civilly with each other. I don’t see why that is so profound, or why it takes a heck of a lot of faith to understand.”

  • 7. LeoPardus  |  September 16, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Slapdash:

    Good one. I’m waiting for his signature on it. You think maybe he’ll step in and make an emergency loan to save AIG? :)

  • 8. LeoPardus  |  September 16, 2008 at 10:21 am

    shevaberakhot:

    Uh huh. You point is………..?

  • 9. morsec0de  |  September 16, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Ah, but you can’t test god! You can’t order him around and make him do things!

    Except when the Bible says you can.

    But of course the Bible has no contradictions…

    *head asplode*

    Nicely done, sir.

  • 10. La Luz  |  September 16, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Didn’t Jesus turn water into wine? Maybe the bull was soaked in a nice light chablis. Flambe de bouef.

    Slapdash, pre-emptively, eh? What is that, the God doctrine?

  • 11. Cooper  |  September 16, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Look here. I’m not willing to devote myself to a do-nothing, imaginary deity who requires apologists to explain away his total inactivity. So, … God!…. If there really is anybody out there:

    “Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.”

    Do anything, anything at all. Just make sure to put your signature on it, so we can’t miss it.

    – LeoPardus

    LeoPardus–

    You’re something else. In this little finite world we know to respect dignities. I know you don’t believe in God—unless he proves himself. But you have left the door open that he might just exist by doing that. Imagine someone coming before the Queen of England (or perhaps some royalty with REAL power) and saying “So!! You’re the Queen huh? Then do something to show your power!!” Do you think the Queen is going to listen to you? You are a subject for Pete’s sake!! You expect God to take you up on your challenge?? It makes me want to roll on the floor with laughter. He is the infinite God–you are only a finite man—and you are challenging him to “do something” to prove to YOU that he exists? :):)

  • 12. shevaberakhot  |  September 16, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    LeoPardus,

    There are a few points I’d like to make here:

    1. YHWH has not changed since Elijah and the OT prophets walked the earth.

    2. In our one-dimensional world it is customary to ignore both the precedence and aetiology of disorder.

    3. YHWH who is Spirit, is at first concerned with man’s spirit, then his soul, and finally his flesh (body).

    4. For an authentic miracle to take place, YHWH’s Spirit must enter the realm of mankind in that order.

    Footnote:

    Elijah and the sorcerers were engaged in a spiritual battle that mirrored satan’s ill-fated attempts to usurp YHWH’s immanence, transcendence and omnipotence.

    I hope this helps.

  • 13. morsec0de  |  September 16, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    “Do you think the Queen is going to listen to you? You are a subject for Pete’s sake!! You expect God to take you up on your challenge?? It makes me want to roll on the floor with laughter. He is the infinite God–you are only a finite man—and you are challenging him to “do something” to prove to YOU that he exists? :):)”

    I think I’m a prophet.

  • 14. Rover  |  September 16, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Cooper,

    Why doesn’t God make His existence obvious to us? He did it throughout the Bible. Even in Hebrews 11 where the faith of our fathers is celebrated, we see that God made His presence definitively known to these people. He spoke to them directly or performed miracles or appeared in various forms. Why not in our day?

  • 15. LeoPardus  |  September 16, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    1. YHWH has not changed since Elijah and the OT prophets walked the earth.

    Agreed. He was imaginary then, and he still is.

    2. In our one-dimensional world it is customary to ignore both the precedence and aetiology of disorder.

    Huh? That made no sense at all. Don’t know about you, but the rest of us are a 3D world. Does being 1D reveal the etiology of disorder? And what has any of that to do with the topic at hand?

    3. YHWH who is Spirit, is at first concerned with man’s spirit, then his soul, and finally his flesh (body).

    YHWH, who is imaginary, is concerned with whatever a given imaginer imagines him to be concerned with.

    4. For an authentic miracle to take place, YHWH’s Spirit must enter the realm of mankind in that order.

    In what order? You mean 1-YHWH’s spirit must enter the “realm of mankind”, then 2- a miracle can take place…?? If so, work on sentence construction. And again, what has any of this to do with the matter at hand?

    Elijah and the sorcerers were engaged in a spiritual battle that mirrored satan’s ill-fated attempts to usurp YHWH’s immanence, transcendence and omnipotence.

    What has this to do with the matter at hand?

    I hope this helps.

    That depends. Were you trying to create confusion? If so, then this helps in spades. Of course it helps not at all in terms of getting YHWH, or any other deity for that matter, to actually show up and do anything.

    The trouble with apologetics is that they are meaningless. IF you can come up with an actual deity, THEN you have something to talk about. Until then all you have is blather.

  • 16. Stephen P  |  September 16, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Cooper:

    Imagine someone coming before the Queen of England (or perhaps some royalty with REAL power) and saying “So!! You’re the Queen huh? Then do something to show your power!!” Do you think the Queen is going to listen to you?

    Actually, if the challenge was issued in a sufficiently disrespectful tone, I think it entirely possible that her power would be visibly exercised to the extent of the “someone” spending an involuntary night in a police cell, with possible follow-up in front of a court.

    But as is frequently the case with apologists, you are (deliberately?) missing the point, since you know perfectly well that the actual point at issue is existence, and the existence of the queen is not in doubt.

    My seven-year old daughter has no difficulty making her presence known. Why should I be impressed by a god who, on the evidence available, is infinitely less powerful than my daughter?

  • 17. shevaberakhot  |  September 16, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    LeoPardus,

    God exists, and he exists not because I say He does. I did not mean to confuse you further.

  • 18. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 16, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    God exists, and he exists not because I say He does.

    ORLY?

  • 19. shevaberakhot  |  September 16, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    “My seven-year old daughter has no difficulty making her presence known. Why should I be impressed by a god who, on the evidence available, is infinitely less powerful than my daughter?”

    Says who?

  • 20. morsec0de  |  September 16, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Says the evidence.

  • 21. LeoPardus  |  September 16, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    shevaberakhot:

    God exists, and he exists not because I say He does.

    Great. Tell him that someone has reissued his old challenge from his own book, and ask him to kindly take up the gauntlet once again.

    Meanwhile all I have is you saying he exists. That plus 50 cents will get you a senior cup of coffee at Burger King.

  • 22. shevaberakhot  |  September 16, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    LeoPardus,

    You must be very specific with YHWH. What exactly, are you asking God to do?

    While you’re thinking about it, may I ask — where are these three dimensions you speak of? I have only seen evidence of one so far, on this blog.

    Thanks.

  • 23. BigHouse  |  September 16, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    You must be very specific with YHWH. What exactly, are you asking God to do?

    Those ominoptent and omniscient beings can be sticklers like that ya know…

  • 24. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 16, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Let’s see… I can move myself on a Y-axis in space: check
    I can move along an X-axis: check
    I can move along a Z-axis: check

    Yep, 3-D world.

    If you’re trying to use dimensions as a metaphor, you might want to point that out, and explain it a little better than simply saying “in our 1-D world.”

  • 25. shevaberakhot  |  September 16, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    BigHouse,

    Finish your sentence please.

    Thank you.

  • 26. shevaberakhot  |  September 16, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    No, SnugglyBuffalo that’s one dimension. Try again.

  • 27. BigHouse  |  September 16, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    OK.

    ….but I thought your point was entirely clear, Leo.

  • 28. LeoPardus  |  September 16, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    No, SnugglyBuffalo that’s one dimension. Try again.

    Yow! The moron-o-meter just wrapped its needle around the stop!

  • 29. LeoPardus  |  September 16, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    You must be very specific with YHWH. What exactly, are you asking God to do?

    Really? You’ve got such clear directions from him? OK then.

    I want him to change the sky to pink next Saturday at noon EST and sign his name as “YHWH” in flaming letters at least 5 miles high, right over the US continental divide, due west from Boulder, CO.

    Is that specific enough? ….. I have the sinking feeling you’re now going to tell me he won’t do it.

  • 30. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 16, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Shev, I’m going to go far out of my way to give you the benefit of the doubt here; if you are not using 1-dimensionality as a metaphor, what definition of “dimension” are you using here?

    The usual understanding of dimensions is that 1 dimension is a straight line, 2 dimensions a square, and 3 dimensions is a box. Going beyond that gets tricky, and I won’t bother (hooray for hypercubes). You seem to have no issue with the concept that we have 3-degrees of possible movement in space, in what way is that 1-dimensional?

    Or are you using “dimension” interchangeably with “universe,” in the sense that an alternate universe in sci-fi is frequently called an alternate dimension? If this is the case, you really shouldn’t use the phrase “one-dimensional” as that is universally used to refer to dimensions in space.

  • 31. Mike  |  September 16, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Leo,

    Getting back to the original content of your article, i think that your challenge based on this selected verse fulfills itself. The challenge to the idols is a standing dare, so to speak, to do something, anything at all. Because no false god has ever done anything, Isaiah’s challenge retains its potency. The problem when you flip it around and apply it to the living God is that the challenge fulfilled itself rather quickly. God would only have to act once, ever, to have proven Himself true. The fact that he has done so a number of times (as you pointed out in your article) satisfies your challenge on the premises you offered. And in fact, He did put His signature on it, which is why all those miracles are attested to Him throughout the Bible.

    Now what I think you are asking for is a miracle to be performed by God on your terms, using this passage as a means to deny Him when He doesnt do it. That may serve your purposes, but it is a poor reading of this text.

  • 32. morsec0de  |  September 16, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Mike,

    “Because no god has ever done anything’

    There. Fixed that for you.

  • 33. The de-Convert  |  September 16, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Mike,

    Now what I think you are asking for is a miracle to be performed by God on your terms, using this passage as a means to deny Him when He doesnt do it. That may serve your purposes, but it is a poor reading of this text.

    I don’t think you’re reading this right. I’m sure you believe God worked with Gideon and his fleece. Jesus supposedly facilitated Thomas’ skepticism. All I think Leo is asking is for equal treatment. After all, God is not impartial. A simple “hi” would probably suffice.

    Paul

  • 34. LeoPardus  |  September 16, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Mike:

    Because no false god has ever done anything,

    Right. YHWH being just a figment of imagination is just like any other false god. Now if you had a real one, you wouldn’t have to come up with silly excuses for your imaginary friend’s total inaction. You could just do like Paul (or Elijah, or….) was supposed to have done.

    God would only have to act once, ever, to have proven Himself true.

    No sir. First off, he did it many times according to the Bible, because once wasn’t enough. Secondly, once clearly isn’t enough, for a lot of people. That’s why I’m reissuing his challenge.

    The fact that he has done so a number of times (as you pointed out in your article) satisfies your challenge on the premises you offered.

    Huh? The fact that a hodge-podge collection of writings by a primitive people tells stories about their deity satisfies ?????????????????

    Now what I think you are asking for is a miracle to be performed by God on your terms,

    Well on Isaiah’s terms actually. Which are supposed to be YHWH’s terms I’m told.

    using this passage as a means to deny Him when He doesnt do it.

    Yeah. I think you’ve got it. “The god who answers is God.” by converse, “The god who doesn’t answer is Nobody”.

    That may serve your purposes, but it is a poor reading of this text.

    It’s taking the text at face value. That’s what Christians say they want.

    Of course all this still amounts to excuses for inaction. And sadly that’s all I ever get. Like I said if the best your deity can do is apologists, he’s waaaay pathetic. Come up with a real god, then you won’t have to offer sorry excuses.

  • 35. Oleander  |  September 16, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    The de-Convert—

    Think of all the billions who have lived on this planet. And right now their are a couple of billion Christians alive. You mention Gideon and Thomas. Do the odds—-wouldn’t you say it is EXTREMELY rare for God to prove himself as he did to these two men? And they were believers. Does LeoPardus really expect God to “prove himself” to a de-con who is challenging him to do so? :)

  • 36. Oleander  |  September 16, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Sorry–meant to say “do the math” not “do the odds”. :)

  • 37. Mike  |  September 16, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    The de-Convert,

    No, I am reading Leo the same way you are, what I am saying is that his usage of this text is a poor justification for doing so.

    Leo,

    “Well on Isaiah’s terms actually. Which are supposed to be YHWH’s terms I’m told.”

    These terms are given by YHWH to false idols. The challenge is presented to the false idols that if they can do one thing, any one thing, that will show their existence. Since they cannot do any one thing, the challenge is a potent one. When you flip it around to use on YHWH (a usage unintended by the author and the one he represents), all He has to do is one thing, any one thing, to fulfill the challenge. Do you see what I am getting at?

    If you want to draw a line in the sand and tell God to cross it, by all means feel free. Your usage of this passage to do so doesnt achieve that objective. That is all I am saying.

  • 38. Oleander  |  September 16, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    To go a bit further—I’m a believer and I don’t need God to physically prove himself to me. There are millions of other Christians who claim the same. Why should God “prove himself” to someone who has taken a stance that he doesn’t believe in God unless he shows himself?? Thomas said he wouldn’t believe unless he saw the wounds—but he was up in the room with all the other apostles when Jesus appeared—-so he did believe—he was just very doubtful—hence “doubting Thomas”.

    One has to ask if Jesus would have appeared to him if he said “Aw–this is a bunch of crap, and you guys are full of $#$%$!!” and then went off alone by himself. Who knows? Maybe Jesus might have—-but I think the fact that Thomas remained with the other believers shows something, even though he said he “would not believe”. Jesus made an exception—and he didn’t have to—but he did say “You see and believe, blessed are those who having not seen believe”.

  • 39. shevaberakhot  |  September 16, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Morsec0de,

    Don’t bet on it sir.

  • 40. shevaberakhot  |  September 16, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    LeoPardus,

    A pink sky would make you God, not YHWH.

  • 41. morsec0de  |  September 16, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    I don’t consider ignoring things for which there is no good evidence as ‘betting’.

  • 42. shevaberakhot  |  September 16, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    SnugglyBuffalo,

    There are three dimensions in a one-storey (seamless) universe:

    1. The dimension of the spirit
    2. The dimension of the soul
    3. The dimension of mortal flesh

    Thank you.

  • 43. Todd Wood  |  September 16, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Has Leo read the whole book of Isaiah?

    And if so, how long ago?

    Of course, there was full unbelief in Isaiah’s day. And Jesus quotes Isaiah, declaring the unbelief in his day. And to this day, people will not believe, even if God raised someone from the dead right in front of their eyes.

    But God will raise up the dead. And He will meet Leo, but not according to Leo’s timetable.

    He says that in Isaiah.

  • 44. Quester  |  September 16, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Shit, Leo. Todd’s right!

    Isaiah 25:7-9 (New International Version)

    7 On this mountain he will destroy
    the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
    the sheet that covers all nations;

    8 he will swallow up death forever.
    The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
    from all faces;
    he will remove the disgrace of his people
    from all the earth.
    The LORD has spoken.

    9 In that day they will say,
    “God did not do this according to
    the timetable of LeoPardus.
    And even if He had, Leo would still not believe;
    just ask Todd Wood. Todd can read minds.”

  • 45. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 17, 2008 at 4:39 am

    Oleander/Cooper/Echo, what’s with the name changes? I thought you said you were sticking with Cooper when you switched to that one?

  • 46. Big Dan  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:47 am

    Oleander / Cooper,

    I understand that God could want us to trust him, believe in him, and not ask for proof. However, my situation is this: I’ve been hanging around with Christians for nigh on 20 years, some of that time calling myself one (although I never felt totally comfortable with that label), and I don’t believe I’ve ever experienced anything that made me think “Wow – that was really God at work”:

    “External answers to prayer” can just be coincidences.
    “Internal answers to prayer” can just be my conscience speaking to me (and I don’t mean voices in my head).
    “Feeling the holy spirit” can just be feeling an emotional response.

    Yet when I ask Christians why they believe in God, most of them list one of the reasons as the evidence they see of God working in their lives. I believe that I have never experienced such evidence.

    Maybe God has chosen a harder path to faith for me than for others. Maybe he doesn’t exist. But I think some or most of the de-con posters here (and I apologise for speaking for others) are looking for the same as me – not an aggressive challenge to God, just the same sort of evidence that others claim to have experienced.

    BTW, most of my Christian friends have no problem in praying that God will reveal himself to me.

    I guess you might answer me: “first believe, and then see if you get results”. I’ve tried that many times, and of course it works to start with, but then without the results my belief withers.

  • 47. Big Dan  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:50 am

    NB when I said

    “most of them list one of the reasons as the evidence they see of God working in their lives”

    I meant

    “most of them list the evidence they see of God working in their lives as one of the reasons”

  • 48. A Wordpress Triad on Isaiah’s Message « Heart Issues for LDS  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:54 am

    [...] Atheist Leo – The God Challenge [...]

  • 49. BigHouse  |  September 17, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Oleander/Cooper/Echo, what’s with the name changes? I thought you said you were sticking with Cooper when you switched to that one?

    Because he thinks this message will get through better if it has the appearance that more people are espousing it. However, just reading any of his posts reveals who the man behind the curtian is.

  • 50. shevaberakhot  |  September 17, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Erm Big Dan, who told you to put mortal man on such a high pedestal?

    “Cursed Is the one who trusts In man more than God”.

    Jer 17:5:

  • 51. Big Dan  |  September 17, 2008 at 8:35 am

    C’mon, fair play to Cooper etc. He’s previously been outed as a troll, unfairly in his view. I don’t know that story so I can’t comment. You may feel he’s not arguing his point well, but at least he’s joining in the debate.

  • 52. BigHouse  |  September 17, 2008 at 8:44 am

    I agree with you in principle, Big Dan, but have you read his posts? He read 1 book of the Bible, got saved immediately as a result, and thinks that his interpretation of the Bible is the only clear and rational way to do so. He debating with former ministers, pastors, biblical scholars, and telling them they don’t know ‘how to read properly’. It’s absurd.

    I respect Cooper’s position as one he is entitled to hold, but it has been demonstrated to be a flimsy argument for why others should believe what he does. And it has looked just as flimsy regardless of the handle he’s using.

  • 53. Big Dan  |  September 17, 2008 at 9:03 am

    shevaberakhot,

    “Erm Big Dan, who told you to put mortal man on such a high pedestal? Cursed Is the one who trusts In man more than God.”

    I guess you’ve answered as I predicted Cooper would. I’ve tried trusting God to lead me but as, far as I can tell, he hasn’t replied. What else do you want me to do?

    You may well reply: “keep trying”. Well, I’ve been trying for 20 years, and I’m beginning to wonder if I’m wasting my effort.

    BTW I don’t really get why you are saying I’ve put mortal man on a high pedestal. Did I give that impression in my post?

  • 54. Big Dan  |  September 17, 2008 at 9:10 am

    BigHouse, I know where you’re coming from, and I pretty much agree. I just thought that in this case it might not be a malicious attempt to create ficticious debaters, just a way to continue the debate after he’d been previously blackballed. My motivation was to see if Cooper (etc) would stay in the debate and come up with any more-convincing arguments. I’ll leave it at that. Peace to all.

  • 55. LeoPardus  |  September 17, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Mike:

    These terms are given by YHWH to false idols. The challenge is presented to the false idols that if they can do one thing, any one thing, that will show their existence.

    Let me try to get through to you here. YHWH, your god that exists only in your mind, is a false god/idol. He isn’t real. If he could do one thing, any one thing, that would show his existence. But he can’t do any thing. That’s the whole point of my challenge here. And so far, all there has been is a few pathetic apologists offering bad logic that flies in the face of their own Bible. No action, no miracles, no thing at all. And that’s all there will be, because you have nothing more. You can only blah, blah, blah about your imaginary friend. He isn’t real. He never was. It’s all made up in your head. That’s why your imaginary friend is so incompatibly different from those of so many other Christians. You’re all making it up as you go along.

    Since they cannot do any one thing, the challenge is a potent one. When you flip it around to use on YHWH (a usage unintended by the author and the one he represents), all He has to do is one thing, any one thing, to fulfill the challenge. Do you see what I am getting at?

    Makes perfect sense to me. You’re getting at an effort to get your false idol off the same hook that the others should get hung on.

    If you want to draw a line in the sand and tell God to cross it, by all means feel free. Your usage of this passage to do so doesnt achieve that objective.

    According to your personal interpretation of the text, which you seem to think must be the absolutely correct one.

  • 56. BigHouse  |  September 17, 2008 at 10:40 am

    This is what is most vexing to me about Christians. How can they all, with a straight face, say that THEY have it figured out? And completely wave away other sincerely-derived interpretations of the same text. AND say that it isn;t arrogance to do so?

  • 57. LeoPardus  |  September 17, 2008 at 10:52 am

    BigHouse:

    The answer to your question is simple… They are ARROGANT And that arrogance is so huge and overwhelming that it blinds them completely. So they can’t even see how arrogant they are.

    It quite reminds me of a passage from the Bible that they all pay lip service to, “The god of this world has blinded their eyes so that they cannot see.” And who is the god of world? They are. The ones who make up a deity in their own minds and then make it conform to whatever image, prejudice, desire, or whim they have. And then they have the gall (arrogance) to use that made up image to club others over the head with.

    ARROGANCE!

  • 58. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Oleander/Cooper/Echo, what’s with the name changes? I thought you said you were sticking with Cooper when you switched to that one?

    Because he thinks this message will get through better if it has the appearance that more people are espousing it. However, just reading any of his posts reveals who the man behind the curtian is.

    Bighouse—

    Let me be completely honest here. The reason I sometimes use different handles on different threads isn’t to “appear” more people are espousing my stance—I could care less about that. It is because of a basic hypocrisy that appears here at times. It’s OK for those who hold the de-con stance to repeat their thoughts over and over, and even go so far as directly insulting people (as one frequent de-con here does, though while insulting he “outs” others as “trolls”).

    But let one poster with a differene stance repeat a thought a few times and he becomes a “troll”. By using different handles I have been able to avoid that “label” for a while. I would stay with Cooper indefinitely if it wasn’t for being labeled because of taking the “devil’s advocate” stand. My reason for the various handles wasn’t to deceive, but to survive if possible. But I’ll stick with Cooper from now if it is still OK to give a different stance on subjects at hand.

  • 59. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Meant “as one frequent de-con poster does” not “one frequent de-con” :)

  • 60. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Also, proper term is “I coudn’t care less about that” not “I could care less” inferring I really could care less if I wanted to. :)

  • 61. BigHouse  |  September 17, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    But survive through deception, no? To avoid the label you had been given.

    And the reason you get hammered for repitition is becuase you don’t answer the questions.

    Cooper: What I believe is correct.

    De-con: What about all these other people that interpret the same information vastly differently?

    Cooper: Doesn’t matter, what I believe is correct.

    That isn’t devil’s advocate work, that’s rose colored blinders.

  • 62. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    BigHouse—-

    What you are stating is really not correct. There are MANY who believe that salvation is by grace through faith–not just me—it is a tenet of the Protestant church, and is why Luther rebelled. Are you not basically doing what you are accusing me of and saying “I do not believe because what I do not believe is correct?”

    My whole argument has been that there are two basic streams of thought concerning salvation——grace alone—grace + works. If you want to disagree with that fine—but it actually is very common knowledge. There are many “variables” in those two forms of theology of course, but the two really are boiled down to those to philosophies in a nutshell.

    You also said:

    I agree with you in principle, Big Dan, but have you read his posts? He read 1 book of the Bible, got saved immediately as a result, and thinks that his interpretation of the Bible is the only clear and rational way to do so. He debating with former ministers, pastors, biblical scholars, and telling them they don’t know ‘how to read properly’. It’s absurd.

    I keep hearing this about there being Bible scholars and former ministers here and how knowledgeable they all are. But then I read others say (not me) just how unscholarly many of the people are being, and how they expected former christians to have far more biblical knowledge. I have to agree with that. I am often amazed at the lack of biblical understanding given—how unbalanced it is—not comparing scripture with scripture.

  • 63. BigHouse  |  September 17, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    So, do you contend that those here are not well-read and studied in the Bible? How do you know?

    And please don’t tell me it’s because they don’t believe what you believe, because you admitted you read but one book of the Bible and made up your mind. That’s the opposite of well-read and studied.

  • 64. Mike  |  September 18, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Leo,

    I dont think the issue we are having here is one of interpretation. But in case it is, let me explain in detail the manner in which I am interpreting this passage, and you can tell me where we differ.

    Isaiah 41:22-23

    1) This story (whether you believe it to be true or not) is the recounting of God’s words spoken by Isaiah.
    2) These words are addressed to false idols.
    3) The basic content of the challenge from God to the idols is that they do something, anything. Some action of some kind to prove they exist.
    4) Because they do not act at all, from that day forward, the challenge is a potent one.

    Now what you are doing is flipping the quotation from God around in order to apply it to God. And here is my problem. If you believe that the text is true, and that this is a quotation of God by Isaiah, then He has already fulfilled the challenge to do something because He spoke. If He did not speak, then how could you quote Him?

    Now if you do not believe that this story is an accurate representation of events, that is fine, but then why quote it as evidence of God’s non-action, and therefore non-existence? It is an invalid argument to take words not spoken by someone and then apply them to that person. It is as if I were to approach Obama about a policy he never endorsed, and ask him why he didnt come through on that policy as a Senator. If he never endorsed it, why should he be held to the standard of enacting it while in office?

    If you want to challenge God to do something, anything at all, to prove His existence, FEEL FREE. All I have been saying this entire time is that this text is not a valid place to do so.

  • 65. morsec0de  |  September 18, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Mike,

    The point of the Isaiah story is that after the false gods do nothing, Yahweh steps in and acts IMMEDIATELY. Thus differentiating himself from the false gods.

    If he does nothing, then he is just another false god.

  • 66. cooper  |  September 18, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    And please don’t tell me it’s because they don’t believe what you believe, because you admitted you read but one book of the Bible and made up your mind. That’s the opposite of well-read and studied.

    BigHouse—

    I didn’t actually say that. I said that I read one book of the Bible and accepted Christ. Thereafter I read more and more and it continued to confirm more and more that the person I had come to know had written the Book. This allowed me to branch out and read books later by atheists, philosophers, other religions, cults, etc. What I am saying is that the one book caused me to be “born-again”—but I was just a baby in a sense—a new Christian. It took a lot of studying to confirm all of the doctrines I now believe to my heart.

    Now, as I read, I see clearly the teaching of salvation by grace through faith. Millions of others do too (there are libraries full of books about it). You can disagree with that belief and that’s fine. You can make the argument that because millions believe it, it doesn’t make it true or right—fine. That was never my argument. I was just saying that somehow, I, thorugh simple salvation and then growth as a christian find myself agreeing with millions of others who teach the same thing.

  • 67. john t.  |  September 18, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Cooper

    You know the biggest challenge I have with Christianity is the idea I need to be saved. And not only did I not directly cause that need, but I have to pay for what some other guy(adam) did. Now if that belief is not totally illogical then I dont know sheit. Hey bud, if it works for you, go for it. As far as debating the rest of the scriptures, in my mind it pretty much ends with the original concept. Now if you want to discuss the value of some Scripture in regards to bettering your life, well that I can agree with. The rest is just Hocus Pocus.

  • 68. cooper  |  September 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    John T.—

    You;’ll probably chuckle at this, but regarding Adam and his fall and sin, and it’s relation to us, here is one way to look at it:

    Imagine a huge orb (whatever an orb is lol) created by God, in his own image. This orb is tested and fails, falls into sin, and loses all of it’s former glory. It is now “fallen”—but this orb is guilty for having taken of that thing God expressly commanded it should not.

    Then, imagine this orb begins to break into a few billion pieces–tiny replicas of itself. Soon, there are 6 biilion “replicas” of this orb, all made up of it and from it. Are the 6 billion “replicas” now innocent because they came from the orb, or are they just as guilty? There is nothing that happened that can make them innocent—-they are part of the orb, and came from it. I know this may sound stupid, but in a sense that is what has happened through Adam.

    Adam represents man at his best. A perfectly created man, made up of all races, extremely intelligent, and filled with glory. Any one of us falls far short of who he was. WE have come from him—–we are tiny replicas in a sense of what he once was—-HE fell—and everyone who has come from him i is a PART of him. Are we any less guilty than he was? Would each of us replicas do any better than he did in the garden? No—we would do the same–because we come from who he was.

    I know this is a vastly corny way of explaining it, but the Bible says that “through one man Adam sin entered into the world, and we are tainted by the same sin”—yet Christ came to eradicate that. Now those accept Christ are now PART of what he did. Because he was victorious, and we are :”in him” we are also victorious. “In Adam all die, but in Christ all are made alive”.

  • 69. cooper  |  September 18, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    I probably should have used a different example than that “orb” :)

  • 70. Mike  |  September 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Morsecode,

    “Yahweh steps in and acts IMMEDIATELY”

    But that is my point. He already did act. He spoke.

  • 71. morsec0de  |  September 18, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Mike,

    Right. Which means he treats humans differently. The people there at the time get direct, undeniable evidence.

    People nowadays get a book of dubious origins and authors, thousands of years old, and have to take that as truth.

    That is completely inconsistent behavior.

    If you’re fine with your god being inconsistent, of course, then maybe that doesn’t bother you.

  • 72. Mike  |  September 18, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Morsecode,

    “Right”

    Okay. So we are on the same page now, and the issue of improperly using Isaiah’s quote as a basis for this challenge is taken care of.

    If you want to move on to a tangential issue of God working differently today than He did with Isaiah, I am more than willing to go there, but dont want to dominate a thread intended for a different discussion. I will let Leo decide, but I get the feeling he will want to continue the previous discussion.

  • 73. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 18, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    But that is my point. He already did act. He spoke.

    But that’s just it. We don’t know that he spoke. All we have is the writings of Isaiah. Did God issue that challenge, or did a man named Isaiah issue the challenge, claiming God spoke it to him? We cannot conclude with any certainty that God spoke. Hence, your claim is an insufficient response to the challenge.

    Besides, you’re really missing the point by getting so pedantic. The Bible gives a pretty clear way to test if a god is real or not: see if that god can do anything. But, if you take that same test and apply it to the very god the Bible claims exists, it fails.

  • 74. BigHouse  |  September 18, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Cooper, really analogies aren’t your thing. You may want to giive up on that.

    And here, you admit to EXACTLY what we criticize Christians for, coming to a conclusion based on limited information then reading other data colored by that conclusion.

    I didn’t actually say that. I said that I read one book of the Bible and accepted Christ. Thereafter I read more and more and it continued to confirm more and more that the person I had come to know had written the Book.

    I think that says it all…

  • 75. LeoPardus  |  September 18, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Mike:

    If you believe that the text is true, and that this is a quotation of God by Isaiah, then He has already fulfilled the challenge to do something because He spoke. If He did not speak, then how could you quote Him?

    ERROR! And you repeated it in #70. Isaiah spoke. Isaiah claimed he was speaking for God. There was no booming voice from the mountain. Just Isaiah.

    So put me in Isaiah’s day (assuming that there really was an Isaiah and he really said what’s in the book with his name… which is by no means a safe assumption). Isaiah steps up and cries out chapter 41. When he gets through verse 23, I pipe up and say, “Hey Ike! Hold on there. You wanna issue a challenge like that in the name of your god, you better be ready to back it up with your own deity.”

    Note here. God did not speak.

    Now I know that you’re now going to try to say that God has spoken at other times, and that he’s done miracles at other times, and so on. So let me say before you even go there. NO HE DID NOT! Those are just stories. If YOU, or anyone for that matter, expect me, or anyone for that matter, to believe in your god, a story book isn’t going to do it. Neither is a bunch of apologetics for why your imaginary friend is totally inactive and impotent.

    Ancient story books don’t count for “evidence”, OK? So if you think you’ve got a real deity, get him to get off the pot. (Cf Elijah’s taunts to the Baal prophets).

  • 76. Mike  |  September 18, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    SnugglyBuffalo,

    “We cannot conclude with any certainty that God spoke.”

    I actually addressed that position as well (#64). If you dont believe He said it, then why would you quote Him? If God is not as the Bible describes Him, then why would you use the Bible to critique Him. Does that make sense?

  • 77. Mike  |  September 18, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Leo,

    “Ancient story books don’t count for “evidence”, OK?”

    As much as you want to try and make me say that, that is actually not the position I am taking here. You clearly dont believe the Bible accurately describes God. Okay. I get it. I am not trying to convince you it is trustworthy. I am trying to get you to see that if you deny the accounts regarding God, there is no reason to use them as a standard for God to meet.

    In other words, I will repeat my question to SnugglyBuffalo in #76 “If God is not as the Bible describes Him, then why would you use the Bible to critique Him?”

    You are using the actions of God described in the Bible as legitimacy for your claim that He should act when you challenge Him, but then deny God’s actions in the Bible as having any validity. Why does that make sense to you? Clearly I am missing it.

    Morsecode asks the better question (#71), which is what I think you are trying to get at anyways.

  • 78. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 18, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Who’s quoting God? All I see are quotes of Isaiah.

  • 79. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 18, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    You are using the actions of God described in the Bible as legitimacy for your claim that He should act when you challenge Him, but then deny God’s actions in the Bible as having any validity. Why does that make sense to you? Clearly I am missing it.

    Leo is using the not using the actions of God as legitimacy for his claim that he should act, he is using the claims of Isaiah. Isaiah said a false god will be impotent, and it just so happens that Isaiah’s own god fails that test.

  • 80. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 18, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Err, ignore that first “using the” in my previous post.

  • 81. Mike  |  September 18, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Snuggly,

    “Who’s quoting God? All I see are quotes of Isaiah.”

    Who is speaking on behalf of God. That is the context in which it is given. If you believe it is true, then poof, God has acted through Isaiah! If you dont believe it is true, then why would you use the Bible to critique God?

  • 82. LeoPardus  |  September 18, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Mike:

    I am trying to get you to see that if you deny the accounts regarding God, there is no reason to use them as a standard for God to meet.

    If God is not as the Bible describes Him, then why would you use the Bible to critique Him?

    Good gracious. Is the response really not obvious? Christians claim that the Bible accounts about God are true. If so, then God should act according to those accounts.

    You are using the actions of God described in the Bible as legitimacy for your claim that He should act when you challenge Him, but then deny God’s actions in the Bible as having any validity.

    I am denying that the actions of God, as described in the Bible, are true. Using those accounts, I call for similar actions on the part of this alleged deity. He fails utterly to show up, act, etc. I conclude that the Bible is just a collection of stories from a primitive people.

    So, of course I’m using the Bible as a testing means for the deity it’s supposed to describe. What should I use? Bullfinch’s Mythology?

  • 83. john t.  |  September 18, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Cooper
    “Imagine a huge orb (whatever an orb is lol) created by God, in his own image. This orb is tested and fails, falls into sin, and loses all of it’s former glory. It is now “fallen”

    I do not mean to offend you, but can you not see the idiocy of this statement. If this orb is created in Gods image then its doing exactly what God is. It is the same as his/hers/its image. Its only doing what it has been made to do. It is as “Sinful” as its creator because its made in its image.Just because the rest of the story says it shouldnt be doing it doesnt mean its Logical. How can you not see this, I mean, I just cant wrap my head around someone believing a God would actually make this stuff up?? I have no problem with the idea of a Creator, in fact I believe that we were created by something, I just find it Incredulous that people believe these kind of Freaky stories.

  • 84. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 18, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    If you dont believe it is true, then why would you use the Bible to critique God?

    You’re making the mistake of starting with a conclusion on both sides of the argument. If we’re assuming that this challenge was issued by a man, not by God, then there’s no reason to challenge a non-existent God with it. If we assume the challenge was issued by God himself, then, as you point out, we are already assuming God’s existence.

    Start from a neutral position on whether the Christian God is real, and look at this challenge. If the Bible is accurate, God should meet it’s standard of godhood, right? But he doesn’t. Thus the conclusion that the Bible is not accurate.

    This challenge isn’t to disprove God, but rather to disprove that the Bible’s description of him is accurate. There could easily be a god that chooses to ignore the Bible’s standard for godhood.

  • 85. OneSmallStep  |  September 18, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Mike,

    I am trying to get you to see that if you deny the accounts regarding God, there is no reason to use them as a standard for God to meet.

    I want to see if I understand your claim here. Are you saying that because people deny the Bible as a true historical account, they can’t then say that God doesn’t match up to those accounts since the accounts aren’t true in the first place? As in, of course a true deity can’t match up to false accounts? I’m also trying to make that mesh with your claim of if one believes that the text is true and that God must do something, God has already done something by speaking through Isaiah.

    You also seem to be asking how we can quote a story to prove God’s non-existence if we don’t believe the story in the first place, yes?

  • 86. cooper  |  September 18, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    I didn’t actually say that. I said that I read one book of the Bible and accepted Christ. Thereafter I read more and more and it continued to confirm more and more that the person I had come to know had written the Book.

    I think that says it all…

    Says what BigHouse? This is true of life itself. We are born knowing nothing—as we mature we learn more and more. All I am saying is that I was “born-again” by reading one Gospel from the Bble. But I really knew nothing about the Bible or God. I knew I had “changed” and something had happened. I was a “babe” in Christ. It took much reading to really understand the work of the cross, salvation by grace (though I knew a bit of this by the weight that had been lifted from me, and the great joy I felt which I knew I had in no way earned), and many of the other doctrines that I now hold, and know to be true.

    Regarding analogies, I agree–I’m not really good with them—but yours aren’t that good either—your much better at being condescending—stick with that. :)

  • 87. Mike  |  September 18, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    OSS,

    I think you basically have the gist of what I am saying.

    Leo (#82),

    “Christians claim that the Bible accounts about God are true. If so, then God should act according to those accounts.”

    Yes, but Christians also claim that God did all the things it said He did in the Bible. So the Christian is convinced that God is real because He does act, for all the actions (and more) that you described in your original post.

    Snuggly,

    “Start from a neutral position on whether the Christian God is real, and look at this challenge. If the Bible is accurate, God should meet it’s standard of godhood, right? But he doesn’t.”

    Okay, now you and I are on the same page, except that I am curious why you think that He doesnt meet the standard of Godhood. If the Bible is accurate, there are tons of examples of God acting, and no examples of idols doing anything. This is where you lost me.

  • 88. cooper  |  September 18, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    I do not mean to offend you, but can you not see the idiocy of this statement. If this orb is created in Gods image then its doing exactly what God is

    I could create a robot “in my image”—in “many ways like myself” but it wouldn’t be me John T. Genesis says that God created man in “his own image”—not as an exact representation of him.

    The “orb” was a bad analogy and I admit it. What I was trying to say is that we all COME from Adam, who was the highest representation of man. He fell—he failed the test—-and all of us are descended from him. It is as if Adam became 6 or 7 billion (or whatever the total population is or was—-probably far greater than 6 or 7 billion) parts of himself. We are all “of Adam”—-the Bible says when you receive Christ and are born-again you are “in Christ”—you become in a sense part of what he has accomplished. The Bible says Christians are crucified, buried, risen and seated with him also. As we were all part of Adam’s sin and failure, we can become part of Christs righteousness and victory.

    I know you will scoff at this, but it is a Biblical teaching. I rejoice in it actually.

  • 89. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 18, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Again, Mike, you are assuming your conclusion. If you do not assume that the Bible is accurate, then God fails its test of godhood: that a real god actually does things. We do not know if God really did anything described in the Bible, but we do know that he does nothing today. And that fails the Bible’s test.

  • 90. OneSmallStep  |  September 18, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Mike,

    SnugglyBuffalo answers your question in the same way I would. It’s testing the claims of the Bible in terms of today.

    except that I am curious why you think that He doesnt meet the standard of Godhood. If the Bible is accurate, there are tons of examples of God acting, and no examples of idols doing anything.

    Right here would be the problem, though. It’s using the Bible to judge whether Biblical claims about essentially itself are accurate. The Bible claims that God will interefere and do something, unlike the idols, and the Bible has examples of God doing things and the idols not doing things. However, what people on this board are looking for are those same events today, and find that their circumstances don’t measure up to Biblical claims. The Bible says that God is a very present help in trouble, yet many might find that when in a serious amount of trouble, God does not help them at all. In Leo’s case, he is asking God to do something in today’s times that measures up to events that happened in Biblical times. Or with the other example, the Bible provides very clear examples of a God actively doing things, very cleary statements about what God can and will do, and we do not see the same things occuring today.

  • 91. bigham  |  September 18, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Leo,

    Thanks for the “shout-out!”

    However, you didn’t even bother to go so far as to construct a straw-man for the opposition. Not even an attempted explanation for the other side, bro?

    On the other hand, kudos for your Bible literacy. You would put a lot of professing Christians to shame.

    Since you know the Bible so well, what reasons does the Bible give for your unbelieve, sir?

    -David “bigham” Hamilton

  • 92. john t.  |  September 18, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Cooper

    If you are happier, more loving and less fearful now that you believe in Christ as you read it, then far be it for me to say that I think its a little nuts. But you know what, I just cant help myself. Man is that just freaking Nuts ;) or what.

  • 93. ubi dubium  |  September 18, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    john t.
    I agree with it’s being a little nuts, but then all religions carry that same trait. They ask their believers to believe in farfetched ideas, then to become so used to them that they no longer seem farfetched:

    “Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
    “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    Alice in Wonderland.

  • 94. john t.  |  September 18, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Ubi Dubium

    I agree, they all are a little Nuts. The thing is I do believe in a creator of sorts, I just cant quantify what it is. My beef with any religion is that they think they have the absolute answer. One of the great aspects that comes from the Bible, that I do agree with is…….There is much Mystery. LOL. Dont we all to try and figure out the Mystery….. News at 11…….no answer until youre dead, just lots of clues.

  • 95. john t.  |  September 18, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    “love to try”

  • 96. Mike  |  September 19, 2008 at 12:26 am

    Snuggly and OSS,

    I appreciate you both continuing to dialog this out and clarify what each of us means.

    Again, OSS I basically agree with your assessment of the situation and the challenge that has been laid out. The problem is that you and Snuggly, and I assume others, are only half reading me. I do say that if you believe in the Bible’s faithful reporting of events, that God has fulfilled this challenge. BUT IF YOU DONT, then I am simply asking the question “Why would you evaluate God on the basis of something you dont believe is true?” I will try to phrase this question several different ways:

    If the Biblical description of God is not true, than why would we expect God to behave like the Christian God?

    If He is not a personal God who shows Himself, does miracles, etc, then why would you expect Him to give a flip about your challenge in the first place.

    If you reject the Bible as a basis for understanding who God is, then why would you use it as a test for him?

  • 97. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 19, 2008 at 1:07 am

    If the Biblical description of God is not true, than why would we expect God to behave like the Christian God?

    If we don’t know whether it’s true or not, we can compare it’s description of God to what we observe in reality to make that determination

    If He is not a personal God who shows Himself, does miracles, etc, then why would you expect Him to give a flip about your challenge in the first place.

    If we don’t know whether he is a personal god who shows himself, we can issue a challenge and observe the results to make that determination.

    If you reject the Bible as a basis for understanding who God is, then why would you use it as a test for him?

    If we don’t know… you get the idea.

    All of your questions assume a conclusion before moving to the arguments. There’s no way you can phrase this idea you’re getting at that doesn’t do this.

    The Bible has a lot to say about God, so one should be able to compare what the Bible says to what one observes in reality to determine the truth of the Bible’s description.

  • 98. Quester  |  September 19, 2008 at 1:43 am

    Mike,

    Let me see if I can help clarify. Imagine that I came to this blog tonight and saw someone posted with your name, using your avatar, and said, “I ride a flying carpet to and from every class, every day.”

    Now, I could go over and visit you at the Confessions of a Seminarian blog to find out if this is true, but if I suspect someone stole your identity here, I might not be certain I’m really talking to you over there.

    If I think that finding out the truth of this matter is important enough, I might drive down to Missouri, head on over to the Covenant Theological Seminary, find you and ask if you had posted this statement on this blog, and if it were true. If the truth of this matter is important enough, I might choose to follow you around and find out for myself whether you ride a flying carpet, as someone posting as you claimed.

    Now, in this hypothetical example, if I watch you and you do not ride a flying carpet to every class, this does not prove you do not exist, but it does show that either you lied on this blog, or someone posing as you did.

    Now, someone claiming to be writing God’s words provided this challenge from Isaiah 41. I tried to contact God through prayer to see if God did indeed say this, but I can’t tell whether I’m getting through. So I decided to watch and see if God does anything in the world. If God doesn’t interact in this world at all, either He lied about Himself in the Bible, or someone lied on his behalf. Either way, I learn something.

  • 99. Big Dan  |  September 19, 2008 at 3:09 am

    Cooper,

    I don’t think your orb analogy is all that bad. But you say “This orb is tested and fails”. Doesn’t this imply that its Creator is at fault?

    A perfect creator must have known that the orb would fail. So why punish (and then provide a means of redemption) for all the orblets?

  • 100. OneSmallStep  |  September 19, 2008 at 5:53 am

    Mike,

    BUT IF YOU DONT, then I am simply asking the question “Why would you evaluate God on the basis of something you dont believe is true?” I will try to phrase this question several different ways:

    This part is causing the most confusion, and it’s what I’m not sure you’re understanding the other point of view. What it sounds like you think Leo and others are doing is saying that the Bible is not true — that the lack of truth in the Bible has been concluded up front — and then saying that they are determining that the Christian God is not real by something something they don’t think is true in the first place. Hence Snuggly saying that you are assuming the conclusion. You seem to be saying that everyone is assuming the conclusion that the Bible isn’t true, and then trying to use the Bible as a method of testing the validity of God. Hence, of course they’d reach a conclusion that God does not exist.

    And I don’t see anyone doing that. Rather, they are trying to valididate a statement of the Bible. IT’s approaching the Bible from a neutral position, assuming/concluding that it’s neither true nor false. What should not be happening is that someone says “I believe the Bible is true/false” and then goes to prove it’s true/false, because it’s using the conclusion as proof for the conclusion.

    Maybe if I break it down this way:

    This is how I see you saying what they’re saying:

    1) The Bible isn’t true.
    2) God will act the way the Bible says He will.
    3) God doesn’t behave in such a way.
    Conclusion: The Bible isn’t true.

    This is what is being said:

    1) The Bible says that God will act in a certain way. He’ll be help in trouble, He’ll do something — unlike a false God.
    2) Person A has seen no daily proof of a behavior for a God that matches the Bible. No help in trouble, God has behaved just like the false idols (has not done anything) and so forth.
    Conclusion: If there is a God, this God does not behave like the Bible states because there is no evidence for such a deity.”

  • 101. BigHouse  |  September 19, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Cooper, you don’t address the points being posed to you, so it’s going to sound ‘condescending’ as peope try to re-pose them to you in ways you’ll understand. You still don’t get them. So it’s basically of no point to argue with you.

    My slavery analogy is THE most typical one given when debunking the logical fallacy of truth in the masses. I’m sorry you don’t know this.

    You admit to reading one book of the Bible, coming to Christ, and then reading the rest of the Bible colored by you recent saving, so it positiviely reinforeces the conclusion you’ve already reached. Honestly, if you don’t see why this is not a critical reasong approach to an old text, then again, there’s no reason to have further discussions with you.

    And you say you “rejoice” in the fact that because Adam fell, we all have to suffer for it as his “descendants”. You see, here in the real world, we don’t punish people for the sins of their parents. My uncle went to prison for robbery a while back. The U.S. government doesn’t also put his kids in jail because he committed that crime. I’d say that God setting up Adam in the trial, then punishing all his future descnedants for that crime, is laughable, cruel, and evidence #1 AGAINST a benevolent god.

  • 102. Mike  |  September 19, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Snuggly, Quester, and OSS,

    Okay, we are together almost there (i think). I agree with the way you have characterized the challenge (OSS), I agree with the way you have phrase the assumption (Snuggly), and I agree with the analogy that you have derived (Quester). So let me now apply them to my point.

    Snuggly,

    If you are uncertain as to the truth of the Biblical depiction of God, and the truth of scripture is still genuinely a question in play for you, then why is the Biblical depiction of God doing things in scripture not a basis for belief that God has satisfied His own challenge to the idols, that is to say, doing something/anything? That He has not done it today should be irrelevant, because neither a time limit, nor a recurring occurrence of this behavior was a feature of Isaiah’s challenge.

    Quester,

    If we apply your example to the text at hand, yes you could come to Covenant and see if I am riding a flying carpet to class every day. But how will you verify the veracity of that claim after I graduate? Getting angry because I dont fly a carpet to work every day when I said I ride one to class is irrational. After all, my claim had nothing to do with work, only class. So too with God’s challenge through Isaiah. The challenge was a plea to the idols to do one thing, anything, good or bad, to prove they exist. The Bible is full of accounts of God doing things, so that should fulfill the challenge. Why would we expect Him to continue fulfilling the challenge (on the basis of THIS PASSAGE, my problem from the beginning) after He has already fulfilled it?

    OSS,

    “2) Person A has seen no daily proof of a behavior for a God that matches the Bible. No help in trouble, God has behaved just like the false idols (has not done anything) and so forth.”

    This is the premise I have trouble with. Again, if you want to daily require God to do some miraculous feat to prove Himself real, go ahead. Using this text is no place to support such test. This text is a plea to false Gods to do one thing, any one thing, good or bad, to prove Himself. The Bible discusses many times where He does act. Therefore, by the premise of the challenge in Isaiah 41, He has already proven Himself. That He does not do so today, in your experience or estimation, is not a feature of this challenge.

    This is where we are losing each other.

  • 103. Brad Feaker  |  September 19, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Mike,

    This is the premise I have trouble with. Again, if you want to daily require God to do some miraculous feat to prove Himself real, go ahead. Using this text is no place to support such test. This text is a plea to false Gods to do one thing, any one thing, good or bad, to prove Himself.

    One of my issues was this very thing – I did not the intervention of God everyday, just ONE time would have been enough for a lifetime. And, as I have stated before, nobody home.

  • 104. The Apostate  |  September 19, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Mike,
    I am not one of those people who requires a “daily proof” of any sort. But it seems like your only response is to such a challenge, be it daily or yearly, every century or every millennia, is that the Bible says God has done it. But can you not admit that there are any instances in the Bible in which man (or the token woman) reads God into their history? Why are the stories of the Bible, especially the Jewish scriptures, any different from the vast sea of other mythmaking texts where other Gods prove their mettle through miracolous acts on a persistent basis… until that culture dies out or another co-opts their features?

  • 105. Quester  |  September 19, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Mike,

    Then I would have to conclude that you had either stopped doing such a thing, or never had in the first place. In either case, it would cease to be relevant to my life today.

    I can conclude the same about God; if He does not do anything, good or bad, that can be clearly attributed to Him, He either does not do such any more, or never had. Whether this renders God non-existent, or simply irrelevant, is not a distinction that means much to me.

  • 106. VorJack  |  September 19, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    “The Bible is full of accounts of God doing things, so that should fulfill the challenge. Why would we expect Him to continue fulfilling the challenge (on the basis of THIS PASSAGE, my problem from the beginning) after He has already fulfilled it?”

    Apply the same standards to YHVH as He applied to the other Gods. There were numerous stories about the deeds of those other Gods. Baal in particular was said to have slain Tiamat and done other great deeds. If YHVH would not accept those accounts as evidence, why should we accept His accounts?

  • 107. OneSmallStep  |  September 19, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Mike,

    “Daily” was too strong of a word there. Most people would be satisified with just one example.

    The Bible discusses many times where He does act. Therefore, by the premise of the challenge in Isaiah 41, He has already proven Himself. That He does not do so today, in your experience or estimation, is not a feature of this challenge.

    What I read in the Isaiah text is that the idols will do something (or not do something) to prove to that group of people that they are in fact false gods. Someone somewhere will have direct evidence. What we don’t have in this verse is evidence (or lack thereof) produced from a secondary source. The proof that the gods are idols is through the lack of action that is witnessed. The proof is not through supplying a group of people a written account that the idols have not acted. It is through witnessing something through their own eyes. the whole idea of “bring in your idols to us.” They’re not called to bring in an account, they’re called to produce the gods themselves and then have the gods act.

    In the case of this post, what I see being asked for is the former. A direct account that someone can witness first-hand of a God being true or false. But what’s being produced is not the God, but an account of what God has done or not done. If this account is meant to be a universal challenge in terms of God proving Himself, why can’t it be valid to say “Bring us your God so that we may see God do something and thus prove Himself?”

  • 108. Cooper  |  September 19, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    john t.
    I agree with it’s being a little nuts, but then all religions carry that same trait. They ask their believers to believe in farfetched ideas, then to become so used to them that they no longer seem farfetched:

    “Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
    “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    Alice in Wonderland.

    Ubi—

    Funny you quote Lewis Carroll, writer of Alice in Wonderland–he was a devout Christian.

    http://www.acmsonline.org/Neuhouser-Lewis%20Carroll.pdf

  • 109. bigham  |  September 19, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Just realized I typed “unbelieve” for some reason instead of “unbelief.”

    The Bible says a lot of things about why some believe while others don’t. One thing it says is that those who do not believe would not believe even if they saw a person resurrected from the dead.

    I suspect this is true of people who propose such challenges as these. However, I also suspect that if God were to provide you a sign that you asked for, then you would chalk it up as “coincidence.”

    Much like so many people pledge their allegiance to God, if only He would get them out of a certain situation, only to chalk up their getting out of said situation as having nothing to do with God.

    If I were to ask you what it would take for God to convince you that He is real and that the Bible is His revealed Word, what would you say?

    I suspect that whatever answer you conjure would not really suffice when push came to shove.

    This is because you are dead in your trespasses and sins, because you are walking according to the course of this world, living in the lust of your flesh, and indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind.

    You love the darkness, where you are free to indulge in your sin, rather than the light, where you would have to actually put up a fight when you face temptation. Therefore, you suppress the truth, and you refuse to honor God as God and give Him thanks.

    He sustains your lungs and your heart, such that every one of your breaths and beats happens by the power of His word. And He sustains your life, rather than allowing you to die and be cast into hell forever, because He wants you to come around and repent of your sins, turn to Him, and be healed by faith.

    You were created to intimately know Him and enjoy Him. But, your sin stands in the way of drawing near to Him and He promises not to leave your sins unpunished.

    Anyways, I say you modify your challenge a bit. I say that there are reasons why God does not show Himself as He did in former days (O.T. and N.T.). One of which is that we have the Bible. I believe that the Spirit of God works with the Word of God to speak to our hearts.

    So, in the place of my admittedly ridiculous one earlier, let me submit a new challenge.

    Pray to God and read His Word. Tell Him you don’t believe He’s there, and ask Him to prove Himself if He is there. And then read the Bible. But, do not read it as I would have read it when I was an atheist. Realize your bias, and to the extent that you can, set that bias aside. Get yourself in as much of a neutral mindset as possible, and read it with the slightest possibility of it truly being God’s revealed Word about Himself.

    Devote time to pray and read it once a day for a month or so.

    If there is no God, then there is no risk in taking such a challenge, right? Because there is a God, the reward will be immense!

    May God be glorified in prayer and the reading of His Word! May He draw you to His Son, may His Son give you life, and may His Spirit cause you to be born again! For His glory, for His kingdom, and by His power!

    -David

  • 110. OneSmallStep  |  September 19, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Mike,

    As another thought, it might come down to how one views the challenge. Your view seems to be that the challenge is simply God doing one action to prove He is God. The Bible records such actions, and so the challenge is fufilled. I think others are viewing the challenge in terms of people having direct evidence of the action or non-action of the God, thus placing themselves in the “us” category of the challenge. Since the “us” have not witnessed a good or bad event occuring in direct connection to God, the challenge has not been fufilled in terms of proving a God.

  • 111. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 19, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    The Bible discusses many times where He does act. Therefore, by the premise of the challenge in Isaiah 41, He has already proven Himself.

    See, there you go again. You assume the Bible is true in trying to prove it is true. We cannot verify that any of the miracles of the Bible actually happened, and since they are events that do not typically happen, it is far more likely that they are simply fictional. If you want to prove the Bible true, God needs to act according to its description in the present; hearsay isn’t good enough.

  • 112. Cooper  |  September 19, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Cooper,

    I don’t think your orb analogy is all that bad. But you say “This orb is tested and fails”. Doesn’t this imply that its Creator is at fault?

    A perfect creator must have known that the orb would fail. So why punish (and then provide a means of redemption) for all the orblets?

    Big Dan—-

    God gave man a free will. God is all-knowing, so yes, it would appear that he knew man would fall. So why not just start over—-make everything perfect? Why not create a different being than man then? Why would God need to come to earth, become a man, and redeem them from the fall? Why?

    I cannot answer that. God is God. 1 Corinthians says that here we “see through a glass darkly, but THEN (in eternity) face to face”. We will understand then. When one is being rescued they don’t need to ask questions, they just need to take hold of the means to save themselves and others. Much of WHY salvation is needed we do not understand, or understand very little of, but it is needed.

    I personally want to take advantage of salvation, and not worry about WHY God didn’t do this, or do that, etc.? God is God—and one day I will understand it all–for now I am just going to trust that what God says it true, and run to the Savior.

  • 113. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 19, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    bigham-

    So, in the place of my admittedly ridiculous one earlier, let me submit a new challenge.

    Pray to God and read His Word. Tell Him you don’t believe He’s there, and ask Him to prove Himself if He is there. And then read the Bible.

    You think I didn’t do exactly that when I first started to doubt? I began to desperately seek God, hoping he would stop me from completely turning away. And I found nothing. And I’ve heard similar stories from many of the de-cons here. It was only after I failed to get any response from God after earnestly seeking him that I finally gave up.

    If God is there, he doesn’t want me to find him.

  • 114. Cooper  |  September 19, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    My slavery analogy is THE most typical one given when debunking the logical fallacy of truth in the masses. I’m sorry you don’t know this.

    BigHouse—-

    If you say so. I personally have not heard someone using slavery and salvation by Grace by faith as comparisons. But if you feel good doing so, go for it.

    You said:
    And you say you “rejoice” in the fact that because Adam fell, we all have to suffer for it as his “descendants”.

    I never said I rejoice that Adam fell. I rejoice that there is a way of salvation provided by Christ. As I said to Big Dan, I don’t understand it all for sure–there is much I cannot grasp as to WHY salvation is necessary—–I just rejoice that the way is there, and that God loved us so much that he himself opened a door so we do not have to be separated from him.

  • 115. BigHouse  |  September 19, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Cooper, God may have provided you a way to salvation but he also constructed the scenario in which you NEED it. If I choke you until you pass out, then give you CPR to revive you, would you rejoice in my saving you alone? You wouldn’t have a problem that I choked you in the first place?

  • 116. Cooper  |  September 19, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    You think I didn’t do exactly that when I first started to doubt? I began to desperately seek God, hoping he would stop me from completely turning away. And I found nothing. And I’ve heard similar stories from many of the de-cons here. It was only after I failed to get any response from God after earnestly seeking him that I finally gave up.

    If God is there, he doesn’t want me to find him.

    Snuggly—–

    Most likely you will not accept this, or scoff at it. But when you cry out to God for help, for explanation, for signs that he is there, caring for you—he uses people to do so. It can be a father, mother, Pastor, friend or even a complete stranger. We want GOD HIMSELF to give some sign. But often his “sign” is through a person he is using.

    You cry out to God for answers—-and he sends people whom he uses to speak for him (I’m not saying that is me LOL)–but if you “shoot down” every response to your enquiries, and every post that uses a scripture, or every person of faith who comes here, it is very possible you are shooting down the very response from God that you have been asking for.

    “Show me you love me God–prove it!” you might shout in your heart. Then you come to this blog, and several Christians tell you how very much God loves you. I realize (and I am much at fault here myself) that Christians can let their own personalities and temperaments get in the way—Christians can be uncaring at times, and even get nasty–having to apologize for their failings. But God IS trying to show you how much he loves you. You are just REQUIRING that he do it YOUR WAY. “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).

    Sometimes we need to stop and listen–be still—and we will realize that God is very much speaking to us, if we would just be willing to listen.

  • 117. bigham  |  September 19, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Snuggly Buffalo,

    You have at least one faulty presupposition, that being that God owes you something.

    God owes you nothing but hell, for you have sinned against Him. There are millions of people dying in countries that have never heard the gospel and the name of Jesus Christ. God has given us the responsibility of taking the gospel to them, but He by no means owes them the gospel.

    Paul says that God has made Himself known in creation (Romans 1), and therefore He has given us enough. He owes us no more.

    Just because you pray and read the Bible does not mean that He owes you something. Just because you went to church or seminary, or church camp, or whatever does not mean that He owes you something.

    He is the Creator, you are the creature. He owes you nothing, except judgment for your sins against Him.

    But He tells us that He is faithful and just to forgive those who confess their sins to Him. And He tells us that He will exalt those who humble themselves before Him.

    Humble yourself before your Creator, confess your sins, and seek Him- in prayer and in His word.

    This is the only way that a “Pascal’s wager” works for me- not in a “believe just in case” sense, but in a “seek Him just in case” sense.

    You don’t know everything there is to know, right? Then there is every reason to keep seeking, just in case. Try it for a month.

    Come on.

    -David

  • 118. bigham  |  September 19, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    I’ll even add this to the wager- you commit to pray and read the Bible for a month, and I’ll commit to pray for you for a month.

    That can be our “God challenge.”

    We’ll see what happens a month from now.

  • 119. Cooper  |  September 19, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Cooper, God may have provided you a way to salvation but he also constructed the scenario in which you NEED it. If I choke you until you pass out, then give you CPR to revive you, would you rejoice in my saving you alone? You wouldn’t have a problem that I choked you in the first place?

    BigHouse—

    You are correct in that God created the scenario. But he didn’t choke any of us. If God’s temperament were like that he would have just destroyed Adam in anger and started over again with a different creation than man.

    There is much we don’t understand—as I mentioned above. I do not understand the fall, or why if God knew it would happen he went ahead and created and tested man anyway—I simply do not know. if God hated us he could have destroyed us. And why the need to become a man himself and suffer on a cross? Does that make sense? I do not understand it. But I believe what God says.

    Often a doctor will prescribe a medicine that we are reluctant to take. We don’t understand what it is fully, but we put faith in the doctor—that he knows what he is doing. The same goes for an operation. We may ask questions, be worried, scared, etc.—but eventually we have the operation, because the surgeons say it will alleviate the pain, or the problem we are suffering.

    The same goes for my salvation. I do not understand what went wrong so long ago, or why there is a devil, or why man fell, or why there is eternal punishment, etc.—–I do not fully understand a lot of things. But the “Great Physician” has told me I need healing—that I need to be saved or I will perish. I may have questions—-but it is not going to stop me from availing myself of the remedy that that Great Physician has provided.

  • 120. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 19, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    This is great, bigham. You issue a challenge, and then when someone claims to have taken your challenge, you say they were doing it wrong. Anyone who sought God and didn’t find him was doing something wrong.

    I didn’t think God owed me anything, but I hoped that if he was real and loved me as the Bible claims, he would do something to reveal himself clearly to me.

    As I said, if God really is there, he doesn’t want me to find him.

    (as for your additional “wager”, my family has been praying for me for much more than a month; nothing’s happened so far)

  • 121. OneSmallStep  |  September 19, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    You are just REQUIRING that he do it YOUR WAY. “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).

    I’m not sure how this quote demonstrates the point made. The quote here isn’t “Be still and I’ll send someone to you to prove that I am real.” The quote is rather describing a direct encounter with God — knowing God, and not God using an intermediary.

    Not only that, this is rather vague “proof” to begin with. If someone prays for God to reveal Himself, and five Mormons suddenly appear and provide proof/help/what was prayed for, would that work as proof for God’s existence? What if it were Muslims? In those situations, the conclusion would have to be that the Mormon doctrine was correct, or Islam.

  • 122. orDover  |  September 19, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Cooper wrote,

    Funny you quote Lewis Carroll, writer of Alice in Wonderland–he was a devout Christian.

    He was a man who was pre-destined for priesthood, but then rejected becoming a priest, who was doubtful of his religion and interested in other fringe religions like Theosophy. He was also very likely a drug abuser. He also had strange relationships with young girls and took pictures of them that many considered child pornography, including photos of naked pre-prepubescent girls in overtly sexual poses.

    What a great shining example of a devout Christian!

  • 123. Cooper  |  September 19, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    orDover—

    I’m very surprised that you would state this, as one who would argue that one should not immediately believe something without investigating first. Here is another article which refutes what you are stating:

    http://www.rleggat.com/photohistory/history/carroll-2.htm

  • 124. Cooper  |  September 19, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    I should say “refutes part of what you are stating”. Perhaps he was a drug-user–I used to be once too. People just have a habit of wanting to portray people (especially famous ones) in the worst light, the moment anything that may be questionable arises concerning them. Lately, there appears to be a move to portray lewis Carroll as a “pedophile”—–that is a shame—because it appears most of that comes from a huge misunderstanding if you read the article.

  • 125. Cooper  |  September 19, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Meant to say “one too” not “once too” :)

  • 126. orDover  |  September 19, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Did you actually read what I said, Cooper? I said that “many considered” his nude pictures of young girls to be child pornography. That is irrefutable. Whether or not he intended them to be pornographic is another question altogether. The fact that he kept many of the pictures hidden away under lock and key only makes him seem more suspicious. To deny that the picture I linked to has sexual overtones is ridiculous and blatantly false. It draws from the history of the reclining Venus, goddess of sexuality and love. In art historical terms, that pose (reclining with one or both arms raised above the head) equals sexuality. There is no question about it. It isn’t an exploration of childhood freedom or innocence or anything else. It is a child in the guise of Venus, it is a child as a sex-goddess.

    Besides, that article you link to isn’t the end-all-be-all regarding Carroll. It’s one person’s opinion supported with selective quotes.

    I personally don’t believe that Carroll was a pedophile, but he did have unusual relationships with young girls, and he did take sexually charged photographs of nine year olds. The rest is speculation.

    Anyway, I’m not trying to decry Carroll. I love both his writing and his photographs. I could care less about his personal life. But you decided to point to the fact that he was a Christian (like very one else in his day and age), so it is only fair that I be allowed to point out that he is under suspicion of gross impropriety. But yes, a shining example of the Christian faith indeed.

  • 127. bigham  |  September 20, 2008 at 12:26 am

    Snuggles,

    You have nothing to lose and everything to gain in this challenge. Right?

  • 128. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 20, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Oh, except I would lose a lot of valuable time that I could spend doing more productive things, like playing video games.

    Like I said, I’ve already done this challenge. I’ve moved on.

  • 129. BigHouse  |  September 20, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Cooper, you say you don’t understand a lot of the background of your beliefs. So tell me WHY you believe it?

    And given you can’t explain a lot of this to others do you understand why it isn’t convincing?

  • 130. Big Dan  |  September 22, 2008 at 4:24 am

    Cooper,

    God gave man a free will. God is all-knowing, so yes, it would appear that he knew man would fall. So why not just start over—-make everything perfect? Why not create a different being than man then? Why would God need to come to earth, become a man, and redeem them from the fall? Why?

    I cannot answer that. God is God.

    I agree with you. In terms of how we are going to live our lives, there is no point asking why God does things. This is what we get, and we just have to deal with it.

    However, I’m not really asking for an answer. I’m pointing out that to me, the overarching narrative of the OT and gospel doesn’t sound right. The idea that a perfect creator would create humans, test them (as you put it), find them faulty, wish he’d never bothered (Gen 6.6-7), start over, set up a chosen race with an unmanageably rulebound system of living, then finally go in there himself to sort things out… doesn’t sound like a credible story. It sounds like a series of myths and wisdom stories that have been created by different groups of people.

    If the narrative leading up to Jesus doesn’t make sense, then however compelling the gospels are, I can’t just accept their apparent central message, because to me it makes no sense in the wider context.

  • 131. bobbi jo  |  September 29, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Several people have mentioned that God do something good or bad. Maybe right now he is doing bad. Maybe he is answering your challange, to make the world completely corrupt and dillusional before he makes it right again. Why? I would think because the biblical standard is that He can harden who He wants to harden and unharden who He wants to unharden. Some of you say that God is all-loving in one sentence and then say that we can’t be sure of what God is. so just because a few verses say that God is this way (all loving), a few more say He is this way (made evil) as well. Maybe God is one big ball of contradictions. Is that nessasarily bad? I don’t think so. Maybe we need to have both. We can’t feel happy without sad.

    Let’s say we throw out the Bible (or any religious book) completely. By whose standard are we conparing a deity to? How are we collecting evidence on this standard?

  • 132. LeoPardus  |  September 29, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    bobbi jo;

    The last sentence in the article at top say, “Do anything, anything at all. Just make sure to put your signature on it, so we can’t miss it.”

    I am NOT interested in playing the silly game of “Where’s Goddo?” “Maybe… maybe… maybe…” is the language of children playing imagination games. Likewise, “Ooohh, look! God got me a job. Ooh , look! God healed my tonsils. Ooh, look! God gave me peace inside.”

    I was quite clear in my challenge. People saying, “Hey I bet he’s over there.” or “Maybe he’s causing the Wall Street mess.” are NOT even close to meeting the challenges. And if those sorts of things are indicative of your deity trying to “do something”, he is one pathetic god.

  • 133. Cooper  |  September 29, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    And if those sorts of things are indicative of your deity trying to “do something”, he is one pathetic god.

    Though I understand where you are coming from, you are still asking God to perform the way YOU THINK he should. If he would give signs according to YOUR CHALLENGES then you will believe. It is all according to your own subjective challenge. And if God obeys you he isn’t really God is he?

  • 134. BigHouse  |  September 29, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    It is all according to your own subjective challenge. And if God obeys you he isn’t really God is he?

    Was he not god in Bible times when he did respond to these challenges?

  • 135. LeoPardus  |  September 29, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    BigHouse slam dunks over the troll. :D

    Though I do wish you’d just ignore him permanently so he’d go away.

  • 136. bobbi jo  |  September 29, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Leo,

    Maybe God is on wall street, but I’m pretty sure that is just an American messup. :)

    What I am saying is that if you are using the bible to challenge the christian God, he already put a signature on it saying, yeah, there is going to be a lot of bad things happening and it’s gonna continue to get worse. I see with my own eyes that things are getting worse, more natural disasters, more diseases, more major mess ups of people in general, ect. Can I call this evidence?

    What if He did do something good right in the middle of all that? what if He healed an amputee? Would you have to know the amputee to contribute it to being an answer from God? I’m sure there are quite a few people issueing that same challenge right now as we type. Does God have to answer all of them by healing lots of amputees or just one universal? How do you put a standard on what would make you belive again when that might not be what would make someone else believe? Does God have to go around and answer everyone who challanges him? I personally wouldn’t want to worship a God who answered every human who asked him for a trick. when do you draw the line?

    and I’ll even go out on a limb and say maybe he isn’t all-loving at all and maybe his answer is to do evil. If he was evil, would you worship him? why not if he is truely god?

  • 137. Cooper  |  September 29, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Was he not god in Bible times when he did respond to these challenges?

    BigHouse—-

    There are a few examples in the OT where people made a challenge or request, like Gideon—but how many other people living at the same time never even heard from God? We simply do not know. You are talking a few examples out of thousands and thousands of people God may never have responded to in the same way.

    BigHouse slam dunks over the troll.

    Though I do wish you’d just ignore him permanently so he’d go away.

    LeoPardus—

    What is your problem? I brought up a valid point. Much of what you say is very subjective. Your response in immediately calling me a troll shows also you subjectiveness. I have been trying to be very civil here. You for some reason cannot accept any other idea but your own idea, and if you don’t agree the person is either a troll or an idiot. :) :) .

  • 138. Cooper  |  September 29, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    I’m not trying to be combative—but it often reminds me of watching the “House of Commons” (from England) here when peoole like Leo respond this way.

    It’s pretty entertaining also. The Labor Party has the floor, and someone from the Cosnervative Party stands up– and you immediately here boos and hooting, and “sit down!”, and various other disapproving sounds. The person hasn’t even really said anything yet and their booing him. Leo calling me a “troll” and oftentimes an “idiot” or other such names reminds me of that. :) :)

  • 139. Cooper  |  September 29, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Check it out on C-Span sometime—it’s hilarious. I like that though—you don’t see stuff like that in our government. So, I guess I can live with being called names. :)

  • 140. Cooper  |  September 29, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Does God have to go around and answer everyone who challanges him?

    Bobbi Jo—-

    It’s very interesting, and perhaps you’ve noticed this too. God will do things which are obviously small miracles in our lives. But we so quickly forget—-within a week we are asking him for MORE signs. People like Leo say they would believe with proof—-but we all know no proof would ever be enough—unless Jesus himself with the wounds on his hands appeared to Leo like he did to Thomas. Any other miracle really wouldn’t do it for him—-or anyone else looking for signs for that matter.

  • 141. Cooper  |  September 29, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    I shouldn’t say “small miracle”—every miracle is special. But I mean the things we can take for granted so easily.

  • 142. BigHouse  |  September 29, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Cooper, how do you know these little miracles are from god?

  • 143. BigHouse  |  September 29, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    And, Leo, I was mean to Coop before, so I will respond to him when he keeps it civil and actually goes back and forth in the debate. If he starts repeating himself, I will excuse myself.

  • 144. LeoPardus  |  September 29, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    bobbi jo:

    if you are using the bible to challenge the christian God, he already put a signature on it

    Really? I missed the sig. Is there a flaming letters Bible somewhere? And how did he sign it? “Baby murdering, pro-life god” ? “Genocidal god”? “Kill ‘em all but enjoy the virgins god”? “Kill ‘em for telling a small lie to me god”?

    I see with my own eyes that things are getting worse, more natural disasters

    Nope.

    more diseases

    Nope.

    more major mess ups of people in general

    Well, since there are more people than ever, I’ll have to say that one’s true.

    Can I call this evidence?

    Nope. ……….. Well, actually you can call it anything you want.

    what if He healed an amputee?

    THAT would be a first. And we might have something to go on then.

    Would you have to know the amputee to contribute it to being an answer from God?

    Yes I would. I’ve heard far to many stories from people claiming all sorts of crazy stuff. As mah daddy tol’ meh, “Son, believe about half of what you see and none of what you hear.”

  • 145. LeoPardus  |  September 29, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    As you please Big House.

    I wrote him off about 4 identities ago.

  • 146. Cooper  |  September 29, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Cooper, how do you know these little miracles are from god?

    BigHouse—

    See, that’s the rub actually. I cannot “prove” they are from God—though they, in some cases, seem to be far from coincidence. But then again, Leo is asking for “proof” from God of his existence. What will that take? If one will discount every thing that just might be “coincidence”, preferring NOt to believe it is an answer to prayer, then how much proof does one need. There is one instance in the Bible of Jesus proving himself to an apostle that he had resurrected——is that a “common” thing for Jesus to do?

    Do all believers EXPECT Jesus to materialize and show us his hands and feet before we will believe? Because he did it for Thomas do we EXPECT that it should be done for us to? Why? Where do we get the idea that that should be a common occurrence for Christians?

    So, I can either take these amazing coincidences that happen and believe—-or choose to call everything coincidence without absolute proof—–I’m never going to have absolute proof though—so i choose to believe.

  • 147. Cooper  |  September 29, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    I wrote him off about 4 identities ago

    There you go again. You’re pathetic. I have been Cooper for quite a long time now. I only switched identities for a short time because you were labeling me as a “troll”. I have stayed with Cooper ever since. I……oh you know what…. why am I even addressing you. You are the troll.

  • 148. Cooper  |  September 29, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    You know what? Forgive me. What do trolls do? They get people upset. They label people to try to get them angry and to respond in insulting ways. They freely insult people. I have been on this blog, not doing that at all. A troll-like person is bringing out the worst in me, and I apologize. I will just ignore that person, and not address them. My apologies for letting an insult get the best of me.

  • 149. Cooper  |  September 29, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    BigHouse—-

    Please forgive the interruption. I know my response is very subjective, but there have been times when “coincidences” are so great, that I know it is an answer to prayer. God has done great miracles in the past, but he has also done many things the Bible calls “miraculous” that we take for granted. He will change people’s hearts.

    Read Nehemiah. It says he prays a moment before he addresses the King. The King then allows Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls. The King giving “permission” may not seem like a miracle to us, but the Bible infers it was an answer to Nehemiah’s short prayer before speaking with the King. You see, back in those days a “servant” could be killed for saying the wrong thing in front of a King. God softened the King’s heart in response to Nehemiah’s prayer.

    God answers many prayers in ways like these. He doesn’t part seas very often, or materialize, but he does work in the heart of men.

  • 150. john t.  |  September 29, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Cooper

    Come on man, youre on an atheist site and are attempting to convince De Cons that there is a Christian God. Now in one sense I will commend you for your big cajones. On the other hand, are you just a little freaking nuts or what?

  • 151. Cooper  |  September 29, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    john t—

    If you read the posts, John, you will see that I was “asked” by BigHouse to respond to a question—-I am not trying to “convince” anyone of anything. That is impossible—unless they want to accept my experiences—which is very doubtful. Why do you have to be insulting? You have made some statements that are really “out there”—but I’m not calling you “freaking nuts”. What’s up with this stuff? Geez. :)

  • 152. Cooper  |  September 29, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    By the way John—if you’re kidding around, I’m most likely just being a bit “touchy”. There just appears to be a very quick jump to insult people around here lately. Not sure what it is—hope it isn’t really catching though.

  • 153. Rover  |  September 29, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Cooper,

    Can you tell me a little about yourself?

  • 154. Cooper  |  September 29, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Come on man, youre on an atheist site

    By the way John t, I think the Moderator might correct you about this being an “atheist” site. Atheists visit here—-but there are still quite a few people who though de-cons, really “want” to believe—and many others still making a decision, along with many others who believe in varying degrees. Not so sure this is an “atheist” site.

  • 155. Cooper  |  September 29, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Rover—

    Sure—what do you want to know? My favorite TV show is still “Curb Your Entthusiasm”. What else do you want to know? :)

  • 156. john t.  |  September 29, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Cooper

    I call my friends freaking nuts sometimes too. If I talked to you in person I would say it while laughing, you know why. I personally think your behaviour borders on nuts. ;)

  • 157. Rover  |  September 29, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    that’s more then enough.

  • 158. Cooper  |  September 29, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Cooper

    I call my friends freaking nuts sometimes too. If I talked to you in person I would say it while laughing, you know why. I personally think your behaviour borders on nuts.

    Me too. :)

    that’s more then enough

    Rover— I take it you don’t like that show very much huh? I was just kidding—-do you mean as far as my christian beliefs go? They are kind of hard to define really. I am a Calvinist in a sense—but I do not believe in the election of some for heaven and others for hell. I believe anyone who responds to the call has been elected, and anyone who winds up in hell will go there themselves—by rejecting the way of salvation—God will not choose to put them there—they will choose to go there themselves. I believe one is saved by Grace through faith.

    I believe Jesus is God the Son, that he died for our sins and was resurrected, and now sits at the right hand of God. I believe Jesus will literally return to the earth. I myself am middle-aged (I’ve been a Christian for 36 years), love NFL football, Mexican food, and Latin women. I work in sales, and I love the Discovery Channel. I love “Curb Your Enthusiasm” because it stars Larry David, who wrote Seinfeld, and I love his sense of humor. I’m not sure what else to share—-I guess that’ll do it.

  • 159. john t.  |  September 29, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    I believe one is saved by Grace through faith.(cooper)

    Ok coop, Ive got one for ya. If you are saved by faith and not by works, isnt it technically work to have faith. You see it requires a physiological response to have a thought. And that response is technically your body at work. So the only way to receive that grace is by works.

  • 160. Erudite Redneck  |  September 29, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    Air is necessary for me to have life.

    I breathe.

    Which results in my life? The air, or the fact that I breathe?

    Both.

    Faith vs. works is a false dichotomy, probably the stupidest one in Christendom.

    Faith or works?

    It’s faith AND works. Any belief — any belief, faith or otherwise — that rests only in one’s head, or heart, and doesn’t result in action is … well, dead.

    That and $3-plus will get you a good cup of coffee.

  • 161. orDover  |  September 29, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    Am I mistaken, or does Erudite Redneck disagree with the points Cooper has been arguing for the last few weeks regarding faith v. works? Sure, Cooper would agree that he who has “true faith” will do good works, but I’m pretty sure Cooper reacted against those verses that say faith without words was dead, and said over and over again that all that matter was faith. I find this amusing because Cooper also insisted that his views were simply clear as day and held by the majority of Christians. Erudite Redneck seems to be belaboring the point again about how strikingly different one’s interpretation of scripture can be.

  • 162. orDover  |  September 29, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Agh. I meant t type “faith without WORKS was dead.”

  • 163. Erudite Redneck  |  September 29, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Well, of course, there are a gozillion ways to interpret just about anything in Scripture. And, it’s probably fair to say that a majority of Western Protestant Christians do say they believe that “faith” is the thing, which they owe to Luther more than to anything “clear” in Scripture. There’s not much very clear in Scripture, but James, in the epistle, said it clearly enough for me: Faith without works is dead. Which, to me, is another way of saying faith and works are attached at the hip.

    “True faith” can go hang. Whatever. I don’t claim to have any such thing. I don’t claim there is any such thing. The Way that Jesus seems to have been talking about went straight to hell, so to speak, right about the time the first creeds were formed. The first confession was “Jesus is Lord (not Caesar). And that’s about the only thing I confess today. But, I add the possession: “Jesus is my Lord.” Because “Jesus is Lord is meaningless unless said by one believer-truster-relier on Jesus to another one.

    Not sure I’m right about anything. I’d say many Christians are “close enough” to “right” — whatever the issue, whatever the claim. And so are many who don’t claim the label Christian.

    Where love of God, whatever that means exactly, love of self and love of neighbor exist, there Christ is. Of course, JC wasn’t
    the first to describe that way of life. So what? I don’t believe he ever claimed to have been the first to say it, or much else, as far as I know. It is, indeed, a radical thing to trust Christ, and a daringly foolish thing to say one even tries to “follow” him.

    Obviously, I’m in a distinct minority among my brethren and sistren.

  • 164. Erudite Redneck  |  September 29, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    And, please, call me ER. :-)

  • 165. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 29, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Cooper-

    If you read the posts, John, you will see that I was “asked” by BigHouse to respond to a question—-I am not trying to “convince” anyone of anything.

    Bullshit.

    Look at your post in 133. You weren’t responding to a query directed at you, you just decided to jump in with your response and start an argument.

    You want to have a rational discourse, fine, but don’t try to play the “I’m just responding to questions” card when that’s clearly not what’s going on here. Try and display a little intellectual honesty.

  • 166. Big Dan  |  September 30, 2008 at 5:50 am

    Just to go back to the whole “challenge” thing for a minute. This might be a different way to look at it.

    I hear a lot, in evangelical circles, that faith is all about a personal relationship with Jesus. I suspect that many here setting a “God challenge” are doing so because they once thought they had such a relationship, but that the other party has either gone silent, or they now doubt that the party was ever there.

    If you’re in a loving relationship with someone, how long do you let them blank you before you take the hint that they don’t love you any more?

  • 167. Erudite Redneck  |  September 30, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Good question. Here’s another one: Why do some people “pretend” to have a relationship with someone when they don’t? Same reason some kids have crushes on “boyfriends” and “girlfriends” they’ve seen but never actually met or spoken to. They deem those crushes lovely. Jesus is lovely.

    I’d decommission “personal relationship with Jesus” along with “ask the Lord into your heart” as relative recent religious jargon that was never meaningful but for a minority of Christians in the first place, and is downright meaningless and nondescriptive of anything to do with the pre-American Protestant church.

  • 168. Big Dan  |  September 30, 2008 at 7:29 am

    “I’d decommission “personal relationship with Jesus” along with “ask the Lord into your heart” as relative recent religious jargon…”

    You may be right. I’d want to see some evidence for that though. I suppose the easier option is to look for some biblical references to the “personal relationship with Jesus”. I might just do that.

  • 169. Erudite Redneck  |  September 30, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Whole households were considered “saved” in the Middle Ages. Very Great Chain of Beingy. This whole “personal relationship” thing is very Western: Me, me, me — and God.

    Off to work.

  • 170. Cooper  |  September 30, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Ok coop, Ive got one for ya. If you are saved by faith and not by works, isnt it technically work to have faith. You see it requires a physiological response to have a thought. And that response is technically your body at work. So the only way to receive that grace is by works.

    john t—

    In a way you’re right. Jesus said “This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he has sent” (John 6:38). But in the same chapter Jesus says “No man can come to me unless the Father draw him”–so it is a paradox—one needs to believe, but one cannot believe unless they are drawn to do so. But whether you can actually call faith a “work” I am not so sure of. Good point though.

  • 171. Cooper  |  September 30, 2008 at 11:13 am

    but I’m pretty sure Cooper reacted against those verses that say faith without words was dead, and said over and over again that all that matter was faith

    orDover—

    No—I didn’t react against verses saying that faith without works is dead. That is stated in the book of James. He is saying one can “profess” all they want to that they believe, but if their works deny what they say it is all false.

    When I say one is saved by faith and not works, I am not arguing the point (as stated above) that faith itself is a “work”–that falls into semantics. What I am referring to is someone believing that their own righteousness will save them. That somehow God is weighing good works vs. bad works, and if you come out ahead on the good side you will enter heaven.

    The Bible clearly states in Ephesians that one is saved by grace through faith UNTO good works—-not BY them.

  • 172. Cooper  |  September 30, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Obviously, I’m in a distinct minority among my brethren and sistren.

    Erudite—

    Actually, it sounds like you’re sitting on the fence.

  • 173. BigHouse  |  September 30, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Cooper, in your estimation, if I accept Jesus as my savior today, and then move to a cave and never come out for 5 years and die in that cave will I go to heaven? Does your answer change if while I am in the cave I:

    1.) Have awful thoughts about sex, murder, and other bad things?
    2.) Pray for people around the globe?
    3.) Literally do nothing.

  • 174. Cooper  |  September 30, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Bullshit.

    Look at your post in 133. You weren’t responding to a query directed at you, you just decided to jump in with your response and start an argument.

    Snuggly—

    You are going far up in the post line to retrieve what I said in #133. Far after that BigHouse asked me(see #142) a direct question to which I was responding. Yes–I responded to Leo in #133 not to cause an argument, but because he used the term “pathetic God”—if I am not allowed to respond to that, fine. But my later response to Bighouse was in reference to a question he posed——and I was referring to that when addressing john t. Geez.

  • 175. Cooper  |  September 30, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Cooper, in your estimation, if I accept Jesus as my savior today, and then move to a cave and never come out for 5 years and die in that cave will I go to heaven? Does your answer change if while I am in the cave I:

    1.) Have awful thoughts about sex, murder, and other bad things?
    2.) Pray for people around the globe?
    3.) Literally do nothing.

    BigHouse—

    This actually falls into the category of “faith without works is dead” that has just been discussed above. Only God knows the hearts—so it is possible a person could accept Christ and shut themselves in for five years. But most likely if someone did that their faith is not real—-because if it were they would want to obey God, and God does not command one to shut oneself off from the world, but to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel” and to do good works in helping others.

    But, truly, BigHouse, only God could really answer your question—he would be the one who knew that person’s heart. Don’t mean to be evasive—but I really don’t know the answer.

  • 176. BigHouse  |  September 30, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Fair enough that you don’t know what god would do.

    But don’t you just admit above that a faith without works is most likely not real faith? How is that different than faith without works is dead? And how does that jibe with your contention that all you need is faith to be saved?

    This also shoots holes in your arguments that the gospel is “clear” to all who read it.

    You’ve been posed these questions before and in the end, can only come back with “Only God knows”. You dont see why that is wholly unfulfilling as an answer? You can’t see why it becomes frustrating to go round and round in these circles with you?

  • 177. bigham  |  September 30, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Rover,

    I meant to respond to more of your questions on the other post. I do hope that you check this again, because I realized that I didn’t answer one particular question that you had, which I really wanted to try to answer.

    You asked something like, “why did Jesus promise the second coming would happen within the lifetimes of the apostles?”

    I have to go to class right now, and I should definitely look into it more to give a better answer. Alas, for now I think this will suffice. He did not promise that the second coming would happen in their lifetimes, but just the coming of His kingdom.
    We also see this in John the Baptist’s exhoration to “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” I have heard that the “transfiguration” may be the carrying out of the “coming” of the kingdom.

    I will agree that there is some language that seems to hint that the second coming would happen soon, and I think that the apostles expected it to be sooner than it has been.

    However, those texts that seem to imply that must be reconciled with texts such as this one:

    “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” -Matthew 24:14

    Until the gospel has been preached “in the whole world” and “to all the nations,” the end will not come.

    Hope this helps,
    David

  • 178. Rover  |  September 30, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Bigham,

    thanks for your response. Colossians seems to indicate the this requirement has been met. the gospel has been preached to the whole world!

    Col 1:7 the gospel
    Col 1:6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,

  • 179. Cooper  |  September 30, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    But don’t you just admit above that a faith without works is most likely not real faith? How is that different than faith without works is dead? And how does that jibe with your contention that all you need is faith to be saved?

    BigHouse—-

    I do believe that you are saved by Grace through faith. But if one claims to be “saved” and does not show any fruit–or any change in lifestyle or life, it is questionable if they have really been saved. James and 1 John address this issue. A person may “profess” to be saved, and yet hate his brother. John says this person is showing they are not really saved—just “claiming” to be.

    “Faith without works is dead” is not saying that faith plus works saves you—-but that real faith will lead to good works in a Christian. As I said before, Ephesians 2:8,9 says we are saved “UNTO GOOD WORKS”—not “BY WORKS”.

    Here is another verse just like it: Titus 3:4-6:

    But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior..”

    Note: “not by any righteous deeds we had done, but because of his mercy”. Again, we are saved by grace (undeserved kindness and mercy) through faith—-the result, it a true “rebirth” should be good works through thankfulness.

  • 180. john t.  |  September 30, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Cooper

    You know I think youve convinced me. I am now going to take Jesus at his word. Im ok because he took care of it for me. Hallelujah………..

    John 12:32

    But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”

    Whew, now was that ever easy. ;)

  • 181. Cooper  |  September 30, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    johnt—
    :) Too bad you’re being sarcastic though. I didn’t write Ephesians 2:8,9 or Titus 3:4-6—so it isn’t “me” that needs to convince anyone. Those verses themselves should do the convincing. But I realize you are joking around.

  • 182. john t.  |  September 30, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Cooper

    Round and round we go………….I like Hebrews even better

    Hebrew 8:10-13

    10This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
    after that time, declares the Lord.
    I will put my laws in their minds
    and write them on their hearts.
    I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
    11No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
    or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
    because they will all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest.
    12For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.”[a]

    13By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

    I think #11 says it best, dont you? Mind you #12 is pretty cool too…….now if I was so inclined. Round and round we go………..

  • 183. bigham  |  September 30, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Rover,

    First of all, the verb there has an continual aspect: “is bearing.” It is in the process of bearing fruit in the whole world.

    Obviously the gospel had not been preached to the whole world then, because it has not been preached to the whole world now. I think something like 2/3 of the world has still not even heard the gospel. But, Christians are in the process of taking the gospel where it has not gone.

    Secondly, I think this is another example of the “already/not yet” that is talked about a lot in modern theology (see Dr. Tom Schreiner’s “New Testament Theology”).

    The kingdom of God has already come in the first coming of Christ, and the gospel has already born fruit and increased everywhere that it has gone in the world; but the kingdom of God has not yet fully come and the gospel has not yet born fruit and increased in the whole world. Both have already happened, but have not yet fully happened- and they are in the process of happening.

    Also, there is a sense in which all of the examples of the promises that the end was coming soon really have occurred for people. The day of judgment and the kingdom are very near to all of us, as they were to all people of all ages, because death is always so near to all of us.

    How many people that have died expected to die when they did? Accidental deaths, sudden death from heart or other health issues, etc. Death is certain for all of us, but “when” is certain for none of us. As “Sarah Palin” said on the SNL skit, she will be “one heartbeat away” from being President, if McCain is elected. The same is true of all of us concerning the kingdom of God and the day of judgment- they are but one heartbeat away.

    As foolish as it seems, a nobody from nowheresville in the Near East was a miracle worker, taught with wisdom that has never been surpassed, claimed to be one with God and to be God, was crucified, three days later rose from the dead and was seen by over 500 people, ascended to heaven where He now sits at the right hand of the Father, and He will return to judge the living and the dead. Astoundingly, the Bible tells us that God came and took on flesh to serve, rather than to be served. The whole Bible tells us how to serve God, and then God came and showed us how to serve God.

    Now, did Paul think that the gospel had been preached in the whole world? I think that, since nobody then knew about the “New World,” he at least thought it was a lot closer to completion than we now know it to have been. However, the truth that he is teaching there is that the gospel bears fruit and brings increase everywhere it goes. And, because he used a verb with a continual aspect, connoting that the gospel is in the process of going to the whole world, the fact that it has been nearly 2,000 years since does not disprove anything in the Bible.

    Agree?

  • 184. bigham  |  September 30, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    John T,

    You know your Bible well, sir. However, there are even better examples throughout the minor prophets (some of which the author of Hebrews quotes in the passage you cited). Prophecies about the Messiah and the restoration that He would bring to His people Israel. Prophecies that Jesus did not fulfill, since all Israel has not received the promised salvation.

    However, just because they have not come to pass does not mean that they will not come to pass. This also fits into the “already/not yet” paradox that I mentioned in the comment I just posted. You should check out Dr. Tom Schreiner’s “New Testament Theology” for more on that.

    -David

  • 185. john t.  |  September 30, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    bigham

    If I was inclined to take the bible literally, I would probably tell you to go back and read Hebrews 8:11……………and then take its advice LITERALLY.

  • 186. Erudite Redneck  |  September 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Re, 172, from Cooper: “Obviously, I’m in a distinct minority among my brethren and sistren. Erudite— Actually, it sounds like you’re sitting on the fence.”

    Ha. If so, it’s the remnant fence you carry around in *your* experience.

    I’m sitting and standing and walking where I’m sitting and standing and walking

    And — and I have no way of knowing, either way, but, for the sake of discussion — if you no longer believe in a fence, why, well, how can I take seriously such an assertion?

  • 187. Rover  |  October 1, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Bigham

    thanks for your response but the word “bearing” is not the significant word in this case, it is the phrase. it has”come to you and is bearing fruit in the whole world and growing (in the whole world)” How can it bear fruit in the whole world if it is not there yet. Paul says that it “has come” past tense. He also says that it is bearing fruit in the same way it is bearing fruit among them – in the same way is significant. This verse is a difficult one, but it can satisfy the requirement that in some sense the Gospel has been preached to the whole wold. If Paul, with limited knowledge considered only the Roman Empire to be the whole world or used words to that effect. If that is the case we would wonder why God did not correct Paul’s wording in this case.

  • 188. Cooper  |  October 1, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Of this you have already heard through the word of truth, the gospel, that has come to you. Just as in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing, so also among you, from the day you heard it and came to know the grace of God in truth. (Col 1:6)

    Rover—

    I have always taken this to mean that wherever in the world the Gospel is exposed it bears fruit and grows—-not that he means that the whole world has already heard it.

    A bad example—but like saying “The internet is used by the whole world”. Of course, much of the world does use the Internet, but we know that many people within many countries do not have access to it. In Paul’s day the “whole world” was a much smaller place of course, but he saw the Gospel as bearing fruit wherever it went in the “whole world” as known by him.

  • 189. BigHouse  |  October 1, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Cooper, you definitely has some standard apologetics down pat.

  • 190. Cooper  |  October 1, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    BigHouse—
    :) It is just obvious that Paul, who mentions areas of Asia Minor he was not “allowed to enter” by the Holy Spirit, KNEW that the Gospel had not yet by any means reached the entire world. It seems logical then that when referring to The Gospel “bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world” he means where it has been presented it has not failed to produce results.

  • 191. BigHouse  |  October 1, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Cooper, are you honestly not trying to sound arrogant when you continue to use adjectives like “obvious’ to describe passages and meanings that have been interpreted differently by so mnay different people of all levels of biblical scholarship?

  • 192. Cooper  |  October 1, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    BigHouse—

    I apologize for using “obvious”—but I will say that if I was in a group of believers discussing this verse, most would understand that when I say “obvious” I mean extremely logical—due to the number of commentaries that come to the same conclusion. Here is one below—-again, don’t mean to be arrogant, just repeating what I have read many,many times:

    Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

    6. Which is come unto you-Greek, “Which is present among you,” that is, which has come to, and remains with, you. He speaks of the word as a living person present among them.

    as it is in all the world-virtually, as it was by this time preached in the leading parts of the then known world; potentially, as Christ’s command was that the Gospel should be preached to all nations, and not be limited, as the law was, to the Jews (Mt 13:38; 24:14; 28:19). However, the true reading, and that of the oldest manuscripts, is that which omits the following “and,” thus (the “it is” of English Version is not in the original Greek): “As in all the world it is bringing forth fruit and growing (so the oldest manuscripts read; English Version omits ‘and growing,’ without good authority), even as it doth in you also.” Then what is asserted is not that the Gospel has been preached in all the world, but that it is bearing fruits of righteousness, and (like a tree growing at the same time that it is bearing fruit) growing in numbers of its converts in, or throughout, all the world.

    This is just one example. Of course—there are always differing opinions—this one just happens to be held very widely.http://jfb.biblecommenter.com/colossians/1.htm

  • 193. Cooper  |  October 1, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    http://jfb.biblecommenter.com/colossians/1.htm

    The Link did not come through on my last post.

  • 194. bigham  |  October 2, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    John T.,

    I do take it literally, I just believe that- as verse 13 tells us- the old covenant “is becoming obsolete and growing old and is ready to disappear.” Therefore, the new covenant is not fully in effect, because the old covenant has not fully become obsolete and disappeared. What was true when Hebrews was written is still true today, I believe.

    When the gospel is preached to every nation (Matthew 24), then “the end will come” and then all of the escatalogical prophecies will ultimately and completely be fulfilled.

    As of now, the new covenant is only effective for those who are “in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Therefore, all who are not “in Christ Jesus” are under the old covenant, by which they will be judged and, as King Belteshazzar was (Daniel 5:27), they will be found deficient.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts,
    -David

  • 195. bigham  |  October 2, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    Rover,

    As you said, it has “come to you and is bearing fruit in the whole world and growing (in the whole world)” is the key phrase. Let’s look more closely. To whom as the gospel come? In this key phrase, it is not the whole world. It has come to “you.” To Paul’s audience in the letter, the church at Colossae. Paul does not say that the gospel has gone to the whole world, but that the gospel has gone to the Colossians. He says that “it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing” “in all the world,” “even as it has been doing” in Colossae.

    Therefore, the important phrase is “it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing” because that, and only that, is what Paul says the gospel was doing in the whole world.

    Which means that God had no need to correct Paul, because he was merely saying that the gospel is in the process of bearing fruit and increasing in the whole world.

    Agree?

    Thanks, and I’d love to hear your thoughts,
    -David

  • 196. bigham  |  October 2, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    (I left out an “h.” What I meant to say was, “To whom has the gospel come?”)

  • 197. Rover  |  October 3, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Bigham,

    “which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,”

    He says that it is bearing fruit “as indeed/just as” (kathos) it was bearing fruit in Colossi. “is” is present tense meaning it is currently bearing fruit in the same way as in Colossi.
    My point concerning this whole passage was that it is vague. Everybody can have their own interpretation. Cooper even states that there have been changes in the manuscript. He goes back to the early manuscripts, which is great and he is correct, but the early manuscripts were produced by men with little training who made numerous errors. How can we argue about the original wording when we don’t thave the original and we know that their have been thousands of errors made by those who copied the text.

  • 198. bigham  |  October 3, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    What do you mean by “original manuscripts?” I’m learning Greek (though I’m very much a novice at this point), and I can crack open my Greek New Testament and see if I can translate exactly what it says.

    There are enough manuscripts extant that we can test manuscripts against others and find with near-absolute certainty what the original said.

    So, we can question whether or not an English translation gets it right, but there is no reason to question whether or not the Greek is right, because there is definitely sufficient reason to place our confidence in the Greek texts.

  • 199. bigham  |  October 3, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Oh, and outside of this passage there is reason to believe that Paul did not think that the gospel had reached the whole world (even what was then the whole known world). One example is that he mentioned a desire to go to Spain. He desired to take the gospel to Spain, because it had not been there. He never made it to Spain (we don’t think), so his desire to take the gospel there would have contradicted his belief that the gospel had been taken to the whole world, if he held such a belief (which I say he didn’t).

  • 200. Cooper  |  October 3, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Bigham—

    I had mentioned that earlier also. Paul had been “forbidden” by the Holy Spirit to travel into certain parts he wanted to visit—so he KNEW the Gospel had not yet made it into the WHOLE world. He was stating that the Gospel was never failing to bear fruit wherever it was preached in the whole world—and this is the view of the majority of commentators.

  • 201. BigHouse  |  October 3, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Let me ask a related but slightly off-topic question:

    Has the gospel been preached all over the world as of TODAY? If yes, where’s the second coming?

    If no, where has it not been preached yet?

    Note, if you answer no to the 1st question and use the second coming not having happened yet as proof of your answer, that’s begging the question.

  • 202. bigham  |  October 3, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    No, the gospel has not been preached all over the world today, because the second coming has not happened yet.

    Just playing. Totally.

    I have heard that something like 2/3 of the world’s population has not heard the gospel. I believe that the majority of those people to whom the gospel has not gone are in what is called the “10/40 window,” which is mainly in China and India and has something to do with the longitude/latitude of the area where unreached people groups are most concentrated.

    You can find out more about that at the Joshua Project:

    http://www.joshuaproject.net/

  • 203. bigham  |  October 3, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Praise God for Wikipedia!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10/40_Window

  • 204. bigham  |  October 3, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10/40_Window

  • 205. Rover  |  October 3, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Guys,

    I am making the point that the Gospel has NOT been preached in the entire world. From one perspective one can say that Paul’s words were not inspired. He mispoke. He insinuated something that was not true. Whether he thought the Roman world was the entire world or not, he implied something that may not have been true.

  • 206. Cooper  |  October 3, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Rover—

    Of this you have already heard through the word of truth, the gospel, that has come to you. Just as in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing, so also among you, from the day you heard it and came to know the grace of God in truth. (Col. 1:6)

    You are being far too exacting regarding this. There are many places where Paul uses the word “we” when he is speaking of ALL CHRISTIANS–not specifically himself. He is doing the same thing when he says the WHOLE WORLD. Even today we can use phrases like “it has become common knowledge on campus that…” it doesn’t mean that EVERYONE on campus has specifically heard it—-it means the word is spreading to everyone. Or, when one says “The navy is attacking..” we do not think the WHOLE NAVY is attacking—-we know they are referring to a smaller group—but using the word as a whole.

    Even as a young Christian when I read this verse I caught the gist of it, because Paul had already said he had prevented from preaching in some areas. He KNEW the Word had not been preached to the whole world already—-but was inferring that the preaching of the Gospel was going into all the world an bearing fruit wherever it went. I really don’t understand the emphasis on stating that Paul misspoke, or is stating something that wasn’t true–it just isn’t the case at all.

  • 207. Erudite Redneck  |  October 3, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    What if Pentecost was the Second Coming?

  • 208. Cooper  |  October 3, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Rover—

    Just one more thing and I’ll shut up about that verse:

    Of this you have already heard through the word of truth, the gospel, that has come to you. Just as throughout the world it is bearing fruit and growing, so also among you, from the day you heard it and came to know the grace of God in truth. (Col. 1:6)

    I exchanged “in the whole world” with “throughout the world”—-because “throughout the world” is a more modern way of saying it, I thought I would put it—-but you can see it changes the meaning to imply that it is “moving” to all parts of the world and bearing fruit. That is how most scholars interpret it. Not sure if that helps or not.

  • 209. Cooper  |  October 3, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    When I say “changes the meaning”—what I mean to say is that by modernizing the language a bit it becomes more understandable.

  • 210. Cooper  |  October 3, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Rover–

    Sorry–not to keep beating a dead horse, but I forgot to put this link in the last post. It has different translations which make the verse far more clear.

    http://bible.cc/colossians/1-6.htm

  • 211. bigham  |  October 4, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Paul did not mispeak. You have not proven that either the verse or the Bible were not inspired. You have proven nothing, except that you refuse to see what is right in front of your face.

    Paul doesn’t say anything close to “the gospel has already been preached in the whole world.” He only says it “is bearing fruit” and “increasing” in the whole world.

    Any further discussion is unnecessary. There are way more difficult passages to understand in the Bible. This one, however, is painstakenly obvious.

    If you don’t see it, then you are merely proving 2 Corinthians 4:4.

  • 212. bigham  |  October 4, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    (If you do not believe that the Bible is inspired, find a better passage to argue from. There is ZERO basis for an argument in that one.)

  • 213. Rover  |  October 4, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    yes sir!

  • 214. Rover  |  October 4, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    You mean verses like this:

    Colossians 1:23 “this is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.”

  • 215. Rover  |  October 4, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Bigham,

    Open your mind. Maybe Paul is just talking as a normal human would. Maybe he is using exaggeration. Shouldn’t this make you at least think a little bit about what inspiration means?

    You could look at this verse and say, well he is talking about the gospel being proclaimed in nature, but this would be a week interpretation. Why? Paul says the Gospel that you “heard”. The gospel they “heard” is said to have been preached to every creature under heaven. The gosple they heard was Christ crucifiedand resurrected, not some gospel in the stars.

    I must aplogize. You told me any further conversation was useless. I guess I should have obeyed! :) But I hate when people just gloss over clear difficulties. A brief google search will demonstrate that many people see why this passage is difficult.

  • 216. Rover  |  October 4, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Bigham,

    I am sorry. I can’t stop. See what FF Bruce says below. Surely you have a little respect for FF.

    “F.F. Bruce felt that this figure reflects the significance of Colossians 1:6, 23 (The Epistles to the Colossians, Philemon and to the Ephesians, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1984, pp. 42-43; 79). In other words, the apostle prophetically looked across the coming centuries and observed the vast influence of the Christian message, noting that its effect, from the vantage point of the first century, would be global.

    (2) It must be recognized as well that the passages cited above are hyperbolic in nature. The word “hyperbole” derives from a combination of two Greek terms that signify “to throw above.” A hyperbole, then, is a figure of speech that contains an obvious exaggeration (with no intention of duplicity) for the purpose of emphasizing a truth. The Bible abounds with this figure, which, in most contexts, is perfectly obvious and draws no criticism.”

    Bigham – if the bible writers were prone to use hyberbole and God did not correct them, then how do you take literally any of the predictions about the Gospel having to go into the whole world before the end will come?

    Yes, my friend, Colossians does indeed bring into question a fundamentalist view of verbal plenary innerrant inspiration.

    Since I have posted 4 times I am officially a troll so I will be quiet for awhile. My apologizes to the Decons!

  • 217. bigham  |  October 7, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Rover,

    First of all, these are two different stories. In vs. 6-7, the way that most English versions translate it, there is a continuous aspect- and there is absolutely nothing about the gospel already having gone out to all the world. The only thing that passage tells us is that the gospel has gone to the Colossians and that it is in the process of bearing fruit and increasing in the whole world. Paul doesn’t say that it has gone to the whole world, merely that it is doing so- which seem similar but are light years apart.

    Verse 23 is a different story- and admittedly provides a better argument for your case. However, I see no reason to break the fetters and cast away “verbal plenary inerrant inspiration” from us just yet.

    If Paul is speaking of the gospel of the glory of God, then it is possible that he was alluding to Psalm 19:1-3.

    “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard.”

    If this is the case, maybe he is saying that this gospel of the glory of God, of which “the heavens are telling” and “their expanse is delaring” (Psalm 19:1) has been “proclaimed in all creation under heaven” (Colossians 1:23).

    If this is the case, then isn’t it also possible that Paul is distinguishing the Colossians to whom Paul ministered from those over whom the Psalmist anguishes when he says, immediately after metaphorically saying that creation “speaks,” that their voice is not heard.

    Paul could be echoing the Psalmist here and saying that, although creation is proclaiming the gospel of the glory of God, those who have not heard and believed the gospel of the glory of God in Christ Jesus “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). Although they know God, they do not honor Him as God or give Him thanks (Romans 1:21).

    So, Paul could be saying that the God, through creation, is proclaiming the gospel of the glory of God to all creation under heaven, and that he, Paul, is a minister of that same gospel- and the Colossians have heard it in a way different than the creation proclaims it- through the preaching of the word of God.

    That’s my 2 cents, though I am far from a Bible scholar at this point. There are people who could handle these questions way better than I could. Alas, I guess not many of them visit “de-conversion.com”

    Anyway, I just wrote a lil’ blog you folks might be interested in:

    “The Most Outrageous Claim in the Bible”

    Love to hear anybody’s thoughts- both here and there.

    -David

  • 218. randy  |  November 19, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    My question is for all those out there that are de-converts—-

    “Why is the Holy Bible and Christianity the only religion that all de-converts, atheists, and free thinkers attack?”

    In all the years I have talked to any atheists or free thinkers (and there has been alot of them), not one time did they ever attack the Buddhist or Muslim faith not to mention any other religion for that fact.

  • 219. LeoPardus  |  November 19, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    randy:

    “Why is the Holy Bible and Christianity the only religion that all de-converts, atheists, and free thinkers attack?”
    In all the years I have talked to any atheists or free thinkers not one time did they ever attack the Buddhist or Muslim faith not to mention any other religion for that fact.

    Please do try to understand that your limited perspective on the world is NOT the whole world. Because you’re a westerner, the Christian faith predominates hugely. If you lived in a more Islamic area, you could see Islam get hit more. Of course given that many Islamic nations allow the imprisonment and killing of heretics (like the west used to do), you would not see so much outspoken opposition in such nations.

    BTW, Buddhism is an atheistic religion. Hence you would not expect it to be addressed too much by atheists. Ditto Confucianism.

    You might also consider that another reason why you would not see many people getting uppity about any religions except Christianity and Islam is that those two religions account for nearly half of the population of the planet. The biggest religions are going to be the ones that get hit on the most, just as they are the ones that are believed the most.

  • 220. orDover  |  November 19, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    Not to mention the fact that this site is for specifically ex-Christians. That’s why we here focus on Christianity and the Bible.

    But yes, aside from that, saying that atheists only attack Christianity just shows that randy isn’t playing attention.

  • 221. LeoPardus  |  November 20, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Oh and I forgot to mention that Hinduism has internal allowances for atheism and some atheist roots that go back quite a ways. So it’s actually perfectly possible to be a practicing Hindu and be an atheist. With such allowances, atheists wouldn’t have much to “attack”.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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