Saturday, June 29, 2013

FacePalm of the Day - Debunking Christianity: F**ked-up Heroes of the Bible: Samson (continued)

J.M. Green is at it again. He attempts to mine the Biblical story of Samson to show that it does not makes since and fails to do so. Hilarity ensues.

Recap: In Part 1, our hero has met a hot lady whom he wants to marry. He loses a riddle bet due some trickery by the aforementioned lady friend, and is forced to kill thirty guys so he can steal their clothes to pay the bet. He’s bummed, so he bunks out at his mom and dad’s, and while he’s gone, his disloyal fiancé marries the best man from the canceled wedding. Time for some good, old-fashioned revenge!

First and foremost, as I commented in the last post, Samson as just a man. Same frailties and kinds of sins. Wouldn't you want revenge after all of that? Fortunately we don't have to make the same mistakes Samson made. What I get most out of Samson's failures is that God is so powerful and merciful that he can use our issues to glorify Himself and help His people. 

Exhibit 5:

Samson said, “This time I cannot be blamed for everything I am going to do to you Philistines.” Then he went out and caught 300 foxes. He tied their tails together in pairs, and he fastened a torch to each pair of tails. Then he lit the torches and let the foxes run through the grain fields of the Philistines. He burned all their grain to the ground, including the sheaves and the uncut grain. He also destroyed their vineyards and olive groves.
Judges 15:3-5 (NLT)
Arson and animal cruelty. That’s two out of three of the psychopath indicators. Definitely not PETA-approved,and we have the deliberate destruction of private property.

Again, nothing is being said that the foxes were harmed in any way and the private property belonged to people who were oppressing and subjugating his people.  Samson was waging a one-man war.

The Bible is silent as to whether the Spirit helped him with his vengeful destruction. Samson’s fiery fox assault sets off a chain of events in which the Philistines retaliate and kill Samson’s ex-fiancé and her father by burning them alive. Fighting fire with fire, I guess. I don’t remember this part of the story being mentioned in my Sunday School days! I guess they didn't have any flannel graph figures of people being burnt alive that they could use. Either that or my mind blocked the traumatic memories. This, of course, makes Samson angrier and he kills a bunch of Philistines and then camps out in a cave.

So the good and righteous Philistines executed two of their own people (Judges 15:6) because they were too cowardly to attack Samson. Green seems to forget who the bad guy is.

The Philistines start hunting for him in Judah, which makes the Judahites nervous. 3000 men of Judah erop by Samson’s Flintstone abode, for a visit. They’re like “Dude, you’ve pissed off the Philistines and they’re our rulers, so now we have to turn you over to them.” And he’s like “Well, okay I guess, but just promise me that you’ll only tie me up, but not kill me.” And they did what he asked.

Many of the Israelites at the time fear the Philistines so much that they were willing to turn over one of their own to the Philistines rather than fight for their own freedom. I think this was also from God. We see God miraculously using one man to free them all in a way that it could only have been God.

Exhibit 6:

As Samson arrived at Lehi, the Philistines came shouting in triumph. But the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon Samson, and he snapped the ropes on his arms as if they were burnt strands of flax, and they fell from his wrists. Then he found the jawbone of a recently killed donkey. He picked it up and killed 1,000 Philistines with it.
Judges 15:14-15 (NLT)
Holy Ghost tweaker Samson channels the Incredible Hulk, busting his rope bonds like they were mere spaghetti noodles. Using a donkey jawbone, he proceeds to ass-whip the Philistines to death, adding an even thousand names to his kill list. Creative weapon choice. Not what I'd pick, but hey, anything can happen in the Bible! It’s important to have faith when reading passages like this, since it’s pretty ridiculous to try and imagine how one guy playing whack-a-mole with a donkey jaw could have taken out that many men. But once you start believing some of the crazy stuff in the Bible, you’re kind of stuck with the whole truckload. Who knows, maybe the Spirit hypnotized them and they all marched up single file to get whacked.

Green obviously has not seen a donkey's jawbone and wouldn't you think that if Samson was strong enough to do all the physical feats the Bible says he did, that superhuman strength means that just about anything Samson put his hands on would be an effective weapon ? I would. Honesty would help Green a lot in understanding what the Bible says.

Samson as a hero of the faith? Well, this guy might be ideal for running a Comumbian [Columbian?] drug cartel, but certainly not a good role-model for kids. And about this energizing Spirit – somewhere between the Old and New Testaments, I guess, it switched from turning people into stone killers, to making them speak in tongues. Slight career change.

Calling Samson a "hero of faith" is not referring to everything he did or thought. Although God was using him throughout the story it wasn't about Samson being a man of faith He did what he did when he wanted to do it. God used what Samson did but it wasn't until later he could be considered a role model.

Exhibit 7:

One day Samson went to the Philistine town of Gaza and spent the night with a prostitute. Word soon spread that Samson was there, so the men of Gaza gathered together and waited all night at the town gates. They kept quiet during the night, saying to themselves, “When the light of morning comes, we will kill him.”

But Samson stayed in bed only until midnight. Then he got up, took hold of the doors of the town gate, including the two posts, and lifted them up, bar and all. He put them on his shoulders and carried them all the way to the top of the hill across from Hebron.
Judges 16:1-3 (NLT)
Doing the naughty with hookers and stealing city property. Any questions, kids? You can ask your parents.

They shut the gates to keep him in the city. Samson carried the gate showing that they could not contain him. The hooker? Nope not a good choice on Samson's part. This is why he is not yet the man spoken of in Hebrews.

Exhibit 8:

Some time later Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the valley of Sorek. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “Entice Samson to tell you what makes him so strong and how he can be overpowered and tied up securely. Then each of us will give you 1,100 pieces of silver.”

So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me what makes you so strong and what it would take to tie you up securely.”
Judges 16:4-6 (NLT)
Finally, Samson shared his secret with her. “My hair has never been cut,” he confessed, “for I was dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as anyone else.”
Judges 16:17 (NLT)
Samson should have stuck with hookers. This poor guy sure is unlucky in love! His new girlfriend keeps on pestering him, and like a fool, he tells her that his superpowers come from his magic hair. A barber’s razor is his Kryptonite. She was talking about tying him up, so maybe he thought she was into S&M and bondage. Instead of getting freaky, she sells him out, for a big payday. Not sure what moral lessons are to be gained here. Never trust a woman? Keep the details of your superpowers top secret? Kinky sex will make you go blind… but I am getting ahead of myself. Anyway, poor Delilah has gotten a bad rap all these years. Who knows, she may have really needed the money for a boob job or a new camel or something.

Delilah deserves the bad rap she betrayed Samson for money. However Samson was an idiot. Twice, he lied to her about the source of his strength and twice he woke up with her trying to take his strength away. Why was he dumb enough to trust her a third time? How many times have you done something stupid just to make a love interest happy? We all know what's that like. Again Samson is not the man referred to in the Book of Hebrews...yet! In addition the lesson here is to obey God and protect your relationship with God. Samson's hair was not the source of his power - God was. Samson's hair was a symbol of his covenant with God. When he cavalierly told Delilah about his hair he threw his relationship with God under the bus

I’d also like to take a moment and point out that it seems God got confused, or changed his mind. According the Apostle Paul:

Isn't it obvious that it's disgraceful for a man to have long hair?
1 Corinthians 11:14 (NLT)
Hmmm…, so Samson’s long hair was mandated by God, and was the source of blessing and power. Come the New Testament, it’s disgraceful for a man to have long hair. I guess maybe God’s grooming taste changed, somewhere along the way.

Green should have read further:

 13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16 If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God. - 1 Corinthians 11:13-16

Therefore no where is God saying that men should never have long hair. Remember the Nazirites in the the Book of Numbers?  Remember, kids, context matters.

Delilah lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap, and then she called in a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. In this way she began to bring him down, and his strength left him.
Then she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!”
When he woke up, he thought, “I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the LORD had left him.
Judges 16:19-20 (NLT)
At this point God is finally fed up with Samson and bails on him. Yahweh didn’t have a problem with animal torture, pyromania, murder, theft, hookers, and mass slaughter… but a haircut? Well, even God has his limits!
So the Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. They took him to Gaza, where he was bound with bronze chains and forced to grind grain in the prison.
But before long, his hair began to grow back
Judges 16:21-22 (NLT)
Well, our hero of faith has hit a small setback. Blind, shackled, and doing hard labor. Fortunately for him though, the Philistines are dumbasses who forgot to keep his magic hair shaved. And his hair is growing… Hair grows! Who knew?

I wonder if Green actually understood the story. Maybe a different translation would help. Samson was allowed to be brought so low so that he would get closer to God. He was not so stupid not to get closer to God in those weeks and months when he was blind and shackled and doing hard labor. I bet he was praying longer and harder than he ever had in his life. God didn't leave Samson Samson left Him. Samson had begun to think that the power was his and he could just go out like before and kick Philistine butt.  He had began to think that he didn't need God. Same mistake that Atheists like Green continue to make.

Our man is down, but not out. The Samson saga will have a grand finale in which our hero goes out in a blaze of glory, thus securing his place as an MVP in the Faith Hall of Fame!

Exhibit 9:
The Philistine rulers held a great festival, offering sacrifices and praising their god, Dagon. They said, “Our god has given us victory over our enemy Samson!”

When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy to us! The one who killed so many of us is now in our power!”

Half drunk by now, the people demanded, “Bring out Samson so he can amuse us!” So he was brought from the prison to amuse them, and they had him stand between the pillars supporting the roof.

Samson said to the young servant who was leading him by the hand, “Place my hands against the pillars that hold up the temple. I want to rest against them.” Now the temple was completely filled with people. All the Philistine rulers were there, and there were about 3,000 men and women on the roof who were watching as Samson amused them.

Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “Sovereign LORD, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes.” Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that held up the temple. Pushing against them with both hands, he prayed, “Let me die with the Philistines.” And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his entire lifetime.
Judges 16:23-30 (NLT)

Our tale finishes out with a heartwarming ending. The evil Philistines gather to worship their god, Dagon and to gloat over Samson’s capture. Samson braces himself against the pillars of the temple and sends up a prayer to God asking for strength one last time, for vengeance. Yes boys and girls, if there is ever a pr or Dirty Harry proud. The Good Lord grants Samson’s request (being pleased that his magic tresses had regrown), empowering our righteous warrior to literally bring down the house, snuffing all 3,000 men and women. To put it into perspective, Samson’s final act was equivalent to the September 11th terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, killing roughly the same amount of people. And yes, it was a suicide mission.

Green manages to be highly controversial here. The 3000 people in the Temple of Dagon were not innocent. They were there to disrespect God. They were there to mock God and God's people. They literally deserved what they got. What about the people that died in the 9-11 terrorist attacks? They were killed by people in the name of  the wrong god. A god that does not exist. The God that empowered Samson was and is and will always be. Everything is God's and God can do anything God wants in any way God wants. That's the difference

As the Bible helpfully points out, Samson killed more people in his death than he did in his life. It would appear that despite a personal life worthy of extensive National Enquirer coverage, Mr. S was ensconced in the Faith Hall of Fame because of this ‘redeeming’ factor: He murdered a lot of people who worshiped a different god than he did, and if we know anything about the Lord, we know that he is a jealous god. Kids, if you are willing to kill for God, then you too can be famous! Remember how Samson did his god’s dirty work and got his name in lights. Or at least, that’s how the story goes… if you can believe the Good Book.

Written by J. M. Green

Green is profoundly wrong. Samson is not in the "roll call of faith" in Hebrews 11 because he managed to kill a bunch of people. He is in the Faith Hall of Fame because God elevated Samson above his own frailties and he learned to trust God. Samson did not live the kind of life he was supposed to do but he didn't become part of the roll call of faith until he lost everything and got closer to God! You can do the same.

Debunking Christianity: F**ked-up Heroes of the Bible: Samson (continued)
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Facepalm of the Day - Debunking Christianity: New Puzzles About the Divine Attributes by Moti Mizrahi

Given how often I see John Loftus endorsing really bad arguments, I wonder if he's also intrigued by bright  and shiny things. I don't get why he likes these puzzles by Moti Mizrahi. Let's examine this post from Loftus and see if we can find anything that calls into question what Christians know about the nature of God revealed in scripture.

The first puzzle he presents about omniscience purportedly shows that the divine attribute of omniscience is incoherent. The second puzzle about omnibenevolence and omnipotence shows that these two divine attributes are logically incompatible. The third puzzle about perfect rationality and omnipotence shows that these two divine attributes are logically incompatible. See what you think:

Before we jump into the puzzles, I wonder if Mizrahi understands what the Bible says about omnibenevolence, omnipotence, and omniscience. 

Could an omniscient being know what it is like to be finite?

1. Either God can know what it is like to be finite or God cannot know what it is like to be finite.
Good start and I don' t see anything wrong at this point.
2. If God can know what it is like to be finite, then God is not omniscient (since to know what it is like to be finite, God must be finite).
Off the rails here. Who says that knowing what it means to be finite means that you are finite? Finiteness is part of being a human being. We all agree that no human being is omniscient so how do we know what an omniscient being does know and does not know. Mizrahi is sloppy here IT seems that he is conflating two types of knowledge: know of something versus experiencing something. God knows everything - that is what being "omniscient" means. If you wanna be picky and say that God does not know what it is like to be finite because God does not experience finiteness but this is fallacious. God did experience finiteness - it's called the incarnation - God became man without loosing his divinity. Surely an omnipotent God can do that.
3. If God cannot know what it is like to be finite, then God is not omniscient (since there is something that God cannot know, namely, what it is like to be finite).
Nope. Again Mizrahi does not explain what he means by "knowledge" - what kind of knowledge? He also has not proven that God cannot know what it is like to finite.
4.(Therefore) Either way, God is not omniscient.
Not even close. 

Could a being that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent choose the lesser of two evils?
1. Either God can choose the lesser of two evils or God cannot choose the lesser of two evils.
2.If God can choose the lesser of two evils, then God is not omnibenevolent (since God can choose evil).
3. If God cannot choose the lesser of two evils, then God is not omnipotent (since there is a possible state of affairs that God cannot bring about).
4.(Therefore) Either God is not omnibenevolent or God is not omnipotent.
This one is flawed from the first premise and devolves from there. God does not make decisions based on "the lesser of two evils". That is how human being do things and not the way God does because God is sovereign over everything and is not restricted by options presented to God God determines God's options. For example look at the story of Joseph in Genesis. How did God get Joseph into position as the second most power man in the world at that time? Joseph was betrayed and sold into slavery by his own brothers, falsely accused of attempted rape and thrown into prison! Could God have done things differently? Sure but Joseph recognized that God was behind everything that happened to him and summed it up when he told his brothers:

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.
18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.
19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. - Genesis 50:15-21

Could a being that is both omnipotent and perfectly rational form a belief on the basis of
fallacious reasoning?

1. Either God can form a belief on the basis of fallacious reasoning or God cannot form a belief on the basis of fallacious reasoning.
2. If God can form a belief on the basis of fallacious reasoning, then God is not perfectly
rational (since God can reason fallaciously).
3. If God cannot form a belief on the basis of fallacious reasoning, then God is not omnipotent (since there is a possible state of affairs that God cannot bring about).
4. (Therefore) Either God is not perfectly rational or God is not omnipotent.

Now this is truly funny. God is not rational because God cannot believe something that is not true and cannot reason wrongly?  So God is not rational or omnipotent because God does not share our limitations. Now that is an example forming a belief on the basis of fallacious reasoning. I would not serve a God that would do anything on the basis of fallacious reasoning. That means that God would be fallible and not omnipotent or omniscient. The God of the Bible does not move on belief. Why would he? He knows everything. There is nothing He does not know. That means that this reasoning is completely silly

My problems with this whole line of reasoning is that 1) we need to first ask what kind of evidence there is for such a being out of the many others that supposedly exist, 2) why such a being isn't to be found in the Bible since that's the raison d'etre of their faith, and 3) theists will simply gerrymander around these puzzles by changing what they believe about the divine attributes (which, if that happens is at least something).

Loftus should have more problems than these. He seems to have missed the fact that Mizrahi is granting that God exists for the sake of argument and then tries to argue against a god that's not present in Judaism or Christianity. Well, I have to give Loftus some credit: the god Mizrah is discussing is not in the Bible.

Debunking Christianity: New Puzzles About the Divine Attributes by Moti Mizrahi

Is Math a Feature of the Universe or a Feature of Human Creation? | Idea Channel | PBS - YouTube

The Idea Channel recently posted an interesting video regarding the question of the nature of mathematics: Is mathematics a feature of the universe that we discover or is it something that people made up and is defined by us.  I had thought that the majority of Mathematicians have conclude that mathematics is discovered, like Gravity, not invented. The video below agrees that the majority of mathematicians would support that.

Is Math a Feature of the Universe or a Feature of Human Creation? | Idea Channel | PBS - YouTube

In the interest of  presenting multiple viewpoints, this discussion was brought up on the Debunking Christianity. Many atheists are committed to the proposition that mathematics has no transcendent existence beyond the human brain. I can see why. If they grant that mathematics is true whether or not there are people then what about morality?  Are some thing moral and immoral no matter the society, time, or place? I would say that this is the truth.It allows them to try to sidestep God. Getting back to math for a moment. was Calculus true before Newton and Leibniz? I would say for sure: yes! This got to be such a big deal on Debunking Christianity that John Loftus posted a full article on this that he says comes from a mathematician:

In the beginning, people like you had a rock. The idea of "one" was invented to describe the number of things you had. Then later, you found another rock, and the idea of "two" was invented to describe the situation for when you had one rock and added another rock to your pile. It was realized that the same applies not just to rocks, and numbers were given abstract meaning of their own. Arbitrary symbols, though not arbitrary like "A+A=B" (really, you embarrass yourself) for these numbers were eventually assigned.

A lot of time passed, and a lot of effort was involved in trying to understand how things work, but for a lot of it, like the different "eye combinations" on "dices" it just comes down to counting. If you're careful, you can count 36 ways that any distinct "eye combinations" on (two) "dices" can occur, and you can also count how many of them are a particular "eye combination," e.g. "snake eyes," which can occur in one way only. Baby probability theory hypothesized (propensitist approach) that 1 out of 36 possible outcomes, each equally likely, implies "snake eyes" has a 1/36 chance of happening, and when rolling two "dices" many, many times over, that's what we see (frequentist approach). Eventually the two approaches were connected, but not married.

That you think the dice are following some magical mathematical rules is sheer nonsense. The mathematical rules (counting and proportions, in this case) were invented painstakingly over millennia for people to better describe what they experience. The laws are descriptive, not proscriptive.

Mathematician Dr. James Lindsay Explains How Math Originated

I disagree with him. Mathematics is more than just symbols. Those symbols are definitely agreed upon by people, but not the mathematics theory or concepts themselves. 3 + 6 = bob is really no different than 3+6=9 because we could have been counting like 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, bob. However the underlying concepts is only being symbolized.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Truthbomb Apologetics: Why isn't God More Obvious?

Ravi Zacharias
Cover of Ravi Zacharias
Here is a great video of Dr Ravi Zacharias answering the question of why God seem hidden from so many people? I love his answer and I agree with him: God's not hiding just because we can't come to him on our terms instead of His.

Truthbomb Apologetics: Why isn't God More Obvious?
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Gay Christianity" Debated

At the  Helena, Montana at the 2013 Reformation Montana conference. James White debated Justin Lee on the question "Can you be a Christian homosexual?" Follow the link to get to the debate. 

"Gay Christianity" Debated

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Answering Muslims: Douglas Murray on the Myth of Islamophobia

"Islamophobia"  is one of the many propaganda tools in use against people today. Here is why we should know it's wrong.

Answering Muslims: Douglas Murray on the Myth of Islamophobia

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Problem of Evil Explained in Three Videos - Apologetics 315

The Problem of Evil Explained in Three Videos - Apologetics 315

Answering Muslims: Sam Shamoun: Is Jesus a Creature of God?

Answering Muslims: Sam Shamoun: Is Jesus a Creature of God?

Truthbomb Apologetics: Article: The Spiderman Fallacy by Robin Schumacher

Chad, of the blog Truthbomb Apologetics blog, has pointed out an article countering a common atheistic objection against the validity of the Bible. It's called the Spider-Man Fallacy. It's defined as follows:
Archaeologists 1,000 years from now unearth a collection of Spiderman comics. From the background art, they can tell it takes place in New York City. NYC is an actual place, as confirmed by archaeology. However, this does not mean that Spiderman existed.
Often used to illustrate the flaw in the assertion by evangelical Christians that archaeologists unearthing biblical cities today "proves" that the Bible was written by a supernatural force.
The Spiderman Fallacy is committed any time the discovery of a mundane element from a myth, legend, or story is taken to mean that ALL other parts of that story, even the supernatural, are also true."
The article was written by Robin Schumacher. I think it's worth checking out. One of the things that bother me about the argument is that if there is no discovery of any element of a story is found to be true or had existed, most are comfortable concluding that the story is fiction. However skeptics are unwilling to think that it's not valid evidence for the Bible. A little honesty would be nice. 

Truthbomb Apologetics: Article: The Spiderman Fallacy by Robin Schumacher

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Truthbomb Apologetics: Video: The Trinity (Christian Triune Godhead) Explained Parts 1 and 2

Truthbomb Apologetics: Video: The Trinity (Christian Triune Godhead) Explained Parts 1 and 2

A Fresh Breath of Farm Air (Fresh Prince Parody) - YouTube

A Fresh Breath of Farm Air (Fresh Prince Parody) - YouTube

Golden Rule - Superman Style

Over the past 75 years, there have more than a few Superman stories imagining what would happen if Superman died. Here is a panel from such a story. If there isn't a better example of how Superman has been portrayed in Messianic terms in comics, I would be surprised. Here we have Superman carving a version of the Golden Rule on the moon with his heat vision. Can you get more like Jesus than that?

FacePalm of the Day - F**ked-up Heroes of the Bible: Samson

Given the success of films like Man of Steel and Iron Man 3, a post like this one disparaging Biblical heroes on Debunking Christianity is not really surprising. My only surprise is that it seemed to take this long! Unlike Kal El and Anthony Stark and other fictional heroes, the people we read about in the Bible are truly human - same frailties and weaknesses. Just like us, they had to depend on God for successes and victories. This is to be expected 

16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. - James 5:16-18

F**ked-up Heroes of the Bible: Samson:

With as irate as fundamentalist Christians get about sex and violence (well, sex at least- they are pretty okay with violence) in movies, it is surprising the kind Bible stories that get passed off as appropriate for the kiddies. Sunday School lessons are populated with all sorts of unsavory characters plucked from the pages of the Good Book, sanitized and shined up to be presented to impressionable children. Christians are so desensitized to the nature of what is really going on in the stories that they fail to see that maybe - just maybe - these Hall of Shame members are not the best role models for kids to look up to.

This article by J.M. Green attempts to show that heroes in the Bible should not be looked up but failed to be heroic. It seems that this is meant to be a series of articles. It will be interesting to see if he can explain why the people he choose to spotlight weren't heroic and why he seems so very angry at the suggestion that they are worthy of being looked up to. I do admit that in Sunday Schools, an incomplete picture of these people are shown to children and the Biblically illiterate. Terrible things about their character and actions are glossed over and no discussed although they are clearly in the Biblical text. This is not a good thing. However presenting those things out of context and with no understanding, as Green does, is equally silly. 

Today’s example: Samson, who even has been immortalized as an children's action figure.

Pretty Cool but I doubt he dressed like that. 

Samson’s sordid saga is detailed in Judges, chapters 13 through 16. It is like one long and violent soap opera. For the sake of brevity, we’ll just hit the low-lights as I present evidence that this hero of the faith (Hebrews 11:32) was just a scoundrel living the thug life.

Wow. Tough words. I think terms like "scoundrel" and "thug" are unwarranted. I'd like to see what about Green makes him better than Samson. Anyone who knows Samson's story would agree that he was not the most moral or best person ever. Samson made a lot of bad decisions. But before going on remember what Hebrews 11:32 says about why Samson was a "Hero of Faith"

32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samueland the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms,administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. - Hebrews 11:32-34

Let's compare what Green says with what the Bible says and what "faith" is. 

First of all, let me set up the story by saying that in chapter 13 of Judges, we find out right away that Samson is going to be special because his mom is infertile and the ‘angel of the Lord’ shows up and informs her that she is going to have a baby. There is a definite pattern throughout the Bible of women turning up pregnant after a visit from an angel. Ladies, just to be on the safe side, if you are ever visited by an angel, keep those knees together!

Yes Green tries to be funny...and fails. The angel does not touch Samson's mother at all in the text. Reduced to lying on angels....well Green has to use what he has in absence of any real arguments. 

Anyway, his mom is told that he is not to have booze, forbidden foods, or haircuts. He gets the rock star look, without the partying. But, he will get the chicks, oh yes he will!

Hmmm...wonder if Green knows what a Nazirite is? Does he know what it signified in the Laws of Moses? Guess not He should have read Numbers 6
Exhibit 1:

One day when Samson was in Timnah, one of the Philistine women caught his eye. When he returned home, he told his father and mother, “A young Philistine woman in Timnah caught my eye. I want to marry her. Get her for me.” His father and mother objected. “Isn’t there even one woman in our tribe or among all the Israelites you could marry?” they asked. “Why must you go to the pagan Philistines to find a wife?” But Samson told his father, “Get her for me! She looks good to me.” His father and mother didn’t realize the LORD was at work in this, creating an opportunity to work against the Philistines, who ruled over Israel at that time. Judges 14:1-4 (NLT)

Basically, Samson is a horndog who dates pagan women. He has all the charm of a cave man: “Me want woman!” Not the best example for Christian children. But happily, our hero’s desire for bad girls is all part of God’s secret plan to ass-whip the Philistines.

Evidence for Samson being a "horn dog"? He is going to marry a woman who want to marry him. His parents knew the trouble it would cause him, that is why they did not want her to pursue this. It is funny how some atheists complain that God does not intervene in human affairs and yet here is one clear case where God did and God intervenes today. And here is Green complaining about God about to deliver Israel from the Philistines just because he does not like the way God is doing it.  Whine much?

Exhibit 2:

As Samson and his parents were going down to Timnah, a young lion suddenly attacked Samson near the vineyards of Timnah. At that moment the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon him, and he ripped the lion’s jaws apart with his bare hands. He did it as easily as if it were a young goat. But he didn’t tell his father or mother about it. When Samson arrived in Timnah, he talked with the woman and was very pleased with her. Judges 14:5-7 (NLT)

It is widely known that torturing animals is a warning indicator that you just might be a psychopath. That, along with lighting fires and late bedwetting. The Bible is silent as to whether Samson had incontinence problems, so we’re two out of three on the psycho checklist. But, it’s all good because it was the Spirit of the Lord that made him do it. As you will see, every time Samson is touched by the Spirit, he clicks into Viking berserker mode and death and destruction are unleashed. Anyway, the Philistine chick was indeed one hot mamma, and that made Samson happy.

Reading comprehension appears to be a lost art in this case. The text clearly says that the lion attacked Samson and Samson was defending himself! I'm assuming that Green is hot and bothered about Samson tying torches and foxes together and setting Philistine fields on fire and accusing Samson of being an arsonist. Has Green ever heard of scorched earth tactics in warfare? The Philistines had subjugated and oppressed his people. Granted that wasn't why Samson began to fight them, but God used Samson's personality against Israel's enemies Additionally, how does Green know that that the foxes were hurt in anyway? He doesn't. Do I think I should behave and think like Samson did? Nope. But was Samson psychotic? Double Nope.

Exhibit 3:

Later, when he returned to Timnah for the wedding, he turned off the path to look at the carcass of the lion. And he found that a swarm of bees had made some honey in the carcass. He scooped some of the honey into his hands and ate it along the way. He also gave some to his father and mother, and they ate it. But he didn’t tell them he had taken the honey from the carcass of the lion. Judges 14:8-9 (NLT)

Okay, so the dude is now scooping honey out of the rotting lion corpse, and giving it to his parents to eat. Creepy and sick! His depravity knows no bounds. This Bible hero is a psycho, for sure.

Unsanitary? Maybe. Some Bees made a hive in the lion corpse. It wasn't even the same day that Samson killed the lion. Depraved? Nope. Depravity is exampled by rejecting God. Psycho is hurting yourself and others when there is a way out of your servitude to sin and death. 

Next, Samson makes a riddle-bet with thirty young gentlemen. If they solve the riddle, then he has to buy them all some fancy new designer togas. They end up putting the pressure on Samson’s bride, who worms the info out of him. They then give the correct answer to Samson, and boy, is he pissed. Apparently the Spirit of the Lord was pissed too, as we shall see.

Samson is just a man. He behaved poorly. This part of the story is clearly describing what happened not prescribing how you or I should behave. 

Exhibit 4:

Then the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon him. He went down to the town of Ashkelon, killed thirty men, took their belongings, and gave their clothing to the men who had solved his riddle. But Samson was furious about what had happened, and he went back home to live with his father and mother. So his wife was given in marriage to the man who had been Samson’s best man at the wedding. Judges 14:19-20 (NLT)

Hello! This is just all kinds of wrong. Samson goes and kills thirty strangers so that he can steal their clothes and pay the riddle-winners. We can only hope he at least laundered the clothes before he gifted them, but the Bible doesn’t really say. Apparently, murdering strangers in order to steal their clothes was perfectly alright in this case, because the Spirit of the Lord empowered him to do it. When God moves us to kill and steal, who are we to argue with him – right? After all this ruckus, he is so butt-hurt that he decides to move back in with mom and dad. The final humiliation? Samson’s best man scores his bride. Needless to say, Samson is not a happy camper when he finds out.

Samson killed thirty Philistines who were part of the people and were oppressing them? Do you really want to go there? Really? It wasn't murder. It doesn't say that these guys were innocent in the slightest. Again should I do as Samson did? No way. Of course Samson went back to his Parents. Was he supposed to stay and live in Philistine town with a woman whom he cannot trust. I find it way more creepy and stupid to think that was a good idea than eating honey from a lion carcass 

That's all for now, kids.  The amazing story of our  Bible hero Samson will be continued in Part 2.

Written by J. M. Green

Oh goodie! More fail. 

Truthbomb Apologetics: Article: Joyce Meyer by Matt Slick

I really appreciate Chad posting a link to this article by Pastor Matt Slick In this article Matt Slick brings to bear the problems with the theology Joyce Meyer preaches. He points out that Meyer is just plain wrong about many things The best part is that Slick backs up his critique with the only measuring rod that matters when it comes to understanding theology: Scripture.

Truthbomb Apologetics: Article: Joyce Meyer by Matt Slick

No Black women or Asian women found or wanted in Muslim heaven - YouTube

It would be extremely stupid to think that all Muslims would agrees with this guy, but it would be just as stupid to think he is the only one. The question is not if it's offensive and flat out wrong to teach such a hateful thing, but does it represent the true intentions of the founder(s) of Islam? It odes not really matter that most of the Muslims in the world are Black or Asian because if this guy is correct, then their doing Islam wrong My question is how do the Muslims of the world know he is wrong?

No Black women or Asian women found or wanted in Muslim heaven - YouTube

Belief and Science

The same thing is true about God! His existence, Laws, and Power are completely independent of what you believe Best to believe the reality than your imagination of it

Presuppositional vs Natural Theology

I think that the following article is important/ I'm always interesting in Apologetic Methodologies because we can learn from each one!

Presuppositional vs Natural Theology:
Jeff DownsSome of you will already be aware of this, but the latest edition of Unbelievable, features Scott Oliphint and Kurt Jaros. This is a discussion regarding apologetic methodology.

"Scott believes that the best apologetic method is to assume that Christianity is true and show why a non-Christian is suppressing that truth. Atheists presuppose the existence of God even to argue against Him. This approach is called presuppositional or covanental apologetics.

Kurt Jaros believes that method is flawed and argues for the primacy of Natural Theology (or evidential apologetics) in presenting the case for Christianity to non-believers."

As of writing this, I have not had a chance to listen, so I can not share my thoughts. To listen click here.

I have some reservations about going to this conference, but I would love to attend these two particular sessions. I believe we need more scholarly discussion (audio) on apologetic methodology. Such as the one between Greg Bahnsen and R. C. Sproul.

I have heard the discussion between Dr Bahnsen and Sproul, but I haven't listened to the one Jeff points us to from the Unbelievable radio program yet I look forward to hearing it

Ravi Zacharias on Teaching Our Youth

Ravi Zacharias on Teaching Our Youth:
"The Bible reminds us to guard our doctrine and our conduct. Our youth know firsthand what the world has to offer. They need to be reached at a younger age because of the world of the Internet that ravages young minds sooner than ever before. Building their faith is not a prime strength in our churches today. We seem to think that we need to entertain them into the church. But what you win them with is often what you win them to. They can see through a hollow faith in a hurry. Their minds are hungry for coherence and meaning. They long to think things through. They long to know why the gospel is both true and exclusive. None of these issues are often addressed within their own reach. I believe this is the most serious crisis of our church-going youth today. Their faith is more a longing than a fulfillment. We have a special burden for the youth. We will keep at it as we try to reach them. It’s a tough world for the young."

Courage and Godspeed,


HT: The Poached Egg

Friday, June 21, 2013

Choice And The Moral Universe Of 'Man Of Steel' [Opinion] - ComicsAlliance | Comic book culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews

This is a real interesting article  I think the author makes some valid points about how Superman has been portrayed in Man of Steel in contrast with how the character has been depicted before in the past almost 80 years I think the change is due to the changing attitudes of culture. People no longer want heroes that inspire them to be better by being better than us. I think this is why Superman is shown to be so conflicted and less than perfect. Gone is the character that always knew the right things to do and could juggle planets. I'm not sure if that is necessarily a terrible thing but it is interesting. I think something else even more interesting is when you throw the allusions and metaphors to Jesus Christ into the mix. Just like Superman, Jesus has been watered down so much in our culture. The article made me look at the parts of the movie regarding Superman's childhood a little differently. The way the author described those scenes, they remind me of the pseudo-gospels like the Infancy Gospels from his point of view. I didn't see Kal El do anything in the movie that I thought that was outright malicious or wrong as a child but there were some things he did that are questionable in that they were things that anyone of us probably would have done and that could be the problem.

Choice And The Moral Universe Of 'Man Of Steel' [Opinion] - ComicsAlliance | Comic book culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews

Article: "Is Noah's Flood Simply a Retelling of Prior Mythologies?" by J. Warner Wallace

Article: "Is Noah's Flood Simply a Retelling of Prior Mythologies?" by J. Warner Wallace:
In this featured article, apologist J. Warner Wallace addresses the question, "Is Noah's Flood Simply a Retelling of Prior Mythologies?"

Wallace contends, "Moses' version of the Noahic Flood was not borrowed from a prior mythology; it is an accurate account of an ancient event later retold by people groups across the globe."

You can checkout the entire article here.

Further, I highly recommend Jim's blog.  It is constantly updated with relevant, encouraging and challenging articles that will aid you in becoming a more effective Christian Case Maker.

Courage and Godspeed,

Monday, June 17, 2013

Google Trials Internet by Balloon | Geeks are Sexy Technology News

Google is testing new technology for making the world wide web truly world-wide by using balloons to bounce wireless internet signals to cover parts of the world that does not have access to the internet. This has so many possibilities.

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Google Trials Internet by Balloon | Geeks are Sexy Technology News

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Is Man of Steel all about Jesus? Warner Bros hopes Christians think so

I saw Man of Steel last Friday and all I can still say, even after several hours to process it, is: WOW!  The movie is at least the best live-action depiction of Superman ever released! It is one of the best movies based on a comic book that has ever been put to screen. Not trying to spoil any of it for those who have not seen it, but I saw an article about the connection to Christianity in the movie.

Warner Bros. paid a theologian, Pepperdine University's Craig Detwiler, to prepare a nine-page set of "sermon notes" for ministers who want to preach about Man of Steel, titeld "Jesus: The Original Superhero." The sermon notes ask, "How might the story of Superman awaken our passion for the greatest hero who ever lived and died and rose again?" And then the sermon includes stuff about the themes and ideas of Man of Steel, after which the pastor is encouraged to say, "Let’s take a look at the trailer for Man of Steel." 

The comments made on the article are also interesting. The issues here are very central. Is a movie like this just symbolizing Jesus, or are the artists that created this movie just using themes and concepts familiar to western civilization? Does art in this way bolster the message of Christianity or in some way cheapens it? To be clear, the makers of Man of Steel or Superman in general are not in anyway trying to inspire people to be come Christians like C.S. Lewis intended through his work in Chronicle of Narnia. Given the other films made by Zach Snyder it makes sense that Man of Steel would have some Christian iconography. Big surprise. Even the earlier Superman films included many allusion to "Savior" and "Messiah". It kind of goes with the character.

Let's not forget that Superman's first creators were young Jewish men who were inspired by Samson and Moses - which are according to Theology archetypes and predecessors who foreshadowed Jesus Christ. As the character grew through the years, Superman became more Christ centered.  I won't give examples from the movie to avoid spoilers but there were at least 4 that I thought that were very blatant examples of making Superman look like Jesus.

I would avoid reading the following article until after you see the movie, but it is good to bear in mind that using Christian iconography and concepts to point an audience to Jesus Christ is a good thing. There is a danger of actually trying to equate Jesus with Superman. That's a problem. I don't think the film-makers do that and as a rule the comics books and cartoons don't. Superman clearly does not consider himself above humanity or better than humanity and certainly not a god and not divine. He does not consider himself worthy to determine who lives and who dies so he tries to save and help everyone. This isn't bad but a good and moral ethic to live by. It is one of the tent poles for Christian ethics.

Is Man of Steel all about Jesus? Warner Bros hopes Christians think so

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out two of the darker sides of this. Some folks make a serious error (sometimes tongue-in-cheek) in trying to argue that Superman is better than Jesus Christ and that like Superman Jesus is fictional. Really dumb, but there you go. I wrote an article about this while ago. Read it here: 10 Reasons Why there is No Comparision Between Jesus and Superman. And my brother -in-Christ, whom I really respect and if you haven't read his work you should,  posted a video about the occult symbolism in Man of Steel.  If you look our culture is steeped in it and many of our movies have them in them. You should be aware. Check out his video.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Answering Muslims: Allen West Responds to Bill Cosby's Praise of Muslims

Reportedly on June 10, Bill Cosby said the following:

I’m a Christian. But Muslims are misunderstood. Intentionally misunderstood. We should all be more like them. They make sense, especially with their children. There is no other group like the Black Muslims, who put so much effort into teaching children the right things, they don’t smoke, they don’t drink or overindulge in alcohol, they protect their women, they command respect. And what do these other people do?

They complain about them, they criticize them. We’d be a better world if we emulated them. We don’t have to become black Muslims, but we can embrace the things that work. (Source)

Since then, Bill Cosby has come under heavy criticism.  People have interpreted his words as an endorsement of Islam. I respect David Wood but I think what he said about this misses an important point.

If Bill Cosby had praised some specific Muslims for being good parents or being good people, I would have no objections. I've known many Muslims that I respect as parents and as people. But Cosby went much, much further, claiming that we should all strive to be more like Muslims. And here we must ask what he could possibly mean. Should we be more like Osama bin Laden, or the Muslims who blew up innocent people at the Boston Marathon, or the Muslims who butchered Lee Rigby? Of course not. Cosby means that we should be like Muslims who live better lives than their religion commands them to live. But if we're looking for people who live better lives than Islam commands, that's almost everyone in the world.

I think that what Allen West, Sean Hannity, and even David Wood are missing is that Cosby was not endorsing Sharia or the Quran. He basically just said that there was somethings about the Nation of Islam (Black Muslims) that are worthy of emulation. I don't know if Cosby understands the difference but I'd like to think that West, Hannity, and Wood do know the difference between Islam proper and the Nation of Islam. If you study the Nation of Islam you will find many differences between it and what Muslims throughout the world believe.  I wouldn't endorse the Nation of Islam but its definitely not the same as the Islam practiced by "Osama bin Laden, or the Muslims who blew up innocent people at the Boston Marathon, or the Muslims who butchered Lee Rigby".

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Answering Muslims: Allen West Responds to Bill Cosby's Praise of Muslims
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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

High Five of the Day - Calvinistic "Quotes": Man's idolatrous estimation of his self as

This is an awesome quote:

Nothing quite reveals man's idolatrous estimation of his self as being preeminent then his acceptance of Christ dying for sins of others while he refuses to accept that men should die for their own sins!
~ Julius Mickel

This point is what separates born-again Christians from all other people - it is the recognition that salvation is not because we deserve it - we deserve death (physical death and eternal separation from God) because of our sins. Jesus saved us from the consequences of what we did, do, and will do.

Calvinistic "Quotes": Man's idolatrous estimation of his self as
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Monday, June 10, 2013

My Common Sense Is Tingling - Debunking Christianity: Can God Exist if Yahweh Doesn't?

Here is  a video that went up today on the Debunking Christianity blog. It pretends to get rid of the God of the Bible by assuming that the Ontological argument for the existence of God throws the Bible under the bus.

 The Christian understanding is clearly misunderstood here. William Lane Craig often uses the concept that the greatest being you can think of is God. The video's author claims that he can think of a being greater than the God revealed to us in the Bible. However no proof is offered of that. And neither does the author attempt to explain by what he measures greatness. On top of all of that I see no way any one of us could come up with a more powerful, more loving, more intelligent, or greater by any measure. At the very least creating and sustaining all of reality out of nothing - energy, matter, time, space, and all there is - cannot be topped.

Debunking Christianity: Can God Exist if Yahweh Doesn't?
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Dr. Claude Mariottini - Professor of Old Testament: Cain and His Offering

Dr. Mariottini has posted a really interesting article weighing different interpretations of God rejecting Cain's sacrifice but accepting Able's and why God did what He did and say What He did to each man. Really great stuff!

Dr. Claude Mariottini - Professor of Old Testament: Cain and His Offering
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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Beggars All: Reformation And Apologetics: Clever satire exposing heresies of the Trinity

Here is a great video that in an extremely humorous way explains the various ways that people have tried to explain the Trinity. No metaphor or example is perfect because it is our finiteness trying to wrap human understanding around the infinite nature of God. Good tries though.

Beggars All: Reformation And Apologetics: Clever satire exposing heresies of the Trinity
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Monday, June 3, 2013

No Compromise Episode II

This particular discussion is really interesting.They discuss a lot of thing - important things. Things like whether or not God can talk to us outside of scripture. I used to wonder how do people who are reformed and/or believe that the spiritual gifts are not for today interact and see their relationship with God. Do they see themselves being lead by God? Turns out that they use different terminology thanmy tradition used. It was very useful.

No Compromise Episode II
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