Tuesday, April 30, 2002                                                                                       View Comments

Don't Judge

I am a devout Catholic, and this may suprise you. I am not going to say that you are going to hell, I'm not going to say that you are in the hands of the devil, and I am not going to say that you are evil or anything like that. This is your opinion and you are entitiled to it. Besides, it is not my position to judge you or anyone else. However, I ask that you, in turn, don't judge anyone who is a Christian, Catholic, Jew, ect..
.
I pray all goes well with you. Please remember me.

With Love - Amelia Barber

God-Speed!

Hi. I am a believer who will be reading you site, since I find the stories of former Christians who have abandoned the faith fascinating. I still love Jesus and will read your "testimony". I was just going to mention though, that you have an excellently formatted site, very well done, but you might want to increase the size of your font. It's a little too small.
Paul (St. Paul) told me not to wish you maranatha or God speed, so I will just say have a nice day,

James Foard




Hello,

Thanks for the "have a nice day". Concerning the font, if you are using Internet Explorer, you can change the font size by clicking on "view" then "text size" then "largest". This may help. Otherwise, I am afraid you are stuck with the font size as it is. You see, I like it that way! LOL.

Though I am not forbidden from wishing you anything at all, I no longer believe in gods or goddesses, so wishing you God-Speed would be inconsistent. Instead I wish you health and happiness!

Dave VanAllen

Tuesday, April 23, 2002                                                                                       View Comments

I pity YOU!

I pity you that you do not know the Lord or my personal savior Jesus Christ. I'm sorry I won't be seeing you in heaven. Have fun in Hell, but don't ever forget, Jesus Christ loves YOU!

No signature, No email return address.

GOD LOVES ME SOO MUCH HE IS THROWING ME IN HELL!!!! Thanks friend!

SORRY!

Dave!

The following was posted on your website, but I thought that I would send it as an email as well!

I just want to say that I am sorry for the junk you have copped from some individuals in the Church. There is a lot of crap in the Church because the problem with it is that it's full of humans, not perfect angels - though some pretend to be so! I have known Christians who try to force God and speaking in tongues on people before - that shows an insecurity and need to control on people. That is not what Christianity is about! The Bible makes it clear that God is the one who does the work of convincing. We're just called to be His witnesses that is all and to avoid foolish arguements, trying to live peaceably with everyone, but giving an answer to the hope that is in us when asked to.

Again, I say a big huge, "SORRY!" to you for any pestering from individuals in the Church. Those individuals don't represent us all though! Just like yourself, they are human and make mistakes. There are some harsh Christians out there, just as there are some harsh Atheists and some harsh Muslims! Some people take a different view to their own badly and others take it well - no matter what you believe! I found your Anti-Testimony very interesting! That is not to say that I agree with all the conclusions made, but it was interesting! I was glad that I read it. A lot of people I know leave the Church because they have been hurt by someone there or because they feel like they have been controlled by someone or other. I would say this though (having been hurt by someone in the Church myself)that no matter where you go in life, there is the possibility of getting hurt. It is not the fault of the organization or place, it is a problem that that individual who hurt you had. That is life. To those people, have you considered that maybe God is crying with you?
As someone who has experienced someone trying to control me in the past, are you going to let that person deny you of the right to choose an idea for yourself in your attempt to find freedom? In saying, "I don't want that because they are forcing it on me!" You are denying yourself the possibility that that thing might be good, it is just that it was forced on you. Is the issue, that that thing was bad, or that it was forced on you? If it is the former, by all means, don't go for it! However, if it is the latter, maybe rejecting the thing that was forced on you is not the answer, but maybe escaping the influence of that person's control is the answer. There are more than just one way of doing that! Anyhoo, seeing as it is now 2:30 in the morning, and my eyes are starting to see double, I am heading to sleep!

Michelle Ingram moli_mouse@yahoo.com.au




Michelle,

You said,

"It can't be said that there are no historical records outside of the Bible that Jesus existed because that isn't true! Roman historians and Greek Satrists have written about Him as well as a Jewish pharisee/historian. I know that Atheists and Jesus skeptics have their excuses about those too, but it does make you wonder!"

Josephus is the Jewish historian to which you refer. Even conservative fudamentalist scholars admit that the statement in Josephus was a latter addition that was not part of the original. Please quote even one other place, outside the bible, that directly witnesses that Christ exisited. You will find a few references to Christians, but never to Christ, except as the man that Christians say they worship. And even those historical allusions are many years after the man-god supposedly rose from the dead.

Your logic that no one can prove the non-existence of god is not a good argument. I have forwarded the article below by Richard Carrie to you concerning the fallicious nature of that argument.

FInally, I appreciate your apology on the behalf of Christendom, but I expect a direct apology from Christ himself. It is he who said he is building HIS CHURCH. It is not the fault of the pot if the potter is bad at his work.

Sincerely,

Dave VanAllen
http://exchristian.net


It's remarkable how many people insist I am not an atheist. It seems pretty obvious to me that I don't believe any god exists, and that pretty much makes me an atheist. Nevertheless, here these people are, so insistent that I cannot possibly be an atheist. "You're too nice," they say, or "you really believe, you just don't know it" (how's that again?). Sometimes I hear something like "You believe in something, and that is really god" or "you are still looking, but you'll find Him" (he's invited to stop by my house at any time). When I have the time to converse with these people, however, it usually comes down to this: I'm really an agnostic, they say, because I am willing to admit that I don't know there isn't any god. It is apparently so important for people to believe that I'm "really just an agnostic" that I find this to be a haunting sign of the hold religion has on people. It is tragic that the mere thought of a good friend or relative being an actual, avowed atheist is so horrible that it must be denied.



Sometimes I have the chance to explain that I am an atheist not because I know there isn't a god, but because I don't believe there is. If someone insisted that their pet fish could talk, I really couldn't say I knew it didn't, especially if I could not go and see for myself, but it would still be fair for me to say that there are no talking fish. The relevance of this is that I do not believe god exists any more than I believe fish can talk. Certainly, I have not examined all species of fish, nor every single fish for that matter, nor could I ever accomplish such a feat, but the claim that they exist is so contrary to my own personal experience and reliable facts that I simply will not believe it unless very definitive proof is provided. Of course, if I visit someone's pet fish and it talks to me, I am still wiser to test the possibilities of trickery or insanity before believing it can really talk. But if I found many fish that talked, trustworthy people confirmed it, scientists published carefully researched papers about them, and newspaper headlines read "INCREDIBLE DISCOVERY: TALKING FISH!" then it would be more than reasonable to believe they existed. No one really disputes such common sense, until it is applied to religion.
I've never seen or talked to a god, nor seen a god do anything unmistakably godlike. People insist they know one exists, but most of them really say they only feel it, and don't offer any other proof. Indeed, it is odd that those few who honestly offer the more genuine proof of actually hearing god talk are branded insane even by the believers. Believers are probably right about that, but their own "feeling" that a god exists isn't any more convincing to me. Anyone might "feel" that fish could talk, but that wouldn't mean it was so, nor would that be a very reliable way to know it was true even if it was. People still say there are billions of witnesses to god's existence, but since the vast majority of them only "feel" that god exists, even trillions of witnesses wouldn't count for much. I am astonished how many people think that if the Earth stopped rotating we would all fall off into space--they just "feel" intuitively that this is true, even though the exact opposite would happen (people at the equator would actually gain a few pounds). I agree that billions of people "feel" god exists, but feelings are only evidence of what lies in our hearts and dreams. Feelings do not tell us much about reality outside of ourselves.

People also say that the bible says a god exists. The bible also says a guy lived inside the belly of a giant fish for three days, somehow failing to be digested in its stomach acids; and that a flood "so great" that it covered all the mountains with water occurred to fulfill a genocidal whim of an apparently uncreative god (why not just make everyone vanish instantly and save the world's people and animals the suffering of being drowned?). Since these all sound like tall tales to me, I think god is probably a tall tale, too. Basically, if the bible said there were talking fish, I wouldn't believe it until I saw one myself (the bible does fittingly claim the existence of a talking ass). Likewise, the bible may say a god exists, but I still won't believe it until I see one myself.

Most people I meet, however, don't realize that I am first and foremost a freethinker, and only an atheist as a result of applying freethought to the evidence available to me. The reasons I have for being a freethinker are actually rather different from the reasons I have for not believing in a god. I sometimes wear a shirt that says, "we all need humanity, not religion; reason, not faith." This has sometimes triggered interesting conversations about why I am a freethinker. "That's pretty harsh," some who read that shirt say. I ask why. It seems reasonable to me that if religion vanished from the earth, but was replaced by the entire human race working humanely together, nothing would be lost, and everything gained. Thus, we need humanity--that is, our own humanity, as well as the entirety of the human species. But we do not need religion--it offers nothing that cannot be gained through other means.

It also seems reasonable to me that if people lived by reason instead of faith, a great many tragedies would be averted, and an equal number of advances would be made, especially in human behavior. I do not claim this as a recipe for utopia, only for significant improvement. How many times do we find ourselves saying of a criminal or a politician, "They are just so stupid! Any rational person would have acted entirely differently." A criminal or politician can have all the faith we want them to, but they will still do stupid things--and that's the problem. Thus, we only need people to act intelligently. We can do without faith. In fact, the "faith" of Islamic suicide bombers and abortion clinic murderers is actually a real threat to humanity, as was the "faith" of Red Party members in their belief that communism would lead to utopia. People can do without faith. They can't do without reason.

It is usually argued, of course, that we need religion in order to get humanity to behave and work together. All evidence is to the contrary. Religion has not notably improved human behavior. The pagan Romans were far kinder than the Inquisition Christians. Nor has religion united Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, or Jews. It has quite unmistakably divided them. In fact, religion will never unite them, because a religion requires that they all share the same beliefs, without offering any reliable evidence that their ideas are more correct than anyone else's. Reason, on the other hand, is the only thing that can actually unite people of diverse opinions. Reason, by definition, bases its decisions on evidence available to everyone, and allows people to disagree when this evidence is lacking. Religion will never do that, and that is the problem with it.

It is also often argued that we need faith just as much as we need reason. Usually, this claim is based on a very loose definition of "faith." Many have said that atheists have faith like everyone else, and that no one can do without having faith in something. However, this is misleading. If you mean by "faith" nothing more than "belief" then you can dispense with the word altogether. In reality, faith is usually employed to describe a particular justification for believing something, rather than to simply say you believe it. If I say I believe there are no talking fish, it isn't very productive to say that this proves I have "faith" that fish don't talk, because I don't believe it on faith. I believe it because of the evidence of my senses and the evidence presented by people employing a reasonable method of getting at the truth about things. However, to say you have "faith" that god exists means more than just saying you believe it. It means that you believe god exists because you have faith that he does. It is this meaning of faith that reason stands opposite to. I do not believe anything on faith. I only believe things because I have good evidence to support them. And that is what reason means: basing all beliefs on the evidence of the senses, and on nothing else.

Of course, some try to take issue with this. For one, they say that I have only replaced faith in god with faith in reason, but I only believe in reason because the evidence of my senses has always confirmed that reason is reliable. I do not believe in it on faith. People also say that I actually do believe in things that I have never seen demonstrated, like the existence of uranium or that my friends would defend me in a life-or-death situation. And this, they say, proves I do have faith in some things. But even these beliefs are not really based on faith. The evidence of my senses has so far proven that certain sources are reliable enough to believe without direct evidence to the contrary. Science, responsible journalism, and people I know who honestly use tried and tested methods, have all proved themselves reliable to me through my own senses. If their claims suddenly widely contradicted my personal experiences, I would cease believing in their claims. The claims of the bible obviously fall into the 'unbelievable' category. That is why I think the existence of uranium is far more likely than the existence of a god. I do not believe this way because of my faith in science, but because the evidence of my senses tells me that science gets things right far more often than the bible. Even more than that, science much more quickly admits an error than any religion will. Likewise, my faith in friends is also based on prior experience. The evidence of my senses proves so far that honest, compassionate, mature people will defend their friends. Thus, all my beliefs are rooted in evidence, and not in faith.

Why do I think this way? It seems almost silly to ask such a question. Does it really make sense to base your beliefs on things for which you have no good evidence? "Faith in god" is not the same as faith in science or friends or even everyday assumptions like "a fish did not write this essay." Faith in god means faith that something astoundingly incredible, that is both unproven and unprovable, is true. That is simply not reasonable to me. I will never base my beliefs on such stretches of imagination, because it so easily leads to error and self-deception. Though my heart may tell me many useful things about me, only my mind has anything useful to say about the outside world. And it tells me that god, like talking fish, is the grandest of fictions.

I suspect that many people think they need to believe in a god for life to have meaning, and this may very well be the only reason they believe in god. More than a suspicion, this theory has been confirmed several times by the open admission of believers I have spoken with. However, it is not rational to believe in something only because you need to, especially when it stands a good chance of not being true. It is unwise to build an emotional investment in any idea that could be wrong, lest you bind yourself to a bad idea that can mire you in error and misery. We can all easily see that a compulsive gambler "needs" to believe he'll win in order to keep placing his bet, but that need has no correspondence with the truth. If the odds are 10 to 1 against, no matter what a gambler needs, he is not likely to be right about winning the bet.

Since I have always lived my life with meaning and joy, without needing a belief in god or an afterlife, I know that such beliefs are unnecessary. And I have also personally encountered hundreds of other people who find ample meaning in life without needing to believe in god or heaven, so I know I am not just a fluke of nature. So when anyone asks me why I am a freethinker, I usually start off with the short answer: it is not necessary or reasonable to think any other way. And as a freethinker, if any believer tries to argue that you cannot prove a god does not exist, simply ask them to prove this essay was not written by a fish. Maybe then they will begin to understand.

Richard Carrier




Mate, I am so sorry if you thought that by posting messages on your website, that I was wanting to rumble because that is not my intention. I am just concerned when I see generalisation, bitterness, misunderstanding of people's heart motives, and scriptures taken out of context. It hurts to see that - not because it threatens my beliefs and therefore me. I can hear the hurt in there, and that makes me sad. You can bag me as much as you like for that, but that won't change the truth - I am saying these things because I care. If you say that it is different, then you're talking about something that you don't know, and it will most likely be that bitterness talking.

It is one thing for you to just not believe that there is a God of any kind. It is another thing for you to generalize and bitterly twist meanings of stuff. If I see something that I don't agree with, just like in any open discussion, I am going to say something. I am quite open to see where I am wrong because as far as I see it, I don't have anything to lose. I am not living my life all shut up in a religious order, not seeing the world around me. I am living my life, so if I die and there is no God, then I lose nothing. I lived a good life! I can not prove to you that God does exist, and He is not one to perform like a trained animal for someone that says, "Do something for us - a little trick maybe! Prove Yourself!" Neither can you by any scientific experiment prove that God doesn't exist! If you come up with something, heck, let me know and I'll ring all the TV stations so that we can all watch you do it!

Of course, you have heard of Cornelius Tacitus - the Roman historian and Lucian - the Greek satirist who wrote about Christ - yes Christ, not just the Christians. Of course, you have heard all about Seutonius too - another Roman historian who mentioned Christ! You have heard countless times about how the geneologies in the gospels would have been easily verifiable by any skeptic back then. Actually, you probably put forth the two geneologies as just another bible inaccuracy! The truth is that nothing anyone can say to you is going to change your mind - nothing! So, I am not trying to change your mind about the existence of a God. If you want to believe what you are believing, that is up to you mate! However, if I do see stuff that I believe is twisted about the Bible or about the Church, then I will say something! By having a message board, you must expect that! However, once again, I do not want to rumble with you alright! These things just go around and around and around etc... simply because we are both looking at it from different perspectives! They can get really petty too! I don't want that! That's not necessary!

You can blast me as much as you like for my beliefs or for any other reason you choose to come up with, but in the end, it really only makes me more sure of my faith - just to let you know - plus, it only makes you look as bad as some of the people you're bagging! I do have to say to you that the stuff that you've been saying hasn't rattled my faith #1 because it is stuff that I have heard before #2 because I can see logical answers to all the problems you're putting forward #3 because I can hear bitterness talking and #4 because I have experienced (yes there is that word) in rubber meets the road type situations the God that I believe in - I was a missionary in Communist China where they arrest you for that sort of thing having to trust Him for my monthly income and everything! I even had all my money for the month along with VISA card stolen, and I didn't go without! That was freaky at first!

I am a thinking person, and I don't just accept something because it sounds good! Even with the ones standing behind the pulpit, I check out what they say too! I can't just accept something! I can't - that's not me! So, it was a thinking person along with many others who have gone before me (thinking people - even atheist scientists!) that accepted Christ as Lord. Anyhoo, just wanted to let you know that I got your email! If you want to use this to make Christians and Christ look bad in some way, what the heck - as if I could stop you! However, it is a sad way to be! Man - enough arguing! Geez! I don't know about you, but I am sick of that crap!

Anyhoo, thank you for your reply to my email, and catch ya later mate!

Michelle




You mentioned the names of three men of old. Cornelius Tacitus - the Roman historian and Lucian - the Greek satirist and Seutonius :

There is inconclusive evidence that Tacitus had independent sources. The Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus, writing in 115 CE, explicitly states that Nero prosecuted the Christians in order to draw attention away from himself for Rome's devastating fire of 64 CE:

But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.[82]

Scholarly debate surrounding this passage has been mainly concerned with Tacitus' sources and not with the authorship of the passage (e.g., whether it is an interpolation) or its reliability.[83] Various scenarios have been proposed to explain how Tacitus got his information. One possibility is that Tacitus learned the information from another historian he trusted (e.g., Josephus). Another possibility (suggested by Harris) is that he obtained the information from Pliny the Younger. According to Harris, "Tacitus was an intimate friend and correspondent of the younger Pliny and was therefore probably acquainted with the problems Pliny encountered with the Christians during his governorship in Bithynia - Pontus (c. A.D. 110-112)."[84] (Defenders of this position may note that Tacitus was also governing in Asia in the very same years as Pliny's encounters with Christians [112-113], making communication between them on the event very likely.)[85] Norman Perrin and Dennis C. Duling mention a related possibility; they state that Tacitus' information "is probably based on the police interrogation of Christians."[86] Yet another possibility (suggested by Habermas and defended by McDowell and Wilson) is that Tacitus obtained the information from official documents.[87] (I shall say more about this possibility below.) It is also possible that the information was common knowledge. Finally, there is the view (defended by Wells, France, and Sanders) that Tacitus simply repeated what Christians at the time were saying.[88] The bottom line is this: given that Tacitus did not identify his source(s), we simply don't know how Tacitus obtained his information. Holding himself admits, "Truthfully, there is no way to tell" where Tacitus obtained his information about Jesus.[89] Therefore, we can't use Annals XV.47 as independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus.

Lucian is not an independent witness to Jesus. Lucian of Samosata (c.125-180 CE), was a Greek satirist best known for his dialogues (Dialogues of the Gods, Dialogues of the Dead, The Sale of Lives) ridiculing Greek mythology and philosophy; he also authored a work entitled True History. McDowell cites the following statement by Lucian written around 170 CE:


... the man who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced this new cult into the world.... Furthermore, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they were all brothers one of another after they have transgressed once for all by denying the Greek gods and by worshipping that crucified sophist himself and living under his laws.[144]

In a previous version of this essay, quoting Michael Grant, I questioned whether Lucian was concerned with historical accuracy.[145] I misinterpreted Grant; elsewhere Grant makes it clear that Lucian was concerned with historical accuracy. According to Grant, Lucian felt it important to separate instruction from entertainment.[146] Grant notes that Lucian felt a historian should be "stateless;" in other words, Lucian thought the historian should try to remain impartial when recording events concerning the historian's own nation.[147] Moreover, Lucian "denounced fraudulent biography" and said that "it was the sole duty of the historian to ... say exactly how things happened."[148]

Nevertheless, given that Lucian's statement was written near the end of the second century, it seems rather unlikely that he had independent sources of information concerning the historicity of Jesus. Lucian may have relied upon Christian sources, common knowledge, or even an earlier pagan reference (e.g., Tacitus); since Lucian does not specify his sources, we will never know. Just as is the case with Tacitus, it is quite plausible that Lucian would have simply accepted the Christian claim that their founder had been crucified. There is simply no evidence that Lucian ever doubted the historicity of Jesus. Therefore, Lucian's concern for historical accuracy is not even relevant as Lucian would have had no motive for investigating the matter.[149]

It is unclear that Suetonius knew of Jesus. Suetonius, the Roman historian and biographer formerly known as Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, wrote several works, including his Lives of the Twelve Caesars, which is an account of the lives of the first twelve Roman emperors. In his Life of Claudius, he writes:


As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.[109]

In order to use this as a reference to Jesus, McDowell must assume that this 'Chrestus' was Jesus. Thus, in He Walked Among Us, we find McDowell and Wilson declaring that "Chrestus was probably a misspelling of 'Christ' (Greek 'Christus')."[110] Quoting France, McDowell and Wilson argue that 'Chrestus' is a misspelling of 'Christus' because (i) 'Chrestus' is a Greek name; and (ii) the meaning of 'Christus' would be unfamiliar to a Gentile audience. Furthermore, McDowell and Wilson argue (iii) that Christian witnessing to the Jews in AD 49 (similar to that recorded in Acts 18) "probably resulted in the hostilities which led to the expulsion of all Jews from Rome." This, they argue, would have led to the writing of a Roman "police report" which in turn would have attributed the violence to 'Chrestus' (a familiar name).[111]

I find these arguments unconvincing. Indeed, while stating that it is possible that this passage is a misspelled reference to Jesus, France nevertheless dismisses (i) and (ii). According to France, the claim that 'Chrestus' is a misspelling of 'Christus' "can never be more than a guess, and the fact that Suetonius can elsewhere speak of 'Christians' as members of a new cult (without any reference to Jews) surely makes it rather unlikely that he could make such a mistake."[112] McDowell and Wilson never offer any reasons for rejecting France's argument on this point. As for (iii), this is so speculative as to be laughable. There is no evidence of such a police report and there is no evidence that Christian preaching to the Jews led to hostilities which in turn led to the Jews' expulsion from Rome. In sum, then, McDowell and Wilson have been unable to show that this passage even refers to Jesus.

McDowell also quotes Lives of the Caesars--where Suetonius mentions Nero's punishment of Christians--though his reference is incorrect. (McDowell lists the passage as originating in 26.2; the passage is actually found in 16.2.[113]) The passage reads as follows:


Punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition.

McDowell and Wilson think this "verifies" that Christians were "being put to death" for their Christian beliefs.[114]

However, Suetonius "verifies" nothing of the sort. Suetonius only says that Christians were punished, not that they were "put to death." Moreover, Suetonius does not say that the Christians were punished simply for being Christians; indeed, Suetonius does not specify their crime at all. As the Christian New Testament scholar R.T. France, who McDowell quotes repeatedly in his 1988 work, notes


The great fire of AD 64 is not mentioned in this connection, and indeed the punishment of Christians is included in that part of the book (up to section 19) which deals with Nero's good acts, before he turned to vice and crime. (The fire is not reported until section 38, where it is unconditionally blamed on Nero himself.) Nor does Suetonius even so much as mention the 'Christus' from whom their name derived.[115]

In short, this passage is not independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus. As Wells argues, this passage "tells us nothing more than what we already know about this from Tacitus and nothing about Jesus himself."[116]

I reject Christ for the same reason I reject UFOs. Please prove to me there are no UFO's landing on the Earth. Prove to me that there are no aliens doing experiments on humans. Get on TV and prove it if you can, and I will watch. When you prove to me that UFO's do not exist, though many people believe they do, then I will prove to you that GOD does not exist. It is illogical to demand that someone prove that something does not exist. Prove that there is no life on other planets. Prove that there are no faires at the bottom of my pond. My point is obvious. If you enjoy talking to your invisible friend, please enjoy. I gave up my invisible friend. I also gave up sucking my thumb.

Dave VanAllen




Thanks mate! You just confirmed my theory that you are just wanting to rumble! I am not interested in arguing with you! I am not trying to prove anything to you! I am just trying to present a different point of view to the claims you are putting forward, so that people can have a choice! Are you against choice?

Catch ya later mate! I will not be responding to anymore emails as I really don't want to fight with you!

Michelle

The Devil has a hold of you

Hi!

I just wanted to let you know that the devil has a hold of you and that you
are a very confused man. I will pray for you every day. Jesus Loves You!

Luv Ya Lots,
Jennie

Jennifer Rasmussen jen_rose13@hotmail.com

Sunday, April 21, 2002                                                                                       View Comments

RE: RAY

Ray,

I appreciate your zeal and the compassionate tone of your letter. I believe your intent is good and your motive above reproach. I notice that you use several fallacious arguments in attempting to prove your points. This I will comment on and address, with your permission, of course.

First off, you claim, as do most modern Christians, that we are called to love the sinner but hate the sin. This is not scriptural, though it is a popular teaching:

“we are called to love the homosexual but hate the sin of it, just as all sins.”

The Bible says:

PSALM 18:40 Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me.

PSALM 139: 21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
Ecclesiastes 3: 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

PROVERBS 6: 16 These six [things] doth the LORD hate: yea, seven [are] an abomination unto him:
17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19 A false witness [that] speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Psalms 101
1 {A psalm of David.} I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.
2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; [it] shall not cleave to me.
4 A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked [person].
5 Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
6 Mine eyes [shall be] upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.
7 He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
8 I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.

Exodus 32:27, 28. "He said to them, Thus says the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man and his brother, and every man and his companion, and every man and his neighbor. (28) And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men."

Hosea 13:16. "Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up."

Judges 21:10. "And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest and commanded them, saying, God and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children. (11) And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man."

1 Samuel 15:3. "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."
Jeremiah 13:14. "And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them."

Numbers 31:15, 17, 18. "And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? (17) Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. (18) But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."



This is not meant to be an all encompassing or comprehensive list of verses. Many more verses say the same thing, these I found simply doing a quick search on the word hate. Plainly, we are called, ultimately, to hate the sinner. All through the law of Moses, the command is to destroy homosexuals, not just their behavior. The sinner and the sin are inseparable. It is the sinner that is thrown in hell in Jewish and Christian theology, not the sin.

NEXT

You say you would gladly talk about the Bible as apposed to talking about books by men. I submit to you that the bible is nothing more than a collection of writings by men. To support my allegation, here are a few examples of why I think so:

Jos 15:21 "And the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of Judah toward the coast of Edom southward were Kabzeel, and Eder, and Jagur, And Kinah, and Dimonah, and Adadah, And Kedesh, and Hazor, and Ithnan, Ziph, and Telem, and Bealoth, And Hazor, Hadattah, and Kerioth, and Hezron, which is Hazor, Amam, and Shema, and Moladah, And Hazar-gaddah, and Heshmon, and Beth-palet, And Hazar-shual, and Beer-sheba, and Bizjothjah, Baalah, and Iim, and Azem, And Eltolad, and Chesil, and Hormah, And Ziklag, and Madmannah, and Sansannah, And Lebaoth, and Shilhim, and Ain, and Rimmon:" all the cities are twenty and nine, with their villages: Why does the "inspired Word of God" say 29 when the actual count is 39?

Ez 1:9 "Now this was their number: 30 gold dishes, 1,000 silver dishes, 29 duplicates; 30 gold bowls, 410 silver bowls of a second kind, and 1,000 other articles. All the articles of gold and silver numbered 5,400. Sheshbazzar brought them all up with the exiles who went up from Babylon to Jerusalem." Why 5,400 when simple addition totals 2,499?

Ez 2:3-64 "The whole assembly numbered 42,360" Why 42,360 when the assembly listed totals 29,818?

Mk 9:2 "And six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves."

Lk 9:28 "And some eight days after these sayings, it came about that He took along Peter and John and James, and went up to the mountain to pray." There are at least twenty bible errors involving numbers which an inept, hurried monk might make, but hardly an omniscient God. If these errors are due to copyists, then what confidence can one have that there might not be other errors or that God who allegedly inspired the bible is Himself not subject to errors and omissions?

Num23:19 God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

Jas1:17 Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.
"VS"
Ez 14:9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him

I Kg 22:22 And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also.
Ex32:14 So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.
ICh 21:14-15 So the LORD sent a pestilence on Israel; 70,000 men of Israel fell. And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; but as he was about to destroy it, the LORD saw and He repented over the calamity, and said to the destroying angel, "It is enough;
God contradicts Moses : God is just like man, God lies, and God changes his mind.

The Bible is full of contradiction and error. For one example, please examine this article on historical accuracy:
HERE.


You say that Christ is terribly represented and you tried to make your point by placing myself in the center of some misrepresentation scenario. The analogy is flawed in that I am neither omnipotent or omni anything. GOD, however, is represented as being quite powerful and as I recall he promised that HE would build HIS CHURCH. I think he has been doing a terrible job of it. It is not the bricks that are to be blamed when a crumbling structure is found, it is the builder. You seem to be claiming that God is not able or not willing to bend people’s will. In light of the story of Pharoh and Moses, where God hardens Pharoah’s heart, your argument is fallacious. See also Eph 1 and Rom 9. The GOD of the Bible is totally in control of everything that happens or ever has happened, therefore he is building his church just the way he wants it. OR, he does not exist at all.

LORD LIAR OR LUATIC??
A False Dilemma is a fallacy in which a person uses the following pattern of "reasoning":
1. Either claim X is true or claim Y is true (when X and Y could both be false).
2. Claim Y is false.
3. Therefore claim X is true.
This line of "reasoning" is fallacious because if both claims could be false, then it cannot be inferred that one is true because the other is false. That this is the case is made clear by the following example:
1. Either 1+1=4 or 1+1=12.
2. It is not the case that 1+1=4.
3. Therefore 1+1=12.
In cases in which the two options are, in fact, the only two options, this line of reasoning is not fallacious. For example:
1. Bill is dead or he is alive.
2. Bill is not dead.
3. Therefore Bill is alive.

The Lord Liar Lunatic argument adds a third answer but not all the answers. It may be that Christ, who never wrote a word, was terribly misquoted. It may be that Christ, who’s live and teachings have no corroboration outside the New Testament, never even existed. Read this for support on my allegation: HISTORIC JESUS

Sincerely,

Dave VanAllen




Dear Dave,

I appreciate that you spent so much time presenting your collection of thoughts as well as your findings concerning the scriptures. But before I proceed, I would like to make a few comments and then following, a few questions.

First of all, concerning your findings on hating those who appose God. Note the many verses you found on hating those who appose God in the Old Testament. Note, that you will not find them in the new. In fact, you will find quite opposite as followed:

John 13:34 - A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another

1 John 2:8 - Yet I am writing you a new commandment, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.

2 John 1:5 - And now I beg you, lady, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.

Notice that it is a new commandment given by the divine one, the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course this law, being encompassed by an OT prophesy concerning a new Covenant, is a fullfillment to what was to come to the Jew/Gentile world.

Jeremiah 31:31 - 31:31Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 31:32not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah. 31:33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people: 31:34and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.

I would say also that as a Christian I have been called to be a light (math 5:14), a minister of the New Testament/reconciliation (2 Corinthians 3/5) as well as an ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20). I also am a letter read and known by all men (2 Corinthians 3:1-3). Therefore I am very careful not to give any offence to the Gospel as well as the ministry "give no offence to the ministry so that it may not be blamed, but approving ourselves as the ministers of God" ...

Therefore, I am very careful to say that I must hate the homosexual. I will say this, That God is under no obligation to offer his Gospel again. Especially to a creation that recognized not his son, and then crucified the Lord of Glory. The heart of man has always been evil, "none doeth good" "none seek after God" "all have gone their way"

God can harden the heart of the evil ones and withdraw his sovereign grace. I dare not attempt to play the election Game. I recognized that God is sovereign, but this does not mans responsibility to choose him. Of course, this can only be done by his spirit, as he convicts all of humanity. Yet God would send the light of the world "he lit every man who came into the world". This would indicate that from the natural state of depravity, that God would still reveal himself, convicting all mankind of sin. " God is light, in him is no darkness at all".

Also, you put together a conglomeration of verses of GOD COMMANDING ISRAEL TO EXTERMINATE THE GENTILE NATIONS. God has a law. Actually three mentioned quite generously in Romans chapter one to three. I will define them briefly.

1. The law of creation- of course being a witness that their is a God.
2. The law of mans consciousness ( to tell us what is wrong and right, example:lying)
3. The law of Moses.... self explanatory.

and of course it sums it all up with Romans 3:Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.

In any case, if we break his law, you are subject and at the mercy of the judge/law giver( just like the courts).

So, God has always used an army or power (the nation he chose to be his mouth piece as well as representative) to exterminate evil. (Noah's flood........."he looked down at mans heart and it thought only continuous evil" )

One more, he is not the author of evil. He can use evil for his glory. hypothetical example. Israel would be blessed, yet they turned their hearts away from God to idolatry, he could REMOVE his grace from them and allow or stir up the hearts of the Gentile world to enslave them. Of course this happens often. And of course, they repent again for a right standing relationship with God. This is for the Glory of God (Prodigal son is an excellent example). NOTE THE REJOICING. I'm sure you have kids. If they disobey, you do not spare the rod........are you sinning because you know that the rod is the best for their correction? Again, I know we are talking about something more than just discipline, we are talking about death. All I can say is that God is righteous and his ways are correct as appose to ours, unrighteous and crooked.

Now to move on concerning this:
"You seem to be claiming that God is not able or not willing to bend people’s will " I appologize if I made you think that, this is not the caseand believe no such thing nor does the scriptures teach that. In fact, the scriptures teach a perfect will and a permissive will.
Example one. God gave Israel manna in the desert. Israel wanted meat. God told them they didnt need meat, just manna. Man didnt want manna, they wanted meat, so God gave them their meat and they became sick.

Example two. Israel wanted a king (like the other nations). God said you dont need a king, you have me. They wanted a king, so God gave them a king. Theocracy vs.mans desire of a democracy. (interesting enough, when the son of God came, they would then say " we will have no such man rule over us".

So we are in agreement.

Not continue....

The discrepancies you found was consistent to a case that I am presenting. Notice that most of them are numerical....In all do respects, if you have ever read the ancient TORAH and what the Jewish historians have written in the Exegetical notes as well as their Translational reference lexical aids, You would find that it is extremely difficult to translate the extensive numberings. I'm sure you haven't because you would know that when it comes to the big numbers (such as Daniel and the 70 weeks, its really hard to interpret. Of course their are no accent marks as well as little case and so forth........ Also, the KJV(next to the recommended ASV because it is more accurate) is not a recommended translation if one was to look for its laced with mistranslations. I know this being a Septuagint student. I know to well the history of the Textus receptus and know for myself they could have done a much better job. I will say this, the numbers issue I have never really gave much thought knowing the mental suicide these guys go through trying to figure something's out. I do know one thing, that along with myself, they have done the best they can when it comes to translating numerology according to the scriptures. BUT, this does not change two facts.

1. Gods doctrine concerning righteousness. You must believe to be saved and its only through his son." I am the way, the truth and the life, none come to the father, except by me"

2. Prophecy. OT is clear concerning most of the messiahs prophecies. How can one explain the 333 prophecies concerning the messiah? I know them to well being a Jew. That he will be pierced (psalm 22)
betrayed by thirty pieces of silver . That they would cast lots over his garments. His lineage to David through both Mary (Luke) and Joseph ( Mathew). In any case, I'm sure you know to well what I am talking about. These many prophecies were fulfilled accurately. My family is still in amazement how we could have been so blind.
(I would read "more than a carpenter for some simple details)

Also, with the 500+ writings of our early Church fathers (first, second, and third century).... Clemente (Pauls disciple) as well as Plato, etc..(quote the entire NT in their writings for the exception of 4 verses). I would hardly say that the NT in coine is misrepresented. (read expositors Greek NT by Nicoll, Greek-English lexiconal notes by Thayer, Biblical-Theological Leion for NT Greek by Cremer as well as Light form the ancient east by Deissmann for Proof.) along with Jewish Historians such as Josephus...clearly quote and prove the ministry of Christ Jesus. The words and works of Christ are undeniable!!!! For sure and without doubt, history tells the truth about Jesus through both the Christians and those who were Christ's detractors-The Jews!.

leads to my question again from your comment below:

The Lord Liar Lunatic argument adds a third answer but not all the answers. It may be that Christ, who never wrote a word, was terribly misquoted. It may be that Christ, who’s live and teachings have no corroboration outside the New Testament, never even existed.

Is he Liar, lunatic or Lord.

I am not trying to pin you down, I simply want to know what you believe. Is Jesus the Son Of God? If you don't believe he even existed then the answer would simply be no.
If he did exist, yet you don't believe his recorded works, then perhaps he is a liar. If you don't believe his words, then perhaps he is a lunatic. I am simply asking for what is really in your heart. Can you muster in your heart to say he was Liar?. He said he was God! No one can change that he did not exist! Nobody can change that he did great miracles, Nor what he said. The Jews that hated him never rejected his lineage nor his works. If you don't believe me, go to Israel and see what they have to say, you would be shocked. They simply reject him as the Son of God and call him a great prophet. Again, this does not dismiss his statement that He is God. Who is he to you?

Kind Regards,
Raymond

My desire is to win you for Christ sake. I would appreciate it if you have rejected Christ and his offer once and for all, please let me know. Of course,If you are still open, I would like to continue, for Christ sake. You are an extremely bright gentleman and I would hate to go around in circles making a fool of myself.

PS forgive my spelling and grammar, I typed this up rather quickly as well as what seemes to be fragmentary verses, my memorization is out of the Nestle & Aland NT greek receptus. As I am sure you know, it does not have a brilliant flow like the KJV.

Ray




Ray,

John 13:34 - A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another

1 John 2:8 - Yet I am writing you a new commandment, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.

2 John 1:5 - And now I beg you, lady, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.

Those commands are for Christians to love Christians. This is the same as the Old Testament where Hebrews were to love Hebrews, ie, their neighbors as in Leviticus 19:
17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. 18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD.



For the non-believers or those who reject the message of the cross from the NT:

Matthew 10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Luke 9:5 And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.

Acts 13:50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. 51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.

2 John 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into [your] house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

2 Timothy 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works

1 Corinthians 16:22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema (ACCURSED!)

Concerning Omniscience VS Free will

I have given some thought to the omniscience / free will paradox, and I've had some insights that I would like to share. I formulated my argument as follows. "A" refers to any given action, e.g., "post this article." "~A" refers to the opposite of that action, e.g., "not post this article."

1. God's knowledge cannot be wrong.
2. God knows that I will do A.
3. If I have free will, then (I can do A) and (I can do ~A).
4. If I can do ~A, then it is possibly true that I will do ~A.
5. If it is possibly true that I will do ~A, then God's 'knowledge' that I will do A is possibly false.
6. If God's knowledge that I will do A is possibly false, then God's
'knowledge' can be wrong.
7. Therefore, God's knowledge that I will do A is not possibly false.
8. Therefore, it is not possibly true that I will do ~A.
9. Therefore, I cannot do ~A.
10. Therefore, it is false that (I can do A) and (I can do ~A).
11. Therefore, I don't have free will.

Anyone who accepts premises 1-6 will logically reach the conclusion of the non-existence of free will. Any other person, or even God Himself, could be subsistuted for "I" in this argument.

There have been many attempts to refute this argument, but most of them have the ring of desperation, not the ring of truth. Some, for example, have chosen to deny logic. This is absurd, self-stultifying, and renders all speech meaningless. If an omniscient being could also be non-omniscient, what would it mean to say it is omniscient after all? Or if the law of contradiction could be both true and false, what would it mean to deny the law of contradiction? Can't you see that the truth of the principles of logic are established by the attempt to say anything at all? If we don't follow them, we talk nonsense, and our statements are meaningless.

Others have tried saying that "God is outside time" and "God observes all time." This talk of "outside" and "observing" time is very anthropomorphic, and I don't know what the theist "really" means when they say that God is "outside time." Did God walk out the door of "Time" restaurant for a smoke or something? Can I go outside time for a walk? Is God sitting on his couch watching space-time on his 4d television? I have no experience of things "outside time," so I don't know what the theist means. But, even granting the plausibility of being "outside time," the theist is still faced with the problem of God's free will. After all, the theist's reason for positing free will is that "God does not make robots. Love must be freely given and freely received." Surely God Himself is not a robot. If God has free will and makes choices, then God must have a future. Does God know His own future? If so, we have the perfect foreknowledge / free will paradox all over again. If not, God cannot be said to be truly omniscient. Further, if God interacts with this universe and makes prophecy (even becoming incarnate once), it would seem that God is "inside time" from time to time (see what I mean about the incoherency of this "outside time" talk?), so this line of defense must be rejected as a total failure.

In most cases the argument goes right over the head of the theist. They say, "So what? Does God knowing what you will do mean that He is forcing you to do it? No." They equivocate "having free will" with "not being forced to do things by God." But free will as defined above means the ability to do A and the ability to do ~A. The argument states that omniscience implies the lack of free will, not that omniscience implies that the omniscient being is making choices for you. The omniscient being could very well be powerless and unable to interact with the physical world, but this does not affect the argument in any way. This 'objection' makes as much sense as "So what? Does God knowing what you will do mean that Bill Clinton has a remote control on your brain manipulating your every action? No."

With this nonsense out of the way, let us look at the problems for the theist who denies the premises of the argument.

1. God's knowledge cannot be wrong.
2. God knows that I will do A.

The Bible describes God as having infinite understanding and knowing everything, a doctrine called omniscience (Psalms 147:5, 1 John 3:20). This is supposed to include knowledge of the future (Jeremiah 1:4-5, Mark 13:40, Acts 2:23). If God is not infallible, it is strange that theists look to Him for the ultimate answers in life. Without the power to know the future, the prophecies from God, including as those about the afterlife and the end of the world (as well as those about history), carry no more weight than anybody else's guess. Imagine: "I assure you, one of you is about to betray me...but your guess is as good as mine." In Christian theology, God would have become incarnated without even knowing whether the Jews and Romans would act such that His plan for salvation would be successful. Thus, most Christians believe that God is omniscient.

3. If I have free will, then (I can do A) and (I can do ~A).
4. If I can do ~A, then it is possibly true that I will do ~A.

The alternative to accepting these premises is to accept compatibilism, that free will is consistent with determinism. This is plausible enough for atheistic philosophers such as Michael Martin and Daniel C. Dennett. The compatibilist may define "will" as the action that a person wants or intends, and a will is "free" if the person will succeed in doing this action without coercion (i.e., if the outcome hinges on the person's decision or will). There have been a few different theories of "intention," which are not detailed here. This position does allow for some moral responsibility between men for their actions willfully done.

However, I do not see how compatibilism fits with a theism in which the creator God judges men based on their actions. This would be like a programmer punishing a computer because it gave the wrong answer. If God is an omnipotent creator, he would logically have simply made humans do what he wanted them to do in the first place (instead of making them so they do what he doesn't want and then punishing them for so doing). Thus, compatibilism makes God an incompetent.

5. If it is possibly true that I will do ~A, then God's knowledge that I will do A is possibly false.
6. If God's knowledge that I will do A is possibly false, then God's knowledge can be wrong.

These statements are self-evident given appropriate definitions of "possibly true" and "possibly false."

However, the conclusion is:

11. Therefore, I don't have free will.

Although it may not be explicitly in the Bible, free will is a central doctrine to many theologians for at least the two following reasons:

1. Free will allows a defense for the origin of evil in God's creation. "For everything created by God is good..." (1 Timothy 4:4)
2. Free will allows a defense for God's punishment of perdition. Judgment and condemnation makes no sense if the 'guilty' party had no choice.

These defenses can be criticized in their own right, but they are now compounded with the problem posed by omniscience, which is mutually exclusive with free will.

Therefore, God does not exist, at least not as "God" is defined by many Christians.


Free Will would be theoretically possible if:

1. God didn't know what his creations would do (not omniscient).
or
2. God didn't have the ability to control every aspect of what He was creating (not omnipotent).
or
3. God didn't create the entire universe (not creator).

Without modifying one of these three attributes, there is no alternativeto a deterministic universe with each event explicitly controlled by God.

Finally consider these:

1. How could Adam and Eve ever have sinned if God had actually created them perfect, even if they did have free will? If God created them imperfect, how could a perfect omnipotent being create anything imperfect?

2. How can evil exist in the world if God is simultaneously good, omnipotent, and loving? Why is it that no theodicy stands up under rational scrutiny?

3. Why does the church say God did not create evil, when he himself claims that he did in Isaiah 45:7, Lamentations 3:38, and Amos 3:6?

4. Why does God expressly take credit for creating disabilities (Exodus 4:11)? If these are God's doing, then why does the evangelical church insist that disabilities are the result of the fall, or of Satan's work?

5. Why would a loving, omnipotent, benevolent god cause people to believe falsehoods so that he can condemn them (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12)?

6. Why is the Bible inconsistent on major theological issues such as the nature and existence of an afterlife, the efficacy of works of the Law with regard to salvation, and the distinction between soul and spirit?

7. Why does the evangelical church speak of absolute values when the Bible teaches situational ethics?

8. Why is it not possible to formulate a systematic theology that agrees with the Bible in all points? Roman Catholic theology introduces unbiblical and irrational ideas; Calvinistic reformed theology stumbles at the existence of evil; covenantal theology muddles the biblical distinctions between Israel and the church; dispensational theology is too hopelessly complex to be credible because every major inconsistency is explained away by spuriously introducing a new "dispensation;" and Arminianism destroys the sovereignty of God.

9. Why doesn't the Bible itself present its own "revealed" systematic theology. Doesn't God want us to have a consistent and complete framework of theology to support right decision making and teaching others?



That's enough for now.

Cheers,

Dave VanAllen




Dear Dave,

You wrote...........

Matthew 10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Luke 9:5 And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.

Acts 13:50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. 51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.

2 John 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into [your] house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

For the non-believers or those who reject the message of the cross from the NT:

Matthew 10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Luke 9:5 And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.

Acts 13:50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. 51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.

2 John 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into [your] house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

None of these verses teach me not to love the unbeliever......... perhaps their is a misunderstanding of what love is. Love is not an emotional feeling, like the world. Love is an action. "God so loved the world he gave....", "he who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me"... and so forth. NT does not teach to hate them. It teaches me to show them Christ. It also teaches me not to accept their doctrine nor to welcome them to my home. As mentioned above. Of course, that is a far cry to hate them. As for you reap what you sow... well, let them be accursed, and let them be rewarded according to their works (as mentioned in revelation in Rev 19 at the Great white throne. BUT, God says "vengeance is mine" so we leave these payments up to God.

You mentioned also mentioned:

1. God didn't know what his creations would do (not omniscient).-Quite clear that he knows.... OT*/NT is clearly prophetic... concerning the nations and people, they are perfectly fulfilled, in his timing.........

2. God didn't have the ability to control every aspect of what He was creating (not omnipotent). HE can, yet he allows man to move in an arena, he allows them to choose, yet he already know what they will choose before the foundation of the world.

3. God didn't create the entire universe (not creator).-Its clear that he did Gen 1 and so forth. So I guess Im forced to play some mental twister which I cannot do.

As for the Evil God created. NOT possible.

The Hebrew word used in all three (Isaiah 45:7, Lamentations 3:38, and Amos 3:6.) is ra. It could mean misfortune, a mischief,a wickedness caused on another. But it does not insinuate that he is the author of evil. He judges righteously on the wicked (all creation) yet this would become a misfortune/mischief on ourselves...The essential meaning of ra is the inability to come up to a good standards (definition is found in any OT/NT Lexical aid). Your best bet is to speak to an orthodoxy Rabbi/scholar and he will give you the same answer. I will say again, that the King James could have done a better Job. That is why knowing the original lanugos can be beneficial. Contextual accuracy is the utmost importance.

As for Adam and Eve. They were in an environment where their was no sin..."God is of purer eyes and cannot behold evil, he cannot even look upon it" Hab 1:13. But it is certain that they had a will. They were deceived, they yielded to it, they brought sin into the world, and as a result, they were "Adam/man was driven out"-ramifications.

As for this statement: Why would a loving, omnipotent, benevolent god cause people to believe falsehoods so that he can condemn them (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12)?

I previously answered this question. God is under no obligation to ever give the Gospel again. If he desires to retract the offer, which he says he will in Romans 1, He is still righteous. meaning he is right, we are wrong. Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their hearts.. 1:26 for this cause GOD gave them up unto vile affections...1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind...

It is clear that God has always given man over to their sin.... the final ruling is mention in 3:19 "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law (all mankind as mentioned before 1, law of creation 2, law of conciseness 3, law of Moses) that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God" Could it be possible that when God gave man will.... they could only do evil. Perhaps that's why we wait for the hope that is in us (holy spirit) for the day of redemption... for we will not be able to sin no more in heaven. A new body, that cannot sin.... perhaps that is the deeper meaning to "when sin did abound, Grace did abound MUCH MORE. Grace provided (by his blood) sanctification for not only positional, not only practical, but full sanctification...That is glorification.

As for this suggestion: Why does God expressly take credit for creating disabilities (Exodus 4:11)? If these are God's doing, then why does the evangelical church insist that disabilities are the result of the fall, or of Satan's work? It does not say that God made them dumb. It says that God created the Dumb and the deaf. And when sin entered in the world so did the 2nd law of thermodynacs..... along with the Law of entropy... A syllogism (sin+time=death) . everything tends to disorder(or get older/break down) and this is consistent (time) till death.

This is an opinion.......How can evil exist in the world if God is simultaneously good, omnipotent, and loving? Why is it that no theodicy stands up under rational scrutiny

Let us consider the "so-called" contradicting verses.........And if your gracious, please stay with the NT. Why is the Bible inconsistent on major theological issues such as the nature and existence of an afterlife, the efficacy of works of the Law with regard to salvation, and the distinction between soul and spirit?

I don't understand this statement, nor am I concerned with the overall church. They are more in number Carnell and unlearned. Very few actually study the scriptures. Also, I'm not concerned what the church teaches, I'm concerned what the book says..... Why does the evangelical church speak of absolute values when the Bible teaches situational ethics?

This is the churches feeble way of denominating themselves. They create a bunch of doctrines that contradict themselves.....I am under the conviction that We don't have the complete mind of God, and some things have been left for further explanation when we get to heavens shore.....Why is it not possible to formulate a systematic theology that agrees with the Bible in all points? I do not know.... I just study it in its generality with OT and New.

Not biblical at all: Roman Catholic theology introduces unbiblical and irrational ideas;

Thank God I am not a Calvinist... God teaches that he chooses his elect in Christ, Not choose the elect for their salvation.Calvinistic reformed theology stumbles at the existence of evil;

Robs the Christian Hope for the rapture and so much more: covenantal theology muddles the biblical distinctions between Israel and the church;

This is a way to study the bible... Its not the perfect way. dispensational theology is too hopelessly complex to be credible because every major inconsistency is explained away by spuriously introducing a new "dispensation;" and

Clearly the scriptures do not teach we lose our salvation Cor 3:13-15, James 5, Although this is true, the believer can experience a death.... "to be carnally minded is death" ....Not physical, but more spiritual I suppose. ..Arminianism destroys the sovereignty of God.

It is Age of innocence, government (perhaps), covenant with Noah, the law, grace and truth, and the millennium (for the literalist). In any case, study the scriptures any way you want...... No way is wrong. Although I will say that studying it systematically will give you a better flow and understanding. ......Why doesn't the Bible itself present its own "revealed" systematic theology. Doesn't God want us to have a consistent and complete framework of theology to support right decision making and teaching others?

In any case, Is it ok to say "imp not sure". The passage is somewhat foggy and it is better that I receive the simple verses than the complicated verses.. Science is somewhat in that fashion. We don't understand everything,,,, in fact that is why we have theories. Paul even said, that the was caught up in the third heaves, and it was not lawful/able to speak of it...........I think that pride is the building block to much preached doctrine. I would rather say... .lets look at the verse and see what it says to the chapter..... Perhaps they would call me weak, stupid and foolish. But I apologize, their is no man who understands everything. If anything, they are pompous, self-righteous and they deceive themselves....Is it ok to say, I do not know how electricity works but I certainly enjoy the light when I flick the switch. Or the stars at night, or just think how the earth is sustained.... I guess we can feebly try to explain that, but one thing is certain, we enjoy it. I have faith in Christ my God and I enjoy it.

I pray that you are giving me some elbow room here and hoping that some of my answers are acceptable. I try not to get to philosophical (ex your complicated algorithms on Calvinism).

I would enjoy further on other issues but I chiefly want to discuss the most important issue when follows. I was curious to hear your response concerning the validity of OT prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe (at least one reason) that The NT is valid by the old. That is the prophecies concerning Christ. Also, the comments I made concerning the accuracy of his existence as well as his works and words. They are to my advantage and are undeniable! As before mentioned:

1. Gods doctrine concerning righteousness. You must believe (recieve christ John 1:12,13) to be saved and its only through his son." I am the way, the truth and the life, none come to the father, except by me"


2. Prophecy. OT is clear concerning most of the messiahs prophecies. How can one explain the 333 prophecies concerning the messiah? I know them to well being a Jew. That he will be pierced (psalm 22)
betrayed by thirty pieces of silver . That they would cast lots over his garments. His lineage to David through both Mary (Luke) and Joseph ( Mathew). In any case, I'm sure you know to well what I am talking about. These many prophecies were fulfilled accurately. My family is still in amazement how we could have been so blind.
(I would read "more than a carpenter for some simple details)

Also, with the 500+ writings of our early Church fathers (first, second, and third century).... Clemente (Pauls disciple) as well as Plato, etc..(quote the entire NT in their writings for the exception of 4 verses). I would hardly say that the NT in coine is misrepresented. (read expositors Greek NT by Nicoll, Greek-English lexiconal notes by Thayer, Biblical-Theological Leion for NT Greek by Cremer as well as Light form the ancient east by Deissmann for Proof.) along with Jewish Historians such as Josephus...clearly quote and prove the ministry of Christ Jesus. The words and works of Christ are undeniable!!!! For sure and without doubt, history tells the truth about Jesus through both the Christians and those who were Christ's detractors-The Jews!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

which leads me to my final comment and question, again.
I beg that you forgive me for stating. ...............You still have not answered my question. And I know you know what I am talking about. Why? Is it true that their is some ray of hope in your heart or have you finally cursed Christ and rejected his offer. You have done a fabulous Job discrediting the scriptures and Christianity altogether... perhaps they deserve it. I do not know.

You know when Saul ran into the risen Lord at the road to Damascus... He said "who is it Lord? I am Jesus who you persecute, It is hard to kick against the pricks" and Saul would then say "Lord, what does thou desire me to do........"

Please tell me, I beseech you, Is he a Liar, a lunatic, or The Lord?

Kind Regards,

Raymond

I would like to speak to you over the phone if you may permit it. The emailing is killing me. I would have more liberty and time over the phone.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002                                                                                       View Comments

You were never a Christian!!!!

You....an ex-Christian? Gasp! Wrong! You can call
yourself whatever you want. But you were never truly
a Christian. It was in name only. I'm not going to
sugarcoat it for you. You're lost, and you are
condemned already. Even non-believers know John 3:16,
but that does not apply to you. What does apply to
you is John 3:18b...but he that believeth not is
condemned already, because he hath not believed in the
name of the only begotten Son of God.
You don't believe in Hell either, but you're headed
there regardless of what you think. Atheists truly
amaze me. You don't believe, but you spend so much
time trying to convince others that you are right.
I have a clipping from a newspaper about an atheist
who used to live hereabouts. He always wrote the
editor of the paper whining about Christ and
Christians. He did that right up until he was dying.
He had a press conference with several local papers
from his bed at the hospital the day before he died.
He confessed Jesus as his Lord, and said the Bible was
the Word of God. The papers printed it all.
Now of course you think you're too smart to believe in
God. OK, I wouldn't think of forcing you to believe.
However, the day will come when you will bow your
knees before Jesus and confess that He is Lord. I
hope you get saved, I truly do. If you don't, and you
end up in Hell, you'll remember this email for all
eternity. You are to be pitied. Here's a link you
need... http://www.chick.com/

Billy Evans billyevanshasnobody@yahoo.com

RE:
You are hilarious! You should take your act on the road, it would make a great stand up comedy routine! Thanks for the fun!

Here is a link for you:

Anti-Tract Archive

Funny stuff!!! LOL


Click HERE to see all banter back and forth between Billy and others

Friday, April 05, 2002                                                                                       View Comments

You seem like a decent person!

I don't know, you seem like a decent person. I have a lot of questions about some of the same Bible verses you mentioned. I have also experienced that honest questions are usually unwelcome to most professing Christians. All I can say is, just stay as honest as you can. Don't worry about what other people say. If there is a judgment day, (which I believe), we will all stand alone before the Judge.

As I read your story, I was struck by the verse that says, "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." It certainly seems to describe you. The verse doesn't say when they are filled.

What was so great about Abraham? He waited 100 years for the fulfillment of the promise, and after that he offered it back to God. Simply put, he never stopped believing that God was true and faithful to those who want him above all else. Jesus said that he that endures TO THE END shall be saved. (Please excuse the caps, I don't have italics.)

Well, that's about it. I can't believe all your struggle has been for nothing. You are in my prayers.

Dave R.

Thursday, April 04, 2002                                                                                       View Comments

Please Consider This!

It seems you had an emotionally cleansing, realistic experience at eleven. You once believed in God and fellowshipped with him, but then was disillusioned with the churches, because they didn't follow the Bible, which seemed inconsistent. Here are some thoughts, looking at other sides.

I have heard from "secular" sources that of many surviving historical documents, the Bible is quite accurate. The possiblity of obtaining this document written from so many viewpoints, but agreeing on so much is very slim. Differences appear to be in nonimportant parts of the Bible, or taken out of context. Your example, for instance I've heard Judas bought a field, hanged himself in it, and when they cut him down, he burst open. So it could truthfully be said that he hanged himself, and it could also be truthfully said that he bought a field and fell headlong into it. I've heard explanations for nearly every difference in the Bible.
You appear to have become more and more disillusioned with the church. My mother gave advice whenever I was disillusioned as a child, telling me not to put my hope in people, for people will always fail, only God will stay faithful. She would also tell me I can't find satisfaction this side of heaven, and I can't put standards of perfection on myself or on others.

My father was married, had a daughter, divorced, married my mother and had my brother and me. When I asked my mother about the scriptures on adultery, she answered yes, my father and she committed sin, but sin is not unforgivable, and she and my father were forgiven. I found that answer completely satisfactory.
One more thing. When searching for guidance, you looked to the church, the pastors, and the Bible. But you never, at least in your written testimony, expressed that you had brought your anguish and searching before God, and left it for him to answer.

These are things to think about. But I challenge you, to act on whatever speaks to you. Life comes only once.

This one was unsigned by the sender, and no email was available for a reply to be sent

Against Christianity or Christians?

Hey, i've just visitied your site. i was just wondering
something. are you against all christians or just
christianity? what i mean is, are you making a
generalisation that ALL christians are unsupportive,
arrogant idiots or what?

brad mccoy

RE
Hello Brad,

It is not my intent to make generalizations about people who categorize themselves with Christianity. However, since my de-conversion, I have come across some very interesting characters, to say the least. It does occur to me that to be labeled guilty by association is a bit unfair, but when you belong to a group, any group, and you notice so much nonsense going on in that group, re-evaluation of your participation with that group is warranted.

The point is, there are good people, and bad, in any group. That observation alone does not prove, or disprove, the validity or claims of a group. This I will grant. But when so much is fouled up in the way Christianity plays out in reality, coupled with the claim that the Holy Spirit is supposedly guiding the true adherents of the cult into ALL TRUTH, Pilate's cry of "What is truth?" is understandable. Consider this, if Jesus Christ is really building his church, it seems he likes extreme disunity, painful atrocity, and outright ignorance to be practiced in prolificacy. He is building it himself, he says, not us, so he gets all the credit and all the blame for it's ruined condition throughout history. This is the beginning of my doubt, but not the end, as is witnessed by all the rest of the material on my site.



RE
Sunday 4/7/2002 11:05 P.M.
hey dave. thanks for they reply.

may i just ask of you: firstly, simply because christians aren't perfect,
and because, like all groups, there are the bad and the good, do you think
that this is necessarily a reflection of the faith itself? because to me it
seems that you have a problem against christians, not christianity, and yet
you take it out on the religion itself? if not, i'm just curious what it is
you have against christianity itself?

as for christ building up his church, firstly i would say that good outcomes
can come of bad things. there's a lot of disunity and crap in the church,
true. but that's just a reflection of humanity. christian faith doesn't
promote perfection in humans, rather it means we are (or should be) aware of
our failings and recognise that sin is at the root of it. the holy spirit
cannot make us perfect as long as we are still in our flesh, and as long as
we are still in this world. therefore it is clearly impossible for the
church to be perfect as well?

take care.

brad.


ps. i hope you don't take my writing you as being patronising or whatever.
i've simply got a different viewpoint on things, and i like to talk to
people with different beliefs or ideas from me. i seem to enjoy arguing.

RE>Brad,

You're reasoning in your post seems to imply the following presuppositional positions:

Don't kill the messenger for the sake of the message. The messenger and the message have nothing to do with each other. The messenger is after all, only a messenger, and has no effect on the validity of the message. The message stands alone, outside the life choices of the messenger.

This might be true, except when the message is supernatural, un-provable, and fantastic. Fantastic messages demand fantastic evidences. The primary and strongest evidences of the reality and validity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, touted by evangelists of every ilk, is supposedly attested to in the changed lives of believers. Outside the Bible, there is no historic evidence of any of the claims about Jesus Christ. There is no external evidences witnessing to any of the miraculous stories in the Bible. In fact, if we are to be honest, the amazing little stories in the Bible quite strikingly resemble the fantastic stories of every other religion on the planet. God, supposedly talked to men in the past, according to the Bible, but in these last days, we only have the Bible, written by believers, for believers and to believers. Like any other cult's book this book supports the agenda of the cult. Don't say here that just because there is no external evidence for the stories in the Bible that the stories are not true. If you do, I'll respond that any and all religions could say the same. I doubt you would accept that type of reasoning by a Mormon about his book.

My disillusionment may have started with people, but it was solidified, and supported by study of the Bible. The messenger are said to be led by the Holy Spirit, GOD ALMIGHTY HIMSELF, who is perfectly flawless. Yet, those led by Him are less than perfect. God is perfect and sinless, yet was somehow able to create a world that could become less than perfect, in fact, he knew it would be less than perfect and did it anyway. He knew he would end up throwing millions of his created beings into hell forever and ever, yet still he does it. I would submit to you that warning Adam not to eat the apple is analogous to me warning my child not to play in the street or they might get hurt. My child disobeys me and runs into the street. So, in response, I jump in my car and run him down. Remember, God is Sovereign over all, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omni-everything, according to Christianity. He cannot be surprised, overpowered, thwarted, argued with or defied. The only logical conclusion, if Christianity is true, is that God is one mean, unjust bastard. He purposely made a world of people who's destiny, outside of a handful of chosen people, was eternal torment. Why? For His glory! This god sounds to me like he has an ego problem more than anything else. To be God, he would not need anything. If he needed anything, it would suggest some lack in himself. If he has a lack in himself, of any kind, then he is less than omni-something-or-other. You can go round and round with this and be faced with only two conclusions: Either it doesn't make sense, or it doesn't make sense. The only thing a believer can do faced with this logic, is to say that God can do what he wants to do because he is god. RIGHT! THAT PROVES IT!

This subject is far to big for email, and that is why I have such an extensive website, which pales in comparison with hundreds of other websites like mine out there. The messengers are not perfect. If you spend any time studying the Bible, you will discover that it is less than perfect as well. Since the only evidences we have of the validity of this "life changing perfect message" is in changed lives, and the Bible, I think it more than reasonable to demand that the evidence conform to the fantastic claims of the message.

For your consideration: Did Israel’s Exodus From Egypt Actually Happen? and, BIBLICAL INFALLIBILITY OR MENTAL HEALTH.

Both articles are By Lee Salisbury, a former pastor.





Wednesday, April 03, 2002                                                                                       View Comments

You have been decieved

This was posted to my message board yesterday, signed by "believer". The person did not leave a real name or email.



A lot of you use the excuse for not believing in God on the famous idea of God sending people to hell for no good reason. Look at your lives, no matter what you chose to believe, you are a sinner. No one, except Jesus, can claim to have lived a perfect life. God is holy, whether you say he is or not, and he can have nothing to do with sin. You are a sinner. However, he sent a reedemer to die for you. I think that a lot of people who turn from Christianity do so to justify there way of life. Hey, you don't have to feel bad about any kind of wrong living no matter how small if you don't believe in a God. I am sorry that Satan has decieved you. I was a doubter myself but through my searches I have found that Christ is the only thing that makes sense. And yes, if there truly is a hell I do not want to go there-who in their right mind would. Besides, I would rather base my eternal destiny on spending it with a savior who died for my sins then a deciever who lies.