Posted tagged ‘Christianity’

Apocalyptic Hypocrisy


Today, May 21st, 2011, was supposed to be the beginning of the end according to Harold Camping and his followers. Obviously, they’re wrong, and we all know this, so I’m not going to waste time talking about that. No, what I want to discuss has to do with how Harold Camping is in, what Christians should consider, good company; like Jesus, Paul, John, Matthew, Mark, and the author of Revelation. There are two specific arguments I want to make: (a) if you’re upset with Camping, you have to be with the Jesus and the NT authors as well, and (b) you should be, therefore (a).

Jesus tells his disciples: “I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes” (10:23). Jesus, when speaking to the Sanhedrin during his trial, says, “you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:16; cf. Matthew 26:64).

The apostle Paul was the first New Testament author to reassure his believers that “the day of the Lord” will still take place any day, suddenly and without warning, like “thief in the night” even though more time has passed than what previously believed and even though some had died waiting (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2). Paul also expected that some of the people he was writing to would be alive to witness the coming of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:15), including himself. Paul also writes:

“What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use things of the word, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. (1 Corinthians 7:29; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:20, 2 Corinthians 6:2, Romans 13:11)

(In the genuine letters of Paul, it’s clear he expected the end of the world to be at hand. This is one of the reasons why the Pastoral letters are believed by scholars to be psuedopigraphy (i.e., 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus).)

Elsewhere, we find the author of 1 John saying he knows it’s the “last hour.” He even expects to be alive when “the Holy One” comes (2:18,28). Still later we have the author of the book of Revelation repeatedly saying that the “time is near” or that Jesus will be coming “soon” (1:1; 3:11, 22:6-7, 10, 12, 20).

You might be thinking, “okay, fine, they were wrong too, but so what?” What about the mother that, terrified of the impending apocalypse, slit the throat and wrists of her and her daughter? What of the man who hung himself in a church today? What about the families that have given everything they have to Camping? And remember, these beliefs would have the same consequence 2000 years ago, so don’t try to fool yourself into thinking there wouldn’t have been any believers then who wouldn’t have done anything like we saw some believers do today.

Like I said: (a) if you’re upset with Camping, you have to be with the Jesus and the NT authors as well, and (b) you should be, therefore (a).


A Problem with Presuppositional Apologetics


Below is an excerpt from an informal debate on Facebook between myself and a few others. One of the other individuals, the one included in the excerpt below, a man who calls himself Atom, hijacked the original debate, which was about why calling a Christian “not a true Christian” is a No True Scotsman logical fallacy, and turned its focus to presuppositions. Why? The purpose of this Apologetic is to effectively level the playing field between the Christian and the atheist by claiming that both the Christian and atheist hold presuppositions, “beliefs that governs all other beliefs, or the most fundamental commitment of the heart,”* and therefore neither can objectively weigh evidence to reach Truth. Unfortunately, if you accept what the Presuppositionalist tells you, they then begin spinning men of straw about the “nature” of logic and how the only way to objectively look at the universe is to assume the existence of their deity. Of course, this is a load of bull, as the excerpt down below will show.

My Original Question:

If two people can read your Bible and come out with different understandings, why did the supposed author of it fail to make it clear enough to avoid that from happening in the first place?

Atom’s Response:

This is just another example how you get out of it what you take to it. Your presuppositions effect everything you interact with. Just like how you think the bible is “bullshit” so all you see is bullshit… (sic)

My Response:

Actually, Atom, I never thought, like most atheists who were raised in religious households, that the Bible was bullshit until after I did my homework on it so it isn’t an arbitrary presupposition but a reasoned conclusion. Most never went into it the study of their preferred religion with the presupposition it wasn’t true. We went into it with the presupposition it was true and that we wanted to actually understand it. I wonder how, having the same presupposition that you did, the Bible is true, we could have come out of it with the conclusion that it wasn’t. Hmm?

And, not only did you not answer my question, you’re actually begging it. Why would your God create us to have presuppositions to misunderstand the very book we’re supposed to?


* Definition courtesy of Apologist John Frame:

Why Do Christians Hate the Anti-Christ?


The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is without a doubt the single most desired event among the Christian community, but according to biblical prophecy, before Christ can return the anti-Christ must reign. Seeing as the anti-Christ is integral to the return of Christ, why then, is he the target of universal Christian disdain and fear? Looking through history we see that many of the individuals who have been labeled the anti-Christ were also the recipients of great retaliation (necessary retaliation mind you) for example Nero, Charlemagne, Napoleon, Alistair Crowley, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, and currently there’s even a minority who believe President Barack Obama is the anti-Christ (probably the same minority who think him to be a socialist, Muslim, illegal alien from Kenya). If Christians truly believe what they claim to, they should be doing everything they possibly can to bring the anti-Christ to power, not fight him tooth-and-nail prolonging an end they desire more than life itself.

There’s a Wall Between Church and State, Not a One-Way Street


“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” – Thomas Jefferson (in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists explaining the intent of the First Amendment)

The founding fathers built a wall between Church and State, not a one-way street in which the religious and their ideology can influence the government.  In order to know why the fundamentalist Christians who believe the latter are wrong, it is important to have a basic understanding of Virginia history.  In 1786, one year before the Constitution was written, Patrick Henry, one of the more radical founders that also happened to be opposed to replacing the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution, submitted a proposal to the Virginia legislature to have the colony publicly fund the teaching of Christianity in public schools.  Patrick Henry’s proposal was dismissed and instead Thomas Jefferson wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom which was passed and signed into Virginia law.  The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom barred tax support for religious institutions, prohibited religious tests for public office, and was the foundation for the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment in the Constitution.

If you happen to be one of the fundamentalist Christians I mentioned earlier, let this sink in.  Patrick Henry proposed to have the state endorse Christianity by having it used as a tool of indoctrination within public schools and Thomas Jefferson instead wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom which was then adopted into the Constitution as the basis for the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.  This situation right here perfectly describes how some of the founding fathers felt about religious interference with government.  They did not want it!

Voting with Religion Undermines Our Freedom Of/From Religion


“I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good…Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called by God to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.”

“Our goal must be simple. We must have a Christian nation built on God’s law, on the Ten Commandments. No apologies.”

“When I, or people like me, are running the country, you’d better flee, because we will find you, we will try you, and we’ll execute you. I mean every word of it. I will make it part of my mission to see to it that they are tried and executed.”

“There is going to be war, [and Christians may be called to] take up the sword to overthrow the tyrannical regime that oppresses them.”

– Randall Terry (Operation Rescue)

Religion is a personal endeavor and by being such, followers are completely free to subjugate themselves, and only themselves, to the creeds, codes, and dogmas that they deem to be true.  The moment religious citizens begin voting on proposition and legislation with their religious dogma, worshiping with their vote, they are voting against one of the very principles our nation was founded upon, our freedom of and from religion. It is a road to theocracy and we here in the United States have been walking down this road for decades.   This might sound confusing and contradictory to you; “How can voting with my religion be violating our principle of freedom of religion?  Doesn’t freedom of religion give me that right?”  The answer to both is no.  I may be opposed to homosexuality (I’m not, this is for sake of argument) for religious reasons but if I were to seek some sort of legislation criminalizing the act it would not be sufficient for me to point to my holy text or proclaim it to be God’s will.  I would have to explain why homosexuality violates some principle that anyone of any background and faith (or lack of) would be able to understand and agree upon.

Politics is the attempt to reach a consensus or agreement on issues and this is dependent upon topics being open for debate and susceptible to reason.  It is compromise.  At the most fundamental levels, religion does not allow for compromise.  Compromise within religion is amount to heresy.  If God issues an edict, his followers are expected to comply regardless of the consequences they might face here in society.  When people vote with their religion and win, they inject their religious principle into the government.  When enough religious principle and ideology has been injected into the government, a theocracy is born.  In a theocracy, a certain religious viewpoint is given endorsement, minimizing the value of all other religious viewpoints making the adherents of the newly minimized religious viewpoints outsiders and potentially, depending upon the specifics, criminals.  Does this sound like freedom of and from religion?

I have a few questions for those of you who disagree with me…What if your religion was not the majority and legislation was passed that somehow affected your freedom to worship the way you see fit?  Would you still be okay with it?  Doesn’t secularism seem a much more rational approach for the government to take?