Friday, March 11, 2011

FacePalm of the Day #67 - Debunking Christianity: Harry McCall on the Lies of God

John Loftus posted the following list from Harry McCall alleging that the Bible contains instances of God lying. Some would ask why even bother responding to such a clear and present mistaken understanding of what the Bible says and at least Loftus provides a reason why this is important. I'm going italicize my comments.

Does God lie? He most certainly does according to the Bible. If so, how can we trust anything in it? Maybe God's plan is to send skeptics to heaven and gullible believers to hell? ;-) Ya just can't know.

At least Loftus is correct about the stakes. If God has lied in the Bible, we have no reason to think that He has told us the truth about our own salvation. There are two scriptures that come to mind where God explicitly tells us He does not lie.

19 God is not human, that he should lie,
not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill? - Numbers 23:19

He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.” - 1 Samuel 15:29

McCall seems to think that he has found contradictions in the scripture itself. Let's see if he is right.

The Hebrew Bible on the Lies of God: by Harry McCall.

In 1 Kings, Yahweh has his 400 prophets lie to Ahab:

6 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” (1 Kings 22: 6)

Jehoshaphat feels God has His prophets lying to Ahab and tells him to send for the prophet Micaiah who again confirms that God is a lair[sic]:

19 Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left. 20 “The LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this while another said that. 21 “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 “The LORD said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.’ 23 “Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and the LORD has proclaimed disaster against you.”
(1 Kings 22: 19 – 23)

McCall makes a few mistakes:
1. The lying prophets were not God's prophets. Look at verse 23 carefully. The spirit says that he would lie through Ahab's prophets.
2. Jehoshaphat was a good king who followed God
3. Ahab rejected God.
4. Micaiah was not one of Ahab's prophets and Ahab did not like Micaiah because he never told Ahab what he wanted to hear.
5. God did not lie to Ahab but used Micaiah to let him know that his 400 prophets lied about their victory. God had proclaimed disaster again Ahab.
6. Ahab and Jehoshaphat chose to ignore the warning and went into battle anyway leading to Ahab's death.
7. Moral: Don't be like Ahab.

Fail #1

The Prophet Jeremiah accuses God of lying. In Jeremiah 4: 10 he accused God as being a deceiver and a liar:

10 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Surely You have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘You will have peace’; whereas a sword touches the throat.”

And again repeats it later:

7 O LORD, You have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me. (Jeremiah 20:7)

Jeremiah was frightened and frustrated. Things didn't happen the way he thought they should. Like us, he thought that if he was really called of God than he would not be going through the suffering he was experiencing. God didn't promise him respect or ease or peace or a good time. What you can see in this instance is that following God will cause people to mock and hate you. You will face opposition. Fail 2.

In Ezekiel 14: 1-11, God will lie to anyone He fails to like:

…the LORD will answer him by myself: 8And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. 10And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him; 11That the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord GOD. (Jeremiah 7b - 10)

The reason that God is pronouncing punishment. McCall left this little fact out. Idolatry isn't just about God not liking you. IT is about turning your back on Him. Israel was supposed to be his chosen people. One reason why "marriage" is often used as the analogy for the relationship between Israel and God is because it was supposed to be that close. Idolatry is tantamount to adultery. Same thing today. When you turn your back on God you are "turning tricks". Why should you surprised when disaster comes? One can deny that the reality of what the Bible is talking about all they want, but at least get what the scripture is saying correct. Fail #3.

In Genesis 2: 17, God lies when He tells Adam and Eve that the very day they eat of it, they shall surly die and they don’t (notice the NISV “dynamic equivalent” avoided the word יום “day”).

The text reads: אכלך ביום which matches closely to the LXX: δ' ἂν ἡμέρᾳ φάγητε.

The lie of God is the fact that יום and ἡμέρᾳ are both used in a literal sense just as it is in the six days of creation.

Christians apparently have better morals and ethics then the God they love and worship!

What is the one of the certainties of human life? The one thing that all humans have in common identically - no matter where/when you live, how much money you have, or what you know? The common denominator is that one day we will all die! Genesis 2:17 is correct. The day Adam chose to reject and disobey God, we all fell in him. He died. He became a prisoner of sin and death. All the signs point to that death was not in his future before he disobeyed God. It took 930 years for Adam to experience physically what happened to him spiritually, psychologically and in his relationship and connection to his creator. McCall is trying to make the argument that God implied that Adam would drop dead as soon as ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. However the truth is way more profound than that. IT was far worse than dropping dead. Loftus, McCall, and others like to ask why is it they can't experience and interact with God just like we do with each other? Thank Adam for that one. Fail #4. Additionally, McCall ignores the evidence that the six days of creation was not six literal 24 hour days but six unspecified long periods of time. Taking that in consideration it could have been 930 years in the case of when Adam would die and a few billion years for each day in the creation breakdown in Genesis 1. Fail #5

Has Harry McCall proved his point. Alas, no. Not even close. God is not a liar. People however are. Instead of saying McCall lied, I'd prefer to refer to his being misinformed.

Debunking Christianity: Harry McCall on the Lies of God
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