Saturday, July 28, 2012

FacePlant of the Day - Debunking Christianity: According to the Bible: Christians and Atheists Will Rot In Their Graves

Harry McCall continues to try and fails to use the Bible to demonstrate that the Bible makes Christianity wrong.The problem is that he fails to correctly understand what the Bible says in favor of his conclusions that the Bible does not support the idea of an afterlife in general or heaven and hell in particular. He even pretends that he can support his claims with the Bible. It'd be cute if it wasn't an utter failure. The Bible does not support him.

for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints>.” 1 Corinthians 14:33

I totally agree with this scripture. McCall attempts to use this scripture to show that there is confusions as to what Christians and Jews have believed about the afterlife.

Some Modern Christian Afterlife Myths:

1. Last week a Christian woman who - had just lost her year old daughter (her first and only child) - was interviewed on TV. She said that at the time of her daughter’s death, she begged God to kill her so she could go to Heaven and be with her daughter.

So what myth does McCall think is being believed here? Is he saying that  the woman's daughter is not in heaven? If he wants to show that she believes a myth you would have to prove that either the baby didn't go to heaven or that there is no heaven.  Let's see if he can do that.

2. Southern Gospel songs such as “When We All Get To Heaven”, “I Won’t Have To Cross Jordan Alone”, “I’ll Fly Away” as well as the Carter Family’s favorite, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” were written and sung based on the belief that at death, the righteous human soul goes immediately into the presence of the Lord (God / Jesus) in Heaven to be joined for eternity with loved ones.

Again, McCall would have to show that there is no heaven or that people are not really going to be present with God upon death.

3. Christian testimonial stories abound were the newly departed human soul either hovers above their body or is “ascended to Heaven or descended to Hell” only to be called back to the body doing resuscitation as a testimonial. This legend is then peddled to promote “proof” that an afterlife does exist and usually nets the claimant thousands of dollars as they travel the Christian circuit giving hope and inspirational talks on the Near Death Experience .

The Bible in no way tells us that this is how things really happen. So I'm going to ignore this one.  I see no reason to try to explain or defend this one - it's not about the Bible. As for whether it is true or not, I find it amazing that atheists almost never discuss the fact that unbelievers also have near-death experiences where they experience hell.

4. Based on two of the largest Christian denominations (Roman Catholic and LDS Mormon), one is given the theological legend that Christian dead go immediately to Heaven being reunited with their loved ones (though at just what age and state of metal maturity is open to question, that is; will dad be a child, young man or an elderly person as he was known before he died which begs the question as to how Christian dead will know one another?).

LDS Mormons one of the largest Christian denominations? LOL!!!!!!! I'll ignore such a stupid mistake for now but not having answers to such questions does not mean that heaven is not true.

5. On the other hand, I’ve also heard believers project an afterlife in order to get justice on corrupt politicians or evil people with statements such as; “They got away with it here, but they won’t get away from the judgment of God.”; thus again vindicating an afterlife. With the theme of Heaven being the largest selling points of Christianity, it is little wonder that pop Christian culture keeps this theological myth alive.
Again in order to show this as a myth, McCall would have to show that the Bible does not tell us that corrupt politicians or evil people are not punished in Hell or that there is no hell or heaven. 

6. Finally, the common Christian statement on the death of a loved one: “They are in a better place now.”

McCall would have to show that there is no heaven or that heaven is not better than here.

For the purpose of this post and for the sake of argument, let’s assume the Bible is an inspired book from God that contains revelations on the State of the Dead. As such, I’ll list a Biblical timeline on how the popular view of an afterlife evolved followed by some major Christian dogmas on the subject.\

Yes, let us agree to that. The Bible tells us about the state of the dead. The problem is that the Bible does not always agree with dogmas of churches.

A Chronology of the Evolution of the Christian Afterlife

A. Pre-Exilic Israel (9 – 8 century BCE to 586 BCE): Like all her neighbors, Israel (a term used by the Northern Kingdom (exiled 722 BCE) and taken over by the Southern Kingdom of Judah (exiled 586)), or the Hebrews believed the souls of all people (both good and bad) continued to exist in Sheol - a place darkness and loneliness under the earth and opposite from the gods who lived on top of a sacred mountains (such as Sinai).

What part of the Bible tells us that sheol is "a place darkness and loneliness under the earth and opposite from the gods who lived on top of a sacred mountains (such as Sinai)."? Sinai isn't even in Israel. Also the Bible never describes Sinai as the place YHWH lives. Projecting the beliefs and practices of ancient Israelites is truly an epic fail when there is no Biblical basis aside from the fact that the Old Testament records continually admonishes Israel to reject them. Fail number one.
B. Exilic / Post-Exilic Israel 586 BCE to the Hellenistic Period 332 BCE: Theological monotheism theism (Yahweh only party) suppresses Pre-Exilic theology’s polytheism and human sacrifice. Ancestral cult worship (divinatory and magical practices with the dead) are prohibited in both the Torah and the Deuteronomistic History. Persian theological influence began to shape the ideas of good and evil and an afterlife. Now at death, there is no consciousness in Sheol nor is there any contact there with this world and God (Psalms 6:5, 30: 8 – 10, 88: 3-12, Job 3: 11-19, 14: 10 – 14, 21: 19 – 21; and Ecclesiastes 9: 3-10).

Israel's Canaanite neighbors surely practiced polytheism and human sacrifices and divination and magic, but Israel wasn't supposed to and there is not enough evidence to conclude that this only began after 586 BC. McCall references several scriptures the he claims shows that there "is no consciousness in Sheol nor is there any contact there with this world and God ". Is he right? Take a look for yourself: link. These scriptures do not expressly tell us that there is no consciousness in Sheol. They are about the finality of death and how once you die, it is not normative that you are coming back to the life you knew. I agree that these scriptures do not give as much revelation about the state of the dead as other scriptures in the Bible. These writers wrote down the parts of the revelation that they had and they didn't have the whole revelation. For example: why isn't there a discussion about heaven or being in the presence of God? Simple. The Bible doesn't really address that question. We can't say that the Old Testament righteous was not in the presence of God before Jesus' death, burial and Resurrection. I mean Elijah and Enoch were taken into heaven not Sheol. I think the vast majority of people went to Sheol before Jesus completed his mission. Fail number two.

C. Hellenistic Period 332 BCE to the Roman Period 63 BCE): The view that the righteous Jew will be either rewarded while the unrighteous Jew will be punished is made 
theologically orthodox in such forged texts as the book of Daniel (especially Daniel 12: 2 “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”) Theologically, this verse in Daniel was in direct conflict with the afterlife position of the Testament of Abraham which teaches that immediately at death, Jewish souls receive judgment before Abel (Adam’s son) for either salvation or fiery torments (Test. Abraham 12 -13). Text such as Trito-Isaiah 66: 24 ("Then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind.") will influence the writer of the Gospel Mark to have Jesus state in “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9: 48) Also Paul uses the theology of the Hellenistic book of the Wisdom of Solomon to paint the human race with Original Sin.

I'd like to see McCall demonstrate that the Book of Daniel is a forgery. And so what if Daniel is in direct conflict with the Testament of Abraham? The Testament of Abraham is not just non-canonical for Christians but for Jews too. Why would you think Daniel is a forgery but the Testimonial of Abraham is not a forgery? Paul did not need the book the Wisdom of Solomon to get that Original Sin is a teaching. It is all over the Jewish canon.  Fail number 3.

D. The Roman Period 63 CE to the Council of Nicaea 325 CE: The conflict and tension of the theology of the so-called “Intertestamental Period” with its forge texts in the names of famous Israelite Patriarchs continued the confusion of an afterlife for Christianity with Paul view of an End Time bodily resurrection by stating in his final theological work of Romans 8: 10- 12 “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh” now contrast with that of the late Gospel of John having Jesus state that the Christian’s soul has eternal life immediately ““Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5: 24). However, Christian eschatology remains in contradictory tension in that if the righteous soul is ALREADY with God in Heaven, then why would there ever need to be a resurrection of the body? Thus, Christians must face the fact that the majority of the New Testament (likely 99%), especially Paul’s letters and the Book of Revelation both teach that all souls (both good and evil) sleep in the earth (much like the Israelite dead did in Sheol) until the general resurrection and Final Judgment when Jesus returns. Soul Sleep is also the theme of other the Nicaea Creed and other Christian Creeds. Finally, the Bible never tells us how a place under the earth where all the dead go (Sheol) becomes modern Hell or how Christians go up into the sky to live with God (proof positive that a the theology of an afterlife is “subject to change without notice!).

So many little time. The "intertestamental period" can't be between the years he gives because "intertestamental" means between the old and new testaments. And the New Testament was completed during the first century but the Council of Nicea was in the fourth century. One of the Epistles of Paul, 1st Corinthians,  tells us that some in the early church did not think that there was a need for a physical resurrection but Paul and the other Apostles made it clear that there is and the quote from John also points that Jesus did teach a Physical resurrection. In the New Testament it is pointed out that the body does go into the ground - not the soul. When evaluating Creeds, you should ask yourself "Does the Bible agree with the creed?" In many cases it doesn't. Hell and Sheol are not that dissimilar. McCall seems to forget how Jesus described the state of the dead in Sheol. Read Luke 16:19-31. I realize that some might think that does not mean that Solomon understood Sheol this way when he wrote Ecclesiastes, but I think its the most complete description of Sheol in the Bible. I leave it to those who disagree to show that it's not.

E. Beginning with Cyprian of Carthage (died 258 CE) some theologians came to view Heaven as a place where people will meet their relatives and friends forming an eternal society with them.

So what? Bible doesn't talk about that. The Bible refers to the full relationship we will know God for all eternity.

F. Purgatory: This Catholic dogma as founded by Pope Gregory the Great (540 – 604) and is an afterlife place where all souls of the faithful must be purified before being allowed into Heaven.

Purgatory is not in the Bible. Does not matter if its wrong and it is. Fail number 5.


G. Limbo: To counteract the claim of St. Augustine that all unbaptized infant are damned, a state of both none suffering and no Heaven was invented. This place for unbaptized babies has basically been discontinued since 1950 when Catholic dogmas on non-baptized babies were changed.

Limbo is not in the Bible. I think that Augustine was wrong about all unbaptized infants going to hell, but it's moot. The Bible does not tells us that Limbo exists and just because the Catholic church changed it's position does not mean the Bible is wrong about hell or heaven.  Fail number 6.

H. The Peal of Great Price: The Latter Day Saint Books of Moses and especially Abraham (as “translated” by Joseph Smith) that states that all faithful Temple Mormons can become gods in the afterlife and populate other planets with “Spirit Children” just like the Christian God is doing now on earth.

One of the many reasons I reject Mormonism. There is nothing absolutely nothing in the Bible supports this. Failure number 7.

Though the Bible tells us that in Hebrews 13: 8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” apparently the doctrine of an afterlife never was!

Dude, Jesus did not change. Biblical teaching on the afterlife never changed. Pointing out how men has changed their beliefs about the  life, even to comical extremes (I'm looking at you, Mormons), does not show confusion or contradiction with what God has revealed about the afterlife.

So as an atheist, I must say: Welcome to the grave Christian . . . you’re not alone! 

Harry McCall

So, to the atheist, I must reply: "Thanks for the welcome to the grave, but I'm passing through." So what are we left with? I know: A failed attempt to show that the Bible conflicts with itself regarding what happens when you die. 

Let's look at what the Bible says:

We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.- 2 Corinthians 5:8

And I think its sheer and utter nonsense to claim that the Old Testament says nothing about Resurrection.  Job is one of the oldest books in the Bible and many think Job's story took place before or during Abraham's time.

23 “Oh, that my words were recorded,
    that they were written on a scroll,
24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on[b] lead,
    or engraved in rock forever!
25 I know that my redeemer[c] lives,
    and that in the end he will stand on the earth.[d]
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
    yet[e] in[f] 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 19:23-27

Debunking Christianity: According to the Bible: Christians and Atheists Will Rot In Their Graves
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment