(from comment #96 on A Curious Christian with a Few Questions for de-converts)
It is my firm belief that any book which asks the reader in its preface to put away all subjectivity and view both sides of a debate topic equally will immediately plunge headlong into logical fallacies and spin-doctoring. Such is the case with Strobel’s ‘The Case for Christ’. Not that I mind Strobel presenting only one side of an argument – he is after all making a ‘case’. However, to pretend this has any objectivity at all makes Strobel’s intentions suspect from page 1.
Strobel, acting as a journalist, interviews a dozen or so leading Evangelical scholars for their evidences for their belief in Jesus Christ. The questions he asks are fine, but in general he never asks the follow-up questions that are just screaming to be asked. One assertion after another is left unchallenged. Bruce Metzger claims there are over 5000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, so the reader is left with the impression that each manuscript is evidence of the reliability of Scripture. But Strobel fails to asks how many of those 5000 are actually useful for determining the actual text. Strobel fails to ask how many centuries have passed between the time of Jesus and the time the vast majority of those manuscripts were written.
Donald Carson claims that Jesus fit the profile of God revealed in the Old Testament. Strobel should have asked Carson about Marcion, the early church heretic who found no similarity between YHVH and Jesus, and in fact claimed they were two entirely different deities…
The following post was written on April 7th, 2007:
Last year about this time, I celebrated Easter as a committed believer of the Risen and Living Savior. I have done so every Easter I can remember except for a rebellious stint I had while in my 20s (we all have those, no?). The one thing I knew for certain was that it was impossible to be a true Christian without this conviction.
.…and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. - 1 Cor 15:17-19 (NASB)
Of course I believed in the Resurrection. It is a foundational belief. It is essential. As C.S. Lewis would say, it is part of “Mere Christianity”.
I have always been an avid reader, and I always saw books in the library or store that had titles that just screamed, “Open my cover and browse my pages if you dare. For we are here to challenge your Christian beliefs!” My church pastors had words for authors of books like this: Pseudo-Intellectuals, who “professing themselves to be wise, they had become fools” (Rom 1:22). They were likely angry apostates, out on an agenda to debunk The Word of God, the Anvil that has worn our many Hammers. It was easy to pass by these books left on the shelf without thinking another thought…
(The following entry was originally posted as comment #87 on 8 Reasons why I no longer believe)
After I left Christianity, understanding morality was one of the harder challenges I had to face. I had been told all my life that without God, we had no basis for our morality. Without that lifeline, I have to admit that it was pretty scary there for a while.
Many theists approach this subject from a false premise. They ask a non-believer where the universal standard of morality comes from if not God. Rather, I submit that there is *no* universal standard of morality.
To a theist, that is scary. I understand that. It is cold. It is harsh. It is raw, amoral naturalism. My wife recently asked how our children were going to get their morality if I was no longer a Christian. Wow. She knows I am a good man, but that Christian mindset that there is no good without God is so ingrained in her that she is not even aware of it. That any morality can come without God is inconceivable to most of us!
But now that I have been away from Christianity for a while, and have had a chance to observe my former faith from the outside – I think I have a pretty fair idea what is going on. The bottom line is, I do not believe there is a universal standard of morality…
This is part 3 of 3 of my rant against the belief in eternal damnation.
With the implications of eternal damnation on the bulk of humanity, I had no peace in Jesus. I looked at humanity in two camps – the Saint and the Heathen – the Saved and the Damned. I witnessed to my workmates fervently, because they were my friends, and I could not imagine them in eternal torment. I prayed every morning for the Holy Spirit to empower my witness so they too could experience the peace of Jesus.
Several years ago, my mother could tell that I was anguished at her unbelief. She was a strong Christian when I was younger, but had since left the faith after her own period of questioning and doubting. I was constantly witnessing to her and inviting her to church, as if she had never before heard the Gospel. The fate of my mother’s eternal soul weighed heavily on my conscience. One particular day, after praying for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to fall upon my mother, I tried to show her that she needed to repent and again recognize the One True God through Jesus Christ. My face must have betrayed my true feelings – you can’t fool mom…
I stumbled onto this video that I thought De-conversion readers would enjoy. It is a clip from the 1985 G-rated movie The Adventures of Mark Twain, which tells some of Twain’s lesser known tales with clay animation. This clip, where Tom, Huck and Becky meet a mysterious stranger is disturbing, dark and beautiful animation.
As always, I am interested in your thoughts.
I like to collect Christian clichés. Most clichés that I hear from Christians are harmless, but there is one cliché that I can do without ever hearing again. When considering their own sinfulness, Christians often say, “We deserve Hell.” Or worse yet, “I deserve Hell,” usually followed by, “but by the grace of Jesus…” – fill in the blank.
“I deserve Hell”. Do Christians really believe this? Most Fundamentalist Christians hate the science of biological evolution, because they think that evolution lessens the value of human life. Christians believe that if we are not uniquely designed by God, if we are a mere bag of molecules and chemical processes determined by the injudicious whim of natural selection, then our existence must have no value. And they readily accuse atheists of imposing this value system.
Yet these same Christians believe that they themselves are of so little value and self-worth when compared to God, that their lives are good for nothing more than to be objects of God’s wrath. A Christian believes that, by nothing more than the act of being born, by virtue of the doctrine of Total Depravity, every man, woman and child on the planet deserve nothing better than never ending torture…