Sunday, March 27, 2011

FacePalm of the Day #69 - Debunking Christianity: One of the Most Asinine Christian Claims I've Heard

Recently, John Loftus has yet again made another statement that make me wonder if he truly understands what he is saying.

It's claimed that people like Dawkins, or Hitchens, or Harris don't know enough to reject Christianity. How much should a person know about a religion or the various branches of it in order to reject them all? Really. I'd like to know. These very Christians do not know much about other branches of their own religion, so how can they reject them? And they do not know much about the various other religions around the world or the branches within them, so how can they reject them? Most Christians do not know enough about their own religion! All a person has to do to reject their own inherited religion is to subject it to the same level of skepticism they use when rejecting all other religions. This represents The Outsider Test for Faith I argue. Just think what Christians are saying. They're saying that in order to reject any given religion a person must know a lot about it. How much, I ask? And how long would it take to learn a lot enough about all religions in order to reject them all? And wouldn't Jesus himself be opposed to granting salvation only to people who knew a lot about the religions of the world to gain the proper amount of knowledge that Christians require in order to find the one correct one, if there is one? Didn't Jesus come for the lowly, the outcasts, and the babes? Such inconsistency knows no bounds. No wonder my claim is that Christians demand that we prove their faith is impossible before they will see it as improbable.

It's like asking how do you know that apples are good to eat unless you have ate every possible thing on the earth to find out what the poisons are? Or how do you know what truth is unless you have heard every single possible lie? The thought is asinine. When you know the truth, do you really need to do more than just compare other things to it to expose lies? Of course the question is how do you know the truth? Salvation is not about what you know, but who you know - Jesus Christ. So the very point is more than asinine - it is downright like asking what does pink tastes like? We are commanded to search and to test everything in light of what evidence we have - taking into account our own presuppositions and biases.

The thing is that when you really look into what the Bible says I've got to ask "Why would anyone want it to be true?" We know that it sounds foolish to those who don't believe. It seemed foolish to many of us before God changed us. We believe because God literally revealed himself to us and he can do the same for Loftus or anyone. The evidence just confirms it. When we become a Christian we agree that we are sinners and in need of salvation. We agree that we deserve to be punished and stand in guilt. We agree that we are unable to save ourselves and that we need Jesus' righteousness to stand before our creator. This is why unbelievers try so hard to deny God as creator.

Debunking Christianity: One of the Most Asinine Christian Claims I've Heard
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Calvinistic Cartoons: From an Arminian Viewpoint

Eddie Eddings has called attention to the following post from an Arminian that I also have to say I agree with.

Arminian Today: Problems I Have With Modern Arminians: "If I have learned anything from the Rob Bell wave that has hit the blogs over the past few weeks its that I am not in full agreement with al..."
Sometimes critics of Christianity use the Arminian/Calvinist debate to try to say Christians do not understand what we believe and can't agree. The thing is there is really no reason for Calvinists and Arminians to be at each others' throats. The disagreement centers on how God does what He does in saving an individual from sin and death. I agree that the following list is something all Christians should repudiate:

  • The rejection of inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.
  • The emphasis on Mankind being the center of theology instead of God Almighty being the center.
  • The rejection of justification by grace through faith apart from works.
  • Inclusive theology.
  • Postmortem salvation as a true possibility.
  • Universalism.
  • The drifting toward pragmatism and postmodern theology.
  • The willingness to embrace any theology that holds to some forms of Arminianism such as the open view of God.

I'm glad to find out that there are some people who call themselves "Arminians" who disagree with the stuff on this list. I don't see how one can call themselves ones who believe the Bible and yet reject what it says.

Calvinistic Cartoons: From an Arminian Viewpoint
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FacePalm of the Day #69 - Libya vs. Iraq

I was pointed to the following video by my brother-in-Christ, Mariano Grinbank. I appreciate him calling it to my attention. It definitely invites a facepalm but not because it is full of lies or offers a completely erroneous viewpoint, but because of dismay that it brings up a real good point.

Unfortunately we have many people on polarized opposite views. And some people are being labeled as being racist just because they disagree with President Obama.

A. People who hate President Obama because of his race and desire to discredit him by whatever means he can.
B. People who support anything President Obama says either because they believe the hype without any critical thinking or because they are afraid of being called "racist".
C. People who disagree with President Obama's policies and decisions not because he is black but just because they think they are poor ideas.
D. People who agree with President Obama because they think he is making good decisions.

I can respect C and D but not A or B. During the Election, the media seemed to go out of its way to either demonize Obama or portray him as some kind of Messiah sent to save us from the Tyranny of George W. Bush. I think this is unfair. I didn't like or agree with much of Bush said or did and yes, I questioned his sanity and intelligence, but to be completely fair I can't says that he acted any worse than any other President in my lifetime. I'm a black man. It was a big deal to have a black President when I didn't think I would ever see such a thing in my life time or my children's lifetime - if ever. I have always been uncomfortable with the idea of Obama being looked at as some kind of Messiah - who is smarter, nicer, more honest, and more trustworthy - to save America. There is only one Messiah. Obama is not his name. But in our euphoria, it seems to me like a lot of black folk forgot that. There seems to be this desire to avoid stating the obvious: Barack Hussein Obama is a capable American politician - not the "second coming". He isn't really all that much different from the national politicians that are democrats, other than he happens to have had a father who was born and raised in Africa and was black. That is not really a terrible thing, but we can't seem to do better. The other extreme is just as silly: President Obama is not the Anti-Christ. He is just as secular and just as "Christian" as most of the Presidents we have had in the past several decades. On one hand this is something I hate, but I can't be mad, Obama made his position on religions crystal clear...and we voted him anyway.

As for the points raised in the video, I think the video is a little too critical of President Obama and praises Bush a little too much. However, it truly dismays me that people are not really looking at what's happening in Libya and not asking why is it okay for Obama to intervene but it was wrong for Bush to intervene in Iraq? If we can't answer that question then I think, as the video shows, we have as problem. I also thought that comments left on the video very interesting. Some of them point out some fundamental facts about how Iraq's situation is different than the one in Libya. I agree with them, but it still doesn't really explain why Obama is correct and Bush was wrong. I mean so what if Obama did not get congressional approval to bomb Libya? Bush didn't have it either when he started moving. So what if Obama hasn't used ground forces in Libya? We still have American in harms way and if this escalates we know American ground troops will be used. Face it, what President hasn't used troops without Congress declaring war since WWII? All of them.

Some people say that we should not have intervened in Libya or Iraq. I'm not sure about that. I think that we need to be honest about why we do what we do, and not claim it's solely humanitarian because we don't intervene everywhere and there is genocide and human civil right violations happening all over the world and we do nothing about it. Libya and Iraq have strategic and economic importance of higher priority than Sudan or Rwanda. It's more about dollars and cents than it is about racism but we can't pretend that racism has nothing to do with it.

Again the facepalm is invoked because we have people spouting ignorant rhetoric without really thinking about what they are saying and supporting and when someone tries to reasoned and logical questions, it is like talking to a wall.
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Iron Sharpens Iron: BARUCH MAOZ: "JUDAISM IS NOT JEWISH: A Friendly Critique of the Messianic Movement" (Encore)

Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom KippurImage via WikipediaBaruch Maoz was interviewed on Iron Sharpens Iron regarding his book on the Messianic Movement. Definitely, a good listen!

BARUCH MAOZ, pastor of a Reformed Baptist assembly in Israel called Grace & Truth Christian Congregation, will address the theme of his controversial book: "JUDAISM IS NOT JEWISH: A Friendly Critique of the Messianic Movement".

Iron Sharpens Iron: BARUCH MAOZ: "JUDAISM IS NOT JEWISH: A Friendly Critique of the Messianic Movement" (Encore)
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