Willohroots


Biblical Answers for a Biblically Illiterate Atheist.
July 1, 2009, 22:37
Filed under: Christ, faith, Uncategorized

atheist

So much biblical ignorance, so little time.  what do some of these “churches” teach?

This broke my heart when I read it  at http://thebeattitude.com/2009/05/28/losing-my-religion-why-i-walked-away-from-christianity/

A portion of the writer’s comments and his 20 points in blue and my answers in black.  What do you think?

The change was a culmination of things that I could no longer ignore. Faith is belief in the unseen and unprovable, but still requires a foundation for that faith. With the countless religions of the world, I began to question why the god of the Bible is more believable than all other gods worshiped on earth. With the mountain of evidence staring me in the face, my faith began to die.

Last fall, I finally moved past guilt and admitted to myself that I no longer believe in Jesus or the god of the Bible. Surprisingly it was a relief. Not because I wanted to run wild and sin freely, but because I no longer felt the weight a Christian carries. The weight of guilt, unworthiness and fear of god’s judgement. I continue to spend my days striving to be a good husband, father and son. I help others in need around me as often as I can. The big difference is I do these things today because it brings me joy, not because I believe it brings an imaginary god joy.

For those wondering, here is a condensed “Top 20 List” of the things that led to my rejection of Christianity.

1.God is wrathful, jealous, hateful, and kills nations of people like it is a bodily function. He is certainly not just or “holy” in nature.

1Jo 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

God has in His own time for His good purposes ended civilizations.  These were specific instances of specific cultures.  We do not know what would have come from those societies, God does, and He had His reasons.  We know that to bring salvation to mankind the nation of Israel had to exist,  to show the greatest love of all.  A Tribe that would endanger the existance of the branch of Jesse would need to go.  God more often showed amazing mercy to peoples, Nineveh, the Gentiles, and all who would repent.

2.The act of throwing people into infinite torture and punishment for not believing a Jewish guy from 2,000 years ago was God’s son, or unknowingly worshiping the wrong god, is extremely cruel and sadistic.

Deu 32:4 “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he. Psa 19:1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

It is truly amazing that any at all are to be with God in eternity.  I am not an expert on Hell, and praise God will never be.

Jhn 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The rescue is here, do not reject it and blame the rescuer!

3.The statements, “God works in mysterious ways,” or “It will all make sense in heaven,” are little more than irrational cop outs. This God allows horrible atrocities to be committed against innocent men, women and children every day.

Eph 2:2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–

The world is not a terrarium run by a benign overseer making sure all is well.  The bible is clear that at one time we had a Paradise, but not now.  Satan is alive and well, and is the Prince of this world until Christ returns.  How do people see evil and attribute it to God instead of to the father of all lies? This one amazes me.  God has given us free will to be as evil as we wish.  It is as if all mankind is Job, and we are tested to see if we will curse God and die.  It looks as if some will.  How much of the evil you reject is man made?  All of it?   It is because of this evil that judgementmust come.

Genesis 6:5
The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.  GOD HAS THE SAME ISSUES WITH MAN THAT YOU DO.

4.Bloody animal and human sacrifices are illogical demands by a divine god as payment for petty wrong doings. These actions are no different than the rituals of archaic pagan religions. Not to mention the bizarre ritual of symbolically drinking human blood and eating human flesh.

Mat 12:7 “And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.

The old testament sacrifices taught that sin has a price in innocent blood.  The Lord’s table is the culmination of that and a reminder to us of the price paid for sin. To reduce the ordinance of communion to an act honoring of cannibalism is exceptionally small minded.   We are to live on the Bread of heaven, and be sustained by the life of Christ.  Each time we eat or drink we need to remember the source of our strength and life, Christ.  It is a mnemonic device, not a magic act.

Luke 22:20
In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant [established by] My blood; it is shed for you.

What an amazing metaphor!  More than a metaphor, blood was the symbol of life!  This brings us into communion with each other and God.

5.If God loves us and wants us to know and believe in him, why be so completely invisible? What is the purpose of being so illusive to those who believe and worship him?

I do not find Him illusive at all. He is always there for me, always.

Hbr 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

How would it be faith if it were concrete before you?  Such is the test.  The odd thing about the testis that it is open book, and He will provide you with a measure of faith if you ask.

6.God never manifests himself or performs miracles as he regularly did for the Israelites in Old Testament stories.

I see miracles in changed lives everyday.  I am one.  See above, faith is the key.

Psa 97:6 The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.

Ask God to take the scales from your eyes and you will see His majesty!  Creation celebrates the Creator!

7.Prayers are never answered. Certainly not in the way Jesus described. Prayer has absolutely no affect on the world around us.

I have seen prayers answered!  Prayer has great effect on the world, “greater is He than the one who is in the world”.  God is ,however, not a dispenser of miracles to be manipulated!  Jesus Himself asked God to pass the Cup of His death away, but that was not to be, Jesus also prayed,”Thy will not Mine.”  God will do His will, it is His will to at times manipulate things as we ask, but not always.  He is not existant to do our will, we exist to do His.  Do not put God to a test, He is above it.

8.Jesus did not fulfill major Old Testament prophesies or even fulfill his own promises and predictions.

Have you read Isiah 53?  And hundreds of others, from the book of Genesis on the bible points to Jesus!  And if you are going to start with “This generation shall not Pass” please remember there are still jews in the world, generation can also mean race.

Mar 15:28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.

There is one of many.

Jhn 7:42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? Jhn 19:36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.

I could do this all day.

9.The authors of much of the Bible are unknown. And of these unknown authors, the men who wrote the gospels likely never even met Jesus considering they were written 40-70 years after his death. A far cry from reliable testimony.

This historical inaccuracy is glaring.

1Cr 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

This was written by Paul during the lifetime of people who had seen the Risen Savior.  Mark was dictated during Peter’s lifetime.  Read Lee Strobel, he does a better job than I of clearing this up.  The life of Jesus has more first person accounts than most of the things we accept in ancient history.  Many more. To clear up the matter, John was written by John, Luke was written by Luke, Micah was written by Micah,  there is a pattern here.  All was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

10.The Bible is repeatedly contradictory with itself, reality, and the laws of morality. Couldn’t God inspire a less poorly written book?

Use the link to Blue Letter Bible, there is a section on biblical “conflicts” that will help. These are the things that should be discussed in any good Sunday School.  There is no conflict of morality or reality.  For 66 books written on 3 continents over a thousand years the bible is remarkably coherent, miraculously so.

2Ti 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

11.The Bible is open to interpretation. Everyone interprets it in the way that suits them best or serves their purposes.

Scripture interprets scripture, the same Holy Spirit that inspired it is still available to interpret it.  I am so sorry that ,yes, people abuse and manipulate Scripture, and that is sinful  .  Apostasy began in the time of the book of Acts,  as the church formed so did Gnostic and apostate groups.  Here is a good guide for you, if someone “interprets” something in a way not seen before in a few hundred years, I will bet it is wrong.

2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

12.Throughout history, Christians have justified horrific actions by the Bible and its teaching.

Throughout history Christianity has been a mass of sinners run by sinners.  Horrible things have been done in the name of Christ.  I concede that point with remorse and we need to beg the mercy of God for what the Church has done.  None of it was done with true biblical mandate.  Most of it was done by groups and power structures who did not follow the bible, and in fact rebelled from it.

Jesus Himself criticized a group of Christians who were on the wrong track, He hated what they were doing, but the behavior of sinners is no excuse to reject the Savior. These words were spoken by the Risen Savior Himself.   It seems you and Christ have that in common.

Rev 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

13.The Bible promotes hate and persecution against women, homosexuals and those who worship other gods or no god at all.

Those societies most influenced by Christianity, the societies we call Western, have the most women’s rights and the most rights for homosexuals. Compare us to Islam.  Homosexuals are killed!  Women still can not drive or own property.  Jesus’s group of supporters had many women, there are many church leaders, Lydia, Phoebe, mentioned in the bible.  The Jews were taught by God to honor all human life, except in time of war.   I find no base for these claims. Old Testament law concerning homosexuals was specific to the nation of Israel.  Paul stood on Mars Hill and respected the beliefs of others.  Scripture teaches not all are called, and to love our neighbor,  no mention of religious proclivity.

Hbr 12:14 Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

14.According to the Bible, nearly 70% percent of the people in the world will burn in hell because they don’t believe Jesus was the son of God.

Jhn 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

As a member of the 30% I thank God!  I also recognize my responsibility to tell the 70% about Jesus!

15.The only reason I was a Christian was because I was indoctrinated into the religion as a child as a result of the culture and region of the world in which I was born.

You were not a Christian, if that is the case.  God sees the heart not the membership card. No one is a Christian due to family or culture,  only when the Holy Spirit convicts of sin and brings the repentance that causes a fear of God do we make Christ the King of our lives and become a member of His flock.  You must become a new creature to be of the family of God.

Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Rom 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

16.Christianity has no more rational or factual foundation than any other religion on earth that I openly reject.

I do not know what other religions you have rejected, I assume all of them. That may be a good start. Our foundation is Christ, rational, and quite factual.

Mat 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

17.The Christian church is disjointed and can’t even agree with one another.

Yes it is.  Mostly due to a lack of standing on the bible.  Man made rules and traditions are devisive.  You might be surprised how much bible based Christians agree, but we are human, fallible, and sinful.  Do not judge the King by His subjects!

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

18.Christians are not at all ethically or morally different from non-Christians.

I honestly apologize if that has been your experience.  Here is what a true Christian should be filled with:

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Gal 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

19.Today, powerful church leaders steal, lie and molest young children. The church repeatedly attempts to cover up these atrocities, only to reluctantly apologize as a last resort.

Yes, again I concede and add that in my humble opinion it is going to get much worse. Any church that would attempt to cover such sin is no Church of Christ, it is a society of man using the things of God as weapons against an ignorant populace.

2 Peter 2

False Teachers

1 There used to be false prophets among God’s people, just as you will have some false teachers in your group. They will secretly teach things that are wrong—teachings that will cause people to be lost. They will even refuse to accept the Master, Jesus, who bought their freedom. So they will bring quick ruin on themselves.2 Many will follow their evil ways and say evil things about the way of truth.3 Those false teachers only want your money, so they will use you by telling you lies. Their judgment spoken against them long ago is still coming, and their ruin is certain.

1 Timothy 4

A Warning About False Teachers

1 Now the Holy Spirit clearly says that in the later times some people will stop believing the faith. They will follow spirits that lie and teachings of demons.2 Such teachings come from the false words of liars whose consciences are destroyed as if by a hot iron.3 They forbid people to marry and tell them not to eat certain foods which God created to be eaten with thanks by people who believe and know the truth.

20.It is absolutely irrational to continue to believe archaic teaching with the amount of knowledge we’ve gained through science and technology. The Bible reads like a book of primitive folklore, not divinely inspired insight into our true reason for existence.

Mark 12:31
“The second is this, ‘ YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Is this teaching outmoded?

Mark 12:33
AND TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

This one?

Romans 13:8
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:10
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

James 2:8
If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, ” YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well.


I hope these never go out of style.   There are many scientists that believe,and were brought to belief by their studies. One thing science can never provide is reasons for existance, that is out of the realm of science.  As one who has read a lot of  primitive folk lore,  I do not see the similarities.   The Bible is unique.

Peters words are true now as they were then.

8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: To the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day.9 The Lord is not slow in doing what he promised—the way some people understand slowness. But God is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to be lost, but he wants all people to change their hearts and lives.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The skies will disappear with a loud noise. Everything in them will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be exposed.[a] 11 In that way everything will be destroyed. So what kind of people should you be? You should live holy lives and serve God,12 as you wait for and look forward to the coming of the day of God. When that day comes, the skies will be destroyed with fire, and everything in them will melt with heat.13 But God made a promise to us, and we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth where goodness lives.

14 Dear friends, since you are waiting for this to happen, do your best to be without sin and without fault. Try to be at peace with God.15 Remember that we are saved because our Lord is patient. Our dear brother Paul told you the same thing when he wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him.16 He writes about this in all his letters. Some things in Paul’s letters are hard to understand, and people who are ignorant and weak in faith explain these things falsely. They also falsely explain the other Scriptures, but they are destroying themselves by doing this.

17 Dear friends, since you already know about this, be careful. Do not let those evil people lead you away by the wrong they do. Be careful so you will not fall from your strong faith.18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Glory be to him now and forever! Amen.

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31 Comments so far
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Will,
This is beautifully written and well said. I appreciate you brother. This is the site where I have been having a recent discussion in the comments with one of the readers there. Nice way to put 1 Peter 3:15 into action, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect”

Comment by jeofurry

very eloquently put. excellent grasp of a strong Biblical argument for these 20 points.

Comment by Dr. Headly

Your intentions are good, but I believe Christianity is a religion that cannot be proven wrong (this doesn’t mean it’s right–burden of proof is on the one who claims). I would elaborate but I’m tired and my thoughts can be found on my blog…

On #12, you say these Christians who have done bad things are ‘sinners’, but would you call Abraham a sinner? Was he singularly doing the will of God against the commandment to not kill, or was he a bad person? It seems like you can always pick and choose whatever is favorable to you–again, Christianity can’t be proved false or true by the same logic.

Anyway, regarding prayer. There is no way you can tell if prayer works. If your prayer is fulfilled, you’d attribute it to God, but if it doesn’t, you can always fallback and say “Oh I guess that’s not what God wants me to do.” Also, if God is omniscient, what is the point of prayer anyway? He doesn’t need to ‘hear’ what he already knows.

Comment by ruip

It would be hard to prove Christianity wrong, indeed. Please provide a link to you blog, i would appreciate your thoughts. Yes Abraham was a sinner! Romans 3:23
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; All!
Romans 4:9
[ Abraham Justified before Circumcision ] Is this blessing only for the circumcised, then? Or is it also for the uncircumcised? For we say, Faith was credited to Abraham for righteousness.
It was his faith that gained him favor and pardon from God. Nothing has changed!
We are all sinners, that does not mean we are “bad”, it means we are not perfect. heaven is a perfect place , right? Only the perfect can be admitted to a perfect place. We are made ‘as’ perfect in Christ!
On prayer, God does not need to hear prayer, but takes pleasure in it. WE need to pray. Our prayer should be like Jesus’,”not my will but Thine”.
For me things like surviving car crashes, house fires, cancer, being able to walk again, and being alive when so many doctors said it was improbable,seeing my daughters grow into women in my lifetime, and being given a church, and on and on… all these combined yield far more than annicdotal evidence, they are concrete substance to me. Bedrock. So much has happened in my life that has no explanation.
I prayed for years for my best friend Jim to come to know the Lord. He was a former alter boy who rejected it all. One day he walked in the door of my church, and now calls himself a Christian and has the fruit to show it!
ruip, thank you for commenting here, and for keeping it civil, even if we do not agree about God we can agree that the teaching of Jesus are good. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
You are welcome here to be yourself.

Comment by willohroots

Ruip,
Christianity is easily and demonstrably falsifiable by one condition. Show that the resurrection of Jesus Christ never happened. All of Christianity stands or falls there.
1 Corinthians 15:14-17 says it plainly:

14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

Comment by jeofurry

My site is: ruip.wordpress.com

jeofurry:
Despite what Paul may claim, I don’t think the resurrection in and of itself proves or disproves Christianity. Through the resurrection, we are supposed to believe that every other believer will be resurrected, but this proposition is an example of empirical induction. Empirical induction has no necessary justification, and so, resurrection, if it were possible somehow, philosophically is inconsequential.

The historical evidence for a supernatural occurrence of resurrection is not extraordinarily cogent both ways.

But if we are to think naturalistically first, it is more probable to think Jesus’ body wasn’t placed in a tomb to begin with (and therefore the tomb was always empty) rather than claiming God raised a dead person. No one actually saw Jesus being resurrected in the tomb.

willohroots:
Of course, we are all sinners, theologically. I am asking if Abraham was sinning by killing Isaac. If not, can’t God always be used as justification to do seemingly immoral things? If so, why would God require such a thing?

Comment by ruip

I love your question! My operant definition of sin is doing something against the will of God. Following God’s commands could never be a sin. The example of Isaac is a great one for this conversation. Thanks for bringing it up.
Abraham’s faith was so great, that as he walked toward the hill of sacrifice[ I think it could have been Golgotha, Calvary hill] he told his servant, “The boy and i will return.” Does it count as murder if you intend the victim to walk back with you? I do not know, I am not an ethics expert. So strong was Abraham’s faith in the promise of god that from Isaac a sea of decendants would spring that he had no doubt God would do something, and God did.
God would not really ask Abraham to sacrifice his only son, that would be God’s role a bit later in the story.
People can excuse any behavior using anything, even God as an excuse. I am an expert on making excuses! But to use God as an excuse to justify the work of Satan is to me the unforgivable sin Jesus told of, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
Christians can never say,”God told me to murder,” That is against God’s personality.
The resurrection of the Savior has a lot of circumstantial evidence, including the conversion of James ans Jude, the [half] of Jesus. Until the resurrection we have records of them telling Christ,”Cut it out , you are going to get in trouble!” Post resurrection they penned the great epistles that bear their name.
Joseph of Arimathea was a historical character, introducing him to the story if the tomb was not used would make little sense. You might enjoy Stobel’s “the case for Christ” it is not a preachy tome at all, rather a pleasant summer read.
Thinking naturalistically while examining the case for the Supernatural may put you at quite the dissadvantage!
Also 1Cr 15:6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;

This is one of the earliest letters, and it mentions the risen Christ in a contemporary setting.
The greatest “proof” of the resurrection is the spiritual experience of so many who feel Christ alive in their lives today, and alas, it can not be shared with an unbeliever, what a paradox!
Thank you for conversing with me. i feel this is what i am called to do. It may be just a conversation to you, but it is a calling I feel as deep as Abraham felt his! That either makes me a believer or insane, the choice is of course yours to make, and trust me, i will respect you no matter what your decision may be.

Comment by willohroots

In one of the most epic stories in the Old Testament, the patriarch Abraham is commanded to carry his son Isaac to Mount Moriah, and there, to offer him as a sacrifice to God.

“Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”

What a burden was laid upon Abraham! We cannot even begin to imagine the sadness that filled the old man’s heart and tortured him every step of his journey. The Scriptures are careful to tell us that he was commanded to offer “his son, his only son, whom he loved.” The specificity seems designed to catch our attention and make us think that there is more meaning hidden in these words than we can yet tell.

On the third day, the two reached the appointed place, and the father himself bound his beloved son with his own hand. Finally, in submission to what must be done, he laid his hand upon his son’s brow and “took the knife to slay him.” At that very moment, the mercy and grace of God interposed, and the old man’s hand was stayed. God called out to him from heaven and said:

“Abraham, Abraham! …Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing
to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your
only son, from Me.”

At the voice of the Lord, Abraham raised his eyes, and found a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. He took the ram and offered him up in the place of his son. He then named that place YHWH-jireh or “The Lord will provide.” It is a faithful saying that remains until this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.” As the curtains draw to a close on this epic moment in history, not only Abraham, but also everyone who has ever read this account breathes a sigh of relief that the boy is spared. We think to ourselves what a beautiful end to the story, but it was not the end, it was a mere intermission!

Two thousand years later, the curtain opens again. The background is dark and ominous.
At center stage is the Son of God on Mount Calvary. He is bound by obedience to the will of His Father. He hangs there bearing the sin of His people. He is accursed – betrayed by His
creation and forsaken of God. Then, the silence is broken with the horrifying thunder of God’s wrath. The Father takes the knife, draws back His arm, and slays “His Son, His only Son, whom He loves.” And the words of Isaiah the prophet are fulfilled:

“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed
Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed… But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief.”

The curtain is drawn to a close on a slain Son and a crucified Messiah. Unlike Isaac there was no ram to die in His place. He was the Lamb who would die for the sins of the world. He is God’s provision for the redemption of His people. He is the fulfillment of which Isaac and the ram were only shadows. In Him, Mount Calvary is renamed “YHWH-jireh” or “The Lord will provide.” And it is a faithful saying that remains until this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.” Calvary was the mount and salvation was provided. Thus, the discerning believer cries out, “God, God, I know you love me since you have not withheld your Son, your only Son, whom You love, from me.”

It is an injustice to Calvary that the true pain of the Cross is often overlooked by a more romantic, but less powerful theme. It is often thought and even preached that the Father looked down from heaven and witnessed the suffering that was heaped upon His Son by the hands of men, and that He counted such affliction as payment for our sins. This is heresy of the worst kind. Christ satisfied divine justice not merely by enduring the affliction of men, but by enduring and dying under the wrath of God. It takes more than crosses, nails, crowns of thorns, and lances, to pay for sin. The believer is saved, not merely because of what men did to Christ on the Cross, but because of what God did to Him – He crushed Him under the full force of His wrath against us. Rarely is this truth made clear enough in the abundance of all our Gospel preaching!

Comment by Ike

Amen! Want to preach that very sermon at Dayspring?

Comment by willohroots

I’ll just keep praying for you Will! You’re the preacher!

Please keep my wife in prayer…her chemo is complete, (except oral), but she is struggling with lymphedema and her fibromyalgia is causing her unbearable pain. We have been humbled and brokened…..but “we” know that He is sovereign.

Comment by Ike

Ike,
That is very well written and drives home the point that God’s plan and actions were intentional and purposeful. I may have to borrow that some time with your permission.

Comment by jeofurry

But if we are to think naturalistically first, it is more probable to think Jesus’ body wasn’t placed in a tomb to begin with (and therefore the tomb was always empty) rather than claiming God raised a dead person. No one actually saw Jesus being resurrected in the tomb.

That is certainly an unusual attempt to dodge the facts. Do you believe that Jesus was crucified? If so, where did they put the dead body? If he wasn’t crucified, then he should have still been alive when Paul wrote his testimony and that would be pretty silly indeed.
They didn’t have to see Him come out of the tomb at the exact moment it happened to know he had risen from the dead. They knew for a fact He was dead (you know the whole spear in the side thing the Roman soldiers did to make certain before they took him down) and then they saw Him very much alive a couple of days later. It really isn’t that complicated.

Comment by jeofurry

If the authorities paraded the Lord’s body around it would have brought the whole movement to an early halt.

Comment by willohroots

I am not questioning whether he was dead. Most likely, he was. Also, in Acts, disciples started preaching the resurrection 7 weeks after Jesus’ crucifixion–so parading a body that would have decomposed by then would be pointless.

I guess my general point from which I specifically offered a different burial hypothesis is that probabilistically, it is more logical that something natural happened to Jesus’ body rather than a dead corpse being raised back to life.

If you are inclined to believe in the supernatural, do you accept other miracles that occurred after Jesus ‘ascended to heaven’…why don’t such extravagant miracles like angels appearing or parting an entire sea occur today?

Comment by ruip

Things like parting the sea happened rarely even in the bible times. It took a great feat to save a whole nation and thereby, mankind.
I find many things that push logic to it’s knees. Look at the history of Israel 1948 onward. I see many miracles there. Name the other faith group, culture, nation, that went off the grid for a couple thousand years and then popped back into existance.
Phoneticians? Hittites? Gone.
Biblical students for hundreds of years said that endtime predictions about Israel were to be taken philosophically. Guess they were wrong.
Read about The postage stamp sized country that defeated the united Arab front, with out one ally or at the time material support from uncle Sam.
There is a miracle on a global scale!
I believe that people could see a miracle right in front of them and if the Holy Spirit did not take the scales from their eyes they just would not see it.
When Jesus brought Lazarus from the grave we are taught that many came to believe, many not all. Faith is a gift. Ask for it you will receive, don’t ask you don’t get it.
I don’t know why it is that way. As our President once said, “That is above my pay grade.”

Comment by willohroots

If you are inclined to believe in the supernatural, do you accept other miracles that occurred after Jesus ‘ascended to heaven’…why don’t such extravagant miracles like angels appearing or parting an entire sea occur today?

Indeed, they still do happen today, but we aren’t inclined in this country to ever need God in such a way. I have read the testimony of a man who walked out of a maximum security prison in China in a manner very reminiscent of Peter’s escape from prison in the book of Acts. My sister had the privilege of meeting the man on the 10th anniversary of the day it happened. His story is not an isolated case and it isn’t the only miracle God has done in just his life. I have found in my life that God tends to display His power when there is no chance of anyone else getting credit for it. It is a very humbling place to be and most of us “self-sufficient” Americans wouldn’t be caught dead there in the first place.
I have actually heard serious people claim that the parting of the Red Sea wasn’t a miracle in any case. Apparently, something very similar has occurred in modern history. For this guy, the “miracle” is that it happened at exactly the moment the Israelites needed to cross to get away from the Egyptians. Make of that what you will, but I don’t believe in coincidence any more.

Comment by jeofurry

Good job, Will.

I would have walked away from that god, too.

That is not the Christian faith that I know.

Comment by theoldadam

Jeofurry, we clearly don’t agree on whether miracles happen. If it’s fair to assume that we both experience the world similarly, yet I don’t see miracles, then the observation of miracles must have a phenomenologically subjective component dependent on the observer. Given this subjectivity, on what grounds do you trust your experiences?

By the way, just as there have been ‘good’ people who escaped ‘miraculously’ from prisons, there have been murderers and other ‘bad’ people who escaped.

Comment by ruip

Here is a miracle for you, I, chiefest of sinners, am leaving my home to preach the Gospel! I guess you had to be there, but I am the guy who showed up at a church years ago and the “good Christians” there said,” What are YOU doing here?”. Oh well.
Ruip, I live a supernatural life. I am bombarded daily with the presence of God. I love it! I was told i most likely would die of cancer, that i would never sing again, that by now I would not be able to walk due to pain in my back, I am quite alive, and going to walk into church and sing praises to my God. The part that would be hard for you to understand is even were i mute, crippled and dieing, i would still praise Him, as to live is gain and to die is gain, if it is done in His name!
I now thank God for all my trials and tribulations, as it was these things that matured me to a state where i can be of use to Him.

Comment by willohroots

Well, I’m glad you’re happy. I’ve just wanted to more about why you all have faith…I’m not exactly against you; I am agnostic.

Comment by ruip

Wow, there is a deep question, “Why” with faith. for me it would be ridiculous not to, with the events in my life.
When i look at the perfectness of the world,[ not the mess mankind has made of it], the incredible balances of nature, it cries out that there was a Creator.
The many prophecies spoken of in the bible and fulfilled by Jesus also cry out.
I am around addicts who just could not get away from the stuff with out a Higher Power. They have fallen without Him.
I am most likely the worst guy to talk about this, i was a sure there was no God until i had a Pauline experience. OOps! I went into repentance. Your agnosticism makes you wiser than i was in the natural.
Hey thanks for not being against, this site has had some drive by atheists that were mean. They challenged my sanity, education, intelligence, and right to free speech. Open discussion is what is needed. i want to understand you. to me an agnostic is quite the challenge, i want to ask, “Why?” also!

Comment by willohroots

Great job, Will! I may have to borrow some of this.

Why I have faith?
I must admit it started with a mother who had faith, but God has proven time and time again that I can trust Him to provide everything I need, including my faith. Things like having X amount of money to feed the family till payday, and walking into the store to find most of what I needed on sale, getting everything and leaving with a dollar left in my pocket, or somehow knowing a sixteen dollar switch would fix my overheating car, when I know very little about cars.
There a many other things too, like the prayers said for friends and family which have come true in ways that could only have been God’s hand. (Even doctors couldn’t explain two of those.) But the biggest reason is the change in my own life. How does a woman go from what is commonly refered to as a “kitchen witch” to a Baptist preacher?

Comment by Shawn W

Oh wow! I left out one of the biggest reasons for having faith!
God blessed me with a voracious appetite for His Word, and Bible reading is one of the joys of my life. (Which believe me is a far cry from the horrible stuff I use to read.) Anyway, as I am reading through His Word, I am constantly amazed by how accurate and how current it is. Even the Old Testament, written over two thousand years ago, speaks a fresh and useful message into my life on a daily basis.

Comment by Shawn W

If it’s fair to assume that we both experience the world similarly, yet I don’t see miracles, then the observation of miracles must have a phenomenologically subjective component dependent on the observer. Given this subjectivity, on what grounds do you trust your experiences?

I think you have inadvertently or maybe intentionally answered your own question. You are predisposed to discount any possibility of the supernatural I would guess(based on your comments to this point), where I am open to the possibility that there are things that exist beyond my comprehension and ability to “classify, quantify and qualify.” It isn’t a subjectivity in observation that makes the difference as much as it is the presuppositions with which we view reality itself.

Comment by jeofurry

I trust God a lot more than I trust my experience!

Comment by willohroots

The greatest miracle I have ever witnessed, is that He made a believer out of me.

Comment by theoldadam

When the coach calls a player from the bench, we expect it. If the coach called someone from the stands we would be amazed. In my case i was playing for the other team when the call came!
Praise God Steve he used guys like us.

Comment by willohroots

Will,
That is well said.

Comment by jeofurry

Seems the devil lost more than a few good right arms in this crowd.

Comment by Shawn W

“In my case i was playing for the other team when the call came!”

Now that is a powerful God!

Praise God, indeed, Will!

Comment by theoldadam

#5 – I like IMonks thought. God is like the guy who knows an incrdible card trick that seems amazing to you but is nothing to the guy. He is there for us to see if we look.

#6 – Jesus said we who have not seen miracles yet believe are blessed.

#13 – Baloney

#18 – True dat, brutha. It’s why we need a Saviour.

Very good, Will.
I appreicate how you, Jeofurry and Ruip all remained civil and yet mad your points.

Comment by Rob




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