The Fool Hath Said In His Heart…

30 07 2009

I was surfing the web (www.google.com to be exact) looking for different things about “The Potter and The Clay”, and I came across an interesting blog. It’s title: “Memoirs of an Ex-Christian” (http://mexc.blogspot.com/). I looked at my computer screen with a puzzled look on my face. “Huh…”, I wondered, “I’ve never heard someone call themselves an ‘EX-Christian’ before…” My curiosity was pricked just enough for me to read a couple of his posts. I read a poem he wrote called “The Potter and The Clay” (http://mexc.blogspot.com/2008/10/potter-and-clay.html). I was shocked to see this man set HIMSELF up as the potter, and Almighty God as the clay. I have but one word for this: backwards. The only reasons I could find for his conversion to being an “ex-Christian” are as follows:
1. He prayed and asked for help, and when the answer didn’t come when he wanted it to – surely there must not be a God. (It’s simple really: God is God, and you are not. He’ll answer you when He’s good and ready… not when you begin a demanding tantrum.)
2. He can’t see God; therefore, what proof do we have that God is real. (shallow, faithless individual)
3. How can Christians say they have the absolute truth, when there is yet “no proof” (an ignorant statement)
4. (There are more… but instead of sporting with your intelligence, I’m choosing to just stop there.)

Below is my entire response to this individual’s post… I just couldn’t quit. 🙂 Every time I thought I’d end my response, the Lord would bring another Scripture to mind… enjoy.

[9] Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.
[10] All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?
[11] Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.
[12] How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
[13] For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
[14] I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
[15] Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
[16] They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
[17] That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?
[18] All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house.
[19] But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet.
[20] Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.
[21] Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.
[22] For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD.
[23] I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts.
[24] The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:
[25] That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders.
[26] This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations.
[27] For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?
–Isaiah 14:9-27

Hey! Satan thought the same thing you did. He tried to set Himself up as the potter, and God as the clay — just look where He ended up! Let me caution you to be very careful with your thoughts on this subject.

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.” (Psalm 53:1)

I would like to think that you’re not a “fool”… I would like to believe that you have more knowledge than that. Here’s a definition for you:
FOOL (noun):
1. a silly or stupid person; a person who lacks judgment or sense.
2. a professional jester, formerly kept by a person of royal or noble rank for amusement: the court fool.
3. a person who has been tricked or deceived into appearing or acting silly or stupid: to make a fool of someone.
4. an ardent enthusiast who cannot resist an opportunity to indulge an enthusiasm (usually prec. by a present participle): He’s just a dancing fool.
5. a weak-minded or idiotic person.

God doesn’t NEED to show Himself to you – He’s God. He CHOOSES to show Himself to those who have faith in Him. Sounds to me like you’re lacking in that area.

“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

Thomas also doubted… and He got the surprise of His life. God is not a man that He should lie – so therefore, we KNOW that He is honest and true.

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

In Matthew 4, Satan met Jesus out in the wilderness and tempted Him. Trying to get Jesus to admit He wasn’t Who He claimed to be (God in the flesh). Read on:
[1] Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
[2] And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
[3] And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
[4] But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
[5] Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
[6] And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
[7] Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
[8] Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
[9] And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
[10] Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
[11] Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

One last thought for you…
“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) — I sure hope you’ll change your mind.

~ Heather
http://wheresinabounded.blogspot.com/
https://redemptionjournal.wordpress.com/

***Do you have any words of wisdom you would like to share with Mr. Ex-Christian?
By all means, please do so by leaving a comment under this post…***

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59 responses

30 07 2009
morsec0de

“One last thought for you…
“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) — I sure hope you’ll change your mind.”

Why is it that so many Christians attempt to ‘save’ people by ending with vague threats?

30 07 2009
hethiebaby

morsec0de –

I’m sorry, but where is the threat in that statement? I merely quoted a Bible verse, and told him that I hoped he would change his mind.
And as far as “saving” him goes – that’s between Him and God. I have nothing to do with that.

I expressed concern, and gave Him some Scripture to think on.

Thank you for commenting!
~ Heather

30 07 2009
Miles Counterman

Hmmm, so because you can’t see God he doesn’t exist? Really. Then that must mean tha tair doesn’t exist, right?, because I can’t see it. Wow, never thought of that. Try reading Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN.”

And may I also suggest reading Revelation 3:17-22. ” Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” He wants to open your eyes so that you may see him, that you may see his truth.

There is still hope for you friend, if you would just have a little child-like faith. “….Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 18:3&4

30 07 2009
morsec0de

“Hmmm, so because you can’t see God he doesn’t exist?”

I don’t think any atheist above the age of 12 has ever made that argument.

Certainly many a Christian has said that atheists use that argument. But that’s what we call a ‘strawman’.

30 07 2009
rcubes

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart.”-Hebrews 4:12.

And a lot of men don’t like that…God bless you sister!

30 07 2009
hethiebaby

morsec0de –

Please tell me what your side of the argument is. I’m curious. Why don’t you believe that God is real and Who He says He is in His Word?

30 07 2009
morsec0de

“Please tell me what your side of the argument is. I’m curious. Why don’t you believe that God is real and Who He says He is in His Word?”

That question is usually followed by “which god?” Even among Christians there are thousands of different variations, each with different attributes.

But it really all comes down to the lack of scientific evidence.

Note, things that are ‘invisible’ like air (primarily nitrogen and oxygen) still have a great deal of evidence to support their existence.

30 07 2009
hethiebaby

“Note, things that are ‘invisible’ like air (primarily nitrogen and oxygen) still have a great deal of evidence to support their existence.”

okay… I’ll get to that in a second.

But first, my 2nd Question for you:
Do you have any evidence that God DOES NOT exist?

30 07 2009
morsec0de

“But first, my 2nd Question for you:
Do you have any evidence that God DOES NOT exist?”

You clearly don’t understand the burden of proof.

But I’ll answer your question with a few questions of my own:

Do you have any evidence that leprechauns DO NOT exist?
Do you have any evidence that unicorns DO NOT exist?
Do you have any evidence that Allah DOES NOT exist?
Do you have any evidence that Thor DOES NOT exist?

6 08 2009
Brian

Do you have any evidence that unicorns DO NOT exist?

6 08 2009
hethiebaby

Just curious… why did you repeat moresec0de’s question?
I already answered that one.

“Unicorns are mentioned in the Bible (on several occasions), so yes – I do believe they existed.”

7 08 2009
Brian

Apologies, I didn’t read his comment before posting, I was too quick on the draw.

30 07 2009
Miles Counterman

What evidence do you have that leprechauns, unicorns, Allah, or Thor exist besides movies, fiction, and comic books?

6 08 2009
Brian

You’re missing the point. The burden of proof lies with the one asserting existence of something that cannot be perceived by another. So if I were to assert “Unicorns exist!” you would say, “Oh yeah? Prove it!” If I were to respond, “Well, what evidence do you have that they DON’T exist?” I am violating my burden of proof. I’ll never persuade you that way, for good reason–it’s a fallacious argument. You can’t possibly be expected to bear the burden of producing evidence of a negative, that is, that something indeed does not exist.

Accordingly, it is only logical that if I say, “Unicorns exist!” I’d better be prepared to produce some sort of evidence: pictures, a dead body, a live body, fecal matter, a fossilized horn, something.

Likewise, the same logic works the other way. If you assert, “God exists!” and I respond “Oh yeah, prove it!” your response of “Well, what evidence do you have that God does not exist?” is not at all persuasive to me. It’s only as persuasive as my “Well, what evidence do you have that unicorns DO NOT exist?” argument.

6 08 2009
hethiebaby

You’re missing the point.

The point is that there are evidences ALL around us. Just stop, and take a look around. Life. Trees. Animals. Planets. Gravity. All the complex processes here that in no way began on “accident”, as the result of a “big bang”, or through “evolving over millions of years”.

Again, the unicorn argument is old news – it’s already been addressed and answered.

7 08 2009
Brian

No, the point was that you can’t satisfy the burden of proof by merely shifting the burden of proof.

…and I didn’t raise the “big bang,” you did. I don’t assert any knowledge of any manner in which things were created. There isn’t a necessary binary decision between “Believe the Bible” or “Believe the Big Bang.”

30 07 2009
hethiebaby

You are mistaken: I clearly DO understand the “burden of proof”. I could easily sport around with insults back at you, but that will hardly do either of us any good. 🙂

Unicorns are mentioned in the Bible (on several occasions), so yes – I do believe they existed.

In Arabic, Allah literally means “the One God” – and I believe in The One God – but we usually refer to Him as Yahweh, Jesus Christ, Father, the Great I AM, Jehovah, Messiah, Lion of Judah, etc. 🙂

Lepruchauns are midgets… well… let’s get back to the subject at hand….

As far as “proof” goes – it works both ways. You are being a hypocrite if you tell me that there is no God – YOU, my friend, are lacking “proof”.

Where do you think our worlds came from?
Please tell me that you are not so ignorant as to believe a chance “big bang” happened before time began – creating a world so perfectly placed in space that if it were one inch closer the sun the entire planet would fry, and if it were one inch further away from the sun everything would freeze over.
Where do you think life came from?
Please tell me that you do not believe every living thing came from one tiny microscopic blob-of-slime organism that slowly evolved over millions and millions of years.
Where do you think the air we breath came from?
Where do you think the plants came from? Water? Dirt?

You see, this planet and the life forms on it are too complicated to just have happened by some chance explosion THAT NO ONE WAS HERE TO SEE HAPPEN IN THE FIRST PLACE.

6 08 2009
Brian

So because these things fall out of common sense for you, the default position on your part is “Believe the Bible”?

Doesn’t it seem more rational to have the default position be “I believe what I can perceive with my senses”? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So it’s not that I, or anyone else with a similar viewpoint to mine, believe that no God exists. Instead, I believe that what I can perceive exists. That which I cannot perceive, I MAY believe exists (if provided sufficient evidence), but I don’t believe it just because someone says it is so.

So just because I can’t perceive God doesn’t mean I believe that there cannot be a God. However, I don’t believe God exists simply because you say so. If your response is, “A-ha, but the BIBLE says so.” Okay… why should I believe this book? I could simply write my own book and characterize God however I want–doesn’t mean that what I say is the truth.

Of course, your response will be, “but God wrote the Bible!” And why am I to believe that? Because it says so? Fine! I’ll make sure to stick that in my book too.

6 08 2009
hethiebaby

Who said anything about common sense? The fact is that this discussion is about truth and faleshood.

If you would rather believe that you are nothing more than a piece of gooey slime that evolved over time into a monkey and then one day – viola! – you were a man… then go right ahead.

The beauty of America: freedom of thought and speech.
*sigh-h-h* 🙂

However, life is so much more than that.
Psalm 139:
[14] I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
[15] My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
[16] Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
[17] How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
[18] If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

7 08 2009
Brian

“If you would rather believe that you are nothing more than a piece of gooey slime that evolved over time into a monkey and then one day – viola! – you were a man… then go right ahead.”

Is that what I said? Please show me where.

Moreover, it’s not about what I would “rather” believe. The rational default (i.e., “in the absence of any evidence whatsoever”) position is that what we see (perceive) is what we get. If you assert the existence of God, it’s your responsibility to provide evidence to me or anyone else you wish to convince of said existence.

If I had my preference (i.e., what I would “rather” believe), I would MUCH rather believe in a God who loves me and cares for me and provides for me and who sent His only begotten son for me. But my preference has nothing to do with it. Instead, I follow the evidence. To date, I don’t have any credible evidence that the Bible is what it claims to be. Thus how can I be expected to believe in its claims?

21 08 2009
Bob

Brian–
The macroscopic and microscopic universe all stand as witness to you, yet you waste your time trying to convince others that there’s no evidence of God? It seem to me, if you were actually convinced that creation has no Creator, you wouldn’t be nearly so passionate about it.

30 07 2009
Miles Counterman

Amen.

30 07 2009
morsec0de

“I could easily sport around with insults back at you, but that will hardly do either of us any good.”

I wasn’t trying to insult you. Your question implied that you legitimately don’t understand the burden of proof.

“Unicorns are mentioned in the Bible (on several occasions), so yes – I do believe they existed.”

I should be surprised. Somehow, I’m not.

“You are being a hypocrite if you tell me that there is no God – YOU, my friend, are lacking “proof”.”

Where did I say ‘there is no god’?

Search my responses.

I don’t believe your claim that there is a god. I don’t make any claim that there isn’t one.

Thus, the burden of proof falls on you. Unless you can give me evidence for Thor not existing.

“Where do you think our worlds came from?”

Our worlds? Who is ‘we’ and what ‘worlds’ do you speak of? There is a universe that contains galaxies, stars, planets, moons and many other objects of varying sizes.

Do you mean planet Earth? The solar system? The Milky Way Galaxy? The entire universe?

Please specify.

“creating a world so perfectly placed in space that if it were one inch closer the sun the entire planet would fry, and if it were one inch further away from the sun everything would freeze over.”

Actually, the habitable zone of the Earth doesn’t extend one inch on either side. It is actually 0.42 Astronomical Units wide. Which translates to 62,831,105.69 kilometers, or 39,041,439.052 miles. For comparison, the circumference of the earth is 40,075.02 kilometers.

Not exactly as perfectly placed as you seem to think.

And that being said, our ‘perfect’ planet has 75% of it covered with water, which humans can’t live in. And of the 25% that’s land, most is either too hot or too hold for humans to survive without technological advancements. Not exactly the perfect world you seem to be painting.

“Please tell me that you do not believe every living thing came from one tiny microscopic blob-of-slime organism that slowly evolved over millions and millions of years.”

Closer to billions, actually.

30 07 2009
hethiebaby

Sir –
“I don’t believe your claim that there is a god. I don’t make any claim that there isn’t one.”
You can only have it one of two ways. either there IS a God, or there ISN’T a God. Make up your mind.

By “worlds”, I mean ALL of them. “Planet Earth. The solar system. The Milky Way Galaxy. The entire universe.” They all have the same Creator: Almighty God. And our intricate, complex planet is the only one with any type of life form on it.

Obviously, we can survive on this planet WITHOUT technological advances – that was proven for MANY years before all the technilogical advances came into play.

I’m glad that we agree on all the water covering the earth though! Now… how did it get there? oh yes, the Flood in Noah’s day. before that time the world had never seen rain before. Due to wickedness and unbelief, in which the earth was COMPLETELY covered in water. However, God told Noah to build a giant boat on which 8 people and 2 of every animal were kept safe inside while the storm raged.

This world is between 6,000 and 8,000 years old at best. not millions. OR billions. That is proven in the fossil records.

6 08 2009
Brian

“You can only have it one of two ways. either there IS a God, or there ISN’T a God. Make up your mind.”

You’re implying that for every decidable question with a binary result, every individual MUST have a stance one way or the other. However, there are many open scientific and mathematical questions out there with a binary answer (YES or NO), but the scientists and mathematicians researching these questions don’t necessarily HAVE TO assert that one position is better than the other. Instead, many of those working on these questions don’t assert either is better, instead they are merely searching for the answer.

Just because something is or it isn’t doesn’t mean that I MUST assert my belief one way or the other. I simply don’t have enough information to decide either way. A stance of “I don’t believe” does not imply “I believe in no.”

As an example, one open mathematical question currently being researched is “Do the set of deterministic polynomial-time calculable problems equal the set of non-deterministic polynomial-time calculable problems?” I have no idea if you have any background in this, but either way, is it really rational to assert yes or no to this question when it’s an open question in mathematics? And if I simply pose this question to someone who does not have a math background, is it really rational for me, in reply to an answer of “I don’t know” to assert, “A-ha! You ignorant fool, you clearly believe that the sets are NOT equal!”

6 08 2009
hethiebaby

Okay…
Either you’re real or you’re not.
Either your dead or you’re alive.
Either you’re looking at this computer screen or you’re not.
Either you’re awake or you’re asleep.
Either you graduated from highschool or not.
Either you’re married or you’re not.
Either you have pets of you don’t.
Either you are sick or you are healthy.
Either there is a God or there isn’t.
Either you believe there is a God or you don’t.
Either there is truth or there is falsehood.
Either… Either… Either… Either… Either… Either… Either…

This could go on forever.
What it boils down to is what you choose to believe.
No one can force you into anything or persuade you into believing what you will not accept. No one will answer for your choices but yourself.

7 08 2009
Brian

You’re avoiding the issue. My point is that the mere existence of a binary outcome (God is or God is not) does not imply that I am forced to take a stance for or against either position (“I believe that God is” or “I believe that God is not”). Instead, my position is “I don’t know.” To be more clear, “I do not necessarily believe that God is, but I also do not necessarily believe that God is not.”

Your statement “either there IS a God, or there ISN’T a God.” is correct. However, your next statement was “Make up your mind.” Those two statements are not connected, despite your implication.

To give another example, using one of the examples you provided here: either I am married or I am not married. Which do you believe I am? Do you believe I am married, or do you believe that I am not married?

You have no evidence either way, so how could you possibly be expected to answer? Your statement above, however, is equivalent to me saying, “Either I AM married or I AM NOT married. Make up your mind.”

See the disconnect? If you respond “I don’t know” I can’t presume from your statement that you believe that I am not married.

30 07 2009
morsec0de

You need to do yourself a favor and read a book that isn’t the bible. Keep reading the bible, fine. But take a science class. Learn something. Talk to a biologist, or a geologist, or a physicist. It will do you some good.

30 07 2009
hethiebaby

Thank you for your advice.
I have read several Science Books, sat through several Science classes, talked to Scientists, etc.

Their answers: “Well… it’s all just a theory really… we’re still missing some information to prove it’s all true.”

Well, if THAT’S the answer I’m going to get, them I think I’ll stick with the One Who created it all – the Author of THE Science Book (the Bible).

30 07 2009
morsec0de

“Their answers: “Well… it’s all just a theory really… we’re still missing some information to prove it’s all true.””

While you’re at it, check out the definition of a scientific theory.

I was really enjoying our heated exchange. But now I just truly feel sorry for you.

I hope you don’t spend your entire life so ignorant to the reality of the world around you.

Note, I say ignorant, not stupid. You seem quite smart. I take solace in the fact that ignorance can be cured. Willful ignorance, not so much.

30 07 2009
hethiebaby

If this was a “heated” discussion, it was only on your part. I was not angry or worked up at all.

THEORY (noun):
1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity.
2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
3. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.
4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.
5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.
6. contemplation or speculation.
7. guess or conjecture.

Synonyms:
1. Theory, hypothesis are used in non-technical contexts to mean an untested idea or opinion. A theory in technical use is a more or less verified or established explanation accounting for known facts or phenomena: the theory of relativity. A hypothesis is a conjecture put forth as a possible explanation of phenomena or relations, which serves as a basis of argument or experimentation to reach the truth: This idea is only a hypothesis.

Please, do not spend your time feeling sorry for me. The reality of the world around me is as simple as this:
Genesis 1:
[1] In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
[2] And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
[3] And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
[4] And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
[5] And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
[6] And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
[7] And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
[8] And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
[9] And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
[10] And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
[11] And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
[12] And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
[13] And the evening and the morning were the third day.
[14] And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
[15] And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
[16] And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
[17] And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
[18] And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
[19] And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
[20] And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
[21] And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
[22] And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
[23] And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
[24] And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
[25] And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
[26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
[27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
[28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
[29] And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
[30] And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
[31] And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 2:
[1] Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
[2] And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
[3] And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
[4] These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
[5] And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
[6] But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
[7] And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
[8] And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
[9] And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
[10] And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
[11] The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
[12] And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
[13] And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
[14] And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
[15] And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
[16] And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
[17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
[18] And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
[19] And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
[20] And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
[21] And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
[22] And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
[23] And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
[24] Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
[25] And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

I fear I may have lost you somewhere around vers 4 of chapter 1…..

6 08 2009
Brian

Theory–“a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena.” “A theory in technical use is a more or less verified or established explanation accounting for known facts or phenomena.”

Do you truly understand these definitions when you assert, “Well, this is JUST A THEORY”?

That is, your assertion is, “Well, this is a more or less verified or established explanation accounting for known facts or phenomena.”

6 08 2009
Brian

A serious question for Christians that I pose, hoping for a good answer (because this is the question that got me to go from Christian to ex-Christian):

Why do you believe the Bible? That is, why do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God?

I know that it says it is so (“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” — 2 Timothy 3:16).

However, couldn’t anyone simply write a book and state “This book is the Word of God”? For example, doesn’t the Qur’an make a similar claim? So if the Bible and the Qur’an make the same claim, why choose the Bible’s claim that it was written by God, over the Qur’an’s similar claim?

This is NOT to advocate in favor of Islam–I’m not a muslim. However, it seems that followers of both religions point to their respective holy books and say, “This is the Word of God.” And my question is, “how do you know?” Clearly, the simple fact that “it says so” is insufficient, because two very different holy books with two very different messages say the same thing. And of course other examples of books touting this message could also be produced, I simply used two of the most popular. To throw out a third, the Book of Mormon makes similar claims.

So, why believe the Bible? With the caveat that “Because it says it’s the Word of God” is an insufficient answer.

I would genuinely like to know–I’m not trying to preach. I believe that the reason I believed in the Bible was because I believed it was written by God. But when I truly sat down and thought about it, I realized that I had no evidence or reason for believing this to be so, other than that the Bible says that it was written by God.

The only basis, it seems to me, that we have for believing this is because other people believe it to be so. But why then do THEY believe it? Because others believe it to be so? There then seems to be a fundamental problem, in that many people are making an assertion simply because someone else made it. We know that people can lie, so if we’re to base our entire worldview on one book, shouldn’t we at least have a better reason for believing that book other than “Well, that guy believes it to be true, so I do too.”

So I pose again my question: Why believe in the Bible?

6 08 2009
hethiebaby

Brian –

Again, it’s a matter of faith…

Where is the god of the Qur’an? Still in His tomb, I suppose.
Where is Mohammed? Still wrapped in grave clothes somewhere.
Where is Jesus? You’ll find an empty tomb where He once laid. Don’t tell me it’s because His body was stolen away in the night. Hogwash.

Why do we believe in the ancient Egyptian manuscripts? Are you sure there were really indians and cowboys living in the “wild west” years ago? How do we know that Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci are the ones who *really* found America? Why do we believe that the Civil War happened?

HOW…?

WE certainly weren’t there for ANY of those occasions. For most of them, neither were our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on… But because people who WERE there when these things happened recorded it down on paper, and we have evidences of it in our day today. We take their word for it and have faith that what they say is true. We “believe” them.

The same is with the Bible. None of us were there to see God create the world in 7 days. None of us were there to witness the tower of Babel, Noah’s Ark, the great Exodus from Egypt, Moses and the 10 Commandments, Joshua and the city of Jericho, Elijah and Elisha, David and Goliath, the coming of Baby Jesus, the calling of the 12 disciples, the Transfiguration, the Garden of Gethsemene, the Cross, the empty tomb, the Ascention, the conversion of Saul, the martyrdom of the discpiles, etc and etc.

We believe it because it was recorded down for us by people who were there and by those who were given the words to write down by Almighty God.

And besides all that, just look at all the things that were prophesied of in books such as Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, etc. They told of things that would come to pass hundreds of years later – and sure enough, everything came to pass exactly as it was predicted.

I believe the Bible because it is truth.
However, what it really boils down to is what you choose to put your faith in.

~ Heather

7 08 2009
Brian

“But because people who WERE there when these things happened recorded it down on paper, and we have evidences of it in our day today. We take their word for it and have faith that what they say is true. We “believe” them.”

I’m not sure what evidence we have today of the things that are asserted in the Bible. Sure, we have some evidence that some of the thing said in the Bible are true, but isn’t that true of all religious texts? I mean, even if you dispute the assertions of the Qur’an, isn’t there at least one story in there that is likely to be validated by evidence today? Likewise, isn’t it fairly likely that at least something in the Book of Mormon is true? Isn’t it fairly likely that at least something in the Illiad and the Odyssey is true?

Accordingly, to the extent that the Bible makes claims that can be validated by evidence today, fair enough, I’ll believe those things, but only to the extent that I’ll believe the Qur’an, the Illiad, the Odyssey, the Book of Mormon, etc. when they assert things that can be validated by evidence today. It’s the validation using evidence of today I believe, to the extent that we can do so.

However, for claims that cannot be validated today, why believe those?

You say: “Where is Jesus? You’ll find an empty tomb where He once laid.” Now, to be clear, I admit that it is quite likely that a man named Jesus once lived, but to present one side (and not my own), isn’t it possible that the tomb is empty because Jesus did not exist? Just throwing it out there. So that really, to me, doesn’t prove anything. Moreover, I’m not sure why it would be “hogwash” that his body was stolen away. Again, I have no idea.

Do you understand the concept of “begging the question?” I don’t mean that as an insult, just wondering. in any case, it means assuming the outcome of a question to be true, then using that assumption as a basis for answering the question.

The assertion you make regarding Jesus and the tomb is a clear case of begging the question. You assume that the Bible is correct when it asserts the existence of a man named Jesus. Then you say, “and look, the Bible says he rose from the dead, and the tomb is empty! Therefore the Bible is correct when it says Jesus existed!” Not quite.

The tower of Babel has always fascinated me and is another reason I lost faith in the Bible. You honestly believe the Bible regarding this story, correct? The story is about God actually becoming nervous about the possibility of man building a tower to Heaven. Putting aside for a moment the scientific fact that, if a person were to leave the atmosphere unprotected by a space suit he would die due to lack of oxygen and atmospheric pressure, how tall could we possibly build a tower using all available building materials here on Earth? Seriously tall enough to reach heaven? I worked out the math on this using the following assumptions:

Assume that we use two miles of the Earth’s crust (1/3 of the Earth’s surface. since the other 2/3 is water) as building material and create a tower therefrom that is 1/32 mile in diameter (it’s gotta be a pretty wide tower to support something that tall). Such a tower, assuming that 1/2 of the volume of the tower were empty (to be climbable) would reach 352 billion miles. Not bad, but consider that a light year is 5.9 TRILLION (5,878 billion) miles. Thus Heaven, according to the Bible, is less than one-tenth of a light-year away from Earth. To put that in perspective, Alpha Centauri, the closest star to Earth after the sun, is 4.37 light years away. We certainly have telescopes that can see Alpha Centauri and other celestial bodies much closer than a light year. So why haven’t we seen heaven through a telescope?

30 07 2009
Miles Counterman

May I suggest checking out Bob Dutko’s Top Ten Proofs Series. In it he shows, through SCIENCE, the proof of the existance of God, proof of the flood, and many more subjects. I think you might be suprised at what you hear.

1 08 2009
Kevin

Dear Heather

I just want to say thank you for visiting my blog, and for taking time to respond with your thoughts on what I’ve written. I always appreciate feedback.

For me, the poem was my own way of trying to describe the turning point in my life when I finally let go of faith in God. I know that, in your eyes, placing God as the clay and myself as the potter does seem like an extreme case of hubris, but in my view this is not the case. You compare me to Satan in your post, but I’m not like Satan in one important aspect. Even the Bible says that the demons believe that God exists (James 2:19), but they still rally against him. But I am not like them, simply because I don’t believe that God exists. That is the difference. For me, I don’t regard myself as being defiant in any way, simply because I no longer believe there is a anything to be defiant against.

You also quote Psalm 53:1. This verse misrepresents the position that most atheists (including me) hold. Ellie Arroway, the main character in Carl Sagan’s book, Contact, makes a distinction between being convinced that God doesn’t exist; and not being convinced that he does exist. I fall into the latter camp. I never made the absolute claim that God doesn’t exist; rather, I’m simply unconvinced that he exists.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Kevin

2 08 2009
Xchristian

I’m an ex-christian too. In fact, I bet there are millions of us out there. I get along fine without religion. Believe it or not, I’m a good person who does the right thing. I don’t lie, cheat, kill, or steal. And I am this way because it’s the right thing to do. Not because my pastor or my bible or my church tells me what to do.

3 08 2009
Seeker

Hello hethiebaby and Miles Counterman,

I am agnostic wishing to understand your position as Christians. I read your posts with interest and I have a sincere question which I hope will develop into a good discussion.

The following is known as Euthyphro’s dilemma :

“Is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God?”

My question (basically a rehash of Euthyphro’s dilemma) :

Do you believe that a moral act is moral because it is commanded by God (hence God alone decides what is moral or not)

or

Do you believe that a moral act is commanded by God simply because it is moral (hence morality is independent of God) ?

3 08 2009
Cori

Dear Heather and all the other people who have commented here. I appreciate the way everyone has engaged so passionately on this blog. The danger with blogging is that we don’t see each other face-to-face and as a result we sometimes speak in a way that we wouldn’t were we to be, say, sitting together over coffee. The post referred to here about the Potter and the Clay were written by my husband out of a long and difficult journey that we and others shared over some ten or more years. It has been a very precious and heartfelt journey and I respect Kevin so much for his integrity on this journey even though he hasn’t reached the same decision I have (which is to follow Christ). I have also admired the way Kevin has always spoken with such gentleness and respect to Christians and people that believe differently from himself on his blog. Unfortunately others have not been as gracious towards him. I encourage us as Christians to be more gracious, more loving, more kind, more good, and more gentle in our blogging. Sometimes we get so caught up in the truth that we forget to speak it in love. Blessings and love to you all, Cori.

3 08 2009
hethiebaby

Good morning, All! Sorry it is taking me so long to get back and respond to everyone – I don’t get a chance to get on here much over the weekends.
Thank you all for visiting and commenting – your thoughts are always welcome. Also, thank you for your patience. I will address each comment seperately.

First….

Kevin,
I was not comparing you to the devils/demons in any way. I was merely “re-hashing” an example in the Bible of those who placed themselves in such a position to be higher than God Himself. However, by what you say – “I’m not like Satan in one important aspect. Even the Bible says that the demons believe that God exists (James 2:19), but they still rally against him. But I am not like them, simply because I don’t believe that God exists.” – I guess they technically do have one-up on you. Good point.
When talking about “defying” God – my thought for you is this. I would like to defy gravity, but I can’t. No matter how many times I say that I do not believe it exists, the only one standing in ignorance is myself. There are obvious evidences that gravity exist – one major one is that things are not floating around through thin air. No matter how many times that you say that you are not convinced that God exists, you are willfully standing in ignornace – there are evidences all around you that God exists and is Who He says He is. Just look at your complex body – there is NO way that is by “happen-chance”. OR one little cell in your body? not a chance.
Lastly I would like to respond to your statement:
“I never made the absolute claim that God doesn’t exist; rather, I’m simply unconvinced that he exists.”
He either exists, or He does not. Be being “unconvinces that He exists”, you do not believe in Him. There is no gray area to rest in here – this is a Black&White situation.

Kevin, thank you for responding. In no way am I being hostile, rude, unfeeling, attacking, or uncaring in my post or comments – and I hope you do not feel as if I was/am. Your post concerned me, and I followed up with a comment. I then took that comment and posted it here for discussion for others – the same way you did with your comment to my post (http://mexc.blogspot.com/2009/08/my-response-on-beautiful-redemption.html ).

Again, thank you for your time and thoughts.
~ Heather

3 08 2009
hethiebaby

XChristian –
I have no doubt that there are millions of “ex-Christians”/Athiests/Agnostics in this world. NO doubt. And while you’re crowd continues to push your beliefs, faithful Christians will (hopefully) continue to stand for the truth.

“I get along fine without religion. Believe it or not, I’m a good person who does the right thing.”

The truth of the matter is this: you may get along fine without “religion” NOW, but you will not feel that way for all eternity. Consider the story in the latter part of Luke 16:
[19] There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
[20] And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
[21] And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
[22] And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
[23] And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
[24] And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
[25] But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
[26] And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
[27] Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
[28] For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
[29] Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
[30] And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
[31] And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Thank you for commenting,
~ Heather

3 08 2009
hethiebaby

Seeker, good morning!

This question that you asked is found in Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro, in which Socrates asks Euthyphro: “Is the pious (τὸ ὅσιον) loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” However, we interpret it into the question that you brought to the table:

“Is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God?”

My answer: both.

Consider Matthew 5 –
[17] Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
[18] For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

….and James 2:10 – “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

After all, where did the law originally come from? God. Hence, the 10 Commandments – of which most, if not all, of our laws today have stemmed from. You can trace all their roots back to God.

I hope this helps. Thank you for stopping by!
~ Heather

3 08 2009
hethiebaby

Cori –
I respect your husband as an individual – that does not mean that I must agree or even “respect” such a viewpoint that goes directly against God. As a Christian, I am called on to defend my faith – I am answering that call. I choose not to defend those who stand nuetral or against the truth. First off, it is not my place to take up offense for someone esle. Second off, God warns against it because it can cause bittereness to arise where it ought never to have risen.

You accused me of being ungracious, unkind, not gentle, unloving, hurtful, etc. I could not disagree with you more. What I stated was mere facts, concern, and a hope that he (your husband) would change his mind before it’s too late. In return you have posed the possibility that I “may well just be (a) kid or lonely, isolated individual without any friends”. I will not even begin to defend myself – I have not the time nor the energy.
What I have done is as follows:
I stumbled onto your husbands blog, read his post, was concerned, commented, copied&pasted my comment, and then posted it on my blog for others to join in with their thoughts. You have done exactly the same thing: http://allaboutcori.blogspot.com/2009/08/hostile-christian-bloggers.html — your husband also: http://mexc.blogspot.com/2009/08/my-response-on-beautiful-redemption.html

Consider the following verses:
– Ephesians 4:12-24 (focus on verses 14, 17-20)
– Hebrews 11:1, 6 — “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

I never meant to offend, hurt, or insult anyone. I am merely excersizing my right to “freedom of speech” in the virtual world. You are doing the same. I love truth; and when I see it being altered or questioned, I stand up to the challenge.
I am in no way hateful or resentful towards agnostics/athiests because I have a few friends who are of that persuasion. Do I condone it? No. Do I talk to them about it and try to pursuade them of the truth? Yes. But I love them regardless of their beliefs.

Thank you for visiting, and thank you for commenting. I hope you have a beautiful day!
~ Heather

3 08 2009
Irfan

I have been reading the comments, and although I am home from work and highly medicated at this moment:) I feel the need to throw my ideas into the bucket. If I misspell, or say something incongruous I blame it on the meds.

For those non believers, I will stay away from Bible verses,as I am sure anyone who de-converts knows them well, and I won’t try to save your soul, plenty have tried to do that.

When I was in college I remember going to a debate between a theist and an atheist. The atheist was touted as one of the great atheist thinkers of our time. He was a British gentleman by the name of Anthony Flew. It came to my attention that not too long ago Anthony Flew proclaimed he is no longer an atheist. He is by no means a Christian, but he no longer maintains an atheistic or agnostic worldview. His reasoning is, the more he delves into science, the more he sees the complexity of almost every living creature, the more he sees the necessity of design.

Of course the design argument is not a new one. It has been here as long as this debate has been going on. It seems to me that we all believe in a force that designs since it is intuitively understood that we are unique, at least for the moment, to the universe. We as humans differ from the animals, and certainly are the most advanced beings known of in this universe.

It seems to me as we look for a reason behind this design we all have different ideas of how we got here. For some of us, we choose to believe that design comes from God, that life is beautiful, and indeed it is purposeful. If you do not believe there is a God, or that he is unknowable, than it seems to me the only answer science has to offer is natural selection and a highly improbable big bang that started it all. So I am left to believe that over billions of years, through natural selection, we developed into the complex beings that we are.

Now I see this argument definitely having its problem since from a scientific aspect I do not know how it can be understood as more than a theory since it is not verifiable, or reproducible. Which I was always understood to be necessary to be scientific, but I digress as my problem isn’t scientific. It is philosophical.

Someone told Heather that the burden of proof is up to her to prove that God exists. However, I believe the atheist speaks ignorantly when say this. In reality the vast majority of the world chooses to believe in a God. So from a practical standpoint, the Atheist is losing the battle for “reason” in most peoples eyes. There is a reason that when polled atheist only account for between eight and sixteen percent of the population, depending on who you ask. The reason is that Atheism as a worldview, can seek to offer arguments about rational thought, scientific method, or whatever else…but ultimately it rings hollow to most ears.

You see the reason I am a Theist are many, but one main reason is that Atheism seems no alternative to me. In fact I don’t think it proves as an alternative to many. If this life is all there is, then what a cruel joke. I am 30 years old, and have had way too many surgeries and medical problems in my life all ready. I have suffered far more pain that I have ecstasy. So if all I am is an ape who has evolved a bit more…no thank you. It is indeed a cruel joke, this life of mine.

However when I take that idea and compare it with a God, who despite a world that is broken, loves me personally and offers me grace when I do wrong, hope when I am hurting, and glory when it is all said and done. Well there is no comparison.

My point is a pragmatic one. You see intelligent men dwell and make arguments on both sides of the Theistic fence and always will. I just find the God argument so much more compelling.

3 08 2009
melanie

I am a Christian… and the way you talk about God… and how you handle people who do not agree with you, is the reason I am a missionary…

When God is misrepresented by people who claim to follow him, and, in addition, the people he loves [all people, including atheists and agnostics] are trampled upon with “truth” and “scripture,” I’m pretty sure his inward cringe is much worse than my own.

You seem to like Bible verses that back up statements so let me share this one ::

Mark 12:29-31
Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

Please note, “the second is equally important.”

6 08 2009
Dar

Melanie, that was beautiful. I wish more Christians were like you.
Dar (Unitarian)

4 08 2009
hethiebaby

Melanie –
I completely agree. We are commanded to love God first, and then to love others. BUT the Lord also commands us to love truth (Prov. 23:23).
I do not believe there is an inward cringe on the part of God the Father. I think too often we want to portray God as being full of mercy and love AND HE IS – but He also has a law set down. There is sin – and THAT is why He had to die – so that we might have hope. When Jesus walked this earth and He came to places where people did not believe He was Who He said He was – when they tried to discredit Him and turn others away – Jesus called them “generations of vipers”, “serpants”, “hypocrites”, etc. He’s not just a God of mercy and love – He’s a God of justice and truth. Jesus preached and taught more on Hell than He did about Heaven. Why? Because He was concerned for the sinner’s soul. Everything cannot always be roses, rainbows, and butterflies. Somewhere in there people have to hear the truth!
I do love to quote Scripture – because It is quicker and sharper than any two-edged sword.
I am thankful you answered the call of God on your life to be a missionary – and I pray He will use you greatly where you are at.
Again, this post and the comments that followed are in no way hostile in nature, angry responses, or meant to be hurtful – they were meant to be firm and full of truth. The world has heard enough of a watered-down Gospel… and quite frankly, THAT is not getting the job done. If anything, I believe the Lord is cringing at this luke-warm Christianity.
Blessings,
~ Heather

7 08 2009
Carole

Heather- thanks for your site, it is refreshing to see someone who has a passion for God’s word. In your defense, I think that the written word tends to come across more harshly since it lacks the benefit of vocal inflection.

To the Christian- I think it is far to easy to hypocritical. We must be careful to live transformed lives, that reflect the new spirit He has put in us. Seek Him first, He will restore in us a right spirit.

To the Atheist, Agnostic- If a Christian is hypocritical, this does not make Christianity any less true. Truth is that which reflects reality. Decide whether your critic is speaking the truth, do not concern yourself so much with how it is being said.

To everyone: we have become so soft-shelled in our day, that we cannot hear anything true without it being shrouded by a pillow of flattery. This is a terrible disadvantage.

10 08 2009
Lt. Dan

Dear Heather, et al,

I stumbled on this place (blog) online while researching my PhD thesis on the origins of religious thought (Evolutionary Psychology – UC Berkeley). I was looking for unusual and refreshing ideas on the subject. Unfortunately—for me— I found none here. I wanted to log a comment, however, because I think you all need to read and think about some things from a new perspective.

Before getting into it I want to present my bona fides: I am a retired scientist/engineer; a father, a grandfather, a husband, a brother; a lifelong student, an academic, a non-professional philosopher; an ex-Christian (if that has any meaning). I do not consider myself an atheist because that word it a label which not only doesn’t fit me, but a word merely attached by others for their purposes—it does not serve the truth.

God exists! As surely as I exist, God exists. Now, to be specific, it is the Abrahamic God I am speaking of, the so-called Christian one (or is it three?). I know this is a fact because I created Him/Her/It. That God is but one of the gods that exist on earth in the minds of human beings. If anyone here believes in a different god, then that is altogether fine with me. There is proof enough of that notion for me to accept it by virtue of compelling evidence—everyone believes differently and so simple logic dictates that someone is correct, no one is correct, or we are all correct or incorrect. (So much for either-or arguments, eh?)

Socrates (credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy) said, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” Many claim to know what they call The Truth, but these have no wisdom according to Socrates. He also claimed “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing,” which I tend to agree with.

I have a saying myself along these lines, a variation of an old saying in logic and philosophy: Does God exist in the universe if there is no human being there to believe in it? Conversely, does reality exist in the universe if there is no human mind to contemplate it? The point being is that we are not the point. We are not the reason for anything—however un-provable or improbable that may be to so many who argue the existence of anything. (Argue, I said—different from discuss.)

To Heather, I think you truly believe what you believe. I think you are sincere in that. I understand what you believe and why, inasmuch as I cannot be in your mind. If your life is enhanced by your beliefs, then you go girl. You are not alone for sure. I happen to think you are delusional, but what do I know about you besides what you post on your blog? You have no liberty to decide or arbitrate what is true, however. I suggest you make an effort to be more open-minded and I would dare say you should try to understand better the meaning of faith and scripture with a stronger dose of self realization. You can quote scripture as much as you want, but better than you have done that for a long, long time. You are preaching to the choir it seems. There is nothing new in what you say, which is what I and others think is needed in the conversation in this day and age.

To Kevin and Cori, I think Kevin is not yet an atheist, although I caution he may get what he asks for. It is clear that he is on the fence still, an agnostic really, if that label has any meaning either. This is evidenced by the title and content of his blog, where it seems overly important for him to state his opinion/position. Methinks he doth protest too much! As Elbert Hubbard said, “Never explain–your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.” You and Cori are doing an intellectual dance with each other around your common beliefs—yes, common beliefs. In some ways it is nice to see, once one learns of the each individual’s perspectives, and the fact that they are husband and wife. (My wife and I do a similar dance, so I recognize the music and the steps.)

To Melanie, although what you said in your comment was beautiful to Dar, I do not wish other Christians to be like you in your apparent objective. In my experience, evangelical missionary Christians are the most dangerous of the breed (of believers), far depreciating human kindness, although I know the mantra that they cleave to and preach. How can it be kindness to pollute the minds of other human beings—purposely, deliberately? You do not know what you do not know, and yet you take advantage of others by leveraging their cognitive weaknesses with matters of opinion and belief, to what end? If God the Creator created you, what makes you think you need to usurp His influence and power? Yes, I know what the New Testament says, but modern thought and scholarship disagrees, even modern theologians are beginning to see things differently. Who are you aggrandizing, God or your ignorant image of God?

To Brian, you are wasting your time. I think you just want to argue. The existence of God as a real entity cannot be proven or disproven; you know that if you understand as much about logic and debate (and science?) as you allude to. As I said to Heather, better than you have been arguing the point for a long, long time. You seem to have taken a stand, which is admirable, but everyone else in the thread has too. The conversation needs enlightened new voices exploring new ideas. As Bishop John Shelby Spong argues in his best selling books “Why Christianity Must Change or Die,” and in “A New Christianity for a New World,” the questions and issues of God and faith are not static, but living, breathing, changing and advancing—as humanity changes and advances, so must faith and religion.

Each of you seems to desire one thing, to beat each other on the head with your opinions. But opinions are not truths nor are they facts. Some come to the table with informed opinions to share and dissect, as do I, I hope, but when our opinions are fixed, locked to the past by small leaden minds stuck in an old book, then there will never obtain for us the truth we claim to seek.

Comments, anyone?
Send to leutenant-dan@csicable.net
Be nice though or I will not respond and I will block your e-mail address.

13 08 2009
Brian

I don’t aim to prove or disprove the existence of God, not with any scientific certainty anyway. I of course understand that this is impossible–that is, God being a supernatural being (assuming existence), science cannot possibly be tasked with proving by natural means that which is, by definition, beyond the natural.

Instead, I wish to know whether books or other evidence proclaiming the truth of God are reliable. As much as I do NOT assert knowledge with respect to the existence of God, I will assert that the Bible is not an accurate or reliable piece of evidence.

You’re right, I have always enjoyed argument, this debate especially. Up until about a year ago, I would have been arguing just as vigorously, but on the other side. Since that time, I asked myself the fundamental question of whether I believe the Bible or not, and my world changed. In particular, I asked why I put my faith not in God, but in the Bible and its characterization of God. Although I had studied the Bible thoroughly and immensely, I had never thought to question why, exactly, I believed it to be true.

As for wasting my time, perhaps, but it’s my time to waste. If nothing else, I can provoke others to consider the issues I raise. I actually would love it if someone could show me why I’m wrong on the Bible and could tell me that its promise of a simple way into heaven (simply relying on and acting on John 3;16) is reliable. So to that end, I continue visiting sites like this one, hoping to be shown wrong one day.

11 08 2009
Kevin

Hi Heather

I commend you in the way you have handled this discussion. Although I disagree with much of what you have written, you have showed courage in replying to the comments that have been posted here. I also notice that comments undergo moderation before they are published, and I appreciate the fact that you approve those comments that are critical of your viewpoint. This shows that you are open to discussion, and this is what I respect about you.

If you don’t mind, I just want to reply to some of the points raised by ifran (posted on 3 Aug):

Hi Ifran

Ifran wrote: “It came to my attention that not too long ago Anthony Flew proclaimed he is no longer an atheist”

This is true, but the fact that some Christians do become atheists and some atheists become Christians doesn’t say anything about God’s existence, which is what I’m mostly concerned about. As an atheist myself, I’m not really worried about how many people become atheists, as my unbelief doesn’t depend on how many are ‘in the atheist club’, but instead depends on what I observe around me, and on what I understand about how the world works. If everyone on earth became Christians, and I was the only atheist left, I would remain an atheist because people don’t generally rise from the dead or magically walk on water.

Ifran wrote: “If you do not believe there is a God, or that he is unknowable, than it seems to me the only answer science has to offer is natural selection and a highly improbable big bang that started it all”

The Big Bang improbable? As far as I know, the evidence for the Big Bang is extremely strong, and the evidence for evolution is pretty good. Anyway, the Big Bang and natural selection don’t disprove the existence of a god.

But one of the problems of the design argument is that it doesn’t seem to fit with the character of a loving God. The HIV/AIDS virus, for example, is extremely complex – so was it God who created it, together with other virus and parasites (such as the tapeworm)? If life was designed, it seems as if the designer exhibited a malicious streak.

Ifran wrote: “In reality the vast majority of the world chooses to believe in a God. So from a practical standpoint, the Atheist is losing the battle for “reason” in most peoples eyes”

In the past, a majority of the world chose to believe that the sun revolved around the earth, but this didn’t change the fact that we exist in a heliocentric solar system. In other words, the number of people who believe in something doesn’t make that something any more (or any less) true.

And the burden of proof is definitely on the Christian, as the Christian is making the claim that God exists. As an atheist, I don’t claim that God doesn’t exist. Rather, I simply don’t believe that he exists.

11 08 2009
Lt. Dan

Kevin,

You are incorrectly imposing the “burden of proof” in your arguments relating to Heather’s philosophical and theological statements and arguments. She does not bear the burden of proof in this venue.

The logical fallacy which is exposed in this case is the attempt to argue that view A is to be preferred to view B because “B cannot be proven” when the burden of proof is laid on view B to an impossibly heavy level, and in particular to a level under which A could not be proven either.

“Keith Lehrer suggests that ‘generally arguments about where the burden of proof lies are unproductive. It is more reasonable to suppose that such questions are best left to courts of law where they have suitable application. In philosophy a different principle of agnoiology [the study of things which cannot be known] is appropriate, to wit, that no hypothesis should be rejected as unjustified without argument against it. Consequently, if the skeptic puts forth a hypothesis inconsistent with the hypothesis of common sense, then there is no burden of proof on either side….'” —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof_(logical_fallacy)

This blog is not a court of law, but an informal (albeit public) discourse on religion and faith based primarily on Heather’s beliefs, which she holds as common sense. In the broadest sense of burden of proof, however, it would seem that the burden of proof is on you, Kevin, because the author (Heather) has established the degree of rigor required for “proof” in her support materials (the Bible) of the arguments she puts forth here.

You say, “As an atheist, I don’t claim that God doesn’t exist. Rather, I simply don’t believe that he exists.” Your claim makes use of the dictionary definition of the word atheist, but in modern usage that term is vague and also unproductive because it does not take into account all of the various stances now extant with atheists. In other words, you are denying Heather any chance of understanding your “new” world view.

I have mentioned to you elsewhere that in my informed opinion, you are not an atheist in the modern sense, but more an agnostic in the modern sense. You may aspire to atheism, but since you seem not to fully understand what that means your position is vulnerable to misinterpretation. I suggest further that your “burden of proof” declaration is a red-herring.

Lt. Dan

13 08 2009
Brian

“no hypothesis should be rejected as unjustified without argument against it.”

My hypothesis: the flying spaghetti monster exists.

You, based on your cited support, cannot reject my hypothesis as unjustified without argument against it. And yet, don’t you reject my hypothesis? If so, why?

As for the definition of atheist, the term is not well established in the minds of many. Nevertheless, arguing over whether one is “atheist” or “agnostic” hardly seems to further anything. The point of explaining one’s own beliefs is not to accurately label them but instead to express one’s position. That is, labels are used to summarize ideas, not the other way around. Moreover, this is merely an argumentative technique used to distract from the primary assertion-rebuttal, not to further the underlying point.

21 08 2009
Bob

And by what standard did you determine that HIV is malicious? Whence cometh this moral sense of good and bad you hold? I happen to believe viruses that kill people like you are cuddly — who are you to judge?

13 08 2009
Kevin

Hi Lt Dan

Very intriguing argument! I don’t want to respond to it yet, as this is the first time I’ve come across it, and I want to learn more. So what I will do is try and rephrase what you have written, and you can let me know if I’ve gotten it right.

From what I understand, you are arguing that the burden of proof argument doesn’t apply to those things which are unknowable. Those things which are unknowable (but are regarded as making sense) should be accepted until one finds an argument against it. Have I got it right?

With regards to me being an atheist or agnostic: this all depends on which definitions you use, but I’ve always held that I’m both an agnostic and atheist. An atheist because I lack the defining characteristic that makes a theist a theist (ie, belief in God) and an agnostic because I feel I have not yet obtained sufficient knowledge (ie, certainty) to warrant belief (some refer to this as weak agnosticism).

How would you define atheism?

Lt Dan wrote: “you are denying Heather any chance of understanding your “new” world view”

This is a beautiful comment. I once called atheism a worldview but now I hold the view that atheism is not worldview at all; it isn’t even a belief system. It is simply a descriptive word of identification that separates me from the theist. It says nothing about what I believe. I’ve had similar doubts about the word ‘ex-Christian’, and I’m thinking of writing a range of posts for my blog where I describe what I believe instead of what I don’t.

Thank you for your stimulating comments.

Kevin

16 08 2009
Lt. Dan

Kevin,
Yes, I would have suggested that you speak of what you believe rather than denying what you don’t. What do you believe, what is your world view regarding religion and all that?

Personally, I used to believe in something like the Christian view, it’s hard for me to say really because theology is so complicated and based on some very compelling arguments by some very respectable people — but now I don’t. I don’t know what I would be labeled or would call myself, but what’s in a name, eh?

Actually I believe that God exists as a phenotypic characteristic that is a byproduct of the evolution of some other characteristic (spandrel), rather than a direct product of adaptive selection in human social development. Justin Barrett has some very interesting (and compelling) things to say along those lines in his new book, “Why Would Anyone Believe in God?” (Cognitive Science of Religion Series). You may want to look it up. It’s very good — even if Barrett is a Christian!

Brian,
What you wrote above is gibberish! I think you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Lt. Dan

20 08 2009
Bob

There are a host of excellent arguments for the existence of God, but the most compelling (it seems to me) is the Cosmological Argument. So as the Apostle Paul points out in the last half of Romans chapter one, all who deny God are without excuse.

Of course, knowing that there must be a creator and actually conceding that the Creator is sovereign is not the same thing. Surmising the existence of a creator (or even conceding that there must be “the Creator”) doesn’t in itself overcome our predilection for casting ourselves in that role. And therein is the motive of all atheists: “I will make myself like the Most High!” (Isaiah 14:14).

17 10 2009
Sériva

Hello everyone

I don’t usually leave comments, though I’ve read everything that’s happened here, but I felt that a certain point of view was missing from this discussion. I don’t imagine for one second that what I’m about to contribute is new in the world: very little is. But I saw this particular position is missing from this discussion and thought I’d insert it 🙂

I am astonished to see that most of the discussion here revolves around a painfully narrow understanding of the nature of the Bible: calculating the height of the tower of Babel, contemplating the historical acuracy of the Flood, did Jesus rise from the dead, or was his body stolen? Were those that recorded the Bible faithful in relating the actual events as they happened? Are they to be trusted?

Actually, no! They are NOT to be trusted. Not in the way that you would like to trust them. This is because the Bible is NOT a science textbook, nor is it a historical documentation. Read it again: the Bible is not a science textbook or a historical documentation. It was never INTENDED that way.

Poetry is, in fact, what the bulk of the Old Testament is comprised of. The story of Jonah and the town of Nineveh, for example, as related by many of the minor prophets, is all originally written in poetry – actually, it’s a comedy! The literary style in which the story of Jonah is written is comedy. Imagine that. Comedy in the Bible! Many of the major prophets are written in poetry, take Isiah: one loooong poem. Moreover, most of the New Testament is written in letter format that is highly context-specific. Has anyone heard someone complain about ALL the MANY contradiction in Paul’s letters? Context-specific, I’m afraid. I can hardly do the above claims justice in this scant reply as hundreds of books have been written on this. This is theology. The systematic, scientific observation of the Bible in all its historical and cultural context. People, imagine how Shakespeare would tug at his hair if us modern-day know-it-alls launched an expedition to assert whether the sun was really an eye (Sonnet 18)! He’d turn in his grave! Does everyone here imagine that the writers of the Bible had no imagination? That their language and their culture was so impoverished that they used no literary genre, no metaphorical figures, used no cultural understandings to relate their ideas?

On the contrary, ancient Hebrew (the language of the Old Testament) is so rich with poetic and stylistic devices that a HUGE deal of the beauty of the Old Testament is lost to anyone who cannot read and understand it in Ancient Hebrew. Let’s not begin on our understandings.

Furthermore, the Israelites were an oral culture until they were enslaved in Babylon. This is of huge consequence. Oral cultures are known for having an entirely different set of priorities to us fact-obsessed Westerners. To us, a thought is supposed to be captured in writing, on paper, and never changed. To do so is a crime that receives many different names, including “plagiarism”, which is punishable by law. Furthermore, we want to know everything that happened exactly as it happened, in the order that it happened. Oral cultures are entirely different!! Stories can and MUST change with every retelling, each new author adding what he feels makes the story more applicable and richer. They are not as concerned with facts as we are. For the teller of the story to get his meaning across, he is allowed to do whatever he likes. Such is the nature of many stories of the Old Testament. Go and see for yourselves how similar stories in the Bible are to many Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian myths. The abovementioned is the reason for that.

The prominent question here is this: does anything I mentioned above bear major consequences for Christianity? If your answer is “yes” then it’s no wonder you have to fight so ferociously to protect your belief system from being obliterated. Isn’t a healthy faith (this can apply to Christians, Theists, Atheists, Agnostics etc etc.) one that never closes itself to re-examination? Some things in the world, like scientific discoveries, are undeniable. If you close what you believe off to new information, then you will eventually find yourself fighting to keep others from upsetting your beliefs. This becomes a pathological obsession. Not to mention, it’s very detrimental to society as a whole. Just see for yourselves how much argumentation is going on here.

If your answer is “no”, then well done. Why should whether Jesus really lived or not be the pivotal point of our belief? I’ve read novels that have had such a great emotional impact on me that I cried for days and changed the way I lived forever. Isn’t that really the point of the Bible? To teach us how to live? So if EVERYTHING in the Bible is not PERFECTLY acurate, why does it matter? Don’t you think that is exactly what Jesus was trying to get across to thick-headed individuals like the Scribes and Pharisees? They were perfect by law. Believed everything they ought to have, Heather. And still Jesus condemned them. Why do you think he did that? Because their hearts weren’t in it. Like the rich man in your Lazarus story. The reason he went to hell wasn’t because he didn’t believe. Note that nowhere does it say that Lazarus went to Abraham’s arms becuase he believed. The crux of this story is that the rich man had no compassion. The crux of the life of Jesus is that he had compassion. He uses a centurion officer as an example of the perfect child of God. Note that never does it say that the centurion officer believed that Jesus was God. He had compassion. That’s why Jesus approved of him.

I don’t want to throw around theories about who goes to heaven and who doesn’t. I don’t want to argue about what makes you a Christian and what doesn’t. That’s not the point of my reply. It makes me very angry to see people who have absolutely no knowledge of the Bible in its original context starting arguments about time running out and accepting Jesus and God’s arms always being open. I don’t claim to know everything. I’m not a theologian — and even they don’t have all the answers. My point is simply that you wouldn’t go telling a nuclear physicist what’s what in his own laboratory. Learn to be a little humbler when it comes to the Bible and telling others that they should change their ways. Just because you believe in God, doesn’t mean you’re automatically an expert on theology. People dedicate their lives to studying this stuff and you should be surprised that theologians are mostly violently against the views you have expressed, Heather.

Lastly, I’d just like to mention that the scripture you quoted from Isiah in your original post to Kevin is taken seriously our of context. That passage is directed at the king of Babylon that enslaved the Jews and suppressed them, and compares him to other oppressive kings like him. There is absolutely no way that this passage – even if you were “re-hashing” it – could apply to Kevin. From what I have read in his blog, he is a peace-loving person who is expressing his emotions and findings regarding faith. He has never abused anyone for choosing to believe, much better than you have done. I don’t care whether you say you are just voicing your opinion. You have thrown around words like “fool” “ignorant individual” “truth” etc. and that is irresponsible to say the least. Especially as I presume you would like non-Christians to see the merit in Christianity.

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