I have a childhood acquaintance (our parents were pals) – recently reconnected via Facebook – who is a devout Christian. And brother, I do not use the word “devout” lightly. She is a True Believer.
We’ve had a few little tete a tetes on the god question. She ain’t about to move me, nor I her. So it goes.
She posted a rather lengthy note – an attempt to reconcile the vicious old bastard of a god in the OT with the loving, gentle, meek and mild god of the NT (who will toss your ass into a lake of fire if you don’t smarten the hell up!).
This one went off the rails a bit when her friend showed up.
(Apologies for the length of the note. I didn’t write it, and only post it here in it’s entirety for the sake of accuracy. Feel free to skip it – the real fun starts following my initial reply.)
(UPDATE: The original note is not particularly relevant to this post. It was really very long, and I have edited a large chunk from the middle for brevities sake.)
The Old and The New
Yesterday at 3:13am
I want to address a common misconception about the nature of God. As one reads both Testaments in the Bible, one will realize that God presents Himself differently in the Old than He does in the New- or does He? and if He does, why?
Before going further with this I would like to stress the importance of taking the Word of God” in proper context”…-meaning- when someone pulls a scripture or two out of the Bible and tries to find it’s meaning without understanding the relationship of that particular Word as it relates to the whole, error will occur. I will try my best to reveal the proper context of the topics in question: Is the God of wrath in the O.T. the same God in the N.T. ? If so, how can we reconcile a God of wrath and a God of love as being the same in one? How can the acts of God in the O.T. demonstrate love?…
(edited for length)
…The Old Testament, ancient legal document for a nation with consequences for their actions written into it shows MORE incidences of love than wrath.
The New Testament is a personal account written towards how individual followers of Jesus Christ should behave RATHER than a law book given to a nation- which was the case in the O.T.
N.T. stats- 80% love and 20% wrath.
Would you agree that what is right for a nation as a whole, especially in a time of war is very different than what is allowed or accepted between individuals within a culture? If you do you will conclude that the God of the OT is the very same loving God in the NT who displayed different aspects of His personality as necessary for the people He was interacting with. I believe THAT is in proper context.
I replied, quoting noted atheist and science blogger, PZ Meyers, from a post related to suggestions on how atheists might seem nicer:
” 3. Admit that the debate about God’s existence is complex – and that it can, depending on your presuppositions, be quite possible for intelligent and rational people to intelligently believe in an intervening deity who communicates through a book.”
“The debate is complex because a lot of intelligent, educated people buy into those ridiculous presuppositions and then toss a lot of noisy chaff in the air. There is a simplicity at the core that is not in Christian interests to expose: is there a god or gods, and is there any reasonable evidence for him, it, her, or them? And further, is there a … Read Morereason to believe in your specific god over Thor or Xenu or Moroni or whatever other fiction some cunning con artist chose to peddle to the gullible?”
“And your ‘intervening deity’ (the existence of which is an assertion not supported by any evidence) ‘communicates’ (you are using that word in some strange fashion that is not reasonable) ‘through a book’ (that was cobbled together from scattered scraps of theological rants, old poetry, and self-serving pseudo-history over 1500 years ago)? That’s crazy talk right there.”
I’m not acquainted with Mr. Fulton – he’s a friend of my friend. In any case, he came along with this to say:
Ronald J. Fulton
Sorry Avi but God commuicates thru many means and uses many people to bring forth His message. In the old testament in 11chron 20: 20 He tells people to listen to His prophets and they will prosper, meaning in every aspect of life. In the new Jesus says l only say what my Father says and l only do what He leads me to do. God is always speaking, you… Read More just have to listen. He has given me many words over the years. While ministering at a pub last year He gave me a word or words for a drunk young man that brought him to soberness in seconds and all it was that the realization that God still loved him. Often when we are not walking with Him the way we should we think He is mad at us but He is always trying to love us back to Him. As far as being different in the old and new testament, we serve a never changing God who loves us always but has handled situations in time differently.
Since he seemed to be directing his comments to me without having bothered to read the link provided, I posted a short response:
Ronald, when you understand why you reject all other gods, you will understand why reasonable people reject yours.
Read the posted link before replying with quotes from scripture and personal anecdote.
In what was to become rather a habit, Ronald failed to address the matter:
Ronald J. Fulton
well Avi, for me my God is the Alpha and the Omega, the begining and the end. Jesus said ,”the ONLY way to the Father is through Me.” l challenge you to ask Jesus if He is real to show Himself to you in some way that you’ll know that was Him that just did that. lt may not come the way you expext it but it will defiantly come and you WILL know that was a GOD thing and not a gods thing.
Still trying to be fair and reasonable – hoping for reasoned debate:
The faithful find signs and proofs in the most common things.
It doesn’t work that way for the rest of us, no matter how you insist it’s so.
I’ve asked Lisa before in our chats – perhaps you can give me a better answer.
Those who claim Allah and Mohammad have their scripture, prayers, rituals and prophet.
Those who claim Jehovah have their scripture, prayers, rituals and prophets.
Those who claim Yahweh have their scripture, prayers, rituals and messiah.
All of them profess equal faith, equal certainty, equal piety (and equal hypocrisy in preferring the one while rejecting all others).
On what basis ought anyone accept your claims over any other faith claims?
What makes you so perfectly right, others so completely wrong, and IF you’re right why do so many (even within the many sects of “Christians”) fail to agree with what you believe to be true?
Unfortunately, reason was about to take a serious boot to the head:
all of creation prove that there is a God,,,
(Romans 1:20) = “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:”
(life goes against the odds, just look at the beauty and complexity of even … Read Morethe simplest cell),,,, and science tells us of proton decay,,, and one of the best known and provable laws is the second law of Thermodynamics, which is also called entropy, and states that all things tend to go from order to disorder, as in everything will eventually self destruct, (not evolve) but Who gave things order in the first place, or Who made these complex atoms in the first place)…………… Fulfilled Bible prophecy proves the Bible was written by the true God,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, END OF STORY
Ah, the entropics have arrived.
Sigh. I hate when the fish in the barrel start screaming “SHOOT ME!”
1. Don’t quote the bible as evidence for the truth of the bible. It’s circular reasoning, won’t work and doesn’t advance your proposition.
2. Learn more about entropy – particularly how theists commonly misconstrue the 2nd Law in a vain effort to bring science to their cause. Science isn’t that hard, and finding out why you ought not make such ludicrous, false claims about something you simply don’t know much about is as easy as referencing a SCIENTIST instead of some ridiculous Discovery Institute or ‘Answers in Genesis’ website idiocy.
Henry Morris is a fraud. It’s really that simple.
At this point, Lisa returned to the fray. I’ll give her this, she can quote her authorities effectively. Perhaps not with a great deal of critical thinking, but inside, outside, upside down, forwards and backwards:
Lisa Hall Nicolle
Saint Thomas Aquinas said, ” To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” When Christ taught and preached, He would often begin with these words, “He who has ears, let him hear.”.. then He would proceed. 1 Corinthians 4:4 ~
“If our Message is obscure to anyone, it’s not because we’re holding back in any way. No, it’s because these other people are looking or going the wrong way and refuse to give it serious attention. All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness. They think he can give them what they want, and that they won’t have to bother believing a Truth they can’t see. They’re stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture” –
that was taken from the Message.
Ronald J. Fulton
well said Lisa, as it says, it is foolishness to the world.
sometimes we need to just kick the dust off and keep going.
At this point, I get tarred with the Satan brush:
Lisa Hall Nicolle
@ Joe and Ron…Several years ago I was studying passages along these lines. and something became clear to me. To those who are blinded by the evil one, no amount of talking, or arguing, or comparison of truths will convince or lead them out of deception because their minds are bound. However, I do believe that a Word from God delivered in the … right time in the right way, can set someone free in an instant- and that has happened before. Is there was way to unbind the minds of those who are blind? Yes! God has made all believers to be a Kingdom of Priests ( Rev. 1:6; Rev.5:10 ). The OT law was not done away with, it was fulfilled by the blood of Christ in the NT- so as NT Priests, believers have the priviledge of sprinkling/ applying the blood of the lamb to that which needs redeeming- we have the authority to wash the minds and hearts of unbelievers with the blood of the lamb through prayer by faith- and I believe that unbinds those who are being held captive against their will.
There it is. The evil one. Holding me captive against my will.
My rejection of all god claims, Christ included, could not be a matter of reason or choice. It MUST be the work of the Dark One.
How fucking condescending! How infuriating, obtuse, rude, disrespectful and stubbornly, willfully blind!
Lisa Hall Nicolle
I say against their will because as we see other’s unbelief in the truth of Christ as being deception- (afterall how could anyone knowing the Saviour , reject His mercy, His goodness and love?) How could the message of salvation be rejected if it had been fully realized and understood? Deception makes one believe something is true when it is not. A person does not choose to be deceived therefore, they are being held captive against their will. I believe that give believers the right to pray for their release.
Lisa Hall Nicolle
Ron, that scripture has come to me time and time again- Kick the dust off your feet and go to the next village!
To quote Jules, “You best back off. I’m gettin’ a little pissed.”
There’s a rather large sea of stubborn ignorance in insisting that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics proves god, and that anyone who rejects that “truth” worships the god of darkness.
I’m sorry, folks. As I’ve said many times, most sincerely, you are entitled to your faith. You are NOT entitled to lie in order to bolster it. Entropy, for those who bother to learn what it IS, offers nothing to creationism except exposing the lengths to which its adherents will go to make their silly claims seem less vapid.
I frankly find it offensive that you would respond with such condescension as “Kick the dust off” when someone has the stones to actually TELL you, insofar as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is concerned, that you haven’t the foggiest first notion what your talking about.
The suggestion that I have not given your propositions serious attention is simply hogwash. I have. And having done so, find them designed most effectively for gullible sorts with no interest in critical thinking.
Nope. Not a dent. Ronald J. ain’t even talking with me anymore – he’s up against Satan:
Ronald J. Fulton
lets acknowledge Lisa that this discussion isn’t really with Avi, and just say get behind me
“I’m a mushroom cloud layin’ motherfucker, motherfucker! In fact, you should be the one back here pickin’ up these brains!
Pfft. How sad. Anyone who doesn’t swallow your dogmatic faith is the Devil, himself? “Get thee behind me, Satan?”
How is it than I can demonstrate not mere tolerance, but respect for your decision to have faith – even when you and your cohorts distort science and engage in the plainest examples of circular reasoning ever – yet YOU not only fail to grant me the same courtesy, but cast my reasoned decision to reject god claims as “of the devil” – make me the enemy?
How “Christian” of you.
Quite frankly, sir, if that is the sort of treatment those who do not share your dogma might expect from believers, it is simply one more perfect demonstration of how far better off I am in having nothing to do with such restrictive, judgmental, condescending, holier than thou ignorance as you so plainly display.
And you call yourselves humble. Truth seekers. Love thy neighbor, eh? Get THEE behind me.
Fulton, having said that “science proves a creator” now wants to change the subject. What a surprise!
Ronald J. Fulton
Jesus said l am the truth and the way, the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth, so l don’t have to seek truth. l asked you to put Jesus to the test and you want to argue science. Scientists have already proved thru intelligent design that we have a creator, not all of them agree its God yet. Regardless God loves and so do l but do not do long debates.
Lisa, as always, seeks to mediate and explain in loving Jesus terms:
Lisa Hall Nicolle
Oh dear- misunderstanding!!!! Avi you are not the devil! What Jesus was refering to was the spirit at work in the minds of people-which is the devil- “kicking the dust off” was another way of saying to leave the place where your message (and possibly you) are being mistreated for what you believe.It wasn’t saying that the people were of the same … Read Morevalue as dust. You are of very high value- indescribable value- this isn’t about coming against you- it’s about what’s at work in the unseen realm that Christians see as harming you and keeping you from truth- it is because of your value that we war against lies. What Ron was refering to was taken from the passage in scripture when Jesus was telling his disciples that He must die. Peter said, “never Lord- this should not happen to you!” Because the Jews thought that Jesus came to take the position of a king-not to come and lay down his life and die! When Peter said that- Jesus looked at Peter and said, ‘Get behind me Satan!”
“You are a stumbling block to me. You do not have in mind the things of God but the things of men!” Jesus recognized that the devil was influencing Peter’s thoughts and so Jesus addressed the devil that was at work in Peter- not Peter directly. Jesus loved Peter and Peter was of tremendous value. So when that phrase is used towards someone, it’s not addressed to the person, but to the devil. Ron is saying that YOU are not the enemy Avi-the devil is.
…and I would agree with you that if anyone claiming to be Christian rejects you as a person, they haven’t in mind the things of God- but I know Ron’s heart and he was not saying that about you. He’s the real deal.
A day late and a dollar short. I’m in no mood to have the plain meaning of words twisted about and contorted – an all too common practice of theists of all stripes. I’m sure the thread will continue, but it will do so without me. Following, my closer:
I see no difference between calling me the devil and saying that my refusal to agree with your faith is “the work of the devil”.
It is a distinction without a difference – to say that “It’s not you…merely the devil at work THROUGH you”.
Entropy was offered as evidence of your faith claims in this thread. I replied, directly, to that proposition. It belies a complete and total LACK of understanding of science – a willful and stubborn refusal to be educated.
The suggestion from Mr. Fulton that “science has proven a creator” likewise demonstrates a degree of stubborn, insistent ignorance that boggles any reasonable mind.
The Discovery Institute, in order to bolster their vapid, shameful, shallow, ignorant claims that science proves god, compiled a list of 100 “scientists” who claim to question evolution.
To demonstrate how desperate, ugly and underhanded were DI’s means and motives, REAL scientists compiled a list of 1000 REAL scientists who say, “BULLSHIT” to that. And to put a fine point on the WEIGHT of SCIENTISTS in this “debate”, the list of REAL scientists was limited to people named Steve.
100 borderline, vapid twits claiming to be scientists, versus 1000…ALL NAMED STEVE. THAT’S how easy it is to debunk creationist drivel.
It’s no wonder Mr. Fulton eschews debate. He lacks both the tools and the temperament.
And despite having provided REAL scientific evidence, from REAL scientists, to debunk claims about entropy and the suggestion that “science has proven a creator”, I am sure you will continue to insist that it has.
The difference between what you believe and what I believe is this: My beliefs are testable and observable in the real world. Yours are not. I have evidence. You don’t.
I respect your decision to believe, but you cannot manage that same common courtesy.
I’ve said it before, and I say it again: Even IF your god COULD BE proven true, I would reject such arrogant, condescending, slave-mind foolishness on principle. I have far too much respect for myself and for humanity to ever grovel before anything that made me broken, commands me to heal myself and threatens me with an eternal lake of fire for failure to love that which behaves so shabbily.
Filed under: Atheism, Creationism, Evolution, Fundamentalist Christians, Intelligent Design, Lies, Philosophy, Physics, Religion, Science, Stupid, Theology, Truth | Tagged: Atheism, bible, Christian, Christianity, common courtesy, Creationism, Debate, Discovery Insititute, entropy, Facebook, Faith, Jesus, Project Steve, Religion, Satan, Science, sin, Theology |