What If I’m Wrong?

This is an important question to answer, and I can’t think of a better treatment of it than this video. Please watch it. He makes so many great points, and he does it much better than I would be able to. Thanks.

Advertisements

30 thoughts on “What If I’m Wrong?”

  1. The Bible also says that what may be known about this God “is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

    So he’s right in one sense, that he wouldn’t need to have any excuses for his behavior. Because the same God would know at which point he had sufficient evidence for belief, and made a deliberate choice to reject belief.

    And perhaps if he were standing before this Christian God, he would realize that although he made a deliberate choice to reject belief, God didn’t kill him right then and there for his sin, even though the Bible says “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) He would realize that God showed an extreme amount of mercy in allowing him multiple chances to choose belief in God, but that he continuously spit in God’s face.

    Certainly an all-knowing God would know what is necessary for each unique person to believe, and as all-powerful has given them sufficient evidence within that construct to believe.

    But surely an all-just God would be required to enforce the punishment for sin, or He would cease to be all-just and cease to be God.

    So maybe God is just doing what He said He would from the very outset, and maybe the only thing that changes in response to that is us, so we are fully responsible for what happens to us whether we were right or wrong.

    Guess it’s not God’s problem after all. Guess it’s ours.

    I’m glad that this gentleman is so firm in his convictions, though it does make his claim of seeking truth sound rather disingenuous, since he makes statements rather than asking questions. It means only that at one time he sought truth, and has since lost that zest in favor of belief in himself.

    He is to be commended for his honesty, but not for the crux of his message, because he betrays himself in his certainty.

    Thanks for sharing this though. It does give us all a lot to think about.

    Like

  2. Thanks for your comment. But it’s not spitting in God’s face when one has spent enough time with it to be able to formulate the thoughts presented in this video. As one who was once a fervent believer and has now lost that faith, I understand completely his point that God would understand a lack of belief in someone who just found the evidence lacking. It’s not that we’ve made a conscious decision to reject God — in fact, it’s not a rejection of God at all. It’s a rejection of claims made by the people who wrote the Bible. It’s just a conclusion we come to after study, not a position we choose out of spite.

    That might be difficult to accept, and I can understand that. When I was a believer, I would have found it hard to accept too. After all, how could a rejection of the Bible be anything BUT a conscious decision, since God surely wouldn’t allow honest seekers to get that confused? But the fact is, I have gotten here honestly, and I’m inclined to think the guy in the video did too.

    But personal testimony shouldn’t be convincing evidence to either side of the issue. I’m just trying to say that framing his points as a rejection of God is probably not how he would phrase it, and certainly not how I would.

    The notion of an all-just God punishing sin by something like Hell has some problems with it too. But that’s best left to another thread.

    Thanks again for the comment.

    Like

  3. “I’m glad that this gentleman is so firm in his convictions, though it does make his claim of seeking truth sound rather disingenuous, since he makes statements rather than asking questions. It means only that at one time he sought truth, and has since lost that zest in favor of belief in himself.”

    You make a good point here, except that Christianity does the same thing. Christians “know” the bible is from God merely because the bible says that it is. If more Christians honestly asked, “is the bible from God?” they may come away with a different take.

    Like

  4. Thanks for your response, Nate. In reading a few of your other posts I can see how difficult this transition has been for you, and it’s unfortunate how much scrutiny you’ve undergone from friends and family as a result. It’s a bit disappointing, because it doesn’t seem like Biblical love, does it? I hope that you are able to find what you are looking for, and of course I hope that in doing so you will re-discover God, but that choice is entirely up to you.

    I know it doesn’t seem like spitting in God’s face from that perspective, but the truth is that it sort of is. This gentleman (Scott I think is his name) is using the hypothetical situation of being in front of God, so if he allows for this, then he also has to allow for the notion that he has made a choice in response to this God. Sort of “If this God exists, I’m choosing not to believe He does and live my life my way.”

    And it truly is a willful decision; he clearly has enough knowledge and understanding of what God is like to make a choice on whether or not God exists. All he is saying is this: “There is purported a Being that is omnibenevolent, omniscient, gracious, merciful, holy, righteous, etc., and I’m choosing disbelief in the existence in such a Being.” And it’s the word “choosing” that makes all the difference, and makes Scott susceptible to the ramifications of that choice, whatever they are.

    I agree that the issue of hell is best left to another thread, so we’ll pick it up there if necessary.

    I’m sincerely interested in knowing more about what led you to your decision. Were there any external factors (i.e. did you read other books, watch any YouTube videos, etc.) that aided your decision, or did you only look at the Bible for its truth or lack thereof? Perhaps there’s a better forum for this too, but I’ll let you decide as the author of the blog.

    Thanks again for your time and responding.

    Like

  5. William,

    It’s a good point to make certainly, because the truth is most Christians don’t do serious study of the Bible. Not many are interested in the historicity of the OT and NT, the Biblical archaeology that supports much of what’s written there, studying the original languages of the texts for meaning and context, etc.

    But the truth is that there are still many that DO find that interesting and take that plunge, even if it means they come out in disbelief on the other side. I would say that it goes both ways though–there are just as many (if not more) skeptics who look at the Bible objectively and come out believers on the other side as there are Christians who become disbelievers.

    The problem these days is getting people to look objectively at the text. It seems like based on your own pre-conceptions you would be unable to say that your look at the Bible would be objective, because you are already pre-disposed to disbelieve, so of course you’re looking for the holes. I would say my pre-disposition is definitely the other way, so I do hold a bias as well, although I’ve questioned enough to go do my homework and come away with a rational conclusion that still winds up with belief in God.

    So I think there are two sides of the coin, though your argument is a valid one.

    Like

  6. Thanks for the kind reply.

    In many ways, you’re right about it being a choice. But I know that at least from my own perspective, it wasn’t a choice between two equally likely scenarios. If it were, I probably would have come down on the side of Christianity just to be sure (kind of a Pascal’s Wager outlook). But to me, once I considered all the evidence, I found Christianity to be the least likely scenario. So I guess I did make a choice, but only because I thought it was the clearest one. It wasn’t done out of rebellion or spite, which is why I think “spitting in God’s face” isn’t entirely accurate. It only seems that way to believers — a nonbeliever doesn’t view it that way at all.

    I hope that makes sense…

    I have a page on here called “Books” and it lists out the different things I’ve read that helped get me here. But I’d like to state very plainly that what really led to my deconversion were the issues within the Bible itself. I wasn’t aware of many of them until I read about them in books or articles. But once I checked them out for myself, they made a huge impact on me.

    I’m not sure how far back you’ve looked in my posts, but I was a Christian that believed whole-heartedly in the inerrancy of the Bible. In fact, it was because I believed God would ensure we had an incorruptible text that I felt so confident in Christianity. And I was very convinced in my particular views of Christianity, because I believed they were all supported by scripture. So when the integrity of scripture was sufficiently disrupted for me, I had no real reason to continue believing.

    So as strange as it seems, my underlying approach to what God’s message would be hasn’t changed at all. I just no longer think the Bible fits the requirements.

    I do plan to post more about how this all came about for me, and how I felt as I went through it. For now, I’ve focused mostly on the issues that got me here. I appreciate your interest and your well-wishes.

    Thanks again.

    Like

  7. very true. I agree. your point is still good, but i want to point out that initially i was predisposed to faith in the bible, which had been strengthened with study – at least at first.

    I finally realized that God had told me nothing, that everything in the bible was just claims made by man. Sure, I could come up with possible ways to rectify those issues or to bridge over the apparent discrepancies… but i eventually realized that whether I, or anyone else, made a bridge to harmonize two apparently conflicting passages, the discrepancy or error was there on its own.

    Whether I am wrong (which is entirely possible) or you are (as equally as possible), you are still correct in that we must be objective to find the truth. We do what we can with what we have at the time.

    Like

  8. Thanks to both of you for your replies. I think we’re ultimately arriving at the same conclusion on both aspects–that the primary issue for both of you has to deal with the apparent discrepancies, contradictions, etc., of the Bible.

    What this means is that I probably ought to go back and read what some of these are, at least to you, Nate. William, I’m sure you probably agree with most or all of them. Perhaps then I can be better prepared for the discussion.

    My only question is to you, Nate. If your issues have to do with the Bible, does that mean you still believe in God, or at least the supernatural? Or have you abandoned that altogether because the Bible has failed you?

    Like

  9. Great question! For a while, I considered myself a deist, and I still don’t have any complaints with that belief. But ultimately, I’m very agnostic about all of it. I’ve never experienced the supernatural, and the belief I had held in the Christian god was solely based on the Bible.

    I think creation itself is a good argument for god, but I don’t think it’s iron-clad. So I currently lean agnostic-atheist. God could exist, but I’ve never experienced him (or anything supernatural), so I don’t maintain an active belief in him/it.

    Like

  10. Wow well said, I find this to be the one of the biggest questions on why I have not spoken up about my doubt, about my question of faith & the bible.

    I still have not gotten past the question in my mind, what if I’m wrong?

    Like

  11. It’s a tough question, and it’s natural to worry about it. One of the things that helped me was the realization that if God was real, then he was not my enemy. That sounds like a no-brainer, but the main idea is that God would not want to send anyone to Hell. He would want all of us to believe his message and follow it. So if that’s true, why would he have written the Bible with so many contradictions and failed prophecies? Why would he go out of his way to make it seem as unreliable as any other religious text that’s out there?

    That realization made me feel much better. As long as I was honestly searching after truth, I really had nothing to worry about. Keep an open mind and do your best in all things (especially in how you treat others), and any decent God will approve of you. And if there’s no gods at all, then you’ve still lived a full and meaningful life.

    Like

  12. @Nate

    I have been reading your recent posts (via email) about the so-called errors in the book of Daniel. I have posted once or twice on this blog before, trying to lend an encouraging hand back to where you seem to have been once before, although obviously you haven’t asked for such a hand.

    After coming onto this site again and ending up somehow on this particular page, I found it as good a spot as any to make a few comments.

    First of all about myself, certainly I am a God-believing, Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, Christian. So ‘my view’ of things comes from that angle, if you will. Yours is one to where you “say” you once believed, but now you do not, because of overwhelming evidence of errors in the Bible. But a bit contrary to what I had said to you before, I would be of the opinion now that you never believed in the first place. If you knew without a doubt that God existed, and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and died on the cross to pay for your sins and mine, how can you un-believe? It is either a fact or it isn’t. You either believed or you didn’t. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a ‘swaying’ moment from time to time (although I do not have such a thing personally). But to just pack up your bags and say “I believed in a lie” is not ‘swaying’. You jumped. But I would quickly correct myself to say that you did not jump, for you must have always been there to begin with. You never truly believed, you just followed along with the rest that were around you at the time.

    God, through his written word (the Bible), says that it itself, the written word of God, is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of a man’s heart. In my own plain language I will say that this verse means, among several other things, that the word of God will give a person enough rope to hang themselves (I’m from the South, we tend to talk that way sometimes). The word of God plainly gives how a person is to be saved. Whether a person believed in Christ or not, so to say, could “win salvation” through “doing what the Bible says it takes to have it”. But to those who do NOT believe, the word of God is foolishness unto them. Its rubbish. It contradicts itself. They would never “do such a thing” to attain the gift of eternal life that God has given through the sacrifice of his Son, because this truth is not intellectually discerned, it is a matter of the heart. Salvation would never be theirs, because they have never believed with their heart. If salvation were simply a matter of intellect, then all men would have it, even though their hearts would be as far from God as possible. What man would voluntarily doom himself by not believing? No man would, if he knew intellectually that he would die (I’m speaking of the ‘second death’). But because its a matter of the heart, then the non-believing man “intellectualizes” it, and says “I do not believe that to be true, that is for fools to believe”. And so it is.

    Discerning God’s word is not a matter of intellect, although it certainly can and will have its place. To believe God’s word makes a person wise, but not in the way man measures, but in the way God measures. Its a matter of the heart. We unfortunately live in a time that our pulpits are filled with men who teach “with enticing words of man’s wisdom, not in demonstration and power of the Holy Spirit”… which is what Paul referred to. So the church is somewhat to blame for this ‘trend’ of intellectualizing the understanding of God’s word.

    I’ll give you an example, although admittedly not a good one. If you grew up all your life knowing that your father, your dad, biologically speaking, the man you knew all your life to be your father and you loved him greatly over the whole of your life… if someone began to bring you proof to the contrary, that he really isn’t your dad nor is he the man you have known him to be all your life… for a while you would debunk it. You know better. But perhaps after a constant barrage of deafening evidence, you start to question what you have always known to be true. Now, having given this poor example let me ask you this… if there was evidence that your father was and is the man you always knew him to be, but there was still all of that “other evidence”, which do you believe? If the two are completely contrary, in other words, they cannot both be true, then what do you do with that? Do you end it with your dad and say “Well dad I can’t explain all of this other stuff, and I know you say what I have always known is the real truth, but I’m just going to have to walk away from you and not have a relationship any longer. Again, this is a poor example… but still, what do you do?

    You say that creation is evidence that God exists, but its not “iron-clad”. Really? How far do you want to take that? You mean to tell me that how scientists “know and believe” that the earth has stood here for millions of years, yet its never errored in its orbit? We just got really lucky that the earth slipped into the perfect orbit and never errored, so that life can exist as it does today? Is that what your heart tells you, or is that what your mind tells you? The moon just happens to be in the perfect position for life to exist on earth as it does. If it were any closer or any farther away, life on earth would cease. But that’s not enough evidence that God has put his creation under his control? So when you look up in the sky at night and see the moon hanging there, does your heart tell you “wow, did we get lucky that thing happens to be there”? Is that what your heart says, or your intellect mind? If the earth has been here for billions of years as many claim, then how is it the sun exists as it does today? The sun does “burn up” every year to a certain degree. If the sun is billions of years old, that means at one time it would have been large enough for its borders to be beyond where the earth stands today. Evidence? We ask for evidence yet we thumb our intellectual noses toward the sky and ignore what our hearts tell us is true? Why do we speak so intelligently about evidence of everything existing by chance, when there is so much evidence to the contrary? Many, many people will read this and scoff at it, believing it to be foolishness. Believing someone like me is a fool, and that I need to read some books and get an education. So be it. If God can’t change their mind, I’m certainly not going to be able to.

    You said you once “whole-heartedly believed in the inerrancy of the Bible”. So once evidence came otherwise and you jumped ship? Where is the “whole-heartedly” in that? That’s not believing at all.

    If your wife believed that you love her, then later on you “discover” that you were wrong, is that it? What once was true now becomes a lie, because something made you think or feel differently? Truth is truth. Especially God’s truth. Its not up for man’s debate. If you or I have a problem with something in God’s word… that’s our problem, not his. It doesn’t change the truth. We have to figure out how that particular verse is true, even though there “seems to be a problem”. The problem is not God’s word, its our understanding.

    None of you who believe that the Bible is wrong and that God does not exist will get anything from this whatsoever. And so be it. I wish it were otherwise, but even Jesus himself said “even though they have ears, they cannot hear; and eyes, yet they cannot see”. Ever wondered what those verses meant? If the person, in their heart, does not want to believe, then they will not believe. Its as simple as that.

    Only when we get older are we smart enough to be stupid. To men, its wisdom. To God, its foolishness. Let God be true, and every man a liar.

    Blessed be the name of the Lord.

    Like

  13. Hi David,

    Thanks again for commenting.

    Do you believe in predestination? Do you believe that God has predetermined exactly who will be saved and who will not?

    Now, to respond to some of your points. When you were a child, did you believe in Santa Claus? For now, I will assume that you did. Do you still believe in him? I’ll assume you don’t. Well, he either exists or he doesn’t. You either believed, or you didn’t. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a ‘swaying’ moment from time to time. But to just pack up your bags and say “I believed in a lie” is not ‘swaying’. You jumped.

    Please forgive the wordplay, but I do think it’s an important point. Belief and knowledge are two different things. I’ve never known if God exists or not — I don’t believe anyone can know that. Most Christians don’t really think you can “know” it either, which is why they rely on faith. So when it comes to knowledge, I’m agnostic. I don’t know. However, belief is separate. Belief is holding a position based on evidence and reasoning. I used to believe that Jesus was the son of God. I couldn’t know that, I just believed it. But I now believe differently. Still don’t know for sure — how could I? But I can make conclusions based on evidence and reasoning.

    So in the Santa Claus example, he either exists or he doesn’t. In fact, for the sake of argument, we’ll go ahead and say he doesn’t exist. But that fact has nothing to do with our belief in him. You could believe in him when you were a child, even though he’s a myth. And you can stop believing in him as an adult. YOUR position on him has changed, but the fact of his existence has not.

    In the same way, God either exists or he doesn’t. More specifically, the God of the Bible exists or doesn’t. But our belief (or lack of belief) in him is independent of his actual existence. In other words, it is not ridiculous at all for me to have been a true believer once, but then to change my mind.

    Let’s look at your example about my father. If I were raised by someone claiming to be my father, but then evidence arose much later that called that into question, I’d like to think it would change very little. Even if my father wasn’t related to me biologically, he still would have filled the role of “father” to me. So in that way, he would still be my father. My relationship with him wouldn’t have to change at all.

    But the situation with God is much different. I’ve never seen God. He’s never spoken to me. When I’ve gone through difficulties, he never gave me a hug, told me it would be okay, or helped me work through the issues. He has been aloof and hidden. Despite all of that, I never questioned his existence. In hindsight, that might have been foolish, but I thought he had good reasons for being silent. However, once evidence was presented to me that called into question the one message he had sent me (the Bible), I had no more reason to continue the charade.

    As far as creation goes, I do think it’s a plausible argument for the existence of God. Why does anything exist at all? Positing God as an answer is not unreasonable.

    However, God (as theists believe) is supernatural. I’ve never seen anything supernatural. Everything I’ve ever experienced in this life has had a logical, natural explanation. So why should I assume that everything natural was created by something super-natural?

    I know you mentioned that people might tell you to learn more about the natural world as some kind of dismissal, but I don’t think that’s a bad suggestion. Science has explanations for the sun, the moon, and earth’s orbit. These aren’t supernatural mysteries that prove we were created. And the fact that all of those things — the sun, the moon, a constant orbit — are necessary for life, are not proofs that they were designed. It’s normal to look at all the things that had to fall into place for life to begin and think that it must have been designed that way. But this is like looking at a mud puddle and remarking how miraculous it is that the water in it is the exact shape of the hole. If the earth didn’t have a constant orbit, we wouldn’t be around here to wonder about it. Luckily, earth does have a constant orbit. But that doesn’t mean the orbit was designed for us. Just look at the vastness of space. It’s filled with examples of places where life didn’t have the right conditions to begin — as far as we currently know. It’s only fitting that if we’re around to wonder about it, then we must be on a planet that does have the right conditions.

    In all, I understand where you’re coming from. And I really appreciate the effort you’re making to reach out to people. It comes from a really great place. I can tell that you must be a very nice, sincere person. If you have time, check out this post I wrote long ago, when I was a Christian. I think it’s a point you’ll agree with. But notice that even then, I maintained that the Bible was supposed to appeal to our intellect. If not, then God was only setting up people who are naturally more skeptical. And countless passages told people to search for truth, not to accept every single thing they were told at face value. If the Bible couldn’t be understood, how were they supposed to do that?

    So I understand where you’re coming from. But it seems to me that Christians need to decide why they believe. Do they believe because they want to, or do they have actual evidence? And if it’s evidence-based (as I would argue it should be), then have they compared it to all the evidence that runs against their claims?

    I’d be curious to hear what you think. Thanks

    Like

  14. Nathan,

    I had not intended to post or even examine your website, but I occasionally look at it anyway. I’m usually very depressed when I look at it, but I keep hoping to see some softening of your position.

    After looking at your reply to David, I couldn’t help but point out something. You say that God never gave you a hug, told you it would be okay, or helped you work through the issues. I’m sorry, you must be blind. Everything He has done throughout time and the revealing of it in His word has done just those very things. Sure, you didn’t get a physical hug directly from Him, But look at what He put in place. The Bible shows us how He has always kept His promises, and that He loves us dearly. Through the Church He has provided a wonderful support organism. His word provides great comfort and direction. The avenue of prayer also provides great comfort. The wonderful examples in the Old and New Testaments provide great encouragement and perspective. How sad that you no longer recognize this. Yes, there are those who can present evidence against the Bible. However, this doesn’t mean that the conclusions drawn are correct. There is just as strong (in my opinion, stronger) evidence for the Bible’s veracity. I also believe that through faith we can know that God exists. How can you put your faith in “science”? Many of the discoveries of science are interpreted differently over time. Many of the “truths” presented by the scholarly community are often discounted or proven wrong over time as new “discoveries” are made. This is an undeniable fact, and there are many examples we could look at to prove the point. Are you going to discontinue the “charade” of believing in science? I don’t think you are being rational or fair minded about things pertaining to God and the Bible.

    You say you have never seen anything supernatural or miraculous, therefore it doesn’t exist. You’ve never seen Abraham Lincoln either, therefore he never existed either. You’ve never witnessed a cow giving birth, so that has never happened. You see where your logic leads? The fact that you have never seen anything you would classify as miraculous doesn’t mean it has never happened. Just as you have witness accounts of figures in history or events that you’ve never personally witnessed that you accept, the same should be true about the events recorded in the Bible.

    I’m sorry, I probably shouldn’t be responding, but I wish you could see the problems with the logic of your position and reexamine the scriptures with an open mind.

    Love,

    Dad

    Like

  15. Hi Dad,

    Thanks for the comment. I know it comes from a place of deep love and concern, and I appreciate that.

    It’s true that when I was a Christian I had a support network within the church that did give me a lot of comfort. At the same time, I think you would agree that having that network doesn’t mean we were right, or that God was necessarily the source of that comfort. Lots of people have support networks that have nothing to do with religion — cancer survivors, VA organizations, AA, etc. Families are support networks, regardless of religious affiliation. Even every other religious group is a support network for its members, though we might think they serve the wrong god. My current support group consists of my immediate family and some close friends. I still receive comfort from this group, even though we aren’t religious.

    Prayer was sometimes a good source of comfort. Of course, it’s a source of comfort for every religious person, regardless of their beliefs. I’ve also heard people say that meditation is very similar and often provides the same benefits. And I tend to think that any time we work through our problems — either through prayer, meditation, or just concentration — we’re bound to feel better. It’s possible that there’s a supernatural, spiritual element that’s at work there. But it’s just as possible that it’s a natural effect within our brains. After all, if a Christian’s prayer brings comfort from God, how do all these other people also get comfort? And is it a different kind of comfort from what the Christians experience? How would we be able to tell?

    The Bible can be comforting. I definitely took comfort from it when I was a Christian. However, I was also troubled by portions of it. And I doubt that you always receive comfort from it — reading the Bible probably bothers you when it concerns the situation Lauren and I are in. Even the depression you feel reading my blog is a side effect of the beliefs you’ve gained through the Bible. And again, people from every religion experience comfort when they read parts of their holy texts. Does that mean those books are inspired also?

    So I still don’t think any of these things are evidence of God. The comfort that they brought has a natural explanation.

    I understand your criticisms of science, but I think that’s actually one of the great things about it. In fact, science is working when it finds problems with its previous conclusions. The large hadron collider in Switzerland is trying to find the Higgs boson particle. Its existence helps explain our understanding of physics, so in many ways, scientists are hoping they find it. But if it turns out that the particle doesn’t exist, many scientists are still excited by that because it means we’ll have to rethink so many things. Either way, science progresses because we’ll gain new knowledge. So the fact that scientific discoveries sometimes overturn previously held positions only shows that it’s working just like it should.

    As humans, we have incomplete knowledge. No one denies that. Sometimes, I think when people criticize science, it’s because they view the scientific community as thinking they have all the answers. So when they revise their position on something, it’s a sign of weakness. But that’s not really the way we should be looking at it. I’m sure some scientists are arrogant — I’m not trying to defend that. But science is both an admission that we don’t know something and an effort to figure it out. It’s an acceptance of the fact that we don’t know everything. In some ways, that’s the humblest position one could take.

    It’s true that I’ve never seen anything miraculous or supernatural, but I don’t know why that should keep me from believing history. The assertion that someone named Abraham Lincoln lived and was our 16th President is not fantastical. And since contemporary sources document that this was indeed the case, what reason do we have to be skeptical of it? It’s true that I’ve never seen a cow give birth. However, I’ve seen humans give birth, and I’ve seen other animals give birth on nature programs. I know that cows must reproduce somehow… why shouldn’t I believe the accounts of those who have seen it?

    Now let’s compare the resurrection from the dead. Four gospels (if you count the longer ending to Mark) say that Jesus rose from the dead. Should I believe that? Well, this is obviously a fantastic claim. That doesn’t mean it’s untrue, but it does allow for some skepticism. Why does it allow for skepticism? Because it violates the laws of nature. If we accept every claim, regardless of its likelihood, then we’d all believe in fairies, unicorns, and modern-day faith healings. I don’t think any of us want to go that far. So some skepticism is appropriate. I’ve never seen anyone rise from the dead. I’m also unaware of any medical journals that document such an event. Biologists and medical professionals concur that once someone is actually dead — beyond the point of resuscitation — they are not going to come back to life. So this is obviously an event that falls outside the natural order of things. It’s a miracle. But should we believe it?

    This comes down to the quality of the witnesses. We have many miracle stories throughout history, but almost no one believes the vast majority of them — even when the person recounting them was correct about more mundane things. However, we have at least 4 people in the Bible who claimed the resurrection happened. So should we believe them? Well, there are many “miraculous” events that multiple people have attested to, yet we don’t believe them. The Miracle of the Sun happened in 1917 and was witnessed by 30,000 to 100,000 people. Yet most of us don’t believe it was an actual miracle. Many people (I’ve heard millions, but I don’t know if that’s true) believe Sathya Sai Baba performed miracles, and he just passed away last year. However, most of us don’t believe it. Why should it be different for the gospels? All 4 were written anonymously. The names Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were added later. They were also written in Greek — the disciples mostly spoke Aramaic. The disciples were supposedly illiterate. And all of the accounts were written decades after Jesus’ death. On top of that, they don’t even agree on everything. So considering all of the reasons to be skeptical of the resurrection, why should we believe it? If you think we should accept their accounts simply because we accept other historical accounts (like about Abraham Lincoln, etc), then are you prepared to believe that Achilles was invincible (except for his heel)? Or that some of the Caesars were able to perform miracles, as their historians recount? Or are you willing to believe that Sathya Sai Baba could perform miracles? It seems to me that you’ll have to accept those things to keep your position consistent.

    Thanks again for your comment. Love you too.

    Like

  16. @Nate

    Nate,

    I appreciate the kind words of saying that you believe I’m a nice, sincere person.

    To answer the question you first asked me on predestination; no, I do not believe that God foreordains some to heaven and some to hell. Does he foreknow who will choose his Son and who will not? Absolutely. Of course he does, he foreknows all things. But that does not mean he chooses some to believe and some not to believe.

    God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9. Two very important things in that one verse alone… God’s will – that none should perish. Its God will, that none should die. Repentance being to ‘turn back to God’. Many in the church teach that repentance means to ask God forgiveness of our sins and to then “quit sinning”. Asking God to forgive us of our sins, sure, that’s part of repentance. But when some in the church keep saying “Well look how you are living your life, you are still sinning so you’ve never truly repented of your sins”. For the most part, that’s a crock. Jesus knew fully well our inability to not sin. However, he gave us the Holy Spirit who helps us in so many ways, one of them being the ability to walk and live in that way. Does it mean we won’t sin? No, it doesn’t. The apostle Paul referred to sin in many different ways for the believer; one being in Hebrews 12:1 where he wrote “the sin that does so easily beset us”. Another time he talked of his own personal struggles with sin by saying “the things I wish to do I do not and the things I wish not to do, those things I do… who will save me from this body of death?” But enough on repentance.

    I have to say I was a little surprised that you made your debating point on Santa Claus. But I see the point you are trying to make; I believed in something as a child until I was old enough to know better. Basically. But actually your point turns on itself. As a child, we know there is a God. God puts it into each one of us to know that he exists. He built us, and the knowledge of him is built right in, if you will. Man has to be “taught” to not believe in God. So we start off as a child knowing that God is. As we grow older, we become more firm in that belief, since everything in his creation screams his existence.

    You said that there are scientific explanations of all things. You and I both know that is not entirely true. As much as you seem to research, you can’t possibly think that ALL things are properly explained by science. Science has “changed its mind” hundreds of times on the same subjects. At what point does science get to get the bashing that God gets? How many times is science allowed to change its explanation before we say “you know what, science doesn’t always have all the answers”. Science is an explanation of what we see and experience in this physical world. Which is very cool in many aspects, if you ask me. I have absolutely no problem with science at all. I think discovering things in our physical world is very cool. And to be honest, it only proves God that much more. However, having said all of that, science is an explanation of the physical world, which was created from the spiritual world. God has made those things that are seen from those that are unseen.

    Let’s take an easy example… the weather. If you went back several hundred years ago, many people believed that God brought the rain that was needed for crops to grow and thus people exist. No rain, no food, big problem. However, in modern times we “know better”. Its not God that brings rain, its low pressure systems and temperature differences, with a certain amount of moisture in the air because last week we had southerly winds that brought moisture up from the Gulf Coast… things like that. We’re too smart now to be foolish enough to think that God brings rain. Its low pressure systems that bring rain. Right? I mean come on, we have satellites up there that show us what’s going on. We can see it with our own eyes, right? Who’s dumb enough to believe God has anything to do with rain? Science can prove that all day long. And guess what, science is right. And guess what, I have absolutely no problem with my Christian children learning the scientific explanations of weather, because science is right. HOWEVER, who controls the winds, and the temperature, and the moisture in the air? Is it all just by chance?

    Just because science can explain that low pressure systems turn a certain direction and why, and that science can explain why there is ‘x’ amount of moisture in the air on March 14th, 2012 over the Gulf of Mexico does not take God’s existence out of the equation. Do you not see the idiocy of believing such garbage? Seriously? Science can explain weather, so God has nothing to do with weather? Seriously? Many agnostics will then answer back to this question with, “well if God exists and he is supposed to be love, then why does it not rain enough in places like Africa where people are starving?” That may be a valid question for another time and argument, but don’t throw that in with this debate. Weather is either something that exists perfectly for our world for our needs by chance (the planet and moon and sun all lined up just right, and there is just the proper amount of water and land and everything else present to affect it all… come on, please), or God put it all into motion by his own design.

    Only an absolute fool would think that everything lined up by chance from an explosion of nothing into a universe of everything.

    Geese can fly thousands of miles through the very worst of weather, many times never identifying the ground they fly over because of clouds, yet they can so many times land in the exact same spot every year while migrating. Science explains this in terms of evolution and genetics. Okay, I have no major problem with that… but God had nothing to do with it? Again, seriously? A bird can do something like that, and God has nothing to do with it?

    Some trees “die off” during the winter, losing all of their leaves. Other trees are “evergreen” and have no die off time like the hardwoods. Science will explain this in terms of evolution, and if they follow what they say about other things, over billions of years, somewhere along the line the “trees decided” it would be best to do that. And that’s true, and you know that’s true in terms of how science often explains things. Everything started from an amoeba and evolved over billions of years. Some of the organisms wanted to stay in the water, those today are fish. Some wanted up on the land, and they over an enormous amount of time started to grow legs. Some had better ideas and wanted up in the air, so they grew wings to fly with. Some didn’t want that kind of life at all, so in their amoeba minds decided that their offspring, billions of years down the road, would stand tall and be a plant called a tree. Then somewhere along that line, some of the amoebas decided that their offspring that would be trees would lose their leaves (although leaves and trees still didn’t exist, mind you) and some amoebas decided they would keep them. Oh believe me, the non-believing science community will put in all of the fancy words, words that you have to look up in a dictionary to understand what they are saying, to explain all of this in “scientific terms”… but the end result is just the same. Amoebas turned into fleas, bees and leaves with trees, as well as ducks, dogs and bullheaded human beings. Really? Come on Nate, you don’t believe that for a second and you know it.

    Do you see how ridiculous it can get? Does it mean that science doesn’t have a place or a voice? Of course not. I believe science to be very necessary and wonderful. But again, science is the discovery and explanation of our physical world, THAT GOD CREATED.

    If two thirds of the earth is covered in water, how in the world is it that the waters don’t more often overrun the land? What keeps the oceans where they are? There are oceans of water that flow underground, that come up above the ground as springs and rivers… and they never stop. Yet the land is rarely overran by water. I have no clue what science’s explanation of that is, and I don’t really care. Its not WHAT keeps the waters controlled, its WHO keeps the waters under control.

    Let’s get out of nature and get in the human heart, shall we?

    You have a wife, correct? I would believe that you love her, and you probably love her very much. How does science explain your love? There are several ways, one of them being the chemical oxytocin in our body. Is oxytocin important? Yes. Can the presence of it or lack of it affect your mood from day to day? Yes. So do we say that the reason you love your wife is because of oxytocin? You do realize there are many scientists who do. But seriously? Try telling your wife that one. “Honey, the only reason I love you is because of oxytocin”. That should go over well. Let’s hope the oxytocin doesn’t make you start loving someone else.

    Speaking along that line, do you know how close we are already to science explaining away the silliness of marriage? We’re practically already there. Why is it that people should “fall in love” and get married? What’s the purpose? Its all about pro-creation anyways, right? As long as the specie continues to exist, that’s what its all about, right? Why is there a problem with a man pro-creating, sleeping with many different women? Isn’t that what we see in nature itself? In most animal species, the male of the specie pro-creates with many different females of that species. So what’s the problem with human beings doing that? Why marriage? What’s the big deal about staying with one person all your life? Isn’t that just a societal thing? Isn’t that just man’s tradition, based upon religion? What’s really the purpose?

    You being a man in love with your wife, should you explain the real love you feel for your wife away with science? You know your love is real, and you may give way to some of the explanations that science makes of it… but will you allow it to fully explain your love? Will you allow the love for your wife to be explained down to oxytocin? Seriously answer that question Nate, because you are the owner and “creator” of that love, if you will, and so you know in your HEART what is true about your love for your wife.

    How can love be real? Its just an emotion. Science explains it in terms of chemicals in our bodies, which actually may be true to a certain degree. A certain degree. But any man who loves his wife as much as I do mine (23 years and going buddy), please, don’t even try to define my love in terms of chemicals. And I don’t think you would allow your love to be explained that way as well. So where do you go with that one, Nate? Explain love. In terms of science. And now, explain love the real way. In human terms. In your terms. In the world of science, love does not exist. Period. And isn’t it funny what the Bible says about God. And love. You know, one of those crazy “prophet” fellas must have been onto something a few thousand years ago when he “made up the story” about God and love. The bible says that “God is love”. It also says that God made man “in his own image, in his own likeness”. The bible (God’s own words, if I dare say) says that God’s design all along, starting at the garden of Eden, was for one man to be with one woman for all of his life. It also shows that Jesus Christ is the bridegroom and his church is his bride. Jesus said that a man should love his wife like Christ loved the church, and laid his life down for it. That’s a pretty tall order, a man to love one woman forever, and to daily lay his life down for her. But isn’t that how you love your wife Nate?

    And you and I both know, oxytocin doesn’t have Jack to do with it. Don’t we?

    If a scientist sat in front of you and your wife and explained away your love for each other in terms of chemicals flowing in your body, and then explained to you that it would be better for you to sleep with more women since it helps increase the number of our species, are you going to listen to him? Can science make it that love ceases to exist? Will the love for your wife cease when science explains it away as a chemical? Does it make it “less real”? Just a feeling?

    You and many others will think I’m a fool for what I’m about to say, but I’ve lived long enough to know its true.

    Be a child enough in your heart to believe what you KNOW to be true. Old men are fools who sit around and try to explain God away.

    Stop playing in the sandbox of fools Nate. Go back to God. He is waiting for you.

    Like

  17. Nate,

    Just listened to the video you posted at the top of all of this, and I would like to make a comment or two about it.

    I will speak plainly, as a man, and perhaps say a word or two that I would rather children not read, so if you feel appropriate, please edit those words.

    Even though I love the Lord very much and I have a very close, personal relationship with Jesus, I still am just a man… and oftentimes will speak very plainly when speaking to other men about the things of God. So having said that, let me press forward.

    A few minutes into the video, the guy in this video, speaking confidently about how he will feel in the future when standing before God… how “this being would know that all of the things that happened in my life, every thought, every experience led this man to feel and think and believe exactly what he believes and knows about this being” referring to God. He said that this being would understand that “I am nothing more, or nothing less than a product of my experience”. Are you serious? Is any judge in a courtroom going to buy that crap if you raped a woman? “I’m a product of my experience judge”. Seriously? If man being evil has enough wisdom to judge that to be a load of crap, do you not think this “being” called God has enough wisdom as well. Within two minutes of the video, you can tell this guy is an arrogant, stupid SOB, who wants to raise himself up and reason God away.

    If that’s true, then even Hitler and a child molester are not guilty of anything that they do, since their thoughts, feelings and experiences led them to the very things that they did. They guy that made this video tries to make the listeners buy off on this notion. No one in human history would be less or more guilty of anything that they did. This man is saying that because God knows all things, even future things, that man is not guilty of his choices, because God would understand why this person does and thinks the way he does. That man is a product of his experiences, and is not to be blamed for his choices. He is acting as if God is a puppeteer and we are the puppets, that God chooses all thoughts and actions for us.

    At 1:33 he says that these things “forced me” into what I believe. What bullshit. Man is so weak he can’t choose for himself? Nate, please tell me that this guy doesn’t speak for you in how you think, or in how you came to where you are right now. You are not mindless and weak, Nate.

    His YouTube name describes him beautifully. TheoreticalBullShit. Although he meant it the opposite way, his theory is absolute bullshit.

    He says at 1:43 that “this being (God) would have perfect appreciation for that”. Are you serious? So even though this guy admits he doesn’t believe in God, he is going to go ahead and say what this fictional being is going to feel like, when he stands before God. What fool believes this?

    He says at 2:13 “he would understand why I think I have lived a good life, and why I think I have made good choices… even though Christians don’t”. So all men have lived a good life, because again, we are all a product of our circumstances, thoughts, experiences and feelings… so this being will appreciate and understand this. What bullshit.

    This guy likes to constantly repeat “even though Christians don’t”. I understand why he keeps saying this line, because he forces the argument to be a future debate that he believes will never take place. An argument between himself and this “being” called God. In other words, even though you Christians don’t believe this, this being I don’t believe in will. What an idiot. Even a child would know his line of logic is garbage.

    What a load of absolute crap.

    Right at the 3:00 mark, he really steps it up. He says that if the day comes that he does stand before the God of Christianity, he says “it goes without saying that my first reaction would be complete shock, I would be absolute floored” He then says that he knows, with certainty, that the first thought in his mind would be “what was wrong with my reasoning”. He says “I would beg, I would plead, whether I am going to heaven or hell or not, what was the flaw in my reasoning”. He said “I would give anything to know that, anything to know what those answers are”.

    The flaw is his reasoning. The flaw is his assumption that he is right in his heart, when he has denied the existence of God, over and over and over again in his heart. He lies, whether he wants to realize it or not, within himself… saying he doesn’t know there is a God. He may fully believe that now, but there was a time he didn’t believe and know another way. He continued to lie to himself, as well as listening to the lies of others who believed that way to, until he became an absolute fool.

    He says his “first reaction would be complete shock” standing before this Christian God. His first reaction besides crapping himself, is falling to his knees and begging for mercy. A man standing before God as judge, he’ll have no words of reasoning. His heart will instantly know and convict him of himself, I’m sure God completely bringing to his mind and heart every twist and turn of his life where he denied God, and turned his back on the truth.

    Do you really think this slick reasoning fellow will be sitting down in hell afterward thinking, “where did I go wrong in my reasoning”? Do you think he’ll join a group of “where did we go wrong in our reasoning” thinkers down there? Maybe they’ll create an alliance and petition God later that he should have made things more clear in the Bible, and had better writers who didn’t make so many darn mistakes. I mean, come on God, you could have done this a lot better, you know.

    What crap. Nate, don’t associate yourself with someone like this. That is the biggest fool I have seen in a very long time.

    Like I said in my last post Nate, get out of that sandbox of fools.

    Like

  18. Thanks again for commenting David.

    You don’t believe in predestination. In other words, God didn’t decide who would or would not be saved, we each get to decide that for ourselves by either accepting or rejecting his offer of salvation. And I’m glad you mentioned 2 Pet 3:9 — God doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants all of us to be saved. Very important verse. So in light of all that, why wouldn’t God want his truth to be intellectually discerned, as you argued in your earlier comment? Why can’t we see it in our “heart” as well as our head? I love music. Always have. I also understand a bit of how music works. Music can appeal to me in both ways. Why wouldn’t God want his word to be the same? Seems like it would help further his goal of wanting everyone saved.

    Your most recent comment was mostly about science. Let me tackle the human side of it first. Though before I do, I never said that science can explain everything. I said science could explain the specific points you brought up about the moon, sun, and earth’s orbit. Now on to the human side. About a year ago, my brother’s best friend shot himself in the head. He actually survived this, but a significant portion of his brain had to be removed. He’s still here… one could argue he’s still the same person. But for some reason, his essence has changed. He doesn’t act exactly the way he used to.

    Why not? When my brother thought of his friend, he didn’t picture the details of his friend’s brain — he simply thought of his friend as a whole. Yet every aspect of that brain was obviously instrumental in making Scott who he was. In the end, it broke down to a series of cells and synapses.

    You’re right — I love my wife. There are many reasons that I love her that don’t involve cell structure, chemistry, or electrical impulses. Yet I know that if something happened to me that inhibited something like oxytocin, then I wouldn’t feel exactly the same about my wife. I actually don’t know what that would feel like. It’s not that my feelings for her would transfer to someone else — those feelings would just be inaccessible to me. We might not like to hear all the technical reasons behind why things are the way they are… but that doesn’t mean those reasons are wrong. I can know what love is and how it works chemically, but I can also experience love and know what that means for me in my life. I don’t see a contradiction here. They’re just two sides of the same coin. That love doesn’t end just because we now have a chemical explanation. The love would only end if the chemical was no longer present. That’s a very different thing.

    Also, the oxytocin is released in response to other things. It’s not like I have no control over it. It’s a natural response to stimuli. I don’t believe that cheapens love, it just helps explain it scientifically. All the intangible reasons I have for loving my wife are still the same and valid.

    Now to the natural world. With evolution, it’s not that single-cell organisms “decided” they would do this or that. They simply adapted. Many experiments have been done that validate this process. And I would highly recommend reading The Greatest Show on Earth, The Magic of Reality, or Why Evolution is True for a real treatment of these issues.

    Let’s say that you have a population of antelope-like creatures that have wandered into an area that’s difficult to make it into. A valley, perhaps. So they no longer mate with the antelope-like creatures (just calling them antellopes from here on) that stayed outside the valley. But in this valley, food is not as plentiful. Many other animals are of similar size to these antelopes, and they compete for the same food. It might be that the taller antelopes survive better, because they have access to the leaves on low trees. If they survive when the others don’t, then only their offspring will reproduce, resulting in taller and taller antellopes. Over many, many generations, you might find that these antellopes have begun to look more like giraffes — long legs and necks due to their genetic history. In fact, they may have changed enough that they could no longer mate with their antellope cousins that never entered the valley.

    This is a very simplistic example of what evolution shows us. It also explains why we don’t see slow gazelles. Slow gazelles don’t survive when they’re chased by cheetahs. And slow cheetahs don’t survive when they can’t catch gazelles. Evolution has helped sculpt life into the forms that help it survive. And when the environment changes, we often see effects on local populations. This would explain why species can become endangered (or even extinct) when we change their environments. There are an amazing number of examples that illustrate this.

    Furthermore, fossil evidence bears this out. We see a progression in our fossil record that makes sense evolutionarily. We see similarities in skeletons between related species. We have vestigial traits, like the leg bones in whales or the tail bones in humans. Even our genetic sequencing shows it. Did you know that entire sections of our genetic sequence does nothing at all for us? Those genes are switched off. And they’re the same genes that we find in primates, mice, and reptiles. Those animals still use those genes, but we no longer do. Why would a creator make us with genes that we don’t need? There doesn’t seem to be a good answer for that — but it makes perfect sense if we evolved.

    As far as why the earth’s water levels work like they do, or any of the other things you asked, we have scientific explanations for it. I know you realize that — I guess you’re trying to ask beyond that. Like we know about the water cycle, but who set that up? Well, who’s to say that anyone needed to set that up? That’s just part of the reality we find ourselves in. Maybe there’s a god that invented this reality — but where did he come from? Who set up the rules that allowed him to exist? This line of reasoning just goes on forever, and it’s fairly pointless. Everything we’ve experienced in this life has a natural explanation. Assigning a supernatural cause to that is stepping way beyond the bounds of what’s testable. It’s just an assertion… so what real value does it have?

    And let’s say you’re right: maybe there’s a God that created all of this. How do we know it’s your god? If you want to use creation as an argument for god, that’s fine. But how do you tie that to your god? Why isn’t it any of the other gods people have worshiped throughout history? Why isn’t it a god we know nothing about, who’s never revealed himself to us?

    Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough. Thanks again for the comment.

    Like

  19. And now to your last comment about the video:

    I totally disagree with you. Yes, this guy would be shocked to meet the God of the Bible after death — I would be too. This is the point I really want to make: when people don’t believe in God, it’s not an act. It’s absolutely sincere. It’s not that we’re doing it for some kind of attention… we firmly believe that the God of the Bible is a myth.

    You said this:

    The flaw is his reasoning. The flaw is his assumption that he is right in his heart, when he has denied the existence of God, over and over and over again in his heart. He lies, whether he wants to realize it or not, within himself… saying he doesn’t know there is a God.

    Don’t you believe you’re “right in your heart”? We all believe that about ourselves. It’s impossible to hold an opinion, but not really believe it. Because if you don’t really believe an assertion, then that’s your opinion. Every individual thinks he’s right; that’s why we all have different opinions about things.

    You think that atheists make a flaw in their reasoning; we think Christians do.

    I stand by this video. He’s not saying that he doesn’t bear the responsibility for what he thinks. But he’s saying that his reasons behind his position are genuine. In other words, his atheism is sincere. So if God sends him (or me) to Hell, he’s sending someone who meant no offense, but truly did not believe that the Bible was true. He’ll be punishing someone eternally because they weren’t convinced by a book that has flaws in it. Is that just?

    In a rape case, it’s rare that the perpetrator honestly believes he was doing the right thing. And in cases where the person really does believe that, they usually get an insanity defense with lighter penalties.

    Atheists are not rebelling against God — we’re trying our best to do what’s right. We honestly believe that the claims of all religions are falsehoods and myths. I think most of the people that helped write the Bible really believed what they were writing, but I think they were duped. Just as people in any other religion have been duped.

    Oh, and by the way, I disagree with your earlier assertion that children are born believing in God. Children are atheists — they are born with no belief in any God. My 3 year old still doesn’t know who God or Jesus is, and he hasn’t asked about it either (despite having a very good vocabulary). In my experience, children only believe in a god when their parents indoctrinate them. That doesn’t really prove anything.

    Thanks again for your comments though — I appreciate the conversation.

    Like

  20. @David,

    I didn’t read all of your post, so sorry for jumping the gun. It is obvious that you are passionate in your beliefs, and who can fault you for that? I just wanted to point out that you are criticizing the video for making assumptions and being arrogant, but then you make assumptions about the man’s heart, truthfulness, and mindset – isn’t that also arrogant? I seem to remember “God” telling Samuel that only he could judge the man’s heart, as man judges what’s on the outside.

    Plus, I think the guy is really saying that his beliefs are a product of his experiences, and no so much that his actions are a product of his experiences. A man can rape a woman even if he know’s it’s wrong. People do wrong all of the time, even when they know it’s wrong. But your point still has some merit, from a certain point of view.

    What really interests me about your post, is that you seem to have such certainty about your beliefs. Can you share why you are so certain? To me, it all seems like circumstantial evidence. The moon, the stars, life… Even if they were taken as evidence for god, how can you be certain which god should get the credit? Which book, or guru to follow? As for the bible, I’m making assumptions now, was given to you by a man. It was written by men who claimed God told them to write it… They offer no proof of these claims except to say add the claims that other had seen miracles too, and to say that you’ll go to hell if you don’t believe them. While some of the history lines up, some of it doesn’t. While things in the bible can be affirmed by the bible, others are contrary to it (example: if a seed dies, it cannot germinate). Prophecies that have failed or aren’t really prophecies. I mean, the list is long.

    So saying that someone is wrong is one thing, providing evidence of such is another, while proof is preferred. Ultimately God will or will not judge in the end. If there is a god, i’m sure we all hope that we’d be following the right one(s) when then end comes, especially if our souls depended upon it. Why is your god of choice better than another, and if he’d overlook nasty language when it’s time to speak plainly, why wouldn’t he overlook someone’s doubts when the doubt is honest?

    Just curious,

    William

    Like

  21. @Nate

    Nate,

    Its not so much that the word of God cannot be understood or perceived with the intellect. But it is God who gives the understanding, and with God, its starts with the heart.

    For example, in Luke 24:25 Jesus says to his own disciples right after his resurrection “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken”. Why did he say this to his own disciples? The ladies that had witnessed the resurrected Lord told the disciples what they saw, and the disciples didn’t believe. Even though the Lord had told them (and the prophets had written, as the Lord had said) they still didn’t believe what the ladies said. They were in Jesus’ words “slow of heart to believe”.

    Take again another example from the same chapter of Luke, and this would be good for you to tell yourself Nate. This takes place when the Lord Jesus appeared in the midst of the disciples, out of thin air, if you will. In verse 38 it says “Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?” Hmmm… why are you troubled, and why has thoughts arisen in your heart? Keep in mind, Jesus is talking to his disciples, those who are about to carry the gospel to the world.

    Later in Luke 24:45, Jesus said something very important concerning what we are discussing right here. He said “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures”. JESUS opened their understanding, they did NOT figure it out themselves. Again, this is the same group of guys who had just personally and physically spent over three years with the Lord, and they DID NOT GET IT.

    ONLY when he opened their understanding, ONLY THEN did they understand the scriptures.

    So here we are close to 2,000 years later, men who do not believe in God debating the authenticity of the Bible, and the authenticity of God himself.

    If the disciples who literally lived with Jesus for three years didn’t get it, and they believed Jesus for who he was, why do you think that men who have never seen his face, who question if he even lives, would suddenly be able to understand the things of God?

    Please tell me gentlemen, what school did you go to that made you better qualified than then men who lived with him for three years?

    Nate, its not about science, its not about being smart or educated, its not about being a fool for believing in something that can or cannot be proven. You know darn good and well Nate that God exists. I won’t let you lie to yourself and everybody else here that you believe otherwise. Do you have some issues with some things in the Bible? Obviously yes. But don’t try to throw God to the curb just because you have some issues. He’s God Nate. You’re not. Quit acting like you can set yourself up to debate God.

    And this thing about “how do I know that my God is the right God”? Seriously? It goes to the very heart of what you are having “trouble” with. The prophecies concerning Jesus Christ and their accuracy are mind-blowing. Many skeptics who did not believe in Christ and tried to prove their point, came around to believing in Jesus because of the huge amount of evidence. But a person who is foolishness enough to not believe, is NEVER going to believe. If a man says in his heart “I do not believe there is a God”, he is a fool. If he cannot believe in God, how could he possibly believe in God’s Son, Jesus Christ?

    You say there are many prophecies that have failed. That is wrong. No prophecy of God has ever failed, nor will it ever. If you can’t wrap your head around that, then pray for understanding (although how can someone pray for understanding when they don’t believe God exists?).

    You will certainly bring several examples of failed prophecies, but you will be wrong on all accounts. No matter the argument. No matter the angle. No matter the point. The disciples didn’t understand the prophecies of Christ going to the cross, suffering, dying, and raising from the dead… even though he had told them in plain language, face to face, that this would happen. THEY DID NOT UNDERSTAND IT UNTIL HE OPENED THEIR UNDERSTANDING.

    So, we will now hear from a parade of people, who do not believe in God, throwing their examples of “failed prophecies”, who have hardly given much time or sweat or trouble to SEARCH EARNESTLY and TRY to understand what God is saying in his word. And these same people will also say they have dedicated an enormous amount of time endeavoring to do this. And to that I will say, “not enough”. If you are still breathing and still trying to make God wrong and not exist, you have certainly not spent enough time trying to believe he does.

    Like

  22. So…

    We can’t understand until God opens our understanding. So he just doesn’t want to open the understanding of most people on this planet?

    David, don’t be upset with my unbelief — just ask God to open my understanding. Then I’ll be able to believe!

    I also find it interesting that even when we don’t understand something in the Bible, or when we find failed prophecies, we’re just wrong. God hasn’t opened our understanding, and the prophecies didn’t fail — we just don’t understand enough to see how amazing it all is.

    This is just an example of having a conclusion and refusing to augment it at all in the face of evidence. Your arguments might appeal to some people, I don’t know. But I believe faith must be based on evidence. If you have some, we can go through it together. But if you only have emotional pleas, ad hoc arguments, and circular reasoning, then I’m afraid it’s not going to make much of an impact on me.

    As you know, I’ve posted many articles that lay out the failed prophecies, contradictions, and bad morality that can be found in the Bible. If you have answers to those issues, let’s discuss them. Has God opened your understanding in those things?

    Again, I appreciate your comments. And I appreciate the care you obviously have. Please don’t take what I’ve said in this comment as any kind of offense — I just don’t find your latest points to be very rational.

    Like

  23. Nate,

    One other thing…

    you mentioned your child not knowing God.

    If you don’t mind me asking you to do this, ask your son tonight where the sky, and the trees, and the birds all come from. Asking him only that. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    No talk about God or no God before. Just a dad and his son, and ask him that question.

    I know he will answer “God”.

    I’m not trying to get into your personal life, I would never want to do that, especially with someone’s child. So if its too much to ask then forgive me for asking you to do so.

    But if its not too much to ask, I anxiously await you sharing with me what his answer is. If you would rather not share it online, you can email me.

    If I had to make a good guess, I would say your heart just jumped a little bit when you read that. I think you know what that jump was. I’ll go as far to say that there is a part of you that hopes I am right. That your son will answer that way. Why? Because only God could do that.

    I love the Lord very much. Jesus is very personal and real to me. More than even the love of my life is, my own wife. I know him, and he certainly knows me. I care about those that belong to him, as well as those that do not belong as of yet. I feel strongly about you, for whatever reason that may be, and so I am trying to get past whatever Satan is standing in your way. And yes, it is Satan who has removed the seed from the ground where someone in your past, perhaps your own dad, had sowed long ago.

    I’m just trying to get the seed back in the ground, and kick the crap out of the bird.

    I hope the request doesn’t upset you.

    Let God be true, and every man a liar. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

    David

    Like

  24. Nate,

    I’m sorry, I evidently didn’t understand your point. I thought you were saying that since you had never seen a miracle, that was evidence that it had never happened. What did you mean?

    When you commented about never having been comforted by God, I took it to mean you were implying that was evidence that God didn’t exist. What did you mean?

    If I understood you correctly, then how are my comments off the mark? If there is comfort in God’s word, then that takes away your argument. If you believe other things happened that you haven’t witnessed based on the evidence presented by others, why then do you treat the witnesses of the Bible differently? It doesn’t seem consistent to me.

    If I misunderstood your point, I’m sorry.

    As far as my “criticisms of science”, I am not trying to be critical of science. I am critical of the reliance on science to define truth, when many of the things discovered through science and thought to be true are often proven later to be wrong. If I am relying on this discipline for truth, then I am relying on something that is often untrue! How is this better than the consistency of the Bible?

    Are you really looking for truth, or do you simply believe that truth is relative?

    Love,

    Dad

    Like

  25. @ David

    …so today’s atheists are atheists because God hasn’t opened their understanding yet?

    And as to the “plain language” prophecies, can share them plainly? When I read the “prophecies” in the bible, especially the ones supposedly regarding Christ, they are no more “plain” than any prophecy of Nostradamus, with many of his being more specific. Which prophecies are you referring to?

    William

    Like

  26. Hi Dad,

    I haven’t seen evidence of the miraculous. That doesn’t mean miracles don’t or can’t happen, but it does give me a basis for some initial skepticism. It’s the same reasons you don’t believe the other miracle stories I mentioned.

    As far as comfort goes, I don’t deny religion can provide it. But I think it goes a step further to then say that’s proof that God’s behind it. Lots of things provide comfort, but we don’t think God is the source of all of them.

    In other words, I don’t view either of those things as evidence that God doesn’t exist, or that the Bible’s not true. But neither are they proof. It’s like when people describe their personal feelings as proof that they’re saved. It’s great that they feel that way, but it doesn’t mean anything objectively. People of other faiths have the exact same experiences.

    I don’t find the Bible believable because its witness is not always reliable. We’ve talked about some of those specifics before, and I know we don’t agree, but I’m just trying to give you my line of reasoning. I think the Bible is flawed. So when it tells about miracles, a subject about which I’m already skeptical, the Bible’s flaws only serve to strengthen my skepticism, not overcome it. When I read about Abraham Lincoln, most events that are described are very believable — they fit within the natural order of things. However, there’s a book out now called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. That book probably contains some factual information, but I already know that I won’t find the stuff about vampires believable. I think my approach to the Bible is consistent with my approach to any historical or literary work.

    You said:

    I am critical of the reliance on science to define truth, when many of the things discovered through science and thought to be true are often proven later to be wrong. If I am relying on this discipline for truth, then I am relying on something that is often untrue! How is this better than the consistency of the Bible?

    This is a good point. We all rely on science to some degree or another, and sometimes, this causes problems. Drugs sometimes come to market that are supposed to work wonders for some ailment, only to later find that the side effects are terrible. That does happen. But with science, we learn about these problems and work to overcome them. It would be preferable if we never made the mistakes to begin with, but this system is the best we have.

    The Bible purports to be absolute truth. Science doesn’t make that claim. Science just claims to be the best of what we know right now. But since the Bible is supposed to be the apex of religious teaching, then it shouldn’t get any better. However, I honestly believe it has real problems. In science, I can discard what doesn’t work and start using something that does. But in Christianity, I’m stuck with the Bible. Everything hinges on it. So if it is flawed, there’s no point in hanging on to it.

    I usually use Firefox as my web browser. It works great. But as time goes by, different bugs creep in because some people like to find and exploit the security holes. This means that the Firefox browser has to be constantly updated. I’m currently using Firefox 10.0.2. But we’re still on Bible 1.0. If an improvement came along that fixed the bugs, then it might be something I could still find useful. But it claims to be the perfect and complete revelation of God to man. No updates are coming. And since I believe God would have relayed that message perfectly, I don’t believe the Bible is it.

    I hope that helps clear my position up a little more. No need to apologize for any possible misunderstandings. I probably wasn’t as clear as I should have been — this comment may be no better. 🙂

    Love you too.

    Like

  27. @William

    William,

    I did not notice your post yesterday, so my apologies for the late reply.

    William :
    What really interests me about your post, is that you seem to have such certainty about your beliefs. Can you share why you are so certain? To me, it all seems like circumstantial evidence. The moon, the stars, life… Even if they were taken as evidence for god, how can you be certain which god should get the credit? Which book, or guru to follow? As for the bible, I’m making assumptions now, was given to you by a man. It was written by men who claimed God told them to write it… They offer no proof of these claims except to say add the claims that other had seen miracles too, and to say that you’ll go to hell if you don’t believe them. While some of the history lines up, some of it doesn’t. While things in the bible can be affirmed by the bible, others are contrary to it (example: if a seed dies, it cannot germinate). Prophecies that have failed or aren’t really prophecies. I mean, the list is long.
    So saying that someone is wrong is one thing, providing evidence of such is another, while proof is preferred. Ultimately God will or will not judge in the end. If there is a god, i’m sure we all hope that we’d be following the right one(s) when then end comes, especially if our souls depended upon it. Why is your god of choice better than another, and if he’d overlook nasty language when it’s time to speak plainly, why wouldn’t he overlook someone’s doubts when the doubt is honest?
    Just curious,
    William

    You asked of me why I am so certain of my beliefs. I am as certain of my beliefs as you are walking out from your house and expecting to see the earth, trees and sky. Although you have no proof that they will be there tomorrow, you are still certain and almost guaranteed to be correct, that it indeed will be there. You are not 100% certain of what put it there in the first place, nor do you know what holds it all together. I myself am certain of what put it there and what also holds it in place. This is not an arrogant statement at all, nor is it meant to be. Its not any more arrogant than if you were to claim with all certainty that the world will be here tomorrow, and wake up to discover you are right.

    You look out and see “nature” and build your confidence based upon what you “observe”. You gain more confidence in educated men’s explanation of how what is observed exists. The more people that feel the same way as you do, gives you even more confidence that you are right.

    Let me give you one of many places in the Bible where I gain this “certainty” you speak of, especially pertaining to this very subject. Its copied from Romans chapter 1:14 – 25 (everything with the parentheses is my words, obviously). This is the apostle Paul speaking, and yes, under the guidance of God. And keep in mind for what its worth, Paul was the biggest enemy of the church and the Lord Jesus Christ of his day. He had Christians thrown into prison and many killed. Of course there’s probably not a lot of history books to confirm this, so many will debunk this on that “fact” alone.

    14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

    (Paul said his call to preach the news of Jesus Christ was from the highest of society to the lowest, to the educated as well as the uneducated)

    15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

    16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    (an unpopular subject, as it is today, Paul was ready to state it like it was, whether it got him beaten, imprisoned or killed, which it eventually did. He said the Jew first then the Greek, because Paul, being a Jew, had a heart to give this news to his brothers, the Jews. He himself was the enemy of Jesus Christ, and knew how and why they thought the way they did. At one time Paul said if it were possible, he would go to hell if it could be that the Jews might all be saved. He was not ashamed of the gospel).

    17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

    (Here we go gentlemen, the righteousness of God is revealed, and carried on, from faith to faith. Those that are saved, and those who want to be saved, believe by faith, and live by faith. Does that mean there’s no evidence? Of course not. There are tons of evidence on our side of this coin, as someone said. But to those who choose not to believe – yes, its a choice – they lean into their own understanding, and do not believe God).

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

    (Fairly self-explanatory, but the last part should be restated here, I believe… those “who hold the truth in unrighteousness”. In other words, those who make the truth of God into a lie, and make what is untrue, the truth).

    19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

    20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    (Here is a biggy, read the whole of verse 19. Read it several times. “that which may be known of God IS MANIFEST IN THEM – FOR GOD HATH SHEWED IT UNTO THEM. Now go to verse 20. To make a quick point, jump to the end of verse 20. Why has God shewed it unto them? “So that they are without excuse”. When a man stands before God one day, such as the one who made that video, and says that this “being” will know all of his thoughts and experiences and will APPRECIATE (?!) the conclusion that this man has come up with, this man is basically saying that he will stand there, without excuse. But just the opposite is true. GOD has made it that ALL MEN know him, BEING UNDERSTOOD BY THE THINGS THAT ARE MADE… and then powerfully declared EVEN HIS ETERNAL POWER AND GODHEAD).

    21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    (God continues on saying the same thing, then adding to it. “Because that when they KNEW GOD – past tense William, they already KNEW GOD… how did they know God already?, verse 19 again, God hath shewed it unto them – they glorified him not as God, nor were they thankful, but became VAIN in their imaginations – and here is the sad truth – “and their foolish heart was DARKENED”).

    22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

    23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

    (Professing themselves to be wise. Isn’t that so true today? Men have got it all figured out. We know how everything came into being, without God. We rewrite history books or read and believe books of men we never knew, and claim them to be true. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”. Enough said.)

    24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

    (What I’ll say here, although more could be said, is that what this verse indicates is that God eventually “gives them up”. I’ll say this in God’s defense first, although he needs no one, especially me, to defend him. God is extremely loving, and forgiving, and kind, and merciful, and very, very longsuffering. In other words, he’ll put up with our foolishness for a long time, before he “gives them up”. But I wouldn’t want to keep rolling that dice for a long time, always leaning on his longsuffering. What I will say though is this… if God “gives you up” for this reason, there’s no coming back. At whatever point God decides to finally “give up” on this person, if he “gives you up”, there is no way you will ever come to some kind of understanding of God, and his Christ.)

    25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

    (And this seems to wrap so much of what has been said back and forth here, “who changed the TRUTH of God into a lie” and I’ll change the wording slightly to fit the truth in our time today “who worshipped and believed in the CREATION more than the Creator”. Today many believe in CREATION, not God the Creator of it. Not that they necessarily worship creation, like falling down on their knees and praising trees or something. Not that. But they lift creation itself, and the KNOWLEDGE of creation, as the end all answer to all things. And in many senses, that’s worship. Whatever “thing” is lifted above God, is worship in God’s eyes.)

    Like

  28. I’m sure William will make his own reply, but I just wanted to make one quick comment.

    I think it’s kind of funny that people can read in a book that God says everyone knows him — so even when people say, “No, I honestly don’t believe in him,” those people must be wrong because it disagrees with the book.

    David, what if I had a book that said all people named David are purple giraffes? You can tell me that you’re not a purple giraffe, you can even show me a picture of you looking like a human, but I’ll maintain that you’re just a purple giraffe in a cunning disguise. If we one day perform an autopsy on you and discover that you were a human after all, I can just say that you were a purple giraffe “figuratively” because my book doesn’t lie.

    Would that be rational? Before we go on making everything fit what the book says, maybe we should make sure the book is actually legit.

    Like

  29. Actually, I just thought of a perfect example.

    Some of the teachings about reproduction in Islam say that male babies are given their gender by their fathers — female babies are given their gender by their mothers. Makes sense, but it’s incorrect. We now know that the father always determines the gender of the child.

    However, you probably heard about the Muslim who recently killed his young wife for delivering their 3rd daughter. Barbaric, isn’t it? And the real tragedy is that is was his sperm that made the baby female. But that’s what happens when someone takes the word of their holy book over actual evidence.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s