Tuesday, September 27, 2011

FacePalm of the Day #128 - Debunking Christianity: Christians are morally compromised

John Loftus posted a video clip from a debate in which Dan Barker debated Dinish D'Souza. Loftus seems to think that Barker was able to show that Christians are inconsistent because we would condemn evil acts committed by people but don't condemn God in the Bible. I'm amazed that Loftus would post this considering that he and Barker both lost their debated to D'Souza.

Barker makes some serious mistakes in his reasoning. First let's just agree that it's wrong to break into a person's home and destroy all they have and kill their children and then blame the devil for his actions. However, Barker goes off the rails when he tries to argue that God is just like such a person because of all that happened to Job and then God said:

3 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” Job 2:3

I am familiar with Dan Barker, and have never been particularly impressed with his exegetical skills. This is a great case in point.God is not saying that He didn't have a reason to put Job through all Job went through. God is not saying "Devil, I'm only allowing this because you told me to do it."   God is in control of these scenarios. Yes, the Devil is given as the agent for all of these catastrophes the befell Job but he isn't the one in charge. For example:

 4 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
 6 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”- John 2:4-6

Look the devil clearly says that God is in control and God then tells him that Job is in his hands but that he's limited. The Devil may be like "a roaring lion roaming to and fro seeking whom he may devour" but he  is on God's leash!. I know that the next question this bring up troubles some. Why would a good God allow a perfect and upright man to go through so much disaster and heartbreak. The story challenges the presuppositions on which the very question rests. Recall that throughout the book, Job was accused of sin by his three friends because they don't think for a second that God would allow Job to suffer like that unless it was a punishment for sin. God chastised the men.

7 After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.- Job 42:7-9

What we learn is that bad and terrible things can happen to you, through no fault of your own, but God has something good in mind for you even if He sends the calamities.  Like Job can hold on to our faith in God:

14 Why do I put myself in jeopardy
   and take my life in my hands?
15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
   I will surely[a] defend my ways to his face.
16 Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance,
   for no godless person would dare come before him! - Job 13:14-16

 And I love this scripture:

25 I know that my redeemer lives,
   and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
   yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
   with my own eyes—I, and not another.
   How my heart yearns within me!  - Job 19:25-27

Who says that there is no resurrection in the Old Testament? It's right there - plain as day - before Moses! The suffering that Job lived through helped him to see the world a lot differently than most people.

In our suffering we get to know God better. We learn more about Him and ourselves. Although the devil might mean it to destroy you, God will turn it for our deliverance. 

And what did Job get out of all of this:

 1 Then Job replied to the LORD:
 2 “I know that you can do all things;
   no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
   Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
   things too wonderful for me to know.
 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
   I will question you,
   and you shall answer me.’
5 My ears had heard of you
   but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
   and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6

Job understood God better. It wasn't God saying "I'm bigger. I'm boss". God wasn't bragging. God wasn't pushing him Job into the ground and grounding him into powder. God was explaining who He and who Job is. - who and what we are.  It's not bragging if it's true....and it is.

Debunking Christianity: Christians are morally compromised
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