Monday, December 30, 2013

My Common Sense in Tingling - What God Really Thinks of Children!

As funny as it may seem, sometimes people do post thought-provoking posts on...Tumblr. I just saw an example below. The following graphic after this paragraph makes the assertion that God does not love Children and that the Bible is full of examples of Children being killed. It attempts to back this charge up by rattling off a series of Bible verses in attempt to back up such silly blasphemy. The Bible verses are either twisted out of context or outright lied about what it says. I think it would be instructive to go through each verse and see if it really tells us ways in which we ought to kill children. I will quote each verse and demonstrate what it really is saying. If anyone thinks that this is a matter of interpretation I have to disagree. This is a matter of reading comprehension. Can one read a text and understand what is being communicated? If one can look at these passage and come away with the thought that the God of the Bible is commanding his people to kill babies, I have to question either their intellectual abilities and/or honesty.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. - Matthew 18:6

Many times people take a verse out of context because they don't read the surrounding verses but that excuse can't be used here. Jesus is not saying that children should be thrown into the sea tied to millstones and drowned.  Jesus said that the people who hurt those who follow him, especially children, it would be better that they have stones tied around their necks and drowned than what will actually happen to him. In other words, hurting children will get you a worse punishment than having a stone tied around your neck and drown in the sea. The concrete shoes treatment would be getting off easy. The passage is pointing out how important children are to God. 

20 “Look, Lord, and consider:
    Whom have you ever treated like this?
Should women eat their offspring,
    the children they have cared for?
Should priest and prophet be killed
    in the sanctuary of the Lord?

21 “Young and old lie together
    in the dust of the streets;
my young men and young women
    have fallen by the sword.
You have slain them in the day of your anger;
    you have slaughtered them without pity.

22 “As you summon to a feast day,
    so you summoned against me terrors on every side.
In the day of the Lord’s anger
    no one escaped or survived;
those I cared for and reared
    my enemy has destroyed.” - Lamentations 2:20-22

This was the prophet Jeremiah crying out to God about the destruction and destitution his people were  enduring. Mothers were eating their children because Jerusalem had no more food because the Babylonians had been starving them out over.  Jeremiah is describing what happened. God is not prescribing what we should be doing or saying that this was a good a thing. This was a horror and a consequence of their sin. God had given them centuries to repent and they would not. So this way wrath and judgement. Take note because your turn is coming if you refuse to repent and turn to God.

10 Therefore in your midst parents will eat their children, and children will eat their parents. I will inflict punishment on you and will scatter all your survivors to the winds. - Ezekiel 5:10

The prophet Ezekiel was one of Jeremiah's contemporaries. He was given the same message to their people as Jeremiah said. Again this was not something people were supposed to do. This was punishment for their evil and rebellion again God. 

24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. - Genesis 19:24

The graphic appears to be saying the God likes to burn children to death because he destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. However these two cities were extraordinary wicked and God can choose to bring judgment whenever he wants to and however he wants to and on whomever he wants to. We cannot do that because none of us are better or worse than another human being.

Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke of when he said:
“‘Among those who approach me
    I will be proved holy;
in the sight of all the people
    I will be honored.’”
Aaron remained silent. - Leviticus 10:1-3

Nadab and Abihu were not children when this happened. They were grown men and knew what they were doing but still chose to sin. 

18 If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid. - Deuteronomy 21:18-21

This passage is not trying to imply that young children would be treated this way. The passage is referring to an adult child. For example not cleaning your room would not get you stoned. It would have to be extreme and continuous.

29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well.  - Exodus 12:29

God did not kill all the children...just the firstborn including adults. This points forward to all who were covered under the blood of Jesus will be saved just like the folks who painted the Passover lambs blood on their door posts were saved.

36 Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron and attacked it. - Joshua 10:36

IT was a war. Were they supposed to be tossing flowers and request surrender? I hope on one would really think that was appropriate.

Yet she was taken captive
    and went into exile.
Her infants were dashed to pieces
    at every street corner.
Lots were cast for her nobles,
    and all her great men were put in chains. - Nahum 3:10

This was part of a prophecy explaining what was going to happen to the city of Nineveh  It is about Judgement. They deserved it because of their Sins. But they deserved it no more than you or I.

29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[a] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life - Matthew 19:29

Jesus was not commanding people to abandon their children or their families. In the context of the passage, Jesus was saying that we should love nothing more than Him. But if we loose our families (ie because we are killed for our belief and obedience to  Him) because we put Jesus first He will take care of  us. Jesus also commanded us to obey Him and He tells us that we must take care our our parents and children. Therefore we can't just abandon them. Therefore, Jesus is not telling us it's okay to abandon or neglect our families.

20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. - Revelations 2:20-23

In the last Scripture cited, again out of context, the children of a specific woman who misleads and perverts her position of teaching in a specific church at a specific time. Her sins are listed but we are not told if her her children are adults or younger or her name or much specific information. If you want to apply this for today, you can see that we are given a description of what a false prophet teacher looks like and what can happen to such a person. Don't be like her. 

In looking at the passage again, I've got to point out that this particular church isn't being admonished because the have a woman as a leader and teacher. They are being warned against what she is teaching.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

FacePalm of the Day - Who is really Specal Pleading?

John Loftus posted a blog post in which he reiterates his contention that Christians do no more than special pleading when giving evidence and arguments for what what we believe and why we believe it. The article is entitled "Christian Apologetics is Little More Than Special Pleading" and after it showed up in my RSS feed it seems to have been deleted. I'm bringing it back up because he makes no new arguments here but summarizes his mind set. I am responding in red font and his words are in black font. Let's first define what "special pleading" is.

Description of Special Pleading
Special Pleading is a fallacy in which a person applies standards, principles, rules, etc. to others while taking herself (or those she has a special interest in) to be exempt, without providing adequate justification for the exemption. This sort of "reasoning" has the following form:
  1. Person A accepts standard(s) S and applies them to others in circumtance(s) C.
  2. Person A is in circumstance(s) C.
  3. Therefore A is exempt from S.

Once again let me say that all attempts to defend Christianity are little more than special pleading to a conclusion based on other grounds, most notably one's culture and private subjective experience. To see this for what it is just look seriously at how Muslims, Mormons and Moonies defend their faiths. Don't just note that their conclusions are different. Look at how they reason. So the only way to defend Christianity is to argue that one's culture and private subjective experience are reliable guides to the truth about the nature and workings of the universe. But anyone who has visited a different culture, or took seriously the fact of religious diversity, should see quite clearly that neither of them are reliable guides to the truth. Christians are therefore in denial.

So let's try to understand what Loftus is arguing. He is saying that Christians are in the same circumstances C as Muslims, Mormons, Moonies, and all other religious people because the standards S by which we reason and accept reality are blinded by our own culture and private subjective experiences. It is true that if Christianity was only based on culture and private subjective experience, Loftus would be right. But this where his reasoning goes off the rails. Biblical Christianity is independent of opinions and culture for its truth claims. The commands given in the  Bible are independent of your culture and what you feel about them. So is Jesus' sacrifice - his death, burial, and resurrection. This also transcends whatever religious diversity arguments anyone might even think of raising. Just because they are rejected by another religion does not make them wrong. True that depending on your own experience or understanding will not lead you to any truth. Christianty is not based on either.

They prefer to live in a childish pretend world where they have an unfounded hope because of the perceived need for hope. Faith is a pathology that keeps Christians from taking responsibility for their own lives, that keeps them from thinking for themselves, that allows them to mindlessly quote-mine from the Bible, that forever keeps them from growing up. I have never been more convinced of this as I am today.

This sure is a lot of accusations being thrown around. Loftus can't substantiate any of it. He has readily admitted in several other posts and books that we can only talk about probabilities because we can't be certain. He even has said that we don't need certainty if we know how likely something is to be true. Yet, he is so certain that the Bible is wrong.  The most he can argue is that he thinks that the Bible is probably not true. His "reasoning" for this conclusion is dubious because he agrees that human reasoning is flawed and yet he is using his own reasoning to come that conclusion. He is asking us to think that his reasoning is worth trusting. Yet, I see no reason to drink that kool-aid. The Bible is reliable and more than likely true - it is true.

Christian, you can show us otherwise and here's how. Just produce a series of arguments, along with the objective evidence that backs them up, that your sect-specific type of Christianity is the one true faith without any special pleading.

Biblical Christianity is more than up for this challenge. I would like to see Loftus first make his arguments without special pleading. 

The pathological nature of faith should be seen in any attempt to do so. The hard part is to show this is exactly what you're doing, since the nature of the pretend game of faith blinds you from seeing the double-standards you use to defend it. You can see the double-standards in people who defend other faiths. You are blind to this same thing when it comes to your own. You think you have the requisite evidence, but this so-called evidence isn't objective evidence that could convince a reasonable outsider at all. You only accept this so-called evidence because of the need to have hope, even if it's an unfounded one.

I find it amazing that Loftus can't see how the above "observations" apply to him as well as it does some religious proponents. He is truly special pleading  because he assumes a standard for evidence for Atheism and pretends that he is using logic and reasoning but Christians are not. All Loftus is using is emotional and based on his own culture and subjective experiences.

This Is How You Protect Your Marriage!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Weighing in on the Phil Robertson Controversy

Today, I finally heard of the Controversy that came about from an interview of Phil Robertson in GQ Magazine. Robertson is one of the stars of the A&E show Duck Dynasty. Robertson made statements completely consistent with Christianity against Homosexuality and other sins rampant in America today. A&E fired him from the show and people are calling for him to apologize. Here is a really good video explaining the situation and why it is silly.

Not everything that Robertson said I agree with. The situation was also discussed on the Pierce Morgan Show on CNN.

The really amazing thing is how people are trying to spin Robertson's statement as non-Christian. Morgan said himself that although he claims to be a "Christian", he does not believe all of the Bible is true. Michael Brown did a great job representing the truth of the Bible. Too bad the other people he was talking to on the show did not hear him.

Piers Morgan Says Belief That Homosexuality Is Sinful Is 'Bigoted' and 'Fooey' | Media Research Center

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Truthbomb Apologetics: God of love or God of judgment?

Here is a good sermon by Michael Ramsden. He explains why there is no contradiction between
God's love and judgement. 

Truthbomb Apologetics: God of love or God of judgment?