Monday, November 28, 2016

Calvinistic Cartoons: Round and Sound



Calvinistic Cartoons: Round and Sound

Sunday, November 20, 2016

FacePlant of the Day - Debunking Christianity: The Day God Overslept (Well, One of Many Days)

It's that old chestnut again: The Problem of Evil. This time a slightly different slant is given by David Madison over at Debunking Christianity. I will again leave his word in black with my responses in red font. Let's see if this slant is any better than any of the others trotted out.


Theodicy, AKA The Litany of Excuses



In March 1996, in Dunblane, Scotland, a gunman walked into a school and killed sixteen children and their teacher. Among the many flowers that were left outside the school in thedays following, one bouquet was accompanied by a Teddy Bear with a note tied around its neck: “Wednesday 13 March 1996–the day God overslept.”

I remember when this incident happened. Unfortunately it was not the first time nor the last time such a horrific thing has happened. The annecdotal note and the article under consideration here seem to be making a point that if God was awake and active that gunman would not have killed all those people. The thought assumes that God is obligated to keep bad things from happening to people in general and to us in particular. The Bible never tells us that but many of us people are still quick to make this assumption.

For those raised to believe in a good god who also happens to be all-powerful, such evil is inexplicable. Theologians have given it their best shot—over and over, throughout the millennia—but none of their explanations really satisfy. As one of them, Uta Ranke-Heinemann has admitted, “The question of the origin of evil, of what causes the tears
and deviltries of the world, the question that no
theologian has so far managed to answer, is one that humans have always posed.” (Putting Away Childish Things, p. 62)

People who find the problem of the origin of evil as inexplicable to the point of absurdity should really consider if they understand what the Bible means where it says that God is "good". I think what people really think is that if God is good then it is unthinkable that he would allow anything bad to happen to good people. We think that we ourselves in particular are too good to deserve the bad things in life that befall us  Therefore, of course God should not allow us to suffer. When we see someone else suffer, especially when we think they are innocent, we wonder why it happens and if something like that or worse could happen to us?

Many serious thinkers have concluded from the existence of massive evil andsuffering that there probably isn’t a good god overseeing the Cosmos. Most believers can’t go that far, and reach for other explanations. Hence one mourner in Dunblane chose the metaphor of oversleeping to excuse God’s inattention. This metaphor is milder than Nietzsche’s famous declaration that “God is dead,” but “God overslept” is still just an attempt—tinged with cynicism it seems to me—to come to terms with God’s absence or indifference. Why didn’t God—almighty God who knows if even a sparrow falls to the ground (Matt. 10:29)—jam the gun that day?

Just because something bad happens does not mean that God is not inattentive. It does not mean that God did not know it was going to happen. It does not mean that God did nothing. Obviously the situation could have been far worse and that does mean that God constrained it to make it not as bad. as it could have been. For example, what if the man had succeeded in killing every person at that school that day. I think that was intention. What stopped him? God.  What about the people that was killed? I don't know! I think we should not be afraid to admit that. I don't know why God does what He does in every situation. None of us do. That should be okay. He is sovereign and under no one. This is where trust and faith kick in. We know that God knows what God is doing and he does what is best for everyone in the ultimate sense that will bring God the most glory although I do not understand it all now!

Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? God could have jammed the gun. Why not? But even
many Christians would respond, “Well, the world doesn’t work that way.”Of course not. But why not, if “he’s got the whole world in his hands”? The disconnect between such sentimental religious banalities and the real world can be very jarring. With so much evil and misery on this planet, how is it consoling, let alone true, that “he’s got the whole world in his hands”?

I know people who have experience the "gun jammed" moment. Instances where people were in life threatening situations but God miraculously saved their lives - including having a loaded gun's trigger pulled in their face but God making the gun jam. I say God did it because the gun should have gone off,. God does exactly that kinds of stuff even today. That being said, God does not do that all the time nor are we promised that he would do it all the time. God having "whole world in his hand" is only consoling if you know him!

Many explanations have been offered to account for suffering in our tiny corner of a Cosmos supposedly supervised by a caring and all-powerful god. The result of this major theistic preoccupation can be labeled The Litany of Excuses (although it’s officially called theodicy). Most Christian laypeople can usually round up a few of the standard apologies if asked point-blank why God tolerates so much evil and suffering.

"The Litany of Excuses" appears to presupposes that God has to defend his decisions and ways in terms of what happens to us He is the potter and we are clay. He gets to do what he wants and does not answer to any of us. I hope by "apologes", Madison is using the word in its classical definition as "defenses". God does not need to say "sorry" to anyone for anything. 

But I’ve found that believers balk at any hard thinking that would require serious homework on this issue. They usually don’t grasp how fraught with difficulties the common excuses are. The apologies sound okay only on the surface. Folks who blithely offer two or three excuses for God’s tolerance for suffering and evil usually have not thought deeply enough about the excuses to see how vulnerable they are. For example, those who claim that free will lets God off the hook on a lot of suffering don’t
grasp how free will goes off the rails before it accomplishes much of anything. Nor do they seem to be aware that the standard excuses have been vetted by non-religious philosophers, and commonly found wanting. They seldom—if ever—ask where they can find the exhaustive theodicy literature that is available. I’ve never heard a Christian say, “I’d better read up on this. There must be lots of books on my favorite apology for God. Where can I find them?”

Finally something Madison writes makes sense. The "free will" theodicy is indeed not a good argument  and is not Biblical. It has been 2000 years and plenty of good answers for this.

Secular philosophers understand that the excuses don’t hold water—that’s commonly why they became secular philosophers—and theologians differ as to which are worth clinging to, and offer strained and forced defenses of those that they prefer.

It seems that Madison is coming from an Arminian perspective and I find that theology woefully inadequate for answering the Problem of Evil because all you really have the free will defense that I think that it really sucks, To see see better discussion seen Genesis 50, Romans, Habakkuk, the works of Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Spurgeon, John Piper, RC Sproul, James White, and many others.

David Madison was a pastor in the United Methodist Church for nine years, and has a PhD in Biblical Studies from Boston University. His book, Ten Tough Problems in Christian Thought and Belief: a Minister-Turned-Atheist Shows Why You Should Ditch the Faith, was published by Tellectual Press in August 2016.


Keep praying for David Madison

Debunking Christianity: The Day God Overslept (Well, One of Many Days)

Jesus vs. Dionysus

Sunday, October 23, 2016

FacePalm of the Day Debunking Christianity - Jesus Got It Wrong, Really Wrong

The thing that amazes me is that some men and women really think that they have not just the right to critique God but also that they have the ability to accurately critique God. This particular post from Debunking Christianity really highlights the problems that arises when people attack Jesus' teachings without so much of a clue of what they are talking about. The "Facepalm" is caused by this post due to the assumption of Jesus being wrong not because the author misunderstood the teaching.

Jesus gets major demerits for hardening the Old Testament teaching about divorce, thereby bringing incalculable anguish during the ensuing centuries.

Unfortunately, many Christians have the wrong understanding about what Jesus taught about divorce. They just don't go as far as adding blasphemy to their error as David Madison does in his post.  Jesus teaching does not being anguish. If there is anguish it comes from disobeying Jesus. All one has to do is look at how divorce devastates lives and families.

Many billions of people have gone into marriages for a wide variety of reasons, e.g., convenience, lust, desperation, family obligations and alliances, pregnancy—sometimes even love. It dawns on a lot of people, months or years into a marriage: “Well, this was a mistake.”

The issue is that people get married for the wrong reasons. Marriage does not fix problems or heal wounds. And if you get a divorce at the first feeling of having made a mistake you have definitely missed the point. What I like about Jesus' teachings on marriage is that He makes it clear what the point of marriage is and what it is not. When Madison points out that people sometime marry for "love" what kind of  "love" does he refer to. Bet it isn't the kind of love the Bible says married people should have for each other.

Jesus is guilty of a grievous logical fallacy in his pronouncement on divorce. Why do men and women get married? Jesus sees the “natural order” as God’s idea, and said this to the Pharisees:

“Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them
male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his
father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become
one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God
has joined together, let no one separate." (Matt. 19:4-6)

 Jesus was not responding to the question "Why do men and women get married?" The question that the Pharisees asked was “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” (vs 3) Therefore Jesus' answer was that it's not lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason because divorce is not part of God's perfect plan.

If you operate within a theological context, there’s nothing wrong with the idea that God arranged for men and women to hook up, but it doesn’t follow at all that God has actually arranged all marriages, picking each woman for each man, ever since humans began cohabitating.

 I think this point brought up by Madison is very important. Why is this conclusion untenable?  The Bible teaches that God has put each and everyone of us in the circumstances we find ourselves in so that we can best Find him (Acts 17:24). This would have to include our births and assigning who are parents are,

It is shortsighted, destructive and dangerous to argue that God’s law and intent are violated when couples don’t get along after all. Yet Jesus does just that in Mark 10. He condemns divorce, culminating in the famous verse 9: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one
separate.” Did Jesus really think that it is God who makes all the matches, so many of which are disastrous?

Interesting how Madison asks the next logical question as if the Pharisees did not also ask it. Look at Matthew 19:7


“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

The Pharisees did not like Jesus' answer and sought to justify the view that they could divorce their wives with impunity, Jesus explains why the Torah makes provision for divorce.

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Matthew 19:8-9

God permitted divorce to keep society intact because people are not able to live the right way.

To Mark 10, we can add Matthew 5:31-32: “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

In Mark and Luke we do not find the words “except on the ground of unchastity.” Somehow, in a small mercy, Matthew saw fit to add that modification.

It is not a modification. Mark 10 and  Matthew 19 are parallel passages and answering a specific question. Matthew 5:31-32 is in another context. He gives these commands in Matt 5:31-32 right after Jesus taught about adultery. Not a modification but a clarification.

Let it be noted, by the way, Christians have shown far more common sense than Jesus on this matter: They do get divorced as much as their non-Christian neighbors. They’ve figured out that the layer of theology imposed on marriage (“what God has joined together”), is irrelevant and impossible to sustain in reality. They know that Jesus was wrong. This is one of his failures as a moral teacher.

No Way. Jesus words about why why people, even Christians, get divorced is still true today: we are sinners who are unable to perfectly follow God's laws. However with the power of God that saves us from sin and death we can keep our marriage vows.  My parents have been married for 58 years. It's possible. Divorce is not a sign of God's failure but of human sin and depravity. A failed marriage has many different causes but the bottom line is one or both spouses decide not live according to God's way. 

The Catholic Church has maintained a level of rigidity on divorce that defies all logic and compassion—based on Jesus’ bad counsel on the matter. Yet the church has, for money, figured out ways to help couples escape matrimonial bonds. Don’t we all have our favorite stories of
shrewd Catholic maneuvering? Mine is about the man who, for enough cash, after more than 20 years of marriage and three children, was able to buy an annulment. The church, it would seem, is not opposed to laying up treasure on earth.

I don't see how any church's twisting of Jesus' commands nullify what Jesus said. Buying an annulment is an example of ignoring Jesus' teaching not upholding it. As for the opposite extreme  of counseling a person to stay in an abusive marriage, this is also not what Jesus was saying. If you can read what Jesus said and think that Madison is right about what he thinks Jesus said about divorce, you should re-read it.

DavidMadison has a PhD in Biblical Studies from Boston University. He has a PhD in Biblical Studies from Boston University, and was a pastor in the
United Methodist Church for nine years. His book, Ten Tough Problems in Christian Thought and Belief: a Minister-Turned-Atheist Shows Why You Should Ditch the Faith, was published by Tellectual Press in August.





Debunking Christianity

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Jesus vs. Krishna

Truthbomb Apologetics: Video: Old Testament Violence by Larry Alex Taunton




Truthbomb Apologetics: Video: Old Testament Violence by Larry Alex Taunton

Royce Mann, Age 14, "White Boy Privilege", Slam Poem

Answering Muslims: Free vs. Controlled Transmission in Regards to the Qur'an and New Testament (with Dr. James White)

Answering Muslims: Free vs. Controlled Transmission in Regards to the Qur'an and New Testament (with Dr. James White)

List of non-canonical books mentioned within the Bible | True Freethinker

Here is a great list of books that are mentioned within the Biblical texts that are not part of the cannon. I'm really interested in this and will probably see if I can track them down to see if I can get access to them. 



List of non-canonical books mentioned within the Bible | True Freethinker

Saturday, October 15, 2016

FacePlant of the Day - Debunking Christianity: Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Toxic Brew of Bad Theology

With the title of this particular article recently posted on Debunking Christianity I was expecting a thorough explanation and proof of Apostle Paul's "toxic" and "bad" theology. I am very underwhelmed. I think it's easy to see a very to see this as a true faceplant of epic proportions. I want the article to speak for itself and will annotate the article in red.

Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Toxic Brew of Bad Theology


A number of years ago, in conversation with a Christian friend, I mentioned Paul’s Letter to the Romans. “I don’t know it,” she responded. I suppose I shouldn’t have been all that surprised, since the Letter to the Romans is not an easy part of the Bible to get through and understand—which is why very few Christians even give it a try.

I do not need to rebut or even try to refute this. I was raised in a Christian household and been in church all my life and I have been hearing, reading, studying and digesting the Epistle to the Romans my whole life. I do recognize that this isn't the same for all Christians, but it still amazes me that some people have not read it. It is sad. We, as Christians, need to do better.

The gospels have far more appeal and get a lot more traffic. But still, such ignorance of basic Bible material surely isn’t a good thing for believers who aspire to be—or even assume they are—Bible-based Christians.

Agreed. But this isn't true of all Christians that I know. If this is true about all the Christians that you know I would have to suggest you should get out more and meet more people.

No  matter the indifference of laypeople to the Letter to the Romans, it is a source of bewilderment to secular thinkers that Christian theologians have been obsessed—and I do mean utterly obsessed—with the Letter to the Romans, for centuries. Those of the Protectant [sic] persuasion might be aware that Martin Luther urged Christians to memorize it, but I suspect that ordinary folks in the pews would be dumbfounded to learn that every syllable, word and verse of Romans—every jot and title—has been scrutinized and analyzed, over-analyzed, super-analyzed, painstakingly, exhaustively, by Christian theologians. They tease out, squeeze out the tiniest bits of revelation that might have sparked from Paul’s mind onto the scroll…as if the fate of the Cosmos were hanging in the balance. But I guess, of course, for those in the Christian cult, that’s what Romans is about.

I think that this is where the faceplant starts.  I don't think its weird at all to scrutinize Romans or any of the Bible. If it is truly the word of God it would be stupid not to look at it carefully. If you don't look at it carefully, how would you be able to determine if it is God's word or not? That is why I'm interested in going through Romans with the proverbial fine-toothed comb. The fate of the universe does "hang in the balance".  If Paul was a liar or insane then he and the other Apostles were wrong. Jesus was wrong and Christianity is a waste of time. It would be sheer stupidity to be sure. This is not a matter of faith (as defined by John Loftus and many other wrong Atheist as being "believing despite and instead of evidence). The point here: Is the Bible true in general and Romans in particular? The writer of this article and Atheists in general would argue that the Bible is not true. It falls to them to demonstrate something the Bible is wrong about. David Madison in this case has to show Paul got something wrong is some way and not merely just assert that Paul was wrong. He has to show the toxicity and badness of  Paul's theology.  Let's examine the article to see how he does. Spoiler: a major faceplant.

 Do I exaggerate about the ‘utter obsession’? Well, Ben Witherington’s 400-page analysis of Romans (Paul's Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary, 2004) includes an 18-page bibliography of scholarly works on Paul and Romans, a list he says that “could go on for miles.” In 1996, evangelical scholar Douglas Moo published a 1,000-page commentary on Romans (The Epistle to the Romans), one of a series, the New International Commentary on the New Testament, “loyal to the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God.” A thousand pages on the sixteen chapters of Romans? The legions of Christian scholars, who can’t get enough of this dense patch of scripture, assume that scholar and theologian C. H. Dodd, got it right when he declared in 1939 that Romans is “the first great work of Christian theology.”

Another great paragraph full of nothing to disagree with.  

But, of course, it’s not. Because Paul was a crank. In my book I argue that he was a ‘delusional cult fanatic’—but ‘crank’ is good shorthand. He was the prototype for Christian crazies who have shown up repeatedly in the centuries of the Christian era.

Almost every great thinker throughout history was considered a "crank" at best by his or her detractors. Do you know what separates a "crank" from a "genius"? The genius is right about the thing(s) so many others thinks they are wrong about, Can Madison prove the theology that Paul wrote down in Romans was wrong?

 How so? I mean, really, how can anyone take this guy seriously? 

So...Madison thinks that Paul's ideas should not be taken seriously. Why not?

 (1) Paul assured one of his congregations that, when the Lord came back, their dead relatives would pop out of their graves to meet Jesus in the clouds—with musical accompaniment, no less (I Thess. 4:16-18).

Just because Madison considers  the rapture ridiculous does not mean that it's not going to happen. Where's the evidence and argument that Paul is wrong. This is just an assertion.

(2) Paul scolded Christians for taking one another to court; didn’t they know they were qualified to settle their disputes? Why? Because one day soon they would be judging angels—after Jesus’ return (I Corinthians 6:3).

Use context much?will be judging angels.  Also because we should be treating one another with love and esteeming each other higher than ourselves (Philippians 2:3) we should be able to settle our disputes without going to court. True that most Christians have not lived up to this but it is what we are supposed to do. Unbelievers should not not hold the failure of Christians against the Bible. If you think you can do better, come show us how to do it.

 (3) He advised married Christian men to act as if they no longer had wives, because “the appointed time has grown short”—i.e., Jesus would arrive soon (I Corinthians 7:29); this matches his advice in Romans 13:14: “…put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”

 That's not really true. Why did Madison fail to refer to the whole passage. Read the whole Chapter and you will see the Paul never said to married men to live like they no longer had wives. This contradicts verses 10 and 11.

1To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
If you are going to bad-mouth Paul I expect something way more factual.

(4) Paul had no interest in good government (or in art, culture or education, or that matter).He assured his readers—this is in Romans 13—that all leaders are in power because God put them there.

No Paul told his readers to obey the laws of the land because God put the leaders in charge. How is this crazy. Is Madison and anarchist? Paul most definitely was not. Paul was reminding believers that our trust - our faith - is in God and not any particular government. Go back and read Romans 13. 

 (5) He embraced a magic formula for eternal life that sounds straight out of Hogwarts: “…if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). This is just a start, but I rest my case: Paul was a Jesus groupie and nothing else.

If putting all my egg into Jesus' basket, like Paul did, makes me a  "Jesus groupie" I'll gladly represent that remark. If Jesus, Paul, and all the believers from Adam to today are right, there is no other sane response. It's not magic. If one thinks Paul just made up Romans 10:9 out of no where then one has misunderstood the whole book of Romans. Go back ans start with Chapter one. You will not understand Romans 10 if you did not understand Chapters 1-9

 Randel Helms (Gospels Fictions, The Bible Against Itself) has said that the Bible is self-destructive artifact, and the Letter to the Romans is Exhibit A in making the case that this is so. It has land mines in almost every chapter. Christians can see theology exploding in their faces if they venture to step through these chapters, unaccompanied by apologists.

More assumptions. The thing about the book of Romans is that it is not a simple picture book. It has deep theology and philosophy and requires much study. It's not a Twilight novel.

 During the coming weeks—spilling over into January, I suspect—I will offer a few reflections on each of the sixteen chapters in Romans. I will make the case that this over-adored epistle is indeed a
toxic brew of bad theology.

Oh goody - more entertaining faceplants to read!

Ben Witherington, by the way, undermines any confidence that Romans is revelation, when he warns his readers on page one of his 400-page work, “…the goal of understanding this formidable discourse is not reached for a considerable period of time.” So God planned it that way?

How does the fact that it took a lot of time to understand Romans (and still learning from it) undermines the letter as being revelation from God. Everyone is growing in different rates and I know I am still learning from Romans and I have read it multiple times.God did plan it that way. Recall that Christianity is a relationship with God. Relationships grow and we learn more and more. God does not grow because he does not have to. We do.

Why would we have to work so hard to grasp revealed information? Did you get my hint of ridicule when I mentioned Douglas Moo’s huge tome above? Yes, I am baffled by his efforts. Lest I be accused of anti-intellectualism, however, in scoffing at a 1,000-page book on Romans, let me say that, of course, academicians who specialize in antiquities are justified in pursuing their passions. Our heritage is enriched because there are countless weighty tomes about the works of Solon and Homer, about the hieroglyphed walls in Egypt and the pornographic murals in Pompeii. The authors were motivated to understand human genius and creativity, to increase our quotient of enlightenment. But the motivation for obsessive study of Paul is to figure out a god. The scholars who do this are on a holy mission.

It makes sense that God tells us to study. Why would it be easy? We can only do it with God's help.Why would we think our finite minds could easily and quickly comprehend the infinitude of God? I'd say it is like putting the pacific ocean into a thimble. Not going to happen.

Sadly—can’t they admit it?—Paul was not channeling a god in his hallucinations. He was an obsessive-compulsive mediocre thinker and bad theologian.

I'd like to see Madison prove that.

 He churned out reams of theobabble, which, by an accident of history, were elevated to the status of scripture. The academicians who study Paul are determined to distill the essence of God’s will, to discover the divine mind. They are on fool’s errand.

Where's the beef? Madison at this points makes a lot of assumptions without no evidence to prove them.

Their pursuit is as worthwhile as studying the minutia of old letters written by medieval astrologers or alchemists. I am not anti-intellectual; I just have so little patience with the faith-blinded assumption that digging through this ancient text will yield data about a god. When scholars also happen to be ordained ministers, it’s hard to overcome the faith-blindness.

I'd agree with Madison if the book of Romans did not tell us anything about God and his reconciliation  of humanity from sin and death but it does.

No, we don’t have to believe C.H. Dodd’s glowing assessment: “…this great epistle, into which [Paul] has packed the ripe fruits of many years of thought and work, of preaching, controversy, and the cure of souls, of trial, suffering, and spiritual experience.” The Letter to the Romans deserves to be at the bottom of the scrapheap of history. Paul is an embarrassment.

Madison indeed does not need to agree with Dodd but if he cannot demonstrate that Paul was wrong then this series is just a faceplant and an embarrassment.

David Madison was in the Methodist ministry in Massachusetts for nine years. He has a PhD in Biblical Studies from Boston University, and is the author of Ten Tough Problems in Christian Thought and Belief: a Minister-Turned-Atheist Shows Why You Should Ditch the Faith (Tellectual Press).


Debunking Christianity

Friday, September 16, 2016

Muhammad vs. Jesus: Judging Religions by Their Central Figures (David Wood)

David Wood has posted a video that everyone should see. He manages to explain the differences between Jesus Christ and Muhammad and why we can't judge a religion by its adherents instead of its founder.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Matthew Dowling: Proof of Evolution That You [Can't] Find on Your Body"

Here is the orginal video detailing how some scientist conclude that human anatomy contains evidence for evolutions





And here is a counter response





Matthew Dowling: Proof of Evolution That You [Can't] Find on Your Body"

Monday, November 2, 2015

Truthbomb Apologetics: Is the Bible Reliable?

Here is a great list of audio programs that present arguments for the reliability of the Bible! Great stuff!



Truthbomb Apologetics: Is the Bible Reliable?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Faceplant of the Day - Debunking Christianity: God Cannot Be Perfect Because Perfect Does Not Make Sense

I have seen a few posts from Jonathan MS Pearce on Debunking Christianity in which he tries to use philosophy to disprove Christianity. I don't doubt that he is well educated in philosophy, but he does not seem to understand the Bible or what it says. His words are in black and my comments will be in red

In another post I was talking about how God, prior to creation (at least according to classical interpretations of God based on the Ontological Argument), had ontological perfection. That is to say, he was in a perfect state of being (since this is built into the definition of God). The argument followed that, in creating the world, God would be either lacking something and thus having a need, which is incoherent with ontological perfection, or he was downgrading his perfect state in the process of creating this world.

\
"Ontological Perfection" does not mean that there is a standard of perfection which God meets. Instead it means that the standard by which perfection is measured is the being of God. God does not have perfect qualities, God is perfection. Why does it follow that God created the world  because of a need? The Bible does not say that God created the universe out of needing to fulfill something. I realize that some well-meaning Christian philosophy make the argument that the universe was created so that God could make humans so that He could have loving relationships. It's a popular idea, but it's not in the Bible. God does not need us. Yes, He made us because He loves us but he does not need us to express his love. This is why God's Triune nature is such a major doctrine. The Being of God has three persons - eternal and equal - and any need is fulfilled and satisfied in God's own being. Jesus said

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. - John 3:35

I won't take the time to demonstrate the reality of the Trinity, but it's essential given if you are going to argue from a Biblical perspective. 

Now, this argument is all good and well, and it certainly assumes the classical understanding of God in being ontologically perfect in every way. Not exactly as he framed it. The Ontological Argument does not depend on God having made the universe out of need.

However, this post is going to look at the idea that any such argument for or against God does not really get off the ground since it is contingent upon the idea of perfection being logically coherent as an intrinsic value and characteristic. This, I am afraid, is wrong. One cannot make this assumption because perfection, as a stand-alone conceptual characteristic to ascribe to anything, is nonsensical.

Strangely, I have to agree with him on this point because he is starting in the wrong place So far he has not defined what definition of perfection he is using. If you don't ground perfection in the being of God of course the argument (and all rationality) becomes nonsensical. 

I can only understand perfect as a goal-directed adjective such that A is perfect for B, or this catapult is perfect for getting this stone over the wall in such and such a manner. Now, one could say that God is perfect at being God, but this implies an infinite regress or circularity. What does it really mean to say that God is perfect? Is he perfect at getting a stone over the wall? Perfect at being loving, merciful and just; at being prefect, designing and moral?

Aah...finally something of a definition for "perfection". It is not a Biblical definition. He gives what he understands "perfection" is and then just runs with it. Just because that is the way he understands what "perfection" is does not mean that is what the Bible is talking about. It's more than just being unable to fail at reaching a goal or being loving or merciful or being moral. A more accurate Biblical description that someone from his mindset might understand is this: God is unable to fail. 

Even establishing what a prefect painting is, is an entirely subjective process, depending upon personal tastes. And this applies to all sorts of things such that perfection becomes either subjective or incoherent. Being perfectly powerful and knowledgeable are admittedly simpler proficiencies to hold, conceptually.

This is why God - due to who God is - is best to objectively and exhaustively define perfection. Not you. Not Pearce. And most certainly not me.

The other problem is that perfection of a being involves multiple aspects such that, as the classic problem goes, God cannot be perfectly just AND perfectly merciful since to be perfectly just assumes punishing justly for a misdemeanour, and to be perfectly merciful assumes some kind of leniency.

True if only you misdefine "justice" and "mercy". God's justice is perfectly satisfied and displayed in that most certainly all sin is atoned for because God the son paid the punishment for sin. God's mercy is perfect because He saved some from the penalty of our sins. God remains in control because it's his choice about how much mercy we get.

With all of these characteristics which conflict, the theist retreats to maximal perfection, a sort of optimal scenario given all of the nuances and variables. But this becomes arbitrary and subjective. One more ounce of mercy and one less ounce of justice might be perfect for a God wanting to achieve A, but vice versa might be better for wanting to achieve B.

Pearce is setting up a false dichotomy. It's not either mercy or justice. God is perfect because He is both. We are not. 

Therefore, we need to establish, without circularity or incoherence, what God is to be perfect FOR, before establishing whether God is or can be perfect. To have a timeless God sitting there and label it as perfect is, to me, meaningless (as a stand-alone descriptor).

Why? Pearce seems to be assuming that there are things that God is not perfect FOR. Understanding that there is nothing God is not perfect about in His being and actions would be an answer to the issues he is raising in this article.

And, therefore, given the subjective nature of appraisals of perfection, I see any argument using the term perfection as incoherent.

Using his definition he is right. Too bad Pearce does not seem to realize that the Bible is not using his definitions. 

Recently, I released an ebook called The Problem with "God", which looks at the issues inherent with the nature of God seen in classical theism: omnibenevolent, -scient and -potent. There are a whole number of reasons why it is problematic. I have written a good deal on this topic over many years of blogging, so thought I would put this to good use and compile many of the posts, together with some original material, into one easily digestible anthology at a reasonable price. I also talk a little about Satan and hell, because these entities and ideas, if existent, must make sense in light of a God who could get rid of them with the omnipotent click of the fingers. This was another short little hint of the issues apparent with this kind of God, and the idea of a nemesis following on from my post last week.

I think reading, Pearce's ebook is a good idea because it will help understand where he is coming from. I fully disagree that the nature of God is programmatic or that there is contradiction with God's existence and the reality of Evil.  I too have  blogged on these issues and Christians have dealt with these issues for the last 2000 years. People like Pearce intrigue me because it's like they have never read/heard what Christians have already because they never interact with the answers and ideas that have already been given. I do plan to read his book. Maybe he will finally interact with the really good answers Christians have given or at the very least provide more entertaining faceplants and facepalms. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

360 Final Fight

Here is a great example of new technology on YouTube. If you watch it on a PC, use the mouse to move the camera around to change the way you see the action. If you are on a mobile device, move the device around to see change the camera angle.


Monarch Butterfly Metamorphosis time-lapse FYV 1080 HD

Brings a whole new meaning to Romans 12:2. We are supposed to be transformed like that caterpillar. We stop our old ways and become something else.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Truthbomb Apologetics: Answering Bible Difficulties

Here is a great website I heard about from Chad's blog regarding a single place for resolving alleged Bible contradictions.



Truthbomb Apologetics: Answering Bible Difficulties

Monday, January 26, 2015

vb.net - How to make a thread wait until another thread finish? - Stack Overflow

This article looks like it may come in handy. I came into a situation that requires 3 threads to run in a WCF webservice but they have to run one-at-a-time. I hope this works!
*Disclaimer - I realize that this should have gone on my other blog, but I'm putting it here today!

vb.net - How to make a thread wait until another thread finish? - Stack Overflow

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Magical Bulletproof Material That Made Iron Man Give Up Iron | WIRED

I really like the following article. Graphene seems like the stuff of comic books  but it is a real material. The one thing I think the article is wrong about is the Tony did not say his new suit was entirely made of graphene. As I understood the reference it was just the faceplate that was made of graphene.If the entire suit was made of graphene, wouldn't the whole suit be transparent?

The Magical Bulletproof Material That Made Iron Man Give Up Iron | WIRED

Agent Carter's Toughest Mission - YouTube



Agent Carter's Toughest Mission - YouTube